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July 13, 2013

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  1. August 15 Assumption Reflection

    I will imprint in my mind the analogy to our human mother in giving veneration to the Mother of God.

    Thank you Fr John for writing this timeless article, timely encouragement to our faith, ask for Mary’s special and gentle help to steady on gaze on Jesus, amidst the extreme storms of left and right.

  2. Kevin Walters permalink

    Stephen, we have not seen you on the site for some time, are you still about
    kevin your brother in Christ

  3. Kevin Walters. permalink

    Thank you John for publishing the my Article Only God can square the circle.
    All marriage breakups are not caused by one partner deliberately leaving (walking out) on their spouse for someone else, this is to over simplify marriage breakdown in the West.
    The flock has been scattered, Christian marriage in the West has been deliberately trampled on, the wounded were left Shepherd less, as many were ensnared (bitten) by the servants of the Evil One, and then in their need for a fully human sexual relationship have been lead away from the Church.
    The Church must offer away back, not to do so goes’ against the Inviolate Word of God
    “Anyone who comes to me I will not turn away”
    If a person is trapped (ensnared) for whatever reason apart from the sin against the Holy Spirit and expresses true humility they should not be turned away.
    Each time they receive the bread of life they must acknowledge their brokenness by venerating (Looking upon) the True Divine Mercy Image, a broken image, a reflection of themselves before God in the Eucharist, their sin has not been forgiven they are dependent on God’s Mercy in saying these words from the heart, as given by God Himself to his Holy Church on earth.
    “Jesus I Trust in Thee”
    kevin your brother in Christ.

  4. Robert permalink

    In regards to the article of “The story of Betty Wong in Hong Kong”, please kindly know the facts first. Do not factitious fact.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Testing ….to make sure comment program is working …jw

  6. In regards to the article of the vanishing Eucharist, see the Association of Catholic Priest Website for the same article and my response which gives the entry of Brendan Butler on the ACP for June 2nd. The gist of it, is, that we do not have a vanishing Eucharist, what we have is a situation where the Church has bound itself by it’s insistence that something called an ontological seal, supposedly received with the sacrament of Holy Orders, means that only those such recipients of the seal, are able to preside at Eucharist and the presiding of course involves saying those words of transformation over the bread and wine. As I have maintained and will always maintain, we have no priest shortage, and we have no shortage of the Eucharist…what we have is a problem of holding on to a theology of the Eucharist which is in large part…bogus…Even Pope Francis had said…that the RC Church has also created problems for itself by adhering to rigid and outdated practises…I’m paraphrasing…but, it’s close to what he meant I think. Surely, there is, in God, an election and anointing ritual and we see this from the Old Testament…through the New Testament….but, what is creating the greatest barrier for the Church is the belief that there is some kind of permanent mark on the soul of those who preside at Eucharist and absolutely no one else can do this…..I agree wholeheartedly with Gary Wills who said, it is this belief in the sacrament of Holy Orders, that creates that elitist group in the Church and by stubbornly sticking to what has been the past practise…we keep the Church imprisoned and unable to move forward,. The point of Vatican II was to empower the laity…..we have to rethink, the election and anointing ritual…maybe there is an indelible seal…but, more people need to have access to the sacrament then…I do not know…except that it all can be worked out…but, it must be worked out…to save the Catholic Church as Hans Kung says and to complete the overhaul of the Church as Pope Francis says…

    • I should have added that the so called “ontological seal” says the recipient has special power to transform the bread and wine…and it is the belief in them having this special power that strangles the Church.

  7. Sioga…..I just found your comment… me at…I’m sorry I didn’t know if was there….. Yes, please…I want to make contact….

  8. Sioga Geoghegan permalink

    Hello Darlene, I was sad to recieve your note left outside my hermitage door after I’d departed.
    I was so beaten down by it all when I left & just needed to pull myself away from them & then got very sick. So, just now locating you online, would love to hear from you. Warm Regards, Sioga

  9. Stephen K permalink

    Re three temptations (by Pope Francis)
    I think this article was interesting, where it reports Pope Francis warning against “psychologising” faith or the Gospel, so that they lose transcendence and mission. These are really challenging concepts for me, because I think my perspective may be less transcendent or missionary, but at the same time do not find convincing all the traditional faith narrative I was brought up with. Bishop John Robinson in his book “Honest to God” writes about a tension between “transcendence” and “immanence” but I have to ask, can they be so easily separated? was he right? is what I think a kind of half-true subjectivism? am I a neo-Gnostic? and so on. Are these issues really ever resolved intellectually or more simply by impulse? I confess I alternate. I think the kind of faith Pope Francis is trying to encourage is something more from the heart, but not a heart that has no reference to the spirit and context of the Church community and its values. On the other hand he seems to be implicitly refraining from commanding, or resorting to coercion. This sounds like free act and love. There is a lot of talk about “love” but there are two species of it – one is the condition of ‘being in love’ and the other is an act of will. I always suspect that a whole faith requires both and at various times I lack one or the other. There’s a lot to unpack here! What do others think of what the Pope is saying?

  10. Thank you Steve for comment

    How do you understand Mt 25.31-46? For me it means I can be water baptized ….but if I don’t care about the poor, I’ll go to hell.
    It also means people who are not water baptized, but care about the poor….will go to Heaven (which means they have been “spiritually baptized)

    • Stephen K permalink

      I think the concept of ‘spiritual baptism’ is akin to the idea of ‘baptism of desire’, isn’t it? The desire was always understood as something implicit and unconscious, without having to be conscious, is that correct?

    Defenders of “FAITH ONLY SALVATION” face a quandary when trying to explain Saul’s (the apostle Paul’s) Damascus road conversion. How do you get Saul’s sins forgiven and keep him dry?

    QUANDARY: Acts 22:16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

    The “faith only” advocates proposal is this; Saul was baptized so his sins could be forgiven, however, it was spiritual baptism.

    The dilemma is, how can spiritual baptism be commanded? You cannot order someone to be spiritually baptized anymore than you can command a person to become tall or intelligent.

    You can command repentance and immersion in water, as Peter did on the day of Pentecost(Acts 2:38). The results being, forgiveness of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit!

    You can command that men believe in Jesus. (John 3:16)
    You can command that men repent. (Act 2:38)
    You can command that men confess. (Romans 10:10-9, Acts 8:37)
    You can command that men be baptized in water.(Acts 2:38)


    To say water baptism is important, but not essential to salvation is like saying fuel for your automobile is important but not essential to operate your car.


  12. Thank you Stephen, Tasmad and Hazel for recent comments. God bless! jw

  13. Hazel Cooper permalink

    Pope Francis has given us all Hope! His way of life, his obvious compassion, his efforts to start change are all signs that he is following our Lord in both actions and ideas. There are so many things that are causing those of us who welcomed Vatican II so enthusiastically to despair of seeing its fulfillment. Please God, we are still hoping and praying that your Church will move forward again, be with your Church, guide her and listen to the prayers of your faithful. (The trouble is I want the answers to be the answers I want – I’m not willing to take “no” for an answer!)

  14. Stephen K permalink

    It is very difficult to criticise events of enthusiasm without appearing curmudgeonly. I too find myself reacting to the assumptions behind such events as WYD that people will have money to attend and participate, and as far back as Paul (1 Cor. 11: 17-22) insensitivity to the less fortunate was rebuked. Indeed, I think Christianity is incompatible with anything that does not have a strong communitarian, egalitarian or socialistic element. WYD is international and thus comes across as intrinsically marketing to the well-off middle classes. What do the working classes and the marginalised have in its place? You can see why liberation theology can be so attractive. Maybe we need to also promote barrio or suburban youth days: making gatherings local, close to the ground and within walking or bus distance, and thus supporting state public transport infrastructure and local industry. My cynicism might be tempered if from consolidated Church funds, a travel and accommodation allowance was made available to every baptised Catholic between the ages of 17 and 25 to attend if they so wished.

    I am conscious of the irony that I am a product of working class aspirations that converted to middle class opportunities for education that enable me to make such observations, so though ideas – and arguments – should be judged on their own merits, and hence I do not retract my own, nevertheless i wish all the enthusiastic participants good luck. But think that everything anyone does in religious terms is never unalloyed.

  15. TASMAD permalink

    Reflecting back on 2008 WYD Sydney, I was not part of WYD. I actually felt that it really lacked a ‘going out’ focus. I felt it was an ‘in group party’

  16. Stephen K permalink

    No, Father John, you are not talking ‘heresy’. I agree there is a problem with papal superstardom. Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world. Corporatisation, imperialisation, status, all these things end up reflecting worldly values that close in rather than open up. I think that the fault lies though in our human nature: we all seem to want – and have – heroes or heroines in many areas of our lives. We always have gods and goddesses; we always seek a ‘saviour’. We can’t seem to help ourselves: someone does something we like and we begin to extol their virtues, sometimes to the point that we become “followers”. We do it with party politics, football teams, as well as religious attitudes. What do we do, if it’s human nature?

    I think we have to just accept that adulation and hero-worship are inevitable. The real challenge is for the adulee or hero, to avoid believing in any of it. We are dust and we will return to dust.

    For the rest of us, we ought perhaps not so much decry the adulation and hero-worship in others but every day read something from the psalms, which to my mind helps us cultivate a balanced approach.

  17. Thank you Stephen for most interesting post ….and for so many other posts by which you have given this website such a great deal of your time and thought

    • Stephen K permalink

      Dear V2, thank you. I earnestly try to contribute meaningfully. Just one thing more, if I may. A propos of the “eastern” prism to which I referred. I think we are so accustomed to speaking of Jesus as ‘Son of God’ – out of reverence to be sure – that we are highly susceptible to and guilty of a very subtle form of docetism. I am often bemused by the readiness of some to condemn new age and various forms of alleged heterodoxy as “gnostic” because a dehumanised Jesus seems to be the result of much defensive religious discourse. We forget or disown that Jesus was a man of his time with contemporary jewish and eastern thoughts. It is not fanciful to imagine or conjecture that Jesus was exposed to some exotic thinking in Egypt or in his developing years, not to mention some appreciation of Essene or mystical Judaism, which explains why he often appears in the Gospels as a little different in his Jewishness. Whatever Jesus was, he was not a Westerner!

  18. Stephen K permalink

    Re “Intellectual basis of same-sex marriage”
    The article by Michael Thierren is certainly an position but I think it fails to fairly unpack the real root cause of the issue. He is essentially arguing that the idea that marriage can be whatever the state or people want it to be flies in the face of an objective character to moral things. This does not convince because ultimately it’s just assertion. (It may well be right or meritorious, but it doesn’t persuade).

    The fact appears to be that the insistence on the Church’s moral positions relies on the acceptance of a fixed ‘natural’ law. That law is mostly defined by a classification by the Church of teleologies, or end results of processes (Aristotle’s “final” cause).

    The experience of people generally however is not so fixed, and other than subjectively – aka private revelation – does not encounter the invisible or imperceptible. Positivist theory is much more consistent with human experience and knowledge, for the most part. A lot of metaphysics is theoretical, notional, conceptual.

    I guess I am describing the classic nominalist-so called realist clash of epistemology. If anything, THIS is the basis of the tension and conflict between certain Church positions and modern secular positions.

    There is no doubt to me, at least, that nominalism prepares one for agnosticism. But realism remains undemonstrable. In the end, I think all spiritual affiliation and faith is an expression of a person’s deepest desire, not competence.

    One is tempted to say that one cannot have it both ways: but I don’t think that this is so. We have in much of the Christian West lost the ‘key’ to understanding or experiencing mystically because few of us meditate and shut up but engage in polemics. No wonder people like Raimon Panikkar, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Merton and others gravitated to an Eastern prism for their personal Christianity.

    The elusiveness of Truth with a capital ‘T’ explains why we are struggling with the various concepts and possibilities involved with s/s marriage, let alone many other issues.

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