It wouldn’t be Lent without Xavier University’s Ken Overberg, S.J., denying the Atonement, at this point surely an act of both material and formal heresy, before the students and attendees of Bellarmine Chapel.  Here’s a key snippet:

All too often we hear of ransom, sacrifice, and suffering and dying for our sins.
We may ask–we must ask–of this atonement theory: What does this say about God? What kind of God could demand such torture of the beloved Son? Is this the God revealed by Jesus in his words and deeds? Or has this part of the tradition slipped back into the ancient (but still popular) religion that believes violence saves?

When the Archdiocese of Cincinnati garners national media attention, I’d like to think it’s for the good things going on here, e.g., swelling priestly vocations, thriving wholesome apostolates, and innovative work on the Theology of the Body, not a gabfest hosted by a race-hustling chancery official:

“It is a blessing for this archdiocese, through the archbishop, to embrace addressing racism, the pervasive gun violence, restorative justice…race relations, and mental health, that our voice has to be heard,” said Deacon Royce Winters, director of African-American ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

“That’s what we really wanted to do was to say as big and as powerful as the voice of the Catholic Church is in the United States, we have to do our part to bring about justice and the dignity of life for all peoples,” he told CNA.

The Feb. 28 meeting of Catholic leaders at Xavier University – entitled “Promoting Peace In Our Communities” – is a continuation of a years-long effort by Catholics to restore race relations and heal social tensions in the archdiocese, Deacon Royce said.

The current and former heads of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s worship office are conducting a four-part workshop on the liturgy at our territorial parish next month.  Dubbed Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi, it’s been a roadshow in the AOC for at least the past dozen years with frequent stops at this parish.  The current head was the co-author of an illicit licensing program* that attempted to suppress the celebration of the older form of the Mass when Pope Benedict XVI expressly liberated it (the other author used to be the parish liturgist), and the former thwarted efforts by local Catholics to restore  Eucharistic adoration.  That should give you some idea of the flavor of this workshop.  The shame of it all is that the parish, once dominated by dissenting baby boomers, now has new young families who would benefit from genuine liturgical catechesis.  For that they’ll have to make the one-mile drive to St. Cecilia.

*Interestingly enough, the guidelines, developed under Archbishop Emeritus Pilarczyk, are nowhere to be found on the archdiocesan website.

That’s how Marcus Mescher, a member of Xavier University’s theology department and a … chapel-goer at Bellarmine, ends his piece about going “beyond resistance” in the Trump era.

Really.

Funny, I don’t recall so-called conservative Catholics aping the catch-phrases of Reagan or Bush in the years that immediately followed their presidencies.

Let it suffice to say that it’s all politics all the time with this crowd.

Mescher’s cri de coeur was recommended by Ken Overberg, S.J., in one of his Bellarmine homilies, ‘natch.

Here’s a summarizing snip toward the end:

These five practices—cultivating prayer for shalom, practicing prophetic imagination, growing in advocacy, initiating inclusive dialogue and relationships, and participating in community organizing and collective action—are concrete avenues to be faithful to the demands of discipleship. …

Fr. Andre-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., the pastor of Cincinnati’s St. Gertrude parish, a center of dynamic orthodoxy staffed by Dominicans and host to the Dominican priory for the St. Joseph province, uses his column in the bulletin last weekend to catechize his flock on St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.  (BTW, it reads exactly like one of the informative, detailed, and practical homilies he reads from the lectern, even at weekday Masses.) Enjoy.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Feast Day is January 28 (1225 – March 7, 1274)
By universal consent, St. Thomas Aquinas is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor.

At the age of five he was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in his parents’ hopes that he would choose that way of life and eventually became abbot. In 1239, he was sent to Naples to complete his studies. It was here that he was first attracted to Aristotle’s philosophy.

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family’s plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother’s dismay. On her order, Thomas was captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year.

Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies under the instructions of Dominican St. Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, combated adversaries of the mendicants, as well as the Averroists, and argued with some Franciscans about Aristotelianism.

His greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The unity, harmony and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades all his writings. As one might expect Thomas, as a man of the gospel, was an ardent defender of revealed truth. But he was also broad enough, deep enough, to see the whole natural order as coming from God the Creator, and to see reason as a divine gift to be highly cherished. In St. Thomas we see a beautiful blending of both faith and reason. St. Thomas taught us all that these two important realities are never opposed to one another, but instead both are used to lift us up to the Holy Trinity.

The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on … All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274.

Fortunately his secretaries and ardent theological followers knew his style of writing, as well as his vision, and finished the Summa for him.

We can look to Thomas Aquinas as a towering example of Catholicism in the sense of broadness, universality, and inclusiveness. We should be determined anew to exercise the divine gift of reason in us, our power to know, learn, and understand. At the same time we should thank God for the gift of his revelation, especially in Jesus Christ.

Saint Thomas Aquinas is the Patron Saint of Catholic schools, colleges, and students.

Feisty, funny, and gimlet-eyed author John Zmirak writes a helpful FAQ on the extent and limits of papal authority for the baffled Catholics of the Age of Francis.  The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s the hard-hitting conclusion:

Q: What if Pope Francis decided to issue an infallible statement, insisting that the Maltese bishops’ interpretation on divorce, marriage and communion are authentic Catholic teaching?

A: In such a situation, we believe the Holy Spirit would intervene. As Catholics, we believe that God would veto such a statement.

Q: How would He do that?

A: Look back at scripture for examples. Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the fate of Onan. It’s not for me to predict what means He’d decide to use. But if the Catholic claim is true, no pope would live long enough to sign such a document.

Q: And that’s all that papal infallibility means? “Try to teach heresy ex cathedra, and get a heart attack?”

A: Yes, in effect. The pope is not an oracle, not a second Jesus, not the Supreme Court rewriting the Constitution as it goes along. He’s like a Fedex guy, and it’s his job to pass on a package. He’s not empowered to open it, rifle through the contents, and replace them with something “better.”

In his apostolic exhortation on the Mass, Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI taught that priests should strive to avoid being “the center of the liturgical action.”

The same ought to be true of choirs.