The New Evangelization and the Head of John the Baptist

The New Evangelization and the Head of John the Baptist

The morning after Halloween my wife and I woke up, got dressed, and dragged took our bleery-eyed, sugar-coma’ed children to mass.  It was All Saints Day; and, although not a day of obligation this year, still a solemnity worthy of our family participation in the Holy Sacrifice.  Our daughter, four year-old Rita, was eager to dress up in a costume she had worn the day before to her Montessori school.  They dress in saint costumes for Halloween.  She made such a beautiful Rose of Lima, red roses encircling her hair and all.  My son, six year-old Benedict, on the other hand…  Let me tell you about his costume and why we waited until after mass to dress him up. It seems someone who shall remain nameless (although his name rhymes with Lenedict) had recently become familiar with the story of John the Baptist.  No, he had heard of Our Lord’s cousin who heralded His coming and had witnessed the initiation of His public ministry at the Jordan.  That’s cool.  Rather, son had recently heard how John met his demise, his head served up cold on a silver platter at the request of Salome because Herod had made a promise in front of his guy friends while drinking.  Hey, who hasn’t promised anything in the world to an evil vixen in front of his bro’s while getting wasted, right?  Well, the boy of the house really wanted to be the beheaded John the Baptist.  And of course, his mother and I obliged. Our disembodied son made a splash at school and on Instagram, Twitter, and every other form of social...
What the New Evangelization Must Learn from the Renaissance to Flourish

What the New Evangelization Must Learn from the Renaissance to Flourish

Freely have you received, freely give. -Matthew 10:8 Call me crazy, but I’m a huge fan of the word free. In the last few months, I’ve made my love of religious and political freedom pretty well known. I’d like to turn my attention for a moment to evangelization. Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to perform their miracles and preach the Gospel freely with the maxim “freely have you received, freely give.”  I’m not going to bore you with my thoughts on financial stewardship.  That topic has been done to death. Another form of stewardship remains. I remember sitting in a classroom at Franciscan University of Steubenville pondering the application of St. Paul’s admonition in 1 Tim 6:20: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust!” It was suggested with no little emphasis that, far from sealing the Gospel away safely in a vault, the real way to guard the Sacred Deposit of Faith was to spread it far and wide, to let it be known publicly so well that even laymen could spot a heresy from a mile away.  To guard the Deposit, by paradoxically giving it away, is an invaluable form of Christian stewardship. We must ask ourselves seriously as Catholics: have we done this?  Have we sowed the seed in every field?  Have we made every effort to accomplish that goal? We live in an increasingly amazing technological age.  While the apostles of the early Church stood in the Areopagus and medieval friars in the alleys of plateaued Umbrian villages, today’s evangelists stand upon the rostra at the intersections of the information superhighway.  Effective online...
Truth, Charity, & Evangelical Catholicism

Truth, Charity, & Evangelical Catholicism

As is evident from the news in the last few months, we Christians face an increasingly hostile national environment, one which we must navigate carefully to avoid the complex tangles of the enemy’s web. Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about what Catholics can learn from evangelicalism about living out our faith in this secular context and I think my conclusions may surprise you. A few weeks ago, Truth & Charity was honored with a spot on St. Peter’s List’s 25 Reader Recommended Blogs. It was pretty awesome, even if the reader who recommended us was our own Editor-in-Chief. There, alongside our blog’s illustrious name, was a description: “A group of writers with an evangelical mindset.” Catholics?  Evangelicals?  Aside from the pro-life movement, what do we have in common? When most people consider Evangelical Christianity, they think of folks in stadium seats facing pastors on jumbotrons exhibiting a political courage our priests tend to shy away from.  Catholics are something entirely different, aren’t we?  Aside from the pro-life causes and a belief in Jesus, typical Catholics appear to share very little in common with Evangelicals.  Evangelicals are open about their faith.  They speak freely and competently on politics.  They tithe.  They open everything in prayer.  They call on the name of Jesus.  They have an infectious joy.  They worship in a lively way. Perhaps most striking, in my experience, is that they are direct in living their faith, radically, without shame or apology. This is not a typical Catholic approach to the faith. Most Catholics I see, outside of those of us who make evangelization our business, acknowledge...

10 Ideas for Evangelizing the Culture That Probably Should Never Be Implemented

The other night, I was thinking about Truth & Charity and our attempt to help get Catholicism into the culture. Here are some ways to get Catholicism into the cultural conversation that probably should never be implemented: Candy Rosaries – Products & Marketing – Remember those candy necklaces you had when you were a kid? With only a few small modifications, they could become candy rosaries! What an awesome way to get kids interested in the Rosary! Of course, on second thought, it would probably lead them to believe prayer is about the sweet consolation of sugary goodness. I assume this one was mostly for decoration. Youth Ministry Survivor – Television Program – This season, on Mother Angelica’s Youth Ministry Survivor: Join Therese, John Paul, Michael, Agnes, Rosaria, James, Philomena, and Andrew as they battle it out to discover who will be the next Youth Ministry Survivor! Take part in the process of voting them off one-by-one in our online conclave! Next week, sparks will fly when Philomena and leaves Michael to organize the NCYC trip by himself. Cut to Michael: “Philomena, that darn girl. She really frosts my cookie! Argh! I’m sorry, that was really uncalled for. I’ll watch my language on camera next time.” This week’s challenge: who will devise the best way to detect whether boys and girls on the trip are staying in their own dorm rooms? Cut to Agnes: “At first I tried the duct tape on the door method, but apparently that’s a safety violation.” Who will be voted off and left to pay tens of thousands in college debt alone? Who will...
Ancient Patrimony for NextGen Catholics

Ancient Patrimony for NextGen Catholics

About 6 months ago, a teachable moment found me when my 3-year-old son brought to my attention a stick he held in his hand. “Look, daddy, stick!” “Yes, son, that is a stick. What’s the Latin word for stick?” “I dunno.” “Baculum.” “Baculoooo!” “Close enough.” Since that moment, I’ve endeavored periodically to gauge when he’s ready to begin learning the great language of our fathers in the faith. I figure he needs to have acquired a masterful grasp of memory before I can teach him our universal, patrimonial, vocabutastic language. Usually, that conversation goes a little something like this: “Aaron, do you know the Latin word for stick?” “Yes.” “What is it?” “I dunno.” Latin is an important part of our patrimony in Western Civilization. From it (and from the whole Greco-Roman Tradition) come our politics and our laws, our poetry and our prose, our language, our culture, our identity. In the absence of Latin study, we as a nation have found ourselves disconnected from our roots, and the things that pass for culture today would never have done so in a more classical time. Click here for an example. The following table compares two odes to those held dear, the first ancient, the second modern. Carried over many seas, and through many nations, brother, I come to these sad funeral rites, to grant you the last gifts to the dead, and speak in vain to your mute ashes. Seeing that fate has stolen from me your very self. Ah alas, my brother, taken shamefully from me, yet, by the ancient custom of our parents, receive these sad gifts,...