Sunday, April 14, 2019

Culture War (follow up)

I used the phrase "radical autonomy" in my previous post "Culture War" pointing out the goal of the pro-abortion movement. This article shows that Alyssa Milano admits it on twitter but uses the phrase "bodily autonomy." This is the new gnosticism. It means you decide to do whatever you want with your body and never deal with the bodily consequences of that decision. Of course, this is contrary to reason. You can decide to do the thing that makes babies, but if a baby is made, you can kill the baby as long as you do it before she is born. Of course that is also contrary to reason as the location or size of the human being does not provide her worth. We need to change hearts and change laws to protect the unborn. Thank you Governor DeWine and the Ohio legislature for passing the heartbeat bill!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Culture War

The culture war is raging. At one hand some lawmakers in Georgia know that the child in the womb is a complete human being at that particular stage of her development, and therefore must be protected by law. The governor is expected to sign the bill that says the child's life cannot be ended by abortion once a heartbeat is detected. Of course, there are a bunch of exceptions that are still contrary to natural law reasoning, but it should be an incremental step in reducing the number of abortions.
On the other hand, Alyssa Milano is sending letters to these lawmakers and getting other actors to pledge a boycott of Georgia's growing film industry if the bill is made law. Reading the names of some of the actors who have signed the letter of boycott caused me to sarcastically exclaim: "Shocker!" At the same time I wonder why so many people, which seems like half of the country, can disregard the life of the unborn child.
These people are actors, become activists. They probably think they are doing a good thing for women. Because radical autonomy is sacrosanct in the culture, the life of the unborn is disregarded by many because it threatens that radical autonomy of the mother. Abortionists know exactly what they are doing in taking the life of the unborn child, but these children are seen as collateral damage in the fight to protect radical autonomy.
I remember Alyssa Milano doing those Unicef commercials several years ago. It was all about the children. She had so much passion to get us to give what we could to save the children. I'll never get the chance to interview Alyssa Milano, but I would love to find out where the disconnect is. These same children she is so passionate about saving in the Unicef commercial were the same ones in the womb a day or two ago, when their lives were worthless, according to this line of thinking.
When I first saw the Unicef commercial, and noticed the passion in Alyssa Milano's voice, I thought she must be pro-life and Unicef must be a pro-life organization. It didn't take long to find the truth that Unicef is on record as being pro-abortion, and now we see that Alyssa Milano is also. Their way of fighting poverty is killing the poor.
Our belly buttons prove we were never promised radical autonomy, but we have some responsibility for others. In our human freedom we can choose the good of the other, which is the definition of love. This is where we have to get the hearts of the citizens of this country. What I can do for another is so much more important than any threats to my convenience, or plans. While we are working on conversion of hearts, we also have to make laws that protect the most vulnerable poor ones among us, the unborn.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

More on the abuse crisis:


I have had a couple more weeks to reflect since writing my statement for the parish. Since then, I have also been asked to write a statement for the Catholic Social Workers' National Association, since I am the priest on the board. You can see the statement at cswna.org or below. 

The most common thought I keep having is that it seems we are in a decades or centuries long lull of many priests and bishops failing to call the faithful to holiness. The evidence in the media shows that many are not willing to live it themselves. Imagine if the faithful would have the resolve to grow in holiness and demand the same of their priests and bishops. Catholic media seem to be the only ones talking about it still. How long will it stay on the minds of the faithful?

Here is the statement at cswna.org:
As Catholic social workers, we stand ready to serve the victims of this abuse or any abuse. We stand with the victims in solidarity, supporting them in our work and praying for their healing and comfort. Also, as Catholic social workers, we uphold the constant Personalistic Norm that demands respect for every human being, made in God’s image. Because of this universal demand for respect, we condemn any act of abuse on any person. Because we are Catholic, we uphold the truth that purity is an aid to wholeness as human persons. Any act of impurity, whether legal or illegal, is an assault on the good of the human person. We invite all people of faith to a conversion of heart that increases their own personal holiness. As this personal holiness for Catholics increases, we will automatically demand holiness and accountability in our priests and bishops. At the same time, we welcome the leadership of the Church’s faithful clergy to lead us on the journey of holiness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Here are some new items from the Archdiocese:

Archbishop Schnurr’s interview on Sacred Heart Radio:

At http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/ you will find the Archbishop’s statement and schedules for a Day of Prayer for the Church and the Victims of Abuse on Friday, September 14, the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, at three venues: St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, St. Joseph (Dayton), and St. Michael (Fort Loramie). All are invited to participate.

Below is my personal reflection on the crisis:

Beloved in Christ,

Over the past several weeks, I have read statements and listened to talks by some of my favorite bishops, priests and lay people regarding the scandal in the Church. I wish I could share all the good points being made, but there is just too much material. I do; however, encourage all the faithful to pray for the victims and show support for the victims. Secondly, I want to condemn any act of abuse, especially any against a minor. I hope the people who committed these acts repent sincerely.

Whenever things like this make the news, we get the question from friends, family and colleagues: “Why are you still Catholic?” For me, personally, it takes me back to the year 2002 right after I began discerning my vocation to the priesthood.

I first met with Fr. Watkins, the vocation director of the Archdiocese, in December of 2001. The next day, I met with my girlfriend and we ended our relationship, so I could discern my vocation. By the time of my third meeting with Fr. Watkins in the interview process, we were into February of 2002. You may recall, in February of 2002 there was an explosion of similar reports beginning with the Archdiocese of Boston and spreading to every other diocese in the United States.

During the interview process, Fr. Watkins asked me: “Is this stuff in the news affecting you at all?” I replied, “No, it’s not affecting me.” As he started to shuffle papers on his desk, I told him I wanted to change my answer. I told him that the abuse crisis was affecting me. It made me have a greater desire to want to be a faithful priest. We were hearing about some unfaithful priests every day in the news media. Although they were very small in number, they were messing things up for everyone else and tarnishing the Bride of Christ, His Church, with their evil.

I have always been 100% convinced of the authenticity of the Catholic Church. Even before studying theology, I knew that Christ founded the Church on the Rock of St. Peter and the other Apostles, and that they sent out their successors to the rest of the world with His authentic teachings and authority of Jesus Christ. Now there were some guys messing it all up for everyone else.

My reaction now feels very similar to that of 2002. How could these men who promised to be both pure, and to strive for holiness, do the exact opposite and commit the most condemnable acts? As things unfolded, we started hearing that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was actually ahead of the curve. Archbishop Pilarczyk set up a child protection policy in 1993 before it was mandated by the bishops’ conference. I also noticed back in 2002 that the clear majority of cases we were hearing about were from decades before. Now in 2018, it seems that two things are happening. It seems that we are once again revisiting the cases of decades past, but at the same time, there seems to be more evidence that some bishops in our country were not as diligent as they should have been in making sure people were held accountable and things were reported. The increased anger among the faithful makes me optimistic that we will not have to deal with this again in another 16 years.

The revelations about the former Cardinal McCarrick remind me of the time before entering seminary. I was told about how things were in the early 1990s with the presence of a homosexual subculture. This was obviously cleaned up by the time I arrived. I did not see any evidence of such things in my six years there. Our local seminary has an excellent system of forming men to be faithful priests.

I think a great opportunity for purification of the Church is in front of us. We have been given a stark reminder of the universal call to holiness and faithfulness. This call is universal because it is for all God’s people: from the laity to the pope, and everyone in between. Not even popes and cardinals are exempt from the need of a continual conversion of heart.

We see from Jesus’ encounter with St. Paul in Acts 9:4-5 that He equates Himself with His Church. This gives me the confidence to answer like St. Peter did in last Sunday’s Gospel: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

I am happy to discuss this issue with anyone who would like. Please report any suspected abuse on the part of any agent of the Archdiocese to the appropriate civil authorities, as well as to the Coordinator of Ministry to Survivors of Abuse in the Archdiocese.  This can be done by calling 513.263.6623.

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Bedel

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bulletin article for this week and next


Beloved in Christ,

A very interesting question keeps coming up. During the course of RCIA earlier this year, someone asked about the proper way to hold hands during the Our Father at Mass. It led to a very lively discussion. Then at WOW’s “Ask Padre” someone also asked about holding hands during the Our Father. More recently, at a question-and-answer session with the Knights of Columbus, one of those gentlemen also asked about it. This past week, at the men’s Welcome (formerly Christ Renews His Parish) meeting, it was also asked. So, there is evidently a desire for clarification among the faithful. Below I will attempt to give as comprehensive an answer as possible. I will lay out my understanding of the meaning of the liturgical posture during the Our Father at Mass and allow adults to make their own informed decision about their posture and the posture of their children during Mass.

If we were in a classroom setting, I would ask the question: “In what ways do we show our unity at Mass?” and write all the answers on the board. People might answer with things like: our common posture such as sitting and standing and kneeling. Others might answer: responding together, singing together, maybe the sign of peace. Some might even mention the most awesome and ultimate way we show our unity: And it’s not holding hands at the Our Father, it’s receiving Holy Communion.

What do we do with our hands in prayer? Obviously, some people hold hands. Everyone is familiar with the very ancient and common: palms together with fingers pointing to the sky. Another ancient posture is the orans position, which means hands out to the side with palms up. This orans position is perfectly legitimate for personal prayer, but at liturgy, it usually indicates a position of leadership, presiding or gathering the prayers of others.

At the Our Father, the priest gives the introduction of it with his hands closed and then he opens his hands in the orans position as he says the words: “Our Father…” This is one of those times the priest is collecting the prayers of all the faithful into one as the words of Christ are presented to the Father in Heaven.

So we might ask: What are the people to do? We already covered the priest: he has to hold his hands out in the orans position because he is collecting the prayers of all in his role of leadership. We can explore this question more deeply by noticing what the deacon is doing. We notice that at the Lord’s Prayer, the deacon will have his hands closed in prayer the whole time. He is not permitted to open his hands in the orans position during the Lord’s Prayer, because it is the priest who is “collecting” them to the Father. So, we might ask: If a deacon, who is an ordained minister, serving at the altar during Mass, in an official capacity, prays the Lord’s Prayer with his hands closed, why would the lay faithful open their hands like the priest does? It would be more appropriate for the faithful to imitate the deacon, rather than the priest.

On a side note, a parishioner at a previous parish, who grew up in the New England area, said that as a child her class was instructed never to open their hands like the priest at Mass because that might seem like they were mocking him.

What about the other question: Should the faithful be holding hands during the Our Father? Catch the exciting conclusion of this column in next week’s Pearl of York bulletin.

Thanks for your prayers. Be assured of my daily prayers for you.

In Christ,
Fr. Bedel


Beloved in Christ,

Let’s pick up where we left off last week. Should the faithful be holding hands during the Our Father? I would answer with another question: Why just during the Our Father? Why did we not hold hands during the opening hymn, the Collect, during the readings, during the Gospel, during the Eucharistic Prayer? So, my answer would be, it would only make sense liturgically if we were holding hands during the whole Mass. And I think we would all agree that would be strange.

As I mentioned previously, we do many things at Mass that show our unity, and our ultimate sign of unity is the act of receiving Holy Communion, hence the name “Communion.” It is a unity that is made real by the power of Christ, not human beings. Since we have a real and intimate communion with him that he establishes by his divine power, we are, by association, united to each other in real communion. Holding hands at the Our Father, or any other time, may look like a sign of unity, but it is made by human power, not God’s.

Some people have wondered how holding hands came into the liturgy over the past few decades. I heard one person guess that people were imitating the priest in the orans position and then they started to bump their hands into each other and then they just decided to grab each other’s hands. My theory is that some families hold hands during grace before meals and they have tried to introduce it into the sacred liturgy.

And then, after the Our Father, why do some people raise their hands really high when we say: “For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever.”? I have no idea where that comes from, but we can learn something from concelebrating priests. That’s when there is more than one priest offering Mass at the same time. All priests celebrating or concelebrating Mass are acting in the Person of Christ and are therefore collecting the prayers of the people to the Father as we say the words of Christ himself, in his prayer, so all priests pray in the orans position. After we say: “Deliver us from evil,” the concelebrating priests have to close their hands. Only the one main celebrant can keep his hands open showing his role of leadership in the Church’s prayer. Mass continues with: “Deliver us Lord, we pray…” These prayers were devised by the Church, not directly by God, as is the case with the Our Father. Therefore, the main celebrant assumes his role of leadership by maintaining hands in the orans position while all concelebrating priests close their hands.

Several years ago, Bishop Foys across the river had all his parishes in the Diocese of Covington do catechesis on why is would not be proper to hold hands during the Our Father at Mass. He actually asked the faithful of his diocese not to do it. As I said above, I’m not making a rule today, but will allow adults of the parish to make an informed decision for themselves and their children. I am trying to unpack what is proper and improper at Holy Mass and why we are doing what we are doing. The most I am considering is asking the altar servers to follow the example of the deacon because they are assisting at the liturgy in an official capacity.

I have always wondered: how prayerful can it be to hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer? Am I thinking about the words of the prayer or am I distracted by the other person’s hand, which may be sweaty, cold, hot, etc.? When I was teaching high school, I would see students use it as an opportunity to mess with each other. I remember two seniors rubbing each other’s fingers trying to get the other one to giggle.

It really comes down to this: How can I, or how can our family, celebrate these mysteries with greater devotion? How can we understand more and more why we do what we do as a Church? How is the Lord drawing me into His presence?

Thanks for your prayers. Be assured of my daily prayers for you.

In Christ,
Fr. Bedel


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Good articles that caught my eye today

Enjoy!

https://aleteia.org/2018/08/08/human-nature-seeks-a-do-it-yourself-religion-pope-explains-why/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en

https://churchpop.com/2018/08/08/you-are-either-with-god-or-against-him-there-is-no-middle-ground-priest-warns/


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Catholic Alternatives to Yoga

It seems to me that Yoga is quite popular among many people. However, as Christians, we are often warned about the integral connections Yoga has with Eastern spirituality. This is important because it can take us away from God, rather than making us closer to Him. Some experts discuss how Yoga can be a doorway into New Age or occult practices.

I came across this article which gives five alternatives for people who want the physical benefits of Yoga without the concern of going down a spiritually destructive path. The article offers:
Prayer Motion