New York Times Loves Religion

December 30, 2008

 

From CMR:

You may find it hard to fathom, but this article appears in the New York Times of all places. The article reports on studies that clearly show that religious people regularly exhibit more self control than their non-religious counterparts.

If I’m serious about keeping my New Year’s resolutions in 2009, should I add another one? Should the to-do list include, “Start going to church”? This is an awkward question for a heathen to contemplate, but I felt obliged to raise it with Michael McCullough after reading his report in the upcoming issue of the Psychological Bulletin. He and a fellow psychologist at the University of Miami, Brian Willoughby, have reviewed eight decades of research and concluded that religious belief and piety promote self-control.

This sounded to me uncomfortably similar to the conclusion of the nuns who taught me in grade school, but Dr. McCullough has no evangelical motives. He confesses to not being much of a devotee himself. “When it comes to religion,” he said, “professionally, I’m a fan, but personally, I don’t get down on the field much.”

His professional interest arose from a desire to understand why religion evolved and why it seems to help so many people. Researchers around the world have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people tend to do better in school, live longer, have more satisfying marriages and be generally happier.

These results have been ascribed to the rules imposed on believers and to the social support they receive from fellow worshipers, but these external factors didn’t account for all the benefits. In the new paper, the Miami psychologists surveyed the literature to test the proposition that religion gives people internal strength.

“We simply asked if there was good evidence that people who are more religious have more self-control,” Dr. McCullough. “For a long time it wasn’t cool for social scientists to study religion, but some researchers were quietly chugging along for decades. When you add it all up, it turns out there are remarkably consistent findings that religiosity correlates with higher self-control.”

The article is interesting, if for nothing more than its appearance at the NYT, but there is one part of the reported study that I find satisfyingly obvious.

You know all those weenie types out their that want lay some claim to religiousity but without any of the demands of actual religion. You know the types. They say absurd things like “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual!” Bovine Merde.

In one personality study, strongly religious people were compared with people who subscribed to more general spiritual notions, like the idea that their lives were “directed by a spiritual force greater than any human being” or that they felt “a spiritual connection to other people.” The religious people scored relatively high in conscientiousness and self-control, whereas the spiritual people tended to score relatively low.

“Thinking about the oneness of humanity and the unity of nature doesn’t seem to be related to self-control,” Dr. McCullough said. “The self-control effect seems to come from being engaged in religious institutions and behaviors.”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


America’s Chastisement Is Here – A Harsh But Necessary Christmas Gift For Us All

December 30, 2008

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:  I know it’s considered politically incorrect, even socially inappropriate, to deliver bad news so close to the Christmas holy days, but I’m afraid this cannot wait.

America’s chastisement has come. God sends it to us because of abortion, and failing to protect the sanctity of human life. It began with 9/11/2001, in which we lost in one day the same amount of people abortion takes from America in one day. In one day God took peace away from America, and delivered us into perpetual war, that has continued non-stop for seven years, with no end in sight.

Now exactly seven years (almost to the month) after we were delivered into war, the second phase of God’s chastisement of America has come. In one day all of our economic wealth was gone, with no sign of it returning anytime in the foreseeable future. It’s going to get worse people, much worse…

I know this is difficult (perhaps impossible) for people unfamiliar with God’s moral law to understand. All of this is linked to abortion-on-demand. All of this is linked to our moral bankruptcy. A nation that does not honor human life cannot by morally responsible in any other area either, and that includes money. Nearly 40 years of fiscal irresponsibility by our federal government, compounded by the fiscal irresponsibility of the people in general, has brought this upon us, and it all begins with abortion. Yes, there is a connection. Yes, things will get worse. Yes, one way or another, Americans will learn to respect human life. Even it it means losing EVERYTHING. God has already taken our peace and our wealth. Within another seven years, our very freedom may be next.


Vatican Prefect On Kneeling For Communion

December 30, 2008

 

From Catholic Knight:

[La Razón:] Nevertheless, Benedict XVI has reiterated in some instances the propriety of receiving communion kneeling and in the mouth. Is it something important, or is it a mere matter of form?

[Cañizares:] – No, it is not just a matter of form. What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What dies it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants.

source

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: So while traditionalist Catholics have been ignored and berated for years, it finally turns out that they’ve been right all along – at least on this issue.

It’s been a long time coming. Once again the Vatican points us back to our historic traditions. We Catholics need to start acting like Catholics again. As the new prefect points out; standing or kneeling for communion is not the same, and it is not just a matter of form. That’s why Protestants don’t do it. You’ll notice that Protestants don’t kneel at the consecration, when they visit a Catholic mass, simply because they don’t believe in the real presence. They know EXACTLY what kneeling means. To kneel is to show adoration. That’s why they don’t do it. Funny how so many Catholics seem to have forgotten this when it comes time to receive the blessed sacrament.

So the question is what to do now. Should Catholics take it upon themselves to begin kneeling and receiving on the tongue during the Ordinary Form liturgy, or should they wait for the USCCB to come out with some kind of statement on the matter. If the latter, we may be waiting for a hundred years. Maybe it’s time to just do what we know is right, and what the Vatican confirms is right. Based on papal liturgies, and now these words from the CDW prefect, the official position of the Vatican is that Catholics should kneel and receive communion on the tongue. While the official position of the USCCB is that Catholics should stand and receive communion on the hand. So which is it? Do we obey the Vatican or the USCCB? After all is said and done, that’s what it comes down to. We must chose between the USCCB, which has no real governing authority, or the Vatican, which is the apostolic See of Peter. What’s it going to be? Peter or the USCCB? I know my position. ‘The Catholic Knight’ will be kneeling and receiving communion on the tongue no matter what mass I’m attending.  The only exception to that would be if kneeling might hold up the line or cause some kind of disturbance.  In which case I will at least receive the sacrament on the tongue while standing, as they do in the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church.

The point is we’ve got to take a stand somewhere – (no pun intended). If we don’t boldly show our reverence for the eucharistic Lord at mass, when shall we do it? Now I’m not talking about making a scene. The mass should never be a place for calling attention to one’s self, but at the same time, it should not be a place for the disciples of modernism to strip our faith of everything we hold dear. Now is as good a time as any to do something about it, and the Vatican has affirmed our right to do it. So let’s do it in a spirit of true reverence for our eucharistic Lord, and with no spite or malice toward anyone. Let’s all agree to boycott the hand for starters. No more communion in the hand. From now on communion on the tongue in all circumstances. Then when the opportunity presents itself, and doing so will not cause a disruption of any kind, we kneel down to receive the Lord. Is there anybody out there with me on this?

Comment from Father Rick Heilman: I am pleased to report that our parishes began this practice by offering the option of kneeling while receiving on the tongue. The priest (me) stands with a kneeler in front of him and the people have the option of coming to receive in this way. Many are taking advantage of this more profound way of expressing adoration before the real presence of our Lord.


LIFETEEN Founder Excommunicated

December 30, 2008

 

Teenagers Gather Around the Alter During the Consecration. As Was A Common Practice In LIFETEEN Masses Some Time Ago. Only A Few LIFETEEN Parishes Still Continue This Practice.

From Catholic Knight:

(AP) – Phoenix’s Catholic bishop has excommunicated a priest who started a nondenominational ministry after the priest was charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct.

The action announced Monday against Monsignor Dale Fushek, once the diocese’s second highest-ranking administrator, was a response to his creation of the Praise and Worship Center in Chandler….

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It’s time for Catholic parishes around the nation to rethink what they’re doing. Yes, as Catholics we MUST reach out to the youth in our own congregations, but we need to reconsider how we’re doing it.

For starters let’s look at the English version of the mass itself. We’re currently using a translation of the liturgy that the Vatican has labeled “defective” (read more here), and has revoked our permission to keep using it. That’s why a new English translation has been approved by the Vatican and the USCCB, which will be put into use sometime in 2010.

The pope has also made it clear that we should expect more changes to the Ordinary Form of the mass, that will reintroduce traditions long since forgotten by most Catholics. For example, we can expect to see the use of high alter candle configurations, wherein the priest always faces a crucifix, and sometimes (when appropriate) the use of the ad orientem posture, where the priest faces east. We can expect to see the reintroduction of bells at the consecration, along with the use of more incense. The pope has also suggested the use of Latin at the consecration itself in all masses, no matter what language it’s celebrated in. He is also planning on moving the “sign of peace” closer to the creed so as to create a greater atmosphere of solemnity during the eucharistic prayers. He has already indicated he would like to see greater use of traditional sacred music (such as Gregorian chant) during mass. The list goes on and on.

What’s the message being sent here? It should be obvious. The Catholic Church needs to start being “Catholic” again, embracing our historical traditions, and giving them new life in the modern world. The changes coming out of the Vatican should serve as a guide for the average parish liturgist and choirmaster. We’re heading toward a period of greater solemnity, greater reverence, and more tradition. Parishes that resist this change will only get left behind and ultimately hurt themselves.

But what about the youth? How will they be able to relate? Those who seriously ask such questions are operating on a template that is about 30 years old. The pop culture folk masses (which are epitomized by LIFETEEN) are an antiquated relic of the last generation. Youth may still be seeking out loud contemporary music, but mass is not where they really want to find it. Contemporary Christian music is a huge industry now. There are radio stations around the nation 100% dedicated to playing these songs around the clock. Youth can listen to these songs on their car radios, iPods and MP3 players. In fact, they often do. Over the last 30 years a new phenomenon has developed called the “Christian rock concert,” wherein Christian youth can scream, dance, wave their hands in the air, etc. This didn’t exist in the 1970s and 80s, but it does now, and it’s bigger than ever. The youth hear this music all the time, outside of mass, and in fact, it’s usually a lot better than anything the local parish choir can produce. Yes there is an outlet for Catholic youth in contemporary music, and Catholic parishes SHOULD be promoting it, but not at mass!

The point is the youth of today can get their pop culture music, in Christian variety form, anywhere they want. There is even a “Catholic flavor” of Christian pop music — believe it or not. What, you’ve never heard? Ask any Catholic teenager. Many surveys are now perplexing Church leadership with results finding that the majority of practicing Catholic youths are more “pre-Vatican II” in their mentality. How could that be? and why? For starters, Vatican II has nothing to do with it. What it really has to do with is the sense of solemnity. When Catholic youth visit mass, they’re not looking to hear the same thing they can get on their iPods and MP3 players. They’re looking for something completely different. They’re looking for a sense of the sacred. They want mystery. They want other-worldly. They want to escape the trappings of this earth to meet the Lord in sublime reverence and awe. That’s why so many of them are flocking to the Extraordinary Form of the mass. It has nothing to do with Latin. It has nothing to do with the 1962 Missal. It’s about solemnity, mystery, reverence and transcending everyday reality. That’s something they can’t get on their iPods and MP3 players. That’s something they don’t hear on the car radio, and it’s something they will never experience at a Christian rock concert. It’s something that only the Catholic Church can give them, that is, IF their local parish is willing.

The excommunication of LIFETEEN founder Dale Fushek should be an eye opening watershed to most LIFETEEN parishes, and contemporary Catholic parishes in general. Fushek’s excommunication had nothing to do with LIFETEEN, directly, but it did have a lot to do with the attitude and mindset of the man who created LIFETEEN. It was an attitude and a mindset that got him into trouble with the law, and ultimately led him to create a “nondenominational worship center” outside of the Catholic Church — effectively a schismatic act. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying LIFETEEN is schismatic, but I am saying that it was produced by a schismatic mind, and that in itself should be cause for alarm. When you compound this with the obvious problems associated with the current English mass translation (soon to be retired), and a general loss of historic Catholic traditions, you can begin to see the possible dangers. The tragic and saddening event of Dale Fushek’s excommunication should be a wake-up call to Catholic parishes all around the nation. Perhaps it’s time to look to the pope for new guidance and reconsider the direction of the American Church.