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  • Commentary : Insights | Catholic Culture
    Church Fathers Most Collection Free eBooks Connect Home On Facebook On Twitter eNewsletters Site Tour Web Widgets Feeds Contact Us Advertise Subscribe Login Donate Commentary Home On the Culture On the News In Depth Analysis The City Gates Insights Reviews On the Good Most Popular Archives The Insights eNewsletter Insights provides critical perspective on the issues that affect your life as a Catholic today Delivered twice weekly Subscribe This Insights eNewsletter was sent to subscribers on January 29 2016 eNewsletter Subject The Problem of Religious Unity Several hundred years ago we would have lived in an era of inter religious hostility Most efforts at evangelization would have been adversarial Today we are far more likely to seek good relationships with men and women of good will who are not Catholic But sometimes the result is that we do not evangelize at all I ve just begun a new series to explore this problem beginning with Evangelization deformed or delayed A danger of the quest for religious unity I mentioned in Tuesday s message the wonderful story about stranded pro lifers who celebrated Mass in the snow Phil Lawler explains the importance The lasting image of this year s March for

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/insights.cfm?task=show&id=3334 (2016-02-11)
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  • Quick Hits: covering up nudes, Italy's pro-family resistance, the tragic assassination of Diem | Catholic Culture
    even the proponents of civil unions are quick to assure the world that the legislation would not allow for adoption by same sex couples a prospect that the Italian people find repugnant Different societies have different hot buttons it seems The pro life movement has never generated the same energy in Europe that it shows in the US But the American people have not shown anywhere near the resistance that the Italians and before them the French have mounted against acceptance of homosexual partnerships Why That might be the topic for an interesting doctoral dissertation At first glance you might wonder why Ignatius Press which publishes so many fine works on Catholic topics has now put out a book about the Vietnam War specifically about the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem But if you dip into that book The Lost Mandate of Heaven by Geoffrey Shaw you ll soon understand America s first Catholic president approved the killing of a staunch Catholic ally But Diem s intense Catholic faith was in fact part of the reason for his downfall the State Department viewed his faith with deep suspicion Assembling overwhelming evidence Shaw demonstrates that the CIA orchestrated the killing of the Vietnamese leader because he did not fit into America s plans for remodeling Vietnamese society Diem and Ho Chi Minh understood Americans but US policy makers made no real effort to understand the Vietnamese It was the arrogance of social engineers that prompted the assassination And the results of the assassination Shaw argues prolonged the war and destroyed the nation In an interview with Catholic World Report Shaw explains the broader historical lesson to be learned from this sad episode Related directly to this is the fact that U S foreign policy in the post 1945 era in

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1225 (2016-02-11)
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  • Syrian Patriarch: A special Catholic leader? | Catholic Culture
    view leaning over his desk with rolled up sleeves and telling it like it is Metaphorically this image may not be far off Though he is Syrian Patriarch Ignace Youssif III was called not out of Egypt but out of New Jersey He had been sent to the United States in 1986 to establish a mission From 1995 until 2009 he served as eparch bishop of the new Syrian Catholic Eparchy created by John Paul II for all Syriac Catholics in the United States To be more specific think Newark which is like thinking Hoboken calling to mind Marlon Brando s gritty 1954 film classic On the Waterfront Anyway the Patriarch must be tough Exchanging his US base of operations for Syria in 2009 and extending his jurisdiction over Syriac Catholics worldwide seems not to have fazed him at all Late last year Ignace Youssif explained that Western support of the Arab Spring was tantamount to fomenting the violence in Syria He has argued against air strikes and insisted on the need for ground troops He has condemned Western indifference and betrayal He has challenged the West to forget about trying to establish Western style democracies in the Middle East and instead concentrate on direct assistance to persecuted Christians In the years before that the Catholic Patriarch repeatedly warned about the deteriorating situation in Syria while urging the members of his flock to stay the course His spiritual priorities appear to be in good order For example last May he called for prayer and fasting in Syriac Catholic parishes around the world for one of his priests Fr Jacques Murad and others kidnapped by the Islamic State In October some fifty hostages including Fr Murad were released Heroes are hard to come by But here is at least one leader

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1224 (2016-02-11)
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  • Church Fathers: Origen's Works | Catholic Culture
    case against Christianity after which Celsus in his own voice raises objections against both Judaism and Christianity and tries to show the superiority of Greek religion and philosophy While he finds some things to praise about Christianity he is also concerned that Christians by refusing to participate in the Roman state religion undermine the Empire If the Christians will not abandon their religion he exhorts them at least to support the Roman political order including taking government offices and fighting in the army both of which would involve participating in Roman religion The True Discourse itself is not extant but about three fourths of it can be reconstructed because it is extensively quoted by Origen in the course of refuting it Origen wrote Against Celsus when he was over the age of sixty about seventy years after Celsus wrote and only at the request of his friend and patron Ambrose Origen himself had never even heard of Celsus or his treatise before Ambrose brought the latter to his attention He was not particularly impressed by Celsus s work and was disposed to ignore it rather than risk giving it credibility by a response But he reluctantly agreed to refute it for the sake of the ignorant and weak in faith who might be led astray by it In his point by point refutation Origen emphasizes the unique role of the Holy Spirit and of grace necessary to believe in Christ He also counter s Celsus s patriotic concerns with a longer and more cosmopolitan view He says that Christians can only be expected to obey secular authorities when their commands do not contradict God s law Christians ought to seek the favor of God rather than men but they also do not rashly provoke the wrath of the powers Against Celsus is the most important of Origen s apologetic writings and is considered the greatest apologetic treatise of the early Church Eusebius was so impressed with it that he called it a refutation of all possible future heresies Discussion with Heraclides Discovered in 1941 the Discussion with Heraclides is unique in early Christian literature and in ancient literature as a whole because it is not a literary dialogue but a close transcription of a conversation that actually occurred The bishop Heraclides held some opinions about the Trinity which concerned his fellow bishops so they sent for Origen to settle things The record is of an informal public meeting held in a church in Arabia around 245 It seems that the problem is more a matter of terms than anything else Origen and Heraclides reach an agreement on an acceptable formula for the relation between the Father and the Son and for the remainder of the meeting Origen answers questions posed by various bishops on other doctrinal points On Prayer In 233 34 Origen wrote On Prayer at the request of his friend and patron Ambrose and Ambrose s wife or sister Tatiana The oldest extant scientific treatise on Christian prayer

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=666 (2016-02-11)
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  • Quick Hits: Divine Mercy movie, IVF and surrogacy, the Saints' favorite books | Catholic Culture
    Leo Maasburg the spiritual director of Blessed Mother Teresa Cardinal Cristoph Schönborn Bishop Robert Barron Jim Gaffigan and Harry Connick Jr Based on the trailer Gaffigan s presence in this documentary doesn t seem to have any substantive purpose beyond being a celebrity draw and I find that the attitude toward Catholicism in his comedic work usually ranges from shallow to offensive But the film as a whole looks worth watching and is well timed for the Year of Mercy To request a local screening visit the film s website A while back Peter Jesserer Smith did a good investigative piece for the National Catholic Register on how two major legal cases involving in vitro fertilization and surrogacy are showing the wisdom of the Church s teaching on procreation In one case Nick Loeb and Sofia Vergera are battling for custody of their frozen IVF children who after their split Vergara wants to have destroyed Meanwhile a woman in California is fighting not to be forced to abort one of the triplets she is carrying as a surrogate for a Georgia man The legal question is whether embryos children are property Smith interviews people from the Thomas More Society the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists who are fighting for justice in these cases Apologist Brandon Vogt is offering a free eBook on his website The Saints Favorite Books It s a nice little genealogy of the spiritual classics that have inspired some of our greatest saints many of whom went on to write their own spiritual classics which inspired future saints From St Augustine reading St Athanasius s Life of St Antony to The Little Flower reading Thomas à Kempis s The Imitation of Christ I guarantee you will learn something

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1223 (2016-02-11)
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  • Evangelization deformed or delayed: A danger of the quest for religious unity | Catholic Culture
    from Him A betrayal of the quest No pope can be blind to this danger In his address at the Great Synagogue Francis reminded us Naturally Nostra Aetate did not resolve all the theological questions that concern us but it made reference to them in an encouraging way In a homily at Vespers closing the week of Prayer for Christian Unity the Pope similarly noted Beyond the differences which still separate us we recognize with joy the path to full visible communion between us Christians not only when we come closer to each other but above all as we convert ourselves to the Lord And converting ourselves means letting the Lord live and work in us But it seems to me that the Pope has an advantage in these matters which the rest of Catholics lack and which we can be sure is never far from the minds of Protestants the Orthodox and Jews These know in an oppositional way sometimes overlooked by Catholics that the Pope stands for the fullness of faith and authority of the Catholic Church In attending to the Pope s quest for unity none of these other believers supposes for a moment that the Pope will eliminate differences by abandoning the Catholic Faith He will not deny that Christ is God to promote unity with the Jews nor abandon his ecclesiastical jurisdiction to eliminate divisions with the Orthodox nor declare the seven sacraments optional to conciliate Protestants As long as the Pope remains pope he is a sign of contradiction even if at the human level he sometimes wishes he were not But it is not always so with the rest of us not even necessarily with priests and bishops We know that the Church calls constantly and rightly for a new evangelization and we can certainly admit that it is the godless who have the greatest need But we must still find a way to answer a key question about our bonds with other believers and this is a question that rankles Are not the very points which separate us from other believers also part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ When does the quest for unity under the guise of friendship become a betrayal If the upside of the quest for unity is a legitimate recognition of shared goods so that we can more easily promote joint witness and mutual care then the downside is the reluctance to share those very gifts that call to mind our differences Making even a generous allowance for prudence and discretion a quest for unity which will not risk rejection is not a quest for unity in Christ Our Lord took every care to open hearts with love to help others understand what He had to offer and to avoid coercion In other words His whole life was a gift subject to rejection This must be true for us as well Complete unity unity without exceptions and caveats is inescapably rooted in the fullness of the Gospel

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1358 (2016-02-11)
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  • The lasting image of this year's March for Life: that Mass on the snowbound turnpike | Catholic Culture
    few blocks from the line of march So an intrepid reporter could have jogged over to see what was happening and been back at his desk before the chill set in Here s the Post headline As DC shuts down for a blizzard a small faithful crowd still joins the March for Life A small crowd is a wonderfully elastic term We had a small crowd at our house for our New Year s Eve party and I suppose you could predict that there will be a small crowd at the Super Bowl Attendance at the March for Life was I assure you much closer to the latter size And this remember was despite a blizzard that forced cancellation of hundreds of charter bus trips to DC for the event As usual no one had anything approaching an accurate count of the pro life marchers It s pointless to argue about the numbers anyway We go through this exercise every year The major media are incorrigible it is impossible to shame them and thus unrealistic to expect objective coverage Ordinarily the pictures of tens of thousands of people marching through the first flurries of a blizzard should have made this year s March for Life unusually memorable But they won t Not just because the mass media ignore the opportunity for dramatic photo coverage but also because the photos of the March were not as memorable as what came soon thereafter the Mass on the snowbound Pennsylvania Turnpike On the internet which is the only place I saw them the photos of the March were soon eclipsed by photos of scores of Catholics huddled around a snow altar Those images I suspect will remain in viewers minds long after the March itself is forgotten Therein lies a lesson the Mass is our greatest tool for evangelization The Eucharistic liturgy has a power immeasurably greater than the best arguments the most effective lobbying a power to reach and change hearts We have come to expect that Mass will be celebrated in Catholic churches and so human nature being what it is we tend to take it for granted But when the holy Sacrifice takes place unexpectedly at an unusual time in an unusual venue it can stun See the people gathered in the snow see the men clothed in vestments and even the most jaded viewer is prompted to ask questions What are they doing Why are they doing it So he is ready to be instructed in what the Church fathers called the mysteries of the Eucharist Notice that the power of those images from the snowbound turnpike affects everyone whether or not they understand what Catholics believe whether or not they recognize the rite As an instrument of evangelization the Eucharistic liturgy does not need to be explained so much as it needs to be celebrated properly There too is a lesson which can be applied to our ordinary parish life The celebrant need not continually tell the congregation

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=1134 (2016-02-11)
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  • Commentary : Insights | Catholic Culture
    On the News In Depth Analysis The City Gates Insights Reviews On the Good Most Popular Archives Action Alert SOLIDARITY MONTH 10 is as good as 1 000 Help set a new record for the number of gifts this month Goal 1 000 769 to go The Insights eNewsletter Insights provides critical perspective on the issues that affect your life as a Catholic today Delivered twice weekly Subscribe This Insights eNewsletter was sent to subscribers on January 26 2016 eNewsletter Subject Pope Francis Attempting to Overcome Divisions Thomas Van s series on the Fathers of the Church continues this week with Origen s Life and Legacy This is the first installment of several pieces covering the work of one of the most influential thinkers in Christian history Speaking of thinkers I continue to explore the progressive intellectual decline of the West See Darkness The practical result of our contemporary mythology One wonders whether this decline has anything to do with the latest speculation that Pope Francis must be planning to do X because nobody is talking about X Phil Lawler explains in Hot but speculative rumor Pope to meet Russian Patriarch next month Turning to the real news my favorite

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/insights.cfm?task=show&id=3326 (2016-02-11)
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