Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Worship of Jesus, Worship of the Father

The other day I was walking to Mass with my 4 year old. I will occasionally remember that it is good to help your children to understand what they are doing at Mass, so I asked him, "Where are we going?"

He said, skipping along, "To Mass."

Wanting him to go a little deeper, I asked, "What are we going to do there?"

He replied, without hesitation, "Pray. We are going to pray." (Of course, he pronounced it "Pway.")

Good answer, of course, but what makes Mass different from praying the rosary at night? So, I said, "Yes. We are going to pray. In fact, we are going to worship Jesus."

He said, "That is one of the things we are going to do."

In my mind I knew he was technically correct, but it seemed to me that in fact what we are really doing more than anything at Mass is worship Jesus, so I replied, "That is THE thing we go to Mass to do."

Later I was reflecting on this exchange and it seemed to me that my spontaneous response trying to explain the Mass to a little child was spot on, despite some of the things said by theologians about the Mass.

Theologians tell us, rightly, that the sacrifice of the Mass is offered to the Father, through Jesus, in the Spirit. That is why the Collect ends with the formula, "We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you [Father] and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." And the Doxology before the Great Amen is "Through him [Christ], with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is your, almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen."

Also, it is also valid to say that the Liturgy is the worship of the Trinity. That is more clear in Byzantine worship than it is in Roman, but we do, after all, pray the Gloria and recite the Creed.

What truly sets a Christian off from a Jew or from someone who admires Jesus as a religious leader is that we worship Jesus. Hence, it is fitting that our central act of worship is preeminently an act of worship of Jesus. That is why so much of the liturgy is actually directed to or at least ordered to the Son, and not the Father (Kyrie, much of the Gloria, the Liturgy of the Word (a dialogue between the Word and his Bride), all the prayers after the Lord's Prayer until the post-communion. It is also why there are acts of worship of Christ present in the Eucharist by both priest and people.

Psychologically and pastorally, I think it is important for the people of God to keep in mind that they gather on Sunday to worship the Crucified One, to stand at the foot of the Cross with Mary and worship Him. Without being Christomonist, I think our worship is and ought to be Christocentric. I think worship of Jesus is more psychologically satisfying than an attempt to worship the ineffable, invisible Father directly. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us, so to worship him is in a sense to worship the Father. The doctrine of perichoresis, or circumincession, which means that each of the persons of the Trinity exists wholly in the other, reiterates that fact that when we worship one, we are worshiping all three, because we are worshiping the One.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Invective and pro-life activism

I just found out that my article called "Invective, Irony, Sarcasm and Other Negative Tropes in Pro-Life Rhetoric" is available online. The following summary of the article is taken from the conclusion.

Invective and other negative rhetoric is common enough in both secular and religious efforts to eliminate abortion in our society. Standard Catholic moral analysis places limits on its use, especially in public, antagonistic debates. A more personalist analysis, emphasizing the effect the rhetoric has on the speaker and the existing and potential bonds of communion between the speaker and the hostile hearer even further limits the situations in which such rhetoric may be used.

Monday, March 08, 2010

How we learn about venial sin

Our four year old asks, "If we are impolite, do we go to hell?"

Autonomy conference for medical ethics

The Milwaukee Catholic Medical Association is sponsoring a conference on May about the medical professional and autonomy. Medical professionals and anyon interested in medical ethics are more than welcome. Here are the details:


“Moral Limits of Autonomy”
Sponsors: Milwaukee Guild of the Catholic Medical Association,
Catholic Physicians’ Guild of Chicago
The Nazareth Project of the John Paul II Center of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Hektoen Institute

Co-sponsors: Alliance Defense Fund
Catholic Medical Students Association
Central Wisconsin Guild
Chippewa Valley Guild
La Crosse Guild of the Catholic Medical Association
Marquette University Faculty for Life

Date: Saturday, May 1, 2010

Location: St. Francis de Sales Seminary, 3257 S. Lake Dr., St. Francis, WI 53235
Registration Deadline: April 2, 2010 Register early, seating is limited. Information on fees forthcoming.



  • William V. Blazek, S.J., M.D., F.A.C.P
  • Rev. Christopher Kubat, M.D.
  • Eugene F. Diamond, M.D.
  • Matt Bowman, J.D.

  • 9:30 -10:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast & Registration
  • 10:00 a.m. Welcome – Conference Begins
  • 10:15 a.m. - 11: 15 a.m. Session 1
    Speaker: William V. Blazek, SJ, MD, FACP
    Title: “Autonomy in Bioethics: How We Got Here and Where We Are Going”
    Dr. Blazek is a Jesuit scholastic and an Asst. Prof. of Medicine at the Georgetown Center for Clinical Bioethics. He serves at Georgetown on the ethics consultation service and as Vice-Chair for the joint oncology institutional review board for the protection of human subjects. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Medical Ethics of the Federal Defense Health Board. He has been a frequent guest on national radio broadcasts “Morning Air” and a contributor to Newsweek, the Washington Post and “On Faith.” He is a veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield having served as an infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division and was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
  • 11:15 – 11:30 a.m. Break
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Session 2
    Speaker: Matt Bowman, JD
    Title: “Physician Autonomy and Rights of Conscience”
    Matthew S. Bowman serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund at its Washington, D.C., Regional Service Center, where he is a key member of the Life Litigation Project. Since joining ADF in 2006, he successfully litigated the case In re: Richardson, obtaining a settlement that saved the life of a young woman who was nearly starved to death in a situation similar to that of Terri Schiavo. A federal court issued a favorable decision in 2009 to Bowman’s client in the lawsuit Trewhella v. City of Findlay, securing the free speech rights of pro-life advocates to share their message on a public sidewalk. He has filed several lawsuits protecting the rights of pro-life students to share their opposition to abortion with their classmates. Bowman also sued and secured a settlement protecting a pro-life Coast Guard member’s right to equal treatment in objecting to a vaccine derived from aborted babies. In 2003, Bowman earned his J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law, where he was class valedictorian, graduated summa cum laude, and received the St. Thomas More Award for Virtue and Academic Excellence. Prior to serving with ADF, he clerked for several federal judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, including The Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr.. Bowman also clerked for The Honorable John M. Roll in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington, D.C., area and attends St. Jerome Catholic Church in Hyattsville, Maryland.
  • 12:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Box Lunch
  • 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Session 3
    Speaker: Rev. Christopher Kubat, M.D.
    Title: “Autonomy and End of Life Issues: Futility Policies”
    Fr. Kubat was a practicing urologist in the Milwaukee area before studying for the priesthood. He is the executive director for Catholic Social Services in the diocese of Lincoln, Neb. and teaches at the St. Gregory the Great Seminary. He has developed a national reputation as an expert in bioethics, particularly in the areas of end-of-life care and emergency contraception.
  • 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Session 4
    Speakers: Eugene F. Diamond, M.D. – Moderator
    Title: “Panel Discussion with Speakers including Problem Based
    Learning Scenarios and Audience Question/Answer Session”
    Professor of Pediatrics, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, President of the Linacre Institute and former President of the Catholic Medical Association and editor in chief of The Linacre Quarterly, Official Journal of the Catholic Medical Association, Dr. Diamond is the recipient of numerous awards and author of many books and articles on medical ethics including a recent book “The Large Family” written from both a personal and a professional perspective having treated the parent-child relationship as a practicing pediatrician for forty years. He and his wife, Rosemary, an experienced social worker, are parents of thirteen children.
  • 3:45 – 4:00 p.m. Xlosing of formal educational sessions
  • 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Mass of anticipation
  • 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Dinner on your own
  • 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Keynote Address
    Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center 3501 S. Lake Dr. St.
    Francis, WI 53235 (just South of Seminary)
    Speaker: GEORGE WEIGEL
    Title: “John Paul II’s Christian Anthropology”
    George Weigel is distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is an internationally recognized Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading public intellectuals and author of nineteen books including Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II. Mr. Weigel has written essays, op-ed columns, and reviews for the major opinion journals and newspapers in the United States, and is a contributor to Newsweek. A frequent guest on television and radio, he is also Vatican analyst for NBC News. His weekly
    column, “The Catholic Difference,” is syndicated to sixty newspapers around the United States. His scholarly work and his journalism are regularly translated into the major European languages.
  • 8:30 Reception to follow Weigel talk
    This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) and the Milwaukee Catholic Medical Association. CMDA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Christian Medical Association designates this educational activity for a maximum of 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CLE application for 4 hours (including 1 hr EPR) is pending.
CEU application is pending.
Disclosures: Faculty or planning committee have not disclosed any financial or commercial interests related to this program. Planning Committee: Christine Zainer MD, Ciaran Bradley MD, Thomas Zabiega MD, Michael White, MD, Patrick Guinan MD, Mary Schneider MSN, FNP-BC, Richard Fehring, PhD, Matt Bowman JD, Lydia LoCoco. Neither the ANCC nor the WNA CEAP endorse any commercial products in conjunction with the educational activity. Award of contact hours are for the educational activity only.

1. From Interstate 94/43 take the Howard Avenue exit
2. Turn right onto Howard Avenue
3. Go east and follow Howard Avenue to South Lake
4. Turn left onto South Lake Drive to go north. The
Seminary will be on your left at 3257 South Lake
Drive, about a mile from Howard Avenue. If you
reach Oklahoma Avenue, you’ve gone too far
From the North:
1. From Interstate 43 South take 794 via exit 72 A on the
left toward the Lakefront
2. I-794 East becomes I-794 South/Lake Parkway
3. Take the Oklahoma Avenue East exit. Turn right onto
Oklahoma Avenue
4. At the T intersection at the lake, turn right onto South
Lake Drive
5. Continue south to 3257 South Lake Drive
From the West:
1. From Interstate 94 East, follow signs for 794 East
2. I-794 East becomes I-794 South/Lake Parkway
3. Take the Oklahoma Avenue East exit. Turn right onto
Oklahoma Avenue
4. At the T intersection at the lake, turn right onto South
Lake Drive
5. Continue south to 3257 South Lake Drive

Make checks payable to
“Milwaukee Guild of the CMA” and send to:
MGCMA, c/o Dr. Zainer
737 N. Robertson St., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Registration Deadline: April 2, 2010.
Conference fee includes all four educational sessions, continental breakfast, box lunch, keynote address of George Weigel and reception.
Please complete (print or type) registration form and include email address.
$100 Physicians, MD, DO
$80 Attorneys
$60 Nurses, DDS, DMD, Allied Health, Retired Physicians
 $50 General Public
$40 Religious, Clergy and Residents
$25 Full time students
 $25 GEORGE WEIGEL AND RECEPTION ONLY at the Cousins’ Center

Visit our website at for more information or email or call 414 758-2214 414 758-2214 or 414 771-7962 414 771-7962 .


Total Enclosed: $