Friday, August 29, 2008

Nancy Pelosi, Non Capite

Nancy Pelosi lectures the Catholic Church on it's own beliefs.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press" Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did Catholics in America a huge, though unintended favor; she woke up our bishops! I am so proud of New York's Cardinal Egan or Archbishop Chaput of Denver, or Washington's Archbishop Wuerl or even the USCCB!

Speaker Pelosi, a self-decribed ardent Catholic claimed that her long-time study of Catholic theology, notably St. Augustine, she has come to the conclusion that the Church hasn't really defined when human life begins and even if it did "The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose."

This is so wrong, I honestly don't know where to begin. Fortunately others have done the heavy lifting for me: Amy Welborn, Fr.Z here and here, American Papist and even that other AP!

PS Forgive me if my attempt at an Italian pun via Babelfish failed. "Non Capite" is supposed to mean "you don't understand". I hope I did!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Explosion of Apologists

I was listening to EWTN’s Life on the Rock tonight. During the discussion someone mentioned the explosion of apologists and apologetical works. Hearing this I thought “Wow! That’s a great collective noun; an explosion of apologists!” It seems fitting since many apologists seem to be on the verge of exploding much of the time!

Let me ‘splain. St. Peter in 1 Pt 3:15-16, a favorite of apologists, talks about always being ready to give people a reason for your hope. We all need to understand our faith well so we can explain to others the reasons we believe, not just apologists. Notice that St. Peter talks about a reason for our hope. This is more than just intellectual faith. It speaks to our emotions as well. Not only that, but hope gathers all we believe and are and entrusts it into the hands of a God who is love. That hope then lifts up to heavenly places with Christ where we have an inheritance “that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven” for us (I Pt 1:4).

I believe that it is especially because St. Peter is referring to hope, that he reminds us to explain the reason for it “with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear (1 Pt 3:16a). We are dealing with people’s deepest emotions here.

Yet some apologists seem to get the idea of explaining but miss the gentleness and reverence. In the heat of defending the faith, there can be rudeness rather than reverence and a kind of greediness in having the truth rather than gentleness in reasoning from it.

When people bring up these attacks on others rather than defending the faith, a common reply is that they are just being honest and to-the-point. They say that St. Paul could be a bit prickly. Even Jesus woe-ified the Pharisees, calling them whitewashed tombs. So they see their lambasting as a legitimate strategy.

To which I say when you are as brilliant as the apostle Paul, you can be as bombastic as he; when you are the Son of God like Jesus, you can be discourteous to the sons of men.

Until then we must all practice that gentleness and reverence as we give an explanation to anyone who asks about the reason for our hope.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Myers Wanna "Cracker"?

PZ Myers is a godless liberal. Hey, that's what it says on his blog! He's a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris. He is an atheist and proud of it. In recent days he has become notorious for the sacrilege of desecrating a consecrated host or, as he calls them, "horrible little crackers."

According to the Catholic Church, when a priest speaks the words of consecration over the hosts (i.e. thin wafers of wheat bread) during a Mass, by the power of God the hosts become the body, blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in their essence while retaining the appearance of bread. Since the hosts are changed in what they essentially are but not in how they appear they still look and taste like bread. If you could examine them in a lab they would have the chemical composition of bread. Except for a few Eucharistic miracles, the consecrated hosts don't become physical flesh and blood. If you prick them, they do not bleed.

But that is apparently what PZ Myers expected or thought Catholics would expect. He did prick a consecrated host by pushing a nail through it. It did not bleed. Imagine his surprise and dissappointment. (It's funny how fundamentalist atheists become when it's to their advantage, but I digress). Remember this is not the first time someone put a nail through Jesus. On that occassion he said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." I'm sure that what Jesus said when PZ Myers drove a nail through him--again!

Catholics must forgive PZ Myers for his sacrilege. This desecration of the Eucharist, this taking something of value to someone else and breaking it, is the action of a frightened, arrogant, petulant child who can't play nicely with others and whose vocabulary consists of profanity, silly blasphemies and "nyah, nyah, na, nyah, nyah!"

PZ Myers said that "nothing must be held sacred." I suppose that includes even the U of Minnesota and it's students. So the University might want to be careful. This breed will turn on you. For militant atheists have only their anger at a God they don't believe exists and at anyone who believes in anything other than their bitter screed. To them, all religions are lies and we would be better off without them. They are right in a sense. As St. Paul says if Christ is not raised our faith is in vain; we are still in out sins. If Christ is not God, if God doesn't exist, then the Eucharist is just a "horrible little cracker".

Fair enough. If PZ Myers wants a world without religion, especially Christianity, especially Catholicism, he can have one as long as he gives up any of the benefits of the Church. No hospitals, no art, no genetics, no seismology, no music, no charitable organizations, no universities, no care for the poor or elderly, no atheists, no one to rant and rail against.

So let's not rail and rant against PZ Myers. Let's pray for and forgive him. Priests at the London Oratory are doing just that!