Church

Chaplain Corps: A Place to Run for Help

Via nwf daily news:

An emergency storm shelter and a place of safety you can run to. A first sergeant’s 911. An ear to listen to issues, with a 100-percent confidentiality guarantee. Sometimes the only thing standing between someone and their final decision.
These are just some samples of what chaplains and chaplain assistants offer Air Commandos here.

It doesn’t matter what faith a person follows, or how they live their lives; the chaplain corps is available to them, 24/7.
“We are here for everyone,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Hunsinger, 1st Special Op-erations Wing. “We accommodate all religious and non-religious beliefs. You don’t have to have a spiritual or religious issue to come to us, or believe as I do to get my help and counseling. I will always do my best to help someone find their own bedrock of belief to stand on in times of trouble.”

The chapel staff sees every memorial service on base, from those who fell in battle, died in an accident or took their own lives. They are the ones who give comfort to those left behind… even when they are wrestling with their own struggles.
“We can’t help but ask ourselves, ‘What if that person had come through our doors, would this have happened?’” said Master Sgt. Steven Reed, 1st SOW chapel NCO in charge and lead chaplain assistant. “What if one of their friends, coworkers or family needs the same help — would they come to us before it’s too late?”

Chapel staff members are always available as a good safety valve for anyone to talk to about any issue, big or small, legal or not. But, the majority of their work revolves around people who have reached rock bottom and need help finding their way up.

“We talk to a lot of different people; sometimes it’s about things that are illegal, dan-gerous or at a crisis point,” said Reed. “Every member of a chapel office is trained in crisis counseling and suicide intervention. If a chaplain isn’t immediately available, you can talk to a chaplain’s assistant for the same level of care. Give me the opportunity to help you if you’re not comfortable going to mental health or your leadership.”

Sometimes a person doesn’t know the “whys” of their feelings or actions, they just know they need to do something, said Chaplain (Capt.) David McGuire, 1st SOW. Hopefully, that something isn’t a permanent something.

“I believe in life after death, but I also believe in ‘life before death’ — you have to live your life,” McGuire said.

“Sometimes we get so tightly focused on the bad that people don’t know what to do next. I try to help you pull back so you can find your balance and see if there is an underlying cause. I’m like a camera operator: people tend to zoom into an issue or crisis. We help you ‘pan out’ and figure out a way to work through it.”

So, you can come in for ‘A,’ said McGuire, but chaplains help you find out it is actually ‘E’ and help you figure out a way to fix it.

For those who are faith-centered, the chapel and its staff can be an extension of “home and family,” said McGuire. For those who aren’t driven by faith, the chapel can be an emergency shelter and an escape from the chaos outside.

While some people might be hesitant to go to a spiritual leader for help, chaplains and chaplain assistants are the only people with 100 percent confidentiality in the military. This means they are able to lead someone through a problem without fear of legal or administrative repercussions.

“Sometimes people do things that are illegal or unethical, and they will come to us for help,” Reed said. “As soon as they step into the building, or into a chaplain’s office at a unit, they are protected by absolute, 100 percent confidentiality.

“If an Airman is spilling his guts to me about something illegal, and there is a first sergeant down the hall who hears it, that Airman cannot be charged with anything due to the expectation of confidentiality,” he continued. “In addition, if that first sergeant later asks about that Airman or that conversation, we won’t say anything.”

That means if someone has an issue that is less-than-legal, causing a major crisis or both, the chaplains and their staff are the people to go to.

“Life happens; people do things they later regret, but don’t want to say anything,” Hunsinger said. “They are afraid it will end their military careers, destroy their clearances or ruin their lives. These men and women feel trapped by what they have done, and what they think the consequences will be if they speak about it to a military doctor or leader.

“We will help you guide you to where you need to go, be it substance abuse counseling, hospitalization or other avenues, but we will never force you there,” he continued. “Our first and last priority is you, plain and simple.”

 

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Church

The Best Preacher I Ever Had

A post I saw in the NCR:

I have been thinking about the best preacher I ever heard.  Not about the single best homily or sermon, but about the best and most consistent preaching I have encountered.

When it comes to preaching, we all have our horror stories and I have done my fair share of grumbling.

But rather than focus on the bad preaching, I have been thinking about what makes the good preaching good…

So what is it about the best preaching I ever had and what about it made it consistently good?

As I thought about it, I kept coming back to one particular priest that week in and week out offered good solid preaching.  I realized that he was the best preacher I ever had.  So what about his preaching made it so good?  Well, no one particular thing.  I have tried to distill certain elements of his preaching and other good preaching to come up with a list of things I think are at the root of it.

—He rarely gave a homily more than 10 minutes long.  Most of the homilies were in the 7-9 minute range.

—Every homily he gave was prepared in advance (with obvious care) and he worked from notes.

—He did not walk around during his homilies, but rather stayed put at the pulpit referencing his aforementioned notes but never reading.

—He spoke in a clear, assertive, and masculine style that avoided any misplaced interrogative lilt, the fake soft voice (think Harry Reid), or the sing-songy style so common today.  In short, he spoke as one with authority.

—His brief homilies and sermons generally sought to make a single point and to make it well.  He avoided the temptation to tangents and humorous asides.  Any stories or quotes served to illustrate the main thrust of his sermon.

—And perhaps most of all, his homilies and sermons were all theologically solid, teaching unequivocally what the Church teaches.  They were never fire and brimstone just as they were never soft-pedaled.  There is no greater sign of love than plain truth stated plainly.

I believe that his consistent application of the above principles and methods resulted in consistently good (and sometimes great) preaching.  Just as we emulate saints to be more holy, priests looking to become better preachers can emulate those who are so good.

I am not saying that there is only one way to do it, but my experience has shown me that consistent application of these sound principles will result in consistently sound preaching…

 

Church

Rise of the Exorcists in Catholic Church

Forty years after The Exorcist scared the wits out of cinema audiences around  the world, the Roman Catholic Church is training up a new generation of  priests to meet a growing demand for exorcisms.

In The Telegraph:

Dioceses across Italy, as well as in countries such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in administering the rite of exorcism, fabled to rid people of possession by the Devil.

The rise in demonic cases is a result of more people dabbling in practices such as black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards, often exploring the dark arts with the help of information readily found on the internet, the Church said.

The increase in the number of priests being trained to tackle the phenomenon is also an effort by the Church to sideline unauthorised, self-proclaimed exorcists, and its tacit recognition that belief in Satan, once regarded by Catholic progressives as an embarrassment, is still very much alive.

The trend comes four decades after the 1973 release of The Exorcist, the American horror film based on the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and attempts to exorcise her by two priests.

The diocese of Milan recently nominated seven new exorcists, the bishop of Naples appointed three new ones a couple of years ago and the Catholic Church in Sardinia sent three priests for exorcism training in Rome, amid concern that the Mediterranean island, particularly its mountainous, tradition-bound interior, is a hotbed of occultism.

In Spain, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, chose eight priests to undergo special training in May to confront what he described as “an unprecedented rise” in cases of “demonic possession”. The Church in Spain was coming across many cases that “go beyond the competence of psychologists” and they were occurring with “a striking frequency”, the archbishop said.

“Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism,” said Fr Francesco Bamonte, the president of the Italy-based International Association for Exorcists. “The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help,” he told La Repubblica last month…

You can read on here.

 

Church

Satanic Group Unveils Goat-Head Statue

The Washington Times:

 Satanic Temple members just unveiled their design for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan they want to locate at the Capitol building in Oklahoma, right next to a monument of the Ten Commandments that has stood since 2012.

And to many, the design may prove shocking.

The Associated Press reported an artist’s depiction shows Satan as the goat-headed and horned figure of Baphomet, complete with wings and a long beard. The Satan figure is shown sitting on a throne decorated with pentagrams, in the middle of a few smiling children.

“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the group, in a statement reported by the AP. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”

The group is based in New York, but says it’s not fair for Oklahoma lawmakers to let a Ten Commandments statue stand at the building, without also allowing monuments that reflect other spiritual beliefs, The Associated Press reported. The Ten Commandments statue was privately funded. The American Civil Liberties Union sued to have it removed shortly after it was place, AP reported.

And the Satanic Temple isn’t the only group seeking equal access to the site.

The AP reported that a Hindu head in Nevada wants to put a monument at the Capitol, along with an animal rights group and the — satirical — Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In response, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission has put a moratorium on deciding new requests.

But it’s the Satanic Temple request that’s sparking ire among Bible Belt residents and politicos.

“I think you’ve got to remember where you are,” said Rep. Don Armes, in the AP report. “This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland. I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma and that’s not going to fly here.”

The group, meanwhile, said it’s already raised $10,000 to build the monument — about the half the amount members estimate is needed.

“We plan on moving forward one way or another,” Mr. Greaves said, in the report.

Pray this evil plan fails.