What do Confession and Cappuccino Have in Common

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Every day I observe a ritual, critical to enhancing my communion with the Living God.  I rise at 6, shower and shave, dress and make solemn procession to the kitchen.  There I bow before the apparatus cafe (Latin: Coffee Machine) and make my morning espresso.  Today it struck me that my espresso machine and confession have some striking similarities.

  • Both are critical to rousing the soul
  • The noises made in both suggest lots of pressure is at work, but the delicious product of each is well-worth the effort made.
  • Both require a careful examination of all the working parts involved, a gentle calibration and a final decision to act.
  • The experience of coffee making is generally the same for everyone who uses the machine… but it can’t be denied that – in the particulars – the finished product is carefully tailored to meet the needs of each person… likewise confession.
  • If you don’t de-calcify the machine at least once a month its fine inner workings get clogged up from use until then can’t do you any good.  Likewise confession: If we don’t go at least once a month we risk clogging up the inner workings of our soul with sins’ effects until we can’t do much good for anyone.

A little silly?  Perhaps… but now every time I see my espresso machine I’m reminded of the salutary effects of the sacrament.  Think about it.

Just Posted

This week’s reflections on parish culture: Parish Accounting!  (See, “Weekly Reflections,” above)

Also, this past Sunday’s homily on making all things new in Christ (See, “Homilies,” above)

The Health Consequences of Porn: It’s hurting us, and science proves it

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Since her first days, the Church has preached in favor or healthy physical relationships among men and women.  The word used by St. Paul for UNhealthy sexual relationships is porneia.  From this root, we get a modern term, “porno-graphy,” for unhealthy sexual images.

It’s surprising to me how often I interview couples for marriage and discover that one or both don’t think that pornography is necessarily detrimental to a marital relationship.  I use anecdotes from pastoral ministry and my own reading trying as I might to disabuse them of this notion… but sometimes I get the sense they’re just smiling and nodding.

Today the Washington Post Outlook section published a wonderful article (LINKED HERE) on the wide-spread and curiously silent scientific research proving that porn is hurting us as individuals and as a society.  Just a few highlights: The average age for a boy to view porn for the first time is 11.  Porn has been proven to dispose men to violence toward women, including sexual assault.  The porn industry hides statistics about the instances of STI’s among their performers.  Internet pornography is more frequented that major sites like Netflix, Hulu and Youtube… combined.

This is an insidious social ill that dwarfs the effects of its predecessors in ways we are only beginning to discover.  But the Church offers resources to begin breaking the porn cycle.  Check out some of the information / resources available form the Archdiocese of Washington’s Family Life Office at this LINK

What’s the Deal

Starting this week, check the “Weekly Reflections Page” (above) for ongoing columns about basics of parish life… Each column will present answers to commonly asked questions from parishioners.  Enjoy!