Author Archives: teamorthodoxy

Top Ten Tuesdays: Arfink`s Pilgrimage Bucket List

I’ve never been much for traveling abroad, but if I was given the chance, here is my list of the 10 pilgrimage places I would want to visit some day.

10: Divine Mercy Sanctuary, Kraków, Poland

This is the final resting place of Saint Faustina Kowalska. Also, while many find the modern styling off putting, I think it’s rather pleasing to my eyes.

9: Basilica of the Assumption – Algona Latvia

This is a very famous pilgrimage site not really well known to many of us in the US or Canada. I think it would be very cool to visit and meet some of the other thousands of pilgrims who visit each year.

8: La Sagrada Familia – Catalonia, Spain

This church is the masterpiece of Gaudi, and in my opinion the very best thing to come out of the Art Nouveau  movement.

7: St Peter’s – Rome, Italy

This one doesn’t exactly need much introduction. I have never been, and I definitely want to go!

6: St. Joesph’s Cathedral – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

I’ve actually been to this one once already, many years ago for the ordination of a friend. That was before it was restored to its original state. What was once a whitewashed mess is now once again a glittering jewel of Catholicism.

5: Basilia of St. Francis of Assisi – Assisi, Italy

This place is just too cool, and has great painting by Giotto all over the place. Also, the crypt is sweet. (as pictured below) What’s not to love?

4: National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – Washington DC

Just look at it. I want to go back here and spend a long time. I got to see it once when I was on the March for Life back in 2007, and never got to take a good look at it.

3: Sistine Chapel – Rome, Italy

This one is also pretty self-explanatory, I SO want to see the inside of this some day.

2: Notre Dame – Paris, France

I am generally not so big into the Gothic, but Notre Dame is a notable exception.

1: National Shrine of the Little Flower – Royal Oak, Michigan

This one tops my list of places I MUST visit some day. You may well wonder why. Well, besides the awesome patronage of the Little Flower, it’s also a really beautiful church in the Art Deco style, something which is incredibly uncommon and, in my opinion, very beautiful.

On Confession (and Presumption)


How many people reading here have been to confession countless times with the exact same sins every single time? I think that’s been me since probably the first time I went to confession. Of course, the sins I confess now differ from back then, but when I think of the last few times I went to confession, I’d be willing to bet I probably didn’t change all that much. Or perhaps you’ve not been to confession in a very long time, and you think it’s not worth it to go back because you’ll only sin again. For most of us, it can be easy to feel stuck in the same sins for a long time. It can sometimes feel very easy to say, “I like confession and being reconciled with God, but I still like my sins.”

But there is a problem with this. When we go to confession, we say our Act of Contrition. There are probably about a million variations of this prayer in English, but in every single instance we’re essentially promising to sin no more and avoid occasions of sin too. It’s part of going to confession that we have to say those words, and mean it. The obvious problem is, most of the time I can know with a very high level of certainty that I will sin again. When I try to imagine not sinning again after confession, I sometimes envision crazy life-changing miracles. Or being hit by a bus about 5 minutes after leaving the confessional. But mostly I just stare into the stark reality that in a few hours or days or weeks I’ll be right back in the same spot all over again. Does this mean that I can’t go to confession unless I really feel confident I can succeed at stopping my favorite sins?

I don’t think we need to be sure of success in order to go to confession. In fact, I think if we waited for that, we’d just never be able to go to confession. It’s fairly obvious that intentionally abusing confession so that you can continue to sin is a very bad thing, and that’s called the sin of presumption. But how is that different from the admission that we will probably sin again? The difference is in the intent. We can know that we may do bad things, but that doesn’t mean we intend to do them at all. Instead, we can make up our minds to fight against our sins, even though we know we probably will not win this time.

Going to confession is part of what gives us the strength to be able to succeed in our battle against sin. The graces of the sacrament of confession are God’s way of helping us grow in virtue. He wants us to accept the gift of those graces and desires to give us victory over our sins. If we allow ourselves to be kept away because we fear sinning again, then we’ve already lost the war. So the question is, when are you gonna’ get to confession again?

(For a somewhat more detailed discussion on presumption and penitence, check out Chris’ old article: I am a Hypocrite)

Top Ten Tuesdays: Things that Make Me Cry that Shouldn’t


Being pregnant turns me into an emotional cry baby.  And while I understand that my son telling me he loves me, or running out of pasta sauce right before dinner are totally explicable reasons for a hormone-induced cry-a-thon, some things just really shouldn’t ever make a person cry.

1.  This stroller ad.

2. THIS stroller ad.

3. Tim Hortons Commercials.

4. … and who can forget this one:

I actually only have to see the man walking into the arena to burst into tears because it brings back so.many.memories!

5. My son telling me he missed my sister.  Ok, that one’s a bit more reasonable.

6. This baby pig in a wheelchair!  He’s such a trooper!

7. The preview for this movie.  Please don’t judge me.

8.  My son seeing this picture and telling me they’re “Uncle Steve’s friends”

(Photo: Laurent Kalfala, L'Osservatore Romano, via AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Laurent Kalfala, L’Osservatore Romano, via AFP/Getty Images)











9. This lip-dub proposal

10. This song by Plumb

New Music Monday: Ecclectic!


Today’s musical selection is a big ball of crazy, which describes my past week pretty well too. Don’t expect anything in particular by way of theme, except for it to be rather strange overall. Read the rest of this entry

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