Advent Poem, Courtesy of Patrick Kavanagh

This is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a penitential season, and I definitely need to do some penance this Advent. Here is the opening stanza of a penitential poem by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967; RIP):

Advent

We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child’s soul, we’ll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

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What to Tell the Children

Donald Trump is now President-Elect of these United States. In light of the serious accusations leveled against Trump, and his past (?) personal immorality, many people sincerely ask how to talk about this man to their children. The President should be a role model, right? What should we tell the children?

Well, God hasn’t blessed me with children yet, or a wife for that matter, but I suppose I’d say the following if I had an eleven-year-old son or daughter: Continue reading

‘Bout That Election

I normally drive one town over, deeper into the Driftless Area, for Sunday Mass. Recently, though, I attended Sunday Mass at the parish church in the town where I live. The parish priest addressed the upcoming election in his homily. He made the following points:

1.) We should pray for both candidates. They are both morally corrupt. We shouldn’t judge souls, but their moral corruption is apparent from their actions.

2.) We learn about these actions from the news. Not all of the news we hear is true.

3.) We need to consider the platforms of the respective parties. One party is solidly in favor of abortion and euthanasia. Without the right to life, there are no other rights. Continue reading

Shooting Down a Trendy Objection to Transubstantiation

There is a certain trendy objection to transubstantiation that goes like this:

“Of course, I believe in the Real Presence. But ‘transubstantiation’ is a very abstract term that would limit the Real Presence to a specific, Aristotelian philosophy. Why must we pry into mysteries and define the ‘how’ of the Real Presence? When it comes to the Real Presence, there’s more that unites Catholics with the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans than what divides us.”

This is very seductive, specious nonsense. Let me reduce this objection: the Church should not define the ‘how’ of a dogma using terms that are specific to this or that philosophical school. Transubstantiation depends on an Aristotelian distinction between substance and accidents, and therefore is too specific and limiting.

We can reject this very easily: Continue reading