Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ryder Cup Weekend...

What a great weekend... Not only did I get the chance to go home for the weekend, but the U.S. beat the Euros at Valhalla. And I had a front-row seat for it, since I was marshalling the eighth hole with the guys from Persimmon Ridge. High-fived Mickelson (who promptly went on to lose a four-up lead... my fault?), heckled Nick Faldo, contemplated clothes-lining Sergio. All-in-all a great weekend. Met up with the guys (and gal... Jacque) at BBC for some APA and hot wings. "Separation makes the heart grow fonder," they say... (at least for the beer and wings...!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Window Into a Canon Law Class...


Here's a look into one of our classes this semester: "the history of Canon Law." This is one of the courses in the Canon Law School that is often taken as an elective by those in the law school (thus the laity in the class)... Click on the picture for more...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Future of the Church...

For those of you worried about the future of the Church, let me tell you about last night...


The priests in the Canon Law program were "hit-up" to help with the retreat for the freshman college students at the university. The freshman class consists of approximately 600 or so teen-agers. The retreat for freshman - which is completely voluntary - took place this weekend. They had approximately 250 freshman there! Nearly half the class... And this is completely voluntary! Not only did they not have to be there, they were giving up a whole weekend to do it. I don't know about you, but I was impressed by that alone. Part of their retreat, which took place at a small camp about an hour or so outside of the city, is the opportunity to go to confession (thus the need for us poor aspiring canon lawyers...). As we arrived, the kids were beginning Eucharistic adoration. We priests took up our places and one after another the kids lined up. Two hours solid we were there! I was tremendously impressed.


In the middle of the evening a big storm blew in dumping a lot of rain. As I was running to my car to leave, in the darkness, I couldn't help but stop and notice all the kids under the outdoor pavilion... all on their knees before the Eucharist singing the "Tantum Ergo..."


There is hope for the Church...!

Happy Anniversary, "Summorum Pontificum..."

Being the first anniversary of the promulgation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, I decided to visit a classmate of mine in the JCL program who lives at a parish (St. John's) just across the river in the diocese of Arlington. They have the Extraordinary Form Mass there. Talk about nice! They had a solemn high Mass to mark the feast. The pastor was the celebrant, and the two associates served as deacon and subdeacon. I forgot to ask what Mass the choir sang, but it was impeccable. Mass lasted nearly two hours. I was one of four priests (including my classmate) who attended in choir and helped distribute Communion. Even with five priests distributing, Communion took a good twenty minutes. The attendance was good among the laity, and the pastor preached a great sermon (very "Bishop Sheen-esque"). All-in-all, it was a great way to honor the anniversary of the motu proprio.


One interesting note, however. The church there was built in the 60's and is a "church in the round." I have to say, I never imagined a Tridentine Mass in such surroundings, but have to say that it was done well. Wish I had a picture to include, but this will give you some idea:


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hello Tim...!

A buddy of mine was up in Washington today on business so we met up at (of course...) Shelly's! And a good time was had by all...

Interestingly, we spotted Bob Barr ('08 Libertarian presidential candidate) sitting at the table across from us smoking a cigar. Tim couldn't help but go over and ask him if he actually ate the cheese in the movie "Borat..."

He did...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Post for Katie...


Here's some pictures from a Reds game that my sister Katie and I were at this past summer. Yeah, the Reds stink again this year...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus!

"Behold the Great Priest!"...


















Sunday, September 7, 2008

Deacon David Harris ordained on Sept. 6...


"Former Baptist minister hopes to share with fellow Catholics a ‘sense of awe’ about God. When Deacon David Harris talks about the Catholic faith, his ardor is apparent. His eyes brighten, and he speaks passionately. He sees the faith with the clarity of a convert..." see the Record article here


So, we have our second priest Ordained in our Archdiocese through the "Pastoral Provision." First, as a brother priest, I should say "welcome" to Fr. Harris. I make it a point to attend all of the Ordinations, but given my circumstances this year with returning to school, I was unable to make this one. I know that many people have mixed emotions about such things. For some there is confusion, or perhaps even disagreement, with such developments in the Church. The issue of clerical celibacy in the Roman Church has certainly been a hot-button topic. Bearing that in mind, I offer what are my perspectives on the issue, for better or worse.
First of all, let me say that I admire these men. Being former Protestant ministers, I can only imagine, on a practical level, what a life-changing decision it must have been for them to convert to Catholicism. They essentially quit their jobs, alienate perhaps some family or friends, and "perform a 180" in their professional life. All this without any assurance that they will qualify for this "Pastoral Provision." As the Record article states, now-Father Harris (and in my judgment, converts in general) possess a strong sense of conviction and excitement about the faith. For them, unlike us "cradle Catholics," there is a conscious, and dramatic, choice that is made to become Catholic. A choice made with, what I can only imagine, is a certain amount of opposition or confusion amongst colleagues and friends. Think, how often this is said of converts: that they possess a particularly strong faith? It seems that they develop a deep appreciation for things that we cradle Catholics often take for granted. It seems that oftentimes a central theme for a convert is a strong sense of the Real Presence in the Eucharist that proves irresistible in their choice to enter the Church. I also have heard many a convert state that the Church's Magisterial structure is also a touchstone for them. Perhaps it was the teachings of the patristics. Whatever it might be, these men generally possess a strong conviction about Eucharist and Church structure that we all (convert or not) would benefit from being reminded of. Whatever your feeling is of the "Pastoral Provision," I think that one must admit that these men, in their preaching and ministry, will remind us all of some of the most important elements of our faith.
And now, "the but..."
If there is any detracting thing from this provision it's that there is, in my humble estimation, a push coming from certain elements in the Church to use this as an opportunity to preach once again their tired-old agenda of optional clerical celibacy. An argument that is in many ways unaware of the important reasons for the historical development of the practice of clerical celibacy in the Western Church. They say to themselves: "well, if this man can be Ordained while not being celibate, then why can't all other priests have that option?" My standard answer for people who ask me such questions is to state, rather pragmatically (if not sarcastically), that the faithful wouldn't be prepared for the divorce-rate that would exist amongst the clergy. After seven years of parish ministry, I can say that, in my heart of hearts, I think one would either be a great pastor and priest and a horrible husband and father, or vice-versa. With the demands placed upon a priest's time and energy, I simply don't see how he could do both. Note well that, in the granting of this pastoral provision, these men are all older whose children are grown and independant. The Church recognizes that their familial obligations would preclude them from the exercise of any pastoral ministry at all, and allows this provision only for a limited ministry on an exceptional basis (n.b. - a condition of this provision is that these men will never be assigned as pastors - rather, they serve in roles that permit them as much free-time as is possible to safeguard their family life). And this is only an argument for clerical celibacy on a practical level, not taking into account the (even stronger) theological foundation for clerical celibacy (e.g. - the identity of the priest as one who acts "in persona Christi capitis," who strives to conform every aspect of his life to the life and ministry of Christ).
For me, it's important to note that the pastoral provision is an exception. It is a dispensation from a norm of law, granted only when the good which that law is meant to safeguard is in fact preserved. I can say with some first-hand experience that this dispensation involves an extensive ecclesial process and the decision to grant this provision is not made lightly.
So, once again I welcome Fr. Harris to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. I trust that his ministry will be fruitful, and that he will lead many souls to Christ. I hope that his Ordination will prompt a renewed discussion of the meaning and importance of clerical celibacy and an ever deepening vision of priestly ministry.
These are only my initial (poorly formed) thoughts on the subject, and are not intended to be a thorough discourse on the pastoral provision, clerical celibacy, or anything else. Do you have something to add to this discussion? Let me know what you think...

You have a message...

Thanks to "Goat Cheese Chuck" for forwarding this memo from the home office...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

This one's for "Heresy..."

This one's for you, "Heresy"...




since you have abandoned your blog, there has not been a P.O.D. (pious and overly devotional) shot for quite some time. Well, here you go! Just pickin' up the slack for you... this photo depicts the rarely seen "pontifical buskins" which were recently used by the Apostolic Nuncio to Austria, His Excellency, Archbishop Edmond Farhat, in a Pontifical Solemn High Mass at the parish church of St. Teresa of Avila in Budapest. Now that's P.O.D.!


Contributing to the delinquency of my classmates (already)...




After class... cigars and drinks... Shelly's Cigar Lounge... a "thing of beauty!"


"ab initio"

I know, I know. You are shocked... a blog by me. The thought occurred to me, though, that this might be a good way to keep in touch with people during my stint here in Washington, so here goes. "Ab initio" - from the beginning.

This may also become some forum to exchange ideas, thoughts, communications, etc. amongst friends. If so, then all the better.

Topics, I imagine, will range everywhere from the ecclesiastical to what great cigars we have smoked recently, and everywhere in-between. Did I mention I enjoyed a very nice Cohiba robusto the other night, courtesy of a new friend here in DC? Eat your hearts out guys...

So, feel free to post comments, say hello, pick a fight, or whatever. We'll see where this goes...

-Padre