"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

[Updated] Michael Voris in Toronto - My Thoughts

Happy Pentecost,

Regulars here know I don't follow the standard of most blogs by posting my own thoughts.  Eventually that might change, but as for now there are too many more interesting posts from much more knowledgeable people than I to spend your time reading.

There are however, exceptions to every rule.

Yesterday Michael Voris was in Toronto for a conference on the New Evangelization.  He gave three talks on the subject, three musical groups entertained, we had a nice lunch, there were various groups with presentation tables and a good deal of networking was done.  The event was organized by Catholic Chapter House.  I didn't think to do a head count, but it was somewhere between the original twelve at Pentecost and the current 1.2 billion baptized Catholics - most of whom weren't at Mass today.

Theresa, David, baby Trinity Gilbert of Catholic Chapter House with Michael Voris

Thought #1: Financial Reality.  It is a precept of the Church for Catholics to provide for financial needs.  We have a responsibility to contribute to the immediate costs of running the parish we attend, diocesan expenses, the Vatican, etc.  Of course there are other apostolates in the Church such as St. Michael's Media & RealCatholicTV where Michael Voris works.  It costs $10/month to be a premium member of RealCatholicTV - 33 cents per day.  If someone truly cannot afford that...ok.  For everyone else there is no excuse.  If we don't support courageous initiatives like RealCatholicTV we could lose them.  If you're not a member then go there now and sign up - just do it.

Theresa and David Gilbert are well educated, intelligent, and accomplished individuals.  They don't have to be running Catholic Chapter House.  When it is time to purchase gifts or another book for yourself instead of supporting commercial ventures that have no concern for your eternal soul consider buying from them.  They are hosting Dr. Scott Hahn in October so make a point of attending that event.  Keep an eye on their website for details as they are announced. 

Michael Voris recognized the outstanding media outlet here in Canada: Lifesite News  They cover international stories as well.  You may have noticed American mainstream media is ignoring the lawsuit launched by Church leaders like Cardinal Dolan against the Obama administration.  They also ignore the largest demonstration in Washington every year - March For Life.  The Canadian media virtually ignores the largest demonstration in Ottawa every year...yep...the March For Life.  Lifesite needs financial support too so they can continue getting the good news out.

Thought #2: Catechesis.  Most Catholics today received poor or no catechesis in school (sadly the latter being the better option).  We can't undo the past so let's quit whining and do something about our present and future.  One reason I strongly encourage everyone to become a premium member of www.realcatholictv.com (did you sign up?) is the tremendous wealth of catechism material it stores.  There are short presentations and university style lectures on many subjects.  A theme Voris kept coming back to yesterday was the requirement to actually know the faith if we are to share it with others.  There's no excuse - sign up.

Thought #3: Catholic Education.  While there is no sense in crying over spilt milk regarding our time in school, how many parents today demand the same mistake not happen to their children?  How many take an interest in their children's school materials?  Do you attend the parent-teacher meetings?  Have you written your bishop asking for more orthodoxy in your school's religion class?

I heard a university student describe his high school religion class as like a vaccine: a vaccine is a small amount of a disease, watered down and injected into a person who then becomes immune to it.  The same thing is happening in our schools today.  That's one reason why Mass attendance is approximately 25% or lower while many of them don't know why they're there.  While I don't condone it, I sometimes understand their absence.

Thought #4: Political Activism.  Do you vote for a morally based political party or do you make excuses like the 'seamless garment'?  There are guidelines on helping Catholics make sound choices on election day.  Don't make the mistake of standing before Jesus on your judgement day and trying to justify your support of forces contrary to His Church.

For those in Ontario, do you know where your Catholic school board trustee and Member of Provincial Parliament is positioned on Bill 13 - the Gay Straight Alliance ruse?  Here in Kitchener, trustee Anthony Piscitelli  is very much in support of the gay agenda.  Remember that and your duty on election day.  Did you know the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) champions Gay Straight Alliances and donates money to EGALE Canada (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere)? 

Follow the arrow, Anthony.  Leave our schools alone.

Ontario Bill 14 seeks to provide more protection for all victims of bullying.  Does anyone really think after-school clubs will end any form of bullying anyway? Actually, they could make things worse for gay kids.  No one deserves to get bullied and every Catholic is called to defend those targeted by violence.  However, GSAs will not protect kids so their advocates must have another motive.

Thought #5: The Great Equalizer.  Voris describes the Internet as the Great Equalizer.  Truly we live in the information age, the globe got smaller, news travels fast.  Gone are the days when subversive forces could control the message while assuming people wouldn't find things out.  Imagine for a moment the Second Vatican Council opened in 2012 instead of 1962.  Imagine our Church today just as it was in the 1950s.  Now imagine your pastor giving a sermon today about how the 'spirit of the Council' is calling for a new Mass.  Some people I know would pull out their smart phones googling for confirmation.  Would the grand Sanctuaries still get demolished and replaced with minimalist Cranmer-style tables so the presider could turn his back to God while performing in the vernacular?  Would folk bands in the Sanctuary replace pipe organs in the choir loft?  Would we start receiving Holy Communion in our unconsecrated hands?  Would Confessionals be converted into broom closets?  A friend of mine once said that individual clergymen caused every great crisis in the Church leaving it to the laity to fix.  The Internet is one of our best tools now that the rebuilding project has begun.

Thought #6: Networking.  At events like this it's uncanny how similar the stories are.  Faithful Catholics have endured great pains, are very frustrated, yet determined to get our Church back.  Jesus could have sent out thousands.  We may be small in number but so were the Apostles and they got things done.  Voris mentioned Truly Catholics as an example of ordinary Catholics infused with the Holy Spirit who decided to take matters into their own hands and engage in the New Evangelization.  There are other examples such as the Argument Of The Month Club 

Thought #7: Generations.  One thing I did notice is unlike the typical congregation on a Sunday morning, the crowd yesterday hasn't gone grey yet (myself excluded).  Actually there was a nice mix of all generations interacting like allies in the spiritual warfare we are engaged in.  A very nice lady who reminded me of my dear mother shared a cool Confession app on her iPad. I'll pass it along so my Mom can upload it to hers.  

Thought # 8: Striving for Holiness.  Another thing I noticed: it took over two hours for the Confession line to clear.  Dear pastors - if you preach about sin and salvation then make Confession available (ex: before Mass) - people will come.  As you should know the primary purpose of the Church is to get souls to Heaven.

Thought #9: Priorities.  Voris reminded us about our 'first love' in high school.  How as giddy teenagers we took great strides to find out everything possible about the object of our affection.  If we truly love God then we have to love the Church He gave us.  How many of us make time to learn about it?  Do we only invest the one hour per week to fulfill our Sunday obligation?  Is the television the focal point of your living room?  Turn it off.  Pick up a book on a saint, Eucharistic miracles, watch a video or a new media program.

Thought #10 Sacrifice.  If living as faithful Catholics results in an unexpected pregnancy then consider it a blessing not a financial burden.  If your children's school is too far gone then keep them home.  If your local parish liturgy is a danger to the faith then drive to the nearest orthodox one.   Depending on the situation, if things are really desperate, there are papal approved options.

No inconvenience or expense we can endure comes close to the Sacrifice on the Cross.  You may even have to take a principled stand and leave your current employer.  As Voris said, what's the worse thing anyone can do to you?  Kill you.  Big deal.  We're all going to die anyway.  What happens after that is what's really important.

Thought #11 Perspective.  The Church is in another crisis; this one more subversive and sinister.  There is no figure head like Arius or Luther; destruction is done behind the scenes.  During times of struggle there are more opportunities for sainthood.  We are called to be saints.  The Church Militant wasn't a paradise prior to Vatican II, if it was our Lady wouldn't have kept appearing to poor children.  No one knows the faith as well as they could.  Make the time, strive for sainthood, defend the faith.  Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  Do or do not - there is no 'try' (Yoda).

That's a good number to end on today.  May God bless you.

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