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July/August 2013

The Publication of Catholics United for the Faith

To Support, Defend, and Advance

the Efforts of the Teaching Church


marriage issue

William B. May Bishop Michael Sheridan David Prosen Maura Colleen McKeegan

Challenging and Enlightening


A SCHOOL OF PRAYER — The Saints Show us How to Pray The Complete Edition — Pope Benedict XVI ope Benedict examines the foundational principles of a life of prayer by first considering what we can learn from prayers found in various cultures and eras. Next he turns to the Bible’s teaching about prayer, beginning with Abraham and moving though Moses, the prophets, the Psalms, to the example of Jesus. Pope Benedict considers not only the Lord’s teaching about prayer, but also his example of how to pray, including the Our Father, his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and prayers on the Cross. The prayers of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the early Fathers, saints and the liturgy of the Church are also explored. Benedict challenges readers to live their relationship with God “even more intensely, as it were, at a ‘school of prayer’.”


OPRAY-H . . . Hardcover, $17.95

AMERICAN CHURCH — The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America — Russell Shaw


as the cultural assimilation of American Catholics been a blessing or a curse for the Church? Cultural assimilation, championed by Cardinal James Gibbons in the 19th century, conferred many benefits on Catholics. Their absorption into the secular culture of America, however, now threatens the Catholic identity of the faithful and their institutions, including schools and hospitals. American Church is a richly documented analysis of the assimilation process over two centuries. Colorful characters and dramatic incidents abound including the anti-Catholicism against the presidential campaigns of Al Smith and John Kennedy, and the numerous intra-Church conflicts that have divided Catholics since Vatican ll. Shaw offers thought-provoking suggestions about what the Church needs to do in the face of a decline that threatens its very survival. “A piercing meditation on the past, present & future of American Catholicism. Essential reading for all Catholics!”

– Mary Eberstadt, Author, Adam & Eve after the Pill GLEG-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $16.95


and Korean War Hero — Roy Wenzl, Travis Heying mil Kapaun – priest, soldier and war hero - is a rare man. He was just awarded the highest military award, the Medal of Honor, and is being strongly considered by the Vatican for sainthood. Witnesses in the book attest to Fr. Kapaun's heroism: the Protestants, Jews and Muslims who served with the chaplain in battle or suffered with him as prisoners of war. These Korean War veterans agree that Fr. Kapaun did more to save many lives and maintain morale than any other man they know. Then there are the miracles—the recent healings attributed to Fr. Kapaun's intercession that defy scientific explanation. Under investigation by the Vatican for his canonization, these cures witnessed by non-Catholic doctors are also discussed. Lavishly Illustrated.


“What a great book! I could not put it down and read it in one sitting. Fr. Kapaun's story will inspire you to be the saint that God is calling you to be!”

MFK-H . . . Hardcover, $19.95

— Fr. Larry Richards, Author, Be a Man


From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal — Ann Carey


ifty years ago, nearly 20,000 religious sisters worked in Catholic schools and other institutions in the U.S. Then came the ideological and moral upheavals of the 1960s, and ever since most women's orders have been in crisis. Now the sisters are aging, with fewer and fewer young women taking their place. Using the archival records of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and other prominent groups of sisters, Carey shows how feminist activists unraveled American women’s religious communities from their leadership positions in national organizations and large congregations. She also explains the recent interventions by the Vatican, and reports on a promising sign of renewal in American religious life: the growing number of young women attracted to communities that have retained their identity and newly formed, yet traditional, congregations. SIC-P . . . Sewn Softcover, $24.95

P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522

1 (800) 651-1531

S oul-S tirring N E W

The powerful true story of

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko

✦ PoPieluszko - Freedom is Within Us


he stirring true story of the courageous young priest martyr, Fr. Popiełuszko, who became the chaplain and spiritual leader of the large trade union in Poland, Solidarity, in the 1980s. Fr. Popiełuszko had a dynamic personality, a deep prayer life, and a strong empathy for the persecution and sufferings of the workers and trade unionists, especially when Martial Law was declared in 1981. At 37 yrs. old, Fr. Popiełuszko was brutally murdered by Communist agents for his outspoken defense of his people, and proclaiming the teachings of the Church on human rights and the dignity of the human person. Thousands came from all over Poland to hear him speak and every month the crowds grew, bringing the Secret Police closer to his door. He was harassed and imprisoned, but he would not be silenced. His friends suggested that he leave Poland for his own safety but he replied “my place is with the people” and “I am ready for anything.” Includes Collector’s Booklet; plus “Behind the Scenes”

extra and more. In Polish w/ English & Spanish subtitles.

A priest greatly revered by the Polish nation. His grave in front of his parish church in Warsaw is visited by a million people yearly. He was beatified in 2010.

POPI-M . . . 149 min., $24.95

✦ in Her FootstePs The Story of St. Kateri Tekakwitha


or 350 years, a young Christian Mohawk woman has been interceding for and inspiring natives and nonnatives around the world. On October 21, 2012, Kateri Tekakwitha became the first Native North American woman to be recognized as a Saint. This moving documentary takes us on a journey from northern New York State to Montrèal and Kahnawake; from Washington State to New Mexico, as we follow St. Kateri’s incredible journey of deep faith, heroic sacrifice and love of Christ. IHFOOT-M . . . 50 min., $19.95


An epic film about the hidden struggle of

Pope Pius XII

✦ Pius Xii - Under the Roman Sky


ased on Vatican documents and personal testimonies used for the beatification of Pope Pius XII, this epic film is about the great, often hidden struggle waged by Pope Pius XII to save the Jews from the Nazis. Hitler’s plan to kidnap the Pope is revealed as the Nazis make an all-out attempt to silence the one authority figure in Italy standing strong against them. Everything comes together with great intensity in this dramatic story that retraces history from the documents and the testimonies of witnesses that was not fully known until now. Even among the Nazi officers were those who opposed such savagery and, thus, under the Roman sky, both the saved and the lost, the victims and the executioners, shout the Pope’s cry with their lives: Nothing is lost with peace. Everything may be lost by war. Starring James Cromwell. In English w/ Spanish subtitles. Includes Collector’s Booklet. “A significant work . . . I’m happy that Charity is the reason for every action in it.” — Pope Benedict XVI

✦ Powers and dominions

P12-M . . . 200 min., $24.95

Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare


rom the creation of the world, the realm of the angels and the world of men have interacted. This interaction is not always a positive one.This film explores the spiritual world, that very real but unseen realm: God, the human soul, angels, demons , spiritual warfare, the reality of demonic possession and exorcism, the dangers of the new age movement and the occult, and much more. Featuring well-known speakers and authors Steve Ray, Fr. Marcus Holden, Joanna Bogle, and others, this powerful film offers an insightful and sobering presentation about the reality of the powers and dominions of the spiritual world. PADOM – M . . . 55 min. $19.95

P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522

1 (800) 651-1531


inspiration Are you starving for inspiring homilies? Did you know that poor preaching is one of the top three reasons people leave the Church? PUBLISHING And that it’s the reason many Catholics don’t come to Mass? There is a preaching problem in the Catholic Church—a serious problem. Parishioners know it, priests know it, and bishops know it. It’s an old story that just doesn’t seem to change…until now! The Sacred Conversation skillfully answers the question on many Catholic minds: Why can’t priests preach? Father Joseph Mele gives a first-rate analysis of and a resolution to what it will take to form priests who can preach effectively to the Church today. Learn the difference and become a fruitful homilist! Includes a Foreword by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. 978-1-937155-97-1; $11.95

Great for college students, adult faith formation programs, and motivated Catholics aspiring to learn more about their faith. Discover the basic principles of authentic biblical interpretation. Learn why the Magisterium is the only way to correctly interpret the Bible and the writings of the Church fathers, doctors, and saints. Find out why Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium are the only three legs of the theological tripod that preserves the whole truth about God. See why faith and reason, science and theology, the natural and the supernatural are always agreeable. Explore the Incarnation and its primary Christological heresies that threatened the early Church. Unlock one of the most misunderstood areas of Catholic theology in the person of Mary. Unravel the mystery of eschatology—the “last things”—judgment, purgatory, hell, and heaven. 978-1-937155-98-8; $12.95 • (800) 398-5470


The Dialogue of Life by Mike Sullivan


recently talked with a fellow Catholic businessman at a lunch meeting for a Catholic outreach. We began talking about our families and I mentioned that my wife and I are expecting our tenth child. His reaction was not at all what I expected. I figured he, as a Catholic gentleman, involved with a Catholic apostolate, would have at least a slightly positive reaction to a large Catholic family. But alas, his remarks were offensive and insulting. He thought his jokes about the size of my family were funny, but they revealed a dark selfishness. Now, I’m the first to admit that the size of a family has no necessary relationship to the holiness of the individuals therein. However, there is an attitude of openness to life that pervades the thinking of people who take Jesus’ teachings seriously. On the other hand, people who have become secularized do not understand why anyone would have a large family. After all, if money and worldly gain are the measure of happiness, why would you intentionally have more than one or two children? Just today my wife and I are returning from an ultrasound at which we learned that we were expecting a baby girl. That’s eight girls to two boys! We stopped at the grocery store to buy eight pink balloons and two blue balloons. We figured one balloon for each child. When we brought the balloons home, the children would figure out that the last pink balloon was for the baby in the womb. The woman at the grocery store who sold us the balloons appeared to be in a great rush and didn’t have much time to deal with us or to inflate ten balloons. When I told her our plan for the balloons, she started weeping for joy. She said that

“Although having ten children might seem perfectly normal in our Catholic community, the culture at large sees things quite differently." all she seemed to hear was bad news from grumpy people and she was truly moved by our story and by our joy. When we left, she gave us each a hug and told us that we made her day. Although having ten children might seem perfectly normal in our Catholic community, the culture at large sees things quite differently. But there is more that makes us different than the number of children crammed into our twelve passenger van. During this confusing day and age when most individuals have lost sight of what true fulfillment and happiness are all about, our family, and others like ours, have the great privilege and responsibility of witnessing to our world. John Paul II wrote that “The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.” Indeed, “holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal.” Our personal holiness is linked to the renewal of the Church. Also, our own holiness is the key to the work of the Church and the work of God in the world. What can we do? Obviously the first priority is our own families. Frequent use of the sacraments and regular family prayer are key to preparing families to grow in holiness and impact the culture. We can never become so wrapped up in our apostolic ministry that we neglect the needs—be they spiritual, temporal, or emotional—of our own spouses and children. Beyond that, we must always ask God to show us the complexity of the people

around us, especially the people that do the most harm. If we are moved with compassion for them, the “battles” are no longer about being right, but about justice and mercy. We can feel sorry for people marred by brokenness, but just like God, we don’t want to let them settle for the false ideologies that they cling to, the ideologies that damage them as well as our world. When I find myself confronted by the hostile attitudes from individuals my gut reaction is often frustration and impatience. Sometimes with the help of grace I am able to turn these conversations around and help people to understand that we were made for more than simply worldly pleasure and material gain. Sometimes, I am not. Regardless of the conversations we have with people—whether fellow Catholics or strangers like the woman at the grocery store—if we ourselves and our families strive for holiness, we fulfill our God-given mission. Our lives become a message that can touch everyone around us. Whether that message takes root, well, that’s God’s business. lw

MIKE SULLIVAN Sullivan is the president of Catholics United for the Faith and publisher of Lay Witness magazine and Emmaus Road Publishing. He resides in Toronto, Ohio, with his wife, Gwen, and their nine children. July/August 2013 1



distinctly remember thinking, “I better pay attention” the first time my father explained to me how to change a tire. I thought likewise when I practiced the procedure in driver’s training eons ago. The same sense of urgency seized me subsequent times my dad and older brothers either explained or demonstrated the task of tire changing. But when the moment of crisis arrived, I was shamefully unprepared. Last summer, I had plotted out a road trip through 16 states to visit family and friends. While it’d be more dramatic to reminisce about a tire exploding amid 80 mile-per-hour traffic on a 6-lane freeway through Atlanta, the less exciting reality is that the morning I planned to venture from my home in the Ohio Valley, I awoke to find my parked car in the driveway with a slashed tire. When it really mattered, my pseudo-knowledge about tire changing was downright useless. I knew I should have cared enough to move beyond theoretical knowledge, but ultimately I was ambivalent. I couldn’t be bothered. I’d learn if and when I needed to. Unfortunately, many Christians are guilty of this could’ve-should’vewould’ve attitude when it comes to our culture’s marriage crisis. We might’ve thought, yes, marriage is important and worth defending. I know these things. I should read more. I should converse more with others. I should seek to promote marriage when presented with any number of opportunities. And now, when what seemed to be potential threats are now very real attacks, we’re not quite sure what to do. Fortunately, it isn’t too late to learn the true meaning of marriage and defend it as we should. We don’t have to remain stranded, helpless. Within this issue of Lay Witness, you’ll hear from several defenders of marriage: William B. May, Bishop Michael Sheridan, and David Prosen. Their articles instruct and challenge all Catholics either to begin or to continue promoting and defending the incredible gift of marriage—as God intended. Other authors in this issue include Maura Colleen McKeegan, Cara Angelis, and newcomer Peter Jesserer Smith. Let’s stop wishing we had paid better attention and start getting down to the business of preaching the good news about love and marriage. As Bishop Sheridan emphasizes, “Marriage is integral to the New Evangelization.” Both by striving for holiness in marriage and encouraging others to do the same, we can be far from useless in this tremendous struggle. And P.S.—Thanks Dad for the AAA membership! lw


The fashion today is for each person to do his own thing. That fashion is ruining our lives and our civilization. Yet, it must be said that in the very nature of things, there simply cannot be obedience where it is believed that there is no law and no person to whom we owe obedience. —H. Lyman Stebbins, 1983

web exclusives@

Features... Br. Silas Henderson introduces a newly beatified member of the laity in “Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago: Apostle of the Paschal Mystery.” Regis Flaherty offers the first installment in his new online series, “The Misadventures of a Catholic Husband and Father.”

Access these and other web exclusives at Melissa Knaggs Editor


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Features Publisher Mike Sullivan

Editor Melissa Knaggs

Layout & Design Theresa Westling How to Reach Us E-mail: Lay Witness magazine Postal Mail: 827 North Fourth Street Steubenville, OH 43952 Tel: (740) 283-2484 Fax: (740) 283-4011 How to Get Lay Witness Lay Witness (ISSN 1541-602X) is the bimonthly publication of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), an international lay apostolate founded in 1968 by H. Lyman Stebbins “to support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.” Annual CUF membership is $40 ($60 outside the U.S.), which includes a one-year subscription to Lay Witness magazine. To learn more about CUF membership, visit www. or call (740) 283-2484. To order back issues or to inquire about bulk rates, please e-mail or call.

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Advertising, Submissions, and Reprint Permission Visit for detailed information.

Catholics United for the Faith Officers: President, Mike Sullivan; Vice President of Operations, Shannon Minch-Hughes Board of Directors: Chairman, Michael Mohr; Vice Chairman, Thomas Pernice; Spiritual Advisor, Rev. Ray Ryland; Gail Buckley, James Likoudis, Frank Lum, David Rodriguez, John H. Stebbins, Anne M. Wilson. Episcopal Advisory Council: Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, Most Rev. Fabian W. Bruskewitz, Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Most Rev. R. Daniel Conlon, Most Rev. Thomas G. Doran, Most Rev. Robert W. Finn, Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, Most Rev. Peter J. Jugis, Most Rev. James P. Keleher, Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino, Most Rev. John J. Myers, Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann, Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, Most ­­ Rev. Edward Slattery, Most Rev. John W. Yanta. Advisory Council: Terry Barber, Rev. Robert I. Bradley, S.J., Jeff Cavins, Dr. John F. Crosby, Dr. William Donohue, Marcus Grodi, Dr. Scott Hahn, Sally Havercamp, Daniel K. Hennessy, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, George Sim Johnston, Karl Keating, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Rev. Robert J. Levis, Patrick Madrid, Msgr. Charles M. Mangan, Curtis A. Martin, Dr. William E. May, Rev. Brian T. Mullady, O.P., Rev. James T. O’Connor, Rev. Frank A. Pavone, Steve Ray, Patrick Reilly, Dr. Charles E. Rice, Rev. George W. Rutler, Russell Shaw, E. William Sockey, III, Rev. Peter Stravinskas, Leon J. Suprenant, Jr., Charles M. Wilson, Stephen Wood, Jeff Ziegler.

4 What About the Children? Recognizing the Real Marriage Crisis William B. May 10 The Good Wine for Today The New Evangelization and the Renewal of Marriage Bishop Michael J. Sheridan 18 How Many for Dinner? Facing the Difficult Questions Surrounding Same-Sex Attraction David Prosen 23 Sacramentals & Sauerkraut A Meditation on Fermentation Cara Angelis 25 A Dynamic Moment for the Catholic Church Peter Jesserer Smith 29 Deacon Jim Maura Colleen McKeegan

Columns 1 Open Mike Mike Sullivan

8 The Art of Living Edward P. Sri

13 Who Wrote the Book of Love? Dr. John S. Bergsma

21 Master Catechist

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr

31 The Hostess Diaries: Lessons in Catholic Hospitality

Emily Stimpson

32 Looking at a Masterpiece Madeleine Stebbins


2 From the Editor’s Desk 14 The Road to Emmaus The Sacred Conversation

An Interview with Fr. Joseph Mele

16 Ask CUF 22 The Pope Speaks 28 Reviews Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn The ‘One Thing’ Is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life by Elizabeth Scalia On the Cover / © DorianGray / iStockphoto July/August 2013 3

What about the recognizing The Real Marriage Crisis


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oday, the breakdown of marriage is pervasive.


Almost every extended family has children living in families without married mothers and fathers. This is not just caused by divorce, but the decrease of people actually getting married. In just 20 years, the marriage rate per 1,000 unmarried women has declined more than 43 percent.* Births to unmarried mothers are now over 41 percent among all women and 73 percent among African Americans. This trend is causing a major problem for society. The high human cost is that children are suffering the consequences of living in poverty and in fatherless homes. Research shows that these conditions put children at risk for negative life-long consequences. There are many causes for children being raised by single or unmarried parents, but it is not our intention to discuss the causes here. There is one thing, however, that most can agree on. The current situation is intolerable, and a concerted effort for both public and private institutions to work together to promote men and women marrying before having children is needed. Any such effort to reverse the breakdown of marriage and its consequences for children would be forbidden if marriage were redefined. There would then no longer be any institution that specifically unites children with their mothers and fathers to promote. If this institution did not exist, it would have to be created.

*All references are included in the booklet Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue by William B. May, Emmaus Road Publishing, 2012.



William B. May

July/August 2013 5

Considering the consequences of the breakdown of marriage, it becomes an imperative of social justice (for children) to support public policies and cultural influences that include:  promoting men and women marrying before having children,  changing curricula and other cultural influences that undermine young people’s understanding of the true meaning of love, friendship, human sexuality, family, and marriage,  and researching and addressing other impediments to marriage. For starters, it is important to help people understand the seriousness of the breakdown of marriage and its consequences, and the importance of having policies and public support to reverse this trend. This can never happen if marriage is redefined to eliminate the only institution that unites children with their moms and dads.

>>>>>> A Concern for Every Parent The premise of “marriage equality” is that all relationships are equal. If marriage is redefined, schools would have to teach marriage as merely a committed relationship for adults with no specific relationship to children and families. Alternative families, such as families without married mothers and fathers, are already being taught in many schools as role models deserving respect. Research shows that 46 percent of eighteen to twentynine-year-olds now believe that the “growing variety in types of family arrangements” is a good thing. That is shocking when you consider that the one thing common to every alternative family is children being deprived of their mother, father, or both. How can this be a good thing? Other research confirms that children are increasingly separating family and children from their understanding of marriage: 56 percent of high school seniors believe it is OK to have children and not be married. How do these attitudes affect young people’s decisions about marriage and family when they reach adulthood? This 6

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>>>>>> should be the concern of every parent. Research shows that the percentage of high school seniors who expressed a desire to marry has remained steady over the years (80 percent girls, 70 percent boys). But something happens between dreams of teenagers and the altar.

“One of the Great Social Tragedies” In an article entitled “When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America,” Bradford Wilcox and Elizabeth Marquardt discuss how marriage is collapsing among the lower and middle class. The reasons are varied and complex but one thing they cite is how marriage is now viewed as what they describe as the “soulmate” model. It has become a couple-centered vehicle for personal growth, emotional intimacy, and shared consumption that depends for its survival on the happiness of both spouses. It is viewed as a luxury when couples can afford it and non-essential to children and family. This is another way of expressing the understanding of marriage as merely the public recognition of a committed relationship for the fulfillment of the spouses. By contrast, Wilcox and Marquardt indicate less and less young people are “identifying with an ‘institutional’ model of marriage, which seeks to integrate sex, parenthood, economic cooperation, and emotional intimacy in a permanent union.” This is the sociologist description of marriage, the human reality that unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.

An Imperative of Social Justice The significant decline in marriage and increase in nonmartial pregnancies is largely occurring among the poor and less educated, creating a new class divide. As Wilcox noted, “It is one of the great social tragedies of our time that marriage is flourishing among the most advantaged and self-actualized groups in our society and waning among those who could most benefit from its economic and child-rearing partnership.”

Questions to Pose and Ponder about the Rights of Children Most are quite familiar with arguments supporting the redefinition of marriage. Many have been confronted with the tough questions that create confusion about the reality of marriage and its purposes and are used to justify accommodating the aspirations of the “gay rights” movement. However, there are other questions about marriage and its relationship to the fundamental human rights of children that also must be asked

in a respectful way. Although they may seem counter-cultural at first, these questions are important to provoke thought and to open new kinds of discussions about the reality of marriage and family. They help reveal the dignity and rights of the child and stimulate contemplation in search for the truth about the human person, marriage, and family. Some of these questions may provoke very deep feelings that may be difficult for some to deal with, and may require time for reflection. They are not meant to put someone on the spot or to be used in ways that could imply criticism or judgment about

something that someone has done in the past. As a society, we have all fallen short of God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality. It is time to recognize our collective brokenness and to begin working together to build a more just and humane society. The past is past. The focus must now be on rebuilding a lw of marriage culture and protecting, as far as possible, the rights children and the best interests of society for the future. William B. May is founder, president, and CEO of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate for the evangelization of culture. He is a sought after speaker on marriage, family, and culture. He has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, BBC, Fox News Channel, CNN, EWTN Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, the Catholic Channel, and many other programs. He and his wife Nancy have three children.

>>>>>> Consider these questions

While some public policy scholars encourage programs and institutions that promote marriage that unites children with their moms and dads, other say it is discriminates against same-sex couples because it promotes one type of family (in which children are united with their parents) over another (in which children are deprived of their mother or father or both). What do you think? Is it discriminatory to have a policy that uniquely encourages men and woman to marry before having children?

Does a child have a fundamental human right to know and, as far as possible be cared for, by his and her mother and father? • Everyone without exception has a mother and father. Does that fact have a significance that goes beyond biology? • Consider the common desire we all have to know, and to be cared for and loved by the man and woman from whom we originated. Those relationships are part of our identity—not just with our mom and dad, but brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. • Men and women have a fundamental human right to procreate. However, it is common sense (and Church teaching) that because of the potential for conflict between the child’s right to be born into a real family united with his or her

mother and father, men and women have a responsibility to only intentionally procreate after they have made themselves irreplaceable to each other through marriage. Do you think it would be good to have a public institution that specifically unites children with their moms and dads or promotes that they are raised by their moms and dads together?

shift the discussion to families with same-sex parents. This moves it away from marriage to the topic of parenting children who have lost or been separated from their moms or dads or both. Marriage is not a requirement for adoption or parenting a child.)

• If yes, that institution already exists–it is called marriage. If it did not exist as a natural institution that can be recognized by all, it would have to be invented (not as a matter usefulness or societal benefit, but as a matter of charity and justice for children) [Donum Vitae, A1]. • If no, the question becomes, “How can anyone justify opposing the only institution that unites kids with their moms and dads?” (Note: People may have a tendency to

Interested in learning more about why defending marriage is necessary? William B. May's Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue logically presents all the information you need. Copies of this brief but thorough book can be ordered through Emmaus Road publishing. Call (800) 398-5470 or visit July/August 2013 7


My iPhone, My Precious by Edward P. Sri


knew my marriage might be in trouble when my iPhone didn’t even recognize my wife. I had been practicing with my new smartphone at work and wanted to take the opportunity to show off in front of my wife, Beth. Using “Siri”—Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” that “understands” your regular speech and can send text messages, find directions, schedule meetings, and search the web—I spoke into the phone, saying, “Siri, schedule a dinner appointment with Beth for Wednesday, June 17 at 5 pm.” Beth looked at me with surprise. Would the phone really put our date night on my calendar just by my telling it to do so? Surely, I thought, my wife would be very impressed with my new technological abilities. But Siri let me down. “With which Beth would you like me to schedule your dinner appointment on June 17?” the female voice responded. My wife Beth was demoted to just one of many Beths on my contact list, and Siri, the intelligent personal assistant, did not know which Beth I wanted to take out to dinner.

Smartphones: A Blessing or Curse? I had been resisting the smartphone trend for years. Content with my simple flip phone (which my colleagues at work dubbed my “stupid phone”), I did not want the constant, easy access to email, Internet, blogs, texts, and social media to disrupt conversations and distract me from giving the best of my attention to 8

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“When we spend hours each day staring into small screens, it keeps us from living a fully human life.” my family, my studies, my teaching, and my God. But when my archaic flip phone died and increasing demands in my work necessitated an upgrade, I made the leap and entered the smartphone world. And it has come with many blessings. Maintaining my calendar has been much easier. Getting directions, taking pictures, coordinating my kids’ activities, finding the nearest Qdoba, and tracking to-do lists—right from my phone—has been very helpful. While I’m still a rookie in the smartphone world, my brief amateur experience has shown me how this useful technology also comes with a price. The way many people use smartphones inhibits them from living a fully human life. The disordered attachment to this new technology reminds me of the ring of power in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Consider the following parallels:

Just watch a meeting at work or a gathering of friends at a coffee house. The ritual begins with people pulling their phones out of their pockets and then laying them on the table within arm’s reach. During the conversation, they spin their phones around on the surface. They twirl them in their fingers. They fidget with them some more. And if one person briefly disengages from the conversation and starts tapping his or her phone—just to check if some stimulating message arrived—many others in the meeting take the cue and do the same. The average user checks his phone 35 times a day. But according to a TIME magazine international poll, one in four mobile uses checks his smartphone every 30 minutes. And one in five feels the need to check every 10 minutes. It’s clear that their smartphones are very precious to them.

The Need to Play with our Phones

“And I am always wanting to put it on and disappear. . . . ” —Bilbo Baggins Just like the ring of power, our smartphones make us invisible to each other. In the hallway. In the elevator. At the park. At the gate for the airplane. We don’t notice the people around us, and they don’t notice us because we’re absorbed in our phones.

“I am always . . . wondering if it is safe, and pulling it out to make sure. . . . I found I couldn’t rest without it in my pocket.” —Bilbo Baggins Those who possess the ring have a need to know where it is at all times and an urge to touch it, play with it, and use it. We do the same with our smartphones.

Smartphones Make Us Invisible


More than one out of three Americans admit they “almost always” use their phones while playing with their kids (35%), eating at a restaurant (36%), and at parties (37%). In our desire to remain constantly connected to others through our smartphones, we become disconnected from the real people God has placed right before our eyes. It’s as if we’re invisible to each other. But it’s more than distraction. Sometimes there’s even a willful desire to remain unseen. Young people have told me that when they see someone approaching whom they want to avoid, they quickly pretend they are doing something urgent on their phones, wanting to appear very busy and hoping the person will stay away. “With my phone I can disappear whenever I want to avoid awkward situations,” one college student told me. Sounds a lot like Bilbo and the ring.

The Anxiety “Gollum was cursing and wailing away in the gloom . . . scrabbling here and there, searching and seeking in vain.” Remember Gollum’s panic when he realized he lost the ring? That’s how many people feel inside when we they think they might have misplaced their smartphone. They drop everything to retrace their steps and desperately search every possible place it might be. We have a need to know where our smartphone is at all times and if it’s not in our “pocketses” during the day or by our bedside at night, we are terrified. Some might say they worry about losing their contacts, pictures, lists, and reminders. But all that data can be backed up and easily retrieved, so I think there’s something more to it: We believe we can’t live without our smartphones. A Harvard Business School study found that close to half (44%) of managers and professionals who are smartphone users said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week. A TIME magazine international poll found that one out of three mobile users felt anxious without their phones for even a short period of time. Eighty-four percent of respondents feared they couldn’t go a whole day without their smartphone! It’s alarming how much of our identity,

security, and lifestyle is tied to one small device.

More Human or “Thin and Stretched”? “A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life,” Gandalf explains to Frodo. The ring makes a person “restless and uneasy.” Gandalf notes how the ring made Bilbo “thin and stretched” —“A sign that the ring was getting control.” Not too many years ago I could take my kids to a park and find other parents really playing with their children and conversing with the other adults. Seeing parents pushing a swing or catching a child at the bottom of a slide was common. Parents also engaged in friendly small talk with each other. But now, many parents at the park seem to be absorbed more in their smartphones than in their kids. And they don’t converse with the other adults as much as they connect with people far away through texting or social media. Kids who want their parent’s attention (“Look at me dad!”) often only get a half-hearted cheer from the parent, who keeps stroking his phone and doesn’t even look up. The distracted smartphone-totingparent not only fails to give their children the best of themselves, but also put their kids in physical danger. Just last weekend I saw a dad walking into a park with his four-year-old boy on a tricycle. It was clear the boy did not know how to steer correctly. Traveling on the downward sloping sidewalk, the boy swerved back and forth and almost crashed into a trash can. The dad, meanwhile, didn’t even seem to notice. He just kept tapping on his smartphone as if nothing had happened, seemingly unaware of his son’s near miss.

It’s no wonder the number of ER incidents for children is on the rise since 2007, after nearly three decades of decline. Many experts are blaming smartphones for creating negligent parents. In sum, smartphones might make us more efficient and more connected, but human beings are made for more than productivity and social networking. We are made for friendship and to contemplate the true, the good, and the beautiful. When we spend hours each day staring into small screens, it keeps us from living a fully human life. The constant distractions and disruptions inhibit us from living relationships well. Trapped in an endless quest for that next stimulating message, for the latest news, or for that feeling of being socially connected (however superficial that connection might be), the compulsory smartphone user loses something of his humanity. Living ever more in the smartphone world than in the real world, he becomes, like Bilbo over time, “thin and stretched.” lw

EDWARD P. SRI Edward Sri is provost and a professor of theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado ( He is the author of or contributor to several Emmaus Road books, including Queen Mother, which is based on his doctoral dissertation. He resides with his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children in Littleton, Colorado. Sri’s books may be ordered at or by calling (800) 398-5470. July/August 2013 9


GOOD  Wine for TODAY The New Evangelization and the Renewal of Marriage by Bishop Michael J. Sheridan


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esus of Nazareth came to evangelize, that is, to bring the Good News—in Greek, euangelion—the Good News of salvation. This He did by His preaching, by His miracles, by His example, by His death and Resurrection, and above all by the gift of His Holy Spirit. In turn Jesus sent His apostles to evangelize, and we read in the Acts of the Apostles how closely their ministries resembled His—in their preaching, in their miracles, and in their forming the first generation of the Church. Every subsequent age of the Church has also evangelized. The Church spread from a tiny sect within ancient Palestinian Judaism to embrace the whole Roman Empire, despite the fact—or maybe because of the fact—that she was persecuted. The Church spread beyond the boundaries of the Empire to embrace the Germanic peoples who had overrun the Empire, eventually flowering in medieval Christendom. In the colonial period, the Church spread throughout the New World. She sent missionaries as far as China and Japan, and more recently to Africa. In every instance, this evangelization was not simply about the spread of a message, but above all about the encounter with a person, the risen Jesus of Nazareth, whose glory transcends the limits of space and time. Evangelization makes the person of Jesus known, in His love and in His mercy. Above all, evangelization makes it possible to have a relationship with Jesus, a personal relationship that gives new dimensions of meaning to our lives and demands from us a change of heart, a change in the way we live. All of this is certainly clear in the mission to the nations, to those who are not Christians. But it is also clear in the ongoing proclamation of the Gospel within the Church. Those of us who have been followers of Christ all our lives still need to hear that Gospel. This is why it is proclaimed at every Mass. We need to come to know Jesus better. We need to come to know His perfect goodness, to be embraced by it and to take our own measure in comparison with it. This is why Christians pray. This is why we examine our consciences, why we go to confession

No one has ever accused God of having low expectations. Quite the opposite actually. In the pages of Scripture, Christ announces that you are to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). He also says you are to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” while, at the same time, loving “your neighbor as yourself ” (Mt. 22:37, 39). In those passages, as well as countless others, God lays out His plan for your life. And that plan is sainthood. God didn’t die on a cross so that you could become merely a nice person. Rather, He gave His life so that you could become holy, His adopted child who images the all-perfect God of the universe in the here and now. Again, no low expectations there. The same can be said of God’s plan for marriage. To God, marriage isn’t just an institution. It’s a vocation. It’s a path to holiness, a path to Him. And if God is calling you to marriage, He’s asking you to do more than just love your spouse. He’s asking you to imitate His love for His Spouse—the Church. In other words, He’s calling you to lay down your life for your spouse, to die to yourself for the sake of their salvation.

—Nancy Humes, author of Build Your House Upon Rock (Emmaus Road Publishing)

regularly, why we perform works of penance and charity. Evangelization always leads to conversion and is welcome or not welcome to the extent that its hearers are willing to examine their hearts and contemplate the possibility of personal change.

Making the Gospel Accessible In the later years of his pontificate, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI increasingly spoke to the Church about evangelization, producing the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi in 1975. Bl. Pope John Paul II took this a step further and frequently talked about what he called the “New Evangelization.” With increasing clarity the popes have thus proposed that the purpose of the Church is first and foremost evangelization, the proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Word of Life and the Savior of the human race. The New Evangelization is about a new Spirit-given energy for the task of proclaiming the Gospel to the world, but significantly it is also about re-evangelizing those whose faith has grown lukewarm and those who have fallen away, presenting the Gospel to them in a way that is fresh and attractive, that makes Gospel blessings and Gospel demands more understandable and accessible. This past fall we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the convening of the Second Vatican Council. In the council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), we find this moving teaching on marriage, a teaching that presents marriage and family life as inextricably bound up with what we have come to know as the New Evangelization. Here is what the council said: Christ, the great Prophet, who proclaimed the Kingdom of His Father both by the testimony of His life and the power of His words, continually fulfills His prophetic office until the complete manifestation of glory. . . . In connection with [this] prophetic function is that state of life which is sanctified by a special sacrament obviously of great importance, namely, married and family life. For where Christianity pervades the entire mode of family life, and gradually transforms it, one will find there both the practice and an excellent school of the lay apostolate. In such a home husbands and wives find their proper vocation July/August 2013 11

“I firmly believe that the New Evangelization can lead us to a renewal of marriage.”

in being witnesses of the faith and love of Christ to one another and to their children. The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come. Thus by its example and its witness it accuses the world of sin and enlightens those who seek the truth (LG, n. 35).

A Sacrament and Sign Marriage is not only an institution of the natural law, appearing in every known culture on the earth; it is also, for those baptized into Christ, a sacrament, a sign that confers grace, an ordinary part of human experience that becomes an encounter with the divine. As such, it becomes a school of the lay apostolate, a place where faith is witnessed, a proclamation to the world of the truth that sets us free. What the Council described as a “school” or “witness,” Bl. John Paul II specifically called an “evangelizing mission.” Christian couples are missionaries of love and life to one another, to their children, to family members who may have fallen away, or to families who may have never heard of Christ and His Good News (see Familiaris Consortio, n. 54). Moreover, such couples evangelize not only by the example of their lives, but also by an explicit and appropriate encouragement or word of faith shared with others. Pope Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini wrote: “In the face of widespread confusion in the sphere of affectivity, and the rise of ways of thinking which trivialize the human body and sexual differentiation, the word of God re-affirms the original goodness of the human being, created as man and woman and called to a love which is faithful, reciprocal, and fruitful” (n. 85). At every point of Benedict’s teaching, there are human beings who disagree: who do not believe in the goodness of creation, who do not believe that sexual complementarity is necessary for marriage, who do not believe that marriage is to be lifelong or fruitful—or for that matter who do not believe in God. We who do believe must make our voices heard. Marriage is integral to the New Evangelization. Marriage is not new in the sense of something appearing that has never existed before, but in the sense of something worth rediscovering. It is its own unique way of evangelizing. Parents evangelize each other; parents evangelize their children; in some cases children even evangelize parents. What’s new about that? Hasn’t this evangelization been taking place for centuries? Of course it has. But even if the pattern is the same, the persons involved are not. Every person is unique, as is every relationship. And every unique person and relationship unfolds according to the inner law that governs our hearts. This is what our society is forgetting and needs to be reminded of. Stable marriages and family life build culture and, where this simple fact is being forgotten, culture is in decline. Marriage is good for the couple and good for the children. 12

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Married couples are generally happier, more prosperous, and longer-lived than their single or divorced peers. Children of stable marriages are better-inclined to success in their peer-group, in school, and later in life. But where marriages break up, this pattern for couples and their children is challenged and disturbed. This is where stable marriages and family life must challenge and change culture. Every time a cultural commentator says that marriage is dead or does not matter, stable marriages must witness to God’s fidelity and love as they embody it. They must witness to the truth of God’s plan for marriage, and sometimes, as the saying goes, they must do this with words. I firmly believe that the New Evangelization can lead us to a renewal of marriage. It can recall for us the Church’s ancient ideals of marriage and re-propose them in our contemporary setting. Love is not simply a feeling; it is a commitment that demands generosity and responsibility. Love is not free from differences or disagreements; it is a strategy for dealing with them as respectfully and constructively as possible. Love is not an end in itself; it is a sacrament transparent of the divine, expressing and participating in the great mystery of Christ’s love for the Church. And since that love of Christ is forever faithful, marriage is as well. There is much more that can be said on this subject, but let me conclude by offering my own words of encouragement to any couples or families that read my words. I admire you for the love and sacrifice that define your lives together and I pray that you will always be able, by God’s grace, to overcome any challenges that come your way. Above all, I pray that your love will always be a source of joy for you and a source of abundant life. This after all is what Christ came to bring us. Let Him be the center of your life and relationships. lw Most Reverend Michael J. Sheridan is the Bishop of Colorado Springs, CO. The above is adapted from his address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. on May 9, 2013.


A Mountaintop Jewish Wedding by Dr. John S. Bergsma


n previous columns, we have discussed the Bible as God’s “Book of Love,” and examined what we can learn about love and marriage from the Book of Genesis. Let’s move on to the Book of Exodus, which at first seems to have very little do with marriage, other than Moses meeting his wife Zipporah in Midian after fleeing from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-22). Instead, Exodus tells the story of God delivering the Israelites from Egypt (Ex. 1-15), bringing them to Mount Sinai (Ex. 16-19), forming them into a nation there (Ex. 20-24), and instructing them to build the Tabernacle (Ex. 25-40). None of this sounds very romantic. Surprisingly, the prophets had a different view of these events. Hundreds of years later, the prophet Jeremiah would recall the Exodus in this way: Thus says the Lord [to Israel]: “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the first fruits of his harvest.” (Jer. 2:2-3) Likewise the prophet Hosea, also speaking hundreds of years later, looked forward to a future when God would repeat his “courtship” with Israel, which first took place during the Exodus and Sinai events: Therefore, behold, I will allure [Israel], and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her… and there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day,

says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Master.” . . . And I will make for you a covenant on that day. . . . And I will betroth you to me for ever. (Hos. 2:14-19) Strange as it may seem, the prophets saw the Exodus as the time when the Lord “married” Israel, because at Sinai God first formed a covenant with His people, and one of the basic forms of covenant is marriage. In light of the prophets, we can look back at the events of Exodus and re-read it according to ancient Israelite wedding customs. Based on the Song of Songs and other sources, it seems that ancient Israelite wedding rituals sometimes proceeded in this way: the bridegroom would process to the home of the bride with his companions on the night of the wedding. There, his party would collect the bride and return with her to the house of the groom’s father, where the marital covenant was sworn. Then, the bride and groom would begin their life together, often in a home or dwelling that the groom had built on or near the home of his father. In the book of Exodus, we see the Lord coming to call Israel out of her home, Egypt, but her “stepfather,” Pharaoh, is resistant. Nonetheless, the Lord prevails against Pharaoh, and the night of Passover becomes the “nuptial night” when the Lord-as-bridegroom brings His bride Israel out of the house of Egypt. He washes her with water— her wedding night “bath”—in the Red Sea (Ex. 15), and feeds her a “wedding banquet” of heavenly bread and meat in the wilderness (Ex. 16-17). At Mount Sinai, Moses reads the “marriage contract” (Ex.

24:7), the Lord and Israel pledge their “vows” (Ex. 24:7-8) and undergo a ritual of sharing the same “blood” (Ex. 24:6,8). Another nuptial feast ensues, as God and the Israelites banquet together on the top of the mountain (Ex. 24:9-11). Moses then receives instructions (Ex. 2531) and builds the Tabernacle (Ex. 35-40), which is the “bridal chamber,” the dwelling place where God and His people may meet together in intimate communion. The covenant of Sinai was the beginning of the spousal relationship between God and Israel that forms a recurring theme throughout the rest of the Bible. Other religions do not understand the relationship of God and His people in this way. In Islam, Allah is the supreme Master and His people are servants or slaves. In Mormonism, there are many gods in the cosmos, each with a physical body and one or more physical wives. Eastern religions are diverse: some have no strong notion of God at all, nor of a human community that forms his “people.” Others are polytheistic, and if the gods have brides, they are goddesses, not a human community. But in Judaism and Christianity, we believe God has betrothed Himself to us forever (Hos. 2:19), a betrothal renewed every time He gives us the gift of His body and blood (Lk. 22:19-20). lw

DR. JOHN S. BERGSMA Dr. John Bergsma teaches Scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. A former Protestant pastor, he and his wife Dawn entered the Catholic Church in 2001. July/August 2013 13


The Sacred Conversation An interview with Fr. Joseph Mele

Handing your parish priest a book of tips on preaching might seem like an insult—unless that book is The Sacred Conversation by Fr. Joseph Mele. In this newest title from Emmaus Road Publishing, Fr. Mele, a seasoned homilist and rector of St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA, provides a thorough explanation of basic homiletics and advises priests on how to improve their skills as preachers. Here Fr. Mele discusses the contents of The Sacred Conversation.

The Sacred Conversation was born from years of study and pastoral experience. Can you explain how it evolved into book form? My doctoral dissertation in Rhetoric and Communication from Duquesne University examined Pope Benedict XVI’s reform of the liturgy and how this might impact Catholic liturgical preaching. Earlier, I had been asked by Archabbot Douglas Nowicki and Fr. Thomas Acklin at St. Vincent Seminary to teach homiletics. That was quite providential because my teaching surfaced many new and relevant questions that drove my research and study. I started to write assignment papers on homiletics as rhetorical art and they were well received. I continued to study Pope Benedict and his writings from a communicative perspective. That contributed to my dissertation which 14

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was finally entitled “Homiletics at the Threshold: Pope Benedict XVI’s Invitation.” I felt my dissertation was more pastoral than definitive, more reflective than scholarly, so I never considered it meriting any more attention. I was surprised by the number of people that read it online and said it should be published in popular form so more people could read it. Finally, author Mike Aquilina told me he read it and suggested that I should consider having it published as a book. I have the highest regard for Mike so when he encouraged me to do this I finally gave in. Can you briefly explain the role of the homily in the Liturgy?   A homily takes place within the sacred liturgy. Catholic homiletics require skills and preparation but emphasize the Church’s message more than personality or even the preaching skills of the hom-

ilist. Preaching within the Catholic liturgical experience recognizes that a homily is not preached on the Word of God; rather, like all worship the homily is preached from and through the Word of God. The homily is a part of the liturgy, therefore like all of liturgy; it too must become an event in which the people encounter the Living God. It interprets the meaning of human experience by shedding light upon the human condition through the representation of Scripture. The homilist mediates a sacred, inspired conversation between God’s divine Word and God’s people summoning them to respond with a lively faith. To do this effectively, the priest or deacon must encounter Christ in the Scriptures each time he prepares a homily. I always stress to my students that they should never step up to the pulpit unless they can look

“The homilist mediates a sacred, inspired conversation between God’s divine Word and God’s people summoning them to respond with a lively faith.” their people in the eyes and confess that they know the exact moment, when in their prayer and study, they encountered Christ in their preparation. The homily is never just a public exegesis. It is never just preaching as moral exhortation. It is certainly never political lobbying. It is truly the message God reveals that Sunday. Homilists must be very humble today for the Word of God to be truly revealed. Although the book isn’t geared for lay people, it still provides helpful insights—especially in regard to the Post-Conciliar Church. Is there good reason to believe that the Church today is rediscovering and implementing the goals of the Second Vatican Council?  I am so happy that a number of lay people have told me already that they found my book helpful in understanding the history and context of the Second Vatican Council as well as the true meaning of the liturgy. One married couple told me that my book helped them to understand what is meant by the post-Conciliar Church. By recognizing this, they are more hopeful that the Church can indeed lead us to meet the challenges of the future. Do Catholics ever complain to you about their priest’s homilies? What advice do you give them?  People love their priests and deacons. If they complain to me about priests’ homilies it is always said in the best interest of the priests. I have never found them to be mean-spirited or unfairly critical. They tell me what they need. They want to be inspired and encouraged and—yes—challenged. But they want to be preached to in a way that acknowledges that they are already graced and trying their best to live the Catholic faith. My advice to laity is this: help your pastors know you need them to be very clear in their homilies and answer three

questions for you in every homily. First, what do these Scriptures today have to do with me? Second, What is in it for me? And third, what exactly do you want me to do? Fr. Peter John Cameron says every listener in the pew at Sunday Mass is asking these questions. If all pastors knew this and were faithful to these simple but honest questions, they would end up being less wordy, less rigid, less cutesy, and much more concise, animated, and courageous in facilitating sacred conversations between God and the people in the pew. What can the laity do to encourage their pastors to grow as homilists?  Perhaps the best way to encourage their pastors to grow as homilists is to request the local diocesan Clergy Office or the diocesan department for PostOrdination Formation to offer more and more training in homiletics. I know many pastors ask for these workshops here in Pittsburgh and appreciate when they are offered. Most priests take great pride in their preaching. They know the first duty of every priest is to communicate the Word of God to God’s people. They are looking for better ways to do this especially since we are all hearing so much about the New Evangelization. My other suggestion involves materials for preaching. When a parishioner is considering a gift for a priest at Christmas or his birthday or anniversary, consider a subscription to a good, sound magazine for priests. The easier we can make it for pastors to keep up with reading, the better the homilies will become. The only other suggestion I have is to pray hard for priests—which I know all of you readers do every day. What can the laity do to better “hear” homilies? I think 90% of Catholics would jump at the opportunity to get up and preach the homily next Sunday. We live in a time when personal opinion or our own

personal preference guides what we do and how we think. As a result many people think preaching is easier than it actually is. The listeners have a tremendous responsibility too. They must also be prayerfully humble. We all need to halt the practices in our lives that have become non-reflective, habitual, and rooted simply in what we prefer or think is real but still based only upon our emotions. We have to listen for the truth in homilies! The truth cannot always be discovered by facts in a book or worked out in an equation. Certain truths can only be revealed and fully based on reason. These truths can come in mysterious and even startling ways to the human mind. When this happens the Word becomes visible! St. Augustine called this the goal of all preaching: To render the word tangible and visible in the lives of the faith community. When truth is preached with passion after much prayer, people recognize it. We know it is not our imagination. People reflect and then if necessary, by the power of the grace involved in this authentic encounter with the Holy One, change behaviors that free them to become more human and Christ-like. lw

Fr. Joseph Mele is Vicar General in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, director of formation at St. Paul Seminary and director of post-ordination formation. July/August 2013 15

AskCUF with Eric Stoutz

My daughter disagrees with Church teaching on homosexuality. She argues that natural law is not just biological, but includes the whole human being. Can you give me some help in defending the Church’s teaching?


our daughter has a basic misunderstanding about the natural law and who we are as human persons. The Church distinguishes between the “eternal law” and “natural law.” The eternal law is God’s plan for all of creation. The natural law is man’s participation in the eternal law, whereby God directs him to his perfection, ultimately, in heaven (cf. Catechism, nos. 1954-60). Consequently, the Church does not view homosexual acts from a mere, arbitrary biological point of view. Rather, the Church recognizes humans as what they really are: body-soul composites made by God in His image and likeness (cf. Catechism, nos. 362-68; Gen. 1:2628). The body expresses who we are as persons. Bodies are not simply something we have but are integrally part of who we are as persons that God created. As the Church provides, homosexual activity is 16

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incompatible with who we are as persons made in God’s image: Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other (Congregation for the

Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 6). Advocates of homosexual relationships counter that the person is more than just his or her body and that love between persons transcends physical gender. While “biologism” or “physicalism” is an error, the advocates of “gay marriage” make the error of spiritualism, speaking dualistically as if the body is not joined to the soul in a unique way that reveals the person. They believe that sexual complementarity happens exclusively in the soul and that physical gender says nothing significant about the sexuality of the person. In a roundabout way, advocates of “gay marriage” themselves commit the error of biologism with regard to men and women in general and male and

female reproductive systems in particular. In claiming that physical gender is not fundamental to what constitutes genuine complementarity in sexual relationships between human persons, they reduce the reproductive systems of men and women to mere biology and thus, again, commit the error of dualism. The body and its sexual faculties are reduced to the level of an impersonal machine. These advocates want the bodily experience and “pleasure” of sexual expression, while effectively denying that bodily gender does not indicate— let alone define—how humans should conduct themselves in a sexual manner. Yet, if sexual complementarity is interior and self-defined, and not bodily, then why not have a totally non-physical relationship? Of course, gay marriage advocates are inconsistent because they also argue that homosexual sex joins two persons together, i.e., bodysoul composites, not simply two spirits, thereby recognizing that bodies are important aspects of a human person. Christian anthropology maintains that the soul and body are distinct, yet also profoundly and indissolubly joined. Sexual complementarity is a reality of both body and soul and not one or the other exclusively. This is why sexual acts are not just bodily acts for the sake of pleasure that somehow suspend the soul. Something of the person is given to another when he or she gives the body in a sexual act. Indeed, if one recognizes that we express our human choices in and through our bodies, it becomes clearer that human acts should be evaluated in terms of the whole person, not simply his “spiritual” or “physical” aspects as if a man is made of two, opposing, uncomplementary elements. By trying to distract from the biological aspect of sodomy, “gay marriage” advocates necessarily convey that they believe there is a lack of integration between a person’s body and a person’s soul. Two persons of the same sex can have a very deep, close relationship (e.g., Jonathan and David), but a relationship expressed genitally can only be shared by persons of the opposite or complementary sex—specifically two persons of the opposite sex who have

made that level of bodily self-giving exclusive through marriage. The problems with sodomy can be further seen in light of a brief discussion of contraception and the love between the persons of the Holy Trinity. From all of eternity, God the Father, who is all good, all holy, and all true, has given of Himself completely and totally. This gift is so perfect that it is the eternal Son, who is God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God (Nicene Creed). Because the Son is equally God and the perfect reflection of the Father, who is all good, all true, and all holy, He imitates the Father and in turn gives of Himself completely and totally. This mutual self-gift of the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity and the bond of unity in love within the Godhead. We have been created to imitate, with God’s help, the life of the Holy Trinity. In marriage, husband and wife are called to give themselves completely, holding nothing back, in imitation of the Trinity, whose gift of self is perfect. At the heart of the marriage is the marital act. And as husband and wife give themselves completely and totally to one another, they imitate God and, in so doing, may be blessed with a child. To hold back, to say no, to turn away from this gift of self and from an openness to the action of God, is a sin against God, one’s spouse, and the deepest, most intimate part of oneself. The act of contraception attacks our ability to image God, to behave in His likeness. Indeed, with regard to conjugal love, God inscribed an unbreakable bond between the love-giving (unitive) and lifegiving (procreative) aspects of conjugal love. This is why contraception between husband and wife is wrong. If you close yourself off to the life-giving aspect, you also necessarily undermine the lovegiving aspect, which is ordered toward the procreative fruit of children in particular

“We make idols of our concepts, but Wisdom is born of wonder.” —Pope Gregory I

and total and unconditional spousal selfgiving in general. Contraception enables men to exploit women instead of being truly committed and intimate. This teaching is challenging and at times even daunting, but it is the truth. Even without divine Revelation, the natural law bears witness in the heart of every man and woman that the act of contraception, including taking the pill or making use of a device to oppose the conception of a child in the midst of the marital act (cf. Catechism, no. 2370), runs contrary to marital love. In fact, contraception makes a lie of the total, self-giving love our sexuality was intended to express. In summary, as the Church teaches, homosexual acts necessarily cannot be perfective of who we are as persons made in God’s image. Note: Adapted from former Catholic Responses staff member Tom Nash’s reply to the original question by a CUF member. lw

ERIC STOUTZ Eric Stoutz is the Director of Catholics United for the Faith’s Catholic Responses department. CUF members may submit questions to Ask CUF by emailing laywitness@ and including “Ask CUF” in the subject heading. Please note that Catholic Responses’ policy is to answer questions from members only. Visit for more information about how to become a CUF member.

July/August 2013 17

HOW Facing the

MANY Difficult Questions

FOR Surrounding

DINNER? Same-Sex Attraction by David Prosen

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Illustrations by Micaela Stoutz



rankly, I don’t know how my mother did it. While I led an active homosexual life, she made it clear that she loved me unconditionally. Yet she never condoned my behavior. We often debated whether I could bring someone I was dating to a family holiday dinner. She never gave in, but never rejected me as her son, either. The Church is clear in her teachings on the acts of homosexuality: “Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC, 2357). At the same time, the Catechism states that those struggling with homosexuality “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination must be avoided (no. 2358).

Matters Hitting Close to Home If your loved one wants to visit with their partner what do you do? Do you allow them to visit? Do you visit them? In Same Sex Attraction: A Parent’s Guide, Fr. John F. Harvey recommended allowing the family member or friend to visit alone. He also added that for holidays and other exceptional events, the parents can allow the family member’s partner to stay at the house as long as they are in separate bedrooms. Each situation in this delicate matter is different. You might decide that it is important that you visit your child and the partner or to have them over for holidays. If you choose to do this you may want to first make it very clear that you do not condone any sexual activity outside of marriage (and hold this standard also for heterosexual couples). Also, allowing this may cause other problems, such as younger children asking who the partner is. I highly recommend that you discuss with a trustworthy, orthodox priest whatever it is you decide to do. If you are unsure of where to locate such a priest, contact Courage at (203) 803-1564. Continue to arm yourself with the truth. Reading this article is a good start. Don’t stop here. Visit the Courage web site, read articles and books recommended in faithful Catholic publications, and learn as much as you can. Does this mean that once you gather all the facts you should sit your loved one down and read them all of your notes and everything you have learned in one sitting? Absolutely not! You may desire to do so, because of your love and concern, but this will only cause walls to go up, harming your relationship. In addition, these walls will most likely prevent them from hearing anything you have to say. If we arm ourselves with truth and then surrender ourselves to Christ, He will help us sow seeds of love and truth, telling us what seed to sow, when to sow, and how. Then we can let go and let Him do the rest. He will shower graces and shine His Son to help that seed grow.

Whether your daughter, son, sibling, relative or friend, you must love the person struggling with same-sex attraction and yet not condone the sin of homosexual activity.

so how do you do that? Remember: All of us are children of God. If your loved one is in a relationship, remember that their partner is not the enemy and is loved by God, too. In Someone I Love Is Gay, authors Anita Worthen and Bob Davies remind us, “You might be the only view of Christianity this person ever sees. You can be an important influence on their eternal destiny.”

Don’t Panic. If your loved one tells you that he or she is “gay” or “lesbian”, you may experience a myriad of intense emotions, including anger and fear. You are entitled to all of them—and please don’t suppress them. However, it’s extremely important not to express them immediately to your loved one. Instead, be fully present and express your love to him or her. Then, when you are alone, allow yourself to feel your emotions and express them to God, your journal, a priest, a counselor, a trusted friend—and if your loved one is okay with this—your spouse (he or she might want to speak to them on their own). You need support. You can’t give what you don’t have. Make sure you take care of yourself.

Keep communication open, calm, and clear. As the late Fr. John Harvey addressed in his book Questions and Answers for Parents of Persons with Same-Sex Attractions, if you have discussions or debates later on, remain calm and do not yell, although your loved one might. State your points about the behavior and not about the person. Show your affection afterwards and remain open to discussion in the future. It’s okay to have healthy boundaries. There were several times when my mom told me that either we had to change the subject or we would have to end the conversation because she was getting angry and wanted to be able to think clearly and discuss it later.

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Our Presence Needs to be Christ’s Presence Everyone, especially people struggling with same-sex attraction, needs to see Jesus in us. We can surrender to Christ, love that individual, and step aside and allow Christ in us to touch that person’s heart. Remember, it’s the behavior you dislike and the person you love. When you are with that person, allow yourself to love them and enjoy them. The behavior might anger you, but this individual is loved by God and you. He or she needs to see this reality. It is very important to allow Christ to love and speak through you. To love an individual unconditionally, yet not condone their sin is an impossible task. We are incapable of such an undertaking based on our own human limitations. We can’t do this no matter how hard we try. However, Christ can. Surrender this completely to Him, praying, “Lord, I can’t do this but You can. Give me the grace I need and speak through me.”


very time we change a channel, look at a billboard, or scan the news we are force fed pro-homosexual messages. So loud are these messages, the Church’s take might as well be silent. And for many individuals struggling with same sex attraction, the lack of support from within the Church has hurt and driven some back to an active life in the homosexual subculture. Except for a few priests and the Courage apostolate, no one in the Catholic Church seems to be talking about same-sex attraction. As leaders in the Church remain silent on the topic, messages from the dissenting groups and the media are growing more deafening. I believe there is much confusion— even among faithful Catholics—on this topic because we try to understand through a misunderstanding. Politics have invaded “science” and as a result we aren’t being presented the truth. For example: in 1973 the American Psychological Association (APA) voted to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a disorder. This decision was influenced largely by the lobbying of homosexual activist groups. As Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, and others have noted, this was “driven by politics and not science.” In order for there to be clarity, we need to look at this topic not 20

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There are many gifts available to us through our Catholic faith that mediate graces we need to strengthen us. Frequently receive the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist, attend a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, or pray the Rosary. It’s very important to take care of ourselves—including our spirituality. We are called to love one another as Christ has loved us. He will give us everything we need to complete this impossible task if we are open to Him, seek Him out, and surrender to His will. lw David Prosen is a counselor in Steubenville at an outpatient setting. In addition, he works for “The Raphael Remedy” of New York as a Catholic therapist doing phone/ internet counseling and coaching. He is a member of Catholic, the American Association of Christian Counselors and the National Association of Research and Therapy for Homosexuality(NARTH). He served as leader of the Steubenville Courage chapter, from 2004 till 2011.

Is Healing Possible?

through the eyes of our culture but instead through the eyes of our faith. The idea of homosexuality being a “type of person” or identity is very new. There is no proof that homosexuality is hereditary or in one’s make up at birth. Our culture claims there are no other choices except to embrace this identity. We are told that attempts to change are harmful and dangerous because they can cause depression and suicidal behaviors. But we don’t hear about the men and women who, because they embrace this identity, suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts. I know many of these individuals, and I was one of them. I tried very hard to live my life as a Christian “gay” man. I read gay theology books and attended gay/lesbian churches. No matter what I did, my heart was not at peace. In addition, I sank into deep bouts of depression, struggled with thoughts of not wanting to live, and engaged in substance abuse. By God’s grace, I now live a chaste life and have for many years. Of course, I still

have problems in life as everyone does, but I have a profound peace in my heart from accepting the fact that my identity is that of a Catholic man. Obtaining God’s healing was not harmful—it saved my life. Staying within the gay subculture was killing me spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Now, I don’t go through the deep dark, hopeless bouts of depression, and I am very glad to be alive. Despite what society tells us, change is possible. Yes, I know many who have turned from homosexuality and are now married and living fulfilling lives. But change and healing go beyond living a heterosexual life. Authentic healing can include eliminating from one’s life pornography, substance abuse, codependent behaviors, sexual addiction, and other damaging habits. Change is different for each person. Embracing chastity, for many individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, is change that has come about through much healing and is a miracle given by God.


Devotion to the Precious Blood by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., with Michael Mohr

The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus, a feast instituted in 1849 by Bl. Pius IX reflecting the devotion of the early Fathers of the Church. This is an excerpt from Fr. Hardon’s article, “The Precious Blood of Christ,” which focuses this devotion on the elements of our veneration, invocation, and imitation. —Michael Mohr


evotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation. Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is veneration, invocation, and imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain, is first of all to be veneration on our part, which is a composite of knowledge, love, and adoration. I found this passage in [one of ] the oldest documents, outside of Sacred Scripture, from the first century of the Christian era—to be exact, from Pope St. Clement I, dated about 96 a.d. Says Pope Clement: “Let us fix our gaze on the Blood of Christ and realize how truly precious It is, seeing that It was poured out for our salvation and brought the grace of conversion to the whole world.” To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must get some comprehension of the gravity of sin, of the awfulness of offending God, because it required the Blood of the Son of God to forgive that sin. We are living in an age in which to sin has become fashionable. But we believe that we are here for only a very short time. We further believe Christ when He told us the way that leads to damnation is broad and many there are who walk that way,

“He, the Head of the Mystical Body, can no longer suffer, but thank God, we can!” and that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and there are few who walk that way. I am watching every syllable I am saying. The Church has never pronounced infallibly on the number lost and the number saved, but she has canonized St. John of the Cross and made him a Doctor of the Church. Says John of the Cross: “I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost.” This veneration of the Precious Blood, which is the first element in our devotion to the Precious Blood, means that we have a deep sensitivity to the awfulness of sin. Sin must be terrible. It must be awful. It must be the most dreadful thing in the universe. Why? Because it cost the living God in human form the shedding of His Blood.

Spiritual Formation Advice from Fr. Hardon

Make acts of humility during the day, recalling and reflecting on the fact that, except for God, we would not exist. For example, simply pray, “My Lord, You are everything and I am nothing.”

Devotion to the Precious Blood means—beyond veneration, which means understanding, grasping, and loving Jesus Christ in the shedding of His Blood—it further means that we invoke Christ under the attribute of His Precious Blood. Finally, devotion means imitation. In other words, if Christ showed His love for us by the shedding of His Blood, we are to show our love for Him by the shedding of our blood. That is what the Church means when she has us say that when Christ offers Himself daily on the altar in the Sacrifice of the Mass, we are told to identify that as our sacrifice—His and ours. He, the Head of the Mystical Body, can no longer suffer, but thank God, we can! I don’t hesitate recommending praying for the gift of martyrdom. But even if it is not God’s Will that we shed our blood for Christ, to manifest our love for Him physically, let’s make sure, absolutely sure, that we let no opportunity go by without shedding our blood spiritually. And that, my friends, no matter what our state of life, no matter what our vocation may be, if we are Christians, we are meant to shed our blood! lw

FR. JOHN HARDON, S.J. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., (1914–2000) was a distinguished theologian and a prolific writer, speaker, and catechist. He founded a number of Catholic organizations, including the Marian Catechists, and he was a good friend of the CUF apostolate. Learn about the cause of Fr. Hardon’s beatification at Michael Mohr is chairman of CUF’s board of directors and a consecrated Marian Catechist. He and his family live in Tucson, Arizona. July/August 2013 21


Newness, Harmony, and Mission Signs of the Holy Spirit by Pope Francis


would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony, and mission. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow Him, we accept Him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to Him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed, and selfish horizons in order to become open to His own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals Himself, He brings newness—God always brings newness— and demands our complete trust. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since He brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by His working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which

does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit Himself is harmony—“Ipse harmonia est.” He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety, and diversity never become a source of conflict, because He impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community—the Apostle

John tells us in his Second Letter—and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn v. 9). A final point. The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking His impulse and His grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; He impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. . . . The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? Today let us remember these three words: newness, harmony and mission. lw

July 2013

August 2013

General: That World Youth Day in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.

General: That parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life.

Mission: That throughout Asia doors may be open to messengers of the Gospel.


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Mission: That the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.


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A Meditation on Fermentation by Cara Angelis


east. Wheat. Wine. Salt. Besides resembling a tipsy baker’s store of supplies, there is more to these ingredients than might be imagined at first glance. Like many things in nature, they are in fact little icons, dark mirrors that give us a glimpse of our divine life of grace. They are transformed into the familiar bread and wine that become our lifeblood on both a physical and a sacramental level. Through fermentation, transforming and preserving food for our use, these simple elements become even more alive, helping us continue in our eternal life that has begun already here on earth. When I was young, my parents suggested to us that delicious things like ice cream could be a tiny taste of heaven, while still reminding our family that heaven would be infinitely better. This reasoning made sense to me then, and seemed to be confirmed later on by a quote from St. Paul, writing to the Romans: “the invisible things of [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Rom. 1:20). God used food and drink to give Himself to us, through the Eucharist and through the many references to it in His word, leading us to know Him better through these physical realities. Yeast and salt are two fundamental elements that Jesus

used in His parables for us to further unlock and understand His words more deeply. “The kingdom of heaven,” Jesus tells us, “is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” In addition to its multiplicative powers in bread making, yeast is key in the fermentation of wine. Natural wild yeasts come from the grape skins, from grain or from the air, and begin the process of making the goodness of the food longlasting. The yeast gives life in abundance to the grain and fruit, raising it to a new level of existence. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast! Remember this when next on a picnic, eating a baguette perhaps and drinking wine. Indeed, once upon a time there was a divine picnic—Christ was there—a picnic with earthly bread, good measure, running out, pouring over. Twelve baskets of bread were left at the end of it, where there had once only been a few loaves. Christ provided the increase, the way He does every day even now, His Body and Blood broken in a way that is infinite and limitless, still under the appearance of bread and wine, in species finite on the altar. In the Lauda Sion, St. Thomas sings of this phenomenon, “And whoe’er of Him partakes, / severs not, nor rends, nor breaks: / July/August 2013 23

all entire, their Lord receive.” And further on, “Nor a single doubt retain, / when they break the Host in twain, / but that in each part remain / what was in the whole before.” It is as if all the sacred Eucharistic hosts in the world are one immense batch of bread, pouring out of the hands of the priest, from the hands of Christ, and flowing with all God’s infinite life into each person, nourishing and sustaining our lives with the infinite life of God Himself. Christ the Leaven. In a similar way, wine too has been transformed by yeast. The wild yeast from grape skins can be used in baking naturally fermented sourdough bread, or the yeast left over from beer making; the yeast in the bread and the wine are the same. Perhaps we can think of God as the same Life that enlivens the bread and the wine that will become His Blood, who enlivens the heavenly yeast on the grapes that transforms their essence to something immortal, and the Spirit that transforms earthly spirits and makes them life-giving themselves. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast! If yeast is an image of the kingdom, we are salt. “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.” Salt is necessary for life. Animals sicken and die without salt in some form; some need more than others. There is natural salt in the ground that growing plants draw up, carrying this vital element to the animals that consume them.

“It is as if all the sacred Eucharistic hosts in the world are one immense batch of bread, pouring out of the hands of the priest, from the hands of Christ, and flowing with all God’s infinite life into each person, nourishing and sustaining our lives with the infinite life of God Himself.” In fermentation, salt is added as a temper, so that the yeast and microbial activity stays at a moderate level within the ferment. It preserves everything, keeping it from decaying, and making it long-lasting. It encourages the good bacteria to grow, and inhibits the poisonous ones. Because of this, salt too is a sacramental, reflecting its indispensability, incorruptibility, and its beneficent influence. There is a beautiful old blessing for salt, reflecting its nature and use in this way: “Sanctify [the salt] in Your loving kindness, so that all who partake of it may receive health of both mind and body. Grant that whatever is touched or sprinkled by it may be preserved from uncleanness.” Salt certainly preserves what it touches. As seafarers knew, vegetables submerged in brine would cure and keep their goodness for more than two years, protecting the shipmen from scurvy. All cultures had their fermented food, a necessity before the sterile age of refrigeration. Such pickles last for months and months in a simple brine of salt and water. Fermenting food is an astounding task–one of the simplest tasks in the world, but with amazing results. It is a lesson in immortality to watch a humble vegetable that would rot on its own in a few days be transformed into a completely new being that will last for two years in a cool place. This is the power of salt. Whatever is touched or sprinkled by it is preserved from uncleanness.

Behold, I Make all Things New

Cara Angelis writes from a small industrial town in the Midwest. She is an aspiring gardener, Latin student, and Jane-of-various-trades who enjoys all types of fermented substances. 24

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Fermentation is the perfect paradigm for life and death. With sacramental salt and the life of yeast, it takes perishable things (grapes, wheat, honey, vegetables) making them into something entirely renewed. In a bottle of stout, in a bowl of dough rising on the counter, in a crock of pickles bubbling in a cool cellar there are countless little lives being born, growing and dying in a microcosm of time and space. These tiny beings can be reminders of something much larger, reminders even of eternal life, and can bring life themselves, through their own alchemical natures and processes. By using these life-bearing properties and contemplating them, our own corruptible natures can be sustained and transformed until that time we are filled with the food of the heavenly banquet,lwsatisfied at last.

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a Dynamic moment Catholic Church

by Peter Jesserer Smith


n order to carry out the New Evangelization, lay men and women must “blow the dynamite” of the Catholic Church. This Year of Faith finds the lay faithful devising new ways to carry the explosive, powerful message of Jesus Christ into the very heart of the secular world. Peter Maurin (1877-1949), a Catholic thinker and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, captured the idea of the laity unleashing the transformative power of the Gospel on society in one of his Easy Essays: If the Catholic Church is not today the dominant social, dynamic force, it is because Catholic scholars have failed to blow the dynamite of the Church. Catholic scholars have taken the dynamite of the Church, have wrapped it up in nice phraseology, placed it in an hermetic container; and sat on the lid. It is about time to blow the lid off so the Catholic Church may again become the dominant social dynamic force. Maurin’s words resonate with Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput as a metaphor for the New Evangelization. “Nothing ‘blows the dynamite of the Church’ more than heroic generosity on the part of married couples and lay faithful,” Chaput tells Lay Witness. “The Church is mostly lay people, so the springtime that Pope John Paul II dreamed about has to be the result of living the Gospel.”

The pontificates of Bl. John Paul II and Benedict XVI did the hard work of establishing the authentic keys to interpreting the Second Vatican Council. Benedict’s preaching of the “hermeneutic of continuity”—that Catholics must interpret the Council documents as a restatement of (not a break with) the Church’s two millennia of Tradition—paved the way for the lay faithful to look at the Council with confidence and renewed interest in what the Church expects of them. The Council gives a bold vision for the lay faithful. The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, states: “The laity must take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation”(emphasis added). The Council makes clear the lay faithful not only are necessary to their Church communities, but also vital to the apostolate of their pastors. With their apostolic zeal, the laity “refresh the spirit of pastors and of the rest of the faithful.” Catholics have spoken often of the New Evangelization since John Paul II coined the term. A few years ago, Benedict XVI even approved a new Pontifical Council on the New Evangelization. All well and good, but even Pope Francis recognizes the tendency of Catholics to overthink their teaching (Maurin today might describe this as wrapping up the New Evangelization in “nice phraseology” and sealing it away in a “hermetic container” of bureaucratic institutionalism, so it becomes the responsibility of “someone else”). “A Church that does not go out of itself, sooner or later, sickens from the stale air of closed rooms,” Pope Francis wrote his brother bishops from Latin America. In his own straightforward July/August 2013 25

way, Francis has made it clear: don’t just talk about the New Evangelization, don’t wait for the bishop or priest to lead or give permission for the New Evangelization, just act on the grace of Baptism and do the New Evangelization. And have the humility to make mistakes along the way. Francis said: “I prefer a thousand times over a Church of accidents than a sick Church.” The Church needs the lay faithful as entrepreneurs who will seek to find many different ways to “blow the dynamite” of the Gospel, and remake society in Jesus Christ. Chaput points out that the New Evangelization calls for an evangelization “new in its ardor, its methods, and its expression, but also its agents”, the lay faithful, who can take the Apostles and early Christians as their model. “When you look at the Acts of the Apostles, we see that the evangelization of the Church was done by the laity as well as by clergy,” Archbishop Chaput says. “Paul had the good company of Aquila and Priscilla, a married couple who were tent makers along with him.”

Building a Catholic Community Inside and Outside the Parish


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Above: contains a plethora of resources suited to help Catholics learn more about their faith. Below: Blessed Sacrament Parish in Seattle, Washington.

the Church Fathers, find spiritual counseling, a place to pray together, and engage in fellowship over breakfast. Higbee describes it as a center of community, which flows back into the parish life. And the fruits of Ireneaus are new marriages, stronger marriages, and religious and priestly vocations that are building up the local Church.

Rediscover: Facebook, Twitter, Apps and More

Social media has the power to connect millions upon millions with the Gospel. Like the Gospel, the success of social media, which Benedict XVI described as the new “agora” of the 21st century, depends on sharing. Pope Francis tweets the Gospel in 140 characters, nearly everyday, and people can access tweets through Twitter or even text message. Consider this: there are 6 billion cell phones in the world, and more than 1 billion smart phones. Every one of them is a potential recipient of the Gospel. The Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul has recently encouraged the lay faithful to spread the Gospel in the digital age by Facebook, Twitter, apps, and any social media they use to interact with others with an educational initiative called “Rediscover.” Rediscover features a beautiful professional website that invites Catholics to “rediscover” the riches of their faith and answers to deep and profound questions, and learn how to be an authentic disciple of Christ. Apps for Apple and Android

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The parish provides a natural community hub for Catholics, where they can create a vibrant community with an outlook of evangelization. An absence of activity in parish life may provide just the right opportunity for lay faithful to step forward as leaders and build that community with a Bible study, a couple’s evening, a Church dance, concerts, movie nights, or young adult socials. Blessed Sacrament Parish, a parish run by the Dominicans in Seattle’s University District, has made itself a center of community and evangelistic outreach through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Nina Butorac, Director of Outreach, says that Blessed Sacrament’s pastor, Fr. Daniel Syverstad, O.P., called for the laity to help the Dominicans make the parish a “center of evangelization.” As a result, parish attendance has more than doubled in size over ten years. “It’s created a very dynamic parish. People are attracted here,” Butorac says. Throughout the month, you’ll find a packed calendar at Blessed Sacrament with meetings of Communion and Liberation, Bible Study, New Moms prayer and support group, Latin class, pro-life meetings, a Vatican II education series, St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Bank, Legion of Mary, young adult discussion groups and formation events for watching and discussing movies with Catholic themes, among other activities. In Rochester, New York, the St. Ireneaus Ministries offers another model of living Catholic community in a way that complements parish life. Founded by Catholic convert and former pastor David Higbee, the St. Ireneaus Ministries and its Center have a strong mission objective: to form individuals through discipleship who will in turn create a community that evangelizes others by their compelling witness. “We’ve got exactly what’s needed. Our one resource is an encounter with Jesus Christ,” Higbee says. At the St. Ireneaus Center, adults and young adults can take classes in Biblical Greek, Early Church and Biblical History, and

smartphones and tablets make the resources (writings, videos, radio, audio) instantly accessible. “We’ve tried to make the resources of Rediscover more approachable, so we can reach people more authentically and very effectively,” Sarah Mealy, Communications Director for the Archdiocese, tells Lay Witness. She explains that they’ve also developed a simple way for all lay faithful (who may not feel able to answer adequately some questions about the Faith) to share “Rediscover” with friends, family, and others through “Rediscover share cards.” The share cards are business cards with information about Rediscover, and a printed QR-code that a smartphone can scan to bring them right to Rediscover. But share cards are not the twenty-first century version of handing out tracts. “It connects people that you know and meet, with the resources of Rediscover,” says Mealy. “It makes sharing the faith more approachable and less intimidating.” Mealy says the Archdiocese is negotating with a firm that wants to take the Rediscover model national.

The Most Exciting Time in 1700 Years

Giving their time, talents, and energies to the New Evangelization, the lay faithful, with love for Jesus Christ, continue to find new opportunities to “blow the dynamite” of the Church in the secular world. David Higbee believes the New Evangelization is “the most exciting time in the Church in 1700 years” and that every Catholic man and woman must “be alive to the possibilities” of what he and she can accomplish for the New Evangelization. “As we proclaim simply Christ—and Him crucified­—we are going to see that we draw many, many more people to Him,” Higbee says. “And if transformation of this man and this woman in Christ is what we want, even if it takes a number of years, we will see such success as will amaze even us.” lw Peter Jesserer Smith is a freelance Catholic journalist published in The National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor.  He resides in New York.

Catholic Theater of the Word

Advent 2012

Volume 1, Issue 1

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Spreading the New Evangelization doesn’t just mean proclaiming truth—it needs evangelists who can smuggle the Check Gospel into hearts through beauty. Books educate the mind, but out our the arts educate the heart and the imagination. “You’re not going to remember the books; the arts have the longevity,” says Leonardo DeFillipis, a Catholic actor and website director who has pioneered stage productions of the Gospel and Catholic saints for a modern audience—not just Catholics. He explained that theatre engages all the senses of the audience, and the “incarnational aspect” gives it more power than a medium like film. “Which is more powerful: seeing Jesus live, right in front of you, or seeing Him on film or just hearing Him through the radio?” he continues. “When people see a live Christ, they really feel the impact of that moment. Jesus is really alive, not just there on a film.” DeFillipis and his wife Patti started St. Luke Productions more than 30 years ago working out of their van, starting with one-man plays telling the Gospel of Luke at parishes all over Washington state, and raising their family at the same time. Today St. Luke Productions has nine live professional drama productions touring the U.S., Canada, and Europe. DeFillipis says Protestants have done a great job forming acting troupes and putting on theatrical performances to share their faith, and Catholics have lagged far behind. But lay Catholics have taken steps to change that. A new group called + Daily Mass propers from + Published six times a year Faith Performances, based in Rochester, NY, has planned its first conference in July to encourage Catholic artists to embrace the 1962 edition of the Missale + $32 per year Christian theatre as a way of proclaiming and teaching the Romanum in Latin and English Gospel, and will kick-off the first Catholic Theatre Festival in 2014. + Timeless essays from the Catholic artists putting on theatrical performances in 2,000-year-old tradition of the parishes and telling the Gospel help build the new civilization Catholic of Church The Magazine the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Liturgy of the Roman Rite that the New Evangelization calls for. “Civilization is not done + Beautifully illustrated instantaneously. If you want good civilization you have to create the things within it that foster imagination and creativity,” DeFillipis says. Advent_2012_v2.indd 1 9/29/12

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(Image, 2013) If you walked into a firstcentury church and asked to see a copy of the New Testament, you’d get a bunch of confused looks. What do you mean a copy? The Bible didn’t exist yet. For the early Christians, “New Testament” was a sacramental phrase. It wasn’t a book; it was the Eucharist. In Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church, renowned scholar Dr. Scott Hahn explains that for the biblical writers, the words “testament” and “covenant” were interchangeable. Both the Greek word for “testament” and the Hebrew equivalent are most accurately rendered in English as “covenant.” Therefore when Jesus offered a cup of wine to His disciples at the Last Supper, saying “this cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Cor. 11:25), the Jews would have understood Him to say, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.” But why is that important? It reveals the deep connection between the New Testament books and the New Covenant liturgy. These biblical documents were intended to be proclaimed within the context of the sacrament. Consuming the Word effectively argues that to understand Christianity, we must know it’s most basic terms—and know them as the early Christians did. For them, the phrase “New Testament” was at once sacramental and biblical. It affirmed that the Bible’s proper home was in “the heart of the Church.” Therefore today, we must follow them by communing with Christ, the Word of God, through both letter and Spirit. —Brandon Vogt


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(Marian Press, 2013) Writing in his usual conversational style, Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, has crafted another profound contribution to the New Evangelization in The ‘One Thing’ Is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything. To quote Peter Kreeft’s back-cover endorsement: “Imagine John Paul II writing a book on all the mysteries of Catholic theology in a simpler style than he ever used before.  You’ve imagined this book. . . . It’s an amazing achievement.” Fr. Gaitley gives the reader a crash course in Catholic theology. He begins in the heart of the Trinity and descends from there to deal with such mysteries of the faith as deification, original sin, Christ’s Incarnation, our participation in His divinity through His participation in our humanity, and much more. Fr. Gaitley outlines the fundamental tenets of the culture of death and then lays out the heart of the culture of life, explaining what it will take to achieve the advent of a civilization of love. He writes gently, leading the reader through all these concepts and “superconcepts” at the heart of the faith like a tour guide, making sure not to lose any of his tour group on the way. By the end of the book, though, the tourists will be prepared to give the tour themselves.  All that, as well as illustrations, a recommended reading list, and a brief summary of devotion to the Divine Mercy make this a uniquely helpful text for the Year of Faith. —Chris Sparks

(Ave Maria Press, 2013) I have to admit, when I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Scalia’s Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, I expected lighter fare, akin to what one would expect to find on Scalia’s blog “The Anchoress.” Instead, I found a rich reflection on spiritually that deals with some of the heavist matters of the heart. Scalia sets the premise of her book by defining an idol according to the First Commandment: that which we place before the Creator. “To place anything— be it another deity or something more commonplace like romantic love, anger, ambition, or fear—before the Almighty is to give it pre-eminence in our regard,” she writes. Drawing largely from professional, personal, and parish life, Scalia delivers exactly what her subtitle promises. The author touches briefly on what many of us can recognize as the obvious idols of our time: prosperity, technology, “coolness,” and sex. The remaining portion of Strange Gods explores the deeper and more treacherous “super idols” that subtly ensnare: attachments to ideas and ideologies (“the cause”) that obscure the human person. Nuanced in a way that inspires the reader to self-reflect rather than selfcondemn, Scalia has done Catholics a great service in Strange Gods. This profound book is highly recommended for those seeking authenticity in their relationship with self, others, and most importantly, the God that commands us to place no other gods before Him. –Melissa Knaggs

Deacon Jim By Maura Colleen McKeegan

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e was the holiest man I’ve ever known,” a young priest, weeping, told me at my father’s funeral in 1997. I’ve pondered his words in my heart ever since. Holiness. My father strove for it with his whole being, but I, at 23, hadn’t given the word much thought. Not yet. Not until my world turned upside-down, when my father went to work one day and never came home again. Then I started thinking about holiness. My dad, Jim Roan, married my mother, Nancy, in 1962, and they had eight children together. I came sixth, and was in third grade when my father was ordained a permanent deacon—one of the first in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. With prison ministry as his focus, he spent Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings for 15 years with the inmates at the local detention center. He also served the needs of parishioners: presiding at baptisms, giving prayer services at wakes, praying over the sick after healing Masses. For our family, all of this took some getting used to. Soon after his ordination, I answered a troubling (to me) telephone call from a woman who wanted Deacon Roan to “marry her.” My young mind didn’t understand that she simply wanted him to officiate her wedding! The deaconate, of course, was not his full-time job. For that, he woke at 5:45 each morning and took the Metro into Washington, D.C., where he was

the World Bank’s ethics officer. Twelve hours after leaving our house, he returned, visibly weary and weighted under the stress of problems he wasn’t permitted to discuss. But he never complained. Despite his demanding schedule, I don’t remember a soccer game where he wasn’t cheering for me from the sidelines, a summer when he didn’t take us all to the beach, a birthday party he didn’t attend. He played catch with me in our yard, “hired” me to paint him pictures, and helped me decorate a fort under the basement stairs. His spiritual sense pervaded our home. Each child received a Bible, labeled (in duct tape) with our names. At night, we had prayer meetings, when our family (and sometimes other families, too) sang songs and read passages from Scripture. (Singing the line, “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,” my 6’2” father always knelt and bowed.) When I was sick, he laid his hands on my head and prayed over me. We never missed Mass. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t appreciate it. From my childish perspective, my dad’s spirituality was, well, a drag. If he was home on vacation, I couldn’t watch my beloved soap operas. My friends were reluctant to come over because our house was too G-rated. I wanted to bury my head in embarrassment when he gave a homily at Mass. And poor me, having to wait to open gifts until Dad came home from the jail at 10 a.m. on Christmas morning! May/June 2013 29 July/August

“My father was so good—not just a natural goodness, but a goodness born of his deep love for Jesus—yet so humble that we took him for granted. Isn’t that what holiness is?” me when grown men lie, deceive, or put themselves first, because he never did. Still, I wished he could be more “normal.”

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I did love my father. I just didn’t get him. Why did everything have to be about God all the time?

His Lessons I might have understood him a little bit better, perhaps, if he would have talked about himself once in a while. His work was confidential, but that wasn’t the only thing that stopped him from opening up. I think my father just tried so hard to be other-centered that he spoke as little as possible about his own life. Even so, I managed to harvest memories that speak more about his character than his words would have. Without a single lecture, he gave me lifelong lessons in virtue. Not just in the big things, like his prison ministry, but in small, everyday actions, scattered like seeds in the garden of my childhood. I learned honesty the day he took me shopping, left the store, realized he’d received too much change and made an immediate U-turn to return the money. I learned charity when he stopped our 12-passenger van to pick up a mentally disabled man from church who didn’t have a car. If I boldly broke rules, he didn’t yell; he calmly and patiently talked with me about my mistakes, and I learned mercy. Every Sunday afternoon, he sat for hours at his desk, carefully planning to cover every child’s college tuition while tithing 10% of his income. I didn’t know it until lw years later, but that’s when I learned stewardship. My dad set the bar higher than I ever realized back then. To this day it stuns 30 30

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When I went away to college, I gained a new perspective. Living away from home made me appreciate him and wish we were closer. When Dad retires, I would tell myself, we’ll have more time to talk. I’ll get to know him better then. Maybe I’ll finally hear his stories. After graduating college, I took a job teaching on the West coast. My mom and dad brought me to the airport one early August morning and walked me to the terminal gate. My father kissed me goodbye, then walked away so that I wouldn’t see him cry. He stood in the shadows, shielding his eyes. That was the last time I ever saw him. Three months later, my dad walked along the D.C. streets, as he always did, to noon Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Did he know, could he sense, that he was receiving his last Eucharist? After Mass, he walked back to the World Bank. Within the hour, he collapsed of a sudden, massive heart attack and died. He was 59. It was so incomprehensible that for days I told myself it wasn’t really true. My dependable, faithful, and constant dad . . . died? But he was supposed to retire! We were finally going to talk, really talk! How could it be possible that I would never hear his stories? Hundreds of people packed the church for his funeral. Friends cooked meals, raked our yard, cried with us. And each day’s mail brought letters. Colleagues, inmates, parishioners, neighbors, friends, and strangers wrote to console us and to share our mourning. Our family read and responded to each one. Though I deeply appreciated those letters, their messages were soon lost to me in the swirling sea of raw grief. Lost, that is, until a few weeks ago. While I was visiting my mom, she pulled out those letters and handed them to

me. Soon I sat with tears streaming down my face as I read written words that, 15 years later, brought my father back to me so tangibly that I could almost feel his presence in the room. His co-workers wrote that Bank employees constantly sought his counsel because of his reputation for fairness and ability to see both sides of a story. Often under tremendous political pressure, he agonized to ensure justice was served, not only for the offended party but for the accused. Inmates at the detention center wrote about how he humbly acknowledged his own sinfulness and struggles with temptation, which made them see and trust him as a peer. A parishioner wrote that after he prayed over her for healing, the debilitating symptoms that had crippled her for months disappeared. With each letter, I began to see my father through other people’s eyes. “He was so unpretentious,” wrote one colleague, who used to see him on the Metro, reading his Bible on the way to work, “that I mistook him for an ordinary man!” As I read that sentence once, twice, three times, it seemed to echo the words of that weeping priest at my dad’s funeral. My father was so good—not just a natural goodness, but a goodness born of his deep love for Jesus—yet so humble that we took him for granted. Isn’t that what holiness is? The letters are back in their bag now, but I haven’t let go of the gift they gave me. Since reading them, I’ve begun to see that my hopes for the future weren’t dashed, after all. My father is retired now, I believe, to a far better place than this. I am getting to know him better. I heard some of his stories. And if, by God’s mercy, I see him again in heaven, we’ll talk. Really talk. Then I can thank him for not being a “normal” dad. I’ll finally get to tell him how proud I am that he was mine. lw Maura Colleen McKeegan writes from Steubenville, Ohio.


A Taste of Pranzo di Ferragusto by Emily Stimpson


ome people like movies about puppies. Or horses. Or cars. Me? I like movies about food. Which is why I went poste-haste to Pranzo Di Ferragosto (literally “Mid-August Lunch”) when it came to Pittsburgh a few years back. A charming little movie about what makes a feast, the film tells the tale of Gianni, a middle-aged man stuck in Rome with his mother and three elderly women, while the rest of the city flees to the countryside to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. Broke and unemployed, Gianni has two things going for him: limitless stores of patience and a near miraculous ability to cobble together mouth-watering meals from the simplest of ingredients on the most meager of budgets. As the rest of the city celebrates elsewhere, Gianni puts those two skills to work, assembling a feast for his mother and her friends that, over the course of a leisurely day and even more leisurely night, turns their sticky Roman apartment into an oasis of joy. And it really is Gianni—his generosity, his patience, his love—not the food, that transforms the apartment and the people within it. Gianni, for all his faults, sees the beauty in his ill and aged guests. He honors them with his cooking, but he honors them even more with his attention. And that—his vision and love—is what makes their poor, city celebration a far greater one than all the other, far more lavish celebrations taking place elsewhere. Accordingly, when I left the film, I resolved to do two things. First, I resolved to celebrate the Assumption henceforth like the Italians do—not using my day off work to catch up on work, but rather as a day of leisure, the type of leisure that points forward to the life of feasting and fellowship we all hope to enjoy in Heaven.

Second, I resolved to model my own hosting more after Gianni’s hosting— to combat my inner Martha and make my guests, not the work involved with hosting them, my priority. The first resolution I mastered with ease. Ever since that day three years ago, when I first saw Pranzo di Ferragosto, my friends and I have celebrated our own mid-August lunch. After morning Mass, we spend the day cooking, feasting, and talking about nothing and everything. We let the children run wild on the lawn, and we sit on the deck, keeping as close an eye on our supplies of wine as we do on them. As for the second resolution, well, that’s taking a bit more time. Finding the balance between getting the food on the table and taking the time to engage each and every guest like they’re the only person in the room is a perpetual struggle. But it’s a struggle that brings with it great blessings. It is, of course, a good thing to want to serve guests the very best and serve that in a space beautiful and neat. But, as Pranzo di Ferragosto helped me see with greater clarity, none of that matters to my guests as much as I do. My attention, my interest, my ready joy at their presence is what matters most. That’s what honors them the most. That, even more than food and wine, tells them they are welcomed and wanted. That tells them they

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are interesting and important. That gives them the foretaste of heavenly fellowship to which the Feast of the Assumption points. Which, as the movie that bears the Feast’s name recognizes, is what a true pranzo di ferragosto is all about. It heeds the call to rejoice that one of our lowly race has already entered, body and soul, into the fullness of joy for which we all hope. And it heeds the call to imitate, in our own small way, the perpetual communion of the angels and saints. The food is a part of that. But the fellowship, the seeing and acknowledging the beauty of the other, is the greater part. That seeing and acknowledging may mean dishes will go undone. Or that plans for a grander menu or more elaborate decorations must be set aside. Or even that the upstairs bathroom won’t be as clean as one would like. But those things aren’t the essence of a proper pranzo di ferragosto. The essence is the people. And if the hostess remembers that, as Gianni did, the effect will be the same: The guests will walk away at the end of the night, thinking the party from whence they came was Heaven on earth. lw

EMILY STIMPSON Emily Stimpson is an award-winning Catholic writer based in Steubenville, OH. A contributing editor to Our Sunday Visitor newspaper, her work has also appeared in Franciscan Way, First Things, Touchstone, Faith and Family, Loyola’s Best Catholic Writing series, and elsewhere. She is also the author of “The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years”. July/August 2013 31


The Supper at Emmaus


he great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was a visionary painter, able to see into the deep recesses of mystery, as is the case in this The Supper at Emmaus (1648), which is now in the Louvre in Paris. He is able to convey so much more than a beautiful surface. In quite a unique way, he is able to conjure up an inner world. Analogously he does this, for instance, in his numerous self-portraits, leading us into a rich interiority of the person, delineating the many facets of his humanity at various stages of his life, the truth about himself, his pride, his humiliation, his humor, his sufferings, his compassion, his aging, his wisdom, his greatness, and his littleness. This marvelous gift of disclosing an inner life, as well as his ability to project a world of divine mystery—by means, for instance, of light and darkness—makes him especially apt at portraying biblical themes, where he combines realism with unfathomable mystery, as in this work illustrating St. Luke’s Gospel 24:28-31.1 Whereas his earlier biblical scenes are dramatic, his later ones are more contemplative, and imbued with a new pathos. In this painting the monumental yet simple architecture of the background frames the scene, creating a sense of the grandeur and importance of the moment. The high arch, within which are hidden dimensions of light and shadow, adds to the atmosphere of other-worldliness. It is astonishing that the two disciples who met the Lord on the road did not 32

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recognize Him, even when He explained the Scriptures to them: “ . . . and beginning at Moses and the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him.” (Lk. 24:27) Though in retrospect they realized that their hearts were burning, it was only when “he took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave it to them,” that their eyes were opened. This is the moment caught by Rembrandt. Here we see how the artist’s genius penetrates into the mystery and draws us into its depth and meaning. We see Christ (reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s portrayal in the Last Supper) in His infinite tenderness at a banquet of love and intimate communion with His disciples, as with eyes turned to heaven, He broke the bread. The two disciples, in the company of an uncomprehending servant, are just beginning to be overtaken with astonishment, as expressed by subtle and understated gestures. Blessed John Henry Newman writes: A thick black veil is spread between this world and the next… There is no access through it into the next world. In the Gospel this veil is not removed, but every now and then marvelous disclosures are made to us of what is behind it. At times we seem to catch a glimpse of a Form which we shall hereafter see face to face.”2 Christ, the Light of the World, is radiating. The luminous white table cloth, like an altar cloth, reflects His light.

Rembrandt seems to be linking this scene to the mystery of the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. In both there is a sudden revelation of His divinity in His humanity, and the disciples are amazed. “Their eyes were opened, and they knew him” (Lk. 24:33).3 Above all, however, the breaking of the bread alludes to the Last Supper and to the great mystery of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the Mass. Soon (after the Ascension) they will no longer see Christ with their human eyes. Christ is teaching them: they must learn to recognize Him in the Eucharist. Then the eyes of faith will be opened to Reality, and filled with indescribable light, light in darkness. It is the Mystery of Faith. lw 1 “Mystery is the necessary note of divine revelation.” Bl. John Henry Newman, St. Athanasius, Vol. II, p. 92. 2 Bl. John Henry Newman, Collected Sermons, edited by Ian Ker, p. 38. 3 “He appears now [after the Resurrection] as true man and yet as coming from God- as being God himself.” Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 268.

MADELEINE STEBBINS Madeleine Stebbins is the wife of CUF founder H. Lyman Stebbins. She served as CUF president from 1981–84.

© The Supper at Emmaus, 1648 / Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt (1606-1669) / Musée du Louvre Paris / Scala / Art Resource, NY

by Madeleine Stebbins

!Come and See! Series Basic, Foundational Books

 The Gospel of John (21 chapters)

Father Joseph Ponessa & Laurie Watson Manhardt A natural starting place in the series and an excellent introduction to Bible study in general. Lessons cover the life of Jesus and the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Orders, Reconciliation, and the Eucharist. 978-1-931018-25-8 202 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

 Moses and the Torah (22 chapters)

Father Joseph Ponessa & Laurie Watson Manhardt Covers the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Study the ways in which God reveals Himself to Moses, delivers His chosen people from slavery in Egypt, and gives the law. 978-1-1931018-45-6 220 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

 Acts and Letters (22 chapters)

 Genesis (22 chapters)

Father Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt & Debra Herbeck These studies are the second in the series following the study of John. The intriguing adult commentary offers a view of creation with respect to natural science, biological science, geology, and anthropology. Pope Benedict XVI’s writings augment the commentaries. 978-1-931018-50-0 208 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

 Prophets and Apostles (22 chapters)

 The Synoptics (22 chapters)

On the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Monsignor Jan Majernik, Father Joseph Ponessa, & Laurie Watson Manhardt This study takes you on a journey through the Holy Land in the time of Christ. Insights from biblical archeology and sideby-side comparisons of key passages bring the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke to life in vivid detail. 978-1-931018-31-9 204 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

Father Joseph Ponessa & Laurie Watson Manhardt How do the Letters of Saint Paul connect to the history of the Acts of the Apostles? Find the answers to these and many other questions in the pages of Acts and Letters. This study uses modern study tools—inductive and deductive learning, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of popes and saints—to unlock an ancient treasure and show its current application. 978-1-931018-51-7 228 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

Father Joseph Ponessa & Laurie Watson Manhardt Discover how the prophets look forward to God’s promised Messiah while the apostles look back at the Passion and death of our Lord. Lessons cover 11 Old Testament minor prophets and 11 New Testament epistles. 978-1-931018-19-7 206 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

 The Gospel of Mark (18 chapters)

Most Rev. Jan Liesen, S.S.D. and Laurie Watson Manhardt Studies the oldest Gospel on record, the first Gospel put into writing, showing us the life and ministry of Jesus. Mark narrates the Good News in a way that involves the reader. As the central message—Jesus is the Son of God—unfolds, every part of the narration, whether healings, parables, teachings, exorcisms or miracles, engages the reader to better understand the identity of Jesus. 978-1-937155-85-8 224 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

Emmaus Road Publishing • • (800) 398-5470

Especially designed for group study, “Come and See” Catholic Bible Studies present the rich heritage of the Catholic faith in clear and simple language. They incorporate Scripture with the Catechism, writings of the saints, and other treasured Catholic devotions. Advanced, Challenging Books

 David and the Psalms (22 chapters)

Father Joseph Ponessa & Laurie Watson Manhardt Study the lives of Ruth, Samuel, and David, as well as the psalms and canticles that were associated with their lives and continue to be associated with the life of Christ and His Church. These studies begin with the book of Ruth and continue through 1 and 2 Samuel and the Book of Psalms. 978-1-931018-37-1 208 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

 Wisdom (22 chapters)

 Isaiah (22 chapters)

Msgr. Charles G. Kosanke, S.T.D. & Laurie Watson Manhardt God’s people have rebelled; they have become a sinful nation. But God calls His people back, through Isaiah, with a message of judgment, consolation, and hope. Isn’t this how God calls all sinners? Move with the “Greatest of the Prophets” deeply into the mystery of God and the beauty of His truth. 978-1-931018-75-3 224 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

Most. Rev. Jan Liesen S.S.D. & Laurie Watson Manhardt “Come and See” Wisdom covers the wisdom literature of the Bible found in the Old Testament: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, Wisdom, and Sirach. This study uses modern study tools—inductive and deductive learning, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of popes and saints—to unlock an ancient treasure and show its current application. 978-1-931018-55-5 224 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

 Ezekiel, Hebrews, Revelation (22 chapters)

Father Andreas Hoeck S.S.D. & Laurie Watson Manhardt This book unlocks the mysteries of some of the most difficult and controversial books of the Bible—Ezekiel, Hebrews, and Revelation. Probe the prophet Ezekiel, the most visual of the prophets, and discover the significance of his numerous visions and symbolic style of writing, and how he influences the Book of Revelation. 978-1-931018-65-4 224 pages, Illustrated, $19.95, paperback

N E X T I N S E RIES — COMING SOON  Exile and Return Father Joseph Ponessa, Father J.D. Dobbin & Laurie Watson Manhardt

In this 22 week study, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Maccabees tell us about the ways in which God worked in the lives of the Jewish people as they returned from their exile in Babylon

 The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel Father Joseph Ponessa & Laurie Watson Manhardt

Complete the “Come and See – Catholic Bible Study” series, covering all 73 books of the Catholic canon, with this study of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Amos, Hosea, and Jeremiah.

Emmaus Road Publishing • • (800) 398-5470



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“The Year of Faith and Our Response” OCTOBER 11–12

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“The Importance of the Faith in the Western World” ~ Saturday Evening Banquet Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of Military Services, USA; formerly in the service of the Holy See

“Vatican II: Rupture or Renewal?”

Dr. William H. Marshner, Professor of Theology, Christendom College, author and speaker, Front Royal, VA

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Dr. Christopher Manion, national columnist, Front Royal, VA; director of Bellarmine Forum’s Campaign for Humanae Vitae


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