November 2011

Today is the Feast Day of the Apostle, St Andrew, brother of St. Peter. I wrote this in 2000 after a night of fishing with Jewish fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Since today I am discussing St. Andrew with Drew Mariana of Relevant Radio, thought I would share this story with you again.

To see my run from Bethsaida along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, click HERE. Join us on a pilgrimage visit my site at


IMG_0360I smell of fish and I need a shower, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The moon is still hanging over the the Sea of Galilee and the waves are gently rippling against the dock. The lights of Tiberias are twinkling in the distance and the silhouette of the small fishing boats are visible bobbing in the water. A gaggle of geese are swimming by honking with self-importance while the eastern sky is beginning to lighten. It is about 5:30 AM and I got up at 4:30 to drive around the lake to meet Shemi.

IMG_0367Over a cold Maccabees beer yesterday, my friend Shemi asked me to go out with him fishing last night but I was tired with a long day ahead of me today and thought it best to get some sleep, but I promised to go with him later. Shemi is a Jewish fisherman (you can see him in my Jesus and Peter DVD’s) who fishes all night out on the Sea of Galilee just like Peter, Andrew, James and John. He reminds me of Peter.

A couple years ago I spent the night out fishing with Shemi and his partner Udi but I got very seasick with the rocking of the boat. My job was to splash in the water and bang on the side of the boat to scare the fish into the net. Shemi asked me to meet him this morning so I could see his catch of fish and how high the water had risen here in En Gev since the last time I was here. It is 11 feet deeper now, a few inches below the full capacity of the sea before they open the dams to let some water out.

IMG_2149Yesterday Janet and I spent of day of discovery finding new things and enjoying the familiar. We found the old ruins of Magdala from which Mary Magdalen was named. We got video footage of the site though it is private property and fenced off, even with barbed wire. We found the Springs of the Apostles where Jesus and the apostles certainly rested and slaked their thirst as they traveled through the gorge under Mount Arbel as they traveled back and forth between Capernaum and Nazareth. Several Arab families were there filling jugs of water to take home.

IMG_0368Other new sites we discovered were the stone marker commemorating the place Jesus healed the woman with the “issue of blood” and where the synagogue official Jairus requested healing for his 12 year old daughter (Lk 8:40-56) and the Domus Galileaea which is a beautiful new papal institute overlooking the sea which is almost finished.

It is used for seminarians to study the Holy Land and for pilgrims to visit. We also had to see how much difference 11 feet of water made at the Church of the Primacy of Peter just south of Capernaum and to say hello to our African priest friend there who said he had finished my book Upon this Rock and enjoyed it very much. Such a thing always makes an author’s day.

IMG_0356We ate dinner at our favorite restaurant here and talked for three hours with our friend who is the owner of the Aberge Shulamit Restaurant. She is somewhat of an atheist and very intelligent and thoughtful. She also told us the marvelous love story of how she met her husband in the Israeli Air Force in 1962 when she was only 17 years old. He died a few years ago and a picture I took of him still hangs in the entry of the restaurant. Please pray for her after our very delightful and probing discussion. I hope she takes my challenge to discover the mercy of the God who does exist and who loves her enough to have sent her Jewish Messiah 2000 years ago.

It is now an hour later and after helping Shemi unload, I smell like fish and I’m going to drive back to the Kibbutz for a shower!

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The danger of scapegoating the Church is that is has given society an excuse not to address the problem in schools, day care, the family and other institutions. Read the article HERE.

What about in Protestant churches? HERE

An Atheist speaks out on the priestly scandal HERE

Another article about abuse in Protestant circles HERE


imagesWe went to 7 AM Mass on Sunday – not to our usual parish. I could see that some liked the Missal changes and some did not. I sure did, the priest did not. He expected us to follow the new words but he didn’t — he improvised his wording. I know because I followed the new Mass card.

The revised wording is elegant, theologically rich, biblically precise and in line with the liturgy of the whole Church. It now accurately translates the original Latin. Why did it need to be revised? The translation rushed through in the 1960’s was an inferior translation. It is as simple as that. The 60’s were marked by a certain progressiveness, a liberal bent, a desire to leave the old Church behind and create a new more modern and approachable Church (which is why many churches built in that era look like Protestant churches).

Like Fr. Barron’s wrote, “the translation of the liturgical texts, which was made in some haste in the late ‘60s of the last century, was not sufficiently faithful to the Latin and was, at least in some instances, informed by questionable theological assumptions.” He is being very kind and measured in his comments.

If one wants to vent a bit of frustration with change, it should NOT be directed to the good bishops today who have served us well by restoring the much needed elegance and theological precision to the liturgy. The frustration should be directed at those who in past decades did us a disservice with a poor translation that ultimately needed to be corrected. They probably did this because they were influenced by the “loosy-goosey,” hip and progressive mentality of the 60’s.These are the ones that caused the problem. Direct any frustration in that direction. The bishops today have FIXED the problem. They should be praised and thanked, not criticized.

images1If a car is built with defects and breaks down on the freeway it needs to be repaired. Who should you be angry with — the manufacturer who made the mess or the repairman who fixed it for you?

I think the ones criticizing are the those people still stuck in the 60’s — like the priest at 7 AM Mass where we attended.

I am not angry or frustrated with anyone. I understand the men educated in the 60’s, 70′ and even 80’s were often sold a rotten bill of goods. For that I pity them. Most of these young men entered seminary full of vim and vigor and were let down by the bishops and educators, themselves poisoned by modernism and trendiness. There are still vestiges of it floating around in seminaries and parishes today, but thank God it is dying out. The new bishops and priests understand the gravity of the situation and are making the right moves. The new Missal is one blessed example.

Janet and I enjoyed the new Missal, and enjoyed our first Mass using the revised wording. Sure, we stumbled and bumbled through it a bit but that will pass as we learn the new words and they become second nature. The Mass rose to a higher level for us. As the novelty wears off we will be immersed in the beauty of the Mass even more than before. When we celebrate Mass again, this time with a priest who also loves the improved wording, I think we will rise even higher in the pinnacle of worship for Catholics.

For more on the new MIssal:

Fr. Barron’s article HERE.

Who’s Actually Upset with the New Roman Missal? HERE.

Top Ten Comments Overheard After the First New Mass HERE.

Most Catholics Happy with the New MIssal HERE.


Catholic Courses

November 29, 2011

I have been using the Teaching Company and their Great Courses for several years now. Most of them are very good. But when it comes to the Christian Faith and the Catholic Church I dare you to find one that is truly Christian or Catholic. Now they have a competitor: Catholic Courses. Joseph Pearce is […]

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Muslim Prayer on Airplane

November 28, 2011

On a recent flight on Royal Brunei Airlines I was intrigued when they began to pray an Islamic prayer in Malay over the intercom system. You will hear it below – even making out the name Allah. The prayer was in written form on the TV screen in front of each seat. Can you imagine […]

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Catholic Church Growing in USA in 2011; Others Declining

November 28, 2011

Interesting article for those who think the Catholic Church is shrinking in the USA. It is not. Click here for the article and the statistics.

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Why Young People Drop Out of Church (Protestant and Catholic) and Leave the Faith

November 26, 2011

A book and a review evaluate the sad but predictable situation. The Zenit article begins: 1. Churches do have an active engagement with teens, but many of the young people do not grow up to be faithful adult followers of Christ. 2. There are a variety of reasons people drop out, so it is important […]

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Updated Grandkids Picture :-) Count ’em

November 24, 2011

Another reason I am thankful on Thanksgiving. Here is an updated picture of Janet and I with our grandchildren. Look what we got started 35 years ago. Blessed be God the Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ forever!

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Know Someone Who Loves the Bible? – A Christmas Gift Idea!

November 23, 2011

I spent two years of my life writing my book St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary. It was one of the “richest” periods of my life and I put on scuba gear and dove into that profound Gospel written by the very old man (almost 100 years old) who had laid his […]

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From Calvin to Peter: A Reformed Seminarian becomes Catholic

November 23, 2011

Converts keep pouring into the Church. What a great time to be Catholic! This is a guest post by Jason Kettinger. For the past ten years Jason Kettinger was a member of the Presbyterian Church in America. He received baptism in 2001, and spent his college days as a fruitful member of Reformed University Fellowship, […]

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Why a Torn Meniscus in my Knew Made Me Happy!

November 22, 2011

UPDATE: After good news – replacing bad news – about my knees earlier this week I ran four miles today with no pain. What a great Thanksgiving Day! The meniscus is cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber. Without it we have bone on bone. A torn meniscus is damage to the […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live

November 22, 2011

Monday night’s show was a Q&A for Non-Catholics. You can listen on line here. More info and other listening options here. 1. To join the Catholic Church in good faith, do I have to believe everything in the Catechism? 2. Why are the bodies of dead popes on display at the Vatican? 3. My Catholic […]

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About Mary: Providentially Used by God – I’m Humbled and Blessed

November 21, 2011

I was on Drew Mariani’s show on Relevant Radio Friday (archived show here) and had an amazing call from a woman with an honest and questioning heart. Here is her e-mail sent later to me: (Picture: Mary of Nazareth from Church of Annunciation in Nazareth) “It was absolutely providential that I called in to Drew’s […]

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38,000 Protestant Denominations

November 20, 2011

Prominent Protestant Church historian Mark Noll has written a helpful introduction to Protestantism entitled Protestantism, A Very Short Introduction in a series of books published by Oxford University Press in London England. I have posted similar facts in the past, based on the two-volume World Christian Encyclopedia. The same facts are available from other resources […]

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Grandkids Learn the Beatitudes – What Fun!

November 19, 2011

Fr. Scott Courtney (far right), frequent Spiritual Director on our pilgrimages, stayed at our house Friday night after arriving to go to the University of Michigan vs. Nebraska football game with friends. While at our house we were again blessed by his love for Our Lord and the Bible. Here is a short video of […]

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What Scott Hahn’s Website Says about our St. Paul Cruise

November 19, 2011

For the full article and more info, click HERE. To see our brochure with itinerary and info on our ship, click HERE.

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