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Showing posts from October, 2012

I Can't Believe...

Several weeks ago, I was out to dinner with a group of friends, many of whom are involved either in Irish music or dancing. A few bottles of wine into the evening, as it so often happens, one of the group announced from across the table brought up the topic of religion. Actually, he didn't so much 'bring up' the topic as he did launch into a monologue about how he used to go to Church but now, because the bishops dared to tell him how to vote, he would never go back into the Church again. "I simply can't believe in the Catholic Church any longer," he said, staring at me.

Now, here's the thing. If "Believing in the Church" is translated into "Believing in the Bishops," then I stand with my friend. I wholly believe in the episcopacy and I acknowledge the importance of apostolic succession. I even think it appropriate to the Bishop qua Shepherd and qua Teacher that the faithful be instructed in all topics pertinent to adequate conscience…

33rd Birthday and The Feast of the North American Martyrs

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I'm very fortunate to celebrate on the same day the United States observes the "Feast of the North American Martyrs." On this day, we celebrate the witness of Saint John De Brebeuf, Saint Isaac Jogues, and their companions. For these men, death did not bring about their martyrdom. It was the consequence of their lives lived as witnesses to the Gospel. 
In 1979, I had four great-grandparents and four grandparents. Today, only my Grandma Hagan is alive. I'm blessed that my godparents - Jack Duns and Kelly King - are still alive, as is my Confirmation Jack Barret. Nevertheless, it's hard not to think back and miss those people who have passed from my life as I celebrate it's start. Likewise is it hard not to think upon the wonderful people who have entered my life, who have played a role in it, who have helped to make me who I am today. 
I am a fortunate man. I have a family I love very much - although my sister Hagan apparently is afraid of me! (and this for t…

On Politics

For quite some time, I have had mixed feelings about weighing in or writing on the topic of  politics. "Your realm," a friend once told me, "is to be priestly, not political." I reckon I've bought into this, preferring to pray quietly and to remain silent on many of the issues that have arisen during this election season.

It is not as though my silence is without good reason. For were I to say that I intended to vote for Mitt Romney, there would be cries that I hate the poor; to suggest a vote for Obama would raise cries that I hated the unborn. In particular, I have been dismayed and horrified by the caustic and hateful comments directed toward Catholic bloggers who voice, in any way, support for Obama. Civil discourse seems, yet again, to have been thrown out the window. Hell, the two candidates can't even engage in a civil debate! Is it a wonder why a Jesuit scholastic would prefer to remain silent?
But can I, in conscience, stay silent? Am I so wholly r…

A Fitting Tribute

The Boston Irish community remains in mourning at the passing of a local legend, Mr. Larry Reynolds. I did not know Mr. Reynolds personally but I wish I had. By all accounts, he was a true character. Maybe it is only in Boston that a funeral for an Irish fiddle player could make the cover of the paper's Metro section. Nevertheless, I encourage you to read the fitting tribute to his life. If ever one wanted to see my image of heaven, it's the picture of all the musicians gathered in the Church...each one raising his or her instrument to play a song from the heart in joyful praise for another's life well life.

Larry Reynolds, Fiddler of Local Renown,  is Mourned

Op-Ed Over at the New York Times

So What?

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If there has been a gift in having been a high school teacher, it is a sensitivity to the “So What?” dimension of every lesson. One can prepare the greatest of lessons but unless he is ready to account for the “So What?” factor, the meaning is lost. For good or for ill, students expect you as a teacher to give a hint as to how the material you are teaching relates to real life.
It is with the “So What?” glasses on that I read the letter Archbishop Nienstedt wrote to a mother in response to question about accepting her gay son. The mother, was responding to the Archbishop’s letter appearing on April 28, 2010, in The Star Tribune. This week, a fellow blogger posted a copy of the Archbishop's response to the mother


Now, let me ask: how this helpful to a mother who has taken the time to write a letter to her bishop asking for guidance? If one reads the letter and asks, “So What?” can it be claimed that any new ground has been covered, that any new insight has been gained? How has …

Multiplying Words

One thing I had forgotten about being in graduate studies: after many hours spent reading and writing for class, it's maddeningly difficult to sit down and write a blog post! So much of my day is spent responding to the thoughts of other thinkers that it is frequently difficult to sort out my own voice to share with others. So much of what I read, and think about, is wholly irrelevant to the daily life of the one who struggles with faith - either at the threshold of relinquishing or embracing it.

There are times when I find myself invigorated by my studies. Then again, there are times when it seems totally divorced from the needs of the Church at large. "Does anyone care," a little voice whispers in the back of my mind as I excitedly turn another page, "about the difference between univocal, equivocal, dialectical, and metataxological speech?" How does the distinction between "agapeic astonishment" and "erotic perplexity" help people?

In sh…