Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Latest Column at Catholic Lane

Taking a break from reading Francis' Apostolic Exhortation.  Seriously, who thought 288 paragraphs was a sound idea?

Read my latest at Catholic Lane Today, on how the liturgy tells the story of salvation.  It's under 1,000 words, far easier.

Evangelii Gaudium

Is out.

Read the whole thing before you read the commentaries.  A lot of people are going to be very angry when reading this.  If they are smart, they will breathe before posting.

Since they won't be, make sure you read the words before the nerdrage deluge that is about to be upon us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Look Away or Not Lust?

This is the subject I discus at Catholic Exchange today.  Basically, I argue that the way this question is presented by most TOB presenters is a false choice.  One of the ways you avoid lust is by looking away.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Various Francis News

Over the past few days, we've had several things come out about the Pope which have caused discussion.

- First there was the statement from Cardinal Hoyos that Francis has no problem with the Latin Mass, and really doesn't have that strong of an opinion one way or another on it. He has no intention of supressing it. This should be obvious, but a lot of people really believed he would. This was covered a few days ago here. 

- We also found out that Pope Francis personally reached out to Archbishop Marchetto. Now that means nothing to anyone but theological wonks, but it is important. His Excellency has written what may be called the most authoritative work about how to interpret Vatican II. Probably a better way to say it is that the archbishop is the "best interpreter of the Second Vatican Council" because that is precisely what Pope Francis called him

 The Archbishop's main argument is that you need to read the Council within a hermeneutic of continuity, or you need to read it in harmony with all previous tradition, and not treat it as a break. This really shouldn't be a surprise. Yet a lot of Catholics for their own ideological reasons believe deep down Pope Francis held otherwise, even though, if one played the percentages, this wasn't likely.
-He was Bishop of rome
 -The Cardinals in the Conclave were all chosen by either John Paul II or Benedict, who spent their entire pontificates stressing the need for a hermeneutic of continiuty. Think they would give people the red hat who clearly held otherwise? 
 -The Pope clearly backed the idea in previous speeches.
Sadly, a lot of people of various different persuasions really didn't care about the evidence. They were convinced, for good or ill, Francis believed Vatican II broke with previous Church teaching, and was going to base his pontificate off of this fact. Will this stop most of the people believing this? Probably not. Yet for those who want to look at the matter objectively, it should. RELAX. 

- The "controversial" interview the Holy Father gave with Eugenio Scalafari has been removed from the Vatican's website. A lot of people are rejoicing. Others are trying to use this as a cudgel to beat others with. A few have even snickered "well your defense of Francis' words looks mighty stupid now!" Not really. 

What I'm going to explain is a difficult theological concept, but we need to understand it: just because somebody says something in a way you don't like doesn't make them a heretic or wrong. Wait, that's not difficult? If the blogosphere followed that concept, content would decline by about 95%. If there's a chance that something the Holy Father said can be read in an Orthodox fashion, do so. If you can read it in a way harmonius with Catholic truth without doing grave violence to either the text or Catholic truth, do so. You should really be doing this with everyone, but that goes double for the Bishop of Rome. 

What we have are (likely) some things said about conscience that, while one can read them in a way harmonius with Catholic truth, they caused a lot of confusion. As a result they took down the words. They will almost certainly have to issue further clarification, and it will probably be..... in a way that is consistent with the greater Catholic tradition. 

There's nothing wrong with wishing he would give greater clarity with his words, or pointing out that, due to ambiguity, people will misunderstand things. It is something different entirely to scream the man is a modernist, a heretic, and proof once again he is trying to destroy the Church, and oh how everything is just oh so horrible. WOE IS ME! - 

So we've learned a lot about Pope Francis over the past week..... or have we? We've found out that he wasn't going to supress the Latin Mass, and he doesn't believe Vatican II created a new church, and that sometimes, what you want to say doesn't always end up playing out best in print, and as a result you make adjustments. This kind of stuff really was common knowledge beforehand. The only people who disagreed with this were those who felt it was advantageous to disagree for whatever reason. 

In the end, things are like they always are. Most people don't read blogs, and as a result were oblivious to all of this stuff. That is still the wise course of action.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why Communion Kneeling and on the Tongue

That's the question I answer at Catholic Lane today.  I do so by considering the symbolism on its own merits, not by the usual comparison between that and communion in the hand.  Whatever one thinks about it, Holy Mother Church has allowed both in the Ordinary Form.  If we want to sway people, we have to make the positive case for it.  Thankfully, there's a powerful case to be made from the Scriptures.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pope Won't Stop Latin Mass.... In Other News, The Sky is Blue

Cardinal assures traditionalists of Pope’s support for Extraordinary Form
Via CatholicCulture

I really don't know why this is a news story.  The logistics of such a move never made sense.  Traditionalists (for better or worse) are a minority.  One would have to believe that Pope Francis, upon his rising to the Chair of Peter, and having laid out an ambitious plan for reform knowing time is of the essence...... would waste the first year of his pontificate in a war that nobody really stood to benefit from.  I know Machiavelli was placed on the Index, but his lesson holds true:  what are the incentives for and against an act by a ruler?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cardinal Maradiaga's Vision of the Church: Both Attractive and Disappointing

On October 25, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga gave a rather remarkable speech. Kevin O'Brien offers some interesting thoughts (and an interaction with Fr. Longenecker) here.  There's a lot to digest in this speech.  It's over 5,000 words, and it covers a lot of complex subjects.  I'd like to cover some of them here in what may be a bit lengthy, but worth it.  I'd like to start where I think a lot of criticisms of the speech are wrong:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Editor at Catholic Lane, and My "Vision" Going Forward

This past week I have formally accepted a promotion of sorts at Catholic Lane.  I now am an Associate Editor at the site, in charge of the "Learn and Live the Faith" section.  As a result, this gives me a lot of time to think about how that section should look going forward.  Here's a letter I sent out to some of the newer writers explaining what i think Learn and Live the Faith should look like.  I also think it gives an idea of how I view the state of Catholic commentary online.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in this kind of writing, please contact me via email or via Catholic Lane.  Here is the text of the letter below the jump.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

John Paul II and "Victory over Concupiscence": Latest Catholic Exchange Column

Today we discuss what such a victory would actually entail.  This was one of the more controversial issues a few years back, and I'd like to give it a fresh look.

A little word about my columns at Catholic Exchange.  I'm really not interested in what this or that theologian says, and whether or not they are representing the text faithfully.  That battle was waged three years ago.  What we need to be discussing instead is "What does the Pope Actually Say" in his audiences?    I don't want to go to what someone says about John Paul's Wednesday audiences, I want to go to the actual texts themselves.  Once we've established what the texts say, then we go through tradition and see if anyone said anything similar.  (Hint:  they really do.)

When I say you don't hear a lot of this stuff nowadays, this is what I mean.  Sure, you might see an off article here or there doing this kind of thing amongst the TOB movement, but a lot of text is recycled from previous authors, and this has led to some confusion about what is actually being taught.  If one examines the Wednesday audiences themselves, it becomes pretty clear.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Guest Editorial on "Cursing the Darkness'

Note from KMT:  What follows is another guest editorial from Shawn McElhinney who wished to offer some thoughts on a recent essay.  The opinions expressed are his alone.


While far from the first to respond to an article recently penned by Steve Skojec on the direction the Church has taken since the election of Jorge Bergoglio to the See of Peter, I want to nonetheless address some of the points he raised at this time.
To start with, it reads to me as one giant gripe-fest about how the Church today is not configured in a way that Mr. Skojec would claim to prefer. There also seems to be a lot of misplaced nostalgia on his part for a past that oftentimes did not exist. For example, Mr. Skojec claims that Catholicism was "historically a majestic thing" and repines for the ages of magnificent cathedrals but in doing so fails to realize that there were men who built those things whose kids and grand kids, etc. never beheld the magnificence of the completed structure that he is able to view today. He also complains about a lack of "rubrics of liturgy, sacred art and music, church architecture, adoration, Eucharistic processions – in short, a tapestry of creative genius" while ignoring the fact that a lot of these matters were not uniform throughout church history and others were absent for significant parts of church history as well.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Catholics and Private Revelation: New Catholic Lane Column

This was originally supposed to go out on Monday, but due to me setting the publish time wrong, it came out last night around 10 last night.  I got no idea how I managed that one.

The topic we cover is private revelation.  I"m not really focused on what is and isn't authentic private revelation (yes, a curious choice of words), but rather what this generations obsession with private revelation says about us, our church, and the world at large today.