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Recently, I started following an admitted atheist on Twitter after s/he challenged me because I put a #Faith in one of my tweets. @[anonymous] Atheist showed an almost Christian brand of kindness when I revealed my #Faith became unshakeable after I felt the physical presence of God lift a major burden off of me.

Nota bene: I respectfully changed the person’s Twitter handle @[anonymous] Atheist.

Things were amicable and soon, we started following each other.  From time-to-time, I would respond to a tweet that I disagreed with. And s/he would respond in kind.

It all appeared cordial.

For the proof of God, I introduced [anonymous] Atheist to Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. PhD, President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009.  Fr. Spitzer had a series on EWTN titled ‘Finding God Through Faith and Reason’.  Today, he is the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and President of the Spitzer Center.

He’s pretty deep and science-based, which speaks to my science background.  For the repliability of the Gospels, I posted this lecture by Dr. Brant Pitre.

I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Pitre and often refer to him as the “new Scott Hahn.”  (If you’re into Catholic Christian apologetics, you know what I mean.)

However, after I responded to these two response tweets — where [anonymous] Atheist asked someone in the twittersphere to present proof that God existed — s/he blocked me.

I didn’t realize it at first. I’m not very twitter-savvy.  I only discovered that I was blocked after I searched for the [anonymous] Atheist.

[anonymous] Atheist posted often and when I didn’t see any recent tweets, I grew concerned.  When I discovered that I was blocked for seeing his/her tweets, I tweeted:

Blocked? Really? I really enjoyed your tweets.

Soon after that, I couldn’t even find the [anonymous] Atheist on Twitter, altogether.  So, I thought, either there’s a nuclear blocking option or s/he has left the twitter world completely.

So, I used another Twitter account — and that’s when I discovered I was nuked!

Again, I’m not Twitter-savvy, so forgive me if these are not the proper Twitter-terms.

For a moment, I was sad. Did I say something offensive? I don’t believe I did.

Finally, I had to chuckle.

Wouldn’t that be ironic, I thought, offending someone who makes it a daily ritual trying to offend people — particularly people of #Faith?

Then it hit me: Isn’t that what is happening across this nation?

Social media has given everyone a soapbox to stand on.  [anonymous] Atheist is probably still out there, and still challenging people of #Faith.

Today, we are all truly globally connecting, yet sadly no one is really communicating.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Suggested Reading:

Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says. Lee Billings.  Scientific America.  2019.

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Image by Genty from Pixabay

Everyone knows the story about Galileo and the Catholic Church — or at least everyone thinks they know the story.

The centuries old controversy was set into motion after a sequence of events, beginning with the enlightened scientist’s  defense of the Copernican astronomical theory  and culminating  with a trial and condemnation by the behemoth of religiosity, the Catholic Church, and its stubborn hold to a scripture-centered Geocentrism.

At least that’s the present worldview of the events.

Today, many people point to this moment in history as the great schism between science and religion. The fallout from this event continues to foster disdain, not just for the Catholic Church, but for organized religion in general.

The Galileo Affair has also divided the faithful into two camps: Those who literally interpret scripture verse those who don’t.

These divisions are brutally deep, leaving gaping wounds, filled with hurt feelings and scars that have never fully healed.  The purulent exudate from the battle wounds of this historic clash, has seeped into of our schools, our institutions, our politics, and has saturated almost every aspect of life.

But what if the Church wasn’t wrong?  What if the Earth IS truly the center of the Universe?

Would all these scars finally mend and heal?

Would the scientific community jointly write a treatise, as John Paul II did in 1992, apologizing for their errors?

Would the news organizations such as the NY Times, Washington Post, AP and alike, which jointly declared in 1992: Church Declares Galileo Was Right, retract their news stories?

Well, truth be told, Stephen Hawking proved that the Church was right holding to the belief that the Earth was the center of the Universe.

Yes, Stephen Hawking!

Back in 2016, in Episode 4 of the TV series Genius, Stephen Hawking set out to prove, through a series of demonstrations, that the universe was ever-expanding, a theory promoted by the brilliant Belgian scientist named George Lemaître.

Lemaître was not just a mathematician, astronomer, professor of physics, and member of the Royal Academy of Science, he was also an ordained Catholic priest.  You may know Lemaître’s theory best as The Big Bang Theory.

In the aforementioned episode, Hawking had screens set up that represented maps of a small part of our universe; the lights on the screens represented galaxies.

“Think of them,” Hawking said of the screens, “as two snapshots of the same area of space taken 1 billion years apart. So how about we put our [time] machine together? Overlap the screens?”

The two screens were then overlapped on each other. As the TV hosts stepped back from the screens, it was clear that they were not the same.

“It looks like everything is radiating out from a point,” they pointed out. “So it looks from a billion years ago to today everything has moved away slightly … Same patterns, but they have moved … It was like jumping to warp speed and you get that pssheew starburst sort of effect … And we figured out that that is supposed to represent the expansion of space….”

After this last demonstration, Hawking said something profound; something that has stayed with me ever since.

Everywhere is the center of the universe,” Hawking declared, “because it all came into existence at the same time, and it’s all moving away from everywhere at the same time. Space didn’t exist before the big bang. Now space is expanding in all directions, and these simple facts mean wherever you are in the universe, it’s the center, where it all began.”

Don’t take my word for it, CLICK HERE and read the episode script yourself.  It’s at the very end of the teleplay.  Or watch it below.  The scene discussed above starts at 45.25.

Everywhere is the center of the universe …wherever you are in the universe, it’s the center, where it all began.”

Astounding, right?

It sounds allot like the first words of scripture that teaches it all began when God, at the beginning of time, created heaven and earth.  Earth was still an empty waste…. (Genesis 1:1-2)

Assuming Stephen Hawking correct, that the universe IS ever-expanding — and the chances that the man declared the smartest person in the world is correct —  then wherever you are in the universe, it’s the center must be a true statement.

And if that statement is true, and wherever you are IS the Earth, then the Earth IS the center of the universe.

The truth is: The Gallileo Affair was never really about science.  At it’s core, it was a battle between philosophies. 

The Roman Church stood against Galileo’s theory because it believed it to bfoolish and absurd in philosophy [not  science] …  since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.

By removing the Earth from the center of the cosmos, Copernicanism embraced what became known as the ‘principle of mediocrity’.  In that sense, Earth became just a mediocre member of a mediocre solar system.

The sense of Holy scripture is philosophically  contrary to the principle of mediocrity.

That’s because the sense of Holy scripture comes from a Divine point-of-view.  It informs us that the power and energy that created the universe came from God.  It also calls us to spiritually focus on a “Rare Earth” [1][2], a rare Earth that is the center of God’s world, the center of the universe.

In that sense, Stephen Hawking and the Church both philosophically  put the center of the universe in the same place — wherever you are!

So, if God created the universe that means God created you.  And, if the center of the universe is wherever you are, that means God put YOU in the center of the universe.

If God thinks you’re important enough to make you the center of His universe, maybe you might want to consider making God the center of yours.

That’s the true sense of Holy scripture.

Maybe that’s why they call The Big Bang Theory a Roman Catholic creation?

_________________________________________

Although St. John Paul II apologized, in 1992, for the condemnation of Galileo, the Polish pontiff added that “the Galileo case has been a sort of ‘myth,’ in which the image fabricated out of the events was quite far removed from the reality.”

St. John Paul II also said ““Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other to a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.”

Maybe that’s why we call him Great.

Years before the pontificate of John Paul II, another Pope, Benedict XIV, granted an imprimatur to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo.  He did so — in 1741![1]  An imprimatur is an official declaration by a bishop — in this case the Bishop of Rome — that a book is free from doctrinal error. [2]

Regardless of the events in his life, Galileo remained a pious Catholic for the remainder of his life.  He died in 1642. Galileo was 88 years old and was buried at the Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze in Florence Italy  with his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, a Catholic nun.

So, you can see why St. John Paul believed the events of the Galileo case were far removed from reality.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

You can read more about the Galileo Affair:

  1. THIS DAY IN HISTORY: OCTOBER 31ST- GALILEO AND WHY HE WAS CONVICTED OF HERESY
  2. The Galileo Affair by George Sim Johnston
  3. ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II:TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
  4.  Genius by Stephen Hawking (2016) s1e4 Episode Script Where Did the Universe Come From?
  5. Biographical sketches of memorable Christians of the past: Nicolas Copernicus, Priest and Scholar

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Wednesday night, my wife and I had a very rare opportunity.

We were finally able to get out of the house, without our boys, for a date night.  We spent our evening together, with friends, at a preview of the faith-based film Unplanned.

The film is based on the true-life story of Abby Johnson, who went from Planned Parenthood clinic director to Pro-life advocate.  

Kleenex were handed out before the movie for what was expected to be a tear-jerker.  

Shortly after, a local pastor had us all, a private audience, bow our heads to pray for the end of abortion in the United States.

Though personally Pro-Life, I attended the film to support my wife, who was gifted tickets through our Parish’s RCIA program.  

To be honest, I would’ve enjoyed seeing A Star is Born with my wife rather than Unplanned.  My wife, however, is not a chick-flick kind of gal.  Since she cried when watching the trailer, I wanted to be there for her just in case she needed a shoulder to cry on.

You see, we lost our middle child, Jimmy, who was stillborn at 19-weeks.   

It’s difficult to lose a child at any age.  However, it’s even more difficult to openly express grief for a child most people don’t accept as a child — especially people who believe that life begins with “viability” outside the womb or don’t believe life begins at conception, as we do.

The loss affected my wife, more than me. 

She had a greater connection to our boy simply by the nature of carrying and nurturing  him for almost five months.  She also had to go through the pains of childbirth only to say “hello” and “goodbye” in the same breath. 

Don’t get me wrong; I mourn Jimmy, but for a completely different reason. 

Sadly, I never saw him alive.  

I was “too busy” with work.  The first time I accompanied my wife to the doctor’s during the pregnancy was the first time I saw the image of our baby on the sonogram.  He was oddly still.  His heartbeat was silent.

This unplanned loss, oddly enough, would soon become my greatest moment of Faith.

On the evening of the scheduled delivery, I not only felt the heavy cross of sorrow spiritually lifted off my shoulder as my wife and I prayed together before we entered the hospital;  I also felt the physical presence of the Almighty at our side.

In that time of pain and anguish, God lent me His strength to be the husband I was called to be at a time I needed to be a strong husband!

It’s amazing how such a sad and tragic event in my life is also my most evidential God-moment.  The still birth of our son, at 19-weeks, also gave me a greater awareness of the development of the fetus in a woman’s womb.

You can say this was a turning-point in my life, on many levels. 

Likewise, the movie Unplanned began almost immediately with the turning point in Abby Johnson’s life: Her witnessing a 13-week baby, on a sonogram, fighting off the attack of a surgical vacuum and eventually losing its life at the hands of an abortionist, who she was assisting.

The film quickly jump-cut, from that dramatic moment, back to Abby Johnson’s college years and her initial introduction to Planned Parenthood on her university’s campus.

From there, Unplanned chronicled the events in Abby Johnson’s life from naive Planned Parenthood volunteer to dedicated Abortion Clinic director.  Unplanned continues forward, showcasing her rising in the ranks, until the film returns to the first turning- point of the story, when she watched the sonogram of that 13-week baby whose struggle and death changed Abby into the defender of Life she is this day!

Though there was no cursing or nudity, the film received an R-rated.  Oddly, I think the controversy behind the film’s MPAA rating gave Unplanned a publicity boost, awaking a sleeping giant, an audience of Pro-Lifers across America.

A letter from Abby Johnson was read before the film began, pointing out the two scenes reportedly responsible for the film’s R-rated: a CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) sonogram re-creation of the initial abortion and the re-creation of an awful experience Abby had after using the abortion pill. 

Even though Unplanned had an obvious Pro-Life message, I had a problem with some of the film’s possible mixed messages. 

Christian and the Pro-Life most likely would not agree with Abby Johnson’s early life choices, however, others may see the life of Abby Johnson improving after being freed from the having a child — not once, but twice — with her loser boyfriend who later became her unfaithful first husband! 

Film is powerful.  These scenes, I feel, as they are portrayed, sadly play right into the hand of the pro-choice movement.

I thought it strange, as well, how observing the dissected body parts of an aborted fetus in a petri-dish had no impact on the film’s protagonist.  In fact, it appeared to only made her a stronger Pro-Choice advocate. 

Yet, after witnessing a two-dimensional sonogram of an abortion, the film’s protagonist became Pro-Life?

I couldn’t help but thinking that the short film Silent Scream, which has been out since 1984, could have been found online at that time.  Wasn’t she, or anyone she knew, aware of it? Or even curious?

I’m not questioning Abby Johnson’s character.  I’m just questioning the motion picture’s story-line and imagery.

There was one scene, for me, that favorably stood out.   It was a brief, yet it portrayed the true power and patience of our Heavenly Father

Pregnant with their first child, Abby was offered a promotion at Planned Parenthood.  If promoted, she would become one of the youngest clinic directors in the non-profit organization’s history.   So, she prayed and placed the promotion in God’s hands.

Her husband, in the film, as well as many around me in the theater, chuckled at the perceived irony of a Pro-Choice advocate believing that a promotion, from abortion clinic health counselor to abortion over-seer would involve God’s Will?

It may not be a part of God’s Will, but her promotion was certainly part of God’s Plan!

Think about it: If Abby never received her promotion, she may have never witnessed the sonogram of the abortion — and today, we’re discussing a movie about the conversion of Abby Johnson because of tha ultra-sound.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knew how and when Abby would see it — and He knew what would happen to Abby’s heart once she did!

As a film, Unplanned was good.  It just wasn’t great.  The highlight of the film was the performance of Ashley Bratcher, the actress who played Abby Johnson.

I prayed for Ashley, after the film, because knowing Hollywood as I do, I fear that her career may be negatively impacted by the success of Unplanned just as Jim Cavievel’s career suffered after playing Jesus in The Passion of The Christ.

The actress who stars in Unplanned, appears to be less fearful and believes the film is going to change history.  Not to be a negative Nellie, but I sadly don’t agree with her.

Do I think Unplanned will have an impact on our culture?  Yes, it will … with some folks! 

However, as I told my wife on the ride home, “Schindler’s List was so much more of a movie — and sadly anti-Semitism is at an all-time high today.” 

Likewise, the 1980’s short film Silent Scream can now be found on YouTube for all to see.

Yet, of 198 world nations, the United States is one of only seven countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks. Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam are the other.  The Netherlands and Singapore allow abortions after 20 weeks, but ban it after 24 weeks.  (Astounding, isn’t it?  Almost unbelievable.  You can fact check it all here.)

So, I have my doubts that a computer-generated ultra-sound assisted abortion with have a stronger impact.

I am, however, praying for the hope that I’m wrong.  

I’m also praying that the faithful show up in droves and support Unplanned. 

Support, however, also needs to shared with the upcoming anti-abortion film Roe v. Wade when it is released.  And while we wait for its opening day, we need to go back  out, purchase the 2011 Christian-themed film October Baby, and show it to friends, as well.

Overwhelming support for Unplanned, and films like it, would simultaneously send a message to Hollywood and to our State and Federally elected officials that we have the heart to save lives, but the ways and means to change the hearts and minds of Americans.

 But Unplanned can only be a start!  

LIFE MATTERS. TEXT “HOPE” TO “73075”

 

 

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!    As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  He also co-wrote and directed the play Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama.  His screenplay, based on the play, has garnered much attention.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Icon of Peter and Andrew

Icon of Sts. Peter and Andrew that Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras gave to Pope Paul

Most American Christians believe that all Christians celebrate Easter on the same day. In fact, 2016, one of the U.S. presidential candidates, wrote this:

This weekend, Christians of every denomination remember the most transformative event in history – Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection – the ultimate sacrifice that redeemed the whole world.

The fact is not every Christian denomination remembers Christ’s resurrection on the same Sunday.  In fact, this year, for the majority of Americans, we will celebrate Easter on April 21.  However, this year, our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters, will celebrate the resurrection a week later on April 28.

So, why are there two Easters?

Historically, the early Church did not have a set date for Easter.  In fact, not every Christian remembered Christ’s resurrection on Sunday.

The Catholic Encyclopedia informs us, that according to Irenaeus, “St. Polycarp, who like the other Asiatics, kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon, whatever day of the week that might be, following therein the tradition which he claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle, came to Rome c. 150 about this very question, but could not be persuaded by Pope Anicetus to relinquish his Quartodeciman observance.”[1]

Interesting!

After that controversy ended, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that:

“…the second stage in the Easter controversy centers round the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325). Granted that the great Easter festival was always to be held on a Sunday, and was not to coincide with a particular phase of the moon, which might occur on any day of the week, a new dispute arose as to the determination of the Sunday itself. The text of the decree of the Council of Nicaea which settled, or at least indicated a final settlement of, the difficulty has not been preserved to us, but we have an important document inserted in Eusebius’s “Life of Constantine” (III, xviii sq.). The emperor himself, writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: “At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and in Egypt. . . with entire unity of judgment.” [2]

As already stated, we don’t have the exact words of the great council, but we may safely infer from scattered notes that the council ruled:

  • that Easter must be celebrated by all throughout the world on the same Sunday;
  • that this Sunday must follow the fourteenth day of the paschal moon;
  • that that moon was to be accounted the paschal moon whose fourteenth day followed the spring equinox;
  • that some provision should be made, probably by the Church of Alexandria as best skilled in astronomical calculations, for determining the proper date of Easter and communicating it to the rest of the world.

This was not a perfect solution. But it appears, by 525 AD all the Christian communities of the world were celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord on the same Sunday.

So, what happened?

Why do Russian and Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter or Pascha, on one Sunday and everybody else celebrates the Resurrection of Our Lord on another Sunday?

Well, the Gregorian calendar happened — kinda.

According to Wiki: The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It is named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.

Wiki states: The calendar was a refinement to the Julian calendar amounting to a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. The motivation for the reform was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in which it was celebrated when it was introduced by the early Church. Because the celebration of Easter was tied to the spring equinox, the Roman Catholic Church considered the steady drift in the date of Easter caused by the year being slightly too long to be undesirable. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923.

Blah, blah, blah-blah, blaaaah!

However, the Orthodox Church vigorously opposes the use of the Gregorian calendar, writes Fr. Jon Magoulias, a Greek-Orthodox priest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Modesto, California.

This, he informs us, resulted in the West and East celebrating all Church feast days on different dates, the Orthodox celebrations always falling thirteen days behind the Western. [3]

In 1923, Fr. Jon Magoulias continued, an inter-Orthodox congress was held in Constantinople attended by representatives of some, but not all, Orthodox churches. This congress made the very controversial decision to follow a revised calendar that was essentially the same as the Gregorian calendar, for all things except the celebration of Pascha, which continued to be calculated according to the original Julian calendar.

The result being that today the Orthodox celebrate most feast days, like Christmas, Epiphany and the rest, at the same time as Western Christians and only Pascha and the feast days that are connected with it like Pentecost and the Ascension, are dated according to the Julian calendar and celebrated on different dates. [4]

Fr. Magoulias stated that for Orthodox, it is important to maintain the teachings and traditions of the Church intact and pure [5] — and I would argue, for Catholics, this applies as well.

But remember, I said the problem was that “the Gregorian calendar happened — kinda.” Well, the kinda is kinda important.

Catholics under the See of Peter believe Easter Sunday formula handed down by the First Ecumenical Council, held in Nicea in 325 AD is:

The first Sunday which occurs after the first full moon (or more accurately after the first fourteenth day of the moon) following the vernal equinox.

For Orthodox Christians, who no longer recognized the Pontiff as first among equals, the formula is this:

Pascha is to be celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the first day of Spring (March 21 on the Julian calendar), but always after Jewish Passover.  (This year, Passover or Pesach begins at sundown on April 19th (Nisan 14)  and will continue for 7 days until Friday, the 26th of April.)

And, that’s the kinda that makes all the difference!

Because of this difference, Christians celebrate the most Holiest of our Holy days on different days. By doing this, it appears to me, that we are acting more like they who divided His garments by casting lots than those followers who near the cross of Jesus stood.

Personally, I think holding on to the tradition of the Julian calendar is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face. We know it was an inaccurate measuring tool. It’s definitely not Divine. So, why continue to use it?

I understand that Orthodoxy can also point to Canon VII of the Holy Apostles to counter any argument against the Julian calendar.

For those unfamiliar, Canon VII states:

If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed. However, in the same breath, Canons XLV and LVX of the Holy Apostles respectively state: “Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them” and “If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.

To that I ask: “How close are these Canons adhered to today by Orthodox clergymen or laymen alike today?” (For the record: My Lutheran wife and I often hold hands in prayer and my kid’s dojo is held in the hall of a synagogue. Just saying.)

Now, I would never ask anyone to compromise their beliefs, but there has to be some wiggle room here. It’s also not my intent is to pick only on our Orthodox brothers and sisters.

To Catholics, I ask you to answer this: Is there 100% certainty that you got the Easter formula correct?

It appears that the formula was never written down. Heck, even the Colonel’s fried chicken recipe and the secret recipe for Coca Cola are written down somewhere.

And since even the followers of the Apostle John got the formula wrong and later adjusted their practice, maybe we can conclude our date formula for Easter does not meet the standard of “an infallible Church teaching”?

Maybe?

Since sharing the same Pascha in 2017, Christians will not celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ on the same day and at the same time throughout the world until 2034.

We need this to change — and there’s only two people who can truly make this happen: Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomaios.

Francis-Bartholomew-1

Catholic News Service photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters


Here’s several ways you can address a letter to Pope Francis.

  • His Holiness, Pope Francis PP. / 00120 Via del Pellegrino / Citta del Vaticano
  • His Holiness Pope Francis / Apostolic Palace / Vatican City
  • His Holiness Pope Francis / Vatican City State, 00120

Do not write “Italy” or “Rome” on the envelop as the country. The Vatican is considered its own independent nation.

Since, unlike previous popes, Pope Francis is living in Casa Santa Martha instead of the papal apartment, another address you can try is this:

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Saint Martha House
00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

Contact information for Patriarch Bartholomew His All-Holiness Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch:

Mailing Address of the Ecumenical Patriarchate:
Rum Patrikliği, Dr. Sadık Ahmet Cad. No. 19, 34083 Fatih-İstanbul, TURKEY
Tel:  +90 (212) 531.9670 – 6
Fax: +90 (212) 531.6533
E-mail: patriarchate@ec-patr.org

 

 

 

It’s time to call on the successors of Peter and Andrew to start acting more like brethren, and not children  (Cor 14:20).

 

Kalo Pascha! Festa Paschalia!

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James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Today is Ash Wednesday.

For six years, I lived and worked in Southern California, within the bounds of the largest Catholic archdiocese in United States where I attended Mass and services at the parish of St. Finbar in Burbank.

Almost 5 million Catholics work, live, and worship in the Los Angeles community of 11 million people which prides itself on its embrace of multiculturalism.

Oddly enough, when I lived in So Cal, not one Ash Wednesday passed without someone pointing out that I had “something” on my forehead.

The first time it occurred, I was in a Target. The person was kind and concerned as she approached and expressed her concern.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said. “You have something on your forehead.”
“It’s Ashes,” I replied, believing she would then know what I was talking about. She didn’t. “It’s Ash Wednesday,” I continued. Still nothing. “I’m Catholic,” I added. “We put Ashes on our forehead to mark the beginning of the season called Lent.”
“Wow, that’s cool,” she smiled, then walked off.

I have to admit; though I chuckled, I was equally amazed that she didn’t know. The following year, it occurred again.

My wife and I went to have sushi after receiving ashes to meet our holy obligation of eating fish. (And yes, I’m aware that sushi is not the true intended act of penance imposed by the Church to commemorate the day.)

As we we’re leaving the restaurant, the Japanese-accented Sushi Chef called out to us.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “Have good day.”
“You too!” my wife and I added in unison.
“Excuse me, you have something on you –,” he added, pointing to his forehead.
“Yes, thank you,” I replied. “It’s ashes. It’s Ash Wednesday.”
“Oh my goodness,” he humbly replied seemingly losing his accent. “I’m a lapsed Catholic.”

We chuckled. First at the loss of the shame-filled Sushi’s Chef’s Japanese accent; but also at the fact that it happened again!

I was equally amazed that he didn’t know.

IMG_1351The most noted case of mistaken ashes came when British Sky News reporters, on Ash Wednesday, thought the dirty mark above the brow of then Vice-President Joe Biden was also just something on his forehead.

It’s quite humorous. The reporter, another self-proclaimed lapsed Catholic, finally realizes three minutes and 10 seconds into the broadcast that Joe Biden’s something is, in fact, ashes, and humbly apologizes.

Take a look at it HERE.

In her defense, and the defense of the others, our ashes often lose their intended shape, that of a cross — especially by the end of the day.  (See below)

Though I no longer live in Los Angeles, I, oddly enough, miss those awkward Ash Wednesday incidents.

I don’t miss them because they made me laugh — even though they did.  I miss them because they revealed, to me, the true nature of the season of Lent that lives in the heart of those of goodwill.

Lent is a season of Penance, yes; but it’s also a season of Reflection.

But what exactly should we reflect on?

Well, how about we reflect on being more Holy, more Christ-like; we can do this by reflecting His loving character more.

In fact, I’d argue that the motivation behind these well-intended interactions were, for the most part, just as Christian as the act of receiving and wearing ashes.

How so?

Then let me start with this question: If Jesus was walking down the street and he saw a smudge on someone’s forehead, what would He do? What would He say?

I think that Jesus would stop, point, and say, “Excuse me, sir. You have something on your forehead.”

So, if today, if you are stopped by a well-intended non-believer or non Church-goer, simply smile and say, “No, that’s not dirt on my forehead. It’s Ashes … but thank you!”

Maybe, you could even take this opportunity to start a conversation — and possibly take the first step in introducing someone else to the Love of Christ.

IMG_1353James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Lent Fun Fact:
The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Friday was the reason for the creation of McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.

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kwanzaa

In 2006, my wife and I moved to Los Angeles, so I could pursue my screenwriting career.

Thanks to the networking skills of my buddy David, I went to work right away writing a script.  It was a frightening tale about a serial killer with an odd sense of social justice.  (I’ll just leave it at that.)

Bringing my press secretary work ethic to Hollywood, I surprised many by completing a first draft in less than six months.

Soon, I was going from meeting to meeting.  Paramount Studios.  The William Morris Agency.  Life was exciting — but far from good.

Since I throw myself into my work, my wife noticed the nefarious storyline was slowly corrupting my soul and personality.

Finally, the holidays came. In an attempt to bring light back into my world, she started pitching story ideas to write about that were filled with good cheer.

Each one, I rudely rejected.

Nothing worked, but she kept on trying.  Finally, she said the words that would change the direction of our lives forever…

“Maybe you should write a Kwanzaa movie?” she said as we passed a store-front display.    It worked.

“Me? A Kwanzaa movie?” I said with a smile.  Not many people are as white as I am.  In fact, once someone jokingly asked me my street name and I literally gave them my home address.

“Yeah,” she continued. “You can call it Kwanzaa Klaus.”

By the time we finished our walk, I had the whole story outlined.  Likewise, my spirit was lifted.  Later that week, I pitched the idea to a life-long friend who was working with Adam Sandler.

“I’d read it,” he said, so I wrote it.

Several weeks later, I had a finished copy, and I sent it to one of the assistants I met at William Morris.    He was kind enough to give me a few notes.  With that, I sat down, completed the first rewrite, and resubmitted it.

Things move slowly in Hollywood, so I moved on to writing a new project.   During that time, I approached my good friend, John “Rusty” Proctor.

“Hey, would you mind reading a script I wrote?”

“No problem,” he said with a smile.  Rusty always smiles.  He read the title out loud. “‘TWAS? What’s it about, Christmas?”

“No.  It’s about Kwanzaa,” I added.   And so began the awkward reactions I would received since.

“Cool, cool,” Rusty added.  Rusty always adds “Cool, cool” — and he put the script under his arm and walked off.

While writing the script, I researched the Festival of Kwanzaa and became in enamored with its teachings and traditions.  So, I asked Rusty to read it because I didn’t want to write a script that offended people — African-Americans, to be specific.

I have many friends of many races and backgrounds, however, Rusty was the only one of my friends that was both African-American and a fellow struggling screenwriter — like me; and I wanted to see if his background could provide any insight that might be helpful.

I didn’t expect an immediate response.  So, I was surprised when he called me the next day.

“Hey, I just finished reading your script.  I couldn’t put it down,” he said.

“So, what did you think,” I asked with the constant insecurity every artist possesses.

“It pissed me off,” he added.  I was shocked into silence, then Rusty added,  “I’m pissed off that I didn’t write this.  I never told you, but I celebrate Kwanzaa each year when I get to go back to D.C.”

This may sound trite, but a life-long friendship began at that moment.  And, if you ask my wife, I am not good at close relationships.

Rusty brought the script to a friend who was a producer.  Meetings followed, and so did the awkwardness every time I was introduced as the writer.

The script was optioned.  Life was both exciting and good — then came the Writer’s Strike and just like that … it all ended.

To make ends meet, I started to teach, and soon discovered another calling.  Life, as they said, went on.

As my boys grew, I started putting them to bed by telling stories.  One night, I dusted off Kwanzaa Klaus and began reading it at night, minus the “INTeriors, EXTeriors and CUT TOs.”

Finally, I formatted the story as a book and published it.  My good friend Rusty wrote the Forward.

For me, Kwanzaa holds a special place in my life.

Kwanzaa drew me from darkness.  Kwanzaa saved my marriage.  Kwanzaa gave me a friend like no other. Kwanzaa drew me closer to my boys.

With that, for me, Kwanzaa means Light; Kwanzaa means Love;  Kwanzaa means Friendship;  Kwanzaa means Family.

All of these are the first fruits of life, are they not?

Because of all these things, every year, my family celebrates Kwanzaa.

We may not light a Kinara.  (However, my nine-year-old just took a book about Kwanzaa from the school library, so maybe we may start.) We do, though, celebrate the seven core principles of Kwanzaa in our hearts; the principles of Unity, Responsibility, Cooperation, Family, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.

But, don’t we all?

Recently, I received a phone call from someone who was familiar with the project when it was still just a screenplay.

“We’d like to turn Kwanzaa Klaus into an audio-book and try to drum up interest in the screenplay again.  Can you think of anyone we should ask to narrate it.”

I could only think of one name … John “Rusty” Proctor.

In the end, Kwanzaa means Hope.

10404154_805651466175484_8022166262727448808_n

Heri za Kwanzaa.

K Klaus audio cover

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more. Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom where featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and Burbank Leader, and earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.  James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar, as the teacher who most influenced their academic career.  He has also appeared twice, as an educator, on “America Live with Megyn Kelly”.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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ash-wednesday-corporation-you

Ash Wednesday – Corporation YOU © 2017

Today is Ash Wednesday.

For six years, I lived and worked in Southern California, within the bounds of the largest Catholic archdiocese in United States where I attended Mass and services at the parish of St. Finbar in Burbank.

Almost 5 million Catholics work, live, and worship in the Los Angeles community of 11 million people which prides itself on its embrace of multiculturalism.

Oddly enough, when I lived in So Cal, not one Ash Wednesday passed without someone pointing out that I had “something” on my forehead.

The first time it occurred, I was in a Target. The person was kind and concerned as she approached and expressed her concern.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said. “You have something on your forehead.”
“It’s Ashes,” I replied, believing she would then know what I was talking about. She didn’t. “It’s Ash Wednesday,” I continued. Still nothing. “I’m Catholic,” I added. “We put Ashes on our forehead to mark the beginning of the season called Lent.”
“Wow, that’s cool,” she smiled, then walked off.

I have to admit; though I chuckled, I was equally amazed that she didn’t know. The following year, it occurred again.

My wife and I went to have sushi after receiving ashes to meet our holy obligation of eating fish. (And yes, I’m aware that sushi is not the true intended act of penance imposed by the Church to commemorate the day.)

As we we’re leaving the restaurant, the Japanese-accented Sushi Chef called out to us.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “Have good day.”
“You too!” my wife and I added in unison.
“Excuse me, you have something on you –,” he added, pointing to his forehead.
“Yes, thank you,” I replied. “It’s ashes. It’s Ash Wednesday.”
“Oh my goodness,” he humbly replied seemingly losing his accent. “I’m a lapsed Catholic.”

We chuckled. First at the loss of the shame-filled Sushi’s Chef’s Japanese accent; but also at the fact that it happened again!

I was equally amazed that he didn’t know.

The most noted case of mistaken ashes came when British Sky News reporters, on Ash Wednesday, thought the dirty mark above the brow of then Vice-President Joe Biden was also just something on his forehead.

It’s quite humorous. The reporter, another self-proclaimed lapsed Catholic, finally realizes three minutes and 10 seconds into the broadcast that Joe Biden’s something is, in fact, ashes, and humbly apologizes.

Take a look at it HERE.

In her defense, and the defense of the others, our ashes often lose their intended shape, that of a cross — especially by the end of the day.  (See below)

Catholic Guide to Ashes

Though I no longer live in Los Angeles, I, oddly enough, miss those awkward Ash Wednesday incidents.

I don’t miss them because they made me laugh — even though they did.  I miss them because they revealed, to me, the true nature of the season of Lent that lives in the heart of those of goodwill.

Lent is a season of Penance, yes; but it’s also a season of Reflection.

But what exactly should we reflect on?

Well, how about we reflect on being more Holy, more Christ-like; we can do this by reflecting His loving character more.

In fact, I’d argue that the motivation behind these well-intended interactions were, for the most part, just as Christian as the act of receiving and wearing ashes.

How so?

Then let me start with this question: If Jesus was walking down the street and he saw a smudge on someone’s forehead, what would He do? What would He say?

I think that Jesus would stop, point, and say, “Excuse me, sir. You have something on your forehead.”

So, if today, if you are stopped by a well-intended non-believer or non Church-goer, simply smile and say, “No, that’s not dirt on my forehead. It’s Ashes … but thank you!”

Maybe, you could even take this opportunity to start a conversation — and possibly take the first step in introducing someone else to the Love of Christ.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

Lent Fun Fact:
The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Friday was the reason for the creation of McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.

 

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