The Church Is Not a Political Party

David Oatney New Evangelization, Vatican II, Year of Faith

On the eve of next week’s World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, the seeming fascination on the part of much of what we might call the mainstream secular news media with the day-to-day doings of Pope Francis continues without abatement. The Holy Father made the international cover of Time this week, where he has been dubbed “The People’s …

Lumen Fidei

David Oatney Catechism, New Evangelization, Vatican II, Year of Faith

Pope Francis’ very first encyclical, which is meant to help highlight the Year of Faith which the Church is currently in the midst of celebrating, has been released today. It is called Lumen Fidei, or “the Light of Faith,” after the very first words of the document. This encyclical must certainly be considered unique because it has truly been co-written …

What Did the Pope Really Say?

David Oatney Catechism, New Evangelization, Prayer, Vatican II, Year of Faith

If you believe The Huffington Post, the Holy Father preached the other day that atheists can all go to Heaven by doing good, never mind repentance, forgiveness, the Sacraments, or growth in faith. If you really think that the Holy Father preached that, I have some ocean front property on the top of Clingman’s Dome that I would love to sell you at …

The Power of Prayer

David Oatney New Evangelization, Prayer, Vatican II, Year of Faith

Pope Francis has recently called on us to pray in a courageous fashion, not just to tell people we are praying for them or to say a quick prayer and be done with it. Courageous and strong prayer of faith is what we need. Indeed, St. Paul reminds us to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The Holy Father held up …

Taking It To the Streets

David Oatney New Evangelization, Prayer, Vatican II, Vocations, Year of Faith

On Friday I discussed the New Evangelization and how we need to pray for an evangelizing spirit so that we are unafraid to proclaim the faith with charitable boldness in the way that Pope Francis seems to be calling on us to do. Are there any Catholic groups, especially organizations which are primarily lay ecclesial movements, that are actively witnessing …

Vatican II & Sacred Art

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II

One of the things that was always emphasized in our seminary training with regards to the liturgy, which includes the use of sacred art, is that it should have a character of noble simplicity. The council fathers described the use of sacred art with these words, The fine arts are rightly classed among the noblest activities of man’s genius; this …

Vatican II & Sacred Music

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II, Year of Faith

Sacrosanctum Concilium proves its connection to true Catholic theology in how it addresses the issue of sacred music as falling into the category of “both/and”. Here are some words that struck me from the chapter of the document on sacred music. The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it …

Liturgical Seasons

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II, Year of Faith

Continuing with our journey through the documents of the Second Vatican Council, I would like to take a look at the liturgical year. We are just around the corner from the beginning of a new Church year that begins with the First Sunday of Advent. There are really several liturgical calendars in the Church that overlap one another and unless …

The Divine Office

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II, Year of Faith

Chapter Four of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy focuses on what is properly called the prayer of the Church, known as the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours. My guess is that most people associate this prayer with the daily prayers of those who live in a monastic setting or as the private prayer …

The Latin Mass

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II, Year of Faith

Certainly one of the biggest changes that Catholics around the world saw as a result of the Second Vatican Council, was the rapid disappearance of Latin in the liturgy as it was replaced by the vernacular. Today there is still a debate within the Church as to whether this was a legitimate development of the council. There are a large …

The Council At 50: All Are Missionaries

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II, Year of Faith

Bishop Gerald Kicanas comments on Vatican II’s call to mission in the Church.  Fifty years ago, the Second Vatican Council issued Ad Gentes Divinitus (Divinely Sent to the Nations). This “Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity” remains relevant today.  In it the Council Fathers made clear that are all “missionaries.” When most of us think of “missionaries,” we picture priests, sisters and brothers …

The Council at 50: A New Way of Working for Bishops: Consultation

Deacon Scott Maentz Vatican II, Year of Faith

Bishop Howard Hubbard reflects upon consultation as the USCCB continues its blog series on the Second Vatican Council. As bishops from around the world gather in Rome for the XIII ordinary Synod of Bishops, they can thank the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council for making the opportunity possible. The Synod of Bishops, established by Pope Paul VI prior to the conclusion …