Category Archives: Teaching & Living the Faith

Weigel’s Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church

Weigel Evangelical Catholicism.jpgIn today’s mail I received my copy of George Weigel’s latest book, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21-Century Church (Basic Books, 2013).

I am already pleased to read a very fine book on the needs of the flourishing of Catholicism again in an era of significant discord viz. the Faith. I hope many will pay attention to what Weigel has to say.
Weigel’s pointing to a niche Catholicism that’s only now gaining currency in Catholic places. “Niche” in the sense that Catholics are now adopting an approach, a method, a manner of proposing the Truth that is more associated with Evangelical Christians than with Catholicism. We don’t always have the confidence and vocabulary to make the Christian proposal to others (to Catholics and non-Catholics alike). But if you think about, we’ve always been evangelical but we’ve been shy to share our faith with others in meaningful ways.
Certainly an evangelical approach is Catholic and is being picked up once again as a valid and faithful way of living the Truth. Perhaps our priests, religious, faith formation directors and not a few members of Roman Curia will see this light. It is not lost, however, on Pope Benedict XVI who has espoused an approach to the faith with his great emphasis on the new evangelization and the calling of the Year of Faith. Even some circles of the Orthodox Church have looked to evangelical ways as good and helpful.
Here is Brad Miner’s review article published on The Catholic Thing. It’s OK. I would have read the book anyway because George Weige’s the author. Turning Weigel on himself by quoting Weigel by saying, “He does chicken right.” The book is a terrific exposition on what we need in having our face set on the Lord. I would, however, say that Miner does not quite comprehend as fully as he ought what the theology of the Church fathers teach, especially Benedict, in that he seems to have an appreciate the cult of personality of those in the papal office than a relationship has with the Lord. Miner does pick this tendency up from Weigel, I fear. But there are times Weigel does the same. It is a serious flaw if not monitored. We unequivocally need to center on a renewed emphasis on Church reform that is personal first because only then it will effect a true reform/renewal in the Church organization. If I am not personally converted to Christ, then it matters little who pope is. But who is setting the agenda? As Weigel says in the March issue of First Things,
“The internal dynamics of he Church itself, attentive tot eh promptings of the divine Bridegroom and the unique challenges posed to the Great Commission by late modernity and post-modernity, have, together, impelled a new evolution in the Church’s self-understanding and self-expression. The result of that evolution, Evangelical Catholicism, is an expression of the four enduring marks of Christian ecclesial life –unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.” 
You need to read Deuteronomy in this way: distance yourself from distractions and choose life: life in God; life in the communion of the Trinity. What is clear about Evangelical Catholics insistence on Catholics distancing themselves from confused thinking and acting, being more focused and less mediocre, to work for concrete unity both interiorly and exteriorly, and not to fear persecution.

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The risks the fire

A fantasy [that people have] property takes no account of the fact that, for the great majority of mankind, life is a struggle. On those grounds I would see this idea of choosing one’s own path in life as a selfish attitude and as a waste of one’s vocation. Anyone who thinks he already has it all, so that he can take what he wants and center everything on himself is depriving himself of giving what he otherwise could.

Man is not there to make himself, but to respond to demands made upon him. We all stand in a great arena of history and are dependent upon each other. A man ought not, therefore, just try to figure out what he would like, but to ask what he can do, and how he can help. Then he will see that fulfillment does not lie in comfort, ease and following one’s inclinations, but precisely in allowing demands to be made upon one, in taking the harder path. Everything else turns out somehow boring, anyway. Only the man who “risks the fire”, who recognizes a calling within himself, a vocation, and ideal he must satisfy, who takes on real responsibility, will find fulfillment. It is not in taking, not on the path of comfort that we become rich, but only in giving.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

 God and the World, p. 258

Washed in Christ’s blood St Catherine’s parishioners take to NYC streets for Corpus Christi


Corpus Christi wc.jpgYesterday was the great feast of The Solemnity of the
Body and Blood of Christ. At Saint Catherine of Siena Church in New York City
the parish community with the Dominican Friars led by Father Jordan Kelly
celebrated a Solemn Mass for the feast and then took to the streets with the Monstrance containing Our Lord and Savior. For the
first time in years Our Lord in His Eucharistic Presence was carried in
procession in the neighborhood of the church. Imagine the faces of Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims and those who do not share our Eucharistic faith seeing such display of faith and devotion! 


Graces beyond imagining:
beautiful weather, lots of people, terrific sacred music given to our worship
by Daniel B. Sañez and his superb choir, an insightful homily and a rededication to the Sacred Heart with Benediction after an extended period of adoration. 

I
came across this reflection from Saint John Chrysostom: 

If we wish to
understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient
account of its prefiguration in Egypt. ‘Sacrifice a lamb without blemish’,
commanded Moses, ‘and sprinkle its blood on your doors’. If we were to ask him
what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save
people endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not
in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In
those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not
dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not
that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of
believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

Indeed, washed in Chris’s blood,
and not that of a animal is what saves, and we ought to scream this from the
roof tops. Well, we actually didn’t yell anything but we walked together in
professing our faith.

The Church of Saint Catherine of Siena NYC will never be the same! Thanks be to God.

Can’t be called a Theist if you don’t believe in a Personal God

trinity MASTER of the Votive Picture of Sankt Lambrech.jpg

No one is to be called a Theist, who does not believe in a Personal God, whatever difficulty there may be in defining the word “Personal.” Now it is the belief of Catholics about the Supreme Being, that this essential characteristic of His Nature is reiterated in three distinct ways or modes; so that the Almighty God, instead of being One Person only, which is the teaching of Natural Religion, has Three Personalities, and is at once, according as we view him in the one or the other of them, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit–a Divine Three, who bear towards Each Other the several relations which those names indicate, and are {125} in that respect distinct from Each Other, and in that alone.


John Henry Newman

An Essay in aid of a Grammar of Assent, Chapter 5

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity


Holy-Trinity-Peredea.jpgIn the Sacraments of Initiation, God invites us to
share in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity: we become recreated in the image
of Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and adopted as sons and daughters
of the Father.


In Pope Benedict’s Porta Fidei, the Letter opening the Year of
Faith later in 2012, wrote: To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and
Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father,
who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who
in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy
Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s
glorious return.

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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