Categories
Current Events

A New Record

I’m not going to resume my daily COVID posts that I did over the summer (at least not yet), but wanted to interrupt my non-programming to share that Texas hit a new record high number today.

10,865 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

Categories
Church

McCarrick

The Vatican released today a report from the Secretariat of State on Theodore McCarrick, the sexual abuser and predator who rose the hierarchy’s ranks to became a Cardinal.

I’ve only had a chance to skim it, so this isn’t a full summary except to say that some bishops didn’t share their full knowledge, some ignored reports or actively discredited the reporter. There was an implicit bias that worked in McCarrick’s favor (forms of clericalism). There was a failure to treat the reports as potential (and now confirmed) serious crimes against people, replaced with treating this as potential public relations and public scandal problems.

I don’t want to get into who, more specifically, is to blame or not without reading the report in more detail.

As a Catholic and a former lay minister, thus a tiny part of the institutional Church, I’m sorry. The Church failed on so many levels for such a long time.

I don’t have confidence that the lessons have been learned yet. Yes, a report of a sexual crime is taken far more seriously with a more objective process. Has the Church—specifically the bishops—learned to put humility and holiness over protectionism? Some always put humility and holiness over protectionism, some have learned to, but all of them? All of them in higher positions?

In addition to my continued prayers and support for those who have suffered at the hands of the Church, I pray for the institutional leaders that they receive this report with open arms and minds, learn from it, and make the sometimes radical change to return to the first principles of their vocational call. I pray for myself, too, for the grace and wisdom to help in my future roles within the Church.

Categories
Church

Dedication of the Archbasilica

Today’s feast day in the Latin Church is the Dedication of St. John Lateran. It’s the only “archbasilica” in Christianity as the chief and highest-ranking church in the world—the Mother Church.

Briefly, this area of Rome just inside the city walls was given to the Pope around the year 300 or so with a church on the site dedicated in 324. For a long time, the Pope lived at the Lateran and a number of councils were held here over the years.

It was–and still is—the Cathedral for the Diocese of Rome and for the Bishop of Rome, which is just another name for the Pope. St. Peter’s is just another church, but St. John Lateran is the Cathedral.

I’ve been able to visit a couple of times; here are a few pictures from April 2019, including the Baptistry adjacent.

Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified. Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts.

St. Caesarius of Arles as found in the Office of Readings.
Categories
Church Reflections

One Priest Can Make All The Difference

Today is the birthday of Fr. Ivor Koch, who spent hours sitting outside of the funeral home with my mom after my dad died. We were lapsed Catholics and a family holding a lot of pain from church mistakes decades before.

I was baptized, but we never went to church for the 11 years that followed. But, nevertheless, he sat there, listening to my mom’s grief about my dad and her pain about the church.

We always considered ourselves Catholic. But the Church had burned us. Fr. Koch wasn’t pushy. He was simply present.

He was present in ways that the priests weren’t in the 70s when my mom wanted to talk about her brother’s suicide.

And that made all the difference. He cared. He brought Christ to us again.

He wasn’t perfect. He was a bit grumpy. But, he made all the difference, healed a massive rift in my family, and gave me a spiritual home when I needed it most as a 12-year-old dealing with losing a father.

He died a few years ago, but I keep his birthday on my calendar. If you’re one of the priests that follow me, know that you’re changing lives every day by just being you. Keep fighting the good fight.

Categories
Current Events

First Case at a Kid’s School

One of my kiddo’s schools has their first positive COVID case within the building. They announced this via a letter to parents today.

Stay safe, everyone. I hate this and hope we can overcome this soon.

Categories
Current Events

Bars To Reopen Next Week

Gov. Abbott has ordered that bars can reopen starting October 14th if the county judge opts-in and only in areas where the COVID hospitalization rate is under 15%.

Here’s the current status of that:

TSA RegionMain City% Hospitalization
for COVID, Oct 7
AAmarillo15.8%
BLubbock13.5%
CWichita Falls4.3%
DAbilene6.6%
EDFW7.6%
FParis16.9%
GLongview/Tyler11.9%
HLufkin16.8%
IEl Paso14.0%
JMidland/Odessa8.6%
KSan Angelo0.8%
LBelton/Killeen3.8%
MWaco14.1%
NCollege Station8.7%
OAustin2.9%
PSan Antonio5.5%
QHouston4.4%
RGalveston9.8%
SVictoria17.4%
TLaredo21.9%
UCorpus Christi9.8%
VRGV14.6%
Statewide7.6%

As of today, those in the Amarillo, Paris, Lufkin, Victor, or Laredo regions couldn’t reopen whether or not the county opts-in. Lubbock, Longview, El Paso, Waco, and the Rio Grande Valley are borderline, but under 15%.

You can watch Gov. Abbott’s announcement on his Facebook page: