Msgr Stuart Swetland

What a great bio, Naval Academy graduate, Rhode scholar, ++++

God didn’t make us for this moment alone, he made us so that we can be set on fire, so we can go out and set the world on fire… be the fathers, the brothers, the sons, the friends, that we were meant to be.

Start with John 1, from the disciples of John the Baptist following Jesus to the calling of Cephas.

What was the meaning of the 153, the number of fish caught?

The 100 represents Israel, the 50 the nations, and the 3 being the Trinity. St. Jerome disagreed with this, saying that there were 153 species of fish, so this represented the whole world (one of each fish). St. Augustine said 153 had to be the symbolic number, because 10 represents the Old Testament, 7 represents the New Testament …

The whole point is that they were going to crazy lengths to figure out the meaning of the number -even though it may have only been the number of fish, nothing more- but the truth was that they knew that John didn’t just throw away stuff, everything was chosen was right. After all, he probably wrote this about 60 years after the events that he described … he chooses only seven signs (a perfect number) to illustrate everything that Jesus’ life meant.

Let’s go back to that first question in this account. “Where do you abide, where do you stay?”. Jesus replied simply “come and see”, it was about 4 in the afternoon. Sixty years later he new what time of day it was?

Simply because this was his call, when he became a disciple … he was one of those two “disciples of John the Baptist”. He new what time it was when he entered into a relationship with “He who is”.

Catherine of Siena had a revelation in which God told her that “She was ‘she who is not'”. In other words, we are held in existence because of God ongoing creative love, a recreating, a merciful love in a dying world, a world without hope, a world sinking into despair.

Either Jesus is the Lord of all of our life, or He is not the Lord of any of it.

For example, tithing is an Old Testament concept. In the New Testament it’s not 10% … it’s 100%. In other words, the question becomes how much of God’s money dare I keep for myself?

Msgr. Swetland was raised in a good, solid Lutheran family.  At the Naval Academy he encountered a “peace” church, which told him that he was not welcome in uniform. He took that as a reason to stop being Christian.

—–

In every age there are Judas-types, and we have some in our midsts right now. It was a Catholic who wrote the HHS mandate, but they have made a mistake … they are waking up the Church.

This a moment where we have a choice – do we join the world, or do we stand up for Jesus Christ?

——-

So he left the faith and became a worldly person. For awhile he had everything the world valued – success, money, career success … and he was miserable.

Misery upon misery, as his success grew.

But God is the hound of heaven … He will never leave us alone.

When he was graduate student at Oxford he formed an eating group with seven people … four of the seven were Catholics, including two who were daily communicants. All four of them simply lived their faith. They had peace and joy, something he did not have.

He discovered that they had a real relationship with Jesus Christ, and were willing to answer those questions when asked, even though he was very anti-Catholic at that time. Because of this he came to the Church in his third year at Oxford.

Grad students evangelize grad students, teachers evangelize teachers, and so forth. “Like upon like” evangelization … that is precisely what Jesus did with the apostles.

Jesus calls us to do the same, in the world in which we live.

The biggest group of Christians are Catholics … the second biggest are fallen-away Catholics. We must reach out to these brothers and sisters … we must.

However, most of us have swallowed the lie that we don’t talk about religion, which means that shut up about the one thing that should matter the most to us, to them, to anyone.

If we introduce friends to other friends, why don’t we introduce them to our best friend? The one who knows us the best, loves us the most.

Yet we – particularly as men – tend to hide behind masks, trying to hide who we are, because we are masking the fact that we fear that if someone sees the real me, they won’t like us, and certainly won’t love.

We have to drop these masks – we are not ok, unless Jesus Christ makes us so, via the power of the Holy Spirit.

We need to become only one man, the one who has been elevated, healed, brought into a unity of life (see Christifideles Laici, JP the Great). Our society is in the mess we’re in because of the masks, the separation between our faith life from the rest of our lives, our destruction of the unity of life.

On the other hand, allowing Christ to build a true unity of life in us, then the world will change.

For too long, Catholic Christians in America Catholic Christians have been ashamed of Jesus Christ, we have hid our light under a bushel basket. because we have been lukewarm.

Jesus tells us what he thinks of lukewarmness in Revelations 2 … “because you are neither hot nor cold I vomit you out”.

This must change … it must.

Now it’s our turn to take our place, to be set on fire, to allow God to change the world around us.

Being the men that we are called to be is something intentional … we must choose.

The first stage is that we learn that we are the beloved son of the Father; if that doesn’t happen at home we must help others.

The second stage is we become something, find out “if we have what it takes?”. We take all sorts of risks to answer that question, many stupid things.

The next two stages happen together – we become warriors and we become lovers. We are fighting against powers and principalities that are not of this world … “nobody is going to mess with our family”.

In doing this we learn how to become the lovers that we are called to be. We have to posses ourselves enough that we can give ourselves away.

Every morning we should wake up as ask “how can we serve our brides today, how can we serve our kids?”. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples … this is the model of self-sacrificial love that we are called to live. B16 said that in doing this Jesus exalted his disciples, he lifted them up to heaven.

We must exhibit this self-sacrificial love, if we are called to be the spiritual leaders in our family.

The next stage is to be king, which cannot be as it is with the Gentiles … must be of service.

B16 said that “the world offers us comfort, but we weren’t made for comfort … we are made for greatness“. The great amongst us are those who serve the rest.

God wants this. As a matter of fact, the only tragedy in life is to not become the saint that we were meant to be … lives of heroic virtue.

Every one of us ought to be canonizable … we must let the Spirit of the Lord transform us … we must be made perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.

The last stage is that of sage … we no longer rule, we are wise and prayer warriors for others. As we age we must sanctify our diminishments. This is culturally antithetical, which is youth-obsessed.

We don’t honor the elderly, because we have substituted comfort for greatness. We must change this, and honor those who have fought the good fight, in season and out.

These stages he borrows from John Eldridge, btw.

All of these stages must be sanctified by God, at each stage we must choose … “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

Some of us may be called to be martyrs, but for most of us we are simply called to the white martyrdom of following the Lord every day in our life, in season and out.

Praised be Jesus Christ … now and forever!

Msgr Stuart Swetland

Next up: Deacon Ralph Poyo

Deacon Ralph Poyo is a lay evangelist, who’s hilarious. He has five daughters (including twins).

They are the love of his life, and God has used them to change his heart.

He had an early addiction to pornography, first exposed at age 9, full blown addiction at age 12. He quickly became a predator who wanted to use and abuse every female that came around.

He became a predator, but we were born to be protectors.

We are not doing a good job, we’re bound and broken, we desperately need Jesus Christ. Only those men who experience this conversion have any idea what he’s talking about.

We’ve been trained to “play church”, but the truth is we have no idea what to do. We are in desperate need of an intimate relationship with the living God, not when we die, but the living God who is right now.

That is the only way that we can truly become protectors, become what God made us to be.

The unspoken question: do I really have what it takes to come against the threats that are coming are way?

Or said another way, what is it that would make a first century father willing to declare that they were a follower of Jesus Christ, knowing that would mean certain and immediate death?

Certain death for him and his family? Deacon Poyo then graphically described families being fed to the lions, of the human tiki torches that Nero used to light his parties.

So with that in mind, what is it that would enable that Christian father to say yes to the heinous question? We need to find out what that was, because we need it today.

Amen.

To hold on to Christ is far more important than to avoid death at a persecutors hands.

What is the mission that Christ gave us? What did he give us? What was the target?

But before we know one key principle – we cannot give what we do not have. In other words, if we don’t have the reality of Jesus Christ pulsing through our hearts, through our very beings we cannot give it away; rather, we can only teach people to “play church”.

Look at how Jesus formed the apostles. Three years of living together, working together, proclaiming and living the Gospel … this is the relational model of ministry, of apostolate. Then Jesus dies … then rises again.

Now what?

What did Jesus do? He wanted to see if his apostles actually wanted to know Him, not just know about Him.

Then He leaves, and send the Holy Spirit. Now crazy things happen, profound things.

The mission that was given to Jesus Christ was also given to the Spirit, the breath of God.  The Holy Spirt then gives that same mission to each who wants to receive.

Jesus passed along His mission many times, including in a particular way in the road to Emmaus. When Jesus left, those two disciples said “were not our hearts burning?” … this was the work of the Holy Spirit.

At the end of Acts 2, “they were cut to the heart and said brothers, what should we now do?”.

In other words, what do we need to do to get what you have?

The answer? Repent and be baptized.

Of course, we have generally done a bad job of catechizing repentance. It’s more than saying “I’m sorry” … it’s much, much more.

Salvation is a free gift, but discipleship costs everything.

Authentic repentance means that we quit being God, quit living by our own rules, that we live by God’s rules.

Are we prepared to do this? Are we prepared to lead our spouse and our children, through our hearts, to Christ?

It took Deacon Poyo 11 years for Christ to free him from his addiction to pornography, once he had decided to repent.

Next up: be baptized.

If we were baptized as children, is that enough?

Our baptism requires continual conversion, so in that sense our baptism is continual, because our conversion is continual.

He then used the analogy of chocolate milk (same as Paul Masek!).

What do we want … do we want our stuff, or the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the only one who can truly change us?

Make it clear: if we’re not leading our spouse and our children to Jesus Christ, we’re leading them … elsewhere, the only other possible outcome.

If we’re going to be real honest, the number 1 religion in our country is hedonism. We make decisions based upon deception, fear, and shame. Instant gratification rather than eternal happiness. Selling our birthright for trash.

 

Next up: Deacon Ralph Poyo

Fr. Joe Kempf on Reconciliation

Fr. Joe Kempf is talking  on the meaning of forgiveness, both seeking and receiving. This will be in three parts – realizing the need to seek forgiveness, the older brother, and the mercy of God available in reconciliation.

—-

If you only know one story from the Bible, know the parable of the Prodigal Son (aka the Forgiving Father).

In the prodigal son the actions of the father are truly remarkable – the son had basically said that he wised the father dead.

The invitation from God is to come home to a true and everlasting life.

Think of Peter betrayed Jesus, and their encounter afterwards … why did Peter weep? Fr. Joe thinks that Peter wept because he realized, for the first time, just how much Jesus loved him.

—–

The older brother falls into the trap that many people who have faith fall into … we think that we are above others, that we do not need the mercy that others need (the trap of the Pharisees).

The five misunderstands of forgiveness:

  1. To act like no wrong was done.
  2. To forgive is to put myself in the situation where we can be wronged again and again.
  3. To think that it is optional. To not forgive has been likened to drinking rat poison, then waiting for the rat to die. In other words, carrying around the lack of forgiveness is enormously corrosive and self-destructive.
  4. To think that it would be easier to forgive if you get revenge first. Talked about a person who interviewed people that attended the execution of someone who’d hurt their family. Uniformly the response afterwards was “it was not enough”. Revenge is insatiable.
  5. To think that it is a one time thing and then we’re done. For most of us most of the time it’s a continual process.

So then, how do we forgive?

  1.  We make an act of the will and choose it.
  2. We surround it to God.
  3. We do steps 1 and 2 again and again and again.

Told a good story about about forgiving someone with whom he had conflict in the parish, and another story about a person who died before resolving a conflict with a daughter.

—–

The invitation from God is to come home to a true and everlasting life.

Reconciliation is the gift of the Church, the ordinary means for receiving the compassion, the mercy of Christ, the welcoming embrace of the Father (as in the parable of the prodigal son).

The good news is that the power of confession, in which receive the mercy of God, is not dependent upon the disposition of the priest to whom we go.

What do we confess? Do a good examination of conscience, then confess anything that we need to “get off our chest”, then those areas that we have omitted to do (think of Matthew 25 – the last judgement – “I was hungry and you did not feed me …”).

Then we need to make amends wherever possible. Have no concerns about what the priest will think, because truthfully they’ve heard all this and more before, and they receive a real grace for this.

Then start over again and move on.

personal note: Reconciliation has become one of my favorite parts of life. After going years and years without making a serious confession, and then stumbling badly and reaching out in desperation to our parish priest and seeking the sacrament of reconciliation, the ensuing reality of mercy, forgiveness, healing and grace were so overwhelming as to be undeniable.

After awhile I started going once a year, then once a month, now most weeks do not pass without finding a priest and making a (hopefully) good confession.

Mercy rocks!

Fr. Joe Kempf on Reconciliation

Fr. Michael Lightner

The first speaker is Fr. Michael Lightner. Former college lineman, he’s a seriously big guy (6’4″ 330), with a great conversion story.

Raised in a Catholic family, his dad was one of General McArther’s bodyguards. His mom was a daily communicant, very devout.

Fr. Lightner went off the rails in college, doing all the things wrong that some of us do at that time. Was hurt by a woman early, became bitter and started using women etc. Became a band security guy, did a lot of Lollapaloozas and so forth.

Became an intermedia between the athletes who wanted drugs and the art people who had drugs. Picked up the nickname as “The Kingpin”, because he hooked up people with jobs, drugs, and more.

Then one night he brought some pot home, stashed it under the couch and his three year old niece found it … “Grandma, what’s this?”.

Awkward.

His mom confronted him with his sister, who was a drug abuse counselor at the local VA hospital.

His mom then forced him to attend a pilgrimage to Medjugorge with her that Christmas. On that trip he was so angry that he wanted to beat people up (which he did for a living), so freaked out by the trip that he actually started praying a bit. Kept having panic attacks, a big one as he got to the location itself.

His mom told him … “if you do only one thing here, go to confession”. Outside of a resignation he accepted.

His first real prayer was “God if you exist … and I don’t think that you do … you have 7 days to show me. Otherwise I’m living my life my way”.

After a 40 minute confession the priest gave him 5 Our Fathers, which made him mad. But then with the absolution he felt a presence, which pushed him to his back, against the back wall of the confessional. He was pinned against the wall, couldn’t move.

Then he felt release, had no idea what to do. Everything changed. The five Our Fathers took him 45 minutes, and he wept the whole time. Kept flashing through all the women that he’d hurt, women who sought comfort and protection in him.

He then offered his second prayer, which led to a mystical experience, an infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Four months later he went on a second trip, and they went to a monastery where there were miraculous headings, truly astonishing. He waited for 20 minutes behind a woman in a wheel chair, and while they were praying over her he heard a voice … “if I get this woman out of the wheelchair, will you enter the seminary?”.  His obvious answer … “no”.

He was thinking of upcoming tryouts for the NFL, so he put conditions “if she walks around the church …”, when she did he said “if she steps on that block” and she did, … well, he entered the seminary and is obviously now a priest.

A bit later he had a dream that he was in the NFL, in which he had a deep sense of deja vu, which allowed him to see ahead as to what was going to happen. They win the game, has a party, and he’s weeping. At three that morning he woke up to a dream in which he was shown that he’d fulfilled his childhood dream, now it was time to fulfill God’s dream for him”.

So he was convicted, but it was hard because he was dating (closely) a woman he’d met on pilgrimage. But, he followed the call, accepted the conversion.

What is conversion? The Holy Spirt is asking us to change, asking us to receive His mercy. That is the tug, that is the sense conviction that we’re sensing during those times.

We want to change, but the world and sin keeps the anxiety on us, does not bring us peace. If we ask for God’s mercy, if we use the tools in our tool belt that the Catholic Church has given us – Holy Scripture, the Euchartist, Confession, fasting, prayer – we’ll be fine, we’ll slay the dragon.

This is the path to conversion, this is conversion.

Step into this, try increasing each one a little bit at a time. The Holy Spirit will make it work, will lead us through conversion.

Perhaps start by going to the Eucharist one more time a week (+1).

All of this can only happen with God’s mercy … if we set our pride aside even a little bit, He will make it real, He will make it happen.

If you ask God to reveal Himself to you, He will do so, make you a son with all of the inheritance that He already has ready for you.

God elevated our state of humanity – fallen humanity – above the angels, they are hear to serve us. That is nearly incomprehensible, if you think of what that actually means, given that they are created above us.

We need these chops now. The government is attacking us, a battle looming. If we do not teach our wives, our daughters and sons, our grandchildren, then they will not even be able to fight the battles that loom

Those battles will come our way, whether we ask for them or not.

—–

The problem with our families, our Church, our society, our government, and more is that we have forgotten how to serve – we are self-centered.

If we change our hearts, all the rest will inevitably change.

Finished by telling a great story about a friend of his who followed God’s call to play the piano, if he would serve him…

anything is possible. Anything is possible.

If we hear God call us, we need only answer, and he will call us forth so that we can be His son’s in glory. We don’t see that glory right now, but one day we will. If we hang on his mercy and persevere, we will change this country, we will change the world.

Great first talk.

Btw he started a motorcycle club, the “Sons of Mercy”. He’ll help others start the same, provided that a priest is involved.

Fr. Michael Lightner

LIveblogging the 2012 Catholic Men for Christ Conference

Going to liveblog most of the 2012 Catholic Men for Christ conference in St. Louis, MO.

Just had an opening prayer from Bishop-emeritus Robert. Herman, and getting ready to start.

The Knights of Columbus are talking about a great program to place ultrasound machines in crisis pregnancy centers and many other places to help pregnant women see their babies for the first time. They have found that 95% of women who first see an ultrasound of their child do not follow through with an abortion!

Tremendous testimony to the value of truth.

Hope to post more soon (God willing!).

Link

Dr. Peter Kreeft – The Role of the Laity in the Culture

This was sponsored by the St. Charles Group, a portion of Morgan Stanley that only invests in line with Catholic morals, and took place at the Catholic Student Center, Washington University in St. Louis, this evening at 7 pm. The room is packed – awesome!

Hector Molina is the MC and is laying a foundation for Kreeft’s talk. Tonight is an example of the new evangelization, as called for by the soon to be Blessed John Paul II, of happy memory.

Dr. Kreeft is the author of over 70 books, became Catholic during college. The pivotal point was the claim of the Catholic Church to be the one Church founded by Christ.

Now for Peter Kreeft…

Can’t figure out why he, an absent-minded philosophy professor, to give this talk … he’s singularly unqualified. A philosopher is a blind man trying to find a black cat in a dark mine that’s not there. His own definition is a philosopher who, after he dies, when given a choice between going to heaven or a lecture about heaven, chooses the lecture.

He’s thankful that we assigned him a topic. His whole talk will consist of only two words … “almost everything”.

To talk about the “role of the laity in the culture” is like talking about the “role of the players on a baseball team”.

The correct translation for the title of the Pope is “Slaves of the slaves of God”!

The awesome responsibilities for being the Church … we are the Body of Christ. Us?!? A casual look seems to show no evidence that this is the case.

One of the images in Scripture is as an arc, as in Noah’s Ark. What did the inside of the ark probably smell like?

Well, there’s a lot of mess in the actual, real live flesh and blood, Church. It’s messy, bloody, business.

What is the business of the Church? Some think it’s a

  • super social worker, or a
  • super wise people, or
  • super spiritual politicians, or … (many, many ideas)

A corollary, is what is the business of the Messiah? Many thought the Messiah would deliver Israel from the political mess they were in. Others thought poverty, still others …

Why wasn’t God more clear about these? Because God is a good teacher (like Socrates), so he didn’t tell us everything. He tested us.

But what, in fact, did Jesus do? He saved his people (us) from their sins.

If our heart is close to God, then we will recognize that Jesus saves us from our sins. Simple saints, like Bl. Mother Teresa without a theological training, more profoundly understand the truth of the Scriptures.

The laity’s business is the Church’s business, the Church’s business is Christ’s business … and that’s to save us from our sins. He’s no absentee landlord.

Part of saving us from our sins is he motivates us to do good works, the other part of salvation. Salvations, starts of course, with faith.

Faith, hope, and charity are like multiple roots of the same plant … they all support the same thing, our salvation.

The fundamental choice we make as Catholics … I give the whole of myself to the whole of yourself, Jesus. If you haven’t done this get out … you’re not doing your business.

Sometimes our Protestant brothers and sisters understand that better than Catholics … our whole faith is begins and ends with Christo-centricism.

Many of his students are Catholic, or they think they’re Catholic … although they’re probably Hindu-pantheists (I think he’s only sort of kidding).

Kreeft thinks that God is probably not going to restore our unity with our brothers and sisters until Catholics know Christ better than they do.

The old battle lines are not there anymore … large numbers of people are moving in and out of the Church.

Mark Noll … “The Reformation is over”. A bit of an exaggeration, but a minor miracle has occurred … we now agree, in essence, on justification.  That is “The Decree on Justification” has been agreed to by many Lutherans, Anglicans, and more … this was the central tenet of much of the Reformation (theologically speaking). Wow. The lay version is ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together).

This is based on breadth in both the meaning of salvation and faith.

Luther used faith in the deep sense of the word, and salvation in the small sense of the word. The Catholic Church was using faith in a narrower sense, and salvation in a larger sense.

Both sides suddenly realized this in the past 50 years and did the modern short act of contrition … “oops”.

Hmmm … so both sides were right, in a sense.

An aside: he thinks he’s a better philosopher because he’s not smart enough to do complexity, so he does simplicities.

On his journey into the Catholic Church Kreeft was astonished by the Eucharistic … not a single, non-heretical Christian denied the Real Presence, in the whole history of the Church. Nobody.

This is the central issue, period. How is God going to solve this one?

The Role of the Laity in the World.

The main role of the laity in the world is to be in the world but not of the world. Do good work … not just good works, but good work. Doubts if badly made tables ever came out of Jesus’ carpenter shop.

This is the first responsibility of each of us … we must start by being good at our role in the world.

Maximum truth, goodness, and happiness is the best selling tool to the world … the essence of evangelization.

What was it that converted the world? Was it the logical aspects of the faith? NO. Was it art etc? NO, those came later. Well, what was it? Saints, plain and simple. Martyrs. Actual blood and flesh Christians, living lives of grace, truth, and beauty. The different way they lived their lives, the radical, different, crazy kind of love that can only come from Jesus Christ … that’s what converted the world.

Think of Christ as he carried the Cross … “see Mother, I make all things new”.

When we are truly converted, and this meets the truly decadent culture in which we now live, the same thing will inevitability follow … the world will be converted.

At the heart of the culture war is sex … the sexual revolution. That’s the elephant in the living room.

Two proofs:

The Catholic Church is the only institution in the world that prohibits divorce.

We don’t lynch blacks anymore, we don’t kill Jews … but we are more cruel to one class of humans – our own unborn – than any other society in the history of the world.

How did Fr. Scanlan single-handedly turn around Franciscan University. First step, you’re going to live differently … daily Mass, adoration, etc etc. Half the students said they would leave and he said “fine”. Then good things followed. Amen.

The Theology of the Body explains Humanae Vitae, and gives a whole explanation of human life and applies it to the second most holy thing in the world … a woman’s body. The holiest thing in the world is the Eucharist.

In the Eucharist God re-enters a world, in a woman’s body God re-enters the world as Creator.

The tide is turning … this really is the new springtime of the Church!

This is not wholly, but largely a development of the laity. We are becoming adults in Christ.

It used to be said that all the laity had to do was “pray, pay, and obey”. Actually that’s pretty accurate, not bad at all. Ie “pray, sacrifice, and obey”.

What is a saint? Somebody who says with his whole mind, body, and soul … “thy will be done”. That’s obedience.

The Church has died many times in its history and been buried, but she’s not dead yet … and won’t be!

Questions and Answers.

Q: Can you connect the sexual revolution with the “enlightenment project”. As in control, trick nature? I.e. Kurzwel and his “eat whatever you want” pill.

A. The enlightenment program is looking at nature as an object for conquest. Kurzweil advocates post-humans, for example. This is the same thing for contraception, abortion.

Q: Jerome says that we should build our culture, but laws etc. are being made that are hostile to the faith. Why aren’t we speaking out?

A: Because we believe the pop psychologists that we shouldn’t offend people. Let’s move to the lower east side and learn how to agitate.

Q: Some, like the Marian movement, think that a chastisement is upcoming.

A: We have to always be prepared for that eventuality, BUT we can’t ever give up on the culture. God is merciful. Eg the vision of Pope St. Leo XIII, which resulted in the “St. Michael’s Prayer”, a real gift to the Church. He had a vision that Satan chose the 20th century to do his most heinous work.

Q: Should we oppose the insurability of abortion, contraception, etc?

A: Absolutely. Would we stand by if our insurance company financed the gassing of Jews? Btw, the company who manufactured the gas in Hitler’s gas chambers is the manufactures of RU-486.

Q: What do we do about “the lost generation”?

A: What we’re doing already – fixing things up, patching where we can, be blunt and frank when necessary. If we’re a Christian then we’re going to occasionally tick some people off, and if we don’t then we’re not close enough to the Cross. No compromise. Period.

Q: How much should we confront the world, and how much should we protect our family?

A: Both, it’s not either or, it’s like offense and defense. You absolutely need both. Souls are what at stake. The devil is interested in corrupting culture, but only so far as it’s useful in snaring souls. That is the most important. We need to defend American culture, western civilization, and forth, but only so much as it impacts the fates of souls.

Q: What about the feeble numbers at PSR, from families who don’t care?

A: Two principles. 1) People are far more important than we think, and 2) Numbers are far less important than we think. How many did Jesus teach? Gideon? Aside: note that philosophers are good at principles, but not very good at solving actual problems.

We need to keep the principles of transcendence and imminence. God perfectly reconciles both.

Q: Is there an important role in the new generations of the Church to help it discover itself?

A: When Bl JP2 called for a new evangelization, he meant every word of it. We need a new presentation of the same Gospel.

Q: Why don’t we confront the culture even in our parishes, eg in the petitions?

A: Well suppose we did speak truth at homilies, suppose we did have direct petitions … what would happen? Well some people would get mad and leave. That’s ok, that’s definitely ok. Are we doing Jesus’ work?

Q: Is the growth of some Islamic cultures a threat to us?

A: Not as much as the rot from within. The enemy without is honest – they hate us and are open about it. The enemy within is dishonest, and capable of far worse. Europe will be Muslim in a couple of generations, because Christians are wimps who aren’t having kids and Muslims are. If this happens then they deserve it. (good point).

Q: How do we convince erudite skeptics of actual, Catholic truth?

A: Our first job is not to persuade people, but we must announce it. Second, use every means we can to convince people that what we say in #1 is true. Then make sure that they understand that if they don’t agree with the Church then they’re not Catholics … they may be pop psychologists, but they’re not Catholics. We must start, continue, and always stick with the truth. We don’t have to rely on our own opinions, we always have Mother Church upon which we can, and must rely.

This is a blast. Imagine the idea of a “rock star philosopher” … makes me giggle, but is nonetheless cool.

Dr. Peter Kreeft – The Role of the Laity in the Culture

Fear is Useless – a Conversation with Fr. John Corapi

I was really happy to see that EWTN began posting most of their new content on their own youtube channel a few months ago.

In poking around some of the available content found a real treasure – Fr. John Corapi in a fairly rare conversational setting … sitting down, calm, and yet typically intense, in a great dialog with Fr. Mitch Pacwa on an onerous problem that plagues many of us from time to time … that of fear.

His whole appearance was a riff on these words of Jesus (Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36)

“Fear is useless, what is needed is trust”

Fr. Corapi was the main guest last March on EWTN Live (his appearance starts at about the 4:30 mark of the attached video).

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy.

Fear is Useless – a Conversation with Fr. John Corapi