Cardinal George Pell: You Have to Fight and You Have to Fight to Win

October 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

A few years ago, the redoubtable Cardinal archbishop of Sydney wrote a letter to his flock called “The Eucharist: Heart of Our Faith.” In it he touched once again on a recurring theme present in many of his articles and letters, that of the urgent need for Christians to be willing to fight against evil in all its forms. Not to fight with weapons of war and violence, of course, but with the weapons of truth, virtue and, most importantly, the Holy Eucharist.

Because the Mass is such an important event we need to work to participate properly. Mass is not an opportunity to relax and daydream, to let our minds wander wherever they might. We are called to participate, with our hearts, minds and bodies. Such participation must be internal and spiritual; it requires periods of silence and listening, but above all it requires prayer.

A Mass is only a “good Mass” when it is prayerful.

From Old Testament times marriage imagery has been used to describe the relationship between God and His chosen people. So too theologians speak of Christ as the bridegroom and the whole Catholic community as His bride.

We can accurately speak of Jesus facing death to save his bride, the Church, just as we speak of Christ as a warrior dedicated to defeating the power of evil. The Eucharist is a kind of celebration of this marriage and of this total giving unto death.

The Eucharist in particular should give us the strength and energy to take God’s love into the world. But for this to be effective every lover must be a fighter.

We cannot follow Christ without a struggle, without fighting and battling to control and purify our selfish instincts.

We are called to fight and battle against evil in its many forms. We know that evil will triumph if enough people do nothing. Good parents will battle to protect their children. People will even give their lives for great causes, to defend their country.

I don’t think a Christian can say “I’m a lover, not a fighter”. The Eucharist gives us energy for this essential struggle. . . .
(continue reading)

New Updates About My Grandson, Killian Patrick Madrid

October 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

As those of you who follow my blog know, the little man (our seventh precious grandchild ) was born three months premature, but he’s progressing well (better than the doctors expected) and fighting hard, thanks be to God and to all of you who have been praying for the lad.

Please kindly keep your prayers ascending to heaven for him, as he’s not out of the woods yet. And please keep his mom and dad, Nina and Tim, in your prayers, too. They’ve been coursing through some pretty rough waters with all this.

Carl Sagan Like You've Never Seen Him Before

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Okay. This video is flat out cool. I know, I know, it’s Carl Sagan with his “we are all made of stars” stuff, but forget about that and just enjoy this very clever music video based on, of all things, television science documentaries.

Oh, and fair warning. This line might stick in your head: “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”

It's Best Not to Procrastinate

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

HBO's New Low: Urinating on Jesus

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on last night’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the HBO show where Larry David plays himself:

Mention Larry David in a word association game and “Seinfeld” rolls off the lips. That show, which David created, wrote and produced, was brilliant. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is not. Indeed, last night’s episode demonstrates that David’s best years are behind him. He ought to quit while he’s ahead.

At one point in the show, David goes to the bathroom in a Catholic home and splatters urine on a picture of Jesus; he doesn’t clean it off. Then a Catholic woman goes to the bathroom, sees the picture and concludes that Jesus is crying. She then summons her equally stupid mother and the two of them fall to their knees in prayer. When David and Jerry Seinfeld (playing himself) are asked if they ever experienced a miracle, David answers, “every erection is a miracle.” That’s what passes for creativity these days.

Was Larry David always this crude? Would he think it comedic if someone urinated on a picture of his mother? This might be fun to watch, but since HBO only likes to dump on Catholics (it was just a couple of weeks ago that Sarah Silverman insulted Catholics on “Real Time with Bill Maher”), and David is Jewish, we’ll never know.

Contact HBO Chairman and CEO, Bill Nelson:

2 Timothy 3:14-17 and the Protestant Slogan of "Sola Scriptura"

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I was honored to appear awhile back on the “Deep in Scripture” radio show, hosted by my good friend Marcus Grodi, a former Presbyterian minister and convert to the Catholic Church. We spent the hour discussing aspects of one of my favorite Scripture passages: 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

This biblical text is routinely misunderstood and woefully misused by today’s Protestant pop apologists in their attempt to vindicate the notion of sola scriptura, so it’s especially worth studying in context and with regard for its powerful role in refuting typical Protestant confusions regarding the authority of Scripture.

Obviously, there is far more that can and must be said about this passage — far more than Marcus and I had time to get to during our discussion in the space of just one hour — but, hopefully, this will give you a general outline of the issues at stake.

You can listen to the entire show here.

In Case You're in Need of Some Snappy New Comeback Lines

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This seems to be making the rounds of the Internet again, so I’ll do my part:

1. Obviously you’re unable to assimilate my stimulating concepts into your
blighted and simplistic world-view.
2. I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.
3. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
4. I can see your point, but I still think you’re full of it.
5. I like you. You remind me of me when I was young and stupid.
6. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?
7. I’m not being rude. You’re just insignificant.
8. I’ll give you a nice, shiny quarter if you’ll go away.
9. I’m already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
10. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
11. It’s a thankless job, but I’ve got a lot of Karma to burn off.
12. Yes, I am an agent of change, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
13. How about never? Is never good for you?
14. I’m really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
15. You’re starting to sound reasonable. It must be time to up my medication.
16. You’re just jealous because the little voices talk to ME.
17. I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being smarter.
18. I’m out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.
19. I don’t work here. I’m a consultant.
20. Who me? I just wander from room to room.

P.S. I very likely will have opportunities to use one or more of the above sometime tomorrow.

If You Like Puppies, You'll Like This Video

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

John Henry Newman on "What Is a Gentleman?"

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

After pondering Cardinal Newman’s insightful sketch of the hallmarks of a true gentleman, I can only say, “we need more gentlemen!” Gentlemen of this caliber are in very short supply these days. Newman says:

“He makes light of favors while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring. He never speaks of himself except when compelled, never defends himself by a mere retort, he has no ears for slander or gossip, is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets everything for the best. He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.

“From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults, he is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned on philosophical principles; he submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny.

“If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it. He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clearheaded to be unjust; he is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is decisive.

“Nowhere shall we find greater candor, consideration, indulgence: he throws himself into the minds of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes. He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province and its limits. If he be an unbeliever, he will be too profound and large-minded to ridicule religion or to act against it; he is too wise to be a dogmatist or fanatic in his infidelity. He respects piety and devotion; he even supports institutions as venerable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent; he honors the ministers of religion, and it contents him to decline its mysteries without assailing or denouncing them. . . .” (continue reading)

Some Will Ask: "Will Cardinal Peter Turkson Someday Become 'Peter the Roman'?"

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Most everyone has heard of the controversial
Prophecies of Saint Malachy, which, it is said, were given by the 12th century Irish bishop. The prophecies are a series of brief and enigmatic statements in Latin pertaining to each of the future popes after Malachy’s day, concluding with the final entry:

“In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and thedreadful Judge will judge the people. The End.”

It’s not my intention here to enter into the debate over whether these prophecies are authentic or not — there are arguments for and against their authenticity — but rather, I mention this issue in conjunction with the recent announcement that Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana (who is clearly not a Roman by birth) has been called to Rome to join the Vatican Curia. I am sure that this move will fuel discussion and speculation among those who will see in Cardinal Turkson’s appointment something which may be connected with the Prophecies of Saint Malachy.

[Catholic journalist Robert Moynihan reports that] Cardinal Peter Turkson, 61, the Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, the eloquent “relator” or general secretary of this month’s Synod for Africa, will succeed Cardinal Renato Martino, 77, as the head of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, it was announced today.

This will make Turkson the highest-ranking African cardinal in the Church, and give him important experience in a curial position, at the heart of the Church.

(Here is a good article from Ghana Business News on the appointment and its significance: [1]’s-cardinal-turkson-gets-closer-to-becoming-first-black-pope)

The appointment was announced at 1 pm in the Vatican Press Office, in Turkson’s presence, at a Vatican Press Conference held to “wrap up” the Synod on Africa, by FatherFederico Lombardi, S.J., the Pope’s press spokesman… and Turkson looked surprised.

As I wrote the day before yesterday, in an article entitled “The Next Pope?”, I sat next to Turks
on at a special dinner for journalists Thursday evening.

Turkson knew that this appointment might be in the offing, as all the journalists asked him about it. It had been rumored for many months.

But when the decision was finally taken and communicated to Turkson, it was evidently communicated without any prior warning.

Turkson, when Lombardi announced the appointment, seemed almost overcome with emotion: a legitimate pride, but also a bit of shock.

For a moment, he was speechless. Then he smiled, expressed his gratitude to the Pope for the appointment, and fell silent again, at a loss for words. (continue reading)

Following the death of Pope John Paul II (of blessed memory) in 2005, many voices were raised in support for an African Pope, with Cardinal Francis Arinze’s name being the most frequently mentioned. That obviously didn’t happen in that conclave, but it’s not a stretch to theorize that, given Africa’s increasing importance in the Church and her growing prominence within the Roman Curia, the clamor for an African pope in the next conclave might well produce that desired result. Time will tell.

If nothing else, given that Cardinal Peter Turkson increasing prominence in the Catholic Church, coupled with his name being raised with increasing frequency by those who prognosticate about who will succeed Pope Benedict on the Chair of Peter, this announcement is at the very least an interesting development. Given the increasingly prevalent apocalyptic anxiety among many Catholics and Protestants, The fact that Cardinal Turkson’s first name is Peter and he is being called to minister in Rome will very likely become a subject of intense interest in some quarters of the Church.

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