Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The atheist orthodoxy that drove me to faith

Below is a link to a great column by Megan Hodder, a Catholic convert who was a devotee of the 'New Atheists', those angry and fundamentalist atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, until she read Aquinas, George Weigel, and Pope Benedict.  But the intellectual writing was just the spark, it was contact with 'real life' Catholics who brought her into the Church.

"My friendships with practising Catholics finally convinced me that I had to make a decision. Faith, after all, isn’t merely an intellectual exercise, an assent to certain propositions; it’s a radical act of the will, one that engenders a change of the whole person. Books had taken me to Catholicism as a plausible conjecture, but Catholicism as a living truth I came to understand only through observing those already serving the Church within that life of grace."

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing at the Catholic Herald (UK), it is well worth it.  Catholicism can be very exciting when you encounter it in books from great writers.  It is so all encompassing that when you discover one person, such as Chesterton, you will be lead to others (Belloc) and then you will be brought into a whole other topic such as distributism, which will lead you to economics and justice, which will lead you into other people and topics, and on and on etc...  But, without real encounters with genuine Christian people and good Liturgy, it can be just intellectual stimulation.  As the author of the column puts it:

"I grew up in a culture that has largely turned its back on faith. It’s why I was able to drift through life with my ill-conceived atheism going unchallenged, and at least partially explains the sheer extent of the popular support for the New Atheists: for every considerate and well-informed atheist, there will be others with no personal experience of religion and no interest in the arguments who are simply drifting with the cultural tide.

As the popularity of belligerent, all-the-answers atheism wanes, however, thoughtful Christians able to explain and defend their faith will become an increasingly vital presence in the public square."

Disgusting perverts in political office and the priesthood

As a New Yorker, I have been accostomed to politicians being exposed as perverts or crooks (Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, Vito Lopez, etc...).

As a Catholic I have become accostomed to priests being exposed as perverts or crooks (Paul Shanley, John Corapi, Marcial Maciel, etc..).

 This short article talks about perverted and crooked politicians but everything said about them would also apply to perverted and crooked priests as well.

Political Narcissists:  Lacking a Moral Center
 By George Marlin
"What makes these and so many other political lowlifes believe they are indispensible and that nothing they ever do will be led against them in the long run?
First and foremost, they are narcissists.  They have grandiose views of their talents, excessive interest in themselves, a craving for attention and admiration, and a consciousness of superiority.
This type of person, as social philosopher Christopher Lasch once observed, depends on others “to validate his self-esteem.  He cannot live without an admiring audience. . . .For the narcissist, the world is a mirror, whereas the rugged individual saw it as an empty wilderness to be shaped to his own design.”  Success for these narcissists “consists of nothing more substantial than a wish to be vastly admired; not for one’s accomplishments, but simply for oneself, uncritically and without reservation.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Five Schools Get Reprieve From Rockville Centre Diocese

From CBS 2

"The Diocese of Rockville Center [sic]will not be closing five grammar schools next fall.

Two of the schools are in Nassau County and three of the schools are in Suffolk County.

Nassau, they are St. Dominic Elementary School in Oyster Bay and St. Edward the Confessor School in Syosset.

In Suffolk, they are St. Isidore School in Riverhead, Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Cutchogue, and Our Lady Queen of Apostles School in Center Moriches.

The’ve been removed from a watch list, at least for now, according to Diocese spokesman Sean Dolan.

“It’s dependent upon enrollment. It’s dependent upon adequate funding from the parishes and contributions from parishioners and fundraising and stuff,”

What is needed in the DRVC is a couple of small schools setup by lay people and run explicitly to teach the faith.  This is a trend in Catholic elementary education and the Diocese has plenty of empty school buildings that the schools could reside.

Vatican: 100,000 Christians killed annually

By Catholic News Service

GENEVA (CNS) -- More than 100,000 Christians are killed each year because of their faith, and millions more face bigotry, intolerance and marginalization because of their beliefs, a Vatican official said.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to U.S. agencies in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council May 27 that "credible research" by Massimo Introvigne, a former representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians, "has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year."

In addition, he said, "in some Western countries, where historically the Christian presence has been an integral part of society, a trend emerges that tends to marginalize Christianity in public life, ignore historic and social contributions and even restrict the ability of faith communities to carry out social charitable services."

Of course the bigots in this country will deny this, or downplay it as they always do.

Catholic Church Mediates Ceasefire Between Honduran Gangs

I heard this story driving home from work tonight.  You can listen to the story on but it does not go into details about the Church's involvement.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dr. Peter Kreeft's conversion to Catholicism - Part 1

Over at the Catholic Education Resource Center, Dr. Peter Kreeft tells the story of his conversion to Catholicism.  I has no idea he was a convert - they really should wear name tags or something.

"We lived in New Jersey, and we went to New York City a lot as tourists — I'm an only child — with my parents, and we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral, just to see it, and I'd never seen anything like that before.  I was stunned.  It was just like the gate of heaven.  It was a different kind of beauty.  I said to myself, this is the most beautiful piece of architecture I've ever seen in my life.  And I turned to my father and I said, "Dad, this is a Catholic church, isn't it?"  And he said, "Yes."  And I said, "The Catholics are wrong, aren't they?" And he said, "Oh, yes, of course;  they're very, very wrong."  And then I said, "Then how can their churches be so beautiful?"  And it was the first time in my life that my father didn't have any answer to a question at all;  he was just stumped.  I saw the confusion on his face.  I think I was at the time much more scandalized by the fact that my hitherto-infallible father didn't have the answer to a very simple question than my doubts that the Catholic Church was as bad as I had thought it.  Well, sermons in stone: You can argue with thoughts;  you can't argue with beauty"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Pastors and priest transfers in the Diocese of Rockville Centre

June is the traditional time for the Diocese to shift priests around.  The Long Island Catholic would always publish all the personnel changes, so now that it is not published weekly I suppose we will have to watch the DRVC website to learn where priests will land. 
I did find some of this info on Bishop Murphy's blog a couple of months ago:

  • Msgr. Gerald Ringenback from pastor at St. Bernard, Levittown, to pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Holbrook (replacing Msgr. Thomas Spadaro, who was pastor at Good Shepherd for 31 years!)
  • Msgr. Ralph Sommer from pastor at St. Brigid, Westbury to pastor of St. Bernard, Levittown
  • Father Anthony Stanganelli from pastor at Ss. Philip and James in St. James, to pastor of St. Brigid, Westbury
  • Msgr. James McNamara from pastor of Holy Cross, Nesconset, to pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Point Lookout, where he will replace retiring pastor, Father Patrick Callan.
  • Father Frank Grieco will leave St. Anthony in East Northport to become pastor at Holy Spirit, New Hyde Park.
  • Father Valentine Rebello will go from associate at St. Barnabas, Bellmore, to pastor of St. Pius X in Plainview.
  • Father Robert Holtz will move from associate at St. Christopher, Baldwin to be pastor of St. Raphael, East Meadow.
  • Father Michael Holzman will finish up as chaplain at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School to become pastor of Holy Cross, Nesconset.
  • Father Marian Bicz will leave as pastor of Our Lady of Obstrabama in Cutchogue to become pastor of St. Hyacinth in Glen Head.
  • Father Thomas Haggerty completes his years at St. Raphael, East Meadow, to become pastor of SS. Philip and James in St. James.
In addition I know of these two moves:

Fr. Christopher Costigan of St. Bernards in Levittown will go to St. Mary's in Manhasset

Msgr. Batule will become the pastor of Corpus Christi in Mineola.

If anyone knows of any other information please let me know.

UPDATE - from a reader:
Father Nohs from Holy Spirit will be going to St Bernards