Warning: Don't be an unmarried lawyer from St. Louis

07-28-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Mark Twain often said, "there are statistics and then there is the truth." The information we glean from statistics is often colored by our preconceived notions, biases or just wishful thinking, at least in the popular mind. I realize the science of statistics can give us some really good objective data but once it's interpreted by people with agendas that same data miraculously seems to be able to support any hypothesis pro and con at the same time. Still it can be amusing to see how people interpret statistics that are garnered from polls, surveys and research.

So in light of that, here's what I extrapolate from three recent survey's: Devout married Catholics who are members of the Military and live in New York City have the most enjoyable and frequent sex and contribute the most to society's wellbeing among all demographic groups. Conversely, unmarried non-Catholic lawyers who live in St. Louis contribute the least to societyand have really bad sex lives. Here's the proof in favor:

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Lies and damn lies

07-21-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Experience has taught me that if you "buy a lie" the truth will forever kick your butt. Take for example the alcoholic who despite evidence to the contrary decides to buy the lie that he or she can find a way to manage their drinking. She'll tell herself that if she just exerts enough will-power she can control her drinking or if other people would just get off her back she wouldn't have to drink so much. Once she accepts that lie, alcohol will progressively ruin her life. However if she accepts the truth that she can never safely drink alcohol then she has a chance to recover and live a sober and sane life.

Many of us will also fight to make the lie true. We'll blame other people and victimize ourselves. We'll insist that if other people would only stop saying the lie is a lie, the lie would somehow morph into the truth. When others stand their ground and refuse to say the lie is the truth they are met with anger, resentment, ostracism and sometimes violence.

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Does anybody want what you have?

07-14-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

I think I have DSP Withdrawal, as in Daughters of St. Paul. After spending a week with the sisters it's been a little empty without them. The love and joy the Sisters have is simply infectious. What great blessings they brought to our parish and to me. And the culmination of the week, the Perpetual Profession of Sr. Maria Kim, was a high-water mark for our Parish. Witnessing such a profound moment re-energized my own commitment to follow Jesus. And I would not hesitate to encourage any young woman to join their company.

As I originally told you the Daughters would teach us the secret to the "New Evangelization", how to share to Good News of the Gospel especially with our friends and family whose faith has lapsed. And true to form they did teach us. But it might not have been what you expected.

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A Milleseptuacentennial!

07-07-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

"Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it." —G.K Chesterton (d. 1936)

This year we celebrate the milleseptuacentennial of the Edict of Milan (313 A.D.). That's 1700 years folks. The Edict, which really wasn't an Edict but more a letter written in the name of the eastern Roman Emperor Licinius and the western Roman Emperor Constantine, established what we know as religious freedom. The underlying principle was an understanding that God wishes to be worshipped by people who are free to doso. Hence compulsion or state mandated religious practice was contradictory to this principle. The Edict had the effect of allowing Christians and others to worship freely, for the Church to own property and to conduct it'sown affairs without state interference. The road to how we currently practice religious liberty is filled withstops and starts, often religious liberty was observed more in the breach as monarchs learned quickly how to use religion to their advantage (the prince's religion is the people's religion). After the 16th century Reformation the struggle for religious liberty was often dominated by the hostility between Catholics and Protestants.

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