Showing posts with label authority. Show all posts
Showing posts with label authority. Show all posts

14 Jul 2017

Climate Change, Attitudes

I'll be talking about Earth's climate, China's pollution problems, and icebergs: including one the size of Delaware. The big berg broke off from Antarctica this week.

The recent G20 meeting was mostly about economics, not climate change; but that didn't deter the usual colorful protestors.

I'm not complaining about folks at the fancy-dress street party in Hamburg. If nothing else, they added a touch of human interest to an otherwise-dry international business meeting....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Oct 2016

Authority, Superstition, Progress


(From Diliff, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

Authority, superstition, and misapplied technophilia (it's a real word) rate at least one post each: but that'll wait until another day. Days.

This time I'll take a quick look at all three, and then say why I don't believe in Progress with a capital P — and don't yearn for the 'good old days.'

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Jan 2015

'A new teaching - with authority!' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B


Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain [Web Gallery of Art

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.  They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Remains of the 4th century synagogue, Capernaum
[Wikipedia, David Shankbone]

On Friday 9 January my brother Paddy, with many of his classmates, attended the funeral in Dublin of the man they knew in 1954-55 as 'Mr O'Donohue' when he taught them in Second Class (Grade Two) in O'Connell Schools, Dublin. At the time they saw him as very senior in age but he was only 22, starting out as a primary school teacher. Years later they were to come to know Sean Gerard O'Donohue as their friend 'Gerry' because of the enormous and formative impact he had on their lives.

Full post here.

12 Oct 2014

Synod 14: What I Expect, and What I Don't


(From John Hart Studios, used w/o permission.)

This post is not about global warming, the coming ice age, or manure burying London. Don't laugh: in 1894 the Times of London ran a warning that London would be under nine feet of manure by 1944. (July 9, 2011)

Wikipedia has a list of fizzled apocalypses, from 634 BC to 2013 AD; and that's another topic. Topics. (February 25, 2014; November 29, 2013)

Synod 14, an extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops, is in progress. It's running from the 5th to the 19th of this month.

In this post, I'll be looking at what I expect from the Synod; what I don't expect; and why I'm not upset that the Synod probably won't address the annual collision of Mother's Day and fishing season in Minnesota.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Sep 2014

Gamaliel and the Centurion

Between spending my teens in the '60s and stubbornness worthy of a mule, my attitude toward "authority" had been less than fawning.

Happily, I married a woman with a very low tolerance for nonsense. She pointed out that I had no problem with authority. It was pompous nitwits who claim authority that set my teeth on edge. (December 2, 2012; March 30, 2011)

That helped explain why I became a Catholic, and that's another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Sep 2014

Chain of Command and a Simple Choice

When I learned who currently held the authority my Lord gave Simon Peter, recorded in Matthew 16:13-19, I didn't have much choice: I had to join the Catholic Church.

In a sense, I 'knew too much.'

I could either claim to follow Jesus and acknowledge the Son of God's authority, passed along in unbroken succession through the rise and fall of kingdoms, empires, and civilizations — or not. As Simon Peter said, it's a simple choice....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Jan 2012

'He taught them with authority.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Moses, Carlo Dolci, painted 1640-45

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)


Gospel Mark 1:21-28 (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Jesus and his followers went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit, and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

An Soiscéal Marcas 1:21-28 (Gaeilge, Irish)

When I was 16 I joined Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (Local Defence Force), part of the Irish Army Reserve (cap badge above). Membership was voluntary. We trained on Sundays and there was a two-week summer camp. However, I didn’t stay in it long enough to experience that.

I remember two individuals very clearly, not by name but by rank. One was a corporal and the other a sergeant. The corporal took delight in shouting and swearing at everyone. He was in his early 20s and we mostly between 16 and 18. We did what he told us to do. But none of us had any respect for him. 

The sergeant, also in his early 20s, while strict, never shouted at us and the strongest word he ever used was ‘damn’. While in its fullest meaning this really is a curse, usage over the centuries has made it a very mild expression, with hardly any connection to its dictionary definition. We did what the sergeant told us to do, and with genuine respect for him. He respected us and because of that his authority came primarily from his person, not from his rank.

I am always struck by the way St Mark highlights the authority Jesus had. It wasn’t from any position he held but from the Truth that he is. He tells us in St John’s Gospel that he is ‘the way, the truth and the life’. The people recognised this: his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority; ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’

I remember our rector in the seminary, Fr Joseph Flynn, once saying to us, ‘Let us at least be hypocrites’. What he meant was that if we fall short of what we believe and profess, and know that we are falling short and ask God’s forgiveness, we will still have something of the authority of Jesus himself. The tax collector who prayed in the Temple, ‘Lord, have mercy on me a sinner’, still carries authority whereas the hypocritical Pharisee doesn’t.

Yesterday I had an email from a recovering alcoholic who told me he ‘went into a blank space’ when he learned of the death of a priest who had also been a recovering alcoholic. This priest had been very close to him during the first years of his recovery. I know that the priest had occasional lapses but sought the help of others in AA when he did. That’s what gave him the authority he had with fellow 'strugglers'. 


Some saints, such as St Thérèse of Lisieux (above, aged 15), carry the authority of the purity of their lives. Some, like St Augustine of Hippo, carry the authority of a person who has, with God’s grace, overcome a life of sin. Moses, who speaks to us in the first reading today, carries the authority of a great leader who acknowledged his own impatience and who accepted the consequence of this, that he would lead his people to the Promised Land, see it, but never enter it himself.

  St Augustine and St Monica, by Ary Scheffer (painted 1846)



San am sin chuaigh Íosa isteach i gCafarnáum. Agus lá na sabóide féin, ar dhul isteach satsionagóg dó, thosaigh sé ag teagasc.Agus bhí ionadh orthu faoina theagasc; á dteagasc a bhí sé mar dhuine a mbeadh údarás aige, níorbh ionann agus na scríobhaithe.

Bhí, san am sin, duine sa tsionagóg a raibh smacht ag spiorad míghlan air, agus scread sé amach: “Há, cad ab áil leat dínn, a Íosa Nazairéanaigh? Chun ár millte a tháinig tú. Is eol dom cé hé thú: Naomh Dé.” Labhair Íosa leis go bagrach: “Bí i do thost, agus gabh amach as.” Bhain an spiorad míghlan rachtaí as an duine, ghlaoigh amach go hard agus d’imigh as. Agus bhí alltacht chomh mór sin ar chách go raibh siad ag fiafraí dá chéile: “Cad é an rud é seo?” deiridís: “teagasc nua á dhéanamh le húdarás; na spioraid mhíghlana féin, fógraíonn sé orthu agus déanann siad rud air.” Agus níorbh fhada gur leath a chlú go fada gearr ar fud cheantar uile na Gailíle.

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Preachers of the Word within the world (Spanish) Apóstoles de la verdad en el mundo

      Ante ti, Señor, una vez más.       Me gusta recordar esas palabras que quedaron marcadas como con fuego en tus apóstoles, e...