Culture: November 2009 Archives

CS Lewis: gone 46 years

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CS Lewis.jpg
Today is Clive Sterns Lewis's 46th anniversary of death.
Eternal memory
Flannery O'Connor.jpgEncountering the grace through the literature is a sufficient way of knowing Christ and the fruitfulness of the Gospel. For many, myself included, Mary Flannery O'Connor is wonderful entree into the Mystery of God. Watch the story, I think you'd surprised by what you'd learn.

Flannery O'Connor's stories were instrumental in at least one conversion to Catholicism that I am aware of. And she seems to have introduced him to Saint Thomas Aquinas who then led him eventually to the acceptance of a vocation in the Catholic priesthood. Dominican Father Thomas Joseph White talks about O'Connor's influence in his life.

Be sure to read the extended interviews of the people interviewed in the centerpiece.

An interview on this topic will be broadcast on PBS's "Religion and Ethics Weekly" on Sunday, 22 November (look for local listings).

The New Georgia Encyclopedia entry for Flannery O'Connor
Principe.jpgBet you didn't know the Church had black nobility. Do you know the difference between the white and the black nobility? Not many good Catholics can anymore. AND certainly not many on this side of the pond. For most Americans the idea of nobility is foolish. Especially given our history of rejecting the monarchy. American interest in things monarchical is kept to a quiet interest in Britain's queen and perhaps to one or two other royal personages of northern Europe. And if you watch 60 Minutes you'd be familiar with the Sultan in Bahrain.

Few would recall the "nobility" of Italy these days much less nobility of the Holy See. A few years ago the Bachelor show featured a "prince" looking for a bride. In reality the guy wasn't a "real" prince but "royal" figure created by the papacy for the Borghese family, most of whom now live in the US, and some here in NY. 

UK's Catholic Herald ran Edward Pentin's piece today, "The Black Nobility Still Serves St Peter," on the ancient, now past, noble servants of the pope.

Popery can be so much fun, fun, fun...
Getting the story correct, checking facts and clear writing is not one of Kim Geiger of the LA Times better skills. Geiger's recent article claiming that the US Bishops supported and/or told the Catholic faithful to support the Democratic bill on healthcare reform is wrong. Does the LA Times still hire fact checkers? Do reporters still speak to real people, perhaps 2-3 sources prior to publication?

What Ms Geiger confuses for legitimate Catholic authority in teaching and governing the Church is really a left-leaning group claiming to work in the ambit of the Church's Social Teaching. It seems as though Ms Geiger does know the basics of Catholic teaching very well. Did you get that sense from her article? Catholics United support the Pelosi-Obama agenda. Catholics United does not speak for the US Conference of Bishops; neither do they speak for local pastors nor for the faithful Catholic. As Dan Gilgoff said in his US article on October 28th, Catholics United "provides cover for the White House and the Democrats."

If you want to know what the bishops are saying, read the press lease of November 9, 2009. US Conference President, Francis Cardinal George is clear on what the bishops think about healthcare reform. And form what I can gather, I don't think the bishops completely agree with the Democratic party's version of the healthcare reform bill.

So, Archbishop Dolan's recent nonpublished NY Times piece is actually correct (which we knew all the time): there is verifiable proof of bias in the media against the Catholic Church in the USA. 
Humor teaches. The trauma caused in watching this video is worth it. Do agree with this list? Sadly, there are youth leaders and priests who hold these approaches in the Catholic Church.

How do you worship?

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A friend of mine sent me this video on worship. I think you might enjoy the humor. I did.

Veterans Day Remembrance

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soldier's respect of Old Glory.jpgToday is dedicated to world peace through the recognition of our countrymen's service in the armed forces. We indeed pray for peace of mind and heart, city, state and country. We pray in thanksgiving for the sacrifices of the men and women who served the country to keep us free, safe and peaceful.

I would encourage you to recognize in some way today the generosity of those who served in the military and to ask Saint Martin of Tours to bless them and our civil leaders with the capacity to work for peace in all areas of our lives.

Let us pray.

God our Father, You reveal that those who work for peace will be called Your sons. Help us to work without ceasing for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
kid on Berlin Wall RDepardon.jpg
Marking the end of Communism with the Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

H2O News on the Fall of the Wall

See a collection of photos of the Wall
CNN on the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Meeting Fr Z in NYC

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Thumbnail image for Fr John Zuhsldorf-2 Nov 6 2009.jpgMeeting "blog personalities" is always fun, especially meeting a popular blogging priest. Father John Zuhlsdorf writes the blog, What Does The Really Say? He's an affable priest with a good sense of humor and a good thinker. He celebrated a Solemn Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form for First Friday at the beautiful Church of the Guardian Angels (NYC). The particular intention for the Mass was for deceased priests.

The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus

In his homily, Father Zuhlsdorf spoke about the priesthood as the result of the outpouring of love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mindful of the human condition and the Incarnation, we have Perfect Love choosing imperfect men to be priests to preach the Gospel and to celebrate the sacraments. And because the priest is a normal human being with the normal failings as other men, we know the imperfect minister needs conversion. Our job is to beg for God's mercy upon our priests, living and deceased, as an act of love for the priests. Priests are fallible, sinful human beings like everyone else and yet they are called by God to serve Him as priests for the good of His people. It is an awesome thing to consider that our souls are fed by priests, some of whom are worthy ministers of the Lord and some not. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of a priest's ministry does not depend on the state of his soul (something part of our doctrine since the time of Saint Augustine).

We believe that two sacraments give permanent character to our souls that lasts into eternity: Baptism and Holy Orders. So, when a priest dies his soul is recognized as a priestly soul in heaven by God and whole heavenly court. The priesthood, therefore, does not end on the day when the priest's body dies.

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In this Year for Priests, indeed even outside of this special year, we ought to care for the priests who serve our parishes and other ministries in concrete ways. We ought to pray for the souls of the priests who have died, too. I am particularly thinking of the priests and bishops who gave us new Life in Christ through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist and Penance, and the other sacraments as applicable.

I have an immense sense of gratitude for the faith I received from the priest who baptized me, the bishop who confirmed me, the priests who heard my confessions and gave me the Body of Christ.

Could we offer a prayer once a day during November for the deceased priests we knew? After November, could we offer a prayer for the priests at least once a month in the years to come? 

It would be good to read (or re-read) the Pope's letter to the Church announcing the Year for Priests. There you will find some startlingly beautiful points to reflect upon and live out of. In my opinion, the Pope's letter has so much to consider that it would take a lifetime to understand.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from November 2009.

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