Strategies of Evangelization

How should Catholics promote the New Evangelization?  With an all-of-the-above defense of orthodox, traditional, hard-identity Catholicism.  Promote the traditional Mass.  Instruct the faithful on sacred music.  Commission and protect sacred art.  Defend the Church’s essential teachings on life, especially in defense of the unborn.

A good start is a more consistent and more Catholic calendar.  In defense of Holy Days of Obligation: “But seriously, folks, this sort of fiddling with the Calendar is a disservice to the faithful. It has the obvious effect of discouraging attendance at Mass and diminishes the significance of both the “demoted” feast days and the Roman Calendar in general. These “loopholes” form a small part of the broader message that many Catholics gleaned from the aftermath of Vatican II: We don’t have to do certain things anymore, so we won’t.

“The “abrogated” holy days are also of a piece with the post-conciliar fetish for “options” that have disrupted our liturgical tradition and sent confused, even illogical, messages to the laity. Certain practices are required—except when they are not (reception of Holy Communion on the tongue). In the Mass, we no longer have an actual Canon, as nothing is truly fixed. The priest may choose this, that or the other, and most hope not to bore the Faithful with the Confiteor or Roman Canon, opting instead with a lengthy “Pray of the Faithful” and tedious parade of “Eucharistic Ministers” into the sanctuary prior to Communion. …”

“The Church should, therefore, promote its liturgical life, and call the faithful to immerse themselves in it. Instead of diminishing holy days of obligation, the American bishops should create more of them. Is there a more overlooked feast in the life of the Church than the Annunciation? Why not Corpus Christi (celebrated in its proper place on a Thursday), Sacred Heart, the Visitation of the BVM, the Transfiguration or the Exultation of the Holy Cross?”

David Warren: Athanasius should be our guide in our witness contra mundum.

Does iconoclasm further the New Evangelization? “The idea that the eternal and omnipresent I AM can somehow be seen is likely a source of confusion across wide swaths of modern western culture. This is due, in no small part, to the prevalence of an almost neo-Manichean tendency to see goodness as something purely spiritual and invisible, while holding suspect the visual and tactile world as evil or distracting. This is, essentially, the modus operandi behind the infamous widespread “wreckovations” that tore asunder the Catholic landscape from the 1960s well into the 1990s and a bit beyond.

“But on the contrary, authentic Christianity is an incarnational reality. Not only did God create the material world and call it good, but He actually became part of the material world in order to redeem it. So, not only can the Divine be depicted and seen, but this is thanks to His very own ordaining. It is through images that we come to visualize and relate to the intangible realities they represent. Though not because of the senses, it is nonetheless through the senses that we reach the sublime much more easily than we would otherwise.…”

“Knowing this, then, what would please the Enemy the most in his relentless battle to numb as many souls away from Christ as possible? The answer is simple: obscure, neuter, and mute the sacred. Make God just a little less visible. Deemphasize both the battle and the end goal. Make people feel not much different upon entering a church than they did outside. Exaggerate the horizontal, and try as hard as possible to truncate the vertical, while always remaining just within an inch of looking too obvious to anyone who isn’t paying close attention.”

John Allen draws an contrast on evangelization between how Western Catholicism and Catholicism in the developing world: “For many Catholics outside the West, in other words, the question to be asked isn’t whether the Church is too political. It’s whether the Church is political enough, especially where it has the capacity to fill a void that no other actor either can or will.”  He also comments on the distance between Pope Francis and Poland’s new Catholic government.

Male and female symbolism in liturgical roles is not bizarre, just Catholic.

A blueprint for parish musical reform.

Planned Parenthood

“It was a twin”: fifth video exposes more Planned Parenthood butchery.  Horrifying.  Ross Douthat: There’s no pro-life case for Planned Parenthood.  Mollie Hemingway covers the important takeaways from the video.  Planned Parenthood’s 3% lie.  Organ trafficking middleman StemExpress severs ties with Planned Parenthood.

How ancient Catholics fought abortion.

“In total darkness, we lose our  sense of direction – north or south, left or right, up or down,  right or wrong, justice and injustice, charity and cruelty.  We lose our perception of self and others and forget that God created every single one of us in his image and with great love – even those “intact specimens” that Planned Parenthood is procuring for financial remuneration.”

“Once they become objects, children can be treated as dehumanized products in multiple ways, all bad. They can be disposed of, like integrated waste, when they are not convenient or not proceeding according to plan. Just as we recycle cans of Diet Coke and milk cartons, we can try to limit the wastefulness of our garbage by recycling the broken-down parts of people: their livers, hearts, lungs, and brains. All of this is management of objects, which costs money, so who is to say that there shouldn’t be some remuneration? Why not reimburse the people who are stuck with this waste for the cost of transporting and recycling it? Why not pay them a salary and make the salary attractive so that qualified professionals are indeed willing to take on such a ghoulish task?

“The flip side of the disposable child, of course, is the child as a desired commodity. Since people can be thrown out when they are not convenient, they can also be manufactured and maintained through industrialized processes, when the natural process of lovemaking is not convenient.”

A few weeks ago I pointed out the silence of the shepherds.  Robert Royal follows and wonders why the American episcopacy stays quiet.

Archbishop Cupich’s bizarre moral equivalency.  Cupich jumps the shark.  The “seamless garment” argument is wearing thin to the laity.  Skojec: “I don’t know if it’s more honest to say that Cupich was appointed to Chicago or inflicted on it. The same question applies to his invitation to the Synod.” Archbishop Chaput responds to Cupich.

The dark side of third-party reproduction.  Catholic colleges collude with Planned Parenthood.

The Pope

While admitting that their state contradicts the Eucharist, Pope Francis said that Catholics should have compassion toward the divorced and remarried, and especially for their children.  Rorate Caeli: the Pope is changing expectations for the upcoming Synod.  John Allen: the Pope was treading the middle ground.

You can’t understand Francis without Juan Perón.  Phil Lawler: Francis remains an enigma, despite more clues.

William Oddie on a confusing Pope: “Pope Benedict, with his hermeneutic of continuity, his restoration of the Usus Antiquior to normal use, and so much else besides, continued Pope John Paul’s great project (of which, of course, he had been one of the chief architects).

“They were the only popes I had known, as a Catholic. I thought that was what popes were for: defending and articulating the Magisterium. One Sunday morning after Mass, having just written about Laudato Si’ (actually, in some distress: I don’t like criticising the pope: this Pope, any pope) I responded to a priest who asked how I was. “Confused and distressed,” I said. “What by”? “Well, the Pope. Especially by this encyclical”.

“‘Ah,’ he said, smiling. ‘The encyclical. I haven’t read it, and I don’t suppose I will. We don’t have to, you know. And don’t be upset by the Pope. Popes come and popes go. A great one is a wonderful bonus: we just had two in a row. But it’s the Church we depend on.'”

Samuel Gregg: It’s time for an encyclical on Christian persecution.

Pope Francis and the legacy of Vatican II.

New details on Pope Francis’s involvement with Cuban-U.S. relations.

Papal infallibility in the context of the Assumption.

Marriage and the Synod

William Oddie: the German bishops have declared independence from Rome – how far will the rot spread?

Cardinal Schonborn on the Synod: I am confident there will be no change in doctrine.  Two Colombian bishops agreed.

Catholic moral tradition in extra-matrimonial situations.

“The debate about the Kasper proposal has revealed that many now terribly misconstrue the nature of Christianity. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and open the way to Paradise. Jesus did not die on the cross to offer us the false reassurance that, in the end, you can do whatever you want, no matter what He revealed to his disciples about morality and justice. The whole notion that morality depends upon what you want it to mean is a revolutionary imposition on the Church. True consolation for the sinner comes from abandoning sin, not pretending it is not wrong.”

More from John Allen: “reformers” are overlooking the unintended consequences of their proposals.

The real issue at stake at the Synod is liturgical and sacramental confusion.

G.K. Chesterton on the adventure and crisis of marriage.

The Birdwatcher’s Guide to Marriage: an exclusive, consummated union aimed at procreation.

Saints for the Synod: a missed opportunity for intercession.

Robert Mickens on the growing divisions between traditionalist and lefty Synod fathers.

Culturally Catholic

Country music and the need to reclaim our heritage: “For the musical mission of the Church Catholic is, as I see it, two-fold at the present day. First, to chase irreverent music out of the sanctuary, in the spirit of Christ whipping the money-changers. Then second, to invade their larger “marketplace,” systematically, with a view to eradicating godlessness entirely. We need, in effect, to re-invent country and folk traditions, from the hymn to the ballad, and the dancing jig, as loving expressions of life itself…Music is crucial to the binding of family, and neighbourhood, and to the direction of the human soul.”

Steve Skojec: In search of the Curé: a pilgrimage to Ars.

Father Longenecker: an interview with the Benedictines of Norcia.

On illness, sick calls, and anointing.

Dangers to the Soul: a conversation with Catholic author Piers Paul Read.

A practical guide to fasting.

The lost 1200-year old wonder: a tour of the Old St. Peter’s Basilica.

Joseph Ratzinger and the contemplation of beauty.

Book Review: Arriving at Amen.

Father Z on spiritual “blow out kits.”

The Shroud of Turin serves as a meeting point between faith and science.

Book Review: Moral Matters by Mark Dooley – challenging our modern spiritual wasteland.

Evangelism in a glass: drinking with the saints.

The blessing of herbs on the feast of the Assumption.

Politics & News

Bishop Schneider on his visits with the SSPX.  More from Schneider to traditional Catholics: You are the real ecclesiastical periphery, with which God’s power renews the Church.

The body of St. Maria Goretti is coming to the United States soon.  The tour schedule is here.

George Weigel on the Vatican’s “less-than-vigorous” response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

New York held last Masses at dozens of closing Catholic churches.

First Chinese bishop in three years ordained with Vatican approval.

CDF’s Cardinal Muller has comments on a variety of issues.

How Catholics introduced religious freedom to the colonies.

Milwaukee archdiocese reaches $21 million settlement with abuse victims.

Why a Catholic will never lead the British Labour Party.

The Seventh Circuit ruled against Catholic organizations in contraceptive case.

The hottest ticket in Washington is the Pope at the Capitol.

Scottish church to receive a vial of Pope St. John Paul II’s blood.

Rare panel of Mary and other saints saved for the National Gallery.

Just for Fun

When popes wore crowns: a pictorial history of the papal tiara.

Outrage after man butchers beloved liturgy in Zimbabwe.

The Apostles were people too.

Lapsed Catholic confirms she is still spiritual.

Famed rapper Fr. Fortuna in “Straight Outta Assisi.”

Thank You

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