Category Archives: Faith & Reason

2013 Portsmouth Institute Announced

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The Portsmouth Institute is delighted to announce that the 2013 Institute will take
place June 7-9 on the topic of CATHOLICISM AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. 
The keynote speaker on June 7th will be George Weigel, author of many books on
Catholicism, papal biographer,  and senior fellow of the Ethics and
Public Policy Center
in Washington DC.  

Stay tuned for further details on
speakers and events of next June’s Institute; call or
write Cindy Waterman at cwaterman@portsmouthabbey.org
or 401.643.1244. 

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Humans are Useless, indeed

Marc Barnes publishes his essays on his blog, Bad Catholic on Patheos. A recent installment, Humans Are Useless, is a beautiful piece on humanity, God, human relationships, sex, art and Love. My friend Tacy give me the tip to read this essay. It is rewarding. The essay is an excellent piece for faith formation.

Post-Christian America: what does it look like, why?

Bouncing around in Catholic religious orders for some time is the notion that one can be a member of the Jesuits or the Sisters of Mercy and “go beyond Jesus and the Church.” I can remember hearing from a Jesuit whom I respected in the early 1990s that he was a “post-Christian Jesuit.” I wondered how a member of the Society of Jesus, a son of Saint Ignatius, could be post-Christian. The former Dominican Father Matthew Fox tried the same line of thinking. In fact, he’s neither a Catholic nor a Catholic priest and a professed member of the Order of Preachers as he’s gone to the Episcopal Church and now some kind of new ager. Christ is optional for him. Not long ago a religious sister who teaches at CTU said that the sisters in the USA can go beyond Jesus. So the recent crisis in faith in religious orders reflects a deeper divide in Christian faith in the rest of society.

I try to wrap my mind around what it means to be a post-Christian American. Father C. John McCloskey III, priest of the Opus Dei wrote a piece, “Post-Christian America,” which I am recommending. Father McCloskey is a Church historian and research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute (Washington, DC). The point of the article is not demonstrate America’s abandonment of Christian faith but to say how it happened.

Rediscover the newness of faith by a gift of self


I’m seeing headlines in the Catholic press that say or
suggest that a persecution of those who claim the importance of Christian faith
as essential to the person. This is making me think of what follows the HHS
mandate. Education and service of the poor? The work of knowing the contours of religious freedom are not for an elite group of Catholic academics, or the clergy, or the daily communicant. It is important for each of us to understand, and to live, and to share with others the fruit of a living faith in Christ.
 These issues have me searching for what the Church has said and is saying. John Paul II helps to begin to frame the issues.

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Pope: configuration to Christ is the precondition and basis for renewal

“Dear friends, it is clear that configuration to Christ is the precondition and the basis for all renewal. But perhaps at times the figure of Jesus Christ seems too lofty and too great for us to dare to measure ourselves by him. The Lord knows this. So he has provided ‘translations’ on a scale that is more accessible and closer to us. For this same reason, Saint Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. For his disciples, he was a ‘translation’ of Christ’s manner of life that they could see and identify with. Ever since Paul’s time, history has furnished a constant flow of other such ‘translations’ of Jesus’ way into historical figures.”


Pope Benedict XVI

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]yahoo.com.
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