Kicking the national addiction to rage
In his column at CatholicPhilly.com, Archbishop Charles Chaput compared recent political debate in America to the film 28 Days Later, in which a “rage virus … burns through the population like gasoline fire” and leads to social collapse. “We’re not yet tearing at each other with our teeth,” he said. “But the irrational fury on our campuses, in the streets, in our news media … leads in that direction.”
Donald Trump’s behaviour bears some blame, but not all, the archbishop said. Hate is found “not just among white nationalists, immigrant-haters and neo-Nazis, as loathsome as their ideas are, but also among the ‘progressive’ and educated elites”. Anger, he said, is “simultaneously so poisonous, so delicious and so addictive”.
“People easily begin to like being angry,” he said. “Wrath feels good.” And America is now “addicted to anger”.
Seneca pointed to a cure, the archbishop suggested, when he said that human life “rests upon kindness and concord”. That requires a “holy scepticism about the bad things we hear and see and assume about our perceived enemies”.
We should love the Sunday Mass rule
At aleteia.com, Katrina Fernandez said that every time she writes about missing Sunday Mass, some protest: “Missing Mass is not a mortal sin!” This is “heartbreaking” – as is the large number of Catholics who miss Sunday Mass – because, she said, it’s in the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath Day, and keep it holy.”
There are circumstances which excuse one from the obligation, but they must be grave: illness or physical impossibility. But, “outstanding circumstances aside, let it be stated for all those with eyes to read: missing Mass actually is a mortal sin”.
Those who make light of this truth – which is affirmed in the Catechism – should consider some real-life stories of Sunday observance: the “legless woman in Africa who crawls 2.5 miles to attend Mass”; the priest who “bikes for hours in stifling desert heat to bring the Eucharist to his patiently waiting flock”. These people love Jesus in the Eucharist. “We should be flinging ourselves against the doors of the church to get in, not making excuses for staying home.”
Explaining the Faith in the modern world
At firstthings.com, Fr Thomas Joseph White OP was interviewed about his new book, The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism. Fr White said that he was trying to address modernity in the way that Blessed John Henry Newman’s Apologia had addressed the questions of his own age.
Newman’s book critiqued secular, agnostic liberalism, showing that it is “an implausible intellectual alternative to classical Catholic Christianity.” In so doing, Newman “shows how a tenacious search for the truth can emerge from within the sincerity of a modern individual seeker,” Fr White said.
✣ A rare surviving copy of a Christopher Columbus letter has been returned to the Vatican – after investigators discovered it had been stolen and replaced with a forgery.
The printed document was a 15th-century copy of a letter Columbus sent to his patrons, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, about his first voyage to the New World. The letter describes “beautiful” Caribbean islands with trees “stretching up to the stars”.
The Vatican Library’s copy of the letter was stolen some time after it was catalogued in 1934.
Officials with the US Department of Homeland Security said the original had been bought in good faith by American collector Robert Parsons for $875,000 in 2004. His widow has agreed to return the document to the Vatican.
✣ An ailing priest is having slap-up Sunday dinners delivered to his care home – thanks to the actor Mickey Rourke.
Fr Pete Colapietro told the New York Post that he had been complaining about the food at the Dumont care centre in New Rochelle, New York. So Rourke arranged for deliveries from a restaurant in the Bronx’s Little Italy for 10 weeks in a row.
Rourke, star of The Wrestler, has previously said that Fr Colapietro saved his life by counselling him when he was depressed and wanted to commit suicide.
✣The week in quotations
After three years, I’m not sure that they’ve done anything that’s really meaningful Fr Thomas Doyle on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors National Catholic Reporter
[Without hope, prison] is just an instrument of torture Pope Francis, in a video message to Argentine prisoners Catholic News Service
I want those who possess wizardry to put me under a spell now Fr Paul Mathenge, a Kenyan priest, challengeslocal sorcerers The Standard, Nairobi
✣Statistic of the week
31.2 Percentage of world population that was Christian in 2015, according to a new analysis Source: Pew
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