Jeffrey Miller

Feb 152017
 

pope-francis2-300x187

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 2 February 2016 to 15 February 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Let us never forget to pray for each another. Prayer is our greatest strength.” @Pontifex 3 February 2017
  • “Take action! Live life to the full! And when others see the witness you give, they may ask: why do you live this way?” @Pontifex 4 February 2017
  • “Those who do not believe in or search for God have perhaps never been challenged by a testimony of faith.” @Pontifex 5 February 2017
  • “Being a believer means learning how to see with eyes of faith.” @Pontifex 6 February 2017
  • “Let us hear the cry of the many children who are enslaved. No one must remain indifferent to their sorrow. @M_RSection” @Pontifex 7 February 2017
  • “Those who traffic human beings are ultimately accountable to God. Let us pray for the conversion of hearts. @M_RSection” @Pontifex 8 February 2017
  • “Hope opens new horizons and enables us to dream of what is not even imaginable.” @Pontifex 9 February 2017
  • “Let us be close to our brothers and sisters who are going through illness and also their families.” @Pontifex 10 February 2017
  • “I encourage all of you to see in Mary, Health of the Infirm, the sure sign of God’s love for every human being.” @Pontifex 11 February 2017
  • “The dignity of children must be respected: we pray that the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.” @Pontifex 12 February 2017
  • “Let us never place conditions on God! Entrusting ourselves to the Lord means entering into his plans without demanding anything.” @Pontifex 13 February 2017
  • “It is good to know the Lord takes on the burden of our fragilities and patiently gets us back on our feet with the strength to start over.” @Pontifex 14 February 2017
  • “The throwaway culture is not of Jesus. The other is my brother, beyond every barrier of nationality, social extraction or religion.” @Pontifex 15 February 2017

Papal Instagram

Feb 022017
 

pope-francis2-300x187

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 18 October 2016 to 2 February 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Motu Proprio

Speeches

Papal Tweets

Papal Instagram

Jan 222017
 

Since this year January 22nd is on a Sunday, “Day Of Prayer For The Legal Protection Of Unborn Children” is transferred to Monday.

“… a particular day of prayer and penance, called the ”Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children”: “In all the Dioceses of the United States of America"

Just before Mass this morning I experience a rather somber reminder of this sad anniversary. At this parish from the lectern they announced 1973 followed by a Church bell and a person bringing a rose to before the altar. They did this for every year since Roe v. Wade became law. I found this rather effective and not overly dramatic. All those years and all those deaths punctuated by the church bells.

The homily was also a very solid pro-life reflection regarding mostly abortion with quotes from Pope Francis and St. John Paul II. Some well-worn analogies were used to good effect. I wished a reflection on the readings has been weaved into it, but I will take a solid pro-life homily.

As a side note “Day Of Prayer For The Legal Protection Of Unborn Children” seems to me to be a rather awkward phrase. Something a bureaucrat would have written. Not exactly catchy, but at least accurate.

Jan 182017
 

pope-francis2-300x187

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 1 January 2017 to 18 January 2017.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Letters

Papal Tweets

  • “May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other.” @Pontifex 5 January 2017
  • “Like the Magi, may we also journey and be attentive, untiring and courageous on the path to find the invisible God who was born among us.” @Pontifex 6 January 2017
  • “Let us remember our Christian brothers and sisters of the East, Catholics and Orthodox, who are celebrating Christmas today.” @Pontifex 7 January 2017
  • “Let us ask the Virgin Mary to help us follow Christ on the way of faith and charity, the path set out by our Baptism.” @Pontifex 8 January 2017
  • “There can be no true peace if everyone claims always and exclusively his or her own rights, without caring for the good of others.” @Pontifex 9 January 2017
  • “My hope is that our countries and their peoples may find increased opportunities to work together in building true peace.” @Pontifex 10 January 2017
  • “Everyone can help bring about a culture of mercy, in which no one looks at another with indifference.” @Pontifex 11 January 2017
  • “Young migrants, especially when unaccompanied, are especially defenceless. Let everyone offer them a helping hand.” @Pontifex 12 January 2017
  • “Children forced to flee, especially if fleeing alone, are most defenceless and vulnerable. Let’s pray for them and help them. @M_RSectionhttps://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/819887976016531456” @Pontifex 13 January 2017
  • “Unscrupulous exploitation harms young girls and boys who are trafficked and enslaved. May God bless all those who set them free. @M_RSection” @Pontifex 14 January 2017
  • “May the Holy Family watch over all child migrants and accompany the vulnerable and the voiceless on their journey. @M_RSection” @Pontifex 15 January 2017
  • “There can never be true peace as long as a single human being is violated in his or her personal identity.” @Pontifex 16 January 2017
  • “Peace is an “active virtue”, one that calls for the engagement and cooperation of each individual and society as a whole.” @Pontifex 17 January 2017
  • “From the intimacy of our faith in Jesus Christ comes our need to be united in Him.” @Pontifex 18 January 2017

Papal Instagram

Jan 172017
 

The Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican has announced a new series of collection stamps – Great Heretics.

The new series will start off in 2017 with everyone’s favorite heretic Martin Luther to memorialize 500 years of schism. Catholics are now able to hear Luther’s challenge for the Church of today, recognising him as a “witness to the gospel” – a statement recently made by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Just when you thought the Catholic Church couldn’t lick Protestantism, you can now lick a Protestant.

Future stamps in this very collectable series will feature Mar Nestorius who was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431.

Plus who can forget Fr. Arius whose theology brought about the First Council of Nicaea,

Three great heretics bringing about three great councils – order yours today.

Caveat LifeSiteNews says they confirmed the Martin Luther stamp with the Philatelic and Numismatic Office. Still I am dubious since they are often not a reliable source. Yet at this stage nothing would surprise me.

Jan 162017
 

Called to Be the Children of God – Multiple Authors

Listening to the Al Kresta show I heard a interview with Carl E. Olson regarding Called to Be the Children of God: The Catholic Theology of Human Deification, put out by Ignatius Press. I bought this as this is a subject I am somewhat interested in and knew just some of the basics. This is a book of essays on the subject from a variety of authors.

In the last essay in the book, David W. Fagerberg provides a good summary in his own included essay.

It is an impressive accomplishment in this book to see the theme of divinization laid out across the broad range of Catholic history: Scripture, the Greek and Latin Fathers, Dominicans and Franciscans, Trent, the embryonic Scheeben and Newman, the French schools, two Vatican Councils, and the current Catechism.

Fagerberg’s essay was on Liturgy and Divinization.

So the essays are very wide-ranging across the history of the Church. Previously I had thought that deification was primarily a focus of the Greek Fathers and and much more emphasized theologically in the Eastern part of the Church. There is a truth to that, but this book demonstrates just how much it is and has been a fabric of the whole Church. Mainly that it is covered under a whole range of words and ideas that express the same underlying concept. These essays show just how fundamental this is and again demonstrates how much God loves us. So this is recommended for anybody who wants to know more about the subject. While scholarly, it is also written for a general audience.

Mary of Nazareth – Michael Hesemann

Mary of Nazareth: History, Archaeology, Legends.

This book presents a very interesting approach to providing a biography of Mary. From scripture we can only gleam a little information, but via historical documents and archaeology there is actually a lot more that we can dive into.

While the text of the Proto-Gospel of James is an apocryphal early work and should be looked at critically. It does contain a wealth of information that can be “verified historically and archaeologically” as the author says along with “that we must assume that it has an authentic tradition at its core”. I knew that this document is where we got the names of Mary’s Parents Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, but I did not realize how much other information there was. The author does a good job of demonstrating what we can likely take as valid information along with what is more dubious.

I especially enjoyed how he was able to combine what is known of the history of the times around events in Mary’s life along with being amplified by archaeologically discoveries. This provides both context and flavor. I especially found interesting the connection with King Herod and the Essenes and a foretelling he received from an Essene by the name of Menahem predicting he would become King of the Jews. This led to the fact that after a great earthquake the Essenes likely moved to Jerusalem. Subsequently that Herod allowed them to be involved in the building of the new Temple, much to the chagrin of the Sadducees. Now I am rather suspicious of historians seeing the Essenes influencing everything, yet this is not the case in this book.

Really I can go on and on about what I found interesting and informative in this book. Information about Mary’s house, the Holy House of Loretto, what we can know about the Flight into Egypt along with her time in Ephesus. The wealth of archaeological discoveries is really amazing in what it provides in backstory.

I only had some very minor quibbles. Some of the dated chronology of events were presented without mentioning alternatives. He favors a birth of Christ being in 5 B.C. as do others. Jimmy Akin has a good post in favor of 3/2 B.C. This and other points of chronology I would have liked to see more of a caveat regarding them. Still I found this to be an excellent read along with many “wow” moments.

Caveat This book was provided by the publisher for review.

Continental Ambitions by Kevin Starr

Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America: the Colonial Experience

As a sad note Kevin Starr recently died of a heart attack in San Francisco on January 14, 2017.

This book provided by the publisher I have not read yet. This is a large volume history which I want to get to, so here is the publisher’s summary.

Starr begins this work with the exploration and temporary settlement of North America by recently Christianized Scandinavians. He continues with the destruction of Caribbean peoples by New Spain, the struggle against this tragedy by the great Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas, the Jesuit and Franciscan exploration and settlement of the Spanish Borderlands (Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Baja, and Alta California), and the strengths and weaknesses of the mission system.

He then turns his attention to New France with its highly developed Catholic and Counter-Reformational cultures of Quebec and Montreal, its encounters with Native American peoples, and its advance southward to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The volume ends with the founding of Maryland as a proprietary colony for Roman Catholic Recusants and Anglicans alike, the rise of Philadelphia and southern Pennsylvania as centers of Catholic life, the Suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, and the return of John Carroll to Maryland the following year.

Starr dramatizes the representative personalities and events that illustrate the triumphs and the tragedies, the achievements and the failures, of each of these societies in their explorations, treatment of Native Americans, and translations of religious and social value to new and challenging environments. His history is notable for its honesty and its synoptic success in comparing and contrasting three disparate civilizations, albeit each of them Catholic, with three similar and differing approaches to expansion in the New World.

Faith with Good Reason – Ben Butera

I received Faith with Good Reason: Finding Truth Through an Analytical Lens from it’s author, of whom I know of from Two Catholic Men and a Blog.

An interesting look at using analytical problem solving to finding truths in the faith. He brings his experience in the field of problem solving for a large company to show how the same rules apply to matters of faith.

As so many have a narrow view of empirical science as being the only access to truth, this book provides the anecdote. He references part of a quote that Saint John Paul II went on to include in Fides et ratio.

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.

Not surprising all the circular logic when so many are trying to fly on one wing.

The book is presented in an accessible style providing plenty of examples, stories and personal stories, and thought experiments. I especially enjoyed his analogies. There is also a lot of apologetics information looked at via his analytical lens. It is always interesting how many tools can be used to look at the faith and to give us new perspectives. He does this ably here and provides tools to use from our reason.

As a note most of the proceeds are going to help the Mystic Monks of Wyoming build their monastery.

From A Dark Wayover – Dan Lord

I was very happy to receive a review copy of From A Dark Wayover: Book Two of the Von Koppersmith Saga (Volume 2) from the author. I totally loved the first book By the Downward Way: Book One of the Von Koppersmith Saga, which I previously reviewed.

Stunningly good and a flight of imagination that carries you along. Traveling from the Garden of Eden to the Pied Piper and its own mythology is brought together to present a fascinating story. A decedent of the pied piper and an evil act that must be atoned for is brought into a world not of his choosing. Enjoyed pretty much every aspect of the story. While it is apparent there are more books to come in this new series, the first book is totally self contained.

The second book does not disappoint and escalates the story. Leo has a lot more to save than just the boys. Lots of surprises along the way as things don’t turn out how you might expect them to do. This one does end on a cliffhanger and so is not as self-contained at the first book. Still my interest is highly peaked to see the final volume. I really enjoy fantasy that builds you up and has a decided moral viewpoint without being message fiction.

Jan 122017
 

Saw the following article THIS IS PROOF THAT DRIVE-IN CHURCHES WERE A REAL THING IN THE 40S and this did not surprise me. Although I did like the photos. I knew that the late Rev. Robert Schuller started his ministry having services at a Drive-In.

He went from Drive-In to eventually building the Crystal Cathedral. This is of course now Christ Cathedral for the Diocese of Orange. Can’t say that I am a fan of the design, although if Superman ever needs a new Fortress of Solitude maybe the diocese can turn a profit.

Still what if had had continued at a Drive-In? Perhaps the previous bishop would have bought that instead.

So how could Catholics adapt a Drive-In Mass? For one I guess Catholics would have to buy Lowriders so that they could go from kneeling to rising and vice versa.

For the offering they could have a car tag system where they photograph the plate and send the bill. Although postage could be more than the $1 bills collected.

Communion would be a problem though. Maybe they could have a track where people board a train. Yes, bring back Communion Rail.

Imagine the time savings. Many people already leave right after Communion to get to their car. This would eliminate that step.

Jan 102017
 

Dialog from North by Northwest:

Eve: Men like you!
Roger: What’s wrong with men like me?
Eve: They don’t believe in marriage.
Roger: I’ve been married twice.
Eve: See what I mean?

Over the weekend I rewatched North by Northwest. It had been quite a while since I had seen it and last time was on an old style TV with 4:3 aspect ratio. I’ve been rewatching all of Hitchcock’s films and was surprised to find that this movie could not be gotten from Netflix’s DVD service. So I bought the Blu-Ray version.

I remembered some of the plot of mistaken identity and the UN along with the iconic cornfield scene. But watching the Blu-Ray version on a decent-sized TV was like watching a totally new movie. It just made being able to see all his shot choices in their full glory. Most of the dialog was excellent and the part quoted above made me pause the movie to jot it down. Although the sexually suggestive parts of the dialog certainly pushed his increasing battles with the Hays code at the time.

Oh and Hitchcock’s story idea sprung from the idea of Cary Grant hiding in Lincoln’s nose and it took years to put a plot around it.

Jan 042017
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 November 2016 to 4 January 2017.

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

Letters

Messages

Prayers

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “The love of God, which can look into the heart of each person and see the deepest desire hidden there, must take primacy over all else.” @Pontifex 15 December 2016
  • “Forgiveness is the most visible sign of the Father’s love, which Jesus sought to reveal by his entire life” @Pontifex 16 December 2016
  • “I thank you all for your kindness. Please do not forget to pray for me.” @Pontifex 17 December 2016
  • “Our joy comes from the confidence we have that the Lord is close to us with his tenderness, mercy, forgiveness and love.” @Pontifex 18 December 2016
  • “I express my solidarity with migrants around the world and thank all those who help them: welcoming others means welcoming God in person!” @Pontifex 18 December 2016
  • “Nothing of what a repentant sinner places before God’s mercy can be excluded from the embrace of his forgiveness.” @Pontifex 19 December 2016
  • “Mercy is the concrete action of God’s love that, by forgiving, transforms and changes our lives.” @Pontifex 20 December 2016
  • “Mercy gives rise to joy, because our hearts are opened to the hope of a new life.” @Pontifex 21 December 2016
  • “The birthday of Jesus, who took on the burden of our human weakness, is drawing closer.” @Pontifex 22 December 2016
  • “The Lord becomes man to journey with us in our everyday lives.” @Pontifex 23 December 2016
  • “Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too, with eyes full of amazement and wonder, gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God.” @Pontifex 24 December 2016
  • “Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation!” @Pontifex 25 December 2016
  • “On today’s Feast of Saint Stephen let us remember the martyrs of today and yesterday. May we overcome evil with good and hatred with love.” @Pontifex 26 December 2016
  • “Christmas has above all a taste of hope because, for all the darkness in our lives, God’s light shines forth.” @Pontifex 27 December 2016
  • “God, who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, by being born poor and frail in our midst, as one of us.” @Pontifex 28 December 2016
  • “Let us be touched by the tenderness that saves. Let us draw close to God who draws close to us. Let us pause to gaze upon the crib.” @Pontifex 29 December 2016
  • “Holy Family of Nazareth, help us all to recognize the sacred nature of the family and its beauty in God’s plan for humanity.” @Pontifex 30 December 2016
  • “As we end this year, let us remember the days, weeks and months we have lived in order to give thanks and offer everything to the Lord.” @Pontifex 31 December 2016
  • “Let us entrust the new year to Mary, Mother of God, so that peace and mercy may grow throughout the world.” @Pontifex 1 January 2017
  • “At the beginning of this New Year, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to the world’s peoples and nations.” @Pontifex 2 January 2017
  • “May nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions.” @Pontifex 3 January 2017
  • “To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” @Pontifex 4 January 2017

Papal Instagram

Jan 032017
 

On Tolkien’s birthday it annoys me that once when it comes to books I was as irritating as Neil deGrasse Tyson. Fantasy books – no way. Give me Asimov, Niven, Clement. I want hard science fiction not day dreams! Thus I totally ignored this genre.

Even when I finally came around on Fantasy, I ignored Tolkien. Talk about dumb. It was only much later coming into the Church that I kept seeing his name on list of recommended books from Catholics. Since first reading it now they have become something I read it almost annually. They have become almost like spiritual wisdom since they contain so much wisdom. In one of those ironies of life leading up to my conversion I was noticing my increased love of the Fantasy genre because of the heroic and virtuous characters. I loved their willingness to do what is right and willing to sacrifice. I was coming to hate that I could not find those virtues in myself.

Last night I started going through the extended edition Blu-Ray of the movies again. It’s funny how the books and the movies have merged so much for me. Watching the movie I could have sworn there was a scene removed here or there. I could almost remember watching it. The same would happen reading the books. Although this only happened when there was considerable overlap. Mostly watching the movies I can understand the reasons for what was removed. Tom Bombadil and the whole section leading to Rivendell. The decision to remove the Scourging of the Shire, less so and how this changes a lot of things. Funny he could make 3 movies out of the hobbit, but kept to three for LOTR.

Still I really love the movies – especially the extended editions as they undo some of the character damage and do add to the telling. Although what I hate is that when a character is altered it is always for the worse. Faramir and Sam most of all. Sam leaving Frodo – you got to be kidding me. Yeah lots to quibble over regarding the movies, but at least mostly understandable quibbles. Although I can’t not say that for Hobbit trilogy – feast for the eyes, but not the soul. I don’t own any of those movies and I love the book.

I do love John C. Wright’s essay on one of the Hobbit movies. THE HOBBIT: The Desolation Of Tolkien and how it was often struck by the Stupidity Hammer.