Monday, January 28, 2013

Saint Thomas Aquinas

By universal consent, Thomas Aquinas is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor.

At five he was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in his parents’ hopes that he would choose that way of life and eventually became abbot. In 1239 he was sent to Naples to complete his studies. It was here that he was first attracted to Aristotle’s philosophy.

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family’s plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother’s dismay. On her order, Thomas was captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year.
Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies with Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, combated adversaries of the mendicants, as well as the Averroists, and argued with some Franciscans about Aristotelianism.

His greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The unity, harmony and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades his writings. One might expect Thomas, as a man of the gospel, to be an ardent defender of revealed truth. But he was broad enough, deep enough, to see the whole natural order as coming from God the Creator, and to see reason as a divine gift to be highly cherished.
The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on.... All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Artist: Georges de la Tour

On January 25 we remember how Saul (or Paul) of Tarsus, formerly an enemy and persecutor of the early Christian Church, was led by God's grace to become one of its chief spokesmen.

The Collect of the Day:
Almighty God,
who caused the light of the gospel
to shine throughout the world
through the preaching of your servant Saint Paul:
grant that we who celebrate his wonderful conversion
may follow him in bearing witness to your truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

(From Common Worship)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Benedict On Church Closings

Benedict’s Warning and Consolation: 
Changing Demographics Mean Closing Churches

September 5, 2012 By Kathy Schiffer

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are reeling at the news that 103 of its 203 parishes—more than 50%– will close or consolidate before 2020.
The Archdiocese of Detroit has embarked on an ambitious program called “Together in Faith” which will result in the closing, merging or clustering of many of its parishes—especially those in the central city, where a changing demographic means that pews are near empty on Sunday mornings.
The Diocese of Saginaw recently announced that it would close half of its parishes.

These are hard times for the Catholic Church in America!  Officials in Milwaukee cite three principal factors which will necessitate widespread belt-tightening and reduction in the total number  of parishes:

  • Priest retirements will exceed ordinations, resulting in a projected 40 percent reduction in the number of priests serving in parish ministry.
  • The costs of operating parishes and funding ministries are escalating rapidly, and parishes can gain economies of scale by collaborating with other parishes.
  • The mission of the Church can be carried out more effectively by combining efforts and sharing resources.

But lest we throw up our hands, fearing that the Catholic Church’s influence is waning in America, I thought I’d cite Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).  In his 2009 book Faith and the Future, he first offers an ominous warning:

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes…she will lose many of her social privileges…. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….
It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution—when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain….

So then, should we be discouraged?  Pope Benedict doesn’t think so:

…But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

- Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), from his book Faith and the Future

Monday, January 21, 2013

St. John the Apostle Anglican Church

Clinton Township, MI:   
For the last 3 months Nathaniel, a Weblo in Pack 371, has been collecting returnable bottles and cans from members of Saint John the Apostle Anglican Church as part of a Community Service Project. Today he presented Fr. Terry a check for $155, benefiting Hope Center in Macomb Township.

Contact Information

11195 S. Grayling Rd.
Roscommon, MI 48653

Telephone: 586-264-6044
msjanglican "at"