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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 a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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The soul is distracted from that which is sung by a chant that is employed for the purpose of giving pleasure. But if the singer chant for the sake of devotion, he pays more attention to what he says, both because he lingers more thereon, and because, as Augustine remarks (Confess. x, 33), “each affection of our spirit, according to its variety, has its own appropriate measure in the voice, and singing, by some hidden correspondence wherewith it is stirred.” The same applies to the hearers, for even if some of them understand not what is sung, yet they understand why it is sung, namely, for God's glory: and this is enough to arouse their devotion.
— St. Thomas Aquinas

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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!