Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Child's eye view

The great thing about being a Catholic is that there is humour.   Thanks, Ted, for passing on this story.

Until a child tells you what they are thinking, we can't even begin to imagine how their mind is working.

Little Zachary was doing very badly in math. His parents had tried everything - tutors, mentors, flash cards, special learning centres. In short, everything they could think of to help his math.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, they took Zachary down and enrolled him in the local Catholic school. After the first day, little Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn't even kiss his mother hello.  Instead, he went straight to his room and started studying.Books and papers were spread out all over the room and little Zachary was hard at work. His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner. To her shock, the minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time, he was back hitting the books as hard as before.

This went on for some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what made all the difference.

Finally, little Zachary brought home his report card. He quietly laid it on the table, went up to his room and hit the books. With great trepidation, his Mom looked at it and to her great surprise, Little Zachary got an 'A' in math.

She could no longer hold her curiosity. She went to his room and said,  'Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?'

Little Zachary looked at her and shook his head, no.

'Well, then,' she replied, 'Was it the  books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms? WHAT WAS IT?'

 Little Zachary looked at her and said, 'Well, on the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they weren't fooling around.'

Have a wonderful day and God Bless.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


Thank you to Catholica and John Chuchman for today's reflection

We have long heard the word "obedience" bandied about in Catholicism. John Chuchman's reflection today attempts an examination of what an enlightened believer might make of the meaning of this word. We are all called to various forms of obedience in our lives: to the laws of the land, to the laws of science, to the methodologies of communication if we want to be effective communicators. What does obedience mean in a religious and spiritual context?
To Obey
The word Obedience
comes from the root audire
to hear.

in its essence,
Listening followed by Acting Freely
(not simply doing what another tells me).

time and again,
is quoted as
calling us to Listen.

It seems there are a number of areas
in my life
to which I must be tuned in.

I try to listen to
the wild word of God
as presented in Scripture,
hoping it warms my heart
and pierces it
with Love.

I try to listen to
as defined in Vatican II
as We, the Body of Christ,
men and women of all denominations and faiths
whose judgment I respect.

I try to listen to
who speak their Truth,
knowing I can learn from them,
also Children of God.

I try to listen to
the signs of the times,
the voice of social change
in society,
knowing human experience to be
the very stuff of Spirituality.

I try to listen to
Children, The Handicapped, The Sick,
The Dying, The Bereaved, The Aged

by tapping in to their
directness and simplicity
which offer a special access
to Truth.

I try to listen to
The Word of God in My Heart,
guided by conscience,
motivated by the promptings of
the Holy Spirit.

Simply doing as I am told
by whatever authority,
without Listening
to all possible sources of Wisdom,
is spiritual death.

I can
live and act with Wisdom
if I heed the call of Jesus

Love, John Chuchman

This reflection is also published on John Chuchman's blog.
The background used to support John Chuchman's reflection has been sourced from stock.xchng one of the sources for free images on the net provided by people who voluntarily upload their work for others to share. Daniel Cubillas who is located in Spain provided today's image. A gallery of Daniel's freely available images can be found at: The image used in the headline is sourced from the ex-christian net website:

Thursday, 17 May 2012

 thank you to Tony and Catholica for this

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord B
May 20, 2012

Reading 1 (in part)
When they had gathered together they asked him,
"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth."
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going...
Gospel (in part)
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Well, of course it's a myth: it's not space travel. Our job is to find the purpose of the myth, the 'truth' that is taught in this symbolic story of The Lord being taken up into heaven and being seated at the right hand of God, as Mark tells it. Luke (first reading) says that he was lifted up before their eyes and a cloud took him from their sight, leaving them gaping into an empty sky.
We have four elements in these accounts:
(1) Jesus was taken up or lifted up: If we discount any implication of him moving bodily through the upper atmosphere and finally to outer space, the statement simply means that he has left this earth, he has 'gone away'. John's account of the Last Supper has Jesus saying more than once that he was about to go away.
(2) A cloud took him from their sight: Not any old cloud passing through the sky, but the cloud that throughout the Bible is a symbol of God's presence. We've all had the experience of climbing a mountain only to be swallowed up in the mist. In a cloud you can see nothing; the mystery we call 'god' is beyond our knowing. And the writer is saying only that when Jesus went away he was in god.

(3) Mark adds that Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God: The reference to the vision of the prophet Daniel is found in all four gospels in different places, and therefore seems to be a lynch-pin in the self-awareness of Jesus:
I gazed into the visions of the night. And I saw, coming with the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. He came to the one of great age and was led into his presence. On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship, and [...] all people, nations and languages became his servants. His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away, nor will his empire ever be destroyed. (Dan 7:13,14. Jerusalem Bible)
(4) Finally, there is the promise of the Holy Spirit with references to the power of the spirit that animated the apostles as they went forth and preached everywhere.
In short, the ascension is the watershed of history, the moment when Jesus of Nazareth 'goes away' and the time of the spirit begins.
John explained this in the words he placed on Jesus' lips after the supper: But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (Jn 16:7)
Unless I go the Advocate will not come. Why not? This is not just a changing of the guard. There is some kind of mystery here because John puts the same idea in three or four different ways, and in the ascension narrative Luke gives us two sides of the coin: the going away of Jesus on one side and on the other side, inseparable but different, the coming of the spirit.
I can only think that this points to two quite different phases of the great mystery. Jesus lived among us and taught by word and example until they closed ranks against him and killed him. This phase has to be considered as over, finished, closed, in order for the next phase to begin. The new phase is totally different. It is the real one for which the other was only the preparation. This is the real baptism, the moment of new birth. Jesus of Nazareth lived and worked in the old order: now the old order is closed and the new order begins. The act of creation is completed by the outpouring of the spirit, the power of god is unleashed to make all things new.
Is this just theological speculation, or has it some practical dimension? The question in my mind is whether we have got our view correctly adjusted. Jesus has gone away; this is the age of the spirit.

There is a fashion among us to ask: What would Jesus do in this situation? Through the past week there has been some speculation concerning the things we don't know about Jesus of Nazareth. There's nothing wrong with wondering, provided we make sure our attention is not taken from the present situation of our lives and the challenges we face, the problems we have to resolve with the teaching of the gospel to guide us and the power of the spirit to enable us, and our own brains to do the work. Jesus will not be coming back to do it for us. In fact, I wonder is it useful to hark back to his time on earth, re-creating his life in books and films, visiting the places where he walked, looking to capture something of his aura, seeking to enhance our awareness of his days among us. The point of the 'ascension' is that all that is over. Now we are in the age of the spirit. What does this mean?
For a start, according to Jesus, it is better: "It is better for you that I go." Somehow we are better off relating to the spirit than focussing on Jesus of Nazareth, constrained by all the limitations of time and place, of language and custom that occur when we try to see him in his own setting.
The goal is spelled out in the gospels along with the attitudes that are required to achieve it. What else is needed, other than our commitment, us getting stuck into it, saying what needs to be said, doing what has to be done, risking our lives to save others, working in the spirit.
The new creation comes to life at the spirit's breath; the new covenant begins to be realised with people opening their minds and hearts to undreamed of possibilities, and daring to think, to say, and to do what is true and just.
Both selections from the letter to the Ephesians provided for the second reading are to be read as poetry, letting the images enliven the imagination and inspire the heart,

"until we all attain to the unity of faith [trust/commitment]
and knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ."

There are many loose ends hanging off this memorial of the ascension. Some of them might raise a comment or two...
"Fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself."
Tony Lawless
On Ascension Thursday I found an email in my in-box from the British Jesuit magazine Thinking Faith, with an article on the ascension. It is a long article but well worth a read.
The author found understanding and inspiration through the thoughts of Ignatius of Loyola who saw the Ascension as the turning point of history precisely because in this 'event' Jesus of Nazareth was installed as King of the Universe. I'm afraid that part of the article left me cold since for me to adopt Ignatius' attitude to kings would be to substitute one myth for another.

"A post is a free gift, and it will go where it pleases."'

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Interview with John Wijngaards

John says of himself,

"I am a priest, theologian and writer.
I obtained a Master's in Scriptural Studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (LSS) and a Doctorate in Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome."

"I taught at St John's Major Seminary in Hyderabad, India (1963 - 1976). After a spell as Vicar General of the Mill Hill Missionaries (1976 - 1982), I lectured at the Missionary Institute London which was affiliated to Louvain and Middlesex Universities (1983 - 1998). "

"I am a member of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, of the European Society of Catholic Theology and the Catholic Theological Society of America."

"When Rome declared definitively against the ordination of women, I resigned from the exercise of my priestly ministry in protest -- and founded"

interviewed by Janice Sevre-Duszinsky in October 2011.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Response to "The Tablet: Who was behind the LCWR investigation?"

We received this from a correspondent who had just read , "The Tablet: Who was behind the LCWR investigation?" by James Martin SJ

I’m not surprised by the (un) “American” bishops named as co-conspirators in the article. It is still valuable to know who they are with regard to this “power play” move against the LCWR. It is why I no longer call the bishops in this country “American.” I only refer to them as the “Roman” bishops of this country. When asked, I then explain that they have no allegiance to this country since they have pledged “absolute” obedience to the Roman papacy. This has been “reality” since JPII and more so with B16. The shift to absolute “medievalism” has been the deliberate policy of the Vatican for over 30 years starting with JPII who deliberately chose only bishops that were authoritarian “medievalists.” There are no longer any “American” bishops. There are no longer any bishops that want to be seen as “pastoral” especially in the mold of John XXIII.

Power, control, fear, and above all obedience have replaced the commandment to love one another. IMO obedience trumps love when the “end justifies the means” and there is no dialogue or respect for diversity for opinion. That is why I say there are no “American” bishops and there is no “love” coming out of the Vatican. Love has nothing to do with Rome. When faced with this the laity need to realize there is only one choice to make, be a prophet and speak the truth to Power and organize to resist. The alternative is slavery to Power. Jesus took the road of the prophet in speaking to earthly power. Now the choice belongs to the laity of the church.


PS. Isolated allegations about “weird” practices occurring by a few individual nuns will be treated as common occurences with LCWR’sendorsement. I saw similar such exaggerated distortions when a newly ordained priest gave a training to experienced lay communion ministers. He told horror stories about how lay communion ministers would spill “our Lord’s precious blood” and drop “his body” on the floor and not clean the communion vessels according to canon law. Such desecrations he asserted must never happen again. He spoke as if such things were frequent and common “abuses.” Of course we were also told we were no longer “eucharistic ministers” because that required ordination. We were “only” ministers of communion.