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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cardinals, Congregations, and Pontifical Councils

Recently, the Holy Father elevated several men to the rank of Cardinal. This is a privilege and a great responsibility, for being incardinated isn’t just a symbol of honor in the Church. The Cardinal helps lead the Church by advising the pope and electing the papal successor. The selection of cardinals reflects several aspects of a pope. The pope might select one man in tribute to his long devotion to the Church. He might select another because of his specialty in some area of concern for the pope. He might select another because the cardinal-designate is young, his beliefs more in line with the current pope’s beliefs, an advantage if the pope hopes to retain his policies in the Church after his death.

Confused yet? Don’t worry, it was much worse when six-year olds were awarded the red hat. But that’s a history lecture for another day.

Anyway, the new Cardinals named on November 20th have been assigned their membership in different Roman dicasteries (Congregations, Pontifical Councils, etc). Being as that only two of the cardinals are Americans, I will focus on their memberships, rather than examining the importance of all the other cardinals (though I’m sure many of them are important). I’ve met both of them at some point. Wuerl is the Archbishop of the Washington Archdiocese, where I live, and Burke visited and received an honorary doctorate from Christendom College, where I went to school, during the College’s 30th Anniversary celebrations (it was my senior year; I served Mass with Burke). So I have a special connection to both Cardinals, and it is with honor that I present their assignments.

Cardinal Wuerl is now a member of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. This makes a lot of sense, since he is the "go-to" guy for American Anglicans wishing unity with the Church, which is linked with Christian Unity. Likewise, as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy, Wuerl will be involved in educating and forming new priests, a cause that has always been close to his heart (he recently announced a new seminary in the Archdiocese of Washington). Education is a big part of Wuerl’s life, which I’m sure played a part in his assignment to the Council for Christian Unity as well, since sound faith education is key when unifying the Church with our separated brothers and sisters.

Cardinal Burke is now a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Congregation for Bishops, and the Pontifical Council for Interpreting Legislative Texts. This is exciting news for those of us with an even slight traditional bend in our liturgical and theological beliefs. Burke has long been a champion of the “Reform of the Reform” endorsed and really driven by Pope Benedict XVI both before and after his elevation to the papacy. As such, his inclusion in the Congregation whose SOLE PURPOSE is the worship of the Church is a welcome one. As a member of the Congregation for Bishops, Burke will have a say in future episcopal appointments. This is key, since the bishops of tomorrow affect the direction in which the Church turns. Burke’s appointment to the Council for Interpreting Legislative Texts goes almost without saying, since he is also Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, making him the highest Canon Law judge after the Pope. Since Legislative Texts are works of Canon Law, Burke rightly belongs as a member of that Council.

We, as faithful Catholics, should pray for our new Cardinals as they step into these new roles, praying that they might stay strong and not abandon their new responsibilities.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beliefs of An Adventist Part 1

There are many Protestant groups throughout the United States and the world. One of the relatively unknown sects is the Seventh-Day Adventists. This is a shame, as it is growing in popularity and number (in 2007 it was ranked as the 12th largest religious group in the world with nearly 17 million members). Broken off from an end-of-the-world Christian group, whose prediction of an apocalypse in 1844 proved wrong, the group can claim 1863 as its year of foundation. Their original members included former members of other Protestant communities, leading to a variety of beliefs in the community’s early years. Eventually the leaders of the movement ironed out these doctrinal disagreements, and the Seventh-Day Adventists eventually received official recognition as a Protestant Church in middle of the 20th Century. Their beliefs were set down in 1980 in what is known as the 28 Fundamental Beliefs (it was originally 27, but a 28th belief was added in 1995).

Now what sparked this sudden interest in a growing yet relatively obscure Protestant group? Two students of mine, actually. They are sisters, one in 6th and one in 7th grade. The 6th grader, since I have her for Religion as well as Social Studies, frequently brings up what her Grandfather tells her, especially when what her grandfather tells her contradict what I am telling her. Who would have thought that my grade school students, not their parents or even high school students, would test my apologetic training? The source of apologetic discussion was the 6th grade sister, and I have had to approach her questions without properly knowing her own spiritual background.

I am working on learning that now.

It is with this student’s permission that I was graciously aloud to borrow a copy of the Seventh-Day Adventist equivalent to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is entitled, appropriately enough, Seventh-Day Adventists Believe: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines. Written/Edited by the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, the book presents an in-depth examination of the different beliefs held by the Adventists. It is a must have for any who wish to examine and critique the Adventists’ point of view, as I seek to do in this series of blog posts. I hope to be fair, but firm, in my examination. It is my hope that, maybe, somehow, someone will get some use out of the series, and thus some souls might be brought to Christ.

I should note, at the onset, that Adventists don’t follow the Apostle’s Creed, as such; rather they “accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.” Therefore, it is a relief that they decided to lay out their fundamental beliefs in such a way. There is no recitation of these beliefs, as there is of the Catholic beliefs at Sunday Mass. As one goes through the beliefs, one notices that most are the same to other Protestant faiths, though there are some key differences.

Hopefully all will become clearer once this series is through. Hopefully, though I make no promises. . . .

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Advent and Christmas poems

Throughout Advent, I have been writing little poems to put in my Facebook statuses. It was fun and a good excuse to work on my poetic moves.

I've decided to post the poems here, starting with the earliest and concluding with the last, which was written in honor of Christmas. I have read over them and tweeked them a little from the originals on Facebook.

I hope you enjoy them.


“Preparing the Magi”

In silence I wait for Him,

trembling I search Him out.

Where will he be, I ask

my peers, who shout aloud

"Behold he comes!"

Seers seem so silly sometimes.


The angel told me patience,

and so I wait.

Moving slowly

from state to state

If God has come

to my own home

How will I greet Him?

With love full grown.

“The Annunciation”

Few would heed an angel's coming,

fearful of unwanted storming,

unpleasant pains, unwanted unrest,

when angels come with God's request.

Yet here she stood, most pure in thought,

and gave the word, her holy fiat.

“Ecce Leo Dei”

There is a hint of something coming

slowly, surely, but it is coming.

Can't you hear it, breathing strongly

a lion roaring, barely sleeping,

waiting, hoping to start leaping,

He is hunting, waiting, watching.

Deep in Judah there is a lion,

not tamed, but angry, vicious, and wild.

He stalks his prey, an impure child,

that runs rampant through defiled Zion.

He wants to feed on those converted,

but cannot if they aren’t herded.

”Beware,” the serpent's whisper still,

"Avoid the lion; liberty He'll kill."

Then the serpent ran away,

fearful of that dreadful day,

the lion's birthday come at last,

a living breath from God full blast.

"Ecce Advenit"

Who would listen to what we said,

an echoed voice from prophets dead,

He comes, He comes,

From Heaven to Earth

He comes, He comes.

the Way of New Birth.

Come Sinner! Come Saint,

Bathe in the glory.

A beautiful portrait His life will paint,

His Gospel, His story.

“To my Lady, Mary”

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

Hail my Queen.

Hail my Lady.

Hail my Hope.

Hail, Hail, Hail, O Mary

Full of His Life, Beautiful Rose

Purest one.

Stainless, Purest One.

Flawless Jewel, Shining Gold

Hail My Lady!

Sweet Perfection.


Rejoice o daughter, your Lord comes soon.

Beware, o evil, the coming monsoon.

A King is coming, not one to boast,

though he’ll expel thee, Satan's host.

Rejoice again, throughout the land,

Feel not far from God's own hand.

Hear now his voice, feel now his trust.

Let not your swords then turn to rust,

for a fight is coming, a war appears,

when even just deaths will cause hot tears,

when young and old die in battle fray,

And peace and calmness away do stray.

But Rejoice, again, for he that brings war,

Brings too hope and love and peace evermore.

“Silent Night”

You can feel the hush as the chill surrounds you.

It’s like dying.

Something died tonight: a growl was heard,

Echoing through the dead lands.

The war is reaching its climactic finally,

Rally, Rally, Rally the troops.


Behold, he is here.

Venite! Come, let us go to Him!

The only sound is our footsteps,

Winding towards the simple castle.

No guard guards, nor archer watches.

We enter in unharmed.

Draw breath and enter,

Cast the chill away.

Feel warmth, feel strength,

As Daylight shines at night.


Bow down, man, bow down.

Do you not see the infant king?

His eyes are deep, his manner meek.

His servants moo and even bleat.

Inhale the incense of his new abode,

The sweet smell of His own creatures.

Venite Adoremus!

Bow before Him, the KING of the world.

No ordinary king, to be sure,

But the King of Kings, the great High Priest,

A hero divine, a prince of peace.

Tremble before him, and know his mercy.

He takes away our sins. He breaths in us new life.

But not yet.

For now He sleeps.

He has years to save us,

Any moment he could do it.

But he will do it when he wills,

And not a moment sooner

Nor later.

Who do we tell of the glories of God?

Our neighbors? Our masters?

We tell our friends, who tell theirs too.

We are ready, for He comes, He comes,

Behold He comes.

Ecce Advenit!

We must tell someone.

And in the silence of the night,

The calm remains unbroken.

The still and silence breathes new life

Into the wayward world.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

upcoming posts

Before the year is out, I will post several new posts on the blog. One will involve something involving what I got for Christmas (maybe). Another will be the start of a series of articles examining the doctrinal differences between the Seventh-Day Adventists and Catholics (inspired by discussions with one of my students who is Seventh-Day Adventist, who let me borrow her family's book about the religion).

Also, I will post some of the essays from the exams for the class I recently completed (HIST 610).

For how, I will post a website that will be permanently linked on the sidebar of this blog. The Rambler, the student newspaper for the College, has put up a new website. The Rambler recently won an award for its layout editing. The award was from the Collegiate Network, a nationwide group of college student newspapers; the small Catholic college newspaper beat out newspapers from all over the country. If you like what you see, please donate to the newspaper, or maybe even order a subscription of the paper.

Until I post again, enjoy!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Vote for the CINO Award

Have you ever noticed that whenever someone says "Not to be mean. . . ," the next words out of their mouth will be offensive.

Not to be mean. . . . YOU should totally go vote for your choice for the CINO (Catholic in Name Only) this year. There's some good choices this year.

I won't tell you for whom I voted.

Go here.