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25th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Excerpts from an article written by non-Catholic; Sam Miller - a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:

"Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States , namely the Catholic Church?

Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.

The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students.

The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.

But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.

Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed. Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic problem.

A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now and a number of bishops who failed to act.

Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States .

Then remember what Jeremiah said: 'Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls'. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.

Be proud that you're a Catholic."

Michael Medved is another Jew who has vehemently defended the Catholic Church. He actually said that the most prevalent form of religious bias in America is "...not antisemitism, not anti-radical Islam, but... anti-Catholicism."

24th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

LGBT

The core teaching of the Catholic Church is the importance of love. What the Church decries in All, married or not, is the misuse of sexual activity.

23rd Aug, 2018

athgarvan

POLLUTION

I was walking recently in a small village called Enniskerry in the foothills of the Wicklow mountains near Dublin. The village, with its mansion, woods, waterfall and formal gardens, formed part of the estate of the Powerscourt family. What a beautiful place it is! Well, it once was! Unfortunately, like many towns and villages in Ireland in this throwaway culture, I was surprised to see it has now become littered and polluted.



Different forms of pullution are now part of people's daily experience, producing a broad spectrum of health hazards and the spoliation of the environment by transport, industry, fertilisers, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Every year, hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated throughout the world. The earth is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth and the depletion of our natural resources, like water, has become very, very serious. We are being inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived more and more of physical contact with nature.

Will anything, or can anything, be done about it all at this stage?

15th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS

Everywhere you go today your ears are assailed by pop music. Everywhere there's this loud pop of an astounding banality! In shops, cafes, bars, street corners. To carry on a conversation we must shout at each other over this deadly noise, a noise that follows you around wherever you go. It is just a carpet of loud sound. Smoking has been banned in  bars, shops, and restaurants. But there is no law against this worse kind of mental pollution that has such a dampening effect on conversation.

In the past, music was something you sat down to listen to or you made yourself, - something that provided a genuine musical experience.  No longer is music something shaped by our deepest feelings. As always there will be exceptions but by-and-large young people seem to have turned their back on this enchanting world of classical music. The loss is theirs.

Is it just a matter of judgment or taste? Is it just a matter of my taste against yours? Is there really a difference between pop and real music? Is it elitist to even suggest that there is? Music is not a blanket with which to cut off communication but is, in fact, a form of communication itself?

While typing this I have been keeping an eye on 'Flog it', a popular programme on tele. An organ player was demonstrating  how different organ stops are pulled out to turn on different sets of sounds in a pipe organ. When all stops are pulled out, the organ will play all variations of its sounds at once, therefore being as loud as possible. Is the result produced music or pop I wonder?

13th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

WHAT IS A FAMILY?

World Meeting of Families (21-26 August 2018).

Given the primacy of the family in human life, the Catholic Church holds an international meeting of families at a different venue every three years. It is an international event of prayer, catechesis and celebration. It helps to strengthen the bonds between families, and bears witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to all of society. This year it is being held here in Ireland. Pope Francis will be present. His plane will land at Knock, a shrine to Our Lady in Co. Mayo.

The theme of the event this year is: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

600,000 are expected to attend a Mass in the Phoenix Park, 45,000 in Knock, and 80,000 in Croke Park Stadium. 'Working' meetings will be held in the Dublin Horse Show venues.

But, the big question is, what does a family mean nowadays? Is there such to be found in any community at all?

10th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

WORRY MONKS

Have you ever used a 'Worry Monk' or 'worry stone'? I haven't, but I am told that it's very good for relaxation or meditation. From my young days in religious life I have practised meditation but have never made a great fist of it! The simple action of moving one's thumb back and forth across this little statue, they say, can reduce stress. We begin to see the part of us that is much more than our desires and fears, longings and wishes. We see we are much more than our personality. We begin to judge ourselves and others less and eventually not at all.

Yesterday my young grand-niece from Australia gave me a 'Worry Monk' as a token. It is a very small smooth icon of a monk that can be held in the fingers and rubbed. By handling it gently, I'm told, that that simple action can reduce anxiety or worry. The use of the word 'monk' is probably intended to associate it with the acts of meditation associated with monks, but small smooth stones have been used for hundred if not thousands of years with the same intent..

Maybe I should take up this 'Worry Monk' thing.

9th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

YIN AND YANG

I've been listening to Bishop Robert Barron talking about Jordan Peterson. The two are very interesting people to listen to. They talk about the play between order and chaos as exemplified in the Dao symbol - the yin and yang of intertwining fish.

Being is what one experiences as a conscious creature - it is not objective reality. In every environment one is involved in, there are things one understands and things one doesn't understand. And that remains true whatever the environment we find ourselves in.
The dots in the symbol remind us that chaos can turn to order, and vice versa, at any moment. So the ideal place to be is on the line between the two.  Consciousness exists as a balancing act between the two. Order is the area in our lives we can control. It is given to us by the society in which we live. Chaos, on the other hand, is the area in our lives which stands for the unknown, the unexplored.

Too much order leads to a sort of breakdown of the psyche and of the society where everything is rigid. Too much disorder, too much chaos, also leads to a breakdown of the psyche, and leads to a sort of depression.

Barron uses the example of the 'hero' cult we are all familiar with from our comic book days. The 'hero' leaves, or is forced out of, the realm of domesticity (order) into the realm of disorder or chaos. If he is brave enough to accept this challenge he will achieve something of enormous value to take back to the area of his domestic space.

Barron suggests that we do not despise order nor be afraid of the unknown - we must be spiritually honest with ourselves however. We must get our own house in order and then we'll have a much clearer vision to see and understand the rest of the world.

6th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

TWO VIEWS

The secular view of sex is that sex has no intrinsic purpose at all and need not be attached to marriage, or love, or even to any kind of emotional intimacy at all. It also holds that the possibility of children can be prevented by any means.

The Christian view is that God created sex for a purpose and the purpose is unitative and procreative, that is to say, sex is a physical expression of a couple’s unity and must be open to the possibility of children.

It is not obvious why the secular, liberal view of sex is so radically and manifestly superior to the Christian view."

I wonder where I stand?

5th Aug, 2018

athgarvan

"Do not work for food that perishes…” John 6: 24

Reflecting on today's Gospel Reading in Church. . . .

When we ask people to donate food for the poor we usually ask them to give non-perishable food. This usually means cans, tins of beans, luncheon meat, and things like that! But all tins of food today have a sell-by date, even tho’ most of them have preservatives in them! Some researchers, I understand, say that it’s these same preservatives in our food-chain that can trigger off things like cancer in humans!

In the Gospel this morning we are warned not to cling to “food that perishes"! A sobering thought!
Everything we now own, will be  gone: our computer, rugs, house, mobile phone, elegant clothes, latest model car! All gone, passed on, out of fashion, worn out! All our material possessions, gone! perishable!

Is there then, anything imperishable in my life?

3rd Aug, 2018

athgarvan

IRELAND STILL LOVES HER PILGRIMS AND HER PENITENTS

Last Sunday hundreds of pilgrims did their annual penitential climb of Croagh Patrick, their traditional sacred mountain in the west of Ireland. They do it in honour of Saint Patrick who, according to tradition, fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days. Masses are celebrated on the summit. Some climb the rocky mountain barefoot, as an act of penance.

During August each year my friend spends a couple of weeks on a traditional penitential small island in Loch Derg (Co. Donegal). He serves as a counsellor there (but not as a pilgrim!).The experience consists of spending three days on the island. One removes one's shoes on arrival, survives while on the island on black tea and dry toast, goes without sleep on the first night, spends one's time walking and praying as one goes around three low mounds (stations), and sleeping on a bare bunk on the  other two nights.  One must continue to fast on the day one leaves. Hundreds of people can be seen take on this challenge on any day during the season. Lough Derg is one of the oldest places of pilgrimage in the Christian world.

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