July 8, 2011 – Touching On a Few Things

This was a pretty quiet week in my little corner of the world – nothing earth shattering going on, so I thought I would just comment on a few things that I saw on the web and that people shared with me recently.  First is an article that Fr. Gene brought to my attention last week.  An Episcopal church in Maryland has decided to become the first in the United States to convert to Roman Catholicism.  The Episcopal church is basically the American version of the Anglican church of England.  To realize the significance of this requires a quick history lesson (history is not my strong point, so bear with me).  The Anglican church came to be about 500 years ago when King Henry VIII broke away from Rome in a dispute over his desire to divorce his wife and marry his young mistress.  So after ordering those Bishops and Cardinals who remained loyal to Rome to be beheaded, the Church of England, or the Anglican Church came to be, with the ruling Monarch as its leader, a structure still in place today.  Many of our founding fathers were members of this faith.

In the present day, however, there are some congregations at odds with its leadership over issues such as ordaining homosexuals and women and blessing same-sex unions.  So in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI allowed Anglican congregations a path to reconcile with the Roman Catholic church and to convert to Catholicism.  I find this a major event, especially in a time when many people are intent on finding more reasons to flee the Catholic church.  Here is a link to an article that explains this historic event much better than I can:

www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/01/episcopal-church-in-maryland-converts-to-catholicism/#ixzz1QxuvskhE

There was one thing in this article that particularly struck me.  It was the fact that the main thing that drew them to the Catholic faith was the “apostolic authority, the oneness of the faith of the people.”  When we think about different Christian denominations how many can we think of off the top of our heads?  10? 15?  Well there are actually thousands of different ones, which indicates to me that there are many people who feel that if they are disatisfied with the leadership or the rules of their church, it is no problem to “pack up” and go somewhere else.  There is no value in joining with others of the same faith worldwide to worship the one true God in a similar way.  This is part of the reason that the Catholic church will start using a revised version of the Roman Missal beginning in November, so that all churches will be saying Mass based off of the same translation.  Let us pray that this is the beginning of a trend, that more people will see the community of the Catholic church as a stabilizing force in their lives, and that more people will seek to learn more about the Catholic faith.

OK, being the computer nerd that I am, it always excites me when something new and cool appears on the web, especially when it is Catholic related.  The Vatican has created a new website which basically combines all of its news sources into one website.  Here is the simple link to it:

www.news.va

As you’ll see there are a lot of neat features on this website, including Vatican news and events, a link to Vatican Radio, videos, world news, papal appointments and much more.  Just today there are great articles on the Pope leaving for his summer home and what he will be doing and the history of the summer Papal retreat.  There is also a video that touched my heart – it is the Pope officially launching the website with his I-pad (with a little assistance).  Here is the video of that moment:

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?  Ummm, well, moving on:

There were a couple of news stories that captured the attention of the nation this past week.  First was the verdict that was handed down in the Casey Anthony trial.  I have to admit that I did not follow the story or the trial very closely.  I just know that many people were very upset at the not guilty verdict that was handed down.  I think there are a couple of things to keep in perspective here.  One is that no matter what the verdict was, it would not bring back the little girl Kaylee who tragically died, aand if her mother was directly involved in her death, she will have to live with that the rest of her life.  And secondly, no matter what judgement we receive here in our time on earth, we will have to face the ultimate judgement at the end of our natural lives, and that judgement will be fair and accurate.

Finally, there was a tragic event last night that touched me both as a human being and also as a baseball fan.  Texas Rangers player Josh Hamilton, who is one of the better players in the majors, tossed a foul ball into the stands toward a man who was there with his 6 year old son.  Tragically, when the man reached over the railing to catch the ball to give to his son, he lost his balance and went over the rail, falling about 20 feet.  He died on the way to the hospital from head trauma.  As a sports fan, I enjoy watching games as an escape from “real life” and to be entertained.  However, sports does mirror real life and its consequences, and unfortunately at times in a tragic manner.  Much of the talk on the radio today centered on what could be done to prevent such tragedies in the future.  Should there be higher rails?  Should there be netting or plexi-glass to keep people safe?  Should players stop throwing balls into the stands?  These are all legitimate questions, but it does not take away the fact that there is a little boy in need of our prayers, and the fact that unfortunately, no matter what precautions we take or how careful we are, tragic events still will occur, and our challenge as Christians is to keep hold of our faith even in the face of such tragedies.

Well if things stay quiet over the next couple of weeks I hope to do a little re-designing and adding to our website (note that I said hope – no guarantees).  I can’t believe how fast the summer is going.  Have a great week.  Peace.

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