Thursday, January 28, 2010

"No prophet is accepted in his own native place."

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary time (4C), January 31, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Is Passion good or bad?
FEATURED BLOG: How To Use Your Words To Create Your Reality
PRIEST STORIES: Why This Gen-Xer Is a Priest
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesus es nuestro ejemplo que nos invita a ser profetas

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Gospel, the other shoe drops. Last week, Jesus spoke in the synagogue and now we will hear the people’s reaction to his message. A hint: they will try to throw him off a cliff. Our Discussion Questions will be your guide during your bible study sessions with your family, friends or church group.

Familiarity Breeds Entitlement

Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth. In the town where so many knew him well, saw him grow, visited his home, a sin had taken root. Father Cusick explains that familiarity had bred a prideful sense of entitlement. Jesus spoke about the text being fulfilled at that very moment. Then he listed the poor, prisoners, and the downtrodden as the main beneficiariies of his mission.

His hearers most likely felt themselves excluded, that this message of hope was addressed to someone other than themselves. So, they turned against him. They got so angry they wanted to toss him over a cliff. Fr. Alex McAllister asks us to imagine this very same scene playing itself out at your own parishes this Sunday. Not many of the homeless and downtrodden are there either. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. says the fact is that we are all tempted to reject the challenging initiatives of God in order to cling to our own more familiar and controllable vision of life.

Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this scene which is the the first one in our Saviour's public ministry life, forecasts Jesus' whole life. First loved and accepted, then dragged to his death. It shows how difficult it is for us to attain to a universal vision. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us that when we are faced with someone like Jesus, someone with a generous heart, a wide vision and a great spirit, our reactions are very often filled with jealousy, selfishness, and meanness of spirit. So, Fr. Phil Bloom adds, this story illustrates the decision to love because how Jesus reacted to this rejection can teach us a lot.

Facing Otherness and Differences

Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that welcoming what’s other and different is, in fact, a key biblical challenge. We have the great tradition within which revelation from God is understood to come mostly through the stranger, the foreigner, the unexpected. For this reason the scriptures insist on the importance of welcoming strangers.

Thus, the Church invites us to reflect on the role of the prophet as one who is relevant in our world today. In Baptism, Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA adds, we were all called to be prophets by the way we live our lives and by the example we give. And while the word that God commands us to share is sometimes comforting, sometimes disturbing, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says we must get over our fear of offending people and love them enough to tell them the truth.

The Greatest of These is Love

In Sunday's second reading, St. Paul speaks about the greatest gift. I think you know what it is. St. Paul say, "The greatest of these is love." Fr. Joseph Pellegrino calls this one of the most beautiful sections of the New Testament, the great Pauline reflection on love.

When reading it, one notes how the glorious language does fit our Leader well. But suppose, Fr. James Gilhooley says, that wherever St. Paul mentions love, we substitute our own names. Is there anyone here who thinks the language fits us? If anything, we should grow red in the face - all of us - and hopefully sigh our regrets. Yet, the exercise does tell us the direction we Christ followers should be heading.

Priests and blogging

Benedict XVI is encouraging Catholics, especially priests, to use new media technologies to reach new audiences with the message of God's love. The Pope said it's not enough that our parishes have a web presence. He said priests must "blog" and preach the good news in the digital world.

The same message was reinforced in Canada where youth ministers were urged to translate the tradition of the Catholic Church into a language that young people can understand. And they were told to start by going online to teach the tradition because that's where young people are. And no less than the Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines invited the young Catholic faithful there to make their faith known and spread the Gospel through active participation in the internet, saying, "Christ can make cyber-space human space."

Catholic News

"The Pope Is the First Among the Patriarchs," was reinforced this week! With Benedict XVI, for the first time in history, the Orthodox Churches have agreed to discuss the primacy of the bishop of Rome, according to the model of the first millennium, when the Church was undivided. Also from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on Francis of Assisi as an authentic "giant" of holiness, who continues to fascinate very many people of every age and every religion.

While The archbishop of Denver cautioned artists of the danger of pride and vanity, which can lead to a betrayal of their mission to manifest God's glory in the world. In his talk titled "The Prince of This World and the Evangelization of Culture," Archbishop Chaput affirmed: "Genius breeds vanity. And vanity breeds conflict and suffering."

Roe V. Wade Anniversary

Some 300,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 22 to mark the 37th anniversary of the U.S. supreme court decision that legalized abortion. Half of the multitude that attended the annual rally and March for Life was under the age of 25. Another 75,000 participated in the pro-life demonstration through a Virtual March for Life. This as a new poll shows that majority of Americans think killing the unborn is morally wrong. 56% of Americans now consider abortion to be "morally wrong."

And in what the Catholic Vote calls a proud moment, a Pro-Life ad is scheduled to air on Feb. 7 during the Super Bowl. The 30-second ad that celebrates life and the family will feature the college football hero Tim Tebow.

Super Bowl, Faith Bowl, etc.

Mike Piazza, Mike Sweeney and Bobby Keppel will anchor Faith Bowl III, a half-hour, round-table discussion by sports celebrities about the challenges of living the Catholic faith and the challenges to family life amidst the public arena of professional sports. It will air on several Catholic television broadcast outlets and networks in conjunction with Super Bowl XLIV, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.

And here's amazing news from the Oakland A's. Grant Desme, the major league team's 23-year-old top prospect has chosen to retire from major league baseball to pursue the priesthood! He said he loves the game but he prefers to answer to a higher calling. The Holy Spirit is truly alive and well.

Healing Marriages & More

More marriages and families these days are affected by control and trust issues, says a Catholic psychiatrist. But, he added, through the sacraments and practice of virtue these problems can be overcome. Check out his advice in this extensive Q&A interview piece.

Bo Sanchez is back this week with "How To Use Your Words To Create Your Reality." If you're one of those who want to peek into you future, he says you're actually in control. And he tells you why.

Finally, our ParishWorld movie aficionado Hosea M. Rupprecht, FSP looks at "Extraordinary Measures" which opened in theaters last weekend. Is it good? The good sister said it's an inspiring story of the extraordinary measures the human spirit will go to triumph over those who say it can’t be done. She will be back next week with her review of the "The Tooth Fairy."

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

The Third Sunday in Ordinary time (3C), January 24, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Is Jesus & God the same?
FEATURED BLOG: 5 ways to prepare for Mass
VOCATION NEWS: Late Haitian Archbishop remembered as a humble man
PASTORAL HISPANA: Buena Noticia, estamos llamados a ser

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Readings, two men unroll papyrus scrolls and read them to the people. In each case, their proclamations signal the beginning of a vast new era. One is Ezra the scribe, and the other is Jesus of Nazareth. Four centuries separate them. Jesus stands up in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth and proclaims the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah. Our Discussion Questions will be your guide during your bible study sessions with your family, friends or church group.

With the power of the Holy Spirit

It is worth noticing the phrase of Luke at the beginning of this text: "Jesus with the power of the Spirit in him returned to Galilee." With the Holy Spirit in him, Jesus declared that he was the Messiah, the "annointed" one. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA says Jesus did not merely announce the Good News and leave it at that. He began to make it a reality. He proclaims that the Lord has sent him to “bring glad tidings to the poor . . , to let the oppressed go free,” to proclaim a time of favor from the Lord. This is what Ezra and Nehemiah had done. But Jesus' mission - according to Fr. John Foley, S. J.- is much, much more. A far greater new era has begun.

Father Cusick explains further that Jesus knew exactly who he was, not simply because as a good Jew he reads Isaiah. But with every fiber of his divine Personhood, Jesus is the God-man, the divine Messiah foretold and exalted by the holy prophets. And Fr. Alex McAllister SDS tells us that is still being fulfilled today in your life and mine. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. notes how easy it is to overlook one life implication. The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Jesus and comes upon the Church in order to bring glad tidings.

This, according to Fr. Phil Bloom, is our great guarantee. And so from a faith viewpoint, the four Gospels have one author: the Holy Spirit. For that reason, we read the Gospels as a whole, together with the rest of the Bible - and our two thousand years of Sacred Tradition. For the Holy Spirit not only produced a book - he has guided a people.

The mystery of the incarnation goes on

Luke's work is a narrative of the creative, divine action of the Spirit beginning with Israel, continued through Jesus, and now through the Church. From a faith viewpoint, the four Gospels have one author: the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, Fr. Ron Rolheiser says, we believe that God took on flesh in Jesus, but we also believe that this was not just a one-shot, 33-year incursion, of God into human history. The mystery of the incarnation goes on. God is still taking on real flesh inside of us, the community of believers. Therefore, Fr. Joseph Pelllegrino explains, we all need to find the best ways that we can serve the Lord according to our particular talent and stage in life.

And so with the people gathered in the Nazareth synagogue, we too see and hear God's Word fulfilled in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh. To this proclamation, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB preaches, our voices also cry out: "Amen." "I believe!" May the Spirit that anointed Jesus build us up into one body and send us forth to proclaim God's freedom and favor for all people.

Celebrating the Liturgy

Lionel Valdellon recently blogged about how sad it is to see people at Mass devoid of all enthusiasm and life. In this latest post, he thinks about it some more and noted down five things you can do to prepare yourself for the Eucharist which is "source and summit" of all we do, and which deserves attentive preparation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11). And Deacon Greg Kandra notes that in our digital age, the old fashioned sermon seems to not only be surviving, it is actually thriving. According to a new study, fully 96.6 per cent of those surveyed "look forward" to the sermon, with 60 per cent saying it gave them a sense of God's love.

And as part of our ongoing series on understanding the Mass, we look at the Introductory Rites. Father Paul Gunter, OSB explains how at this early stage of the Mass, the rites seem to speak for themselves. We have neither arrived at the Liturgy of the Word, which proclaims the sacred Scriptures, nor have we prepared the altar for the sacrifice of the Mass. However, a sense in which we have done both of these things is in the inner disposition of the priest. Click here for the full discourse.

Catholic Bible Reading, Excommunication & more

There is a myth that we must lay to rest, once and for all - Protestants are all about the Bible, while Catholics are all about the Sacraments. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, PhD says both Scripture and Sacraments are precious gifts from the Lord, gifts we desperately need and are bound to use. From the Vatican, Pope Benedict seemed to signal his agreement with the good doctor by declaring that being a witness to Christ presupposes knowing him firsthand, not just being told of him by others.

From the Catholic Sentinel of Oregon, Bishop Robert Vasa reflects on "Excommunication: When It Must Be Done." It's a response to recent events involving several high-profile Catholic politicians who openly contradict Church teachings in their public lives. And from Minnesotta, a program proposes a new type of vocation formation. Explaining that humanity is currently in a "critical" moment "because people are not getting married and having children," the program said there is a great need "to minister to the only people who could marry -- singles."

Helping Haiti

Port-au-Prince has become a multi-denominational open-air church as differences between faiths collapse under the weight of tragedy in Haiti, the Washington Post says. Tens of thousands now live in the street together, scraping for food and water, sharing their misery and blending their spirituality. Carl Anderson, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, reflecting on the spiritual side of the suffering in Haiti, says the tragedy can lead to increased faith in God.

And we bring you a moving survival story of a Catholic deacon who was buried for 10 hours in the ruins before getting pulled out. Prayers filled his thoughts as Chuck Dietsch awaited rescue or death. He said, "I'm alive because of the grace of God." And the Haitian Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot who was killed in the earthquake is remembered in an article as a humble man who was close to the poor in the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince.

Youth On-fire for Christ

If anyone tells you that young people are apathetic or disinterested when it comes to the ig issues, point them in the direction of the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., where more than 17,000 teens and young adults will converge January 22 for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life on the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. All 17,400 free tickets for the event were reserved within 45 minutes of going online.

From the Philippines, the Apostolic Nuncio in that country told the young Catholic faithful that ‘Christ makes cyberspace human space’ as he invited them to spread the Gospel through active evangelization in the internet. While Pope Benedict exhorted the youth to make this week's prayer for Christian unity turn into an attitude for life.

In closing, we offer you some tips for the kitchen. It's all too easy to spend hard-earned money on unitasking kitchen gadgets that aren't all that helpful in the long run. Use the gear you already own, and some cheap household staples, to make your kitchen a better place. Here's the "Top 10 Clever Kitchen Repurposing Tricks."

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Puiblisher & Editor in chief

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Do whatever he tells you."

The Second Sunday in Ordinary time (2C), January 17, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: What are the four components of conjugal Matrimony?
FEATURED BLOG: Is It Okay to "Parish Shop"
PRIEST STORIES: 10 ways to promote religious vocations
PASTORAL HISPANA: Lo que aprendemos de las Bodas de Caná

Dear Friends,

First the Church celebrated Epiphany and then, last Sunday, the Lord’s Baptism. This coming Sunday we remember the Wedding Feast at Cana. What’s the connection between the Jordan’s water, Cana’s wine, and the Magi’s gifts? There is more to the incident at Cana than meets the eye! Our Discussion Questions can guide you during your bible study sessions with your friends, family and church group.

“My hour has not come yet”

The dialogue between Jesus and his mother was about setting into motion the events which would lead to Jesus' crucifixion, death and resurrection. Mary says simply to Jesus, “They have no wine.” In other words, the human race has no real life left in it. Jesus replies that it is not yet “his time.” That is, his public life has not yet begun. He will have to preach, heal, suffer, die and rise again.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says Cana teaches us that the Messiah of the world had to adjust his schedule when events took a surprising turn. The story of Jesus' coming-out event as told by John shows his spiritual flexibility. We can learn from this how we also can transform our own "cronos" time into "kairos" -- a real moment of breakthrough and hope, of promise and new possibility.

Understanding Mary's Presence

Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains why Mary does not take seriously all of Jesus's reasons why God’s promise cannot be fulfilled at this time. We can accept as historical fact that Mary gave birth to Jesus. However, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains, she bore him again on the spiritual level when she stood by his cross and became the spiritual mother of the whole Church, whose members are united with him in faith and in the Eucharist, sacrament of love.

So what is needed to awaken the wonder-working power of the Spirit that lies dormant in the lives of so many Catholics? Going back to Cana, it seems to Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio that if Mary’s intercession could be a catalyst for the first miracle, it could be the catalyst for many more. It's a sentiment Father Cusick shares. He tells us that our Lady has interceded for those who approach her divine Son from the very beginning of his public life and ministry.

Looking to the Eucharist

Jesus transforms this water, used for cleansing people's feet, into wine. By doing so Jesus is replacing the old Jewish religious rites of cleansing with the new wine which is himself - the Eucharist. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says this is what it's all about: the gift of the Body and Blood of the Lord on the cross and in the Eucharist. It therefore is, according to Fr. Ron Rolheiser, both the sacrament that celebrates unity and the sacrament that cleanses us for it.

It is the best wine that is saved until now. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says this takes place at a feast which hints at that much greater feast to come, the Eucharistic celebration which itself looks towards the great banquet of heaven. And Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA reminds us that If Jesus can change something like water into wine as a sign of his love for the young couple at Cana and in response to the sensitivity of Mary who noticed the lack of wine, can he not change us too into the kind of people that we are called to be?

Lessons for Marriage

Our Burning Question this week asks a question that comes straight out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: What are the four essential components of conjugal life in the sacrament of Matrimony?

Fr. Phil Bloom says Sunday's Gospel shows Jesus' love for married couples. Just as Jesus gave abundantly with the gift of overflowing wine to the couple at Cana, our Lord continues to give an abundance of every blessing that brings joy. And it is a faithful, stable, and committed marriage, Msgr. Charles Pope reminds us, that is among the measures of maturity that God Himself has set forth. While from the Vatican, the Bishop of Rome also offered his own encouragement to all newlyweds to be "witnesses of the love of Christ in family life."

For many couples, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes decades of time together strewn with a minefield of potential relationship wreckers. Here are nine ideas you can use to keep your marriage strong at any age. And to cap things off, we encourage couples - and couples to be - to check out this important ParishWorld resource: Understanding the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It's a compilation of articles on the Sacrament of Matrimony plus useful tips for a happy married life.

Free Will, Conscience & Parish-shopping

In a recent interview with Newsweek magazine, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Embodied in her statements were some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. This prompted San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer, under whose diocese the Speaker belonged, to respond this week with a statement - What Catholics Believe - to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches.

Reacting to a news article about sin and the Catholic Church, Mark Shea explains that Hell is not some arbitrary punishment that God sticks on us like postage stamps because we got too many infractions in the file. Mortal and venial sins are useful distinctions, to be sure. But if you turn them into another way of trying to be saved by law, you are stone deaf to the most elementary teaching of the gospel: that only Christ, not law, can save us. So as we stumble through life and its challenges and tempations, be mindful of this lesson that Bo Sanchez shares with us this week: God’s Plan Is Bigger Than Our Mistakes.

Here's something we've all done at one time or another. Is It Okay to "Parish Shop"? Fr. John Bartunek offers an incisive response to this question from a reader: Is it required that we attend our home parish (just a few blocks away) when possible, or is it acceptable to attend Mass in another town on a regular basis?

Tragedy in Haiti

In a nation that is 80% Catholic, the church is where Haitians have always turned, not only for their spiritual lives, but also for an education, health and welfare system. What can be seen in the hideous aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake is the massive loss of church buildings. What cannot be seen - yet - is the people missing from the pictures. Nearly one in eight of all the priests in Haiti were reported dead after the Tuesday earthquake.

Benedict XVI is appealing for aid for victims of the earthquake that devastated Haiti and killed the archbishop of the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese. Catholic Relief Services has made an initial commitment of $5 million for immediate use in the relief effort. Click here to see how you can help its efforts.

The church's relief push might be well afoot across the globe. But with their hearts especially pointed toward home following the killer quake, for many Haitian expatriates in the US the priority went to prayer as churches nationwide filled for specially said Masses.

One oftentimes we wonder why suffering like this can afflict so many innocent people. This quote from Pat Fosarelli, M.D., describing a skeptical doctor's return to the faith can offer some guidance: "Suddenly, God became very real to me. In the suffering children, the "little ones," I met the suffering Christ. When I rocked a child in pain, I comforted the suffering God. I remember looking into the faces of young children and asking myself, "Who is this--really--whom I am comforting?" Instead of an impassive, supremely independent God, I met a God who needed me to make a difference in the lives of suffering people."

Health Care, Immigration & the "Grayby Boom"

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a nationwide postcard-writing campaign to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. And with House and Senate leaders meeting behind closed doors to forge a health care overhaul bill, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has reactivated its grassroots campaign to encourage Catholics nationwide to tell lawmakers they oppose federal funding of abortion.

Also this week, in honor of National Vocation Awareness Week, the U.S. bishops' conference offered a list of 10 ways to promote religious vocations.

And here's a report - not about a baby boom - but about a "Grayby Boom" that can be a potential windfall for the Catholic Church. Both in the United States and around the world, the elderly are by far the fastest-growing segment of the population. Given that elderly people are, statistically speaking, far more likely to invest time and treasure in their faith than any other demographic cohort, today’s rapid increase in people 65+ represents a potential “boom market” for religion.

Finally, here's a welcome pro-Life story from one Hollywood celebrity. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez has said she would never consider in-vitro fertilisation because of her traditional upbringing. The actress, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents, grew up in the Bronx, New York, and attended Catholic schools throughout her childhood.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

"You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased"

The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (BaptismofLordC), January 10, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: Why do Catholics baptize infants?
FEATURED BLOG: Polishing our halos and tuning our harps
PRIEST STORY: Thanks to our Ace - the Priests
PASTORAL HISPANA: Bautizados para que el Mundo sea Diferente

Dear Friends,

This Sunday marks the formal end of our Christmas season. Jesus' early life is now sufficiently celebrated. His public life comes next, and his baptism — today — begins it. Our Discussion Questions will guide you during your Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church group.

The Start of His Ministry

This Sunday’s celebration presents Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River. The celebration marks the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. It is the only Sunday of the year that belongs to two seasons. Why?

This feast belongs to two seasons because it is the beginning. Jesus accepts His ministry, His reason for being. This is the beginning of the teaching, preaching and healing that make up the public ministry of the Lord.

Baptism by the Holy Spirit

Fr. Alex McAllister notes how Luke separates the baptism of Jesus from that of the people — he was baptised after them. Theirs was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But Jesus has no sins to repent. Instead he took on the sins of all mankind and ultimately paid for them all thus making God’s forgiveness available.

Father Cusick explains further that our Lord's baptism, a sign only of his divinity, better enables us to understand our own reception of this great sacrament. Baptism is a grace which we accept and in which we grow through a life of perseverance in prayer and worship in body, mind and spirit. As St. Paul tells us today, God "saved us though the bath of rebirth." That "bath of rebirth," according to Fr. Phil Bloom, is the sacrament of Baptism.

Fr. Thomas Rosica says Faith is a public -- not private -- responsibility. He reminds us that our baptism is a public, prophetic and royal anointing. We receive the life of the Church and are called to sustain that faith life. These reflections, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, provide us insight into the sacraments of baptism and Confirmation and give us food for meditation as we say the first luminous mystery of the rosary.

“You are my Son, the Beloved"

With these divine words, says Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B., we are truly joined to the person and the mission of Jesus. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA tells us that is saying the same to each one of us. So no matter what we think of ourselves, our failings and our sins, God is speaking to assure us of his love and choice that we are his beloved children.

This Sunday, explains Fr. Joseph Pellegrino, leads us to consider God’s plan for our lives and how well we allow this to coalesce with our own plan for our lives. Fr. John Foley, S. J. adds that God is like a parent watching his teenager’s growing pains. Love does not mean God is taking charge and making everything alright. But rather it means him staying with the beloved, continuing to love and admire that special one, no matter what is grinding him down.

Finally, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, preaches that we cannot will ourselves into being good people. Grace, not will power, is what ultimately empowers us to live loving lives.

Why do Catholic parents baptize infants?

You most likely have been in conversations where there was a lively give and take between those who were opposed to infant baptism and those who were all in favor of it. It was even possible that those involved in the discussion were all Catholic!

Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington points out the simple historical fact that the Church has always baptised infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice.

Our Burning Question asks you to join the discussion: "Why do you believe Catholic parents are obligated to baptize their children as babies?"

Mass, Marriage, the Eucharist, & Heaven

Marriage and Manhood takes center stage in this great article by Msgr. Charles Pope. He points out that among the measures of mature manhood that God Himself sets forth is faithful, stable, committed marriage.

Webster Bull, of "Why I am Catholic" fame, writes that Jesus as a series of Gospel stories, a “discourse,” is not enough. Scripture, the Book, is not enough. The only thing that suffices is to experience Him as a real presence. Which we Catholics can do every day at Mass.

And in a separate dissertation, the good monsignor Pope explores the Mass in slow motion. The Preface Dialogue is the part of the Mass that happens just after the prayer over the gifts and the before the singing of the Sanctus. He explains how remarkable it is in its sweeping vision and heavenly call. But, often, we miss it’s heavenly significance because the translation of the Latin is difficult to accomplish in English.

And just what is heaven all about? Is it just a made-up human convention? So, What does the Catholic Church teach about Heaven? We have the answers.

Immigration Reform, Terrorism & a new Pew Study

The U.S. bishops announced this week that they are seeking legislation to reform immigration policy in 2010, saying migration should be a choice, not a necessity. And from the Vatican, Benedict XVI spokoe out and urged those involved in violence of any kind to stop and reflect and thus embark on a path of peace.

And just how religious is your state? The Pew Forum has came out with a new study showing the relative levels of religious activity based on four measurements: "the importance of religion in people's lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God." Find out how your state ranked.

Brit Hume to Tiger: Turn to Christianity

Here's another indication the winds of political correctness is shifting. In an episode of a Fox News cable show this week, guest commentator Brit Hume reflected on the Tiger Woods scandal and offered the Christian faith and its forgiving nature as a way for the golfer to put his life back together. And as expected, the left-wing jumped on Mr. Hume for speaking out about his faith on TV.Hav e you been noticing that more and more famous personalities are becoming less and less intimidated about proclaiming their Christian faith. Here's the video so you can watch it yourself.

100 Years Ago: The Amazing Technology of 1910

The dawn of 2010 promises more amazing developments in the world of technology. Already, tourists can visit space, for a price, nearly everything and everyone is going digital, and medical science continues to test the boundaries of what makes us truly human. But one full century ago, the new technologies that had people talking were considered just as groundbreaking. Electricity led the charge of developments that were changing the way people lived every day, with transportation and chemistry not far behind. Check it out.

Finally, like many others today, you may be doing your very best to make a smooth move from the relaxed holiday schedule you have enjoyed the past two weeks to one that brings all of us back to school, back to work, and back to painful reality. Ouch. Here are a few thoughts for others who might be struggling with the same kinds of transitions this week.

Another event-filled week in our Catholic world today. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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