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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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“I still haven’t made up my mind whether I shall publish it all. Some people are so humorless, so uncharitable, and so absurdly wrong-headed, that one would probably do far better to relax and enjoy life than worry oneself to death trying to instruct or entertain a public which will only despise one’s efforts, or at least feel no gratitude for them. Most readers know nothing about canon law. Many regard it with contempt and find everything heavy going that isn’t completely lowbrow. Some are so grimly serious that they disapprove of all humor. Others come to different conclusions every time they stand up or sit down. They seize upon your publications, as a wrestler seizes upon his opponent’s hair, and use them to drag you down, while they themselves remain quite invulnerable, because their barren pates are completely bald, so there’s nothing for you to get hold of.”
— St. Thomas More to Peter Gilles, 1516

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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!