40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 18 – The Good Priests

Reason # 18 – The Good Priests. Much has been written lately about the sins of some priests who horribly committed sexual abuse. May God bless those who were victims of such priests. But the vast majority of priests are good, holy and dedicated men who given themselves selflessly to God and the service of his people. I can testify to many good priests who helped me along the way.  The priests who serve us in the Church are not perfect men but most all of them love God and his people. They work long hours and are present at some of the most difficult and joyful moments of our lives. Most of them are quiet servants, answering late night phone calls, celebrating early masses, sitting through long meetings and patiently listening to our concerns, struggles, joys and hopes, questions, and doubts. They celebrate the Sacraments with devotion, both for God and their people. And truth be told most Catholics love their priests, pray for them, respect them  and value their service.

So here is a reason to come home: many good priests are waiting to serve you and celebrate the significant moments of your life. Many good priests await your return.

Here is a beautiful Video that celebrates the ministry priests among us:

Wondering About Wrath

Today’s Gospel read at Catholic Masses (where the “A” readings were not used) was about Jesus cleaning the Temple. Clearly in this passage Jesus manifests anger. Why is Jesus angry? Why is he throwing tables over and driving people out? Is this anger a sin? But Jesus never sinned! So how can we understand his anger? In fact, there are a lot of verses all through the Bible that speak of God’s wrath, or anger. How can we understand it and square it with his mercy and patience?

I preached a sermon on these topics today here at my Parish, Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian.  You can get it here: The Whys and Wherefores of Wrath

A more complete listing of my sermons is here: http://frpope.com/audio/recordings.php

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 17 – Jesus is Here Right Now

Reason # 17- Jesus is Here Right Now. If I were to credibly announce to the Washington DC area that Jesus Christ was going to come down from heaven and appear in my Parish Church of Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian, the place would be packed! Media Satellite trucks would line the block. Crowds in the hundreds of thousands might well gather; all to see Jesus. But the truth is, Jesus IS here, right now. He presides as High Priest at every liturgy we celebrate. He remains present in our tabernacle. He’s here! He preaches the sermon, stands at our altar and feeds us with his Body and Blood.

 The Choir in my Church often sings the Gospel song “Jesus Is Here Right Now.”  while we receive Holy Communion. Are you looking for Jesus? Here’s here, right now! A great reason to come home.

Here are two powerful videos that celebrate the True Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament: “God in the Streets of New York.”  Behold how Jesus walks the streets of New York and see the remarkable reactions of many people in the video. Some glance shyly, others reash out to touch, others cry out from a distance, one man throws open his window and cries “Glory.” The second video is actually the same footage, but a musical version, a remix or sorts.

Recession&Religion

How is the recession impacting churches? ABC’s Good Morning America visited St. Martin of Tours parish in Gaithersburg, MD and Catholic Charities’ Archdiocesan Legal Network to see how the economic downturn is hitting home. Watch the video here: Religion & Recession

Custody of the Eyes and Ears

One of the difficulties of living in the modern world is that we can easily come under the influence of philosophies and errors that can mislead us. There are also many sinful influences that can corrupt our moral life. There is a traditional concept in the moral life known as “Custody of the Eyes” wherein a person is very careful as to what he allows himself to see. (cf Job 31:1; Mat 5:28; Psalm 119:37, etc.) And these days, in a world in which sound has a very profound influence, we also need to be very careful as to what we allow ourselves to hear.  We must be careful to avoid evil, erroneous, and tempting influences. To put it more positively, we must actively seek constructive and truthful influence. We do this by keeping careful company, attending to the daily reading of Scripture and the study of the faith, and intentionally exposing ourselves to what is good, true, and beautiful.

Paradoxically, the modern world with all its problematic influences also provides us with many opportunities to craft our world and its influences. There are many options today insofar as how we choose to get our information and what we will allow to influence us. In the past we were stuck with just three networks and a few newspapers and magazines. Now there are endless possibilities available through the Internet, cable TV, and individual devices such as iPods.

I seldom watch television anymore. When I do, it is carefully selected: usually DVD-based viewing. I spend alot of time with instructive and helpful websites and blogs to get my information. I also spend a lot of time walking and driving with my iPod loaded “Catholic.”

There are many wonderful podcasts out there today that can both entertain, edify, and instruct you in the faith and in wholesome matters. Why don’t we start sharing what some of those sites and podcasts are so that we can help each other in the “custody” of our eyes and ears?

Let’s be clear, the sites and podcast you suggest should be orthodox, edifying, and instructive in the true faith. Let me get started by suggesting a few podcasts and sites I find helpful. Use the comments section to make your own suggestions.

EWTN has some great podcasts of its shows here: EWTN PODCASTS. I especially like the “Open-Line” call-in shows during which listeners to EWTN Radio call with questions about the faith.

EWTN and Catholic Answers also offer a huge number of talks, debates, and classes as mp3 downloads here: Catholic Talks and Teaching

I Podcast my own sermons, talks, and Bible Studies here: Sermons by Msgr. Pope

Lots of varied Catholic podcasts and other media formats are available here: SQPN

Patrick Madrid, a Catholic teacher and apologist, has a lot of material (some free, some for purchase) available here: Patrick Madrid

John Martignoni,, another Catholic teacher and apologist, offers a lot of free mp3 downloads here: Bible Christian Society

A 12-part Series by Scott Hahn on Mary is here: Hail Holy Queen

I know there are countless others but that’s a start. Please suggest others.

So here it is. Custody of the eyes and ears does not mean just shuttering your world and living with your head in the sand. It means directing your gaze in the proper direction and listening to what really helps. Load your iPod and get started. Before you know it, your mind and heart will begin to change, and little by little, you will acquire the mind and heart of Christ. Load those iPods with something Catholic and start walking (it’s a great way to lose weight too)!

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40 Reasons to Come Home: Reason # 16

Reason # 16: Protection From Error. One of the great advantages of making our home in the Catholic Church is that we are at the feet of a wise and experienced teacher who has seen it all. The Scriptures, the Catechism, the lives of the Saints—all the Church’s teaching is a wealth of knowledge and experience for us.

At this point I would like to let G.K. Chesterton to do the talking:

The other day a well-known writer, otherwise quite well-informed, said that the Catholic Church is always the enemy of new ideas. It probably did not occur to him that his own remark was not exactly in the nature of a new idea…Nevertheless, the man who made that remark about Catholics meant something; and it is only fair to him to understand it rather more clearly than he stated it. What he meant was that, in the modern world, the Catholic Church is in fact the enemy of many influential fashions; most of which…claim to be new. [But] nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. The Catholic Church has for one of her chief duties that of preventing people from making those old mistakes; from making them over and over again forever, as people always do if they are left to themselves…There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them. On this map of the mind the errors are marked…[but] the greater part of it consists of playgrounds and happy hunting-fields, where the mind may have as much liberty as it likes.  But [the Church] does definitely take the responsibility of marking certain roads as leading nowhere or leading to destruction…By this means, it does prevent men from wasting their time or losing their lives upon paths that have been found futile or disastrous again and again in the past, but which might otherwise entrap travelers again and again in the future. The Church does make herself responsible for warning her people against these; she does dogmatically defend humanity from its worst foes… Now all these false issues have a way of looking quite fresh, especially to a fresh generation. ..[But] we must have something that will hold the four corners of the world still, while we make our social experiments or build our Utopias. From Twelve Modern Apostles and Their Creeds (1926). Reprinted in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Vol. 3 Ignatius Press 1990

So here’s a reason to come home and stay home: the protection and guidance of a wise and experienced teacher—Holy Mother Church. You might say she’s been around the block a few times. She’s seen it all. Come home and benefit from centuries of experience.

Here’s a little snippet of wisdom from the treasury of the Church’s Wisdom in the lives of the Saints. It warns us to avoid greed and materialism, two common and repeated errors of the world.

Understanding the Roman Catholic Church

I found a very balanced and respectful video describing the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. What is interesting to me is that it is produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. While there are a few things with which I might quibble (for example, I think that it was more than just the controversy about indulgences set off the Protestant Reformation, and that the sampling of American Parish life is too limited), nevertheless the video is well-produced and quite thorough.

Here is the YouTube description of the video:

The purpose of this video is to help Protestant Christians and others develop a better understanding of the Roman Catholic Church, its history and basic beliefs by listening to Roman Catholics tell their own story...

The 35-minute program is organized into three parts: Roman Catholic beliefs, Church history, and Catholic Renewal. The program includes interviews with Roman Catholic theologians, scholars, pastors, and lay people. Portions of this program were recorded in Rome, Assisi, Trent, and Casino, Italy.

After centuries of mistrust, indifference, and even hostility, attitudes between Roman Catholics and other Christians are changing. Dialogue, cooperation, and understanding is healing old wounds, both locally and up to the highest organizational levels.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest block of Christianity in the world. In the U.S., 65 million Roman Catholics are organized into 200 archdioceses and dioceses and more than 19,000 local Catholic parishes. Each year over one million infants and 70,000 adults are baptized in U.S. Roman Catholic churches. Yet for all its great size, influence, and long history, many non-Roman Catholics understand very little about the largest Christian denomination.