Saturday, November 9, 2013

Society and Children

I am taking a small break from the normative subject matter of this blog to talk about something that is on my heart.  As my wife and I celebrate the birth of our second daughter, Sophie Marie, it has given us a lot of time to reflect on parenthood.  Nobody questions that raising infants is hard- except for people who do not have kids.  I have been reflecting though on the reaction of my peers, and possibly that of society at large.

From the moment I told people of my wife's pregnancy I was greeted with well wishes and positive words.  Then there were those who, knowing of the young age of our oldest daughter Vivian, who cast judgement on us.  I have interacted with people, who even though they certainly can express their concern over the well-being of my wife and I, who dump their negativity and judgement of family planning on us.

So much of the traditional views in society that I was brought up with have been challenged and are now no longer the "popular view".  Marriage between any two people of the opposite or same sex is viewed as a norm (and even keeping it to that definition is already being challenged).  A couple should not be having children before they are 30.  When a couple, married or not married, has children they should only have 1 or 2 (but not close together).  Couples who have more than two kids are selfish, irresponsible, and generally enemies to mankind.  Parents who homeschool their children are suspicious and non-conforming to the rest of society.

My wife and I fall into the category of having two children so close to each other and having children in our mid/late 20's.  I am greeted with the question "so what are you guys going to do?"  This question was put to us before and after the birth of our second daughter.  Now what are we going to do?  I feel like people might be disappointed with an answer like "act like responsible parents and love our two kids" or "Thank God that he has blessed us with two beautiful children."

While individuals are a pleasant exception, society-at-large has lost the fact that children are a blessing to a married couple.  The propagation of the species is an important duty for families.  The expectation of a child is an occasion worthy of celebration.  I cannot even look at my daughters and think if these kids diminished my life in any way.  My daughters have amplified the quality of my life.  I feel completely blessed, and extremely unworthy, to be raising two daughters- teaching and giving them thoughts about God, the universe, nature, life, class, manners, love, self-esteem, friendship, and all infinite things that a parent passes off to his or her children.

Now, a lot of this may not surprise anyone.  People can watch television and see these perspectives dripping from the media.  Yet, a person may not yet realize that they are helping contribute to this unfortunate state in our society.  Consider how you react to news of a couple announcing their expecting of a child.  Consider your thoughts about showing love to others, to children, to friends and family.  Having children is definitely a trying task, but it is worth it.  Instead of passing negativity and judgement, offer to pray for the couple and all the difficulties that they may go through.  Offer positive wishes- that helps parents feel motivated to go home and be a great mommy and daddy.

Mother Mary, St. Joseph- please pray for us.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Welby and Francis

Saw this posted on CatholicCulture.org, very curious...

[my commentary] and emphasis added


"Anglican leader hints at joint ‘surprises’ with Pope Francis

CWN - November 04, 2013
The head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, said in an interview with Vatican Radio that “a few” Catholic-Anglican “surprises” may be forthcoming.
“There are very fundamental and extremely important doctrinal and dogmatic differences that we have between us and they have to be worked on, as they are with Rome and the Anglicans with ARCIC [the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission], and we take those extremely seriously,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential that those are worked on. But we need to make sure we’re working on them in the context of churches and ecclesial communities that say no sacrifice is too great to be obedient to the call of Christ that we may be one.” [who said this? Welby?]
God has given you, and given us all, a great Pope,” he continued. “And he’s a great Pope of surprises… Surprises? Yes, I think there’ll be one or two surprises. We’re hoping to produce a few surprises.”
Asked to divulge “any hint, any teaser” about his visit to the Vatican next spring, Archbishop Welby replied, “No, absolutely not!”"

The Anglican-Catholic dialogues have not been fantastic these last few years.  In fact, the inability to find common ground and bring formal unity between Anglicans and Catholics is the biggest cause of the formation of the Anglican Ordinariate in the Catholic Church.  
So my guess would be, after knowing that, is that there is likely something in the realm of thought that Catholics and Anglicans can still agree on at this point.  That would certainly surprise me.
Here is a link to the ARCIC page on the Anglican Communion Site: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/ecumenical/dialogues/catholic/arcic/
I am certainly glad that Welby and the Holy Father have a good relationship- that is certainly needed when hard truths have to be spoken.  Welby's personal thoughts on social issues has brought more dissonance into the ecumenical dialogues with other Churches.  So sorry if that was a *SPOILER ALERT*- but it would certainly be a surprise to me.  
P.S.- I have heard it guessed that this would be an announcement of open communion between the two.  I would venture to guess again.  Not only is it absurd, but you would not be hearing about a "development" like that from an outlet such as this.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Church of the Poor

Let us approach the Sacrament
with feet naked and bare
Let us wear the tattered rags
while our souls roar with fire
Let our halos illuminate our crowns
with Spirit wisdom and elegance
Let our minds dwell in Heaven
above every worldly intelligence

Upon This Rock...

Was thinking today about the Church and how it is arranged. I began to think about the Church and her structure after hearing a lecture on the gifts of the Holy Spirit by a Pentecostal Professor. In the lecture, the topic of different church structures arose, specifically what structure reflects biblical principles. It seemed the professor was more open to the idea of less structure, and more organic movement within the Church. Loose leadership is necessary, but nothing of dynamic structure. While it sounds romantic and communal, it is weak.


I once heard a group (a Protestant group) talk about there being much more freedom in structure than without.


There is a reason Christ told St. Peter “tend my sheep (John 21:16 NAB)”. He didn’t say “Peter, at a later time you are going to get in the way of my followers and you must step aside”. That is the opposite of what he says.
One can challenge that by saying that verse does not mean an institution should be formed around the office of St. Peter. Well Jesus does elsewhere.

Where?

“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18 Douay-Rheims Bible)

After that Jesus adds:

“And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven (Matthew 16:19 Douay-Rheims Bible).

Other than a clearly neglected traching that recognizes the installation of the Papacy, Jesus is handing over his teaching authority over to a clearly established leader that Christ is going to work through with the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts of the Apostles.

He begins a ministry where the Apostles will carry the weight of Jesus’ ministry by giving a special anointing to the Apostles through the Holy Spirit by breathing on them (John 20:22-23). This is also Jesus authorizing the Sacrament of Reconciliation through Confession and the formation of Holy Orders.

Point being: Christ knew the Church needed visible leaders.

Not autonomous groups feeling their way through a dark room

That being said there is freedom in structure. Devotion to the Holy Spirit and the asking of gifts and charisms is highly encouraged in the Catholic Church. These gifts lead towards a missional heart as well as a deeper sense of Koinonia in the Church. Father Cantalamessa stated in his book, Sober Intoxication of the Spirit: Filled With The Fullness of God, that the Spirit may lead people to formulate other spiritual communities that exist under and with permission from the local Bishop. While there is freedom in the Spirit, Christ wants his Church to be one. Therefore, Catholic Charismata flourishes under Catholic orthodoxy.

Seek the movement of the Holy Spirit and know that Christ founded one Church, and you can flourish in that Church with gifts and charisms given to you by the same Spirit.