BlogWatcher - Theology of the Body for pre-teens

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BY MICHAEL MULLINS

Sentire Cum Ecclesia has been engaged in a dialogue with his 13 year old daughter on sexual ethics, including homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The experience has convinced him of the need for a program on the Theology of the Body for pre- and early-teens.

“She has been watching a lot of TV and Internet programs in which gay issues arise and are dealt with under the category of ‘justice’ and ‘tolerance’. So she thought her dad was particularly intolerant for not being in favour of these things as a life-style choice…

"Discussing the issue of homosexuality is also intertwined with marriage and divorce, contraception and abortion, IVF and surrogacy, and a whole bunch of other things. So the only way I could decently do justice to any of these topics was by writing them all out as simply as I could. Sort of like giving the recipe for a very complicated cake…

“We are still talking through the issues raised, and she said that it has helped her form her own thinking – which still isn’t that of her father’s, but at least she now has some kind of basis on which to think about the issue.”

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Father Hugh OSB takes the Liturgical Commission’s Elizabeth Harrington to task on the issue of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand. Harrington had argued that we should follow the example of the early Christians, who received the eucharist in the hand. Hugh replies:

“The practice of the early Church is hardly ipso facto a template for practice now. If so, the light penances of modern confession would have to yield to the years-long public penances of the early Church.”

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Australia Incognita gives the title “Bishop Wrong” to her post on Maitland-Newcastle Diocese and its new bishop William Wright, whom she suggests has launched an offensive against the local Latin Mass Society.

“I’d like to be able to give him a break because he is so new [but] the strong and growing traditional Mass community there has effectively closed down… The Newcastle Traditional Latin Mass Society used to have around a hundred and fifty names on its books as interested potential participants, and after only twelve months was attracting around 40 to 50 people to its weekly masses…

"Now those masses have been discontinued,  in line with the bishop's direction that there should be no ‘special masses‘ for particular groups… Even more alarming though, are some comments in the diocesan newspaper back in July. In the run up to his Episcopal consecration he expressed his dislike of big ceremonies, indicating that he has ‘always dodged the big church events when I reasonably could.’ 

“Bishop Wright says: ‘But my preference is for simpler gatherings, where the power that is in God’s word, and in our joining with Christ in self-offering, can work its way into our hearts without the need of adornment.’”

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Country Priest writes that it’s been a month since his move to his first appointment as assistant priest in the parish at Hamilton in Western Victoria. 

“I love the place. But there’s something in the air here that doesn’t love me. For the past few weeks, my eyes have itched and ached and burned and oozed.”

His imagination is captured by the musings of the blogger Wimpy Catholic, who says “eyes are basically testicles that sit in the middle of your head”, before invoking the intercession of St Lucia, patron saint of the eyes (pictured). Lucia had her eyes gouged because they led her to sin.

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The most energetic Lenten blog could be Read the Cat, which seems to regard reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a penance rather than a pleasure. The bloggers have chosen Lent to launch their podcast project, which aims to read the entire catechism in one year.

“This year, for lent, Dan, Cory, and myself decided to start reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church… 55 paragraphs at a time. If we keep going past lent, we will finish the entire Catechism in one year.”

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Judith Lynch at v2catholic.com believes she knows what real penance is. She says there is a “disconnect” between lenten penance and the way we live our lives today.

“I want a Church that recognises the many prayer, fasting and almsgiving elements that are already operative in the lives of my adult children… Changing nappies isn’t exactly fun and as a ‘penance’ is probably up there with hair shirts. So is supervising homework  in between sorting TV squabbles and getting the dinner… Do it all with love and patience. Who needs any other penance?… If the institutional Church would stop telling us how materialistic we all are and listen to our lives, then maybe the majority who generally flick their baptismal promises as irrelevant, might think again.”

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Facebook's Timeline prompts Divine Wedgie to make the point that time as envisaged by Dan Zuckerberg is not the same as “Kairotic” time that is arguably observed in the Church. Kairos is the ancient Greek word that refers to the right or opportune moment.

“The Christian operating in cyberspace must be aware of its notion of time, and must also be aware that the Church operates by a different time marked by radical individuation, where each moment is not the same as what came before - a Kairotic time… The Christian on Facebook must resist the urge to frame his real life in accordance to Facebook's ‘Timeline’, but resist also cyberspace's pressure to confine all of life within the strictures of clock-time.”

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In the Catholic Herald, Francis Phillips writes a blog of thanks to the BBC for its sympathetic portrayal of the faith last week in an hour-long feature on seminarians that was simply titled Catholics.

“Given the validity of the regular criticisms against the BBC – that it invariably shows a Left-wing, secularist bias and so on – I was agreeably surprised… The question of recent clerical sex abuse scandals was only mentioned in passing; the rule of celibacy was talked about soberly… All the seminarians interviewed seemed balanced and down-to-earth… Despite Allen Hall being only one of only three seminaries left in this country, I finished watching the programme with a sense of hope in the seriousness and maturity of its candidates for the priesthood.”


Michael MullinsMichael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every Monday.

Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.

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