"You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes." Maimonides
"I have no doubt that our Buddhist brothers and sisters are performing the work of Christ." Father Paul Byron
"You can always learn something from everybody." William Arthur Archibald, ecumenical Catholic Christian, c. 1916
"If you're living rightly, you'll be getting into trouble constantly." Father Paul Byron
Link of the Week
(including a rich compendium of links to other great religions)
Paraclete was developed in 2001 as a parish website for Holy Family Catholic Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
In the Spring of 2002, site designer Alan Archibald was informed that all website information required prior approval by clergy.
This determined drive to marginalize laity --- particularly at a time when sacramental ministry is in disarray --- does the church great disservice.
Paraclete is inspired by the catholic (katholikos) belief that all Christians are baptized to be "priests and prophets;" that the 16th century excommunication of protestant "churchmen" was an error; and that the sensus fidelium is comprised of everyone who consciously - or unconsciously - seeks the embodiment of Christ's Love.
In the years immediately after Christ's crucifixion, Christianity remained a small sect within Judaism. Then, under the influence of Paul, the Church took root among disenfranchised gentiles - many of them slaves – all of them renowned for their embrace of holy poverty.
Unlike modern Christians, first century practitioners looked forward to death, particularly death by martyrdom. (As late as the fifth century, St. Augustine declared that no Christian could take another person's life even in defense of private property. Augustine's "just war theory" was devised as a special dispensation for royalty who had a unique obligation to maintain political order.)
In the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine merged Church and State. This conjoined body reached zenith in the Middle Ages. Then came the Protestant Reformation. In large part, the Reformation was propelled by Gutenberg's invention of movable type, an epochal event that made the Bible accessible to everyone. Literate priests were no longer needed to mediate rare manuscript copies of Sacred Scripture.
Today, electronic media propel further decentralization of the church. By clinging to central command-and-control, Catholic "orthodoxy" participates in the cumbersome "corporatization" --- and inter-related depersonalization --- that characterize modern life.
The church's current quandary raises many questions. Has Catholic "orthodoxy" come to accommodate comfort, convenience, glamour, celebrity, 24/7 over-load, rank materialism, the denial-of-death and the embodiment of top-heavy structure – all to the detriment of the Sacred Heart?
A simple examination of conscience might ask "What would Jesus do?"
The Chancery Office of the Diocese of Charlotte (NC) now obliges visitors to present photo identification to secure entry.
Would Jesus require picture ID?
Recently, Patrick O'Neil (who heads one of North Carolina's two Catholic Worker Houses) was fired as parish Sunday school teacher.
Here's Patrick's description of what happened:
"I was deemed a bad influence for showing a two-minute segment of an "inappropriate" video ("Crossing the Line" produced by Maryknoll) to 6th graders (a few scenes were of a fully-clothed Maryknoll nun being unearthed from a shallow grave and gunfire, but mild compared to the crap that I'm sure my kids are exposed to every day in this culture).
Crime No. 2 - I walked my five students from social hall to church without a second adult. "Patrick, you can never be alone with the children," I was warned. I thought the pedophile problem was with priests?
Oh yeah -- one more thing. I was taken to task a while back for having my kids write letters to the governor asking him to commute the sentence of a death row inmate. Some pro-death parents were upset.
I'm just a bad influence I guess ..."
Whom would Jesus consider a bad influence?
In the current bureaucratic milieu, the urge to "play it safe" penalizes courage while encouraging "the mainstream" to condemn minority voices. If the martyrs who "seeded" the early church could contemplate such cowardice they would be tempted to despair.
It surpasses irony that committed Catholics (whose faith demands something more than smiley-face ratification of consumer culture) are now construed as radicals, perhaps heretics.
In this corrosive ecclesiastical climate, it is crucial to recall that many arguments championed by 16th century Protestants -- particularly the primacy of individual conscience -- have become Catholic doctrine.
As Schopenauer observed: "All Truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
Regardless our backgrounds, Jesus invites everyone to Eucharist, that miraculous feast of God's flesh.
Around this one table, the ancient conversation is renewed by the love of Christ among us.
Strengthened by communion, we go forth to love and serve.
As James Joyce put it: "Catholicism means 'Here Comes Everybody."
I could talk until the cows come home about the minority status of Catholics in the North of Ireland. But that ground has been gone over a lot. I would say that the more important Catholic thing is the actual sense of eternal values and infamous vices which our education or formation gives us. There's a sense of profoundness, a sense that the universe can be ashimmer with something, and Catholicism - even if I don't like sentimentalizing it - was the backdrop to that whole thing. The world I grew up in offered me a sense that I was a citizen of the empyrean - the crystalline elsewhere of the world.
The grudge against God is the keystone to all one's unhappiness. Follow all your petty, middling, and major grudges back to this keystone grudge, and then ask yourself the question, "Is it more likely that God was wrong to make the world this way, or that I am somehow wrong in the way I'm looking at it?" If you decide that God is wrong --- or that there is no God, just a faceless, mechanical universe that cares nothing about the human drama --- then there isn't much you can do. But if you realize that you can always adjust your perceptions of the world, you can start learning and contributing again. This seems to be the way to both humility and power. D. Patrick Miller, A Primer on Forgiveness, "The Sun", 9/94
When I fed the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why they were poor, they called me a communist.
The Latin Church, which I find myself admiring more and more despite its frequent, astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism but a poem. H. L. Mencken
The saints in heaven were hell on earth. Richard Cardinal Cushing
If you bungle raising your children, it doesn't much matter what else you do well. Jackie Kennedy Onassis
We, ignorant of ourselves, beg often our own harms, which the wise powers, deny us for our good;
"There are two kinds of people in the world; those who say to God, 'Thy will be done',
and those to whom God says, 'Go ahead, then, have it your way'."
The horror is we get what we want. Oscar Wilde (a deathbed convert to Catholicism)
The petition, then, is not merely that I may patiently suffer God's will but also that I may vigorously do it...
"Thy will be done - by me - now" brings one back to brass tacks. C.S. Lewis
Boredom is rage spread thin. Paul Tillich
According to Aquinas, sin is always accompanied by: 1.) loss of splendor, and 2.) loss of proportion.
Sin is a disproportionate seriousness. Fulton Sheen
Don't dread sin. Dread is sin. Alan Watts
Resist not evil.
Love your enemies.
Pray for those who persecute you.
If someone steals your cloak, give him your shirt as well.
I say to you:: this woman who has given two pennies has given more than all the others.
The one thing the devil cannot stand is laughter.
There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon the earth;
and I have sometimes fancied that it was his mirth.
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Almost always, great men are bad men. Lord Acton
All Truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenauer
...strange times are these in which we live when the old and the young are taught falsehoods in the schools of learning. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and a fool... Plato
He who sings prays twice.
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