Feb 14, 2009

Special Church Collections and Envelopes

It took Mother over 80 years to determine that she couldn't keep putting $1 (or more) bills in every solicitation letter she received from Catholic 0rganizations. She had contributed regularly to close to a dozen different organizations over many years. and as you might expect, her small but very consistent generosities were now recognized by many, many others.

Finally, she complained to me that she couldn't keep responding to two or three 'mooching' letters that arrived almost daily. I finally persuaded her to select those charities that she felt were the best and to give all her money (outside of what she gives to support her parish) to the selected few. Now she was able to throw the other envelopes in the trash without feeling like she was committing a sin.

The number of potential donation recipients in the Catholic church seems to have increased, even as the Catholic church attendance and practice has decreased. Diocesan collections (for Catholic Charities and other endeavors) in the Kansas City area include:
1. Archbishop's Call to Share (Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas)
2. Special Collection to Benefit Seminary (Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph)
3. Retired Religious Collection (Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph)
See the comprehensive list at St. Charles parish website for examples of special second collections at a local parish level.

In addition to necessary collections for selected good Catholic organizations, the parish, and the diocese, additional church collections mandated in 2009 by the USCCB include:
1. Church in Latin America
2. Church in Central and Eastern Europe
3. Black and Indian Missions
4. The Catholic Relief Services Collection
5. Holy Land
6. Catholic Home Missions Appeal
7. Catholic Communication Campaign
8. Peter’s Pence
9. Catholic University of America
10. World Mission Sunday
11. Catholic Campaign for Human Development
12. Retirement Fund for Religious
My fellow Kansas City Catholic blogger, Curmudgeon, has posted two articles on the almost two dozen 'special' envelopes that traditional Catholics receive each year requesting donations to the above list.
But here's a quandry. We really can't just not give anything outside our parish...ever. We do have an obligation to support the wider Church...not just our own community. Many of us do just that...by supporting faithful religious orders, for instance. But is that enough? Canon 1262 provides that "The faithful are to give support to the Church by responding to appeals and according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops."

Now let's acknowledge that checkbooks can be wielded as effective weapons. Wealthy leftist individuals and wealthy leftist foundations often use the checkbook as their weapon of choice. While we can't perhaps write such big checks and wield such big weapons as these guys (they've got .45s; we've got .22s), we can make ourselves heard using our checkbooks.
Curmudgeon identifies a good procedure and alternate donation scenarios that respond to USCCB-mandated Church collections where your money may not be directed to the best places and activities. For more information, see Curmudgeon's two posts, here and here. Highly recommended!

Darwin Celebration -- NOT YET!

In view of the 2-hr PBS presentation highlighting the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" (and lots more Darwinian publicity elsewhere), be sure and take a look at this video with three scientists who contend there are major problems with Darwin's theory.

Feb 10, 2009

Entanglement with Christ through Transubstantiation

Persons who receive the Eucharist consecrated by a Catholic priest eat and drink the substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross of 2000 years ago. John Young in The Wanderer newspaper (Feb 12, 2009) observes that this mystery and defined Catholic doctrine is being referred to as "only a theological opinion" in a "widespread reluctance to accept the clear teaching of the Church on the nature of the Real Presence."

Young continues, "Transubstantiation has become an embarrassment" to certain philosophers who "can't logically admit substance because they restrict knowledge to the observable, and substances are not observable." He argues "the substance is the underlying reality beneath the appearances we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell....the substance is the essence, the basic nature, of the thing."

Some years ago, the wife of a friend expressed doubts about the transubstantiation of bread and wine into Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist. She seemed not to understand the accidents of bread and wine continue to exist after the priest's consecration, but that the underlying substance has been changed. Her doubts about transubstantiation seem unreasonable because of what we know about the nature of matter from the study of quantum physics. Homiletic and Pastoral Review (oldest magazine for priests in the U.S.) published an article several years ago on why knowledge of quantum mechanics, including quarks, made transubstantiation easier for the mind to grasp. [I think the author was Abraham Vorghese.]

When you interact with Jesus during Holy Communion, quantum physics teaches an 'entanglement' occurs, while theology teaches that you share in the life of God. The introduction to Louisa Gilder's new book, The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics was Reborn, gives an unusual insight into what happens when two entities interact. Apply this next scientific paragraph written by Gilder to Holy Communion when we interact with God, the Son, made man.
ANY TIME TWO ENTITIES INTERACT, they entangle. It doesn't matter if they are photons (bits of light), atoms (bits of matter), or bigger things made of atoms like dust motels, microscopes, cats, or people [my emphasis]. The entanglement persists no matter how far these entities separate, as long as they don't subsequently interact with anything else--an almost impossible tall order for a cat or a person, which is why we don't notice the effect.

But the motions of subatomic particles are dominated by entanglement. It starts when they interact; in doing so, they lose their separate existence. No matter how far they move apart, if one is tweaked, measured, observed, the other seems to instantly respond, even if the whole world lies between them. And no one knows how.
Louisa Gilder describes entanglement as "the seemingly telepathic communication between separated particles--one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics. Einstein in 1935 [in "the most cited [paper] of all Einstein's roster of glittering, earthshaking work"] called entanglement "spooky action at a distance."

Quantum physics and entanglement seem much better than Newtonian physics at understanding substances, even transubstantiation and reception of Holy Communion (though more insightful physics can never describe elements such as the love exchanged between the two parties in this God-man relationship). Yet from quantum mechanics, we now know that appearances observed in our everyday life are simply shadows of the hidden realities of substances. We also know from Schrödinger, that an entangled state can be used to steer a distant particle into one of a set of states. [That makes me think of God's spiritual direction of souls to a state of sanctity--"Be ye perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."]

Entanglement with God (who self-limits himself to time and space and who pours out his life to communicants) seems to relate to
mutual envelopment that has always been taught to occur during reception of the Eucharist. I see a correspondence between "communication between separated particles" and my own experience at Mass. Union with Christ during Holy Communion persists until broken (only partially?) by succeeding interactions with the world.

"God Exists" on London Buses

If you remember, I recently wrote a post on London buses with signs saying God doesn't exist. Fortunately, the bus company has been taking lots of orders for counter-ads . The Times Religion Correspondent, Ruth Gledhill, comments on her blog:
Who apart from Transport for London is benefiting from this influx of cash into advertising for or against the existence of God? The churches might not be able to compete individually with Richard Dawkins' £150,00 atheist bus campaign running across several cities in the UK but between them they are putting up a pretty good show. I wouldn't cite any of it as proof or otherwise for the existence of God, even given the laws of probability. But if there is a God, He or She must be having quite a laugh.

The latest to hit the streets with pro-God buses are The Christian Party, the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Christian Party is paying for buses to carry the slogan: 'There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.' The Trinitarian Bible Society has chosen a line from Psalm 53: 'The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.'

Feb 9, 2009

Pro-life Red Letter: Feb 28--Mar 1

Get a red envelope. You can buy them at an office supply store. Better yet, order 500 red envelopes from a paper supply company such as XPedX.com and distribute them to your family and friends, and at your church. [XPedX in Kansas City charges only $36.79 for 500 red envelopes.] If you have a white envelope, color the front with a red crayon, and leave only the address area as white!

On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington , D.C.

On the back, write the following message.

"This red envelope represents the blood of one child who died in abortion.
It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world.
No to FOCA!"

Put it in the mail, and send it. Try to mail the empty red envelopes on the weekend of Feb 28-March 1st. Of course, you can send a red envelope anytime you want, but for the White House to get millions at once would be a powerful message against FOCA. Fifty million red envelopes would represent the over 50 million children who have died from abortion in the U.S. since 1973.

This good idea was received in my email box today. For more information see SendARedEnvelope.org.