Monday, July 25, 2011

The Transformative Power Of Grace

“Through their mother's mediation, the sons of Zebedee press Christ as follows in the presence of their fellow apostles: ‘Command that we may sit, one at your right side and one at your left’ (cf. Mk 10,35f.)... Christ hastens to free them from their illusions, telling them they must be prepared to suffer insults, persecutions, even death. ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink?’ Let no one be surprised to see the apostles displaying such imperfect dispositions. Wait until the mystery of the cross has been fulfilled and the strength of the Holy Spirit given to them. If you want to see the strength of their souls, take a look at them later on and you will see them to be above all human weakness. Christ does not conceal their pettiness so you will be able to see what they become later on by the power of the grace that will transform them... Later on you will see this same John, who here approached Christ with the petition, gave precedence always to Saint Peter... James, however, did not live long after. From the beginning he was moved with great zeal. He gave up all earthly interests and attained such an inexpressible degree of excellence that from among the apostles he was killed the first (Acts 12,2).”

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sapientis Est Ordinare

“According to the philosophical acceptation of the word stultitia, namely, the opposite of wisdom, there is nothing more foolish than Materialism or Mechanicism. …If, therefore, there were no intelligent designer directing the world, the order and intelligibility existing in things, which science reveals to us, would be the effect of an unintelligible cause, and, in addition to this, our own intelligence would originate from a blind and unintelligent cause, and again we should have to say that the greater comes from the less, which is absurd.”

-Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, God: His Existence and HisNature, vol 1.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thoughts About Father Corapi

I have refused to comment on the whole Fr. Corapi situation on this blog. However, with the release of the statement by Corapi’s order, TheSociety of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and Corapi’s response to it today, I have a few thoughts that I would like to share.

1)To all appearances it seems that Corapi is indeed guilty of the accusations against him. I find it hard to believe that SOLT would make public the specific charges unless they had absolute certainty they were true.

2) A friend pointed out to me when Corapi made his announcement that he was resigning from active ministry as a priest and becoming “The Black Sheepdog”, that it was very revealing that he did not show his face in the video. He said that this is something guilty people (and poker players who are bluffing) do, because they do not want anyone to read their face. I find it very disheartening that he still has not shown his face publicly.

3) With SOLT’s affirmation that the accusations against him were true, I was hoping that Corapi would come out today and admit that he failed and ask for forgiveness (as Fr. Thomas Euteneuer did). That would have mitigated the deceit that has occurred in his continuing to deny the allegations and leading the faithful astray with his new branding of “The Black Sheepdog.” Alas, that did not happen. In his statement today he continues to deny any wrong doing. Yet, he glaringly did not respond to all of SOLT’s statement. If he is indeed guilty, as it appears, the continual deceit just makes everything worse. People want to forgive him. But they cannot do that when he claims to have nothing to be forgiven of.

4) Regardless of whether Corapi is innocent or not, SOLT has ordered him, under obedience, to return to the order:
SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.

Yet, Corapi has refused to do this in direct violation of his vow of obedience. This is not good. If he is guilty he should humble himself and return to his order in obedience. My respect for him would be restored, if in part, if he exhibited fortitude in doing so. If he is innocent, he should also humble himself and return to his order. If he is innocent, exercising obedience and returning would help to build virtue. He should do what is right in the eyes of God, not of men. Pride goes before the Fall, but unfortunately it often remains after the Fall as well. I pray that Corapi would take to heart the words of St. Josemaria Escriva: "If obedience does not give you peace, it is because you are proud."

5) These revelations are very sad. Corapi was very encouraging for me to watch when I first entered the Church five years ago. His fall and continual denial deeply saddens me and it is a reminder that we need especially to pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons because no one is exempt from temptation.

Please say a Hail Mary for Fr. Corapi and all priests, that they would exercise the virtues of humility and obedience.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not Yet And Already

“Throughout the New Testament the contrast is emphasized between our present and our final condition. Yet at the same time it is made equally clear that the powers of the age to come are already working in us. We are on the journey, it is true, but even now our citizenship is in heaven; we know only in part, but nevertheless we know; we see in a mirror, darkly, but nevertheless we see; our  future state is not yet manifest, yet we are children of God. And although we are on the journey and not yet in the fatherland, we are nevertheless no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God. We have here no abiding city and we seek the city which is to come; yet we have already come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and God has made us to sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

E.L. Mascall, Grace and Glory

Monday, May 30, 2011

My First Published Article

This month's issue (June/July 2011) of Homiletic & Pastoral Review contains my first ever published article! It is on the development of the dogma of papal infallibility in light of J.H. Newman's seven notes for authentic doctrinal development.

If you don't already have a subscription to Homiletic & Pastoral Review, you should! I've been a subscriber for about five years now and haven't been disappointed by it once. I am quite pleased to have my first article in this wonderful magazine!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We Interrupt This Apocalypse To Bring You Breaking News...

….there has been a miscalculation.

It seems that some people just don’t know when to give up! After his second failed prophecy of the unbiblical ‘Rapture’, Harold Camping has issued a new prophecy: The world will end on Oct. 21! The AP reports with my comments in bold, below.

By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Garance Burke, Associated Press – Tue May 24, 3:56 am ET   
OAKLAND, Calif. – A California preacher who foretold of the world's end only to see the appointed day pass with no extraordinarily cataclysmic event has revised his apocalyptic prophecy, saying he was off by five months and the Earth actually will be obliterated on Oct. 21.

A prophet in Scripture is one who speaks on behalf of God. In the Old Testament, the way you knew that a man was a false prophet was if his prophecy came true or not. Simple enough. If the prophecy happens, you have legitimate prophet. If no, then you have a liar and deceiver and the penalty for false prophecy was death by stoning (See Deut. 18:20-22).

Harold Camping, who predicted that 200 million Christians would be taken to heaven Saturday before catastrophe struck the planet, apologized Monday evening for not having the dates "worked out as accurately as I could have."

If someone has a true prophecy there would be no mistakes and ‘miscalculations’! If it is from God, it will be completely accurate. Could you imagine Elijah challenging the priests of Baal, dousing the altar with water, calling down fire….and then nothing happening? He wouldn’t be able to say, “Oh! Silly me. I got my calculations wrong. Could you guys come back in five months from now?” 

And how does Camping know that he is one of the 200 million?

He spoke to the media at the Oakland headquarters of his Family Radio International, which spent millions of dollars_ some of it from donations made by followers — on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the Judgment Day message.

It was not the first time Camping was forced to explain when his prediction didn't come to pass. The 89-year-old retired civil engineer also prophesied the Apocalypse would come in 1994, but said later that didn't happen then because of a mathematical error.

You would think people would have seen him for the fraud he is the first time! But to be fooled again is just plain foolish. If people go along with him the third time, they deserve what’s coming to them. In the immortal words of George W. Bush:

There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again.

Through chatting with a friend over what he acknowledged was a very difficult weekend, it dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a "spiritual" Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ's judgment, he said.

In other words: “While talking with a friend to try and figure out how I don’t get tarred and feathered, I decided to give May 21 a spiritual twist to it.”

The globe will be completely destroyed in five months, he said, when the apocalypse comes. But because God's judgment and salvation were completed on Saturday, there's no point in continuing to warn people about it, so his network will now just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21.

"We've always said May 21 was the day, but we didn't understand altogether the spiritual meaning," he said. "The fact is there is only one kind of people who will ascend into heaven ... if God has saved them they're going to be caught up."

So…anyone born after 6pm on May 21, 2011 will not be saved? Gee, that’s swell!

Josh Ocasion, who works the teleprompter during Camping's live broadcasts in the group's threadbare studio sandwiched between an auto shop and a palm reader's business, said he enjoyed the production work but never fully believed the May 21 prophecy would come true.

How fitting that his studio is between an auto shop and a palm reader: two professions which are known for lying to people and swindling them out of their money!

"I thought he would show some more human decency in admitting he made a mistake," he said Monday. "We didn't really see that."

Exactly! Camping has no decency at all. People have spent their entire life savings and quit their jobs based on a fraud and all he can say is that his math was wrong. 

Follower Jeff Hopkins said he spent a good deal of his own retirement savings on gas money to power his car so people would see its ominous lighted sign showcasing Camping's May 21 warning. As the appointed day drew nearer, Hopkins started making the 100-mile round trip from Long Island to New York City twice a day, spending at least $15 on gas each trip.

"I've been mocked and scoffed and cursed at and I've been through a lot with this lighted sign on top of my car," said Hopkins, 52, a former television producer who lives in Great River, NY. "I was doing what I've been instructed to do through the Bible, but now I've been stymied. It's like getting slapped in the face."

I don’t remember the Bible instructing anyone to put a lighted sign on top of their car (or camel) and claim to know when the end of the world is. I’ll have to go back and look for that. 

Camping's hands shook slightly as he pinned his microphone to his lapel, and as he clutched a worn Bible he spoke in a quivery monotone about some listeners' earthly concerns after giving away possessions in expectation of the Rapture.

Family Radio would never tell anyone what they should do with their belongings, and those who had fewer would cope, Camping said.

But if you want to donate your entire life savings to Family Radio, Camping sure as heck won’t stop ya! I think the IRS needs to do an audit on this guy.

"We're not in the business of financial advice," he said. "We're in the business of telling people there's someone who you can maybe talk to, maybe pray to, and that's God."

But he also said that he wouldn't give away all his possessions ahead of Oct 21.

AND HERE IT IS, FOLKS! Camping will take your money and watch as you lose everything for his lie, but don’t expect him to do the same. How are people fooled by this con-man?

"I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car," he said. "What would be the value of that? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?"

Silly Mr. Camping! Don’t you know that you get your own chauffer in Heaven? You won’t need to drive your car there.

Apocalyptic thinking has always been part of American religious life and popular culture. Teachings about the end of the world vary dramatically — even within faith traditions — about how they will occur.

Still, the overwhelming majority of Christians reject the idea that the exact date or time of Jesus' return can be predicted. 

Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling "Left Behind" novels about the end times, recently called Camping's prediction "not only bizarre but 100 percent wrong!" He cited the Bible verse Matthew 24:36, "but about that day or hour no one knows" except God. 

Even LaHaye knows that you can’t know when Christ will return! Now, if only someone would explain to him that the Rapture is also unbiblical.

Camping offered no clues about Family Radio's finances Monday, saying he could not estimate how much had been spent advertising his prediction nor how much money the nonprofit had taken in as a result. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities. 

Harold Camping should be in jail. Plain and simple.

Associated Press writer Tom Breen in Raleigh, N.C., and Videographer Ted Shaffrey and AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York, contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Comes Knowledge, Then Comes Love

“Knowledge must ever precede the exercise of the affections. We feel gratitude and love, we feel indignation and dislike, when we have informations actually put before us which are to kindle those several emotions. We love our parents, as our parents, when we know them to be our parents; we must know concerning God, before we can feel love, fear, hope, or trust towards Him. …The formula, which embodies a dogma for the theologian, readily suggests an object for the worshipper. It seems a truism to say, yet it is all that I have been saying, that in religion the imagination and affections should always be under the control or reason. Theology may stand as a substantive science, though it be without the life of religion; but religion cannot maintain its ground at all without theology.”

Basically what Newman is saying here is that knowledge is ordered to love. You cannot love what you do not know! If you claim to love someone, you want to know as much as possible about them. It is for this reason that every Christian, in some sense, should be a theologian! We should desire to know as much as possible about God, so that our love for Him grows more and more. Faith and reason are not opposites. To know is to love.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Truth About Opus Dei

...will not be found in a Dan Brown novel or a movie based on his novels.

However, there is a new movie coming out where you can find the truth about the origins of Opus Dei and its founder, St. Josemaria Escriva. That movie is There Be Dragons, opening at select theaters on May 6. Here are some of the reactions to preview screenings (these were written to the producers of the movie):

Two Goths (who wear black, carry chains and like morbid things) were at a multiplex movie theater on Friday. Reading the list of movies they discovered There Be Dragons, and thinking that it was a movie about Merlin and swords and so on, they bought tickets. When the film ended and the theater emptied out, I saw that they were not moving from their seats. I asked them how they had liked the movie. "Too much," replied one. "We never imagined that priests were such good people."
Sean, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Χρίστος ἀνέστι!

        Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! Happy Easter to all!

I encourage everyone to read Pope Benedict XVI's Easter Vigil Homily. It is splendid! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fifth Anniversary

Five years ago today, on the Easter Vigil, I entered into communion with the Church that Christ founded upon Peter and the Apostles. One of the points of reflection that led me to Holy Mother Church was the words I said every Sunday as an Anglican in reciting the Nicene Creed: We believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. By that Vigil five years ago, I was convinced that these four marks could only have their locus in one place. Today, I am more certain about that than ever!


Jesus Christ founded only one Church. In his high priestly prayer in the Gospel of John, he prayed for that Church’s unity. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we see the institution of the source for preserving that unity: St. Peter. Christ in his wisdom knew that if his Kingdom was to survive “to the close of the age” there had to be an authoritative principle of unity. Otherwise, chaos would ensue. We see this in the splintering of Protestantism into thousands of different sects, each claiming that the individual is his own source of authority. I saw it five years ago in the Anglican Church when the Archbishop of Canterbury was powerless to discipline Anglican provinces that were sliding into moral decay because he was no more than a figurehead who could only “recommend” that they adhere to traditional Christianity. Yet, Christ gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven only to Peter (these keys are passed down to his successors. Cf. the OT background to Christ’s actions in Isaiah 22:15-25).

“Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia” –St. Ambrose, Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David.


The Church is made up of sinners, yes. But the Church herself, as the Bride of Christ, is pure and spotless. She is guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth. One of the most compelling arguments for the truth of the Catholic Church for me is the holiness of her saints: sinners who have perfected themselves in this life so as to conform themselves through meritorious suffering into the likeness of our Lord. No institution would produce the caliber of holy men and women that the Catholic Church has if it were not guided by God. Take a look, for example, at Sts. Ignatius, Polycarp, Augustine, Monica, Francis, Dominic, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thomas Aquinas, Therese of Lisieux, Bl. John Paul the Great, etc. The lowest saint of the Catholic Church far surpasses the holiness found outside of her.


“Catholic” in Latin means “universal.” That is what the Church truly is. In every corner of the world you will find the Catholic Church. The first person to describe Christ’s Church as “Catholic” was Ignatius of Antioch in his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans

“Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” 

As an Anglican, it would often be quickly noted that the “C” of “Catholic” in the Creed is a small-C. However, that is absurd, since when Ignatius first used the word, he did not make a distinction. He didn’t have to. There was only One Church around and that was the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Where did Ignatius say we could find this Catholic Church? Wherever the bishop was, that was where the Church was. But who was a true bishop? One who was in union with the Pontiff of Rome, the Pope.


The Church is Apostolic because it is founded by Christ on Peter and the Apostles. No other contender to the title of Christ’s “Church” can make this claim. All other bodies were founded by men, not on Apostles, and far removed from Apostolic times. Another aspect of the Church being Apostolic is that it has Apostolic Succession, which is the passing down of the laying on of hands in an unbroken line from the Apostles to the Bishops and priests of today. No other body has Apostolic Succession, which is necessary for the valid celebration of the sacraments (the only exception, of course, is the Eastern Orthodox Churches due to their preservation of the sacrament of holy orders when they entered into schism). In a sense it is like a spiritual family tree. If a priest or bishop wanted to, he could trace his laying on of hands all the way back to one of the Apostles and back to Christ, Himself!

As a high-church Anglican who considered the Anglican priesthood, I was unaware that the Anglican Church did not possess valid sacraments because it did not have Apostolic Succession, and therefore did not have a valid priesthood. This can be a particularly hard teaching for Anglicans (especially those who are Anglican priests) to accept. I would encourage all Anglicans to read both Sir Joseph Pope’s Why I Became A Catholic and Leo XIII’s Apostolicae Curae.

However, it wasn’t solely my reflection on the words of the Nicene Creed that caused me to see that the Catholic Church was the one Church founded by Christ. It was also due to my reading of the Church Fathers. I echo the words of Bl. John Henry Newman, fellow convert from Anglicanism:

"I...take my stand upon the Fathers, and do not mean to budge. The history of their times is not yet an old almanac to me...The Fathers made me a Catholic."