Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lent 2007

Lent, a time of unselfish sacrifice

Love makes sacrifice a pleasure


Once again we are in the season of Lent. Lent carries different meaning for different people. To us Catholics it should be a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, who laid down his life on the cross for us. There is no greater love than that ultimate sacrifice of Christ.

To some of us fasting, abstinence, the way of the cross and prayer are what Lent is all about. To others it is a time of abstinence from the pleasures of our senses. This may be true to some extent but these acts are in a way are for our own selfish purposes and nothing more.

Christ did not die on the cross for his selfish needs. No one in his right mind will allow himself to be crucified for his selfish reasons. As the followers of Christ, we are asked to emulate that ultimate sacrifice of Christ, the crucifixion.

We need not literally lay down our lives for others but we can sacrifice some precious possessions of ours - our time, energy and wealth for the betterment of fellow mankind. At the same we can give up something which we all possess in abundance - pride, selfishness, ego, anger and greed which impede our endeavors to serve others.

Do we see Jesus in people whom we meet daily – our spouse, our children, our parents, our boss and fellow colleagues in the office, the poor and hungry, the sick and the dying, the handicapped, the sinner, the orphans, our priests and clergy and even our enemies?

Are we willing to forgive and offer our hand of friendship to our enemies and those who sin against us? Are we sensitive to the needs of others around us, or do we close our eyes and ears to their cries of plea? Are we willing to go down to the level of the downtrodden to help them? Are we willing to patiently listen to those in distress? Are we willing and brave enough to speak out against injustice wherever it occurs?

These are some issues we must ponder during this season of Lent. We must consider them in the light of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, the crucifixion.

The real meaning of Lent is sacrifice, not for our well-being but that of others. Fasting, abstinence and prayer are just a means to achieve that goal.

We are asked to become holy and like Mother Teresa,our holiness in God,must be for the benefit of others.

Dr.Chris Anthony


27 February 2007

Dear Dr.Chris,

I enjoyed reading your Lenten reflection. We rarely hear about the period
as a time for unselfishness in the recalling of our Christianity. It is good
to know there are Catholic Christians that promote a keen understanding of
our need for "unselfish conversion" as we journey through this period of
Easter preparation.

Hugh

Hugh J.McNichol
hjmn4@comcast.net

TriNet Technologies Consultants Inc.
1106 Elderon Drive
Wilmington, Delaware 19808
302-633-9348
www.trinettc.com
Independent & Objective Technologies Consultants

& for things of academic stimulation and whatever hits my mind:
http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com

Ash Wednesday 2007

Ashes - a reminder of our mortal bodies


We have just celebrated Ash Wednesday with fast, abstinence, prayer and imposition of ashes on our foreheads.

When I was a boy, I still remember the words the priest uttered when imposing the ashes on my forehead – “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return”. These words of my priest, though very meaningful did not touch me then at that tender age.


Death was the last thing in my mind then when we, as children and youngsters, were enjoying life to the fullest. Today we realize death is real and imminent. We have already witnessed the death of many of our friends and relatives, some of whom were very dear to us.


The imposition of ashes reminds us, despite our social status, that we are all mere mortals and our physical bodies would perish one day. Today we may be alive with great power, wealth, beauty and strength but tomorrow our bodies may be reduced to dust. Reflecting on those words of the priest makes me realize that greed for material comforts is indeed foolish. In fact it is more important to cultivate the love of Christ that is within each and every one of us, which will bring everlasting rewards from God.


Today we leave our jobs to fast, abstain and receive the ashes without fail, but has the significance of the act really touched us in the way it should? Many of us don’t even know what the priest is saying or doing. We receive the ashes because it is a trend which we have to follow.


This is the reality of the fast moving world today, to follow the trend without knowing the meaning of our actions. If we don’t we’ll be left behind.


This is the real fear that is gripping society today, if we don’t join in the race that is determined by greed, selfishness, hate and lust, we too will be left behind. As Christians can we say “NO” to this trend and follow that set by Christ?


Dr.Chris Anthony




Monday, February 26, 2007

Holy Communion for protestants

Christ is for all not an exclusive few

I read with interest the report “Update - Protestants cannot receive Holy Communion”(Herald February 11).

Of late in many of our Churches there are announcements and LCD projections reminding the congregation that Holy Communion is reserved only for baptized and practicing Catholics. This to me this is very disturbing and misleading.

Who is a practicing catholic – one who observes strictly all the rituals of the Church or one who genuinely carries Jesus into his daily living?

This action of our modern Church poses one important question in the minds of many liberal thinking Catholics – Is Christ for all or is He reserved for an exclusive few?

Yes, Holy Communion is not a trivial matter and the Eucharist is not to be toyed with, but denying our separated brethren the Eucharist because of their dispute with Catholics is definitely tantamount to revenge especially when this dispute is as ancient as the Church itself. If this is not a spiteful policy then what is it?

The practice of excluding some people from Communion may be Biblically based, and it reflects the mind and heart of the early Church, as they were taught by the Apostles. It would morally wrong on our part to carry the ancient animosity created by our ancestors onto the present generation of Christians who had no part in that ancient dispute.

None will deny that there must be conditions for receiving Christ in Holy Communion. It should be based on the condition of the heart of the receiver and not rituals he performs or group to which he belongs. The fundamental requisite should be faith and a sincere eagerness to welcome Christ into his life.

In a world torn apart by hate and revenge, Christ should an instrument of unity and peace among not only Christians of the various denominations but of the whole human race.

Christ belongs to all, including sinners, not to just a chosen few. He is not the founder of an exclusive club called Christianity or to be more specific Catholicism. Let’s not confine him to this club by imposing man-made rules and rituals. As his faithful we have a far greater obligation, to bring His love to all mankind.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Monday, February 19, 2007

Fundamentalism - response


Response to “Rising fundamentalism driving many away from the Church”.

Dear Chris Anthony,
I taught at the Center for Civilisational Dialogue of the University of Malaya
during the summers of 2004 and 2005. Did we meet?

In any case, I admire your article here. Let us stay in contact.

Pax! Len
Professor Leonard Swidler, Ph.D, S.T.L., LL.D., LL.D.
Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue
E-mail: dialogue@temple.edu
Web: http://astro.temple.edu/~dialogue/Swidler/

Dear Chris,

Below are two responses that were triggered by your column, which you might find interesting.

In fact, you may want to consider joining Katholica - a list of Vatican II minded Catholics around the world.
If so, just let me know. I know that the rest of us would be most pleased to have your join us.

Pax! Len
Date: Wed 14 Feb 06:22:17 EST 2007



From: "Brian Coyne" Add To Address Book
|
Subject: RE: [katholica] Rising fundamentalism driving away many from Church
To:

Dear Tom and George,

Catholica Australia largely came into being because of the way in which it become impossible to have
intelligent conversations on the Church-sanctioned CathNews Discussion Board because of the presence
of these people who seem to primarily see their religion as a means of proving how they know all the rules
and how everybody else in the world are heathen and sinners.


I honestly believe it is a deep-rooted psychological problem with a small sector of any population rather than a
political problem. These people hunger for security and
certitude in their lives and they do not care how they garner it to themselves.

They seem to constantly need otherpeople whom they can point to effectively saying "look at me, Jesus (or Bishop or Father) I'm not breaking the rules
like so-and-so over there (or those heretical liberals). Pretty please, will you love me and give me a ticket to heaven if
I point this out often enough?"
I think this has become literally a disease in the institution now and it is the largest
single factor driving people away from Catholicism. Ordinary people simply do not want to be associated with people
who think, and act, in that manner.


The greater issue to me though is not actually the behaviours of these people.

I believe that could be fairly easily dealt with. The problem is that the institutional leadership not only tolerates it but
sectors of the hierarchical leadership not only condone it but actually encourage it. We have bishops in this country
who actually seem to believe they can re-evangelise the world by encouraging those sorts of behaviours.

We also have many level-headed, intelligent and pastorally sensitive bishops in this country but they, like the rest of us,
have found that it is almost useless to raise one's voices in protest. They endeavoured to publicly do so at the
Synod of Oceania in 1999 and JPII slapped them all down in what was a humiliating way — for them and those more
intelligent sections of the lay population who were following the events in Rome at that time.


The only bishops in this country who tend to have a prominent voice in the media these days are the ones who
tend to be encouraging of the
fundamentalist elements within Catholicism. The rest are largely silentbecause the
sense everyone has is that it is useless to protest. The
insecure elements seem to control the agenda in Rome.
We're covering this issue of the problem posed by fundamentalist thinking fairly continuously these days in the
pages of Catholica
Australia.

Cheers,

Brian Coyne
Editor & Publisher,
Catholica
Australia
34 Martin Place
, LINDEN
NSW 2778,
Australia
phone: +612 4753 1226
skype name: briancoyne mobile: +61423 793 494

email: editor@catholica.com.au

web: http://www.catholica.com.au



katholica@yahoogroups.com

Chris Anthony writes well; the whole could be used during a week long

retreat, perhaps a year.I had difficulty with this sentence :
"The
Church must be dynamic and change with time to be with the masses likeChrist did,
and not isolate itself with its outdated thinking based on
human theology.".
I guess the opposite of human theology is divine

theology, the fly paper trap the RC is stuck in . I am totally in

agreement about Jesus being among the humans.

Tom in
San Jose

Tom McMahon
t-mc@earthlink.net


Dear Dr Anthony,
I read your article "Rising fundamentalism...", and was very impressed
as it raised many concerns which I personally share. With your
permission, I would like to print it in The Southern Cross, South
Africa's only national Catholic weekly, preferably with a picture
byline.
With kind regards
G√ľnther Simmermacher
Editor: The Southern Cross
PO Box 2372
Cape Town
8000 South Africa
Tel: --21-465 5007
Fax: --21-465 3850
scross@global.co.za

www.thesoutherncross.co.
The Southern Cross scross@global.co.za


How dare you mention Islamo-fascist, fundamentalist muslims in the same vain as Catholic so-called "fundamentalists."

What are you really trying to say? The church should become pro-abortion? Pro-gay marriage? Allow women priests? Gay priests? What exactly are you referring to?

Become a Congregationalist, or better yet a Unitarian Universalist. Their watered down, liberal brand of Christianity will suit you just fine. They hold people to no standards whatsoever and allow them to do whatever makes them "feel good."

The moral here is - don't hold people to high standards. Weaken those standards so as to make the faith more "appealing" and easier to swallow for "the masses."

Yeah, that's the answer.

Marc Gargiulo

Please know that I am extremely grateful for the letter you had published on Catholic Online, you have said what I have been thinking for a long time.

Deacon Tony Cuseo
deacon247@aol.com

Dear Chris, You article is very general. I couldn't get just what specifically are your concerns.Can you give some examples. Kind regards and May Jesus and His Holy Mother always guide you.

Peter Gale
Peter Matthew Joseph Gale



Friday, February 09, 2007

Rising fundamentalism worrying

Christ is for all not an exclusive few

Recent years have witnessed a growth in religious fundamentalism throughout the world. As Christians we are particularly disturbed by this rise in Islamic Fundamentalism which has resulted in conflicts between religions and civilizations. A lot of fear and anxiety are being created throughout the world by this unhealthy trend.

The sad thing about this is the fact that the majority of the followers of any religion are in fact liberal and peace loving. They appear to be overwhelmed by the minority who resort to fundamentalism and have taken control of their respective religions for reasons far remote from their ideals.

Regrettably similar trends are also taking roots in our own church. There is no doubt that that fundamentalism is slowly gaining the upper hand in many of our Catholic publications and the Catholic Church as a whole. The large majority of Catholics are liberal in thinking and practicing their faith. Regrettably their views are not given due consideration by the clergy and editors of Catholic publications and bulletins. Sometimes their opinions are dismissed as anti-Catholic due to fear that they may have negative influence on others.

Today the average person is under tremendous pressures to cope with all the problems in daily living. Amidst all these problems and challenges, even Christ may seem irrelevant in our lives. By adopting a more fundamental stand, the Church tends to isolate this group of followers who are looking for ways to bring Christ active into their daily challenges in life and not restrict Him to just the rituals.

To an overburdened and over-stressed person, religious rituals may provide some temporary solace but unfortunately many use them as escapism from the challenges in daily living. Christ’s teachings should act as inspiration and give us the strength to face all adversaries.

We know that Christ has the solutions to all our woes and He is very relevant in our lives. The Church, instead of moving towards fundamentalism, must go all out to bring Christ into the ups and downs of our daily lives. Only then will He be seen to be relevant in our lives. He is not in the rituals that we observe but alive in our midst. All we have to do is seek him with confidence.

Mother Teresa succeeded in bringing Christ into her life and the lives of millions of others around her. We may not be able to rise up to her magnitude but definitely we can be a “Mother Teresa” in our own little ways, in our own lives.

The Church must use its publications as effective tools to bring Christ into our daily challenges. They must be open to suggestions and criticisms however controversial they may be. They should encourage open intellectual debate on all issues facing us as Christians in today’s sophisticated society and not suppress liberal views by its members who are also are genuinely working to bring the living Christ into their hearts and the hearts of fellow men. Christ belongs to all of us, including sinners, not to just a few chosen ones, the fundamentalists and those who claim to be experts in the laws of the Church.

The Church must be dynamic and change with time to be with the masses like Christ did, and not isolate itself with its outdated thinking based on human theology. It must get involved in the wholesome human development – spiritual, socio-economic, physical and moral. There is no point in the Church singing the same old song to which less and less people are listening, let alone following.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rising fundamentalism driving away many from Church

Encourage not fear opposing views

Recent years have witnessed a growth in religious fundamentalism throughout the world. As Christians we are particularly disturbed by the rise in Islamic Fundamentalism in our country. A lot of fears and anxiety are being created in the non-Muslim communities by this unhealthy trend.

Sad to say similar trends are also taking roots in our own church. I agree with the views of Liberal Catholic of Kuala Lumpur in his letter “Fundamentally Flawed Fundamentalists” published in the February issue of CANews. There is no doubt that that fundamentalism is slowly gaining the upper hand in CANews articles and letters. It is also true of other Catholic publications as well.

There is a real fear that this stance would slowly isolate the vast majority of Catholics who are moderate and liberal in their religious thinking and practices. If this is not checked, in the near future the Church may become irrelevant in the lives of this silent majority of good Catholics.

Today the average person is under tremendous pressures to cope with all the problems in daily living. Amidst all these problems and challenges, Christ may seem irrelevant in our lives.

To an overburdened and over-stressed person, religious rituals may provide some temporary solace but unfortunately many use them as escapism from the challenges in daily living.

Only Christ has the solutions to all our woes and is very relevant to our lives. The Church, instead of moving towards fundamentalism, must go all out to bring Christ into the ups and downs of our daily lives. Only then will He become relevant in our lives. He is not in the rituals that we observe but alive in our midst. All we have to do is seek him with confidence.

CANews, Herald and other publications are effective tools to bring Christ into our daily challenges. They must be open to suggestions and criticisms however controversial they may be.

They should encourage open intellectual debate on all issues facing us as Christians in today’s sophisticated society and not suppress liberal views by its members who are also are genuinely working to bring the living Christ into their hearts and the hearts of fellow men. Christ belongs to all of us, including sinners, not to just a few chosen ones, the fundamentalists.

The Church must change with time to be with the masses like Christ did, and not isolate itself with its outdated thinking based on human theology. It must get involved in the wholesome human development – spiritual, socio-economic, physical and moral. There is no point in the Church singing the same old song to which less and less people are listening, let alone following.

Dr.ChrisAnthony