13 December 2008

CD's for Christmas!!

Since Christmas is fast approaching, check out this new CD by two University of Dallas students--brother & sister team, Joe and Ellen.

Joe took a theology class with me one summer. . .buy a CD, buy several. . .I wanna be able to say someday when they are famous, "Oh yea. . .I knew them when they were just snotty nosed U.D. geeks!"

Name that heresy! (RESULTS)

This pic is a great illustration of a common Christian heresy. . .

Do you know what that heresy is?

Do you know why it is a heresy?

Do you know why so many of us fall into this heresy?

I will hold all comments until everyone has a chance to guess. . .

First one to guess correctly gets a Mass for their intentions!

RESULTS! Yes, the pic represents the heresy, pelagianism. . .the idea that man can not only do the good without God's grace, but can save himself through his good deeds. Augustine worked out the basics of our Catholic understanding of grace and free will while engaging the British monk, Pelagius in debate.

Looks like "The Shepherd" was the first to answer correctly. . .now, if The Shepherd turns out to be a bishop. . .well, I may have to go to the next closest lay answer. . . ;-)

I am very pleased with how many of you came up with the correct answer even if you didn't know the name of the heresy!

Thanks for playing. . .Name That Heresy!

12 December 2008

Is Blair really pro-choice/pro-abortion?

Just stepped back into my room from listening to Cherie Blair speak here at the Angelicum. . .

I will give a full report when I have had a chance to read the text of her talk.

Initial observations:

Great historical survey of human rights as they relate to women.

Good intro to the secular philosophy of the Declaration on Human Rights.

Good job placing the Catholic Church in the history of the struggle for recognition of human rights, though she said that the Church was not involved in the human rights struggle until well into the 20th century. Dominicans from the University of Salamanca fought against slavery in the New World in the 17th century using primitive notions of human rights and dignity.

Made several predictable and annoying points about "women's rights" in the Church; e.g., "more women in the curia would give the Church different priorities." The Church has one priority regardless of the sex of those who work in the curia: preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

From her remarks and her answer to questions afterward, I must conclude that Blair is pro-contraception but not pro-choice on abortion. This is a tentative conclusion on my part. I want to read the text itself before saying anything too firmly. Her political and charitable associations would make it very difficult to conclude that she is not pro-abortion; however, she seemed to reject outright any difficulty with Church teaching on this issue.

More later. . .

11 December 2008


Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of my priestly vocation. Today I will concelebrate the Mass and pray for the intentions of all those young men I know who are discerning vocations to the priesthood. I will ask our Lady to strengthen their hearts and clear their minds so that they can say YES! to the Lord's call to serve in his ordained ministry.

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer

Holy Mary, who under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe are invoked as Mother by the men and women of Mexico and of Latin America, encouraged by the love that you inspire in us, we once again place our life in your motherly hands.

May you, who are present in these Vatican Gardens, hold sway in the hearts of all the mothers of the world and in our own heart. With great hope, we turn to you and trust in you.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Oh, but they do carry pom-poms...

In the Jesuit tradition

Diogenes from Catholic Culture

The newly elected US Congressman:

* was once a former Jesuit novice, before realizing that his calling was to marriage and a secular career.

* remains an active Catholic layman-- in fact, served a term on the National Advisory Council to the US bishops' conference.

* won a special-election victory over an incumbent who is facing bribery charges.

* is the son of immigrants, whose father spent years in a Communist prison camp.

* has worked primarily as an attorney for immigrants.
* is solidly pro-life.

So why isn't Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao a poster boy for Catholic activism? Why isn't be being asked to speak on the campus of every Jesuit university in the country? Why aren't editors of America magazine shaking their pom-poms?

And please don't tell me that America editors don't carry pom-poms.

This guy cracks me up every time!

You just might need them some day. . .

you have any extra cash or transferable stock lying around, send them to these folks. . .

I have the distinct feeling that we are going to need their services quite often in the next, oh, four to eight years. . .

More on Blair

LifeSiteNews has more info on the on-going brouhaha over the Angelicum's invitation to pro-abortion Catholic, Cherie Blair.

Below you will find a response from Sr. Helen Alford, OP, dean of the social sciences faculty here at the Angelicum. I have made my position on this invitation clear in the post below and in the comboxes: Blair would not be my first choice for a speaker; however, as a Dominican university engaged in the education of the Church's future lay and clerical leaders, I believe we are duty-bound to demonstrate to our students the Order's ancient tradition of disputationes, that is, the public airing of differences so that the Truth may be shown triumphant.

I am truly confused by the negative reaction to this invitation. The university is in no way honoring Blair. She's not receiving an honorary degree. She's not being asked to speak at commencement. She's not being asked to raise money. . .no buildings or rooms or hallways will be named after her. . .no momuments, plaques, gardens or gazebos will be dedicated to her. She is here to lecture on an academic topic of interest to social scientists, and she will be balanced with another international speaker, a pro-life Catholic woman from Norway. There will be time for questions & challenges. Student attendance at the event is not required. I don't understand the problem.

If those opposed to Blair speaking at the Angelicum are seeking to punish her for her pro-abortion views, then I suggest you focus your attention on her bishop in the U.K. The idea that a Catholic university cannot tackle the disputed questions of the day is bizarre. The University of Dallas is one of the most traditional Catholic liberal arts colleges I know of and on faculty there are Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, and even. . .GASP!!!. . .a Scotist or two (that's pushing the line, I'll concede.). Without a single negative comment from anyone I taught a senior/grad student seminar on "postmetaphysical theologies." We read Heidegger, Nietzsche, several deconstructionsist theologians, a few postmodernists-liberals, one postmetaphysical Catholic, and one or two so-called "death of god" theologians. The university survived the trauma.

And the Church will survive Cherie Blair's pro-abortion presence at the Angelicum.

09 December 2008

Has the fat friar sung yet...?

In response to a heart-felt and motherly admonition from a faithful reader, I am writing this follow-up to my recent request for prayer. . .

In the last week, I have been hit with several small "attacks" and one big one. Taken separately, these are really nothing all that serious. However, taken together, on top of feeling overwhelmed with the task of "catching up" on my philosophy reading and struggling with Italian, I have allowed the stress to become an excuse for me to grow a bit lax in my observance.

Laxity in observance leads to less immunity from attack. . .and so on.

A lot of what hit this week has come from my past. Old faces and personalities popping up in odd places. . .renewing long-lost friendships. . .some less healthy than others. . .getting myself stupidly embroiled in a conflict with another religious over a petty thing. . .having difficulty getting some of my meds through customs in Milan. . .having more difficulty getting one of my RX's rewritten in the States. . .continuing difficulty sleeping more than a few hours a night. . .all kinds of temptations against obedience. . .as I said, taken separately, none of these alone would be dangerous. . .but they all hit simultaneously! And when one tends to melancholy, introspection, cynicism, and crankiness already. . .watch out!!!

So, where I am now? Well, pretty much all of this is still on-going. I was told yesterday that I won a scholarship from the university! WooHoo! And I think there's some movement on the teaching front that looks good. I am excited about my writing project. . .though the thought writing another dissertation is somewhat intimidating.

Regardless, I am feeling stronger spiritually and more prepared to tackle the demons. No doubt this development is the direct result of the generous response I have received to my plea for prayer. For this I am very, very grateful. I didn't intend to worry any of you with my request. Being a gregarious introvert, sometimes my internal struggles sort of spring out sideways and tend to look more dramatic than they really are. I don't mean to downplay the stress I'm feeling. That would be counterproductive. However, I don't want to exaggerate either.

Last night, I took a break from reading and did two things that helped me tremendously. First, I watched an hour long documentary on the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Talk about having your problems put in proper perspective! Then, after this hour of depression, I watched about twenty minutes of Babies Laughing vids on youtube. The combo of genocide and babies proved therapeutic.

Again, sorry for the drama! And grazie mille for the prayers. . .

Fr. Philip, OP

08 December 2008

Back in Black (and White)!

I'm back! Had a rough weeks, but all is well. . .as usual. . .

Among four or five other smaller issues that popped up over the week, I found out that, contrary to initial reports, I will need the Ph.D. in philosophy BEFORE I can start teaching in Rome. My initial understanding was that I would complete the Ph.L. in philosophy and begin teaching as a regular faculty member, teaching in the undergrad core. The Ph.D. I hold already would serve as the fulfillment of the "canonical" pre-requisite for teaching on a pontifical faculty (along with the license, a pontifical degree). However, because the Vatican has recently signed on to the Bologna Accords, univeristry accreditation in the E.U. has become almost as restrictively categorical as it is in the States.

I have been assured that I can teach as an assitant to a professor in the department while I write the dissertation. Since there was never any instructions from my province to take the Ph.D. and since I have a Ph.D. already and since I have been a university teacher for 22 years, the prospect of serving (once again!) as a teaching assistant at 45 years old is not all that attractive.

Am I being prideful? Yup. Still working on it. . .

Now, if I have to write a doctoral dissertation in addition to the license thesis, you all know what this means, right? Exactly! Time to visit the WISH LIST! It's amazing what one little book will do to help a weepy Dominican dry his prideful tears. . .hehehe. . .not to mention help him with those ever-elusive secondary sources.

One a less whiny/shameless note. . .I concelebrated Mass yesterday (along with about 100 other priests) at the North American College with John Cardinal Foley! The NAC celebrated its patronal feast, the Immaculate Conception, and its 150th birthday. Had a great time with the seminarians, with some Texas friends, and of course, the food was great.

Three for the Big I.C.

Three homilies for the Immaculate Conception. . .

Most Dangerous Announcement

Mary's YES is Our Mission (2006)

Mary: Deathless Mother, Church (2007)

When Idiots Do Theology

The Los Angeles Times, on its way to a financial bankruptcy to match its ethical bankruptcy, takes multiple potshots at the Church on its way (further) down. . .

And Newsweek, that bastion of biblical brainpower and unbiased Babel's Tower of integrity and grit, shows us how 5,000 years of Judeo-Christian scholarship is wrong and that the bible actually supports same-sex "marriage."

As I wrote to the Catholic friend who sent me the link: "The question I would love to ask the writer is: if your thesis is true, why in 5,000 years of Judeo-Christian religious history has there never been a single instance of a same-sex 'marriage' being celebrated as exemplary for Christians and Jews? You would think that if scripture is pressing the point that love and fidelity are more important that the sex of the couple, then one very powerful way of showing this would be to give us an example of a loving, faithful same-sex marriage. Yet, none exist. And we must be careful not to confuse same-sex friendships (Jonathan and David) with sexually active, religiously recognized, sacramental marriages celebrated in the Bible."

I believe it is Mark Shea who sensibly warns Catholics to run and hide any time the media purports to wade into religious discussions and provide "perspective."

07 December 2008

..and don't you forget it...

When temptation attacks. . .the walls of the convent are the sieves of freedom; the bars of the monastery the gates of liberty!