Guest Post: A Simple Plan To Heal The Catholic Community

This is a guest post by Phil Tanny. Guest posts and post comments on Good Saints represent the ideas and opinions of individual posters and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Good Saints.

As you know, the Catholic community has been shaken in recent years by a regrettable wave of debate, discord and division.

This article suggests a way to bring the Catholic community together, a plan which any Catholic interested in unity can begin to implement immediately.

The solution is simple, if not always easy.

When we're ready to heal and unite our Catholic community we have the choice to...

Shift the focus of Catholic discussions to topics that most Catholics can agree with, and act on, together.

Here are two examples of where we might begin.

Unity Topic #1: Catholic Charities

All Catholics, and non-Catholics too, respect Catholic Charities, the Church's impressive public service wing.

This wide agreement is ripe ground for a healing, and those serious about unity will grab the opportunity to make Catholic Charities a more central part of our conversations.

The army of Catholic bloggers leading discussions across the Web can help by refocusing much of their writing away from unresolvable divisive topics, and towards celebrating and raising money for Catholic Charities, a very Catholic project that all Catholics agree on.

After all, it's hard to make a case that arguing with our fellow Catholics is more important than feeding hungry kids, right?

Unity Topic #2: The Tobacco Companies

As Catholics we are drawn to moral crusades, it's in our DNA.

But too often we have chosen to target each other for judgement, instead of uniting and aiming our considerable moral warfare skills at very real enemies who are far more deserving of our attention.

The tobacco companies kill approximately 100,000 of our fellow Catholics here in the United States each and every year, plus millions more around the globe.

100,000 of our fellow U.S. Catholics killed for profit. Each and every year. By people who are already very rich. And who plan to get even richer by selling us more deadly products deliberately designed to be highly addictive, and...

We ever crusading Catholics seem to have little to say about it.

We should fix that.

Instead of going to rhetorical war with each other, we have the choice to invest that same time, energy, passion and talent in to fighting those who are killing hundreds of our fellow Catholics every day.

Every time we rise to speak, put pen to paper, or type our next blog post, we have a choice.

Fight each other, or fight the devil.

A great many lives could be saved if 77 million American Catholics came together as one to confront the tobacco companies. It could be Catholics that lead the charge, set the example, and celebrate the victory.

None Of Us Need To Surrender

Changing the focus of Catholic discussion to these kind of uniting topics would not require any of us to change our beliefs on controversial issues.

Each of us can still follow our conscience in our personal lives on topics like abortion, contraception, gay marriage, Church leadership issues, and so on. Nothing changes here.

Whether we are traditional or progressive Catholics, none of us have to admit ideological defeat.

We just have to admit that repetitive emotional squabbling with our fellow Catholics on unresolvable hot button topics is not really persuading anybody of anything. Nothing is being accomplished by all the adamant speeches. Nobody is winning.

We just have to admit that endlessly arguing with our fellow Catholics is weakening our ability to address pressing here and now real world problems, where we could achieve impressive victories, by working together as one.

A Healing Solution

If we really want unity and a healing in our Catholic community, we just need to talk about topics that divide us much less, and talk about topics that unite us much more.

It's the very same common sense plan any of us would use when our relatives arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. On such occasions sensible families try to skip the topics they'll never agree on, because debating those controversial subjects, yet again, accomplishes little but ruining the dinner.

If it's Catholic unity and a healing that we really want, it seems we can really have it, any time we're really ready. Nobody is stopping us but us.

Whether we are traditional or progressive Catholics, we can rebuild our unity by working together to expand our support for Catholic Charities, and by joining forces in a historic moral crusade against the death for profit tobacco companies.

There's plenty for us to agree on, plenty for us to work on, plenty of dragons for us to slay together. We could soon be so busy serving others that we'll find we just no longer have time for arguing with our fellow Catholics.

Let's redirect our considerable moral energy towards fighting those world changing battles that we can only win....

If we fight hand in hand together.

Article by Phil Tanny of

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Feast of St. Philip Neri

This is a guest post by my nephew Jake. Guest posts and post comments on Good Saints represent the ideas and opinions of individual posters and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Good Saints.

We went on a hike in Empire on May 26th in honor of the Feast of St. Philip Neri. The hike consisted of parishioners from Holy Rosary, one from Philip Neri and Father Libby. The hiker's ages ranged from 9 to 77, with a total of about 26. We began the hike with the Divine Mercy Chaplet about a quarter to 3:00.

When we finished the chaplet we took a break to practice the songs that we would later sing at the beach. At that time Father explained the first stage of the hike to us. He compared it to the beginning of the spiritual life. When everything is alive and the trees block you from the sun, you are shaded from worldly things.

The second part of the hike was like the spiritual life, when you walk through the woods and the sunlight shines in different spots. For example, when you pray you are shadowed by trees but when you get distracted you let the sun shine in.

The third part of the hike was all sunshine. It was like when the spiritual life gets hard. We were hot and wanted to stop but kept going despite our troubles.

The fourth part of the hike was the hardest part. It was all up hill and sandy. We had to push ourselves to keep going. Then the path stopped and we had to remember our way or we could get lost. We kept going and even though the path was gone we came to a beautiful view of Lake Michigan reminding
us of heaven.

After the two hour hike we had mass at St. Philip Neri Church. Before mass, the rosary was led by some young men. In Fr. Libby’s homily, he told a story about how St. Philip helped people in every way he could. He also talked about St. Philip having the altar servers tell him jokes, to keep him from going into ecstasy during the mass.

We finished the day with a bon fire at Empire Beach. After roasting hotdogs and marshmallows by the fire, the boys played a basketball game, while the girls stayed close to the fire.

Then we sang songs about the Great Lakes, the sea, and sailing, while wearing paper sailor hats that we made from newspaper. And Fr. Libby sang an Irish song about not wanting to get up in the morning, reminding us to get up and go to mass in the morning.