Patrick Stewart, OP

Dear Reader,

It might come as a surprise, but Star Trek: The Next Generation was a significant formative influence on my life, when I was growing up. I loved Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise and everything he stood for. He was moral, philosophical, scientific, and an all-around great guy. His commitment to truth and justice was something I strove to be. It was probably a great part of the reason I entered the Dominican Order and pursued philosophy – both really about pursuit of the truth.

Here’s a famous monologue from TNG when Jean-Luc confronts Wesley Crusher for having lied at Starfleet Academy:

[Oh, and PS – it’s just slightly modified]

“The first duty of every Dominican friar is to the Truth. It is the guiding principle on which the Order is based. If you can’t find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth…you don’t deserve to wear that habit….”



Yours in Christ,

Br. James Dominic, OP

  1. #1 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Br james you left out our lord in your talk on star track. Your attachment to it has blinded you. There are no roll models of the holy life in Hollywood or anywhere else today for that matter except the TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC CHURCH and even that is prone to weekness.
    Br joe

    • #2 by stmichael71 on December 15, 2015 - 9:54 am

      I have not updated my blog in a while, but I am impressed to see someone still reads my silly things. If you did not understand the post, I did not claim that Star Trek was the source of my vocation, but merely that Jean-Luc Picard, the character, had given me a good impression as a young person. He is a genuinely good character in the series, and his commitment to truth is admirable. More importantly, people that are not Christian can be exemplary models of certain virtues we can admire. Aristotle and Plato were admired by the Church Fathers and seen as having discovered a great deal of the truth, despite not being Christian. Further, I think stories and plays in general are often some of the first places we find role models and is quite a good thing if the story is admirable. I would be surprised if you did not see any good role models for young people in stories like “the Lord of the Rings” or the “Narnia” series. I think you are confusing actors for the characters they play; just because actors in Hollywood or elsewhere who play characters on television are not Christian or good people in their personal lives does not make the story itself evil.

      Naturally, my primary example in life and the person I most strive to imitate as a religious and a priest is Jesus Christ. That goes almost without saying. But Christ does not so monopolize our lives as to exclude rightly ordered relationships to other people, or stories, or music, or anything else. 1 Cor. 10:31 might be helpful. The key being “rightly ordered.” My approval of Star Trek does not endorse vice or condone immorality, and I certainly am relating Star Trek to themes of the faith (our love of sacred Truth as Dominicans), so I see no reason one cannot like Star Trek within those bounds. St. Paul quotes pagan poets and plays approvingly in his letters, which means he read them, and likely enjoyed them. If St. Paul approved stories and poetry, I think we should not try to be more “Christian” than he.

      Finally, I am going to guess that your emphasis on “traditional Catholic church” means that you probably do not attend a Catholic church in communion with the Pope of Rome. I would encourage you to find and begin to attend a good parish in your area that is in communion with the universal Church; I say Mass regularly in the Dominican Rite at an ordinary “Novus Ordo” parish, and there are many near me that offer the older rite of the Mass, which you (as I imagine) would probably want to attend. Being out of communion with the Church is dangerous precisely because we can invent a church in our own minds, and create an orthodoxy not actually connected to the apostolic faith or our history. We also lose opportunities for charity (against which schism is a sin), because we don’t have to put up with people with whom we disagree. Finally, if you go to a church not in communion, and you disagree with things taught by the Catholic Church, I think you might ask yourself how you differ from the Protestants. Are you sure of your salvation, picking and choosing your own doctrines? Creating a church independent of the Catholic Church? Playing at being your own Pope? I don’t think any of those things is good.

      • #3 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 10:55 am

        Br it is our lord who should be our roll model !!! First than the saints of the church, next than the teaching of the desert fathers and Mortification of the senses every day every hour every minute. If you are a priest you should and must return to the holy church THE TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE LATIN MASS or your soul will be lost

  2. #4 by stmichael71 on December 15, 2015 - 11:06 am

    I think you need to re-read my post. I did note that Our Lord is our primary role model as Christians, but that this does not mean we cannot have any others. Are we to tell children not to imitate their own fathers? Did Our Lord not imitate St. Joseph, His father? Of course mortification is necessary at all times, but it is quite wrong if made the primary goal of the spiritual life. Mortification is a means, not an end; that is as much the teaching of the Fathers. Finally, I think you know nothing about me or the state of my soul. I say both the old Mass and the new, but I think it is intensely foolish to make the Latin Mass a condition of salvation. I am a Byzantine priest as well, and our liturgy has been in the vernacular for centuries, but is no less traditional or orthodox. I would encourage you to take those steps I mentioned earlier: find a good parish in your area that is in communion with the Pope, and come back into communion with the Catholic Church.

    • #5 by Joseph cade on December 15, 2015 - 11:23 am

      Br i am a traditional catholic. I reject the pope he is no good along with all the other collage of freemansons, gays and sexual predators priests that now control the vatican. The only safe place for me to worship is in the hart and soul nothing man made man has made a shambles and defiled the house of god time is running out on you and mankind its to late to be jumping here and there with the churchs

  3. #6 by Joseph on December 15, 2015 - 11:09 am

    Br i am a traditional catholic. I reject the pope he is no good along with all the other collage of freemansons, gays and sexual predators priests that now control the vatican

  4. #7 by stmichael71 on December 15, 2015 - 11:11 am

    Ask yourself if the situation was different in the days of St. Augustine or St. Robert Bellarmine. Did they become Donatists or Protestants, or did they work and pray within the one, holy Catholic Church? Becoming your own Pope is not what Christ wants us to do.

    • #8 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 11:41 am

      Br to compair the days of St. Augustine to day show how misguided you are and condition to modern day society you are. Your self is contaminated and toxic to our lord attached to such earthy things. You are so attached you are not able to see the evil one disguised as a angle of light the pope. He is not the pope he is the antichrist and you are guilty of association. Therefore you are guilty of a grave sin.

  5. #9 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 11:51 am

    Br you have sined exceedingly and you have not offered acts of mortification not one. When many should be offered for tour sins you reason it away to me but i do not matter its you who matter you and your soul that must be free and clean before the lord. This you have not done. My br you cannot and will not be holy before Him without it !!!!!!!!!! Our lord thinks little of love without suffering.

    • #10 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 12:22 pm

      Br when your will is ready to rebel how often did you bridle it with a discipline that is still more severe. And how often is this offering of love given to our lord. Not once br have you entered this holy ground of mortification when many times are required to clean the multitude of sins you have. Do you think our lord would not take pity on you under the lash or you feel it above you that you should lower yourself to our lords methods and likeness.

      • #11 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 12:42 pm

        Nothing my br so defiles and ensnares a mans hart as the undisciplined Love of created things for created things.

    • #12 by stmichael71 on December 15, 2015 - 1:39 pm

      This will be my last post.

      I think you need to think very carefully about whether you by yourself can become judge of the Church, the Pope and all the bishops, and other people you have never met. Is such an attitude charitable? Is it how Jesus Christ Himself dealt with people? Is that not the same thing every heretic has ever done, from Marcion to Luther? The attitude that leads you to judge another’s sins (even more so never having met them) is not that of Christ, who said our constant prayer should be like the publican: “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” That is not the attitude of the saints. If your faith leads you to presumption and judgment, it is not the apostolic faith. Our Lord thinks little of judgment without mercy, of mortification without love, and of Latin prayers without faith or communion in His Church.

      St. Francis de Sales, in his Introduction to the Devout Life, might offer some helpful thoughts:

      “You aim at a devout life, dear child, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God’s Divine Majesty. But seeing that the small errors people are wont to commit in the beginning of any under taking are apt to wax greater as they advance, and to become irreparable at last, it is most important that you should thoroughly understand wherein lies the grace of true devotion;—and that because while there undoubtedly is such a true devotion, there are also many spurious and idle semblances thereof; and unless you know which is real, you may mistake, and waste your
      energy in pursuing an empty, profitless shadow. …

      One man sets great value on fasting, and believes himself to be leading a very devout life, so long as he fasts rigorously, although the while his heart is full of bitterness;—and while he will not moisten his lips with wine, perhaps not even with water, in his great abstinence, he does not scruple to steep them in his neighbour’s blood, through slander and detraction. Another man reckons himself as devout because he repeats many prayers daily, although at the same time he does not refrain from all manner of angry, irritating, conceited or insulting speeches among his family and neighbours. This man freely opens his purse in almsgiving, but closes his heart to all gentle and forgiving feelings towards those who are opposed to him; while that one is ready enough to forgive his enemies, but will never pay his rightful debts save under pressure. Meanwhile all these people are conventionally called religious, but nevertheless they are in no true sense really devout. …

      But, in fact, all true and living devotion presupposes the love of God;—and indeed it is neither more nor less than a very real love of God, though not always of the same kind; for that Love one while shining on the soul we call grace, which makes us acceptable to His Divine Majesty;—when it strengthens us to do well, it is called Charity;—but when it attains its fullest perfection, in which it not only leads us to do well, but to act carefully, diligently, and promptly, then it is called Devotion.”

      I do not think further conversation would be helpful, so I would ask you to pray for me that I become a holy priest and religious, and I will offer my prayers for you.

      • #13 by Joseph Cade on December 15, 2015 - 2:07 pm

        Thankyou i agree we are at war and unlike you i do not make merry during a time of war. Evil has taken over the church totally WE NEED TO PRAY

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