Monday, April 26, 2010

B16 speaking about the internet, again.

Thanks to the Zenit News Agency for this (my emphasis added):

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2010 - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday in an audience in Paul VI Hall with participants in a national conference on "Digital Witnesses: Faces and Languages in the Cross-Media Age," an initiative promoted by the Italian bishops' conference.,


Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,

Dear Friends,

I am happy for this opportunity to meet with you and to conclude your gathering, which has had as its quite evocative theme, "Digital Witnesses: Faces and Languages in the Cross-Media Age." I thank the president of the Italian bishops' conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, for the cordial words of welcome with which, once again, he desired to express the affection and the nearness of the Church in Italy to my apostolic service. In his words the cardinal reflects the faithful adhesion to Peter of all the Catholics of this beloved nation and the esteem of so many men and women animated by the desire to seek the truth.

The time in which we live is experiencing an enormous expansion of the frontiers of communication, realizing an untold convergence between different media and making interaction possible. Thus the Internet manifests an open vocation, with an egalitarian and pluralistic tendency, but at the same time it has dug a moat about itself: One speaks, in fact, of the "digital divide." It separates the included from the excluded and adds to the other discrepancies that separate nations from each other and divide them internally. The dangers of homogenization and control, of intellectual and moral relativism, already quite evident in the bent of the critical spirit, in truth reduced to the play of opinions, in the multiple forms of the degradation and humiliation of the human person in his intimate dimension. One witnesses, then, a "polluting of the spirit, which makes us smile less, makes our faces gloomier, less likely to greet each other or look each other in the eye..." ("Speech in the Piazza di Spagna, December 8, 2009"). But this meeting points to recognizing faces and so to overcoming those collective dynamics that can make us lose the perception of the depth of persons and remain at the surface: When that happens, they are bodies without souls, objects of trade and consumption.

How is it possible today to return to faces? I tried to show the road in my third encyclical. It passes through that "caritas in veritate" that shines upon the face of Christ. Love in truth constitutes a "great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized" ("Caritas in Veritate," no. 9). The media can become a factor in humanization "not only when, thanks to technological development, they increase the possibilities of communicating information, but above all when they are geared towards a vision of the person and the common good that reflects truly universal values" (no. 73). This demands that they "focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity" (ibid.). Only under those conditions can the epochal journey that we are undertaking become something rich and fertile with new opportunities. Without fear we want to set out upon the digital sea embracing the unrestricted navigation with the same passion that for 2,000 years has steered the barque of the Church. More than with technical resources, although necessary, we want to qualify ourselves dwelling in this universe too with a believing heart, that contributes to giving a soul to the uninterrupted communicational flow of the Internet.

This is our mission, the Church's mission that she cannot renounce: The task of every believer who works in the media is that of "opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence" ("Message for the 44th World Communications Day, May 10, 2010"). Dear Friends, you are called to take on the role of "animators of the community" on the Internet too, attentive to "prepare the ways that lead to the Word of God," and to express a particular sensitivity to "the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute" (ibid.). The Internet could in this way become a kind of "Court of the Gentiles," where "there is also a space for those who have not yet come to know God" (ibid.).

As animators of culture and communication, you are a living sign of how much "Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level" (ibid.). In this field voices are not lacking in Italy: We need only to point to "Avvenire," TV2000, the inBlu radio network and the SIR press agency, along with Catholic periodicals, the network of weekly diocesan papers and the now numerous Catholic Web sites. I exhort all media professionals not to tire of nourishing in their heart that passion for man that draws ever closer to the languages he speaks and to his true face. You will be helped in this by a solid theological formation and above all a deep and joyful passion for God, fed by a constant dialogue with the Lord. The particular Churches and religious institutes, for their part should not hesitate to value the formation courses offered by the Pontifical universities, by the University of the Sacred Heart and the other Catholic and ecclesiastical universities, providing persons with foresight and resources. The media world should be a part of pastoral planning.

As I thank you for the service you give to the Church and therefore to the cause of man, I exhort you to walk the roads of the digital continent, animated by the courage of the Holy Spirit. Our confidence is not uncritically placed in any instrument of technology. Our strength lies in being Church, believing community, able to bear witness to all the perennial newness of the Risen One, with a life that blooms in fullness in the measure that it opens up, enters into relation, gives itself gratuitously.

I entrust you to the protection of Mary Most Holy and the great saints of communication and bless you from my heart.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life (in a parish)

I had some matches I wanted to bring over to the sacristy (last Sunday our lighter/clicker thingee [yes, that is the technical term] ran out of fluid).

Since I was going over anyway, I thought I'd replenish the pamphlet rack.

That got me to wonder where I can put the box with the extra pamphlets. I looked in a closet in the sacristy.

That got me to reshuffle some boxes with sanctuary lamp candles on the floor of the closet, which got me to move some other stuff, which got me to look at the stuff on the cabinet I haven't put away since Holy Week.

That got me to look at last year's paschal candle laying there. My friend found a company that will recycle beeswax candles and give store credit for buying new candles. That got me opening up a closet where I had seen an old paschal candle, to see if there were any more.

To make room for the paschal candles I found (5 in all), I needed to move some things off of the counter top, among them some purple cloth we used to cover the processional cross' corpus and some statues.

That got me opening up other closets to put away the purple cloths into storage bins.

That got me to put away 2 candelabra, which have been hanging out there since Holy Thursday, but they won't fit on the shelf with the candles still in them.

That got me to take the candles out and put them neatly in a box so they can be used again. But then the candle followers were making the box too heavy.

That got me to open a cupboard where we keep plastic storage bins with candle followers, so I could store them there.

That got me to start digging out that cupboard, throwing away junk, and discovering 2 unused cans of incense from Holy Rood Guild (currently retailing for $39. a can).

That got me to open a can of the incense to see if it was still usable. So I decided to light a piece of charcoal and light some of the incense.

That got me to try out some other incense I recently bought (not knowing there were 2 perfectly good cans of incense buried deep inside the cupboard).

That got me to bring a can of the Holy Rood incense back to the rectory to see if I could split it up a bit. The moisture has evaporated, leaving only the balm. Right now it's like a sticky clump.

When I got back to the rectory, over an hour later, I still had the matches in my pocket, which is why I went over to the church in the first place.

Welcome to my life.

Bishop Paprocki to Springfield

This morning Rome announced that Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki was made Ordinary of the Diocese of Springfield, IL.

I've known about the Bishop for years, and he and I share a love for hockey and especially playing goalie. A few years ago, when I had started playing on the ice again after some 20 years, I wrote to His Excellency. He wrote back, enclosing a signed photo from his cover shoot for USA Hockey Magazine.

In the letter, he wrote this:
"My most important tip for a goalie is the mental aspect of the goalie's game. To be successful, a goalie needs to play with CONFIDENCE. Interestingly, the word 'confidence' comes from the Latin, con + fide ("with faith"), which means that a goalie needs to play with great faith in God and in the talents, skills and abilities that God has given to him. Remember that Jesus said, 'All things are possible with God' (Mark 10:27)."
I also love the fact that the Bishop who loves having pucks shot at him is made the head of his own Diocese on the day when, in the Gospel for Mass, St. Stephen is having rocks shot at him! If only Stephen had the pads :-)

I finish with a little thing on You Tube I found on the Bishop.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Occupational Hazard

Since Tuesday evening, I've been feeling pretty icky. I know, it's not a medical term. But it pretty well sums up the feeling. Sore throat, hurts to swallow, and congestion up in the sinuses.

I blame myself. Most of the time I'm pretty good at making sure I wash my hands after shaking hands with people after the weekend Masses. I was good at it all winter, making sure that we had plenty of antibacterial gel in the sacristy. But then the weather changed, and I caught up into Easter, and on Holy Saturday night and Easter Sunday, I totally forgot about cleaning my hands after pressing the flesh with the People of God.

The odds were against me, really. All those people. All those germs. It only takes one to get (literally) into my head and start procreating. I wonder if Humanae Vitae covered germs, too?

Colds that come from being around people put clergy into the same category as teachers and flight attendants, I suppose. It's part of "what we do". Hyman Roth said it best to Michael Corleone.

So what do I do? I load up on Vitamin C. I keep the Dayquil and Nyquil people in business. I go through tissues like they're, well, tissues. I know this will pass, but until then, it's still a pain in the neck.

Let that be a lesson: Folks, if you're sick, don't think your Priest will take it the wrong way if you don't shake his hand. Similarly, if he's sick, don't think he's being rude if he chooses not to shake hands with you.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Holy Thursday decorations

Actor's faith and family come first

Click here for a story about Neal McDonough, who was recently fired by ABC because of his refusal to film sex scenes. His reason?
He's a family man and a Catholic, and he's always made it clear that he won't do sex scenes.