Jeffrey Miller

Apr 202014
 


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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 28 February 2014 to 20 April 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

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Apr 132014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 3 March 2014 to 12 April 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

+ “How good it is for us when the Lord unsettles our lukewarm and superficial lives.” @pontifex, 7 April 2014

+ “We need to rediscover a contemplative spirit, so that the love of God may warm our hearts.” @pontifex, 8 April 2014

+ “Jesus teaches us to not be ashamed of touching human misery, of touching his flesh in our brothers and sisters who suffer. (EG 270)” @pontifex, 10 April 2014

+ “Only trust in God can transform doubts into certainty, evil into good, night into radiant dawn.” @pontifex, 11 April 2014

+ “How beautiful it is to stand before the Crucifix, simply to be under the Lord’s gaze, so full of love. (EG 264)” @pontifex, 12 April 2014

Apr 092014
 

This partial review is part of a blog tour for the recently released paperback edition of Fr. Barron’s Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith. This blog tour is focused on reviewing one chapter from this book.

So I will be looking at Chapter 10 – World Without End: The Last Things which is quite appropriate for Lent.

This book grew out of Fr. Robert Barron’s major project to produce a media series that explained the faith using the scenery of 50 locations throughout 16 countries. Having seen the Catholicism series I felt it was very successful at what it aimed to do.

The chapter I am exploring on the Last Things is very indicative of Fr. Barron’s teaching method. Using literary examples, places, and events to set a theme that opens you up to the philosophical and theological points he makes. It is no surprise that Dante’s Divine Comedy was used as more than just a backdrop to illustrate an introduction into the topics of hell and purgatory. A discussion of Shakespeare’s Hamlet also is made use of in exploring this topic. Mostly I enjoyed they way he used the literary narrative to help define terms and to help the reader move beyond just a cultural view of hell, purgatory, and Heaven.

This book is not intended to provide an exhaustive apologetics in this area or to fully look at Catholic distinctive such as purgatory. A 291 page book on the topic of Catholicism is not meant to replace the Catechism, but to take the reader on a tour of the faith. Distilling the Catholicism series down to a book is not a simple task. The black-and-white images in the book just don’t have the majesty of the video locations and so I found them to be only vaguely useful in providing an accent to the topic discussed.

I am a big fan of Fr. Barron’s teaching method and have been a long time fan of his Word on Fire site from the beginning. Unfortunately when it comes to the topic of the last things this chapter left me cold. Generally I found most of it worthwhile, but some aspects I found either missing or presenting more of a personal point-of-view over what the Church teaches.

For example when you lead off a topic mentioning Protestant objections to Purgatory and subsequently reference what 2 Maccabees 12 says I found to be a bit odd. I did not expect a thorough scriptural apologetics defense of purgatory, but there is no reason to bring up Protestant objections unless you are going to try to answer them in even a general way.

Mainly what annoyed me on this topic of the last things was the discussion of hell and the idea that there might not be anybody in hell. Hans Urs von Balthasar famously wrote on this topic and Fr. Barron’s seems to take the same view of Balthasar’s book Dare We Hope?. This idea was repeatedly interjected. Mostly what annoyed me is that nowhere was it mentioned that this is a very minority opinion and that it has no backing from the Church’s magisterium. If you have a personal theological opinion than it should be labeled as such, especially in the case of a general book on the faith. Regarding my own personal opinion I think Balthasar’s idea is severely flawed and for an excellent look on what the Church teaches and why Balthasar is mistaken I would highly recommend Ralph Martin’s Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization. Still I am less concerned with the population of hell other than making sure I don’t increase that population by one.

When you have a chapter on the last things I would also have expected some discussion regarding judgment especially as part of the traditional reference to the four last things: Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven. There is certainly some consideration regarding sin in this chapter, but it seemed to me that the non-discussion regarding judgment was connected to his view on the population of hell. I could easily be reading too much into this.

Writing this review rather pains me since if my review had covered pretty much any other chapter in this book it would have been much more positive and without so many caveats. Especially since there was much that I enjoyed in this chapter in particular regarding the angels and the fallen angels. His exploration of a look at the devil via Dante’s Inferno is spot on.

Apr 062014
 

 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 23 October 2013 to 5 April 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Mar 302014
 


pope-francis2-300x187
This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 27 February to 29 March 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Mar 232014
 

The drug haul was unremarkable, but the destination raised eyebrows.

German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday that customs officials intercepted a cocaine shipment destined for the Vatican in January.

Officers at Leipzig airport found 340 grams — about 12 ounces — of the drug packed into 14 condoms inside a shipment of cushions coming from South America.

The paper says the package was simply addressed to the Vatican postal office, meaning any of the Catholic mini-state’s 800 residents could have picked it up.

Citing a German customs report, the paper adds that a sting operation arranged with Vatican police didn’t lure a possible recipient. The drugs would have a street value of several tens of thousands of euros (dollars).

Neither German customs nor the Vatican could be immediately reached for comment.

[Source]

An anonymous Vatican official did comment that obviously the recipient was not a faithful Catholic due to the drugs being wrapped in condoms.

Mar 232014
 

In anticipation of the 800th anniversary of Saint Francis of Assisi’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a group of young men from the Saint Anne’s chapter of Catholics in Action, in Gilbert, Arizona have decided to travel the thousand-year old Way of Saint James this Summer 2014, on a journey that spans over 500 miles across some of the most geographically beautiful landscapes in all of Spain. This documentary will record the experiences of these pilgrims, across 40 unforgettable days, in which they will face difficulties and personal struggles (i.e. physical and psychological stress). It narrates the story of men in search of the goal of our human existence: in search of the meaning of life, and the truth of who they are as men before God.

Grassroots Films, Inc is raising funds to create this documentary.

Mar 232014
 


pope-francis2-300x187
This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 16 March to 22 March 2014. 

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “Thank you for all your warm wishes on my anniversary. Please continue praying for me.” @pontifex, 17 March 2013
  • “Christian love is loving without counting the cost. This is the lesson of the Good Samaritan; this is the lesson of Jesus.” @pontifex, 18 March 2013
  • “I greet the World School Network for Encounter.Today we plant the first virtual olive tree for peace. @infoscholas” @pontifex, 19 March 2013
  • “May we learn to say “thank you” to God and to one another. We teach children to do it, and then we forget to do it ourselves!” @pontifex, 20 March 2013
  • “Sickness and death are not taboo subjects. They are realities that we must face in Jesus’ presence.” @pontifex, 21 March 2013
  • “Jesus is our hope. Nothing – not even evil or death – is able to separate us from the saving power of his love.” @pontifex, 22 March 2013
Mar 162014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 25 February to 13 March 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets