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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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“Iconographic tradition has theologically interpreted the manger and the swaddling cloths in terms of the theology of the Fathers. The child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death: from the outset, he is the sacrificial victim, as we shall see more closely when we examine the reference to the first-born. The manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.”
— Pope Benedict XVI (2012)

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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!