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Friday, August 23, 2019

Ex-Philly pastor arrested for charges of embezzling roughly $100,000

Leaders at the U.S. bishops’ conference have praised a U.S. Labor Department proposal to clarify protections for religious employers seeking federal contracts.
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Against the dictatorship of church ladies

Dawn Eden: from “rock historian” to Grand Inquisitor

Austin Ruse

The writer Dawn Eden Goldstein has been going hell-bent-for-leather against Cardinal Raymond Burke. Her efforts reveal more about Dawn than they do about His Eminence. Ms. Goldstein charges Cardinal Raymond Burke with questioning the validity of the conclave that elected Francis as Pope—and, therefore, whether Francis is really the pope. In the same thread, she […]

Against the dictatorship of church ladies

Auguste Meyrat

The Church has lost its manly spirit. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the recent protests at the St. Francis Church in Portland, Oregon. The ultra-progressive, borderline-heretical parish was recently assigned a new priest, Fr. George Kuforiji, who tried to restore theological and liturgical orthodoxy. For instance, the newly-minted pastor stopped using the gender-neutral […]

When Niceness Is Naughty with Mark Galli

When Niceness Is Naughty

You won’t find the author of Jesus Mean & Wild disagreeing with “Why Niceness Weakens our Witness: I can’t follow Christ and also succeed at being nice” by Sharon Hodde Miller:
Niceness … aims small. In her book American Niceness, author Carrie Tirado Bramen describes niceness as a virtue of “surfaces rather than depths,” while Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, calls it “a trivial virtue that is easy to fake.” Niceness is concerned with the appearance of goodness and not the reality of it. It gives the facade of serving others but exists primarily to serve ourselves.
The hard part, of course, is knowing when niceness, which most of the time expresses kindness and respect, becomes an act of cowardice. I’ve spent much of my life learning the difference and I don’t always show good discernment.
The Polyamory Trend
I’m not inclined to point to outlandish examples of culture-gone-wild, but when I came across two stories in a short span, I had second thoughts. Our culture is so large and diverse, there is always something crazy going on somewhere. “Polyamory Is For Pre-Teens in Public Schools. Oh Really?” and “Lutheran ‘Love’: ELCA Bishop Leila Ortiz Praises Polyamory” come from culture-warrior websites, so I initially read them with a skeptical eye. I assumed they were extreme examples.
Then I read in Men’s Health—hardly a reactionary outlet—an article on “What Is Polyamory and Why Is It Gaining Popularity?”
… how many people are actually polyamorous? It’s tough to gauge the numbers, but it’s currently estimated that 4 to 5 percent of people living in the United States are polyamorous—or participating in other forms of open relationships—and 20 percent of people have at least attempted some kind of open relationship at some point in their lives. Those numbers, however, are likely to increase.
This last article is not the be all and end all on the topic, but it does suggest the mainstreaming of what was formerly an extreme and outlandish practice. So mainstreaming, it seems, that the next issue of CT Pastors will have an article to help church leaders navigate this in their communities, and sometimes in their churches.
What to Do about Nationalism
Nationalism has become a dirty word in some circles since the tragic shooting in El Paso of a few weeks ago. But like most concepts, it comes in many forms, some healthy and some not. The conservative version—and the one that scares some people—is called national populism. Matthew Goodwin at UnHerd comments on a number of books that explore the roots and outlines of this phenomenon in a way that leads to understanding and not mere condemnation or cheerleading—or at least it seems given the summary of the books.
Calling Evil Good
From a favorite teacher on the other side of the Tiber: Bishop Robert Barron on the Limits of Tolerance. The video is a bit dated since Katharine Jefferts Schori’s term as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church ended in 2015. But it is a perfect example—and both humorous and sad—of why the gospel of tolerance (one of the gospel pillars of our culture) is not the same thing as Christian love.
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

Why did Christianity thrive in the U.S.?

Here's what you can do to help the burning, ravaged Amazon rainforest
Business Insider: While it might seem overwhelming and devastating, and far removed from everyday life, there are things that can be done.

The religious dimensions of Toni Morrison's literature
Sojourners: Although not always overt, Morrison intentionally created her novels to be dependent upon religious concepts.

Tourism to Israel is on the rise, with more U.S. Evangelical Christians visiting
NPR: U.S. Jewish views of President Trump and the Israeli government are under strain, but support for Israel among white evangelicals is strong as they continue to visit Israel in record numbers.
Washington Post: Why many evangelical Christians now celebrate Jewish holidays*

Why did Christianity thrive in the U.S.?
JSTOR: Between 1870 and 1960, Christianity declined dramatically across much of Europe. Not in America. One historian explains why.

Baby food, bassinets and talk of salvation: Inside an Evangelical pregnancy center*
New York Times: The director used to attend anti-abortion protests. Now she tries to help pregnant women and new mothers find jobs, emotional support or a place to shower.

Many Missionaries Were Ready and Willing to Spy

Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) changed its position on end times

Your Home Is a Legacy in the Making

Thursday, August 22, 2019

St Augustine Pray For Us with Pastor Carlos

St Augustine Pray For Us

Although his actual feast day is on Wednesday, it has been a tradition here at St Patrick’s, to remember St Augustine on the closest Sunday to his actual feast day, so that is why the readings today are proper to his feast.

St Augustine taught that we were made with a desire for God, and yet, that desire is often blinded and misdirected. Oftentimes, this teaching is used to explain sin: when we sin, we are seeking God in the wrong places. For example, the misdirected desire for God may express itself in a desire for power, causing from personal quarrels to wars among nations.

On the other hand, we can take the teaching of being made for God, and think of the many good, morally upright people who see God as irrelevant. I think St. Augustine would say that they ignore the transcendental aspect, namely, that they were made for God and we are mere pilgrims on this earth. The desire to be good, is itself a gift from God; and goodness itself is a divine attribute, but in taking the credit, we may be falling into pride or vainglory, which often lurk behind good actions.

We were made for God, and God desires to share the fullness of divine life with us. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Way for us to share in that fullness of life. As we remember St Augustine today, let us also ask him to pray for us, that the grace of God, may continue shaping and forming us, so all our desires are expressed in loving God, and loving one an-other as Christ loves us.

God bless, Fr. Carlos, OSA

Real reform in the Church requires a faithful laity

As massive protests continue in Hong Kong, one student leader says Catholics have an important role to play in encouraging demonstrators to remain peaceful in asserting their demands.
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