Fr. Barron on Peter and Paul

This is the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Since it’s been a while since I posted a Barron video, here you go:

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Celebrating the Nativity of John the Baptist

June 24th is the Nativity of John the Baptist. John was the cousin of Jesus, and recognized the Lord in his presence before either of them was born, when their mothers greeted each other while pregnant. John leaped for joy in his mother’s womb.

John lived in the desert, eating wild locusts and honey, and preaching the necessity of baptism. Baptism is an extremely ancient custom, know around the world as a sign of new identity or new loyalty, or of cleansing from physical or spiritual contamination, but John’s baptism was different, a baptism of repentance. This offended religious authorities, who felt that John was a little out of line judging people as to who needed to repent.

John the Baptist was eventually killed by Herod’s men for publicly criticizing the marriage of Herod to his sister-in-law.

This is the occasion St. John’s Wort is named after, because this is the time of year ti is gathered. It’s also bonfire time in rural Europe, and the Midsummer Night of Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Customs include decorating with fresh flowers, making flower wreaths, and eating honey. This is also the time for Morris dances and Winster Wake Cakes.

In many places, singing, dancing, poetry recitals, and lighting small lights at night are traditions for this time. Maybe it’s a good day to break out the palm tree lights and chili pepper lights that there is never room for at Christmas. Or if you have a porch, it could be a time to sit on the porch with a few lanterns lit and listen to music.

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Air Conditioning: Is It a Sin Now?

The newspaper said that Pope Francis had condemned air conditioning in his new encyclical. I was stunned. Air conditioning saves lives.

So, I had to find out whether that’s really what he said.

It’s not.

Here is the part of the encyclical that mentions air conditioning:

55. Some countries are gradually making significant progress, developing more effective controls and working to combat corruption. People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behavior, which at times appears self-destructive.

Air conditioning per se isn’t wrong, but the increased demand for it, without finding ways to make it more efficient, is a problem. Americans are using approximately four times more AC than we were in the early 1980s, when the way of life was very much like it is now. If we can find ways to cut back by, say, half on AC use while searching for efficiency improvements, it would make a big difference in our energy use.

AC is just one example of how much more energy we are using today compared to a generation ago. As Dr. Jeff Mirus says in Catholic Culture, “Nowhere does Pope Francis says that the use of air-conditioning is a serious personal sin. He says it is an example of tremendous energy use which we take for granted without really grasping the consequences.”

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Responses to a Sickening Crime

In the stunned aftermath of Dylann Roof’s crime, we see the killer’s cold, hollow eyes staring through the cameras. What does it mean? Was he insane? He almost didn’t do it — but he did it. He had planned the horrifying attack that killed nine innocent people, desecrating a sacred time and place, but the people he told about his plans thought he was kidding.

Who does he remind me of?

Mark David Chapman. Chapman had planned the murder of John Lennon for reasons that had to do with Chapman’s delusional and paranoid theories about the world, then almost abandoned the plan at the last minute, but then pulled the trigger after all. After the crime, the public and the press argued for at least a year about what it meant: Was Chapman insane? Was the killing part of a conspiracy, or the act of a paranoid, psychotic man who saw himself as the victim of some conspiracy, or both? Is insanity an excuse? Is violence always a sign of madness?

Here are some voices around the web reacting to Roof’s crime:

From Twitchy, Charleston residents call for a response based on “love and grace”, not division.

From Townhall, John Hawkins says,

I think people should be judged by merit and the content of their character, not skin color. People are just people.

So, we may disagree [on some policies]. In fact, if you’re a black Democrat, we probably disagree on a lot of things. But, I want you to know that people like me don’t hate you.

From Hot Air, a video of the victims’ families extending forgiveness to the shooter two days after the crime.

From National Review, a look at how some media have already tried to crack the united front of America’s condemnation of the crime.

At Essence, a gallery of images of Charleston grieving, praying and uniting to heal.

And Beyonce’s video honoring the victims.

The Rainey View asks readers to pray for the healing of Charleston and of the victims’ families, and for the conversion of Roof and of all who carry hatred and paranoia in their hearts.

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Laudato Si: first thoughts


I haven’t read the new encyclical yet, but I’m looking forward to it. As usual for Francis and his two most recent predecessors, he apparently managed to excite everyone and please no one.

Originally posted on All Along the Watchtower:


I think there must be more than one version of the Pope’s latest encyclical, Laudato Si! I do not have to hand the Communist/Marxist version, although I do have to hand the one that challenges me to rethink some of my assumptions; I do not have to hand the version which confirms what I already thought; although I do have the one which challenges what I think; I do not have to hand the one which agrees with the economic assumptions of Western politics, nor, indeed, the one which agrees with its social liberalism either. I have, instead, a very long document which presents me, and others, with a challenge. I cannot pretend to have digested its detail, especially its economic dimensions, but I see its broad message.

As neither a climate-sceptic, nor a true believer, I take no position on man-made global warming. I know a great…

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Get it Straight

I always try to pay attention to people’s intentions and not to their grammar. But some things start to get to me after I see them a few hundred times on pages about literature or science, or other sites where the authors and commenters should know better.

Heroin is a drug. Heroine is a woman who accepts a job with unspecified duties for a troubled loner in a large collapsing house in the middle of nowhere.

Allusion is a sidelong reference to something. Illusion is something that isn’t really there.

Dissent is resistance to a dominant idea. Descent is a decline or a line of heredity.

Desert (DEZert) is the place with no water. Desert (daZERT) is what is coming to someone. Dessert (daZERT) is a sugar delivery system.

Adverse is bad. Averse is not liking something. The flies on the salad are adverse to you. You are averse to them.

Aisle is a throughway in a store or church. Isle is a mountain that is part underwater and part above water; an island.

More later. Thank you.

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How to Celebrate Corpus Christi

This year, Sunday, June 7th is the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ).

In Barcelona, it is traditional to hollow out an eggshell, then balance the shell on the stream of a fountain that is decorated with flowers. It’s called the Dancing Egg (L’ou com Balla). The egg represents the Lord’s Body, and the water stands for renewal. If you have no fountain, maybe just serving boiled eggs after Mass and placing a wreath of fresh flowers on the table would be a form of celebration.

Throughout Europe, people used to put on mystery plays and pageants on this day. This could be a fun idea for a family or student house with an interest in drama.

Besides eggs, traditional foods include bread and wine, soup, and grilled meats and vegetables. It would be a good day for a barbecue.

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