The Seven, a prophetic novel by Michael H Brown  A coming sign? Events by a sinister personage? Disaster? In his first work of fiction, Brown pens the driving, suspenseful, and deeply spiritual story of a mysterious government property that harbors secrets relevant not only to a young cop who tries to investigate strange goings-on, but also to an equally mysterious and incredibly powerful old priest who joins forces with him to solve the mystery -- and try to prevent an end-times-like disaster!   CLICK HERE



The Responsorial Psalm at Mass last Saturday was interesting. "Turn your steps toward the utter ruins," it said, "toward all the damage the enemy has done in the sanctuary." Can this be applied to the priest-abuse crisis? Here, indeed, we see that the enemy has infiltrated and damaged what we hold as most sacred. Those awaiting persecution of the Church were surprised by the trickiness of a devil who (as it turns out) has been persecuting it from inside -- wolves as sheep. Most astounding has been the case of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, the Mexican-born founder of the Legion of Christ, who literally led a double life and ensnared officials at the Vatican.

This all comes at a time when the persecution may be moving from inside to outside, with courts ruling against Rome (see U.S. Supreme Court yesterday), a government raiding a diocese (holding bishops for questioning), and cardinals battling each other. We are on dangerous turf.

Perhaps it is time for the Church to re-evaluate its direction. In recent years, there has been a push at the Vatican to show that it is "with it," that it agrees with much of the rest of society when it comes to science and artwork and even philosophy and music. This has been most visible in the Vatican's semi-official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, which has taken to applauding movies (most recently The Blues Brothers), rock singers or groups (the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, and even the Rolling Stones), and philosophy based on Aristotle. The problem: the Beatles were great musicians with some brilliant inspiring messages ("Let It Be") who however had songs such as "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" (please excuse our need to explicate) and "With a Little Help from My Friends" (marijuana) or "Helter Skelter" while all that needs to be known about the Stones, perhaps, is that they had an album called "His Satanic Majesty." The lyrics of huge hits such as "Honky Tonk Woman" would surely make the Pope (who as far as we know isn't  aware of everything L'Osservatore Romano is about to say) and his cardinals take a second look (or perhaps "Brown Sugar"). Despite musical talent (especially in the case of the Beatles), the themes of drugs and sex had a profoundly negative effect, as did promotion of un-Christian spirituality (such as TM) or the image (on the cover of "Sergeant Pepper") of chief U.S. satanist Anton LaVey. Moreover, the attempt at being hip has not worked: when the newspaper issued a statement forgiving and lauding the Beatles despite what it said had been perceived as "satanic" elements, Ringo Starr shot back on television, saying that the Vatican had more important things to discuss (this was at the height of the latest round in the abuse crisis). Ironically, attempts to be "with it" have met, thus, with disdain. Perhaps the Church needs to distance itself more from worldliness, instead of trying to embrace elements of it. We respectfully submit this for consideration. It may feel like an outcast, but such distance will protect its dignity. 

Has the Vatican newspaper been uncool in trying to be cool and are we getting dangerously close to worldliness? Some have singled out its editor, a professor who is known as "progressive." Most recently, he called The Blues Brothers "a Catholic classic." The question: can the Church endorse a film that however humorous and even laudatory in certain themes has raw language? And might the astronomer at the Vatican Observatory not slow down in endorsing the idea of space aliens?

Yes, we can be too serious about all this.

But it seems out of place, especially on this day (6/29) when we celebrate Peter and Paul -- recalling the martyrdom of both men, recalling Paul's admonishments against worldliness, and recalling today's reading: "For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."

  E-mail this link directly  

Return to home page