Category Archives: Faith & Reason

A focus on mission, Pope Francis points to direction

Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media

I don’t think Pope Francis will be too different from the last several Roman Pontiffs. As bishop of Rome he will preach and teach, govern and sanctify.The Pope’s un-programatic homily is in fact programatic if you can read the details. In some ways Francis’s homily is an Aesopian creature.

First, style is substance. Second, the liturgical preaching thus far indicates a trajectory. Third, focus on the Pope’s connection with people of belief and unbelief because this connection ought to be assessed for the facts and and not cliché. What the Pope said and what he’s done matters. Who’s present, and who’s not. (And this data is not to be reduced to politics.) All this is to say that you can’t miss “a trick” if you really want to know what and who Pope Francis is, and why he is doing what he’s doing and with whom. 
We are living nothing different from what Blessed John Paul and Pope Benedict did in their pontificates. Three things to pray for daily: conversion, vocation and mission.
A “news” man and priest whom I respect very much is the editor-in-chief for, Bernardo Cervellera. Tonight, his article, “Like Benedict, mission is Pope Francis’s focus,” captures what I am indicating and what I am urging you to attend.
Want to be informed about Christianity, and the global Church of Christ, read
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Teaching Beauty: A Reflection on the Legacy of Benedict’ XVI’s Pontificate

Pope Benedictus XVI

On Monday, 18 March, Christopher Candela will be a speaker at Saint Thomas More Church (NYC) at 7pm on “Teaching Beauty: A Reflection on the Legacy of Benedict XVI’s Pontificate.” This lecture is part of the MORE Hot Topics series.

Pope Benedict XVI, who finished his pontificate yesterday (28 February 2013), is
considered to be one of the most brilliant minds in a century.

From its humble beginning to its historic conclusion, Benedict’s pontificate will be remembered
for its prolific teaching. Benedict reminds us that
logos precedes ethos, and that discerning
beauty is essential in the pursuit of truth. Through the Holy Father’s teachings,
Mr. Candela will
explore the practical reforms that gave voice to Catholic musicians and artists who in previous
decades had been relegated to “the rearguard of culture.”

Support my friend in this very worthy endeavor.

The flyer: Teaching Beauty.pdf

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Being a mature Christian in the face of difficulty from within

Benedict’s abdication has opened the door for lots of interesting thinking these days. Some are taking the opportunity to complain about how bad they think the Church is, some taking the time to pause, evaluate, and to pray for the Pilgrim People of God. The Catholic Church is the Church of Christ, warts and all, it is beautiful, but it can be ugly at times due to the immature Christian faith of some people. Paul Elie’s article in the Times causes to me think many things; I neither disagree with him completely, nor do I agree. He raises interesting things to consider but there are parts of the article that annoy me. But that’s not to be discussed here. But I have to ask: To whom do we belong, Jesus Christ or an ideology? Is the Church leading you to salvation in ChristDo we assess the needs, pray and work for change where needed and where possible with prudence? Or, do we whine and walk away like teenagers? How mature is our Christian following?

The Provost of the Brooklyn Oratory, The Very Reverend Father Dennis Corrado, CO, writes in response to Elie’s article in the Times. The Oratorians are good shepherds to their people. 

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I read Paul Elie’s NY Times piece “Give up your Pew for Lent” in Friday’s Op. Ed. page early this morning. To say it is thought provoking is an understatement .

I am hopeful most people reading his words can appreciate how we priests serving this wounded Church feel while reading it.

I am grateful that the Brooklyn Oratory [Church of Saint Boniface] is described so positively.

This weekend, I will begin to preach a parish retreat in what Fr. Anthony of the Brooklyn Oratory tells me is one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of New York.

I’ll preach at 5 Masses and then have sessions each day for three days. The theme is forgiveness…forgiving each other and forgiving ourselves…asking God to forgive us for the stupid, sinful things we do.. as the path to wellness and joy.

During that time I will quote Carlo Carretto’s now famous reflection which begins :How much I must criticize you, my Church.

My favorite line being: Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face, (my Church) and yet each night I pray I might die in your sure, safe arms

Carretto’s list of anger and regret and pain about the Church members’ duplicity and hypocrisy ends with the conviction that those failures are all our failures and that we are one with them as we are one with the holiness we practice.

I will remind myself and my retreat attendees that our faith is in the Person of the Church who is Jesus Christ and not in the personnel who are not…pews and pulpit alike.

And I will once again remind myself and them that my experience of four decades of public ministry has taught me that nobody changes the Church from without… only from within.

Not a single one of my priest friends who have left the Church have helped change the institution they so wanted to be better and truthful and modern and humane.

Perhaps that is why we feel the Oratory makes a difference . And it is certainly why I can never separate myself from the Eucharistic Body of Christ as some kind of protest against our Church’s failures… no matter how often they occur.

Did Theresa of Avila or Francis of Assisi or Catherine of Siena or Philip Neri vacate the corrupted Church of their ages?

As a son of Vatican II I have never stopped preaching that the Church is the People of God,: flawed, foolish, sinful, brilliant, graced. holy and even saintly that is, all of us …. not just the Chanceries nor the Curias.

We do make a difference and I am reminded of Woody Allen’s remark that 80 percent of success is showing up.

I know wherever each of us will find ourselves this weekend, in whatever equally flawed and holy place as ours, we will still be one with each other, baptized as we are into the eternal Body of Christ.

And while I feel the painful reality of each of our diasporas, I pray any kind of suggested Lenten “abstinence” brings us back to our sede vacante.

As they say in Rome: con affetto,

F. Dennis, c.o.


The Brooklyn Oratory

Apologetics for Teens sponsored by Envoy Institute

Apologetics Camp.pngThe 4th Annual Catholic Apologetics Camp is planned for the summer of 2013, August 8-14. The Envoy Institute under the direction of Patrick Madrid, is doing the programing.

Knowing your faith, knowing the person at the center of your faith, Jesus Christ, is SO VERY crucial at every stage of life, including the time you spend at college. We need to form and inform the next generation of Catholics to propose the truth and beauty of the Faith! Make a suggestion to a senior in high school to participate in Apologetics Camp.
Jennifer Fulwiler’s article on the camp can be read here.
Have a spare $50.00, why not make a donation to the Apologetics Camp???? Any thing you can spare is greatly appreciated!

CDF Prefect rehearses work at hand for moral formation, dignity of the person

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard L. Müller, addressed the Pontifical Academy of Life on 22 February 2013. It was the annual meeting in Rome. Müller’s talk didn’t shatter too many windows by unearthing new problems, nor did it break new ground in the Church’s teaching. Müller gives a brief assessment of the situation and that we have gone off the tracks in some ways. He does, however, shed light on the fact that we need to take more seriously our moral and faith formation and to put in the time doing the hard work to know the issues and how to respond to them according the parameters of the Catholic Faith. Too often we are afraid to do the hard work. And that’s the ministry of the Prefect: to illumine and offer a corrective. Archbishop Müller did challenge, to a degree, the theological professorial establishment, even if the talk may be seen a bit anemic. 

The full text: Gerhard Müller Human Life in Some Documents of the Magisterium.pdf

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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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