Monday, November 30, 2009

The Soul of the Woman

Jan Vermeer, Martha and Mary
One of my favorite stories told by our belvoed Bishop D'Arcy (and he likes to tell a lot of stories!) is the account of his ad limina visit with Pope John Paul II a few years before his passing. Bishop asked the pope about some of the cultural issues facing our American society, especially the issues related to the challenges to marriage and the family. In a great impersonation of JPII's hard Polish accent, Bishop D'Arcy quotes the pope as saying, "It is necessary to understand the soul of the woman."

How true is this!? So many of the very things that were meant to "liberate" women have actually only led to their entrapment and their objectification as a result of the lust of men. Recently, I ran across a great speech entitled "Feminine Identity: Challenge and Quest," given by one of my new favorite people, Msgr. Cormac Burke (formerly a judge of the Roman Rota), in which he discusses the necessity of understanding the truth about femininity, which I actually think can apply to all of us during this Advent season.

He notices:

Love and life and creativity go together. One of the major impoverishments of our value-free world is that we are no longer artists, no longer creative in any true sense. What sort of creativity can spring from a life-view which refuses to envision limitless beauty, goodness, love, life, glory, generosity - or their opposites?

During Advent, we are forced (especially by the readings during the liturgy), to focus on the fact that we will die, we will be judged, and one day Christ will return as a triumphant mercifully just Judge. Are we preparing our lives for this? Are we living in our homes, in our families, in our workplaces in such a manner that we rejoice in, and respect, the dignity of work---not only of our material work, but the work of our person--the recognition that each of us is a project that is to be made by God's grace through our human action. We are true artists, and ought to be always aware that each on of our acts is either helping create a beautiful picture, contributing to a beautiful masterpiece, or is either tarnishing, obscuring the glory for which God has created us.


Home needs to be remade. To be homemakers is one of the highest ideals for both men and women, especially today. It draws them on to true personal fulfilment, and involves them in the great enterprise of rehumanizing our modern world.

Burke notices that this work of art called life begins in the home--the first school of life and of love for each of us. It is in our homes that we must, as both women and men find the opportunity and blessed occasion to become who we ought to be--through the exercise of charity in our actions and way of treating one another. The way I scold my child, the way I speak to my wife, the way I welcome visitors in my home helps me to humanize society, or dehumanize it at the most fundamental level. A key to this is the confidence that the woman has in the home, and the affirmation which she receives:

Yes, indeed, for we have gone through a century in which woman has stepped down from her pedestal, has cast away her throne and her crown, and preferred to have the democratic right of being just one guy more.

Burke notices the ravages of feminism. But why has woman become "just one guy more?" Many times it is because a man who is unwilling, unable, or clueless as to how to live authentic masculinity treats a woman as just one guy more. A man must recognize the calling to cherish, affirm, build up, and respect the great dignity that a woman has. The sweetheart whom he has married has become the mother of the future of the human race. Who would not bow down in awe in admiration of such a great calling and vocation?

If this richness of the home is not built up, we will (as we are) continue to face a dehumanization and demoralilzation of society:

"...a dehumanized, devalued, civilization where, having stupidly mortgaged our life's possibilities, sinking them in the acquisition of material things, we see society totter on the verge of bankruptcy. In a frenzy of accumulating possessions and experiences, we have pawned or jettisoned the treasure of selfhood and self-gift, and now we are tempted to think there is no way of redeeming what has been so recklessly thrown away. Oh, but there is. It will take time, but there is a way to redemption, and it depends very principally on woman's proudly recovering her feminine identity."

So I think that we all have some thinking to do about what John Paul II might have meant when he said that it is necessary to "understand the soul of the woman." I am convinced that if men and women seek to open heartedly and sincerely understand the opposite sex, we will be well on our way to building up a true communion of persons within our families, the Church, and the greater social order.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Ad te levavi animam meam; Deus meus in te confido. Non erubeseam: neque irrideant me inimici mei; etenim universi qui te exspectant; non confudentur. Vias tuas domine demonstra mihi: et semitas tuas edoceme. Gloria patri.

All my heart goes out to thee; my God, I trust in thee, do not belie my trust. Let not my enemies boast of my downfall. Who ever waited for thy help, and waited in vain? V. Lord, let me know thy ways,teach me thy paths (Ps 24:1–3).

Advent is finally here. It's been a crazy fall, and I am looking forward very much to a quiet, reflective time of preparation for the nativity of Our Lord.

Advent is also a time to think about the end times...and there are possible a lot f ends before us. Right now, the ND Stanford game just came on. Is it going to be the end of the Charile Weis era? I guess we will see. What a good way to begin Advent, though. The football season ends. Time to look forward to more quiet weekends...We'll see the results of the end of our season soon...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Three Saint Joe's

This diocese has at least six St. Joseph Catholic Schools! Sometimes I myself cannot keep straight which Saint Joseph's Catholic School we are at in a given week.

Today, we were in Decatur, IN at St Joseph Catholic School, which is attached to Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, a beautiful, yet modern, art nouveau church from the 1940's. I think it is a great example of a very short period of modern, post-WWII architecture that actually witnessed many beautiful and traditional edifices. Another one of these is Holy Cross Church in South Bend, IN.

Anyway, not too much to say right now. It's late, and tomorrow and Wednesday, we're off to another Saint Joseph's--this time in South Bend.

Friday, November 13, 2009


An announcement is imminent. We will have a new Ordinary for the Dicoese of Fort Wayne-South Bend tomorrow at 10:15 E.S.T. The press conference will be in Fort Wayne at the Archbishop Noll Center, and then again at 2:15 p.m. at Saint Matthew Cathedral School in South Bend. This is truly an event that happens "once in a generation."

We'll see what happens...