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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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When you consider that the greatest hymns ever written—the plainchant hymns—are pushing the age of eight hundred and that the noble chorale hymn tunes of Bach date from the early eighteenth century, then what is the significance of the word “old” applied to “Mother at Thy Feet Is Kneeling”? Most of the old St. Basil hymns date from the Victorian era, particularly the 1870s and 1880s.
— Paul Hume (1956)

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An Inverted Culture
published 6 May 2013 by Fr. David Friel

UST RECENTLY, I read an interesting article online. Its title is “Sex After Christianity,” and its author is Rod Dreher. I found the thesis very compelling, but what struck me most was an observation only tangentially related to the argument. The thought that captivated my attention was this: “In the modern era, we have inverted the role of culture. Instead of teaching us what we must deprive ourselves of to be civilized, we have a society that tells us we find meaning and purpose in releasing ourselves from the old prohibitions.”

Does that thought resonate with your experience of our times? It resonates very much with mine, which concerns me greatly. If there is truth to Dreher’s observation (and I believe there is), what does that say about the relevance of the Church? Depriving ourselves through sacrifice has always been essential to the Christian life. If the general momentum of society now is toward release from those old prohibitions, what need will people have for the Church?

The article also offered this insight: “To be modern is to believe in one’s individual desires as the locus of authority and self-definition.” What a lack of humility it takes to be a modern! To be Christian, on the other hand, is to believe in Christ and the Church He established as the locus of authority and self-definition. May all men & women have the humility to recognize their need for Christ’s Church!