I did (fill in the blank), is it a sin?

I did (fill in the blank), is it a sin?

Can Anyone tell us we sinned?  I get asked almost every weekend, is this action a sin.  I have to resist just saying, what do you think or would you be asking if it wasn’t.  Too many people have the wrong notion of how to determine a sinful act and I know who to blame.  I blame years of poor teaching on our part.  So when I hear, I did (fill in the blank), is it a sin, I need to do a little teaching first.


Defining sin, people constantly ask, if I am sure.  To avoid people thinking I’m making this up, here is the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s definition:

1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. Sin wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.

To just add a bit more Church talk a mortal sin must meet this conditions:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

So if you ask if something is a mortal sin, I will ask did you intentionally sever your relationship with God?  Unless you say yes, it is not a mortal Continue reading “I did (fill in the blank), is it a sin?”

Simply One Word, Amen, Not I Believe or ANYTHING else!

Simply One Word, Amen,

Not I Believe or ANYTHING else!

Distributing Communion, Just AMEN.

This is part of another Blog, but I feel that it needs to be repeated.  I have preached on it, taught about it and still feel that we are a long way from people getting it!  When receiving communion and you hear, the simple phrases “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ”  there is only one possible response, AMEN.  Period, end of story, I should stop writing.  That is it, just AMEN.

First issue.  We are a universal Church.  Catholic means universal.  There are two words that are almost the same in all languages, AMEN and ALLELUIA.  I have not been able to confirm, but in all the places I have been it has been amen, not always spelled like that and I found a list of 80 languages with the sound being amen, just the writing was different.

Second issue.  Amen from the original texts is more accurately translated, “so be it”.  It is more a statement of faith with many other nuances that trite phrases like “I believe” just don’t have.

Finally, if the whole, or even most of the church is uttering the same thing, who are we to change it.  We are attesting with those present, those at neighboring parishes and those around the world that we are one Church.  With our amen we affirm our communion of faith and purpose with the entire Church.  We have come together at Eucharist as one universal Body of Christ all using the same affirmation, AMEN.

I believe…

When receiving communion we only say Amen.  No more Thanks yous, thanks, I believe, Jesus is my Lord and Savor or anything that doesn’t sound like AMEN.  As our sending forth song proclaimed tonight, “let the people say AMEN!  (and nothing else when receiving communion)

Last Rites – Pet Peeve #4

Last Rites – Pet Peeve #4

I just got off the phone with a class mate that is now part time chaplain in a secular hospital, being paid by the Archdiocese to be there.  (In my last blog he is the person to my left) Worlds apart, he is nearer the Great Lakes than any other body of water and is now belongs to a religious order.  I’m here.  We share a frustration with the misnomer of last rites.  Since we know not the hour, any sacrament we receive, could be our last rite.  People ask for last rites when they really want Anointing of the Sick.

There are Last Rites in the Church and they are called Viaticum, or food for the Journey.  (or something very close to that) Any Eucharistic Minister whether extraordinary or ordinary can administer Viaticum.

Why does this bother us?  A few reasons.  The Church has never taught to wait till the person was a close as possible to death.  The official teaching has always been to not wait, as you don’t want to miss judge the time of death.  In the old days, however, it wasn’t that bad because there was always a priest that could get to the hospital.  A week doesn’t pass that one of the priests here is running out to anoint because people thought it was the last rites.  In today’s world, when you wait till the last minute, the priest usually has to cancel and appointment or be late to another sacrament to make this work.  Even worse you may not find a priest.

There is no reason to wait!

I anointed a 98 year old a few weeks ago.  He was worried that it wasn’t time.  I promised him that I would be back and happy to anoint him at any time as he faced his final challenge.  His wife of 70 plus years revived the sacrament too.  A truly graced moment.  A rushed anointing in an ICU or ER is just that, rushed.   Anointing of the Sick usually brings much comfort, especially when the one to be anointed can still participate fully in the sacrament.  Please don’t wait, the grace of this sacrament is important, especially at the end stages of life.

Please share this far and wide. Especially with your family and friends that are not actively practicing their faith.  We want this to be a graced moment!  Let’s avoid this becoming something we get done to fill in a check box.  The worst is when people try and leave because they are meeting request of loved one that is dying.

For surgery stop after Mass and ask your priest.  I think most of us love celebrating this sacrament in the church with others to help pray.  Or make an appointment to make sure you receive the sacrament before your surgery.

Let’s use this sacrament to help others back to the faith!

Getting Frustrated with Sports at all levels & Proud of St. Pius’ Athletes!

Getting Frustrated with Sports at all levels & Proud of St. Pius’ Athletes!

Although getting frustrated with sports, I go to Spurs games occasionally, but usually go to the local hockey or baseball games.  Frustrated with the high prices and immaturity of the athletes and owners.  I watch some football on TV, but again much of the fun has been taken out of the sport.

It is hard for me to reconcile the amount of work I do daily to try and pay teachers a sub standard wage, when athletes make more in a game than my entire annual budget for a church and school.

I have come to enjoy middle school sports.  Kids pouring their heart in to a team and a sport and being happy with just doing there best.  And, YES, we keep score.

We almost didn’t have a girls volleyball team until I asked, how could we not have girl’s volleyball.  (that was lesson one in, new pastors have to be very careful stating wishes as they easily can be seen as commands.

Are girls had a late start and didn’t win and didn’t win.  I showed up at a game across town.  Traffic had held me up, but I pushed on and got there at the end of the 2nd game.  They were down and about to loose another match in two games.  This team never gave up ever and this time they won.  There was so much happiness, it was like winning the Olympic Gold and it was just one game.  The one a match later in the season as they constantly got better.  They taught the spectators about heart, drive and what sports should really be about.  I feel like the luckiest Pastor in the world.

I’ll save football coach cursing for the end…

Basketball has started and I am not liking what I see.  Our kids are playing with integrity and doing their best to follow the rules.  We have been hit, banged and beaten over a game.  Tonight one girl took a head to the face and I was so proud of everyone, they played as professionals should play and they clobbered the other team.  Boys being boys had a tougher time!  In the end they kept their heads in the game and let the bad call or two go and focused on playing as a team and in turn, winning.

In short:

This is a Catholic league.  I am proud my students took the high ground.  It was a credit to our coaches, teachers and most importantly parents.  We will continue to rise above this nonsense, but it is a bit much to ask of middle school kids.

Not wonder professional sports is such a mess.  We are training them young, that winning at all costs, mouthing off to officials and when all else fails, cause an injury is how the games are played.  Of course at one game coaches yelled obscenities at a drum line that was too loud.  That was the game I needed to be held back.  It was hard to watch.

If we want more from our kids, we have to model the behavior and actions we want from them in all that we do.  Yes, even driving!

Keep Christ in Christmas or Keep X in Xmas? Pet Peeve

Keep Christ in Christmas or

Keep X in Xmas? Pet Peeve..

downloadFirst, I am a 4th Degree Knight. This is not about their campaign to Keep Christ in Christmas, but about some well meaning people that just happen to be clueless. Driving through an area famous for their light, so poor miss guided soul had a serious of signs and lights costing him a small fortune saying the keep Christ in Christmas and stop the use of X. So his point was the take out the X in Xmas.

First time I saw this I had some religious woman with me so I just said my piece and moved on to more lights. I went back and knocked on the door later.  Unfortunately, I have confirmed for this man the Catholics are not Christians.

I tried to explain the Chi Rho or image at top of post was the first two letters of the Greek work Khristos or Christ and is a symbol for Christ back to the earliest days.  I explained the in the seminary most of us wrote X for Christ and Xtn for Christian.  The more I talked the more he glazed over.

The response finally was, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?  I thought that the correct answer should be yes, so that is how I answered.  He shock is head and said “another of those dang fundamentalists”.  I realized that I’d made a huge assumption and asked why he said that.

To make a long story short, I claimed my faith and his response was, “oh, well that is just as bad”!  I knew I was not going to make anymore headway, and gave him the Google info I had for him in just case he wasn’t home and left.

In Short,

We do need to keep Christ in Christmas and X is one of our Symbols for Christ.  It isn’t that we have X’ed out Christ which I guess is what this man had believed.  I really want to create a bumper sticker for him this year, you guessed it Keep X in Xmas. I also a Chi Rho super imposed on it.  As we keep Christ as the focus of our Holiday, we also have to fight the dumbing down of society.  Maybe if we all try to nudge a bit and challenge, we can do it.

Receiving communion Pet Peeves #3

One of the reasons that I don’t doubt the study that says over half of Catholics don’t believe in Eucharist and real presence like the Church teaches is how we receive communion.  Every-time I think that I have seen it all, something new presents itself.  Most recently at a funeral a gentleman wanted me to give him a host to bring to one of the family members.  When I quietly told him I had already served him, the gentleman responded, by moving toward a mourner and pointing saying, I think he needs more.  Or at VBS the young person approaches and is clueless and I bless them and the stay and put hands out and I ask, “have you received your first communion?”  The answer was, I have gotten it before.  Ugh. Continue reading “Receiving communion Pet Peeves #3”

Pro Life

This could surprise many of you, but I hate when pro-life groups ask me to speak. It almost never ends well. No one argues with the phrase that we support life from conception to natural death, until you bring up examples or issues that in my opinion dilute the message.  Or when the truth is that we are really concerned primarily with Abortion.


I was interrupted at a local event by a political candidate claiming to be a Continue reading “Pro Life”

4 July and here come the Flags- Pet-Peeve #2

Some background to maybe keep you reading, before I get into why I think there should be no flags. My dad served for almost 30 years in the US Air No Flags just not in sancutaryForce.  I server for 13 years in the USAF Reserves.  I have lost friends and do whatever I can to support our military.  I was even the president of the Randolph AFB Air Power Community Council.  I served proudly and continue to show support whenever I can.  I am also the one that stops and stands during the national anthem every time I hear it.  If I can’t stand, I will stop talking. I am a proud vet and American.

That said, I do not believe that flags belong in the Sanctuary of a church.

Continue reading “4 July and here come the Flags- Pet-Peeve #2”

How much of Mass can I miss for it to count

stainedglasschalicebreadHow much of Mass do I really need to attend to meet my Mass obligation?I love this question, not really.  It isn’t about what counts and what doesn’t count.  It is about trying to enter into a deeper relationship with our God.  And to ask “what counts”  I think of Sheldon on “Big Bang” and his relationship contracts.  I really don’t think it works that way and in fact much time is spent showing that we are in a covenant, not a contract with our God!

I frequently answer this question with, “Well, who was the only one to leave the Last Supper early”?  When they look at me I just leave it at that, and smile.  But this really is a much deeper question about our relationship with our community and God.

Continue reading “How much of Mass can I miss for it to count”

Mingling of Water and Wine at Mass – Pet Peeve series #1

Deacons and priests are blessing the water before they put a drop of water into the chalice with the wine during the preparation of the gifts and I don’t like it.  I also can’t find anything in the current rubrics calling forit.

Frequently during my leave, I sat through Mass and wondered, could they have changed that?  What is behind that action that change and went back to my GIRM andwaterintowine mostly found that what has bugged me isn’t in the GIRM it is something that has somehow come into being.  Today’s topic really bugs me.

It is a very simple act.  While pouring a drop of water into the wine they say quietly during preparation of the gifts:

-By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Continue reading “Mingling of Water and Wine at Mass – Pet Peeve series #1”