Viewpoint

April 13, 2016

Some items that have caught my attention recently

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

I have more material in my “Viewpoint” drawer than I could ever write columns on. But here are some brief items that came to my attention recently. MOST DISAPPOINTING RECENT ECUMENICAL EVENT. In my early years as a priest, I was heavily involved in ecumenical affairs. Sad to say, I’ve become increasingly discouraged by the general state of the mainline Protestant churches. Consider this example: Recently, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion coalition of...

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April 07, 2016

Prayer of acceptance is a neglected mode of address to God

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

In his most recent book, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life,  Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (widely known for his bestseller, When Bad Things Happen to Good People)  devotes a chapter to the proposition  “God does not send the problem; he send us the means to deal with the problem.” This brought to mind the kind of prayer we often fail to pay adequate attention to: prayer of acceptance. Prayer of petition is the type of prayer with which we are most familiar. This sort of prayer...

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March 03, 2016

Eight reasons college students turn away from the church

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

A recent blog on Huffington Post written by religion commentator Bob Smith lays out what he has found from experience to be the principal reasons college students turn away from their churches. I will enumerate these and offer a comment on each. Going to church wasn’t something they did growing up, so there was never an established routine or a sense of the importance of church-going. Comment: Makes perfect sense. This is true today even of Catholic students at all levels of...

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February 25, 2016

Holy Thursday washing of women’s feet now official

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

At the behest of Pope Francis, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) issued on January 6 a Decree stating that all members of the people of God—including women—may have their feet washed during the evening liturgy of Holy Thursday. This decision was no doubt an outcome of the practice of Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and since he became Pope. This is a welcome development given that many bishops and pastors had been...

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February 11, 2016

The practice of fasting has many dimensions

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Fasting is one of the practices associated traditionally with the season of Lent. Lenten fasting is rich in meaning and significance. I suggest that there are seven values to be derived from fasting. + The first value of fasting is learning reverence for food.  We live in a consumer society in which food is available in abundance and is habitually wasted.  Food is viewed as purely functional; rarely do we think of food as a precious gift from God. Fasting gives us the opportunity to...

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January 28, 2016

Lay ecclesial ministry programs need careful implementation

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Lay ecclesial ministry programs are a significant development in the Catholic Church in the U.S. Candidates are proposed by the pastor, trained by the diocese, installed by the bishop, and officially designated as lay ecclesial ministers. Lay ecclesial ministry is still in the early stages of implementation and, understandably, exhibits some growing pains. Among these are a lack of clarity about this ministry and some exorbitant claims made for it. It is, for instance, held that lay...

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January 21, 2016

Some items that caught my attention recently

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

I find that my occasional brief commentaries on news and other items are popular with readers. So here are some things that caught my attention recently. 1. Against my better judgment, I went to see the movie “Star Wars” recently. I hated it! I couldn’t stand the silly dialogue, the talking machines (who were ugly as sin), the junky space ship (which was much uglier than sin), and the deafening noise. I left half way through. Since the movie is an unprecedented box office hit, my...

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January 07, 2016

Broken reeds, smoldering wicks, and the Church’s ministry

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Every time we come to the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, I think of one of my favorite scriptural passages taken from the prophet Isaiah. God’s servant, the prophet declares, brings forth justice “not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.” And in powerful words, the passage says of God’s servant: “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.” Applied to the Church today, the fundamental message is that the role of God’s...

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December 17, 2015

Child sexual abuse is not just a Catholic problem

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The movie “Spotlight” (which I saw last week, and thought remarkably fair—not at all expressive of the familiar media attacks on the Catholic Church) has again opened up discussion about the issue of child abuse in the Catholic Church. The movie portrays the disastrous handling of sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston over a number of decades. “Boz” Tchivividjian (don’t ask me how to pronounce the name) offered an insightful commentary in a Religion News Service blog last week entitled...

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December 10, 2015

'Spirituality' without 'religion' does not hold up

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

When Bill de Blasio was elected Mayor of New York in 2013, he told reporters at a press conference that he was “spiritual but not religious”—thus giving a familiar theme nowadays heightened publicity. For many people, being spiritual has to do with inner feelings and conscience and a vague belief in God. There is no need of religion; in fact religion, with its creeds, codes of conduct, scriptures, sacraments, teaching authority, and clergy, gets in the way of a truly spiritual life....

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