For the purposes of this video, I offer an analogy:
Alligators are to humans in a boat on a river what the devil and his minions are to humans in the Barque of Peter steering toward salvation. They can’t get you if you’re close to the Lord, are properly armed, and remain inside the boat. But heaven help him who loses his weapons of the spirit and ventures out of the boat into the water. Just listen to what Fr. Corapi says about that.
It’s a potent reminder of why, after imploring the Lord for our spiritual safety, we should also remember to invoke the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. After all, they know how to deal with the infernal “alligators” out there right now, just looking for someone to devour.
That’s basically what canon lawyer Edward Peters did the other day to Steve Kellmeyer, though he did it temperately, which I’m sure gave his message all the more impact. Dr. Peters reacted to Kellmeyer’s vituperation against Dr. Janet Smith, a widely respected professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, and one of Christopher West’s defenders in the recent imbroglio over the latter’s “Theology of the Body” methods and message. Kellmeyer has been a fierce and persistent critic of West, as Mark Shea recently observedwith great bemusement.
(Note: Legitimate criticism of Christopher West’s methods is not the problem. Plenty of thoughtful Catholics have come down on both sides of that controversy. Rather, the problem is the acrimonious way in which some, such as Steve Kellmeyer, have prosecuted the issue.)
I cannot say that I know Dr. Smith well, though I have had brief conversations with her, here and there over the years, and my wife and I once shared a very pleasant private meal with her in Munich after a conference at which Dr. Smith and I spoke. I have nothing but respect and admiration for her and her long history of excellent service to the Catholic Church, and thus it pained me, as it obviously pained Edward Peters and, I’m sure, her many friends and admirers, to see her unjustly attacked. That’s why I’m glad to see people come to her defense, especially Dr. Peters’ response to the canon law argument which Steve Kellmeyer unwisely employed in his recent foray against her.
As for Steve, I’ve known him for many years, though not well, and my impression of him has always been that he is a highly intelligent and gifted man with a sincere desire to explain, defend, and promote the Catholic Faith. To the extent he uses his gifts prudently and charitably to accomplish that goal, I applaud him and wish him all success, especially of the spiritual variety. But to the extent that he undermines that worthy goal by being gratuitous, mean-spirited, petty, and querulous (as, sadly, he has been toward people like Janet Smith and Christopher West) Peters, Shea, and the others who are telling him, essentially, to shut up and sit down are rendering a much needed service. Not everyone who is nice to you is a friend, and not everyone who is harsh with you is an enemy. I hope he heeds their admonitions, cools down, and then resumes his work calmly and without the acerbity from which it currently suffers.
That’s what a great many of his Stateside critics would have you believe. But given the Archbishop’s steady rise in prominence, influence, and his accumulation of real power within the Roman curia, I’d say his critics are really just whistling past the cemetery. They know that he represents and champions the very things that a great many of them are implacably opposed to (e.g., the Usus Antiquior Missae, a clear, unambiguous, orthodox presentation of Catholic doctrine, confronting obstinately dissenting “Catholic” politicians and others who promote abortion, Catholic moral teaching on issues on sexual issues, etc.).
Thus, the higher Archbishop Burke rises and the more powerful he becomes, Deo volente, the more effervescently will evaporate their hopes and dreams and fantasies of such things as women in the priesthood, the Church’s abandonment of its teaching on the immorality of contraception and homosexual acts, etc.
Catholic commentator Diane Korzeniewski provides the salient facts about His Grace’s ascendancy plus a thought-provoking question about just how high he might rise.
I admit, when I first saw this satirical GOP-sponsored commercial, I thought it was pure satire. In other words, I thought there was no way that Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, the Democrat candidate for governor of Nevada, was really dropping his last name from much of his public campaign outreach. But then I checked out his official campaign website and was . . . not really surprised, actually . . . to see that that’s pretty much what he’s doing — campaigning mainly as “Rory.”
True, that move has worked in the past for well-known and widely admired political icons like Teddy (Roosevelt), Ike and, more recently, Hillary. But Rory? Mmm, not so much.
Catholics everywhere are deeply distressed by the priestly sexual abuse scandals that have convulsed the Church over the past decade, but it seems that Boston-area Catholics have been among the most traumatized by them. In a certain sense, Boston was the epicenter of the scandal-quake that rocked the Church in the U.S., its aftershocks reverberating in Ireland, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere.
This was made clear to me several years ago when I arrived at a suburban Boston parish where I was to give a lecture that evening. To my astonishment, about two dozen men and women were demonstrating with chants and protest signs on the front steps of the church. I had never seen anything like it in all the years I’ve been doing this work. Drawing closer, I read the signs and saw that they were protesting Cardinal Law and the Archdiocese for their handling of the whole mess, especially of notorious offenders such as John Geoghan, Paul Shanley, Robert Gale, etc. Most likely, it was a contingent of “Voice of the Faithful” folks waving the signs. I didn’t ask. But it definitely made an impression on me.
Sadly, many thousands of demoralized New England Catholics have left the Church in the wake of the scandals. Last November, and again this past March, during two week-long speaking tours of parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston, I had the occasion to talk with many Catholics who confirmed that. It seemed that practically everyone had a friend or family member who abandoned Catholicism and who identified the scandals as a major reason, if not the reason for their departure.
Well, there is a new and encouraging chapter being written in the history of the Church in the Northeast in part due to a highly effective media outreach being undertaken in the Archdiocese of Boston aimed at encouraging fallen-away, alienated, angry, and/or in some other way disaffected Catholics to come home. Appropriately enough, the media outreach is called Catholics Come Home, and their extremely well-produced commercials and other resources have already helped literally tens of thousands of former Catholics and a significant number of non-Catholics come home to the Catholic Church. I’ve been personally affiliated with Catholics Come Home, both as a supporter and as a consultant, for the past 3 1/2 years. (My work for them took place 3 years ago, when I authored all the original content for their website.)
I’m keenly interested in seeing how things go with their ongoing media outreach in major metropolitan areas around the U.S. That’s what this video clip caught my eye. It’s a news report by WGBH, a Boston-based radio & television conglomerate that blankets New England. I found their coverage of the recent Catholics Come Home campaign in the Archdiocese of Boston to be quite interesting, especially as it came at this issue from a decidedly secular vantage point. Check it out.
In case you haven’t yet seen this hard-hitting commentary by Jennifer Fulwiler on the importance of blogging and bloggers, here it is. Let it sear into your memory so that you can pass down to your children and your children’s children what she said. Seriously. This is heady, serious stuff that might require that you re-watch it a few times to allow the import of her message to fully sink in.
Okay, now that we’ve dispensed with that, I want to shout out a “thank you” to Jennifer for having done two things. 1) For accepting my invite to join the creative team at Envoy Magazine as a writer and regular columnist. She is an excellent writer with a capital grasp of what’s going on in the world of Catholic new media. And 2) for announcing to her own blog followers(she has many more than I do) that she’s now writing for Envoy.
Jennifer’s first feature article, our cover story, will appear in the next issue of the magazine. I know you’ll enjoy it, though I fear that atheists will not, at least if the comments about The Godless Delusion at RichardDawkins.net are any kind of barometer of their tolerance for any kind of criticism of atheism. You see, Jennifer was a cradle-atheist and raised an atheist until her conversion to Catholicism a few years ago. I’m sure that will raise a few eyebrows among atheists who read her story.
And in the most recent issue of Envoy, she launched her new department, “Site Seeing,” in which she covers the Catholic blog & podcast beat, bringing to our attention some of the hot spots in Catholic new media. And she’s got plenty more ahead where that came from.
It’s great to have you aboard, Jennifer!
P.S. If you’d like to order a copy of the aforementioned most recent issue of Envoy (vol. 9.3)or start a subscription, please call us at 800-55-ENVOY (800-553-6869) or visit our website.
I am grateful to the Lord for providing people like “Anonymous” to help me never lose sight of my own faults and failings. The most recent blessing of this type comes to me courtesy of a kind soul who made the following comment on the equally kind National Catholic Reporter blog:
“Ah,yes. Patrick Madrid, the ever obsequious EWTN lap dog.
No spine in his body, not an original thought in his head!”