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Updated 9/28/22
 
 
 
 
 A bad guy dummied up a phony email from the Pastor.  Beware!
 
 
 
 
Knights Coordinate Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession
 
 
The Commandments and the restoration of civilization [09.07.22] “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34). The bloodshed and pain of a sword – metaphorical or literal – are unpleasant. Divine revelation evaluates and indicts every person and culture. G. K. Chesterton observes: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” A compelling national interest includes the protection of civilization. [Continue reading]
 
 
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [09.05.22] "The Church condemns euthanasia, a nice word for mercy killing: [W]hatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction…all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed." They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator. (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 27) [Continue reading]
 
 
 
The Hubris of a Tax-Code System of Morality [08.29.22] Humility is a commonly misunderstood virtue. Humility does not deny legitimate talents and attributes; it is the honest assessment of our relationship with God and others. [Continue reading] 
 
 

A tiny minority view on Ukraine [08.26.22] There is an occupational danger for a priest living close to Washington, DC. A predisposition for politics and foreign affairs can eclipse his religious mission. Of course – as Abraham Lincoln (or was it Mark Twain?) alleged to have said – “Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Call me a naïve, uncredentialed, armchair foreign policy amateur. But please consider the questions. [Continue reading]

 
 
Dabbling with the Devil [08.22.22] According to a Pew Research survey, an increasing number of people identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Deeply spiritual people believe they do not need a Creator or Creation. [Continue reading]
 
 
A Little Catechism to Fortify Our Faith in Troubled Times [08.15.22]Abandoning the Catholic faith in tumultuous times is an act of betrayal and spiritual suicide. This brief Catechism aims to provide reliable reasons to tough it out. “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and remain faithful.” (2 Tim. 3:14) Why is the orthodox Catholic faith essential? [Continue Reading]

Going the Wrong Way with Studied Ambiguity [08.11.22] In the 1944 movie classic, Going My Way, young Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley (Bing Crosby) is an unconventional “progressive.” He is assigned to replace the stodgy Father Fitzgibbons (Barry Fitzgerald). In one scene, the priest-crooner teaches a young female runaway to sing in the privacy of his rectory office. The moviemakers ensure that we know the sweet young thing is 18 years old: the age of consent. The film is morally subversive. The wholesome popularity of the movie provides ambiguity and plausible deniability to disguise the sexual tension between a young woman and a young priest.[Continue reading]

 
Editing the Declaration of Independence [08.08.22] In days bygone, it would have seemed presumptuous to edit the Declaration of Independence, the holy writ of America’s founding. But now an iconoclastic essay in the New York Times attempts to reframe our history, in line with the 1619 Project. They started it. So, with all due respect to Thomas Jefferson and company, let’s revisit the Declaration and offer some editorial suggestions. [Continue Reading]
 
 
Intrinsic Evil Acts are Stubborn Things [08.05.22] Paraphrasing John Adams, intrinsic evil acts are stubborn things. The Fifth Commandment prohibits murder. Abortion is murder. It is always and everywhere wrong. A person who commits -- or formally cooperates in a direct abortion -- is guilty of murder. The early Church document -- the Didache -- taught: “You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.” [https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0714.htm] The ancient Greek Hippocratic Oath also opposed abortion. Doctors promised: "...not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.” [Continue Reading] 
 
Déjà vu All Over Again [08.01.22] The caustic and always entertaining British novelist Evelyn Waugh observed:It is better to be narrow-minded than to have no mind, to hold limited and rigid principles than none at all. That is the danger which faces so many people today—to have no considered opinions on any subject, to put up with what is wasteful and harmful with the excuse that there is “good in everything”—which in most cases means the inability to distinguish between good and bad.[Continue Reading]
 
The Parable of the Three Grandmothers [07.30.22] Three Catholic grandmothers are among the passengers on a plane to Chicago. The first is generous and kind. She lavishes gifts on her children and grandchildren and pays for their vacations. To retain peace in the family, she avoids talking about religion. Consequently, most members of her family don’t practice the Faith. [Continue Reading]
 
 
Sodom Sunday [07.25.22] God is love, our faith teaches us. Jesus reaffirms that our response to God’s love is to love God and neighbor. Is there evidence of God’s love? Many people reject religion because of the lack of direct evidence. Indeed, atheism can result “from a violent protest against the evil in this world.” (Vatican II, GS 19.2) The “God love you!” greeting can be platitudinous amid great suffering: war, genocide, terrible health afflictions. Why should we believe in and worship an all-good God? [Continue Reading]
 
The Papal Pelosi Scandal
 
Losers and Generosity [07.11.22] Losers come in many shapes and forms and emerge from unexpected places. The priests and Levites who avoided the wounded traveler in the Parable of the Prodigal Son were members of the Jewish elites, but they were selfish losers. The Samaritan was an apostate Jew. Moved with compassion, he alone sacrificed his time and money to care for the stranger. Jesus asks the “scholar of the law”: “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” The scholar—also one of the elite—must have felt a bit uncomfortable. He couldn’t even bring himself to pronounce “Samaritan.” So he responds, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Imagine that. Imitate an unbeliever. [Continue reading]
 
 
The “Old Mass and the “Novus Ordo” Mass: Irreconcilable differences? [07.03.22]“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” (Col. 3:21) The relationship between the preconciliar and postconciliar forms of Mass has become like a problematic marriage needing long-suffering, patience, goodwill, and hatred of divorce. During his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI played the part of the kindly counselor interested in reconciling the two parties. In a disturbing contrast, Pope Francis appears as a partisan counselor, provoking a rupture in the relationship, although his stated goal is unity. [Continue Reading]
 
 
A Tribute to Pro-Life Determination [06.27.22] Jesus is determined to achieve His saving mission. St. Luke reveals His resolve to go up to Jerusalem for His final confrontation with evil—the horrors of the Cross, followed by His glorious Resurrection. He encourages His followers to share the same determination to fulfill their vocations. He tells a disciple, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. [Continue Reading]
 
 
 
The Eucharist and Other Enemies of the State [06.20.22]  Among the many lessons learned in recent years is the necessity of fact-checking every narrative. USA Today removed 23 stories from its web site following an audit that revealed a reporter’s fabrications. The reporter was a liar, and she dishonored her profession. In her small way, her misrepresentations distorted history. She is not alone. But in a rare victory for journalistic integrity, she was caught. A comment appended to the story read: “What else is new? Religions do the same.” [Continue reading]
 
 
Biden and the Ministers of Moloch [06.17.22]Is it fair to compare pro-abortion politicians to the ancient Israelites who sacrificed their children to the demon Moloch in the valley of Gehenna outside Jerusalem? Or is the comparison unreasonable and too harsh? Our understanding of the Catholic faith helps us make critical distinctions as we “follow the science.” [Read More]
 
 
The Little Shop of Horrors [06.13.22] -- Peace of soul depends upon accurate self-understanding, how we relate to the world, and our life mission. Flowers are spiritual metaphors. Tiny sprouts emerge from the seed, the sprouts gain strength, and clusters of flower buds appear. In time, the flowers burst forth in beauty, revealing the dignity of those tiny seeds created by God. So it is with us. Thoughtful people want to know the basics of their identities as they anticipate the full flowering of their lives.[Read More] 
 

The Divine Symphony [06.01.22] -- “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27) The sacred writer’s use of “man” is inherently communal because it includes both male and female. Indeed, the communal nature of man images God: three Persons in one God. The unity of a man and a woman – and that of every healthy social unit—reflects the unity and complementarity of the Blessed Trinity. [Read More]

 

Tossing us the keys to His Kingdom [05.30.22] -- The term “American wake” originated in Ireland in the mid-1800s during the potato famine, when emigration to America over the Atlantic was a dangerous one-way ticket. An American wake is similar to a funeral wake, giving relatives and friends the chance to grieve the permanent departure of loved ones. The family would never again see those destined for American shores. [Read More]

 
 
Ukraine and Questions of Just War [05.24.22] -- In 1845, President James K. Polk sent diplomat John Slidell to Mexico City to offer $30 million for New Mexico, California, and other territories north of the Rio Grande. Mexico refused the offer. A frustrated Polk sent troops to Texas in 1846 to provoke the Mexicans into war. It worked. Mexican troops fired on the Americans, and Congress delivered a declaration of war. Several decades later, Ulysses S. Grant wrote the war was "one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory." [Read More]
 
 
Archbishop Cordileone & Speaker Pelosi in Perspective [05.23.22] --The last several decades have been frustrating for traditional-minded pro-life Catholics. Whenever legislators and legislation threatened the moral law, the American bishops were inclined to sponsor various prayer initiatives. Prayer became like a government program as bishops disguised their dereliction of duty in disciplining pro-abortion Catholic politicians by calling for more public devotion and more dialogue. The bishops were sending the sheep to protect the shepherds. Starved for faithful leadership, some greeted the USCCB initiatives with sarcasm: “Bartender, another round of dialogue!” [Continue Reading]
 
 
Non-Conformists [05.09.22] As pop culture moved from carefree rock ‘n roll tunes to the self-serious and dark counterculture, the entertainment industry struggled to keep pace. When a group of psychedelic hippy musicians appeared on the iconic American Bandstand television show in the 1960s, host Dick Clark introduced them as “non-conformists.” Maybe. They all dressed alike: long hair, tie-dye shirts, jeans, and sandals. The House of Gucci soon cashed in with chic designer jeans. We may reject a conventional dress code, but nobody is a “non-conformist.” We all are sheep of some flock.[Continue reading]
 
 
Peter's Tumultuous Vocation and Ours [05.02.22] In 1973, the great American philosopher and baseball manager Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over ‘tll it's over." He was right. His team, the Mets, rallied and won the pennant. We cannot find the phrase in the Scriptures, but we should not neglect its wisdom. The turbulent life of St. Peter as it unfolds in the gospels illustrates how Jesus directs and sustains us throughout our lives. [Continue reading]
 
 
The Benefits of Tribalism and the Limits of Hate [04.25.22] Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor and pray for our enemies. Friend and enemy alike usually cluster in families, neighborhoods, and communities. The difficulty in modern America is that we seldom know our neighbors, and the enemies we hate are often public figures we don’t encounter up close and personal. It may be helpful to identify structures that limit hate. [Continue reading]
 
The Cure for Our Fears, Real or Imagined  [04.18.22] There is a tension between real and imagined fears. Imaginary fears—or those only partially based on reality—are irrational. Jesus feared the Cross in the Garden, and His fears were realistic. In His anguish at the prospect of the Crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me.” We need not deny fears anchored in reality, but we must place our anxieties in service of God’s positive or permissive will. So Jesus concludes, “…nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Lk. 22:42) [Continue reading]
 
 The Problem of Sin, Suffering, and Death [04.11.22] -- Many years ago, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger hoped to retire from his service as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He planned to spend his twilight years studying the problem of evil. His plans were noteworthy for ordinary Catholics. Evil and the mystery of human suffering continued to perplex one of the Church’s greatest theologians. The Passion of Jesus and Holy Week provide the context to consider human freedom, evil, and its terrible consequences. For purposes here, we can only sketch an outline of our Catholic faith that helps us ponder these great mysteries. [Continue reading]
 
 
 
The Seal of Confession, Guardian of our Shame [04.06.2022] When we turn to God for forgiveness, the seal of confession is the guardian of our shame. The world may find this controversial. Anti-Catholic nativists distorted the practice in nineteenth-century America, and the ugly clerical child abuse scandal provoked criticism in recent decades (although one wonders whether psychotic child molesters seek forgiveness in confession). Catholics understand that the seal of confession provides a haven for sinners and keeps the channel of forgiveness—received with certainty in a good confession—open. The seal itself is not disembodied. It, too, needs a guardian. [Continue reading]
 
 
Opposition Research [03.29.22] -- In the rough and tumble of political elections, politicians use opposition research to help craft their campaign strategies. There may be nothing offensive in bringing to light an opponent’s record. But the revelations may violate the Eighth Commandment when deliberate distortions or unnecessary disclosures unjustly smear an adversary. [Continue reading]
 
 
Act of Contrition and Personal Health [03.21.22] -- Among the many muscular prayers in the Catholic arsenal is the traditional Act of Contrition. It is a prayer that we should recite routinely, especially before we retire in the evening. In the Gospel, various infirmities are metaphors for sin: leprosy, blindness, paralysis, etc. Let’s update the list with contemporary examples to bolster our understanding of the Act of Contrition.[Continue reading] 
 
 
The Ukraine Mess: Points to ponder about narratives, criteria, possible responses and effects [03.07.2022] -- Many years ago, I was visiting with some construction workers. I asked one of them about his views on the war in Iraq. He responded that he would favor the war if the President would risk his own family members. As we consider the Russian invasion of Ukraine and apply just war principles, we should also ask if we would be willing to risk the lives of close family members in the cause of Ukraine’s defense. [Continue reading]
 
 
Surveillance Spiritualty [03.01.22] -- We all want to look good, so we brush and floss our teeth and comb our hair. Many movie stars have teeth implants to improve their smiles. Sometimes we’re the last to realize what others see. Despite our best appearances, we still need family members or friends to point out the egg on our faces. As an old joke has it, an elderly person looks into the mirror, sees the creases of age, and asks, “How did that happen?” It’s difficult to assess how others see us or how God sees us. [Continue reading]
 
 
Original Sin, the Decoder of Human Nature [02.25.22] -- The cultural landscape provides us with many challenges that require clear thinking and compassion. A correct understanding of original sin—and its effects—is necessary to distinguish between normal and abnormal. The misunderstanding of the nature of the sin of Adam damages our spiritual and moral lives and distorts public policy. [Continue reading]
 
  
The Opium of the People [02.14.22] -- The alluring prospect of a materialistic heaven on earth fuels an insatiable appetite for government guarantees of peace, security, and worldly comforts. Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opium of the people.” He would have been more accurate if he said massive government programs are the narcotics of voters. [Continue reading]
 
 
The Scandal of Church Abuse [02.07.22] -- The Church is one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic. Whenever we violate these marks of the Church, we abuse the Church. Acts of Church abuse are increasing. In 2017, Father Antonio Spadaro, an Italian Jesuit—often identified as “the Pope’s mouthpiece”—defended the theological ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia. “Theology is not mathematics,” he said, adding, “2 + 2 in theology can make 5….” This astonishing and irrational remark foreshadowed an uptick in Church abuse at the highest of ecclesial levels. [Continue reading]
 
     

The Silent Compliant Majority [02.01.22] -- Universities pay historians to research, understand, and explain revolutions in order to help us comprehend our present circumstances. Most social upheavals—such as the 1789 French Revolution and the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power—are top-down. Revolutionary regimes always count on the servile obedience of their subjects. [Continue reading]

 
 
Lay Ministry and the Ordination of Women [01.25.22] -- Pope Francis took a significant step in expanding lay ministry as he conferred the ministries of catechist, lector, and acolyte upon laymen and women in St. Peter’s Basilica in January 2022. What will be the effect of expanding official ministries in the Church? Will the pope’s attempt to recognize the “precious contribution” that women make to the Church defuse or escalate divisive expectations for the ordination of women? [Continue reading]

 

Heretics [01.24.22] -- In a 2019 Scientific American article, an author writes: “Contrary to popular belief, scientific research helps us better understand the unique and real transgender experience.” The article then presumes to demonstrate the scientific basis for gender fluidity.Who are you going to believe, Scientific American or your own eyes? Scientists can easily become madmen without faith.[Continue reading]

 

“Expect a miracle!” [01.17.22] -- Those words on the lips of TV evangelists are particularly effective in fundraising. We use social media platforms pleading for prayers and miracle cures. (Beware of high-tech gossip.) Miracles validated by science and the Church testify to the sanctity of saints. But is it reasonable to expect everyday miracles from God? [Continue reading]

Jesus is Not an Alien [01.12.22] -- Authentic Catholic teaching provides the most comprehensive and reasonable understanding of the human person. We have a body and soul, and we are male or female. We have five senses. The faculties of the soul include intellect and will, memory, and imagination. Emotions—properly controlled by reason—complete this fundamental vision of who we are. But the Sacraments—first among them, Baptism—elevate us, and we enter into the life of the Blessed Trinity. In a nutshell, this vision provides us with the framework for “Christian anthropology.” [Continue reading]

 

The Spiritual Capital Punishment of Faithful Catholics [01.14.22] -- The moral analysis of rejecting Vatican directives canceling the widespread celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is worthy of robust debate, adjudication, and repeated appeals for clarification. [Continue reading]

 

A Mother's Love [01.04.22] -- War stories attract our curiosity and attention with exciting accounts of courage and cowardice. They also help wring out excessive religious sentimentalism—all-too-common in a comfortable consumer society—by provoking urgent questions about the purpose of life. Some say there are no atheists in the foxhole. But others who have experienced the horrors of war question Divine benevolence. [Continue reading] 

 

Life Stinks. Merry Christmas! [12.27.21] -- Merry Christmas to you and your families! It is a glorious and beautiful feast—with the tenderness of simplicity of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—attracting us to worship the newborn King. Come, let us adore Him. On Christmas, we remember the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity—the Word made Flesh, Jesus—entering the world. He came on a mission to save us from our sins and open the doors to heaven.But let’s face it. Most of us don’t think that’s enough.[Continue Reading]
 
 
Destined for Destruction [12.21.21] -- The ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche) in downtown Berlin stand as a monument to the ravages of war. On November 23, 1943, during the Second World War, an air raid irreparably damaged the church.The symbolism is ambivalent. The church structure survived the evil of war, symbolizing the triumph of religious worship. But the building remains badly damaged, reminding us of the troublesome and long-lasting effects of wickedness, as well as the ravages of time. All things made by human hands—including great temples and cathedrals—are destined for destruction.[Continue reading]
 
 
The Magisterium of Martyrs [12.13.21] -- We all have personal comfort zones. Priests generally live in a comfort-zone bubble, surrounded by friendly parishioners. Most parishioners, in contrast, enter daily into the lion’s den of a hostile secular workplace. So the very least a priest can do is support the faithful with orthodox teachings. Yet many priests and bishops hunger for cultural acceptance and allow politically-correct fashions to frame and influence their ministry. [Continue reading] 
 
 
Teaching a Pastor to Prpeare the Way of the Lord [12.14.21] -- John the Baptist extols us to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” As we prepare for the Lord’s birthday, let’s consider a few voices crying out from the wilderness.During the 1992 Columbus Quincentenary commemorations, historian Dr. James Hitchcock gave a talk somewhere in Washington, D.C. He recounted the significance of Christopher Columbus and the men of his era. As a young man, Bartolomé de las Casas (b. 1484) was a slave trader in the West Indies. Dominican friars denied him absolution for failing to manifest a firm purpose of amendment. The denial eventually sparked a complete conversion and helped launch an illustrious career promoting Indian human rights. The slave-trading Spanish weren’t the only villains. According to one account, Aztec priests sacrificed so many victims that the pagan holy men collapsed from fatigue. Hitchcock quipped, “And our priests complain if they have to celebrate more than two Masses on a Sunday.” As a newly-minted priest, I laughed heartily. But as an older and mature pastor, I started to question the wisdom of uninformed anti-clerical jokes.[Continue reading]
 

Appropriating the Christmas Appropriators [12.3.21] -- Three businessmen – a Catholic, a Protestant, and an atheist – go to lunch during Advent to discuss what Christmas means to them. The Protestant says Christmas means a 50 percent increase in profits. The Catholic says he looks at the bottom line; Christmas means a 20 percent increase in earnings after taxes. The atheist says that the Christmas business is so profitable that on Christmas day, he and his friends gather around the Christmas tree, hold hands, and sing, “O what a friend we have in Jesus!” [Continue reading]

Christ, the Great King [11.23.21] -- Good kings and rulers execute their civic duties in response to the lawful requirements of their subjects. They provide for the common defense. They tend to our perceived community, family, and individual needs. They collect taxes to pay expenses, and they guarantee reasonable freedoms. [Continue reading]

 

Where Accompaniment Fails [11.17.21] -- As the dogmatic precepts of the secular religion take shape, cultural elites try to deflect criticism by presuming the rhetorical high ground. Only a racist and a bigot would object to the allegedly self-evident truths of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” LGBTQ+ replaces morally descriptive words like homosexual, sodomy, perversion, and mutilation. Abortion and genital mutilation are no longer crimes against humanity. They are human rights.[Continue reading]

 
Life is a Test [11.17.21] -- We often overlook a fundamental fact of life: every human life is a test of freedom and fidelity. God endows us with freedom, and we are not His slaves. He desires that we freely choose Him. "A Nice Place to Visit" is an episode from the classic television series The Twilight Zone. The episode first aired on CBS in 1960. The title comes from the cliché: "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." [Continue reading]
 
 
 
The Widow’s Almsgiving Budget [11.09.21] -- Most so-called “charitable giving” does not rise to the level of Christian charity, IRS regulations notwithstanding. Giving to charitable organizations is usually from “abundance,” an exercise of justice, not charity.[Continue reading]
 
 
 
Understanding Mortal Sin [11.07.210 -- The following term is so provocative, disturbing, and shocking – it is so unsettling and divisive – that sensitive adults should brace themselves. Don’t worry about the children. They get it. Mortal sin. [Continue reading]
 
 
A Little Catechism on Politics and So-Called Catholic Pro-Abortion Politicians [10.30.21] -- 1) What does the Church teach on the morality of abortion? The Second Vatican Council reinforces the gravity of the sin: “...from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. “ (GS 51) [Continue reading]
 
 
 
The Electronic Jesus [10.21.21] -- Jesus teaches, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jn. 8:32) Truth and freedom are inseparable. Jesus embodies the truth: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (Jn. 14:6). Our encounter with Jesus through our faith not only defines who we are as members of His Mystical Body but also directs our lives in hope and love. Paradoxically, the firm certainties of the faith are as elusive as ever, with technology in part to blame. Over fifty years ago, philosopher Marshal McLuhan observed that the medium is the message. The form of a message determines how that message will be perceived. Hence the medium of movies, TV, live-streaming, and internet videos have innate, singular, and subliminal messages.[Continue Reading]

 

55 Cents and the Price of Stationary [10.14.21] -- The rich young man in the Gospel expressed pride in abiding by the Commandments, but Jesus asked for a generous spirit. The Commandments form the moral foundation of all that we do. Charity and generosity—in its countless forms according to our respective vocations—fulfill the justice of the Ten Commandments, just as the Cross of the New Covenant fulfills the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant. [Continue Reading]

 
 
White Knuckles [10.11.21] --Most of us have experienced the serenity of an airline flight at cruising speed. We have also experienced unexpected and unnerving turbulence. Hands gripped on the armrests with white knuckles, we hope that the pilot is competent and sober—or that at least the high technology features of the craft will prevent a crash. Life in the Catholic Church is something like that.[Continue Reading]
 
 

German Bishops Join the Wolves [10.06.21] -- An astonishing news item in the Wall Street Journal reports: “At a meeting in Frankfurt, German [Catholic] church leaders voted 168 to 28. . .to adopt a draft statement on sexuality that includes a resolution saying that ‘same-sex partnerships who want to take the risk of an unbreakable common life. . .should be able to see themselves placed under the blessing of God.’” [Continue Reading] 

 

Cashing in on the Devil? [09.28.21] -- The devil plays a prominent role as the Anti-Christ in the Scriptures. He appears under the guise of a serpent in the Garden, persuading Eve to consume the forbidden fruit. He torments the just man Job to test Job’s fidelity; He returns to tempt Jesus in the desert; Jesus and his disciples cast out demons from the possessed. The Cross is not only a horrible specter of diabolical power, but it is also a definitive Sign of the defeat of evil. In our day, there is widespread disbelief in the devil as a person.[Continue reading]

 
Follow the Science [09.21.21] -- “Everyone knows” that Catholics are superstitious. We believe that the Incarnation reconciles God and man, and nature and grace. Faith and reason, and religion and science, are perfectly compatible. Imagine that. So let’s take a break from our “superstitions” and follow the science. Here are some notes using Mayo Clinic staff reports on the development of an unborn baby. [Continue reading]
 

Peter’s Sacramental Confession [09.17.21] -- The Bible identifies many sinners by name and their crimes. The disobedience of Adam and Eve, King David’s adultery and cover-up murder, Herod’s lust and murder of John the Baptist, Pilate’s cowardly execution of Jesus, and so on. Even the manifest grave sins of Peter, the exemplar pope, are documented in the Gospels. Nevertheless, the restraint of the Evangelists ensures that the Gospels never read like a Hollywood scandal sheet. [Continue reading]

 

Bored and Boring Bishops [09.07.2021] -- Boredom among priests and bishops has become a common malaise. After Texas passed a pro-life law that prohibits abortions after six weeks of gestation, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, KY, tweeted: "Those who vehemently fight legal abortion, but are uninterested in providing basic healthcare for pregnant mothers or needy children, who are unconcerned about refugee children or those lacking quality education with no hope of escaping poverty cannot really claim to respect life." [Continue reading]

 

Natural Law to the Rescue (09.01.21) -- Voltaire, the apostate Enlightenment philosopher, famously quipped, “In the beginning, God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.” The repackaging God’s revelation to reflect our biases helps explain the present breakdown in trust for our leaders.[Continue reading]

 

The Creed and the Name of Christ (08.25.21) -- Rosebud. Movie enthusiasts will immediately think of the classic 1941 film Citizen Kane. A two-syllable word recapitulates the entire drama and renews speculation—whether it refers to unrequited love, innocence lost, or happiness abandoned. Indeed, our vocabulary is not only laden with meaning, but laden with historical and experiential references. [Continue Reading]

Mask Mandates, sic et non (08.22.21) -- Are mask mandates reasonable and necessary, or are they dangerous and even immoral? This essay is, in part, a response to comments made to an earlier piece, titled “The Pandemic and the Contraceptive Mentality” (Aug 17, 2021). I suggested that the contraceptive mentality induces the same fear and entitlement behavior patterns we are experiencing in response to the pandemic. Some critics disagree and contend that I’m insensitive to the gravity of the COVID threat. [Continue reading]

 

The Pandemic and the Contraceptive Mentality (08.17.21) -- We take reasonable safety measures throughout our lives. We teach children to look both ways before crossing. Police and soldiers wear Kevlar body armor, surgeons and medical personnel don masks and gowns when necessary, and so on. But some precautions, such as contraception, are excessive, wrong, and betray irrational fears. [Continue reading]

 

"You're Only Human" (08.16.21) -- We never quite get over adolescence. We are either too fat or too skinny, and we forever obsess over countless other physical details. (Google ads exploit our bodily insecurities, often with amusing results. The data collectors may correctly determine that a user needs to lose belly fat, for example. But when the ads relentlessly depict senior ladies, and a user is a man, it undermines confidence in the algorithm’s reputation for omniscience.) Let’s be attentive to our health. But there should be limits in our war against the flesh. The way we wage this war reveals our view of our humanity. [Continue reading]

Freaks (07.16.21) -- Many years ago, in a terrible accident, a NASCAR collision caused a wheel to fly high into the air. The errant wheel killed a spectator sitting in isolation in the upper grandstands: an unfortunate, freak accident. An investigation of the crash scene would reveal the convergence of many unlikely events, mechanical failures, and errors of judgment that would lead to such an unexpected and shocking outcome. The probabilities were stacked heavily against that outcome—until it happened. A freak is an oddity, an extreme departure from the norm. However, in using the term to describe the behavior of a human being, there are limitations. [Continue Reading]

Can Catholics Pledge Allegiance to the Flag Today? (07.06.21) -- In the United States, we usually identify ideological differences as liberal or conservative, right or left, Democrat or Republican. The categories are helpful to some extent. Disciples of Jesus worship the Word made Flesh, “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Thoughtful Christians prefer to distinguish between truth and error. So when we pledge our allegiance to the flag, we must pay close attention to the words for purposes of personal integrity. [Continue Reading]

Suffering, medical ethics, and the glory of God (06.28.21) -- It is normal to desire health and a long life. Tending to the health of our bodies is holy and commendable. Several beautiful verses in the Bible (Ps. 91 and Dt. 5:33, for example) invoke blessings for long life in the Lord. In the early Church, Saint Irenaeus insisted that the glory of God is man fully alive. With body and soul right with God, we have the fullness of humanity. We are normal. [Continue Reading]

Agent Provocateurs for the Unborn (06.7.21) -- “This is my Body” are the hallowed words of Jesus at the Last Supper when He instituted the Blessed Eucharist—the New and Everlasting Covenant—and instructed His Apostles to “Do this in memory of me.” But the sacred declaration has an alternative meaning, as the late, great Notre Dame Law professor Dr. Charles Rice often observed. [Continue Reading]

Faith is Personal, not Ideological (06.2.21) --  Every prayer and every slogan—religious or secular—introduces and reinforces some doctrine. Catholic prayers beckon us to enter into the mysteries of the Faith. The Sign of the Cross expresses the first mystery and the central mystery of our existence: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” In one brief statement, we assent to the entire Catholic faith.[Continute Reading]

Every prayer and every slogan—religious or secular—introduces and reinforces some doctrine. Catholic prayers beckon us to enter into the mysteries of the Faith. The Sign of the Cross expresses the first mystery and the central mystery of our existence: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” In one brief statement, we assent to the entire Catholic faith. [Continue Reading]

Undermining the Communist Menace (05.25.21) -- After the Ascension, when Jesus completed his earthly mission, He brought our redeemed humanity with Him to reign at the right hand of the Father. He then sent the Holy Spirit upon us to guide and direct His Mystical Body, and He inspires us to constant conversion and renewal, as we share in His generous Spirit of love for the transformation of the world. How does the Holy Spirit transform us, our immediate life circumstances, and our institutions? [Continue Reading]

 

Dare to be Irrelevant (05.14.21) -- For better or for worse, most priests and bishops try to be relevant. In 1965, Pope Paul VI released the documents of Vatican II. Among them was Gaudium et Spes, “The Church in the Modern World.” Henceforth, with renewed vigor, we would engage the world. It didn’t take long for the new spirit to dominate our devotion. But a funny thing happened on the road to a relevant Church.[Continue Reading]

 

The Book of Normal (05.12.21) -- Regardless of age, most of us have emotional maturity issues. How can we harness the insecurities of adolescence and the immaturities of young adulthood? How can we tame the neuroses of middle age and the eccentricities of old age? How can we become normal? [Read More]

 

Little Italian Grandmothers (05.07.21) -- When I was in the seminary, a New York City priest familiar with the city’s ethnic neighborhoods delivered an unusually memorable homily. He introduced his remarks with a droll comment about “little Italian grandmothers” and their large families. The details escape my memory now. But his quip drew twitters of chuckles from the seminarians. Despite the humorless politically correct culture, the popular caricature of little Italian grandmothers remains comical. [Continue reading]
 
 

Dr. Frankenstein Meets Joe Biden (05.04.21) -- It is a sad testament to our age that the fate of children’s body parts is so much in the news lately. Abp. Joseph F. Naumann said recently: “The bodies of children killed by abortion deserve the same respect as that of any other person. Our government has no right to treat innocent abortion victims as a commodity that can be scavenged for body parts to be used in research.” President Biden’s press spokeswoman responded to the archbishop’s remarks: “We believe that it’s important to invest in science and look for opportunities to cure diseases and I think that’s what this is hopeful to do.” [Continue reading]

 
What Segregation, White Guilt, and Black Power Can Teach Catholics (04.19.21) -- Most adults know the frustration of receiving duties but not the authority to carry them out correctly. The relationship between power and responsibility helps us understand ideological tensions in society and the Church. [Continue reading]
 
Peter’s Penance, Passed Down to Every Priest (04.19.21) -- There is an old story among lawyers selecting jurors. Prosecuting attorneys prefer Protestants—old-time-religion Calvinists, if possible. Numbered among the elect, they are more inclined to say: “There, by God, goes a sinner!” The defense attorneys prefer (or used to prefer many years ago) Catholics. Familiar with the sacrament of penance, the defense team could count on them for introspection: “Under the right circumstances, I could have done that!” A trial by jury can be an innovative way to examine a conscience and do penance for sins. [Continue reading]
 
A Program for Bolstering Faith (04.05.21) -- The bodily resurrection of Jesus is the crown jewel of our faith and defines our existence for eternity. Jesus forever breaks the power of sin, suffering, and death. The gates of heaven are now open to receive us if we follow Him. But without constantly recurring to the fact of the Resurrection, our faith degrades and fragments, and we risk our salvation. [Continue reading]
 
Jesus is Not a Dictator (04.01.21) -- Holy Thursday and the Last Supper provide us with a tender and complicated scene of personal relationships: an admixture of joy, melancholy, and disturbing prospects of denial and betrayal. The Sacred three days—the Triduum—conclude with the glorious Resurrection. The grand finale of the Easter Season includes the Ascension and Pentecost. But we may wonder why the Ascension of Jesus—His departure from the friends He loves and His return to the Father—is a glorious mystery of the Rosary rather than one of the most sorrowful mysteries. [Continue reading]

The Ten Commandments and Systemic Clericalism (03.22.21) -- The Ten Commandments represent God’s immutable laws. Obedience to Jesus and His name brings salvation: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (Jn. 3:18) The Commandments, fulfilled in Jesus, form the “skeletal structure” of Christian morality. Our virtuous response forms the muscles, sinews, and flesh. But we remain in conflict with ourselves because of our sinful inclinations, while the Commandments provoke conflict with the world—and within the Church. [Continue reading] 

A Supernatural People (03.14.21) -- Somewhere in his voluminous works, Hilaire Belloc explains how natural attending Mass was for him. Before he entered one church, he placed his glowing cigar on a fencepost and continued the smoke after Mass. There is a profound nugget of spiritual soundness in his habit. The more we understand the relationship between faith and reason – matter and spirit, heaven and earth, God and man – the more likely we will live normal, integrated, and (relatively) serene lives. [Continue reading] 
 
Jesus on Valium (03.10.21) -- Valium can be a very useful prescription drug when it is necessary. It temporarily reduces anxiety before a medical procedure, and under a doctor’s care, calms unruly emotions. But we sometimes have the mistaken view that the pinnacle of the spiritual life is like a Valium high. [Continue reading]
 
 
 Metaphors for the Church (03.06.21) -- Our faith is in Jesus Christ, the “…the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by [Him].” (Jn. 14:6) The Church proclaims Jesus Christ and administers the Sacraments that are the rivers of God’s grace for the salvation of souls. The Church is one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic – with Mary as the sinless model of the Church. So we should never criticize Holy Mother Church because she is the indispensable instrument of our salvation. [Continue reading]

In Gratitude for Joe Biden (02.26.21) -- Sacraments, according to the Baltimore Catechism, are outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace. The Sacraments define and direct our lives. Our choices form us. When we choose to live a sacramental life, in a sense we become sacraments reflecting the Lord. But the contrary is also true.[Continue Reading] 

Make a pledge to the BLA: For your convenience, you may use this site to make your pledge to the Bishop's Lenten Appeal. (Click here.)  (When the page comes up, put "1" in the "quantity" field on the lower right to proceed.) The Parish staff will handle the paperwork for you.  You will receive pledge reminders from the Chancery's Development Office. If you prefer, you can use the BLA hard-copy envelopes in the pews or available from the rectory office. Thank you for your financial support of the BLA. "Encourage One Another by Word and Deed".

We are about to start gathering the paperwork for First Holy Communion and Confirmations, so it is very important for any homeschool or Catholic School parishioners to have their kids registered in the CCD program.  This is the only way we can effectively communicate with you and avoid a paper chase as we get close to the FHC and Confirmation dates.  Here’s the good news.  If you fail to meet the deadlines this year, you will have the opportunity to meet the deadlines next year.  If your children are in Catholic grade school, or you homeschool them and you are not registered in the CCD program, please register today. Check the Parish CCD website for the link or type in: https://membership.faithdirect.net/events/details/5141

Weekday Masses are reinstated!  But please check this site for updates, or click here for email notifications on the Mass schedule. Although the regular weekday Mass schedule is solidly in place, since this is a one-priest parish, there may be times when Mass cancellations are necessary.  Please register here if you attend weekday Masses and want to receive cancellation notifications.  We will not abuse your contact information.  When the weather is questionable, you're in doubt, and you haven't received an email, your computer may have directed an email from us to spam.

Defining Racism (02.17.21) Since the definition of “racism” is elusive, some suggest that using the traditional vocabulary of sin is the better path. But there are too many racist examples to ignore (e.g., the burning of crosses by the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi “Master Race” ideology). We need an accurate and just definition to help us ensure that proposed solutions do not wreak greater havoc.[continue reading]

 
Political “Unity” vs. Christian Unity (02.03.21) Divisive politics seems to poison every aspect of contemporary life. So there is an urgent need to reconsider what it would mean if what we were to seek is not an illusory political “unity,” but what true public harmony depends upon: Christian brotherhood. [continue reading]
 
The Holy Vigilance of Editors (01.31.21) Scribes, like the monks during medieval times, copied and preserved biblical manuscripts and other texts. Their work saved the spiritual and intellectual heritage of ancient civilizations. There is little need for scribes today [continue reading]

Happy Warriors (01.18.21) --With fighting words, our nation’s new political leaders have promised to initiate and accelerate the institutional violation of the Ten Commandments. So let us have an honest conversation about the uncertainties and anxieties they have caused believing Catholics, and let us consider a few timeless Gospel responses. [Continue reading] 

 

No Sympathy for the Devil -- Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate. As we advance in years, this joke becomes more amusing. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. Good parents teach their kids never to hate people and to use the word with precision. Hate is a dangerous sentiment and can risk one’s salvation. But we are not sentimentalists. As we love the sinner, our religion teaches us to hate sin. That is a healthy distinction. The only being God permits us—even encourages us—to hate is the Devil. [Continue Reading]

 
On the feast of the Holy Family, it seemed appropriate to identify a few Church policies on marriage and family. At this point, the Church’s policy is that marriage is between one man and one woman. Church’s policy requires that husband and wife should be faithful in marriage in an exclusive union, open to children, until the parting of death. The Church also forbids the marriage of people of the same sex. Current Church policy does not permit contraception and homosexual behavior. Church policy has rules against divorce and remarriage. We don’t know what the policies will be in ten years.The Church also has scientific policies. There are traditional policies that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The Church also holds that gravity is not only a good idea. It is the law. These are the policy positions at present. We don’t know if those policies will change in the future. [Continue reading]

Taking Pride in Our Humility -- The testimony of John the Baptist allows us to consider the virtue of humility. Jesus identifies John as the greatest man born of women. But his greatness, ironically, is his humility. He is not the Christ; he is not Elijah, nor the Prophet. He is: “…the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord.’” For “…he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie” (Jn. 1:27). John is humble. Humility is a virtue that recognizes reality and our relationship to reality. [Continue reading]

Virtual Indulgences? Up until the Covid-19 pandemic, we went to Mass, celebrated the sacraments, supported the Church with our contributions, and hoped to go to heaven when we died. After the shutdown of the Masses, we entered into the bizarre virtual reality of the internet. Today we have virtual Masses livestreamed on the web, virtual sacraments, and perhaps, one speculates, a virtual heaven. Alas, the Vatican is finding it difficult to reconcile the new virtual reality with the sacramental life of the Church.[Continue reading]

In 1943, there was an uprising against the Nazi occupiers in the Jewish ghetto in Częstochowa, Poland, which the SS quickly crushed, killing many Jews. Many more were sent to death camps. Those who remained in Częstochowa worked on as slave laborers, until the Red Army liberated the city, by which time it was, as the Nazis would have proudly proclaimed, almost completely Judenfrei. [Continue reading]

Spiritual Strategic Planning -- There is clarity in brevity. Isaiah’s prophecy is clear and punchy: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” General Grant won the Civil War using simple directives. We see the precision and brevity of his masterful command in his famous order: “Lee’s army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also.” Despite their defeat in the Wilderness in 1864, his soldiers cheered when they turned south and continued their pursuit of the Confederates. Military and business schools study, repackage, and teach the proven management techniques of great leaders. Perhaps we could apply to the spiritual life the practical wisdom of their best practices. [Continue reading]

Glorifying God in Your Body -- The season of Advent is a season of spiritual preparation to meet Jesus. We will meet Him in the manger on Christmas Day; we will meet him in Holy Communion at Mass; we will meet Him when we enter eternity. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually, acknowledging our sins with a good Confession during these days. But caring for our bodies also binds in conscience: “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19) [Continue reading]
 

The Continuing Scandal of the McCarrick Doctrine -- Students of Catholic moral teaching discover what the most simple of faithful Catholics intuitively know. There is an impressive, coherent, logical unity to God’s law as we know it through Church teaching. Failures of vigilance and strict adherence to principle quickly shatter that unity. The scandal of Theodore McCarrick’s fall extends beyond his sexual crimes. It continues with an immoral policy legacy that continues to influence the hierarchy. [Continue reading]

 

The Communist-Diabolical Conspiracy -- Standing before Pilate, Jesus reveals: “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” (Jn. 18:36) So we have the freedom, in this life, to enthrone the kings who will rule us. But what kind of monarch will we crown?In the early 1980s, a Soviet defector earnestly warned an American audience of Communist “agitprop” revolutionary techniques. Based on his experience in the KGB, Yuri Bezmenov described the Soviet conspiracy to undermine and conquer the United States and the world. There is no mistaking the diabolical parallels of the assault. Call it “the Communist-Diabolical Complex.” [Continue reading]

Sacramental Schedule

The Church typically opens by 7:30 a.m. and closes around 7 p.m.  But times may vary because of variations in the Pastor's schedule and the occasional inability to obtain help in locking the church at night.

The Confession Schedule continues

Sacrament of Penance:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 7:45 am – 8:15 am (No Confessions on Holy Days and civil holidays)
Saturday afternoon: 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Expanded schedule for Advent and Lent
 
All Day Eucharistic Adoration
Every Wednesday: 1 pm through Thursday morning, 8:30 am
Every First Friday: 9 am through Saturday morning, 8:30 am

Mass Schedule:
Sunday:
8 am 10 am 12 Noon*
*Novus Ordo Latin Mass

Saturday: 8:30 am & 5:30 pm Vigil Mass

Weekdays: 8:30 am, (Wednesdays: 12:15 pm)

Holydays (except Christmas):
8:30 am & 7 pm

Although the regular weekday Mass schedule is solidly in place, since this is a one-priest parish, there may be times when Mass cancellations are necessary.  Please register here if you attend weekday Masses and want to receive cancellation notifications and other updates as opportune.  We will not abuse your contact information.  Click here

 (Note: After clicking the weekday Mass registration link above, please scroll to the bottom right of the page and replace the "0" with a "1" to proceed.)

Contact Us

Pastor
Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky
Direct Line to Pastor 703.759.3520
No text messages please; contact the office for administrative questions.

Office Hours
Monday - Friday: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm 
Closed on Federal Holidays

Saint Catherine of Siena Church
1020 Springvale Road
Great Falls, VA 22066
Have a question? Have a comment? Please contact us!
Phone: 703.759.4350
Fax: 703.759.3753

 Email:

office@saintcatherineschurch.org

 Parish Registration Application  Click here.  

(Note: After clicking the application link above, please scroll to the bottom right of the page and replace the "0" with a "1" to proceed.)

Interested in Catholic Inquiry Classes (for non-Catholics or Catholics interested in deepening their understanding of the Faith)?  Click here.

 

 


St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

1020 Springvale Rd., Great Falls, VA 22066

Parish Office: 703.759.4350
Fax: 703.759.3753
Religious Education: 703.759.3530
Siena Academy: 703.759.4129