National Catholic Reporter
A lay Catholic weekly, bi-weekly during the summer, that contains global up-to-date coverage of news of interest to thinking Catholics.
Bread for the World
A national faith based organization founded to lobby Congress on behalf of the hungry throughout the world.
Road to Recovery, Inc
Road to Recovery, Inc is the initiative of advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Advocacy is two-fold: 1. To provide a path for the healing of victims; 2. To confront perpetrators and those who cover up the sexual assault of minors and vulnerable adult.
A timely Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits. American keeps us up to date on both news and opinion relevant to timely issues and events.
This link will keep 'parishioners-at-large' in touch with current creative liturgy sources and resources that respect a variety of 'traditions' within the Church.
Voice of the Faithful
A 'movement' of lay Catholics 'inspired' by the abuse scandal calling for greater accountability of bishops to 'Catholics in the Pew.'
Survivos' Network for those Abused by Priests or Religious
A National Network of self-help support groups for people abused by clergy or religious.
Vital information about the disclosure of sexual abuse and related issues affecting Catholics in the pew and the manner in which Bishops continue to exempt themselves from accountability
A 'lay' Catholic weekly publication with an accent on an intelligent analysis and commentary on curent issues, trends and concerns of interest to Catholics.
Bill Moyers and Company
A must link for all who desire to be kept informed of the truth about 'truths' communicated by the commercial media and the political pundists who hsve another agenda that makes truth a precious commodity.
+ First Week of Advent
“There’ll be some changes made, for sure.”
Readings: Isaiah 30:19-21m 23-26 Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 Matthew 9:35-38, 10:1, 5a-6-8
The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. [Isaiah 30:20]
At the sight of the crowds his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. [Matthew 9:36]
As a ‘pastor-at-large’ I have the opportunity to minister to a wide variety of people of different religious traditions and of no religious tradition. However, most of the folks who seek me out are Catholics, many of whom are on the margins – hanging in but suffering the pain of disillusionment with a Church that seems distant from them. Some have moved into a Diaspora or desert hoping that in time, they will be able to find a place at the table. Others ‘shop’ for a parish in which they may feel more “at home.” These folks are not bad people looking for an easy way to heaven. They are good people who identify strongly with their rich Christian heritage but whose experience with the ecclesiastical institution has become more and more legalistic and in some cases, antithetical to the message of the Gospel.
The well-known canonist and author, Father Ladislaus Orsy, SJ once wrote : “We live as long as we hope; we live as much as we hope. Loss of hope is a loss of life.”
Hope is not based on what we can see but on the utter conviction that the God Jesus has not and will not leave us orphans, wandering in the desert, lost at sea, as it were. The sun does not stop shining when clouds cover the earth.
The Vatican Council redefined the Church “the people of God” – a pilgrim people on a journey. When Jesus came upon people who felt excluded from the kingdom, he found a way to include them. Jesus insisted that everyone have a place at table. So must we.
Pope Francis has taken up this theme in his conversations and in his most recent eloquent papal exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” He proposes a Church that is not isolated from the mess of life; a Church that indeed that renders itself vulnerable to the mess and the message of welcome and inclusion; a Church that stretches beyond the convenient and safe dogmas and doctrines that are sometimes used to separate rather than to unify.
We are all partners with Christ in the work of creation that continues to evolve into the future with the hope that somehow, somewhere, unity may take place based not on my truth or your truth but on God’s truth.Daily Scripture Archive»
Anything is better than reform, even denial?
Thirty five years ago we were not as convinced of the danger of cigarette smoking as we are today. It is not that there were no warnings. Indeed studies had already concluded that smoking causes cancer. Some smokers heeded these early warnings; many did.
Shortly thereafter, the inevitable backlash emerged, poking holes in the arguments against smoking. New studies ‘engineered’ for the most part by the tobacco industry produced counter claims. Depending on the strength of personal denial and threats to the economy, the impact of smoking reforms on personal smoking habits and on the tobacco industry was mixed. Tobacco companies issued warnings and contributed large sums of money in health related causes as they simultaneously expanded their marketing to third and fourth world countries where smoking continues on the rise.
The only people who welcome reform are reformers. Everyone else prefers to live or die with culpable or inculpable denial.
I ‘bummed’ my last cigarette on December 6, 1983 at approximately 1:15 PM in the office of the rectory of St Joseph Church in Mendham — cold turkey. It was a menthol cigarette. Somehow I had convinced myself that mentholated cigarettes were not as unhealthy as regular cigarettes. That’s how denial works. It dissipates only in stages and depends less on intelligence as on and irrational psycho-dynamic dependence. In fact menthol and filtered cigarettes were worse than regular cigarettes.
Thirty-five years later most people middle aged and over avoid smoking environments. Unfortunately, smoking is on the increase among teens. They haven’t gotten the message or they don’t want to get the message. They are in the early stages of denial. Personal acceptance and peer pressure are more important than common sense.
Although legislation has capped smoking environments, the heightened awareness of the dangers of smoking has had a greater impact on reform.
A similar phenomenon has taken place regarding the use of alcohol and drugs though there is a lot more denial about substance abuse and its damaging effects. DWI laws have resulted in safer highways but not necessarily in safer drinking habits.
This phenomenon is much more subtle in political arena. From time to time, there have been cries for reform in government from one or another side of the aisle, each presenting a case against a clear and present danger to society unless certain reform measures are accepted and passed through the legislature. Sooner or later, backlash occurs from the opposing party punching holes in the data and citing all the reasons why the reform won’t work. Unfortunately, within the political sphere, the data is often skewed by a hidden agenda that has less to do with the case and cause for reform. Both sides resort eventually to ‘ad hominem’ arguments and name-calling. Don’t confuse the issue with facts. Destroy the opponent at all costs. Kill the messenger. Anything is better than costly reform ‘We have the right to have our cake and the right to eat it too.’ It’s okay to pass on the debt of war to succeeding generations but not the cost of health reform Socialism is okay recovery of financial institutions too large to fail but not for the protective measures for the health and safety of citizens on the brink of bankruptcy.
Even the Church can slip into denial about it’s own need for reform from the top to the bottom. Years ago when the news of the sexual scandal broke in this county, blame was assigned to messengers rather than face the truth of mismanagement and cover-ups. It is time for reform and if it doesen’t come from the top, then it must come from the bottom up.
Jesus was a reformer. He told the truth and challenged the religious and political establishments of his time to act “in spirit and in truth.” He set out to inform his opponents about goodness and’ Godness’ not to destroy them for their badness.
He was popular at first but his popularity peaked and the tide was turned against him. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and his acceptance as king was not to last. Though some considered his ‘kingship’ a good ruse to depose him through a mockery of a trial, his kingdom was not of this world or on this earth. He was confronted with the inevitable backlash again. He was too good to be true. If people listened to what he said and heeded his call to discipleship, it would lead to personal conversion and religious reform. But anything is better than reform!
The passion narrative can be understood only in the light of the Beatitudes and Jesus’ mission to mercy. He confronted even his opponents with love not hate. He subjected himself to human judgement and eventual degradation because it was only way for humanity to appreciate divine forgiveness. God did not will the death of his son; he willed only that he be faithful to life and to accept the consequences of living faithfully — committed to justice, truth and integrity with a touch of hard nosed compassion — even if it cost him his life.
It was not the Jews who put Jesus to death; it was humanity and its will to power that made Jesus powerless before human pride and the arrogance of earthly rulers and religious rulers too!
This is the mystery into which we are invited this holiest of weeks. But it is important and necessary that we view the crucifixion of Jesus through the lens of the Beatitudes and the miracle stories all of which constitute the meaning of Jesus life and the ultimate reason for his execution.
Too good to be true, he was rejected; too powerless to be defeated, he was raised up in glory. His mission is our mission; his destiny our destiny.