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April 16, 2013

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  1. 5 Oct 16 In the early hours of dawn

    Your quoting…

    ‘Thoughts in Solitude’ Merton also wrote:

    “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end”.

    When I wake up to ‘thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you….from the depth of my heart, I will pull a chair onto the balcony and ponder this Merton quote.

  2. 3/8/16 A long time passing

    Chris, in Hebrews 11, remember “there are many witnesses in a great cloud around us” please continue to bring to people’s attention things which are totally horrendous like this, quoting:

    “Theresa May, was asked by an SNP member if she would be prepared to press the button that, in retaliation, would kill many thousands of men women and children. Her reply was brief and direct. “Yes.””

    The charismatic Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig wrote just last week:

    “In the British parliament last week, the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, was asked if she was prepared to launch a nuclear strike that would kill 100,000 civilians. Without hesitation, the self-confessed “goody-goody” said quite stridently and without hesitation that yes, she would do it.”

    Quoting Hebrews 11.1 – 12.15 in yesterday’s scripture reading:

    Only faith can keep us going. Only faith helped Abraham and other famous people in the Scriptures to keep going

    So many of them were weak people who were given strength by God, to be brave when life became difficult

    With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too should keep running in the race we have started. We should get rid of everything that slows us down

    Keep focusing on Jesus. He is running beside us. His example going to the cross gives us courage

    Try to live at peace with everyone. Don’t let any seed of bitterness begin to grown and make trouble. This can poison a whole community

  3. July 17 Nice…Darkening Skies

    Like Mary standing at the Cross, we stand in solidarity, silent with tears in our eyes, absorbing some of the hatred from outside…filtering…,love outpouring from the other end…

    That is all we could go, putting our trust in LOVE Himself.

  4. Your article July 13, 2016

    Chris McDonnell, UK

    Repairing broken friendships

    Thanks Chris for the message of hope and encouragement amidst division and hatred. In this unfair and broken world, hope is in our youths today, those not burdened by age old prejudices, who naturally love justice, plenty of examples of community based actions and projects initiated by young people because they feel someone has to do something. Think of those who responded to the invitation by John Paul Ii to the first World Youth Day decades ago…hope is everywhere to been seen….is this the Holy Spirit working amongst us?

  5. David Timbs permalink

    Thanks for your reflection on the fresh climatic change Francis brought with him. To translate the metaphor into communication language some have said that first half of JPII’s papacy was wonderful for secular society while the second half was a disaster for the Church. Benedict had little or nothing to say to the whole Church just the narrow constituency of the like-minded. Francis, with a few words and symbolically charged gestures has said more in a year than the other two communicated in forty years.

  6. Stephen K permalink

    Re contraception and s-s marriage
    Why do i get the feeling that much of the episcopal admonition over both issues reflects a rationale that starts with a major premiss “Whatever the Church or a Pope says is always right and never wrong and cannot be changed” and continues with the minor premiss “The ban on x or y is something the Church or Pope has said” and proceeds with the conclusion “Therefore the ban on x or y can never be changed”? At what point do bishops ever question their major premiss and consider a fresh meta-analysis?

  7. Simon permalink

    About contraceptive mentality…..I also can’t see a direct link with same sex marriage but maybe there’s an indirect link in that modern society’s values are swinging ever further away from traditional family values in the sense of a family meaning parents and at least a few children

  8. If “Holy Orders” is necessary to “break bread”, then we have a problem. If not, we don’t.

  9. Stephen K permalink

    The St John’s manuscript bible article is inspiring. How important it is to literally ‘be in touch’ with beautiful and spiritual things, and, with hands, to truly ‘make’ them.

  10. While it is generally true that Pope Francis appears to be respecting of all people… is equally true that there is a serious incongruency here…..With the remarks about the CDF with the CLAR organization, Pope Francis virtually dismisses the importance of the CDF and leaves the impression that a letter from them, is not necessarily to be taken seriously……What about the letters from the CDF that went out to people like Father Tony Flannery of Ireland, Father Brian D’Arcy of Ireland, Father Roy Bourgeois of the U.S.A., the L.C.W.R., the retired Archbishop of Australia, and so on…..
    Are these people feeling respected by Pope Francis? I’m sure there are enough nay sayers that would suggest they deserved it….really?….that’s respect! Generally, “clericalism” is not respectful, irregardless, of who the cleric is….but, I would have hoped that Pope Francis realized the serious error that he made…but, I bet he didn’t….How do you think people like Father Flannery felt after they read those remarks about the CDF by Pope Francis from the CLAR meeting?….Respect, was probably not it…..The “sins” of Omission are just as real and dangerous as the “sins” of commission!
    while Pope Francis speeds ahead on addressing various issues……as long as the Church’s core sin of clericalism is not recognized and expunged, the Church, remains, systemically, corrupt as an organization. Yesterday’s readings were where the Lord warned….if your righteousness does go beyond the Pharisees and Saducees, then…….That is why the Lord says, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees”, because that yeast will create deadly sin…..and it’s like Quack grass, once it’s rooted, it’s spreads like crazy and it is almost impossible to get rid of….Pope Francis will accomplish many things, and many things will appear to be good….but, overlooking, what needs weeding, will leave the Church in peril and in his words, “sliding down the road of corruption”.

  11. Michael permalink

    No other leader I am aware of gives 90% of their salary to charities! Jose Mugica sounds like a perfect counterpart to Pope Francis. Also, quite an evocative article by Chris – the two women become quite vivid and more real the more one imagines the scene Chris describes.

  12. As the day wore on…..I thought to add the following, Chris…. I often sing the song, “This is Holy Ground”, “We’re Standing on Holy Ground”, ” For the Lord is Present”, “And Where He Is, Is Holy”, “This is Holy Ground”, “We’re Standing On Holy Ground”, “For the Lord Is Present”, “And Where He is, is Holy”. The last time, I sang that song, was when I was on the land of my GGGrandfather and ancestors…on Tattyreagh Glebe, in Tyrone, Ireland. The point is….Where Christ/God is Holy…..While, some of us, experience, parishes as Holy, they can also be places where there is much postering and jockeying for power. as well as, what Pope Francis has called places that become just another NGO. I hope that there are parishes where Christ abides and where there is no need to amalgamate or close. However, we always have to be ready to respond to where the Lord leads us..

  13. Yes, I know I need to be specific, but, I wanted to craft my answer carefully, as there are “sensitivities” to be mindfully aware. It would seem that my article for last Sunday, is contrary to what you say about parishes today. In my entry, I quote Archbishop Luc Bouchard of Three Rivers Quebec, who says that Parish Communities must become Catholic Communities. His point, is that, financial resources and people resources are providing support for the building, but, perhaps, we need to look beyond the Church doors. What he says, is very much in line with what Pope Francis has said recently about the spiritual predicament of many parishes. The reality is that traditional parishes find themselves, in many places, needing to cluster or close. It’s not a popular thing to do, that is, close a parish. I believe, the Bishop of Cleveland was told by the Pope to open the parishes he closed. However, as Archbishop Luc Bouchard is finding, closing a parish, is sometimes, the only solution, when there are no funds, and no parishioners. I believe, we will have to find ourselves forming community, according to the summons of Christ, in other ways. Monsignor Roch Page of Ottawa, who is also a Canon Lawyer, prepared a paper for the Canon Law Society Conference, which is entitled “Rethinking the Parish Concept”. His paper dealt with the reality of a post-parish church. While we may find ourselves “regrouping”, that is okay, as the Lord’s Life and Call, will always mean that Christians come together for worship, for living, and for doing charity.

    That is all, I’m prepared to share at this time…….I assume you are the same Chris McDonnell who leaves comments on the ACP?

    Thank you, Chris for addressing my comment. In closing,I disagree that to disrupt the parish would bring peril. Rather, I would agree with Pope Francis, who might be suggesting implicitly that there are parishes in peril already, because they have closed in on themselves….

  14. Chris McDonnell permalink

    Could you be a little more specific?
    Just to say “I disagree” doesn’t take us very far
    Chris McDonnell

  15. Chris McDonnell permalink

    Stephen, much appreciate the time you have taken to reflect on my few words. The role of Mary in the Church has been viewed from many perspectives over the years. That I like this image by Epstein so much is because of the almost starkness of the Mother and her Son, the openness, the giving, the sharing. It is a “grownup” piece rather than the comfortable Christmas Card image with which the world abounds.
    Motherhood aint easy for a mother will always care for a child even into old age. Maybe it is that caring that is the essential example that Mary has to offer, from Nazareth, to Cana, to Calvary and the days of Resurrection. Thanks again Chris

  16. Stephen K permalink

    Re Open Hands
    Chris, I’ve read your poem three more times. I like the images the verses evoke.

  17. Stephen K permalink

    Re Open Hands.
    I am still trying to work out the significance of Mary. Not that I am unaware of at least one official significance – e.g. “the Church’s model and excellent exemplar in faith and charity” (L.G.53). I can see that lots of powerful meanings can be discerned and derived from her submission to the will of God: courage, humility, piety, obedience, modesty, etc But what about the other “significances”: mother of God? Intercessor? I find myself questioning why these things are thought of as anything but pagan notions. Whether or not she was/is the mother of God, what significance is to be found in her “maternity”, i.e. being mother of God? What is the value or truth behind this emphasis, if she is not divine herself? It is surely not her maternity that matters. And what about the emphasis on her intercessory mediation? Isn’t there a danger that in promoting this idea we in fact make her an Olympian-like Goddess?

    I have a wonderful bible with beautiful (to my eyes) pictures of the Rosary stations, which I grew up with from childhood. I don’t mean any attack on Mary herself. But I think that some of the language and practices of traditional Catholic piety and devotions are indistinguishable from pre-Christian Greco-Roman religion. That is to say, not merely indistinguishable in appearance but modality, essence.

    This may be an entirely inevitable, natural state of affairs. It may be evidence of the essential raw and diverse humanity in Roman Catholicism as it has developed. I am not one to deny or repudiate the values of colour, rich symobolism and emotion in the religious or spiritual life. But if I look to see what might be distinct about Christian religion, I am no longer seeing it in much of the piety, let alone the complex and often abstruse theological discourse developed to explain and justify it. Rather, I see it in the radical challenge (I and many others fail to meet)to overturn natural inclinations and actually love enemies, turn cheeks, go extra miles without grumbling, go without, show mercy etc. Thus, I conclude, these attitudinal and behavioral challenges are what makes a person a Christian, not any ritual, saint devotion or other pious exercise, which may simply be natural Christianly-neutral religious acts.

    When we say the rosary, light candles before statues of Mary, are we still in pagan mode? Being in “Pagan mode” may be a healthy mode, and I suspect it is. I suspect that none of us can ever eschew it and religions that get too intellectual probably end up not being religions at all. But I wonder if all the theology about Mary amongst much of the other sanctoral elements is, for all its references to the Christian economy of salvation, is not particularly “christian”. What do you make of this, Chris? What do others think, on reflection about this and about how we might view and characterise different elements of our religion?

  18. Stephen K permalink

    Re Shadow of the Cross

    Chris, thank you for a thought-provoking post. I think it’s important for us to try to keep sight of the meaning that these various religious symbols carry when free of the type of meaning with which some users invest them; usually with a meaning of aggression. I think the use of a religious symbol, like the cross, as a mark of identification rather than as a reminder for meditation is in fact quite blasphemous. But it all comes down to intention: the action will look the same in both cases often. But God sees into our hearts and minds, and misuse of this kind does not fool God.

  19. Stephen K permalink

    Re: A Birthday Celebration

    It’s interesting how time can heal many things. I must admit not having read much of Teilhard de Chardin so I cannot comment directly on his work or his ideas. It seems to me though that much of the condemnations that previously occurred might have been based on an attitude that sought to defend established formulae and ways of thinking, rather than based on an attitude that sought to ask what there was of insight, significance, spiritual potential, in a body of speculative or mystical theology. For a long time people will have thought Newton’s physics was the last word, but since Mach and Einstein and others, we now know that no-one’s theories, however practically they might seem to work, can be the last word. The same surely applies in the domain of theology, which is the human attempt to articulate insights of revelation or faith about God and the relationship of God with creation in general and humankind in particular. In this extract, Chris, Teilhard is expressing a core element or essence of priesthood and sacrifice, tying in both with the fabric of the earth and the experience and labours of all of us. What could be objectionable about that? How important the spread of his image might have been to generations of people habituated to simply seeing priests as ‘those men in black’ murmuring at the altar and ‘not being quite like us’ etc? It may have made many more people conscious of a reality about the Christian call to ‘priestly’ ministry for everyone. And, rather than prohibit books, why not meet the challenge of presenting positively one’s own or an alternative vision or understanding? Not everything one reads will be salutary, but much will or can be.

    • The strength and example of deChardin is surely that in spite of censorship, for that is what it was, he steadfastly maintained his faith and his priesthood. For me, The Mass on the World is one of the great poetic statements of faith from the 20th Century..I remember hearing a story once of a bishop who picked up Teilhard’s breviary and having leafed through it, commented “this belongs to a holy man” Thanks for commenting Stephen, Chris

  20. Hazel Cooper permalink

    Thanks Chris, that really spoke to me. I’m going to use this for a reflection for our next SVP meeting. Now I must go out and put words into action! Let us all pray that we listen to the Lord, and that we DO what he is asking us to do.

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