2 Oct 2010

Some web browsing.....

The issue of belief and what we believe as Christians and as Roman Catholics seems to be a growing question as opposed to those who professed  that "God is Dead" but at the same time each of us should as ourselves individually "What do I really belief?" Pathos.com begins a series looking at what people really believe about some of the big questions: What really happens when we die? Does prayer really make a difference? Does it really matter how we act in this life?

At the same time alot of interest has been generated by the latest poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life which examined what Americans believe. Before we get into a paroxym of smugness on this side of the Atlantic perhaps we should take the survey and see how we get on. As Deacon Greg Kanda notes Catholics have nothing to shout about. For Catholics alarming results such as only 33 per cent of US Catholics can name the authors of the four Gospels, while barely half (55 per cent) can say what happens during the Sacrament of the Eucharist (the transformation of the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and Divinity of Christ). Only 42 per cent can accurately name the first book of the Bible are causes for concern but when the Iona Institue did a survey in Ireland in 2008 did we do any better?

An interesting and reflective reminder of the beauty and dignity of each human person and the place of human dignity in Catholic Social Teaching as something of the Glory of God shines on your face.

During the week we had the feast of the Little Flower, St Therese of Lisieux, two different reflections of this saint can be found here (more traditional) and here (a bit more unusual view from a christian convert from the Far East).
One of the challanges facing the church today is the decline in the level of vocations, from the USA an interesting article about how seminarians information endure criticisms in wake of sex abuse scandal.

At the same time, Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) writes at First Things about cheating the habit of being and the role of uniforms and religous habits as symbols and public witness.

UNICEF discovers the tradition of "contemplative in action" which was the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta 

John Allen in his weekly column in the National catholic Reporter talks about where he experiences hope in the church.

Deacon Greg Kandra blogs about the catholic church building boom in Texas.

For those interested in things latin, google might be able to help

In the last few days a lot of blog commentary has been given to two talks by US bishops.
  • Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York speaking to a crowd of more than 1,500 people Sept. 21 at the sixth annual Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast set out what he saw as "number one pastoral problem today is that too many people don't see the intrinsic connection between Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.....We are living in an era where people believe in Christ, but not in his Church. They want the king, but not the kingdom; they want to believe without belonging; they want the faith, but not the faithful. But for the committed Catholic, the answer to that is, 'no can do.' Jesus and the Church are one."
  • Given some of the reaction to the coverage by RTE of the Pope's visit to the UK and the general tenor of media coverage of church issues in Ireland, Archbishop Charles Chaput delivered an interesting address to the Religion Newswriters Association recently -- and concluded with this valuable thought:
    Journalism is a "knowledge profession." But like any other profession, the work of journalism doesn't necessarily translate into self-knowledge or self-criticism. And any lasting service to the common good demands both. Journalism has its own unstated orthodoxies. It has its own prejudices. And when they go unacknowledged and uncorrected--as they too often seem to do--they can diminish our public life. Religion journalism deals with the most fundamental things about human meaning, things intimate, defining, and sacred to many millions of people. So master and respect your material. Know yourself and your prejudices. Acknowledge mistakes, and don't make them a habit. Be as honest with yourself as you want your sources to be. Understand believers and their institutions as they understand themselves. And if you do that--and do it with integrity, fairness, and humility--then you'll have the gratitude of the people you cover, and you'll embody the best ideals of your profession
    Some reaction to the speech here.
In many parts of the world, especially those marked by Western culture, there has been a profound loss of confidence in the making of promises. This can be seen in the collapse of marriage, the high rate of divorce, the regular requests for dispensation from the vows. What sense can it make to give one's word "until death" One reason why the giving of one's word may not seem to be a serious matter may be a weakening of our sense of the importance of our words. Do words matter that much in our society? Can they make a difference? Can one offer one's life to another, to God or in marriage, by speaking a few words? During the week we came across a 1994 speech by Fr Timothy Radcliffe which although focused on the Domincan Order at the time provides a reflection on the issue of making vows for us all.

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