Happy New Year! As we roll in 2018, I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight the top posts on the blog. In years past, I would highlight the top ten articles from that particular year and share it on Facebook and Twitter. This year, I thought I’d try something a little different.
As some of you may be new, it’d be good to highlight the posts in an article. One thing I noticed that was different this year was that my top ten posts were all written in previous years, meaning that none of the articles I published in 2017 were the most read articles. So what I thought I’d do was to highlight the top ten posts (top five from 2017 and top five from previous years) and comment as to why they might be.
I wrote this on the evening of Pope Francis’ four year anniversary of being elected Pope. I highlight some of the things he has done, as well as what makes his papacy, in my opinion, the worst of them all. Not only does he repeatedly blasphemy both God and Mary, but he both preaches a doctrine and lives a life that is not Catholic.
With the release of the “Dictator Pope” book last month, I think it demonstrates the type of Pope we have.
I created a stamp that allows you to mark books (or anything really) with this phrase. I had seen this idea as a picture at some point but couldn’t find an affordable way of purchasing it. To date, 56 copies have been sold. Thank you!
About a year ago now, Pope Francis said that if you “go to Mass, but then don’t speak with my parents, help my grandparents or the poor, go and see those who are sick, this does not prove my faith, there’s no point.” One of the precepts of the Church is to go to Mass every week, unless some circumstance prevents you, typically health related. To intentionally miss Mass is a mortal sin.
The story would be different if he said that you shouldn’t receive Holy Communion if you have been disrespectful to your parents or intentionally neglect the sick or poor, but as usual, it wasn’t. This isn’t the first time that he said you shouldn’t go to Mass and it likely won’t be the last.
At the time of this article, I had received two separate rosaries in the mail in the last year that were called “World Mission Rosaries” complete with their own separate mysteries. Upon further investigation, it appears that the original intention behind the “World Mission” Rosary is good, as it calls us to pray for different areas of the world with each decade, however, the inclusion of brand new mysteries should be avoided. Thanks to Pope John Paul II for opening up this can of worms.
It is interesting isn’t it, that whenever you talk about how great the Latin Mass is, many Catholics look at you with pain and go “yeah, well, I don’t understand what’s going on!” But when you start to point out the inconsistencies with the Novus Ordo Mass, you are met with the same responses:
“But it’s the same Eucharist!”
“It’s okay that it’s different between parishes!”
“Different strokes for different folks!”
Hey, liturgical abuse is cool and should be allowed, but if you want any resemblance of reverence, then you gotta go elsewhere.
I’m not sure why this post is still so popular. I suppose it’s because people are looking for some sense of sanity in what grave sins are against the commandments. It just goes to show that I need to continue to publish more articles on mortal sins.
Matthew Kelly is everywhere in the Church these days. I detail how he became so popular as I used to be a fan(as can be observed in much older posts on this blog). I also point out how Matthew Kelly uses a non-traditional idea of St. Joseph’s life to prove a point which can confuse his book “Rediscover Jesus.”
Without a doubt my most popular post, I point out how the Luminous mysteries are:
A creation of John Paul II. He says so himself. They are not revealed by Mary. He never attributes them to her. His words, not mine.
Inconsistent with the historical understanding of how the Rosary came to be. Initially, the Rosary was prayed by reciting all 15 decades (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious) for a total of 150 Hail Mary’s. These 150 Hail Mary’s is equal to the number of Psalms. Hence it’s nickname of “Our Lady’s Psalter.”
Inconsistent with Our Lady’s messages throughout the years. Our Lady, especially at Fatima, calls us to pray the Rosary daily. If these new mysteries are so essential to our faith, which advocates of these mysteries constantly imply, then why did Mary not give them at an apparition? Again, John Paul II created them himself, he says so.
The idea that “they paint a complete picture of Our Lord’s life” is fallacious. It implies that the Rosary before 2004 was incomplete and that Our Perfect Mother in Heaven gave us something incomplete and imperfect.
I’ve also received the most amount of hate for this article in which I’ve been called a Protestant, incomplete in my conversion to the faith, and so on. A follow-up article is needed.
On a personal note, thank you for sticking around on this blog. I know I don’t update it as often lately as life has been busy and this is a hobby. As always, it’s my goal to write more this year, but I’ll have to see what time allows.
If there is a topic of particular interest to you, please leave a comment below, and I’ll write about it.
As we continue to celebrate the Christmas season, most of the Catholic blogosphere is discussing Matthew Kelly’s recent book “Rediscover Jesus.” Many parishes across the country gave this book as a gift after all of the Christmas Masses.
However, as Restore-DC-Catholicism points out, there is some bad theology in Kelly’s new book. Matthew Kelly writes quotes on page 99 of “Rediscover Jesus” (See footnote at bottom of page):
Was this some sort of vision, perhaps prompted by the apostles’ grief over their leader’s execution? This wouldn’t explain the dramatic conversion of Saul, an opponent of Christians, or James, the once-skeptical half-brother of Jesus.
The last portion of this paragraph claiming that James is the half-brother of Jesus is especially off. It implies one of two things; either Mary was not a virgin throughout the rest of her life or Joseph had other children.
The issue with Mary not being a virgin is that this is a heresy as we know that Mary’s virginity was perpetual. Mary’s virginity is not even up for debate as the Church declared her perpetual virginity as Dogma. The issue with Joseph having other children is that Catholic tradition holds that he too was a virgin. Even if this tradition was incorrect and Joseph did have other children from a previous marriage, Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, and thus any children Joseph had would, if anything, be considered stepsiblings to Jesus.
This book has been released for some time now, and Matthew Kelly has not released any clarifications, so it is safe to assume that what he had printed was what he had intended. Rediscover Jesus does not have an imprimatur, unlike some of Matthew Kelly’s other works. The lack of an imprimatur is both good and bad. Good in that, at least, a bishop or cardinal did not sign off on this statement. Bad in that one could argue that Matthew Kelly has grown in such immense popularity that he does not feel the need to submit his books that claim to be in line with Catholic teaching to the proper hierarchical authorities for approval.
With this slip-up, many Catholics are beginning to wonder how Matthew Kelly managed to get his books into so many parishes. Seeing as I was once a Matthew Kelly devotee, but have more or less completely abandoned him as his theology is entirely modernist, I happen to know a bit about his rise to Catholic fame. Everything I am about to say is verifiable in his talks that he had both self-published and had published through Lighthouse Catholic Media.
Matthew Kelly began giving talks when he was 19 years old. He gave many talks and used some of the documents from the Second Vatican Council as the basis for these talks. When talking about the “Universal Call to Holiness” Kelly noticed that most people had checked out, so he began using his trademark “Best Version of Yourself.” People responded positively to this, so he began doing this with various Catholic principles.
He began writing Catholic books, with “The Rhythm of Life” becoming a New York Times bestseller. He even had an odd book called, “Words From God” which was a book on his personal locutions in which he believed God the Father was dictating the book to him. He has since moved away from this book by order of his Bishop. More info on this book can be found on the Women of Grace blog.
What launched Matthew Kelly to become a typical Catholic household name was after Rediscover Catholicism became somewhat well-known. his organization Dynamic Catholic wanted to come up with a game changer. One of his workers came up with the idea that Catholics of all kinds, practicing and non-practicing always come to Mass on Christmas and Easter. The plan was to give out a free copy of a book to each person. Kelly was reluctant at first because he wanted to give out a copy of Rediscover Catholicism to each family, but his employee convinced him to give out a copy to each family member, as one book for a family might not get read.
They launched this program at a parish in Atlanta, Georgia and had tremendous success. Rediscover Catholicism even managed to bring back people who were Christmas and Easter Mass-goers to weekly Mass-goers. With this success, they came up with a plan to mass produce these books and pass the savings on to parishes. For $2 a copy you can give away these books to your church and make your fellow Catholics become Dynamic Catholics!
After some time and some success giving out copies of “Rediscover Catholicism”, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, with the blessing of then Archbishop John Nienstedt, partnered with Matthew Kelly and began a “Rediscover” initiative. Talks were given throughout the Archdiocese, “Rediscover Catholicism” book clubs were held in each parish, and once a year there was a “Rediscover Catholic Celebration” where speakers were invited to give lectures. This initiative only lasted for a couple of years, after the second Rediscover Catholic Celebration ended up being a massive flop with only half of the tickets were sold.
“Rediscover Jesus” and “Rediscover Catholicism” are but two of many books which Matthew Kelly has to offer, which Dynamic Catholic mass produces through their private publisher. Priests at parishes can buy the copies themselves with parish funds. Or more likely, a wealthy parishioner who believes that Matthew Kelly’s approach is the best way to get people to become Catholic (I was once one of them, but not anymore) purchases the books themselves without the permission of the priest and their priest now feels obligated to pass them out after the Masses. This has been the case for some priests as witnessed by friends who work for the Church.
By giving out free copies of his book and partnering with Lighthouse Catholic Media, Matthew Kelly has grown to become a Catholic powerhouse and recognized as one of the go-to speakers for Catholic teaching today. Unfortunately, those who believe Matthew Kelly is doing good will see this article as a hit piece. Yes, I am highly critical of Mr. Kelly, but as I have said before, and evidenced throughout older posts on this very blog, I once talked about how great I thought he was. The argument that Matthew Kelly is “reaching people where they are at” is not applicable here.
Matthew Kelly teaches a very watered down version of Catholicism. It is so watered down that besides words that resemble those found in Catholic teaching; you would not recognize it as Catholic. Authentic Catholic thought resembles Catholicism even when Catholic jargon has been removed. Catholicism is so full of rich nourishment for the soul, that no matter how you broke it down into its simplest of forms you would still be able to reach people where they are at and challenge them. If people’s faith was a fire and Catholicism was a tree that could fuel that fire, Catholicism can be broken down into logs, branches, sticks, leaves, kindling, and twigs to feed that fire. What Matthew Kelly gives is a synthetic fire starter that has been sprayed on several leaves and nothing else.
There are plenty of books that exist on Catholicism, which have been written by some of the greatest minds in Church history. The Baltimore Catechism, True Devotion to Mary, the Catechism of St. Peter Canisius are to name but a few books that will shed more light on Catholicism and Jesus then the Rediscover books can hope to shed. There are plenty of books that are written even for those who are just beginning in their Catholic faith. I encourage you to seek out some of these books and not waste your time with Rediscover; your soul will thank you for it.
FOOTNOTE: I have received an email from Matthew Kelly:
I was disappointed with your article to say the least, but I think it is important to clear up one factual error.
You quote me as writing:
Was this some sort of vision, perhaps prompted by the apostles’ grief over their leader’s execution? This wouldn’t explain the dramatic conversion of Saul, an opponent of Christians, or James, the once-skeptical half-brother of Jesus.
This is not the case, this is part of an entire article that I quote in the book, and the source did not allow edits. The article begins on page 97.
I would appreciate if you would edit your piece to reflect this.
What Matthew Kelly should have done is added a footnote to this error and pointed out what the Catholic teaching is. Footnotes are commonly used when a writer wants to clarify a point and can not do so in the original quotation.
UPDATE: I have received further correspondence from Matthew Kelly. The request for the Imprimatur was submitted late and has taken longer than usual, but he says the next printing will carry an Imprimatur.
Matthew Kelly is a front runner in the Catholic speaking circuit. He has written numerous books including Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. He is the founder of Dynamic Catholic. Over the last several years he has grown in popularity. While this is great for him, his methods are effective for a minute few, and ineffective for the vast majority of practicing Catholics.
I used to be a huge fan of Matthew Kelly. I have a lot of his talks, a couple of his books, and I would give out copies of Rediscover Catholicism to lapsed Catholics. You can even find many mentions of him throughout this blog. Matthew Kelly has played a role in my desire to learn more about the faith. However, having gained the knowledge I now have, I’ve realized that Matthew Kelly doesn’t teach Catholicism in its entirety. His approach is laced with modernism, rooted in emotionalism, and waters down Catholic identity to appeal to a Protestant mentality.
During recent years, parishes across the country have been giving out copies of Rediscover Catholicism to those in attendance at Christmas and Easter Masses. The concept is to re-engage Catholics who are only coming to Mass on Christmas and Easter. The program seemed to have an impact, as many people across the country were coming back to the Catholic Church. While I have no complaints about bringing people back to the Church, I do have a serious concern about methods that use emotion as opposed to logic and reason.
Rediscover Catholicism is a book written for a very specific audience. It’s written for those who hardly identify as Catholic, or who have left the Church completely. It’s an appetizer to the grand banquet of Catholic cuisine. The book’s purpose is to present the case for Catholicism simply and pithily. It only scrapes the surface and doesn’t dig deeply. It relies heavily on emotion and sentimentalism.
The introductory story of Rediscover Catholicism is meant to be a parable of God the Father giving up Jesus Christ, His Only Son. The analogy is incomplete unless the reader has a devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. In Kelly’s example, the parents decide to sacrifice their son, ignore his pleas for help and knowledge, and leave him questioning as his parents abandon him.
There is a significant difference between Kelly’s tale and the sacrifice Jesus willingly embraced in order to bring eternal life to the world. Jesus knew what was involved and what was to come of His passion. This boy did not know what was going on. Allowing your child to choose to give up their life to save those around them, and volunteering your child without their consent are two vastly different theological choices. With Jesus, we see a sacrifice of choice. With Kelly, we see a forced victim. Jesus laid down His life willingly for others. Kelly’s tale is contrived, an artificial and incomplete analogy.
The Rediscover Catholicism and Dynamic Catholic Institute mentalities are awash in modernism. Modernism was deemed heresy by Pope St. Pius X, and described as the synthesis of all heresies. Modernism reveals itself by presenting something very traditional and recognizably Catholic in one context, and something very non-Catholic almost as a counterpoint, or a contradiction, attached to it. An example of modernism would be an author talking about how important Catholic identity is on one page of his book, and on the next page discuss how each person can worship however they feel brings them closer to God.
An example would be this statement on how Matthew Kelly views tradition in Rediscover Catholicism:
Many are calling for a return to the past. These people are reactionaries, not visionaries. Too often their cries are driven by a fear of uncertainty and a grappling for stability. Rather than placing their trust in God and cooperating with his future, they allow their humanity to get the better of them as they try to control things beyond their control.” Matthew Kelly, “Rediscover Catholicism” page 22-23 2010
Pope St. Pius X states in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907):
They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind…or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”.
Many parishes are beginning to switch over from traditional catechetical programs and are using Rediscover Catholicism and other programs by the Dynamic Catholic Institute as their course material. This would be the equivalent of using a hammer to pound in a screw. You are using a tool which has an already intended purpose in a way in which it was not intended.
At one time I was convinced that using Matthew Kelly’s methods would be the most effective way to get people interested in Catholicism. I attended his Living Life with Passion and Purpose event. I was even ecstatic when the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis partnered with him to create the “Rediscover Faith” series which was incorporated in each parish within the Archdiocese. I was thrilled about the “Rediscover Catholic Celebration” conference the Archdiocese hosted in 2013 which was attended by 5,000 Catholics.
Looking back, Rediscover Catholicism is a very basic explanation of Christianity. There is so much more to learn about Catholicism that requires us to engage material which is at a deeper level of understanding. From what I have seen, this program does not encourage the learner to look deeper into the more advanced subject matter, instead, enabling one to keep buying books at the same level of reason. While there is nothing wrong with simple explanations, to keep someone from advancing in their faith is sinful. A pre-school teacher not only gives his students the information and knowledge required to advance to Kindergarten, but also encourages the skills and curiosity to want to learn. Likewise, a Kindergarten teacher teaches the knowledge and skills required of his students to advance to First Grade. Additionally, if the subject matter is mired in Modernist philosophies, then the experience will be confusing at best and discouraging at worst. Heresy leads us further from Christ, not closer.
According to Kelly, 85% of Catholics leave the Church within seven years of being confirmed. Last year, Matthew Kelly released Decision Point, a confirmation program designed to address this problem. Having taught Religious Education to 10th and 11th graders going into Confirmation (confirming children at this age is part of the problem), I was excited.
I recall that in one of Father Robert Barron’s talks, he mentions a problem with Catholic schools. At his niece’s high school graduation party, she had displayed all of her books from her senior year. Included were books on Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, and many books in Latin. When Father Barron got to her religion book, it was a thin book in which all the pages were cartoonish and the subject matter was what was to be expected for a child. We are teaching high school students advanced academic and sociological material, yet we can’t give them anything intellectually challenging or stimulating in regard to the Catholic faith.
I bring this up because every page of Decision Point is littered with random doodles. Every page. Additionally, the subject matter is light. From my perusal, there was no explanation about the consequences of Hell, nor even mention of Hell. There was no mention of Purgatory. There were no explanations of mortal or venial sin. Zero references to the Devil, but one mention of Satan when Kelly quotes the Renewal of Baptism formula (pg. 259). There is one mention of original sin.
But, rest assured, there are at least 75 references to Kelly’s self-coined “Best-Version-Of-Yourself” mantra to instill a sense of the feel-goods. If this book is meant for Catholics in middle school and high school, why are we treating them like toddlers?
There are no serious reasons regarding why we need to embrace Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. When asked, “Why should I stay in the Catholic Church?” Kelly responds with:
There are lots of reasons you should stay Catholic and grow in your faith every day, but what is more compelling than to say, “You should stay because Jesus prayed you would”? There in the garden of Gethsemane two thousand years ago Jesus agonized over every person who would think about leaving his Church, and he prayed that they would remain one. – Decision Points pg 223.
Matthew Kelly says “there are lots of reasons” to stay Catholic, but uses a weak reason rooted in sentimentalism to try to make you feel bad. He doesn’t discuss it being the Church that Christ started as the reason. He doesn’t talk about Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus which is the Catholic Doctrine that states there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Instead of using logic and reason to engage the maturing Christian reader into making a lasting decision on why they should be Catholic, he uses sentimentalism and emotions to persuade them to be Catholic. Essentially, “not being Catholic makes Jesus sad” is his reasoning.
Sentimentalism emerges in most of Kelly’s language. “The Best Version of Yourself” is a term Kelly began using after he read the Second Vatican Council’s declaration stating the universal call to holiness. When teaching this declaration, many people would shrug off the idea of holiness. He began using this catch-phrase and people responded positively. While changing the language a bit to help drive a point (Jesus did this with His parables), it’s important to remember that context is needed. This phrase only works when you apply a lens of holiness and God’s law to it. Any other lens and this phrase can be used to promote a litany of sins.
Eventually, this blossoms fully into the mentality of “feel good Catholicism”. If the teaching is too hard, too old, or doesn’t leave you with a feeling of joy, then it isn’t good. This can be seen in 2014’s “Rediscover Catholic Celebration” put on by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. There was no mention of having a reverent Mass. Everything had to feel good. No classical Gregorian Chant, but plenty of Modernist Praise and Worship tunes. No time for deep contemplation, but enough time to do a “flash mob” to a rendition of Pharrell’s “Happy“. Planners had reserved room for 10,000 people. Only 5,000 came.
At this event, they discussed the brand new program they were going to launch; “Amazing Parish”. Amazing Parish is similar to “Rebuilt” in which we forego most of our Catholic identity in all facets of parish life to appear more Protestant friendly and appeal to those leaving the Catholic Church for Mega-Churches. It is important to note that this “mega-church” mentality doesn’t work. Parishes that embrace tradition and reverent Masses are the parishes which see a boost in parish attendance and tithing. The Church in general has been trying to appear more Protestant for the last 50 years and are seeing the fruits manifest in the problems we face; priest shortages, vocation declines, parishes merging/clustering/closing. Becoming more Protestant won’t fix the problem.
There are plenty of liturgical abuses in many Masses across the world. Taking issue with these abuses is normal and good. Matthew Kelly is a firm believer that those who take issue with these abuses are the ones who have the problem, not the priests who allow the transgressions. The complainers have an imperfect heart for not appreciating Jesus Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Ultimately, this logic reduces one to accept “clown Masses are okay, and if you have a problem with it, you are deficient in your faith”.
The works of Matthew Kelly were a stepping stone in my faith, but his approach is insufficient. His books are simple, and don’t touch upon the important aspects of the Catholic faith. Each person is unique and different, and each person is entitled to hear the fullness of the Truth. There are plenty of resources written prior to 1965 that explain Catholicism concisely and provide plenty of meat to chew on for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I would highly recommend reading St. Peter Canisius’ “Catechism for Catholics” to get a solid understanding of Catholic teaching. There are some good nuggets in what Matthew Kelly has to offer, but due to the Modernism that is laced throughout much of his material, it would be best to avoid it and stick to the catechetical material which has been developed throughout the history of the Church.
Finally, while these novel methods may bring an influx of people into the Church the methods do not have the lasting effects would the methods that the Church has had at her disposal over the last 2000 years. I don’t think Matthew Kelly embraces Modernism intentionally. I believe he’s a product of the catechesis of his day. The Church has suffered greatly these last 50+ years in catechesis and the knowledge and attitude of today’s Catholics demonstrates it. Matthew Kelly has a gentle demeanor which many find attractive. If he would embrace traditional teachings and present them clearly, he would make many Catholics stronger in their faith, a faith which will last longer than the popularity of his latest book.
The Traditional Latin Mass, the Baltimore Catechism, and traditional Catechesis have plenty of substance to feed the faithful and an 80% retention rate prior to 1965. New ways to present classic material come out each year which tries to address the now 15% retention rate, and fail. Perhaps we should use what the Church has always used: good old fashioned Truth.
Matthew Kelly wrote the book Rediscover Catholicism as a way to bring lapsed and fallen away Catholics back into the faith. This book has been changing lives with its simplistic approach in discussing Catholicism. Its given away at parishes for free at Easter and Christmas in order to get those Catholics who only come to Mass twice a year, to read more and explore the faith. I’ve reviewed the book here.
I follow their page on Facebook. Yesterday they posted an article in their “Rediscover Music” section in which you can listen and buy music from Bebo Norman. The post states “New to Rediscover: – Bebo Norman, Contemporary Christian artist.” If you’ve been practicing your Catholicism long enough, something about that statement should knock you in your seat.
If your answer was “Contemporary Christian”, then ding-ding-ding, you win! I did some Google Searching on Bebo Norman to find that it is highly unlikely that this guy is a Catholic. If that is the case, why is the Rediscover group, run by the Archdiocese mind you, actively promoting Protestant music in a Rediscover Catholicismgroup?
I simply asked “Is this guy Catholic?” to which they responded “Bebo Norman is one of dozens of Christian (some Catholic) artists we now feature on the Rediscover: website, with our new section Rediscover: music. While he’s not currently on the schedule for the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration, you can visit Rediscover: music online to hear from an artist who will be here in October: Marie Miller!”
They admit it, they are promoting Protestant music. Another question I ask “How does listening to Protestant music help us to Rediscover Catholicism?” And there response was simply “In featuring Christian artists, we hope that listeners can be moved and inspired by the message and beliefs that are shared in these songs, which reach across Christian denominations. We also feature Catholic artists you may enjoy, such as Audrey Assad, Matt Maher and Danielle Rose.”
Read my question again and then read their response. They do not answer the question. They give a typical PR answer that spins the question around to make themselves look good.
The problem with promoting Protestant music is simply that they do not believe that which Catholics do. They will not sing on and on about the greatness of Mary and the Saints. They will not sing about Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist. They will not sing about how great the Catholic Church is. They have cut themselves off from Christ by actively resisting Him in their Protestant views. Sure, we may share some beliefs, but the differences are vast and are what make us different.
As long as the Catholic Church harps on and on about how great Praise and Worship music is and detracts from authentic Catholic music such as Gregorian Chant (which is the preferred music of the Church), we will continually slip further and further away from our Catholic identity. We will no longer be different than Protestants, and we will continue to lose Catholics to the Protestant mega-churches.
I had the privilege of going to the Rediscover Catholic Celebration event hosted by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis on October 12. I want to share with you some of what I felt were the highlights.
The day started off with Mass and it was a really good Mass. There was a little bit of everything, a little bit of English, a little bit of Spanish and a bit of Latin believe it or not. It was really good to hear the St. Thomas University Schola sing Gregorian Chant. I would’ve preferred a bit more Latin throughout the entire Mass but that’s just me.
Jeff Cavins was the Emcee for the day, making sure that everything stayed on schedule. He provided some good humor in between the events and made some good comments throughout the day. I would have liked to have heard him give a talk, but, I’m sure there will be other times.
Up first was Matthew Kelly, the key-note speaker. Matthew Kelly is the author of the book Rediscover Catholicism, which I reviewed earlier. The Archdiocese has been hitting the “Rediscover: Faith” series very hard in which Matthew Kelly has been very instrumental in getting off the ground.
Matthew Kelly’s talk was very exciting and inspirational. He made some valid points (in bold) along with my comments (not bold).
You don’t have to tolerate good things. Today, so often we are told that we need to be more “tolerant of others”, usually in cases in which they are practicing something immoral. This goes hand in hand with the entire homosexual movement in their fight to redefine marriage. If it was so good, why would we need to be “tolerant”?
God’s in the business of transformation. When we accept God into our lives, our entire lives are changed. We are transformed. We are no longer who we once were. This especially happens in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession. In Baptism, our sins are completely forgiven, we are washed clean of original sin and we are born anew. In Confession, we take all of our sins, we confess them with a contrite heart and God in his infinite love and mercy, forgives them. We reestablish that grace with God.
Everybody needs game changers. Game changers are those ideas that are different, that are going to make a huge difference. We need to come up with more good ideas to try to share our faith with both our fallen-away brothers and sisters in the faith, and our brothers and sisters outside of the faith.
Spend time every day with the Bible, and start with the Gospels. We won’t know Jesus if we don’t read the Bible, especially the Gospels as the Gospels are primarily what Jesus taught and spoke. How do you get to know somebody? By spending time with them and getting to know them. We can accomplish this through reading sacred scripture. On top of that, you gain a plenary indulgence for spending 30 minutes reading the Bible.
Pray for our enemies. Jesus taught us that we should pray for our enemies. How come we don’t? Never have we offered Masses for Osama Bin Laden. He was our enemy, yet we never prayed for him. We should pray for our enemies, because that is what Jesus has called us to do.
Matthew Kelly received a standing ovation after his talk was over.
During the day, Archbishop Nienstedt even consecrated the entire Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I mentioned that in greater detail here.
Father Robert Barron received a standing ovation when he was announced to give his talk. He commented “Wow, a standing ovation before I even give my talk, I wonder what I’ll get when I’m finished? A sitting ovation?” Father Barron gave a talk giving seven ways we can be practical at evangelizing. Luckily, I wrote them all down and similarly as above, I will give the seven suggestions in bold, with my comments not bold.
Lead with the beautiful – Its difficult to argue around truth and goodness when our culture has completely made everything relative. What we can do though, is lead with the beautiful to goodness and truth.
Don’t dumb down the faith – Since the Second Vatican Council, we have seen the faith dumbed down to the point where it is barely even recognizably Catholic. This isn’t the fault of the Council, but the fault of those who have implemented what the Council or the documents had said.
Preach with ‘ardor‘ – Ardor is another word for fire. When we preach, we need to have that fire, that passion in us. We can’t just preach the Word of God with a lukewarm attitude, this won’t bring anybody into the Church. But having passion and excitement will draw in people.
Tell the Great Story – The Great Story is everything from Creation all the way until Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected from the dead and of course, everything in between. Many people have no clue what the story is of the Bible (I am a perfect example, I had no clue who Jesus was growing up and after I learned who He was, I had to become a disciple).
Emphasize the Augustinian anthropology – St. Augustine said “Lord, you have made us for yourself, therefore our hearts are restless until it rests in Thee.” We need to emphasize that God created us in order for us to worship Him and that no matter what, we will not be happy if we are not accomplishing this.
Stress the Iranaeus Doctrine – The Iranaeus Doctrine is that God does not need us. Harsh? Sure. But, this is good for us, because we know that God will not bribe us in order to get us to follow Him. We have to do this out of our own free will. Love after all, must be freely given.
Spend a lot of time with old media – A lot of times we want to go dive right in and start hitting the social media, the blogs and everything in between and start sharing the faith. But what we really need to do is spend time reading books, watching videos, listening to talks and everything in between. We have to know the faith before we can teach the faith.
Father Barron received a well deserved second standing ovation for his very good talk.
All in all, the event was very, very good. It was nice to feel in the majority, after all, there were about 5,500 practicing Catholics at this event. Again, this is only the highlights, there were two other speakers, Bishop Daniel Flores and George Weigel were also there, as well as many other events going on. I’m looking forward to next years Rediscover: Catholic Celebration and can’t wait to see who is in the lineup. I have not received a phone call yet, but, who knows, right?