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Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have a pressing personal petition.  Really.


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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 37 Comments

Some differences between Catholics and Lutherans on Baptism, Eucharist, Priesthood

In a comment elsewhere, someone wondered about differences between Catholics and Lutherans.  HERE

I cannot go into deep detail about these differences.  Books can be written about each point, and have been.

Here are my lunch break reflections while the US Bishops are having lunch during their annual meeting.

Keep in mind that I am a former Lutheran convert to the Catholic Church.  I was validly baptized as a Lutheran.  I rejected the Lutheran catechism and instruction when I was 7 years old because I couldn’t square their message about corruption with the beauty of the music of Mozart.  After a vaguely Christian time and a pagan period I was brought into the Church formally in 1982 following private instruction lasting a couple years and involvement in the choir at St. Agnes in St. Paul. My longer story is elsewhere. I made my Profession of Faith according to the traditional, longer form, as found in the Rituale Romanum HERE, publicly during a Vespers service, kneeling in the sanctuary before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  I renewed my Profession of Faith before I was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood at the hands of St. John Paul II.

We Catholics believe all that is contained in the teachings of the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the revealed and defined teachings of the Scriptures and the Magisterium.  God teaches us these things through the Church and we are bound to give assent to them with mind and will.  As we say in the Act of Faith, I firmly believe the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because God has revealed them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

Catholics believe that Christ instituted seven sacraments.  They are outward signs, instituted by Christ, which confer grace.

Lutherans believe in only two sacraments for sure, Baptism and Eucharist, with a possibility of Penance.

They believe different things about the effects of those sacraments.

Insofar as Baptism is concerned, Lutherans believe that, through Baptism, God declares that a sinner is just, counts a sinner among the just, by reason of the imputation (covering of the sinner) with the merits of Christ. The sinner remains corrupt in sin, but the “alien” (i.e., from outside of the sinner, from Christ) merits of Christ cover him over and make him to seem justified. This is a once and for all time event. There are other issues too, concerning grace and works, grace and freedom of will, justification by grace or by faith alone, etc. That said, Baptism conferred by Lutherans is valid despite differences in belief in the effects of Baptism. Some Protestants think that Baptism is only an outward, public sign of one’s inward faith, and that it does not forgive sins or renew us interiorly.

Catholics believe that justification takes a person out of the state of Original Sin and into a state of being an adopted child of God through the action and graces and merits of Christ. Justification is ongoing together with Sanctification, by which the person is renewed. Justification and sanctification are conferred through Baptism, which forgives sins and makes us sons of God and members of the Body of Christ, the Church. The Holy Spirit, infused into us with baptism, justifies and sanctifies us. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit comes sanctifying grace, which can be lost through sins that are deadly to the spirit, mortal. This state can be regained through the normal means of the Sacrament of Penance (and certain other ways).

As far as the Eucharist is concerned, Catholics believe that, with the consecration by a validly ordained priest (Lutherans do not believe in sacramental ordination that confers an ontological character – rather, every man is his own priest), bread and wine are changed in their substance into the Body and Blood of Christ even though the outward appearance and characteristic accidents of bread and wine remain for our human senses. After this change of substance, trans-substantiation, Christ is truly present in the Eucharistic species, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. So long as the outward accidents remain and the species are recognizable as, in their accidents, being bread and wine, they are still the Eucharist and Christ is truly present in them, even in very small quantities of the Eucharistic Body and Blood. When the Eucharistic species are destroyed or significantly altered in their outward accidents, they cease being the Eucharist and Christ is no longer present in them. Furthermore, we Catholic believe that the celebration of the Eucharist represents and renews and makes present again both the Last Supper of the Lord during His Passion as well as the Sacrifice of Cross on Calvary. The celebration of the Eucharist is Christ’s atoning, propitiatory Sacrifice, which, though it occurred at one fixed point in time, is renewed and made present again through the actions of the priest, who acts as alter Christus. Mass is the true, real, renewal of the Sacrifice in an unbloody way that once took place in a bloody way, historically, on Calvary. This is done through the actions and words of the ordained priest.

Lutherans believe that anyone can celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” (some few Lutherans call it “Mass”) though some are called by the community to preside in the central role. The Lord’s Supper is not the Sacrifice renewed. Lutherans do not believe that the substance of bread and wine change, transubstantiation. They think that Christ is present together with the bread and wine for as long as Christ is needed to be there, a kind of “consubstantiation”. (Some Lutherans don’t like that term, but I’m not getting into that fight.) That is to say, that for Christ to be present, there must be institution, distribution and reception.  If it is not received, Christ isn’t present.  Once no longer needed there for reception, Christ is no longer present and there is left merely bread and wine. They believe Christ is truly present, when required for reception, but not in an enduring way. Luther used the image an iron that is heated and then it cools again: the iron and the heat are there together and then only the iron is there.  However, some Lutheran churches are starting to reserve their eucharistic species and even to adore what they reserve, even kneeling outside their eucharistic communion services.  An interesting development as they become more “sacramental”.  Furthermore, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial merely. It does not renew the Sacrifice of Calvary or the Last Supper, but rather commemorates them. Lutherans believe in a priesthood of all believers. There is no sacramental priesthood or consecration of the Eucharist or sacramental absolution of sins or conferral of confirmation. Matrimony is not a sacrament, nor is anointing. Lutherans have two sacraments, Baptism and “Eucharist”. Their baptism is valid because water is poured on the skin while the Trinitarian form is pronounced. Their “Eucharist” is not the Eucharist. They do not believe it is a sacrament in the sense we do and there is no valid priesthood to confect it, etc. They do not believe, as Catholics do, that sacraments are outward signs instituted by Christ Himself that confer grace. For Lutherans, they are outward signs of realities that are taking place.

Also, I recall when I was younger that, at the Luther Northwestern Seminary in my native place, they would annually have their Lutheran form of “Mass” in Latin.  Yes, there are/were such things.

Lutherans, in a way, look on their confession of sins as a sacrament. Luther referred to “penance” as a sacrament in the Large Catechism. Some Lutheran prayerbooks have a rite for penance. But they do not believe that the action and words of the one who hears that confession and pronounces words of forgiveness are sacramentally effective, as when the Catholic priest gives absolution.

This isn’t everything that can be said about differences between Catholic and Lutheran beliefs.  Books are written about each aspect I touched on.  But this is a start for those who know very little about them.

However, if you are a true Lutheran, you don’t believe what the Catholic Church believes about Eucharist and Priesthood.  Not believing what we believe, you cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church.  If you believe what the Catholic Church teaches… then you had better become a Catholic in order to be true to yourself.

I would also say, if you are Catholic but you don’t adhere to Catholic teaching, you are in serious trouble, particularly if you have been properly instructed and you choose against Catholic teachings.

The Second Vatican Council issued a spiritual warning in Lumen gentium 14.  Here it is via the Catechism of the Catholic Church when addressing the issue of salvation outside the Church (846ff):

How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it(LG 14).

I quoted LG 14 via the CCC to show that what LG 14 contains isn’t obsolete.

If you are not Catholic, but you have come to believe what the Catholic Church teaches, and you refuse to enter the Church by your own will (not because you are afraid, etc.), you are in serious peril for your eternal soul.

If you are Catholic, but you pick and choose what to believe among those teaches that you are bound to accept, you are in serious peril for your eternal soul.

So, convert if you need conversion.  That might mean for some of you Catholic who won’t submit to the Church’s teachings… don’t put others in peril by your lack of submission and your heresy.  We would prefer to see you come around and believe, and the door is always open to you, but otherwise… get out.

Moderation queue is ON.  Helpful comments might be welcomed.

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged | 33 Comments

HELP! The dire state of US Military Chaplains


The US Bishops are meeting in their annual plenary session.  Yesterday, Most Rev. Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, delivered a presentation on the dire state of the number of chaplains serving the military and their families.

His presentation is dire.  He doesn’t pull punches.   Broglio starts about 34:00.  On demand page HERE: 2015-11-16 Afternoon Session

(Apparently either the blog doesn’t like that code or that code doesn’t like this blog.  Interesting.  I wonder if this can be embedded by anyone else.)

He calls on all the bishops to be more open to the service of their priests as military chaplains.

You readers who are not diocesan bishops can’t send men to serve, but you can support the work of military chaplains by sending a donation.

To make a donation online, please go to




Posted in ACTION ITEM! | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Fishwrap’s Thomas Reese, SJ, attacks the US Bishops as they meet for not conforming to his agenda

PopeFrancis_sunlightJesuit Thomas Reese, who was sacked from his post as editor of Amerika Magazine by the directive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has a piece today at the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) in which he reprimands the US Bishops even while they are meeting in their annual plenary session.

BTW… since the Bishops are meeting (and many of them are reading this on their smart phones as they meet… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, strip the NCR of the word “Catholic” from their title.  

Reese’s comments at Fishwrap, riddled through with tisking and finger-wagging that is simultaneously smarmy and condescending, accuse the US bishops of not conforming enough to how he imagines Pope Francis thinks.

Reese points to the list of issues that the US Bishops approved for their focus.  To wit:

Family and marriage
Religious freedom
Human life and dignity
Vocations and ongoing formation

He contrasts the US Bishops’ points with a list from Francis (that he cooked up in his head). To wit:

A poor church for the poor
The church as a field hospital, a church of mercy and compassion
The practice of synodality at all levels of the church
The end of clericalism and the empowerment of the laity
The promotion of justice and peace and the protection of the environment

Reese pits Francis against the US Bishops.

Reese thinks that the activities of the US bishops should depend on a central point of reference (i.e, the list Reese imagines that Pope Francis might make).

Funny…. I don’t recall Reese getting all excited about Pope Benedict’s priorities as an agenda for the US Bishops.

On the other hand, I now bring to the attention of the readership Francis’ own written thoughts about bishop conferences gleaned from Francis’ own Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium.


16. … It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound “decentralization”.

I hope you got that.

Pope Francis thinks that bishops can determine for themselves what issues they need to focus on.  Apparently the Pope trusts the bishops more than Reese.


32. … The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”. Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.

For Reese, when you change Popes you change theologies.

Either you are a centrist and you want the Pope to run bishops conferences, or you are not and you don’t.

It is beyond dispute that a goal for Pope Francis is decentralization.

Ironically, that doesn’t always set well with liberals, who will use anything they can to brow beat the US Bishops into conforming to their will.

What Reese did at Fishwrap reminds me of what the US nuns did during the debates about ObamaCare.   They wanted to impose their own magisterium – The Magisterium of Nuns – over and against the Bishops.

Behold the Magisterium of Reese.


At any given time the combox over at the Fishwrap is a fever swamp of hatred and invective.   But it is amazing how much the readers over there hate the US bishops.

Dear readers, think before posting and use the Internet Prayer.  A little venting is one thing, the bile you see at Fishwrap is another.

Posted in Liberals | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Thanksgiving and Advent.. it’s COFFEE time!

In these USA, Thanksgiving Day is coming up fast.  After that, Advent will be upon us.

You may have need for both hostess gifts when you are invited to people’s homes for Thanksgiving.  You may have need for small gifts for office events or stocking stuffers.

Remember… Mystic Monk Coffee.  

You could give people 5 lbs bags, of course.  Everyone would be happy if you did.  The Carmelites in Wyoming would be happy.  They are building their monastery from this coffee.  The recipients would be happy.  They’d think of you with every cup.  I’d be happy, knowing that you were happy … ehem… and because I get a percentage of the sale.  And, having sparked all this happiness you would be happy too.

Everyone’s happy!  See how easy this is?

And there is the spiritual component as well.   Be sharp for your examination of conscience before you GO TO CONFESSION.

Alternately, you might try the Sampler Page and get a passel o’ little packets of coffee, just 2 oz. each.  They have four different 9 pack sample options and one 30 pack.  (Go for the 30… just do it.)

Also, you are going to need lots of coffee for your own entertaining.

They also have Teas.

Order now.  Get it in time.

Mystic Monk Coffee!  It’s swell!


Posted in The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , | Comments Off on Thanksgiving and Advent.. it’s COFFEE time!

ASK FATHER: Why don’t bishops use the mantelletta?

From a reader…

How come the practice is rare nowadays of bishops and monsignors wearing the mantelletta? Also, when does a bishop wear the mantelletta instead of the mozzetta? Are there specific rules for a bishop to determine if he should wear the mozzetta and mantelletta in choir?

Pope Paul VI in 1969 abolished the mantelletta for bishops.  Bishops are now to wear the mozzetta.   The violet mantelletta is still used by very few prelates having specific offices in the Roman Curia.   There are 7 monsignors, Apostolic Protonotaries de numero (such as masters of ceremony, who witness official acts such as a Cardinal taking possession of his titular basilica, etc.), and some officials of the tribunals (such as the Defender of the Bond), and some of the canons of St. Peters Basilica.  I am not sure if the canons of St. John Lateran of St. Mary Major wear the violet mantelletta or not.  Some chapters have their own dress.

So, that’s why you don’t see it.

Here is Msgr. Guido Marini, Master of Ceremonies for His Holiness, in the mantelletta at the moment of the extra omnes in the last conclave.


That said… perhaps we should just revive all these things that were abolished.  After all, these days law is so out-of-style.  So a bishop puts on a mantelletta… who am I to judge?

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 13 Comments

What Did The Pope Really Say… about Lutherans and Communion?

15_11_16_screenshotHere we go again.

Pope Francis has offered some confusing observations about the possibility of Lutherans receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

I’m getting email… angry… alarmed… confused… sad… above all demoralized.

Edward Pentin has the best press breakdown I have seen so far. HERE  You can read the whole of the answer that the Pope gave to a Lutheran woman Anke de Bernardinis.  Here’s the video of the whole event in the original language, Italian.  The part under discussion here starts at 21:00:

Here below are the Pope’s comments in context (Pentin’s working translation):

Question: My name is Anke de Bernardinis and, like many people in our community, I’m married to an Italian, who is a Roman Catholic Christian. We’ve lived happily together for many years, sharing joys and sorrows. And so we greatly regret being divided in faith and not being able to participate in the Lord’s Supper together. What can we do to achieve, finally, communion on this point?

Pope Francis: The question on sharing the Lord’s Supper isn’t easy for me to respond to, above all in front of a theologian like Cardinal Kasper! I’m scared! [Meh. I wouldn’t worry about Kasper.]

I think of how the Lord told us when he gave us this command to “do this in memory of me,” and when we share the Lord’s Supper, we recall and we imitate the same as the Lord. And there will be the Lord’s Supper in the final banquet in the new Jerusalem will be there but that will be the last one. In the meantime, I ask myself — and don’t know how to respond — what you’re asking me, I ask myself the question. To share the Lord’s banquet: is it the goal of the path or is it the viaticum [provisions] for walking together? I leave that question to the theologians and those who understand. [Ummm… it’s not that hard.  It’s both.]

It’s true that in a certain sense, to share means there aren’t differences between us, that we have the same doctrine – underscoring that word, a difficult word to understand [“doctrine” is difficult to understand?  How about “That which is taught.  Christian doctrine ordinarily means that body of revealed and defined truth which a Catholic is bound to hold, but is often extended to include those teachings which are not of faith but are generally held and acted upon.  Occasionally the word indicates these last only, “the teachings of theologians,” as distinct from “the faith taught by the Church.” – The Catholic Dictionary – Is there more to say?  Sure.  But that’s a start.] — but I ask myself: but don’t we have the same Baptism? If we have the same Baptism, shouldn’t we be walking together? You’re a witness also of a profound journey, a journey of marriage: a journey really of the family and human love and of a shared faith, no? We have the same Baptism.  [Yes, we have the same baptism.  I was baptized in the Lutheran Church.  My baptism was valid.  However, in order to receive Communion in the Catholic Church, to be admitted to the Catholic Communion, I had to repudiate the errors of my Lutheran background and publicly state that I embraced and accepted everything that the Holy Catholic Church teaches.    HERE  (“Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved.”) When I was ordained, I put my hand on Holy Writ and, publicly, said that I accepted what the Church teaches. Lutherans have valid baptism, but they do not believe in the effects of baptism in the same way that we Catholics in regard to justification and sanctification.  Furthermore, baptism, though foundational, is one sacrament. We have others, too.  But let’s go on.]

When you feel yourself to be a sinner – and I feel more of a sinner – when your husband feels a sinner, you go to the Lord and ask forgiveness; your husband does the same and also goes to the priest and asks absolution. [The Sacrament of Penance is the means given to us by Christ Himself, the means by which HE desires for us to seek forigivness and reconciliation.] I’m healed to keep alive the Baptism. When you pray together, that Baptism grows, becomes stronger. When you teach your kids who Jesus is, why Jesus came, what Jesus did for us, you’re doing the same thing, whether in the Lutheran language or the Catholic one, but it’s the same. [What Jesus did for us.. okay… but how we participate in what Jesus did for us is different.] The question: and the [Lord’s] Supper? There are questions that, only if one is sincere with oneself and with the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own. See for yourself. This is my body. This is my blood. Do it in remembrance of me – this is a viaticum that helps us to journey on.

I once had a great friendship with an Episcopalian bishop who went a little wrong – he was 48 years old, married, two children. This was a discomfort to him – a Catholic wife, Catholic children, him a bishop. He accompanied his wife and children to Mass on Sunday, and then went to worship with his community. It was a step of participation in the Lord’s Supper. Then he went forward, [?!?] the Lord called him, a just man. To your question, I can only respond with a question: what can I do with my husband, because the Lord’s Supper accompanies me on my path?

It’s a problem each must answer, but a pastor-friend once told me: “We believe that the Lord is present there, he is present. You all believe that the Lord is present. And so what’s the difference?” [While I don’t think that, in this phrase, Pope Francis is implying that there are no differences between what Lutherans and Catholics believe, allow me to state for the record that there are HUGE differences between what Catholics and Lutherans believe about how the Lord is present in the Eucharist.] — “Eh, there are explanations, interpretations.” Life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always refer back to your baptism. [We have more than one sacrament.] “One faith, one baptism, one Lord.” This is what Paul tells us, and then take the consequences from there. [NB… really… Nota bene:] I wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence. [THAT’S RIGHT.  It is not his competence.] One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. I don’t dare to say anything more.  [And THIS is where the confusion comes in.]

First, Pope Francis clearly states that he cannot officially say that Lutherans can be admitted to Communion.  He doesn’t have the competence.  This has been settled clearly from the Council of Trent onward.  The Pope knows that he can’t change this.

However, “Talk to the Lord and then go forward.”  This is confusing.   Let me try to untangle it.

On the one hand, that’s what people of good will do any way.  (There are people of bad will, too, but leave them out for now.) In the end, Catholics and non-Catholics alike make up their own minds at the moment of Communion at Holy Mass in Catholic Churches.  No one is monitoring their thoughts.  We can’t paralyze them in their pew and constrain them not to go forward when they should not.  A lot of people – never mind non-Catholics – a great many Catholics go to Communion when they should not.

If there is a case of a public sinner, a well-known person who should not go to Communion, then the bishop, priest or deacon is obliged not to give that person Communion.  Sure, that’s not the practice of all bishops and priests, but that’s not my fault.

What we need to do is catechize Catholics and teach clearly as a Church what we believe about the Eucharist and the proper disposition to receive the Eucharist in Communion.

If we don’t, then we priests and bishops are also guilty of profaning the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord.  We are responsible.

A lot of people become angry and confused about some things that Pope Francis says… and doesn’t say… and then says and doesn’t say at the same time.  It’s frustrating to try to figure him out.  For example, he tends to speak in derogatory terms about doctrine and law, as if they are not important.  BUT… BUT… he doesn’t actually say that they aren’t.

There is the tone with which he speaks and there are the words with which he speaks.  We are left to untangle the knot.

That said, for this issue the Pope made a clear statement:

I wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence.”

Before anyone gets out onto the ledge outside the window, read that again and repeat it to yourself.  The Pope is not saying that Lutherans can go to Communion.

The moderation queue is ON.


Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis | Tagged , , , , , | 92 Comments

Solemn Mass in Extraordinary Form at a major American seminary

I received word via email… the Traditional Latin Mass has “returned” to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

This is an exceptionally good development.  They should should have it every week, at least.

Here are a few snaps from their flicker feed HERE.

My correspondent wrote that this is the… :

Feast of St. Martin of Tours, in our Martin of Tours chapel.  The seminarians have been asking the rector for a TLM, so he agreed!

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 19.49.16

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 19.52.14

This looks like a Second Confiteor, doesn’t it.  Or, perhaps they are at the moment of the priest’s Communion and they are bowing with particular piety.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 19.50.59

Surely the Ite.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 19.49.57

The vestments are classics, cloth of gold woven through with angels. My home parish has a set not dissimilar to these. As a matter of fact, that set had been used in a movie with Robert DiNero, who played a priest who at one point sings a Solemn Mass.

Seminarians! Listen up!

If your seminary is not also teaching you about the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite, find another way to learn it on your own.

And I will remind you that the 1983 Code of Canon Law in can. 249 requires… it doesn’t suggest… it requires that all seminarians be taught both Latin so that they are very proficient and also any other language useful for their ministry.

Anyway, this is a fine development and they are all to be commended.

Posted in Brick by Brick, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , | 16 Comments

ASK FATHER: Adult child living at parents’ home doesn’t want to go to Mass

Family Praying The RosaryFrom a reader…


Our 18 year old says she does not want to go to Mass anymore. She is being home schooled through Seton Home Study and gets A’s in all her religion courses, so she is learning the Catholic faith and well. She just states that she wants to be given the freedom to choose to go to Mass for herself.

Her father and I explain that not only does she have the obligation to go, she has the honor to go, and it is also the matter of being obedient to our wishes while she is still under our roof.

Are we doing any ‘harm’ in forcing her to come to Mass with us? What I mean is, is it wrong for us to force her in the understanding that she has free will and is in most ways, an adult.

Maybe this is the sort of thing that the Synod of Bishops should have talked about.

The conventional wisdom is that forcing Church attendance on the unwilling is counterproductive. Forcing attendance, so it is said, only breeds resentment and, later, wholesale rebellion against the Church. In the same general category as forced attendance is bribed attendance: if you go with us to Mass, we’ll go to breakfast afterwards. Children, after a certain age, should come to see Church attendance not as some mandatory punishment, but as an open invitation and when they come to make the decision themselves to attend, their participation becomes real and they’re able to benefit more from the experience.

Frankly, I’m not entirely convinced that hoi polloi are right on this issue.

We “force” our children to do many things against their will. We force them to brush their teeth, eat their broccoli, clean their rooms, stand up straight, and be polite to Aunt Frieda when she visits. This does not seem universally to lead to lapsed dental care, abhorrence of broccoli, perpetually messy rooms, slouchers and rudeness when they hit adulthood.

Some parents can take things to excess. Some children end up being more rebellious than others. But, on the whole, parents having certain expectations of behavior among their children, especially those children expecting free bed and board at the parental manse, is normal.

When children become adults, or approach adulthood, and balk at the parental expectations, a conversation can ensue. “I see you’re not eating your broccoli, why is that?” “Oh mom, I really hate broccoli, it makes me so gassy. Can we have green beans instead?” or, “Dad, I’m 18 years old, and I really don’t want to go to church anymore.” “Why is that, son?” “Well, mostly it’s because I find the homilies to be lame and pointless, the music is insipid, and the liturgical dance is really contrary to what I’ve learned about the richness of our Catholic heritage.”

Negotiations can ensue.

If an 18 year old, seemingly intelligent and well-catechized child can decide not to attend Mass with the family, she should most definitely be expected to give an account of why she feels she should be free from this parental expectation. She may be going through a very difficult point in her spiritual life and might benefit from a longer conversation, perhaps, with a trusted priest or religious sister.

It’s reasonable for whatever conversation ensues to conclude with the statement,

“We, as your parents, agree that you’re an adult and should be able to make your own decisions. However, as an adult, you need to recognize that you’re still living in our house and are, therefore, under our authority. This is a family that goes to Church on Sundays and Holy Days. As a part of this family, it is our expectation that you will come with us. But first, go clean your room, and write that thank you note to Aunt Frieda for the lovely Christmas sweater she knit for you.”

Perhaps some readers have an experience of this situation and can lend some insight.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 45 Comments

CQ CQ CQ #HamRadio Sunday – Field Day

Actually I am in a cemetery at the top of the hill by the parish.

As I write!

That’s the vertical.

I also managed to string up a 40m center-fed wire dipole.

It’s 2045 UTC and I’m on 20 and 40.

Maybe some hams can find me before it gets dark and I have to tear this down.

UPDATE (back at home):

As it turns out, my vertical had a high SWR and wasn’t too effective.

The dipole, however, was great!  I eventually managed to get some good contacts.

I also left the dipole in place just in case another great day comes along.

Otherwise, …

During the week I set up my antenna at the end of a 100′ cable (thanks to a reader who gave me some credit, under my call sign at the Ham Radio Outlet) on the grass in front of my building.

It wasn’t that useful, given the bands, but it was a useful experience.

Also, I met with a couple hams at the parish this morning.  We are moving forward toward forming the ham club at the parish, clearing a space for a shack, etc.

My next task, for this week, is to figure out how to file with the FCC for a call sign for a club that is being formed.

Posted in Ham Radio, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments