Tag Archives: blog

Paul J. Murray’s “Random thoughts from a Catholic musician in NYC”

My friend, Paul J. Murray is now writing a blog. Have a visit, and stop back…because he’s got some random thoughts to be attentive to….

Mr. Murray is the choirmaster and organist at the Church of the Holy Family, New York City.
Now if we could get Daniel Sañez and Christopher Candela to write a blog we’d be all set. Sañez is the choirmaster and organist at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena (NYC) and Candela choirmaster and organist at the Church of Saint Thomas More (NYC). See a pattern?

Archbishop of Hartford Henry Mansell blogs, tweets

HJM.jpgToday, as you know the Church begins a Year of Faith. We also observe today the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Not least in the list of initiatives is the inauguration of a blog written by Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, the archbishop of Hartford. 

You may read the blog here.
He also tweets here.
The Hartford archbishop joins a growing list of North American bishops who are intelligently using social communications to fling abroad the Good News, to spread the joy of being persons of faith on a journey to encounter the Lord. 
Social media does, in fact, build communion among persons of faith and non-faith. It bridges the gap among those who believe in Jesus and and those who don’t, or are searching. Blogging, tweeting and using Facebook are but means to an end. They only make sense if there the media they employ have something to say, attractive with beautiful images (traditional art and with contemporary images) and updated with regularity. Kudos to Archbishop Mansell. As point of comparison, in Connecticut Mansell is the only blogging bishop; Bridgeport doesn’t have a bishop at the moment and Norwich’s Bishop Cote and Stamford’s Ukrainain Eparch Bishop Paul don’t use social media at the moment. Hint.
Let’s also acknowledge that yesterday was the Archbishop’s 75th birthday. May God grant him many years.
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Is following Christ worth it?

That’s an odd question for Christian, no? Well, no, it is not. The other day my friend Henry and I were talking about this question and why so many Catholics, or at least those who claim to be Catholic, and therefore, Christian, don’t adhere more closely to Christ, the Scripture, Tradition and the Church. Our conclusion is that the poor nature of catechesis, preaching, sacramental preparation, faith formation and pastoral guidance has done a dis-service to the Church for a VERY long time. I am not willing to say “since Vatican II” because while I think that Christian life since V2 has disintegrated a lot and Catholics have become somewhat Protestant, we can’t blame everything on Pope John’s Council.

Stories surface –and you may have heard them too– that some priests, nuns and other lay pastoral associates in the parishes have acted irresponsibly and incredibly when a Protestant comes to them saying, “Father, I’m a baptized Lutheran and I want to be Catholic.” And Father says, “Why bother ‘converting to Catholicism,’ Lutherans and Catholics are the same, our churches just nuance things differently. I wouldn’t bother, you already have a good church. Besides, Lutherans do a lot of things better than we Catholics.” Really? I thought following Christ closely meant living in and with the Church He gave us. Is Christ worth following, or not? Upon this rock….

Is it just about a nuance? Since when can a Catholic say (i.e., hold to be true) that faith in the Triune God, salvation [heaven, hell, or purgatory], sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, ecclesiology, Christology, etc. is just about nuancing “theological opinions” differently from those who live as Protestants? Do these things not truly, substantially matter? Is there no consequence in believing the wrong datum of Christ’s teaching? What about the teaching of the Scriptures on Christ as the Way, the Truth, and Life, that upon Peter, the rock, Christ built the Church, what about the Emmaus and Pentecost experiences, what about the Eucharist, what about the forgiveness of sins, what about the priesthood, etc? What about the clear teachings of the Church Fathers down through the ages on the necessity of the Church as Christ’s foundation for salvation? Do these things not matter? Are there no differences but only nuances? Are we insane in allowing those who seek the face of God according to the sacrament of the Church as Christ established to find their own way, in their own time and according to their own method? Is there no objectivity of faith & reason in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the one founded by Christ in 33 AD? Is there any value in following Christ authentically? It is my hope that Catholics will begin again to seriously take the Catholic way seeing/knowing reality as coherent and life-affirming.

I was surprised just this morning in reading one of the Q&As in 
Rabbi Marc A. Gellman’s

 “God Squad” column (New Haven Register, September 11, 2010) where a 62 year old Catholic says she believes in reincarnation. What???!!!??? Rabbi Gellman’s answer to this person is insufficient on many levels but since space is limited in the Register, and deep theological intercourse is impossible, he reduced the issue to the idea that the Bible is not trying teach us anything about reincarnation or the 4 last things, etc, but “is lovingly scolding us to retain an appropriate  level of spiritual humility when we pretend to know the will and workings of God.” Well, OK, but this answer is not enough and is leaning toward spiritual malpractice from both the Jewish and the Catholic point of view. No practicing Jew or Catholic I know of would be so squishy on this topic but reducing the Scriptures to mere spiritual practice. I have a feeling there’s more in that 72 book volume than mere spiritual humility.

< span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Tahoma; font-size: medium; line-height: 16px; ">Reflecting on recent experience, I remembered that in my Christian Anthropology class this past year Sister Sarah said that belief in reincarnation is on the rise among mainline Christians, including “practicing” Catholics. I said to myself that can’t be true. Evidently, it is true that many Catholics have some sort of belief in reincarnation and see no problem in doing so. Shirley MacLlain’s teachings seem persuasive for some than the 2000 years of orthodox teachings on life after death, heaven, hell, Messiah, etc.  A little research shows that the question of coherence of Catholicism and reincarnation is a very old question. Many of the Church Fathers addressed the incoherence of saying you believe in Christ and hence the Church as Christ’s visible manifestation on earth, and the possibility of holding reincarnation as a certain path to the destiny God has in mind for us. You can do a search on the web, read the Catechism or read the International Theological Commission’s work on the subject if you are interested.

This brings me back to my conversation with Henry. He’s doing a parish program in adult faith formation at his Brooklyn parish this year and he’s opening the first session with this question about following Christ. I believe it is a useful question for all church-going Catholics, especially since we read in Scripture that we need to given reasons for our hope and testimony that the Risen One is in fact real.

So, how would you answer the following question?

Is it worth it to follow Christ?  Think about that for a minute – Is it worth it to follow Christ?  Imagine I was sincere “seeker” asking you that question, how would you respond in concrete ways?  (If your answer is yes, why?  If your answer is no, why?)

By the way, Henry is hosting a blog. He’s not as neurotic in updating as I am when it comes to this blog, but I think he’s contributing to a deepening and furthering of friendship with Christ and, therefore, I’d recommend visiting Henry over at Bumping Elbows with Christ.

Rocco’s honorary doctorate from Aquinas Institute perplexes

I must be dreaming! Reading Gary Sterns’ blog today, Blogging Religiously, I learned that Aquinas Institute in Saint Louis gave Rocco Palmo, the Whispers in the Loggia blogger, an honorary doctorate while also giving him the privilege of being the commencement speaker on May 7

Admittedly, I am not terribly enthralled with Palmo’s perspective church-matters, nor his speculation on some things, nor his disrespect for the Holy Father, hence I wonder by what criteria did Aquinas Institute use to decide on giving Rocco Plamo these honors. But may these are the criteria by which the Dominicans of the Central Province judge excellence, getting in touch with those on the margins and theological thinking. Rocco is hardly a journalist, at least not by industry standards in the way John Allen or or Cindy Wooden or John Thavis are journalists; but he can be informative humorous but much too gossipy (the later not being a Catholic virtue and certainly unbecoming of the new evangelization). What was Aquinas Institute President Father Richard Peddicord thinking?
Could  Rocco Palmo be now the new type of preaching we can expect from the Order of Preachers? Even the St Louis Post Dispatch’s article is trite. It is a free world, after all, but give me a break. So much living the Dominican motto: to praise, to bless, to preach.

Vatican Information Service’s blog

The Vatican Information Service has initiated its own blog. VIS has a daily bulletin of news and the blog format makes it easier to see what’s happening at the Church’s center. See the VIS blog here.

The blog joins other media initiatives like the YouTube channel, The Vatican and Twitter.

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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