Pray Brethren

Pray Brethren

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Authoritative Bishop

We all know that words have meaning. Some words even effect what they signify. Take the words “I love you” or “I hate you” when spoken between two people. Our words in the liturgy do this at a supernatural level. Indeed, the power of the Church is wielded par excellence during the liturgy. Another important aspect of the liturgy is that the Roman Missal’s precise words take the priest’s personality out of the sacred act. In fact, those who go to a particular church because they like the personality of one priest over another is evidence that the priest’s personality has entered too much into the liturgy. The great thing about the liturgy is that any priest can step in and read the words!

Since Vatican II, however, there has been a good deal of adlibbing the text of the Mass. Some have done this because they didn’t like the text, while others were awaiting a new translation. Thankfully this translation is here and the bishops are uniting their priests around it. No more adlibbing.

But in the name of making the Mass “more understandable and more meaningful to parishioners,” Fr. William Rowe of the Belleville Diocese in Illinois has continued to improvise the words of the Roman Missal. His ordinary, Bishop Edward Braxton, instructed Fr. Rowe to be a faithful and obedient priest and use the correct words. “I told him I couldn't do that,” Rowe said. “That's how I pray.” This emphasis of his own personal preferences rather than praying the most powerful words of the Church led Bishop Braxton to remove Fr. Rowe from his parish. In an age where authority and leadership has been reduced to mere service, Bishop Braxton shows us that being a bishop means having a backbone in the face of recalcitrant priests who entrench themselves in parishes by making themselves the center of attention.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To End All Wars

It's been a while since I last viewed this movie, but despite the pacifist-sounding title, I remember it being a profound movie concerning survival and faith amidst a Japanese labor camp during World War II. Definintely worth checking out.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Magis Center of Reason and Faith

The intellectually gifted Fr. Robert Spitzer has made it known that his book New Proofs for the Existence of God is his magnum opus which he intends to spend the rest of his life re-explaining and clarifying for those who, unlike him, do not possess twin doctorates in philosophy as well as physics. In a lecture he gave at Benedictine College a year ago, Fr. Spitzer announced that he was hard at work doing just that: making the “new proofs” more intellectually accessible to high school youth as well as adults.

Thus Fr. Spitzer founded the Magis Center of Reason and Faith.

Over at the Magis Center’s website you can be found a wealth of information regarding Fr. Spitzer’s work. By examining discoveries made by modern physics, Fr. Spitzer is able to demonstrate the need for a Creator and thus refute the atheist worldview being propagated in our culture and in many institutions for higher education. Of the many resources to be found on the website, Fr. Spitzer’s twelve-part video series was thought provoking, educational, and readily enjoyable.

It should be made clear, however, that Fr. Spitzer’s focus on physics and cosmology. He does not tend to examine chemistry or biology in any great detail, nor does he attempt to tell the story of the sciences as an elemental aspect of the broader account of salvation history. His emphasis is on the complementarity of faith and reason, not on how God is acting to accomplish something bigger and more eschatological by creating matter to begin with. There is no discussion of angels, the Devil, or why God created a universe capable of sustaining life. It is, however, a wonderful resource if one simply wants to poke massive holes in the atheist account of universal origins.

Here’s a great sample from Fr. Spitzer’s video series: