Saturday, January 15, 2005

23 Ways To Identify a Faithful Parish

CRISIS Magazine - Special e-Report
January 14, 2005

In my last email, you'll remember that I asked for your advice on a letter I received from one of our readers. She's a non-Catholic who's interested in entering the Church, but wants to make sure she gets involved with a solid parish -- one that follows and promotes authentic Catholicism.

So, she asked, what kinds of things should she look for when she walks into a parish church for the first time? Are there any easy, tell-tale ways to gauge the health and fidelity of that particular parish?
In going through the 23 points, it's important to take them as a whole, rather than focus on this or that specific item. For example, it is certainly true that it's difficult to worship reverently in an ugly, pray-barn type church. (You know the kind I mean.) But this itself doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad parish. It may well be the case that the current pastor arrived long after the church was built
and is simply stuck with a less-than-glorious structure.
And the list:
1. There is at least one daily Mass. Obviously, if a parish shares a
pastor with other parishes, this may not always be possible. But barring that, a parish needs to offer daily Mass.

2. Confession is offered for a set time... not just "by appointment only." The absolute importance of that sacrament must not be diminished.

3. The tabernacle is inside the main church in a prominent place. It's always frustrating to have to play "Where's Jesus?" when you walk into a parish for the first time. I recall once when visiting a church I'd never been in before, I confusedly genuflected to everything from the cantor to a statue of St. Therese before I figured out where the tabernacle was.

4. The church has kneelers. Period.

5. The church doesn't have a sign in the front that describes itself as a "Catholic Community." I know, this one seems petty at first, but it tends to be true. If a parish has an objection to the word "church," that's a good indication that a larger problem exists. And if that parish magnifies the nonsense with a sign that says something like, "An Open, Inclusive Community of Catholic Christians Who Care
and Share," stop, turn around, run.

6. As you enter the church, you see people in the pews in prayer or, at least, reverent silence. If, on the other hand, it looks like social time down at the bingo parlor, that's a bad sign.

7. The Mass is not intentionally altered through the use of inclusive language.

8. The Mass is said according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the instructions of the local bishop. Improvisation is great in jazz. Mass isn't jazz.

9. The gospel is not being read, nor the homily given, by someone other than a priest or deacon.

10. Latin has pride of place in the Mass. It's right there in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. That should be reflected in the liturgy itself.

11. The bread for the Eucharist isn't made with added ingredients not allowed by the Church. Honey, for example.

12. The liturgical music focuses on God, not the community. We are there, after all, to worship Him, not ourselves. And there's never a good reason to sing songs about bridges over troubled waters. You can do that at home, Mr. Garfunkel.

13. Extraordinary ministers do not outnumber the parishioners. There's a reason, after all, that we refer to them as EXTRAORDINARY ministers. We only use them when there are too many people for the priest and deacon to handle.

14. If you're able to find the mission statement of the parish (it's often carried in the bulletin), make sure it says something about fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church.

15. And while you're thumbing through the bulletin, see if there are other good groups there, like the Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul, and Holy Name Society. A faithful Bible study group is also a great sign.

16. The parish offers some form of Eucharistic adoration.

17. The parish has an active Pro-Life ministry, as well as a ministry that cares for the poor.

18. The priest wears his collar. Now, obviously, if you see your local pastor jogging one morning, he's not going to be wearing his clericals. But a priest should generally look the part. It's an important witness to the secular world and a sign that he recognizes the great value of his own vocation.

19. The pastor isn't afraid to preach on the tough issues: abortion, divorce, contraception, cloning, etc. That's not to say that every homily should cover those topics. But a priest should truly believe the Church's teaching and defend them without pause.

20. The parish's marriage preparation program includes instruction in Natural Family Planning (NFP). And if someone involved in the program describes NFP as "the rhythm method," go immediately limp and drop to the ground. With luck, he'll think you passed out and will take you to the emergency room, far, far away from that parish.

21. The church has a vibrant religious education program for both children and adults based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You might also try to find out who's involved in the program and where they received their own formation.

22. The church's Website doesn't link to dissident groups like Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, or Catholics for a Free Choice.

And finally...

23. If there's a literature rack in the church, look at the publications the parish is carrying. Dissident magazines or newspapers tend to go hand in hand with a dissident parish. On the other hand, should you see a copy of Crisis in the rack, join that parish. The pastor is clearly a man of great taste and refinement.

Gospel for Saturday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:13-17

The Calling of Matthew

[13] He (Jesus) went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about Him, and He taught them. [14] And as He passed on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[15] And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many who followed Him. [16] And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, "Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [17] And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

14. St. Mark and St. Luke (5:27-32) both call him "Levi"; the First Gospel, on the other hand, calls him "Matthew" (Matthew 9:9-13); but they are all referring to the same person. All three accounts describe the same event. Later on, St. Mark and St. Luke, when giving the list of Apostles (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16), include Matthew, not Levi. The Fathers identify Matthew with Levi. Besides it was quite common for Jews to have two names: Jacob-Israel, Simon-Peter, Saul-Paul, Joseph-Caiaphas, John-Mark... Frequently, the name and surname were connected with some significant change in the life and mission of the person concerned. Did Jesus' saving intervention in this Apostle's life lead to a change of name? The Gospel does not tell us.

Levi-Matthew, as a publican or tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), was sitting at the `tax office', a special place where one went to pay tribute. Publicans were tax-collectors appointed by the Romans. It was, therefore, an occupation hated and despised by the people; but it was also a much-coveted position because it was an easy way to become prosperous. Matthew leaves everything behind when Jesus calls him. He immediately responds to his vocation, because Jesus gives him the grace to accept his calling.

Jesus is the basis of our confidence in being able to change, provided we cooperate with His grace, no matter how unworthy our previous conduct may have been. And He is also the source of the confidence we need in order to be apostolic--helping others to be converted and seek holiness of life. Because He is the Son of God He is able to raise up children of God even from stones (cf. Matthew 3:9). Cf. note on Matthew 9:9.

17. The scribes and Pharisees reproach the disciples, and Jesus replies with a popular proverb: `Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.' He is the doctor of souls, come to cure sinners of their spiritual ailments.

Our Lord calls everyone, His redemptive mission extends to everyone; He affirms this on other occasions, using parables such as that of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24). How, then, can we explain the restriction He seems to place here by saying that He has not come to call the righteous? It is not really a restriction. Jesus uses the opportunity to reproach the scribes and Pharisees for their pride: they consider themselves just, and their reliance on their apparent virtue prevents them from hearing the call to conversion; they think they can be saved by their own efforts (cf. John 9:41). This explains the proverb Jesus quotes; certainly His preaching makes it quite clear that `no one is good but God alone' (Mark 10:18) and that everyone must have recourse to the mercy and forgiveness of God in order to be saved. In other words, mankind is not divided into two--the just and the unjust. We are all sinners, as St. Paul confirms: `all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). Precisely because of this, Christ came to call all of us; He justifies those who respond to His call.

Our Lord's words should also move us to pray humbly and confidently for people who seem to want to continue living in sin. As St. Teresa beseeched God: "Ah, how hard a thing am I asking of Thee, my true God! I ask Thee to love one who loves Thee not, to open to one who has not called upon Thee, to give health to one who prefers to be sick and who even goes about in search of sickness. Thou sayest, my Lord, that Thou comest to seek sinners; these, Lord, are the true sinners. Look not upon our blindness, my God, but upon all the blood that was shed for us by Thy Son. Let Thy mercy shine out amid such tremendous wickedness. Behold, Lord, we are the works of Thy hands" ("Exclamations of the Soul to God", n. 8).

The Fathers of the Church see this calling by Jesus as an invitation to repentance and penance. St. John Chrysostom ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 30:3), for example, explains the phrase by putting these words in Jesus' mouth: "I am not come that they should continue sinners but that they should change and become better."
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Some Letters to the Review re: St. Stanislaus

Critics need to listen


Surely like many others, including our archbishop, I am sorry about what has happened and is occurring at St. Stanislaus Parish. However, I am truly angered by unjust and uninformed public comments seeking to vilify Archbishop Raymond Burke.

If critics, whether of the bleeding-heart or vitriolic variety, would follow the maxim "engage brain before pulling mouth in gear," an astonishing amount of truth might be discovered. Words have meanings so I would ask three questions of those critics: First, what was the agreement between Archbishop Peter Kenrick and the founders of St. Stanislaus Parish? Secondly, who violated the agreement? Thirdly, what do they mean when they stand at the beginning of Holy Mass and say: "... I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church ...?"

With those facts in hand they just might discover that Archbishop Burke is, indeed, a shepherd tending his flock; that he is neither a mitered Machiavelli nor a mounted and armed, medieval bishop trampling opponents beneath his horse’s hooves and bashing the heads of any within reach of his mace.

The St. Louis area in which I was born and have always lived was filled with tolerant, decent, level-headed mid-Americans. Where have they gone? When were they replaced by howling wolves intent only on rending and tearing capriciously chosen victims; even decent leaders entitled to respect? Shame on those who have replaced decency and decorum with demagoguery! Let us pray that light will illumine the darkness of their minds and hearts.

Edward A. Rohde
St. Louis
A good and reasoned letter. Many of us have asked many of the same questions and had the same thoughts....(BTW...all emphasis above is mine).

Then we have another letter - Maybe it's the Review's attempt at "balance"?
Spin not needed


I am extremely insulted that the archdiocese has chosen to spend our money to hire a spokesperson to spin the St. Stanislaus issue.

We always have heard directly from a member of the staff of the archdiocese. Now, however, when the heat is turned up because of tactics that might be characterized as a departure from Christian values it appears that no one wants to face the members of the archdiocese.

Norm Clark
Are we to understand that the hiring of a new spokesman (I despise inclusive languange!) was done to "spin" the St. Stanislaus issue...It appears from all of the known facts of the case, that the board of St. Stanislaus is using the Post-Dispatch as a willing accomplice to "spin" its version of the 'truth' in what would seem to be an historical revisionist's delight.

I agree with Mr. Rohde that we should "pray that light will illumine the darkness of their minds and hearts."


Abp. Burke still desires reconciliation with St. Stan's

Archbishop Raymond Burke continues to offer reconciliation to the lay board of the civil corporation at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, with the hope and prayer that the parish will be a part of the archdiocesan family, said Msgr. Vernon Gardin Jan. 11.

Msgr. Gardin, vicar general of the archdiocese, previously met with the board in an effort to gain their support for a restructuring of the historic Polish parish.

The board of the parish in North St. Louis has opposed Archbishop Burke’s request to bring the corporate structure of the parish into compliance with Church law. Under the current structure, the parish pastor is subject to the authority of the board.
Complete Article here.

A Recent Letter I Sent...

January 14, 2005

Dear Fr. xxxxxxxxxx:

May God’s blessings be upon you and all of your family and friends!

I am writing you this letter to address an issue which could be a source of confusion for most Catholics who receive their knowledge of Church teaching primarily from the homily, and who rely on priests to faithfully hand on the teaching of the Church. The issue to which I refer is that concerning Jesus’ human knowledge – a subject which you discussed in your homily at the 4:00p.m. Christmas Vigil Mass in the Chapel on Dec. 24, 2004.

With respect to your homily, I would be remiss in my obligation as a confirmed Catholic to defend the faith if I did not address what you said about Christ and His knowledge of His Divinity. This letter is not meant as a criticism but more as an effort to help you pass on a proper understanding of Christ’s knowledge to the faithful in the future, lest they become even more confused and bewildered than they are now in these times of rampant and widespread confusion. Because of the complexity of the subject and the theological pitfalls into which one can easily fall, it would seem that the discussion of this subject during a short homily should be limited in scope and at the very least, be in conformity with the Catechism and the teachings of the Church.

You indicated, or at least suggested, that Jesus only gradually became aware that He was God. Your discussion with the children (and the rest of the faithful) that Jesus learned different things just as they learn different things while growing up, was, at best, ambiguous and confusing, and bordered on the precipice of previously condemned propositions. Catholics have a fundamental right to the truth as revealed by God and defined by the Church. This subject matter touches on an aspect of Catholic theology that MUST be approached with due care and deliberation lest one inadvertently lead the faithful into an area of neo-Nestorianism or some other confusing beliefs incompatible with the faith.

I hope that you would reacquaint yourself with faithful, orthodox explanations on this subject so as to avoid leading Catholics into error or the proximity to error in the future when discussing this subject. To assist you in this matter, I have attached an easy-to-read article concerning Christ and His knowledge. The article is “The Human Knowledge of Christ” from the magazine, “The Catholic Faith”, a venture started by the eminent Jesuit catechist and theologian, Fr. John Hardon.

I genuinely request that you prayerfully consider the above. I am certain that you, being the kind and generous priest that you are, a priest who is devoted to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, will want to do all you can to faithfully pass on the fullness of truth as taught by the Church.

Sincerely in Christ,
Yours truly.......
I hope this letter is not offensive but may be a charitable means to correct some serious catechetical problems in some homilies. I sat on it for 3 weeks, trying to get it right.

Any criticism is welcomed.

Pope Grants Plenary Indulgence for Year of the Eucharist

VATICAN CITY, JAN 14, 2005 (VIS) - A Decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, dated December 25, 2004 and published today, states that during an audience granted on December 17, 2004 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. John Francis Girotti, OFM.Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, "the Holy Father wished to enrich with indulgences several determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament, which are indicated below. ... The Decree will be in force during the Eucharistic Year, starting with the day of its publication in the L'Osservatore Romano. Notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary."

The Decree asks that priests, especially pastors, inform the faithful "in the most convenient manner" of these dispositions, prepare, "with generous and ready spirit," to hear confessions and to lead the faithful "in solemn public recitation of prayers to Jesus in the Sacrament."

The faithful are likewise exhorted "to give open witness of faith and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament" as proposed in such acts as Eucharistic procession and adoration, and Eucharistic and spiritual communion."

Following are excerpts:

"A Plenary Indulgence is granted to all faithful and to each individual faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin), each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.

"A Plenary Indulgence is also granted, under the aforesaid conditions, to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite - at the end of the day, in company or in private - Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.

"The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory, may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if, ... with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire, ... and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.

"If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives."
(All emphasis mine)

Belleville Diocese Reveal $144,000 Theft

BELLEVILLE - A part-time bookkeeper with a gambling problem, who embezzled $144,000 from St. Patrick Catholic Church in East St. Louis, will be allowed to repay the money instead of being prosecuted, a Belleville Diocese official said Thursday.

And the parish priest, the Rev. Clyde Grogan, is under investigation by the diocese after a financial review over the last two weeks found that an additional $75,000 of $85,000 that was spent over several years cannot be accounted for from a charity fund that he alone controlled.

UN to Draft Sweeping Convention on Disabilities

From the E-Mail Folder...
UN to Draft Sweeping Convention on All "Disabilities"

Next week the United Nation convenes a working group to continue drafting an international convention on people with disabilities. The eventual treaty will set domestic legislation on disabilities as treaties are legal documents binding states that ratify them. There is a strong push to finish the Convention this year, and currently the draft contains several terms of concern to pro-life and pro-family advocates involved with the process.

The draft Convention contains provisions that some view as granting the disabled the "right to die." One portion of the draft language stipulates that states will "Prevent unwanted medical and related interventions and corrective surgeries from being imposed on persons with disabilities," while another calls for "...individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons." On the face of it, these may seem like reasonable aspirations, but seen the light of the euthanasia movement, they could become ominous.

Other parts of the treat ensure that the disabled have access to "reproductive and family planning education, and the means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights," while another requires the disabled to have the "same range and standard" of "sexual and reproductive health services" as "other citizens." In UN parlance, "sexual and reproductive health services" have long meant access to abortion and contraception.

Additionally, in what some view as a potential back door for homosexual unions, treaty language calls for the disabled to have "equal opportunity to experience their sexuality, have sexual and other intimate relationships, and experience parenthood," as well as the right "to marry...and to found a family."

Pro-family advocates say the treaty could be used to promote homosexual rights because the draft Convention does not define "disability." The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically excludes "transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders." Homosexuality and bisexuality are also excluded, as are age and economic status.

Experts worry that signing the Convention would be signing a blank check because the Convention could later be applied to unintended situations. The results will be far-reaching, especially in light of the fact that the UN will create a compliance committee that would scrutinize compliance of the Convention by signatory states. A similar monitoring body, the UN Human Rights Committee which reviews implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, recently directed Poland to liberalize its national laws on abortion, even though that treaty is silent on abortion.

Copyright 2004 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
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The Tsunami: Before and After Pictures

These pictures are unbelievable...

Here is the link.

Niece of MLK, Jr. to Speak Out Against Abortion at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, January 13, 2005 ( – Immediately following the January 24 US National March for Life in Washington, women who regret their abortions will speak at the Supreme Court. Guests include the national spokesperson for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, actress, model, author, Jennifer O'Neill and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Alveda King.

The women will stand in front of the Supreme Court holding signs that say "I Regret My Abortion" and will be speaking about their abortion experience.

Gospel for Friday, 1st Week of Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:1-12

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And when He (Jesus) returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and He was preaching the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. [4] And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, [7] "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? [9] Which is easier to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk?' [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

4. Many Jewish houses had a terraced roof accessible by steps at the back. The same structure can be found even today.

5. Here Jesus emphasizes the connection between faith and the forgiveness of sins. The boldness of the people who brought in the paralytic shows their faith in Christ, and this faith moves Jesus to forgive the man's sins. We should question how God views our faith:the faith of these people leads to the instantaneous physical and spiritual curing of this man. We should notice also that one person's need can be helped by the merits of another.

In this man's physical paralysis, St. Jerome sees a type or figure of spiritual paralysis: the cripple was unable to return to God by his own efforts. Jesus, God and man, cured him of both kinds of paralysis (cf. "Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). Cf. notes on Matthew 9:2-7.

Jesus' words to the paralytic--"Your sins are forgiven"--reflect the fact that his pardon involves a personal encounter with Christ; the same happens in the Sacrament of Penance: "In faithfully observing the centuries-old practice of the Sacrament of Penance--the practice of individual confession with a personal act of sorrow and an intention to amend and make satisfaction--the Church is defending the human soul's individual right, man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: `Your sins are forgiven'; `Go, and do not sin again' (John 8:11). As is evident, this is also a right on Christ's part with regard to every human being in the soul's life constituted by the moment of conversion and forgiveness" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 20).

7-12. Here we find a number of indicators of Jesus' divinity: He forgives sins, He can read the human heart and has the power to instantly cure physical illnesses. The scribes know that only God can forgive sins. This is why they take issue with Our Lord's statement and call it blasphemous. They require a sign to prove the truth of what He says. And Jesus offers them a sign. Thus just as no one can deny that the paralytic has been cured, so no one can reasonably deny that he has been forgiven his sins. Christ, God and man, exercised power to forgive sins and, in His infinite mercy, He chose to extend this power to His Church. Cf. note on Matthew 9:3-7.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bishop Lucas Speaks to Msgr Costa's Parishioners

SHERMAN - It is unlikely that Monsignor Eugene Costa will ever return to his ministry at St. John Vianney Church in Sherman and Holy Family Church in Athens, Bishop George Lucas told parishioners Wednesday night.

Costa, whom the diocese says was engaged in inappropriate and immoral behavior, resigned last week after being attacked Dec. 21 and found critically injured near the band shell in Douglas Park, 400 N. MacArthur Blvd., which has a longstanding reputation as a meeting spot for gay men.

Nevertheless, church members expressed support and sympathy for the priest as they questioned Lucas after the regularly scheduled 5:30 p.m. Mass. One man stood up and told Lucas that parishioners had known about Costa's behavior for years but still supported him.
Evidently, they did not love him enough to assist him in seeking help for his problems of "immoral behavior". One does not stand idlely by while someone near and dear to him commits spiritual suicide. One does all that one can do to ensure that the loved one abandons grave sin, embraces and commits to virtue, and, with God's grace, makes it to heaven.
The bishop declined to specify Costa's inappropriate behavior but said he had no knowledge that it involved minors. Costa remains a priest.
I thought the teenage boys arrested were 15 & 17...???
Dec. 21 was not the first time Costa had been in unusual places late in the evening, Lucas said.

"Police uncovered a pattern of behavior inappropriate for a priest," he said. "They wanted to see if there was a reasonable explanation for him being at these places at these times."
When grave sin becomes a habitual,usually harsh remedies are needed to rid the sinner of the sin and one's propensity to continue in that sin...

This priest, and no doubt several others, are in grave need of spiritual help and rebirth...Certainly, far too many of us have that same need - to be purged of the bad sinful habits we have developed over time, some of which are grave matters needing immediate attention and others, while not mortal, also must be addressed at the earliest possible moment to avoid the tendency for them to develop into habits of vice.

We must keep this priest in our prayers as well as others who may have embraced the deadly sin of hmosexuality.

Two Minneapolis priests resign from parishes

Two Minneapolis priests who have led parishes sympathetic to gay and lesbian rights have announced their resignations.

The Rev. George Wertin of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, which has clashed with its archdiocese and some orthodox Catholics in the Twin Cities, announced his retirement Sunday effective July 1. And the Rev. Stephen O'Gara of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle said last week he's leaving March 1.
St. Joan's has been discussed arounf the 'net' for quite some time...
While St. Joan's has doubled its parishioners and increased its social awareness during Wertin's tenure, the church has tangled with the archdiocese for years over its sympathetic views and actions on behalf of gay and lesbian Catholics.

In October, Wertin was ordered by the archdiocese to remove Gay Pride material from his parish's Web site after a complaint to church authorities.

The archdiocese also told St. Joan's to stop allowing the unordained to speak at mass. Topics have ranged from scripture to missionary work to homosexuality.
The 'Church authority", I believe was the Holy See...
A Catholic church in Minneapolis known for its progressive stands on social issues has been ordered by the Vatican and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to remove Gay Pride material from its Web site and stop allowing unordained guests to speak during mass.

The order was delivered by two bishops in person two weeks ago to the pastor of St. Joan of Arc and again in a statement issued Wednesday.

The Rev. George Wertin of St. Joan's said he intends to comply with the order.

But in keeping with his church's long-standing practice of community decisionmaking, he said several parish committees are considering precisely how to respond.

"It takes awhile to turn a ship around," he said. (Source)
Of course it does!

Just so you don't feel left out....

We greet you Spirit of the North.
Teach us to plant our feet securely on the earth and to see things as they really are, that the coming of your Spirit may find us standing firm in integrity. Teach us, Spirit of the North, in the solitude of winter, to wait in darkness with the sleeping earth, believing that we, like the earth, already hold within ourselves the seeds of new life.

We greet you, O Spirit of the East.

Awaken in us with each day, new hopes, new dreams of colors, loves and joys never before imagined. Fill our bodies with your breath, invigorate us. Carry us to the farthest mountains and beyond. In-spirit us that we might reach out to you boldly to grasp the miracles that are given birth with each new dawn.
And on and on....Brought to by the Archdiocese of ..... San Francisco....

Ahhh, I feel so much more in tune with everything now...

Thanks to Dom for the link...

"Creative Aging" in Ofallon, IL

"Creative aging" program is set

The Adult Faith Formation Committee at St. Clare Catholic Church in O'Fallon is sponsoring a series on "creative aging" for the recently retired and the soon-to-be retired.

Kathleen Tehan, a recent retiree who is working towards a certificate in pastoral care at Aquinas Institute in St. Louis, will lead the sessions. The 90-minute sessions will be held Tuesdays at 1 p.m. beginning Jan. 18 at the Community Financial Center, at 800 South Lincoln Avenue.

The sessions are free, but there is a suggested fee of $5 for materials. To register, call the church office at 632- 4281.
A certificate from Aquinas Institute in pastoral care?

SNAP Protests Phoenix Diocese Dismissal

National advocates for those who have been abused by priests criticized the removal of the Phoenix Diocese's youth protection advocate.

If the marriage is the reason for the firing, "It is hard to imagine that a church leader could be so cold," said David Clohessy, national executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

He said the firing fits a pattern of backpedaling on the part of bishops regarding protection of children.

"It's hard not to be skeptical about this. The firing makes us even more committed to urging caution in dealing with church officials."
Personally, I'd be more concerned and skeptical about Clohessy and others instead of Bishop Olmsted.

Northeast County Deanery Decision Gets Nearer

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is expected to make a decision on the Northeast County Deanery's "best set of recommendations" sometime in late January. However, a few people would like to catch his ear before then.

Florissant Mayor Robert Lowery Sr. noted the plan still calls for closing or merging 15 Catholic parishes and eight schools.

Lowery said he, Hazelwood Mayor T.R. Carr and other North County mayors met with Burke and the deanery's task force.

"Obviously, we had no impact on their final recommendations," Lowery said. "We worked long and hard to show them the renaissance that's taking place throughout North County — the new businesses, the tremendous number of new homes being built."

This week in Post Dispatch Town Talk

It's a shame that there are no names associated with the comments left there. But then again, it might be a source of embarrassment if one had to actually reveal one's identity when making such asinie or hateful comments.
Burke vs. St. Stanislaus

ARCHBISHOP RAYMOND BURKE should be ashamed of himself. He reminds me of a tyrant and a bully. What father would deny their child food, disown them or condemn their soul over a disagreement? Cannon law is made by man. God's law is about love. A parent does not turn their back on their children nor deny them good to get their way. Burke needs to back off and follow the saying "What Would Jesus Do." I don't think Jesus would act like an extortionist and use any means to get what he wants. Burke wants the money. Would he act like this if the church did not have $9 million in assets? Leave St. Stanislaus alone.
Another clueless individual...

And then there's this one. The individual has concluded that proceeds from the upcoming church closings are to pay for victims of sexual predators.
It's all about the settlements

LAST YEAR, THE archdiocese announced that the money paid for settlements for the priest scandal did not come from donations, but would come from the sale of real estate. They archdiocese is closing churches in South County, North County, and now they are closing the churches in South City. They are closing and selling our churches to pay for the their scandals. Catholics have to wake up all that will be left is the Catholic church of West County or the St. Louis archdiocese of West County.
Again, another clueless person who doesn't see or understand the issues involved in the archdiocese.

Lastly, we have a person revealing something about which I didn't know and that, perhaps, many others were unaware. Did some teachers in the archdiocese actually send the Archbishop a "lump of coal"...And this person, who engages in calumny against the Archbishop, professes to be "Catholic"...
Return to sender

I'M CALLING IN regards to the teachers that hand-delivered a Christmas present to Archbishop Burke. It was a lump of coal. He doesn't even deserve that. Send him back to where he came from. He's nothing but a troublemaker, a greedy, greedy person. I'm Catholic and I have absolutely no use for that man.
Sad...this person engages in the unjust damaging of the good name of Archbishop Burke by imputing to him a faults of which he is not guilty.

Gospel for Thursday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:40-45

The Curing of a Leper

[40] And a leper came to Him (Jesus), beseeching Him, and kneeling said to Him, "If You will, You can make me clean." [41] Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." [42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. [43] And He sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, [44] and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." [45] But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to Him from every quarter.

40-44. Leprosy was seen as a punishment from God (cf. Numbers 12:10-15). The disappearance of the disease was regarded as one of the blessings of the messianic times (Isaiah 35:8; cf. Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22). Because leprosy was contagious, the Law declared that lepers were impure and that they transmitted impurity to those who touched them and to places they entered. Therefore, they had to live apart (Numbers 5:2; 12:14ff) and to show that they were lepers by certain external signs. On the rite of purification, see the note on Matthew 8:4.

[The note on Matthew 8:4 states:
4. According to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 14), if a leper is cured of his disease, he should present himself to a priest, who will register the cure and give him a certificate which he needs to be reintegrated into the civil and religious life of Israel. Leviticus also prescribes the purifications and sacrifice he should offer. Jesus' instruction to the leper is, then, in keeping with the normal way of fulfilling what the laws laid down.]

The passage shows us the faithful and confident prayer of a man needing Jesus' help and begging Him for it, confident that, if Our Lord wishes, He can free him from the disease (cf. Matthew 8:2). "This man prostrated himself on the ground, as a sign of humility and shame, to teach each of us to be ashamed of the stains of his life. But shame should not prevent us from confessing: the leper showed his wound and begged for healing. If You will, he says, You can make me clean; that is, he recognized that the Lord had the power to cure him" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

On the discretion and prudence Jesus required regarding His person, see the note on Mark 1:34 and Matthew 9:30.

[The note on Mark 1:34 states:
34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.]

[The note on Matthew 9:30 states:
30. Why did our Lord not want them to publicize the miracle? Because His plan was to gradually manifest Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. He did not want to anticipate events which would occur in their own good time; nor did He want the crowd to start hailing Him as Messiah King, because their notion of messiah was nationalistic, not a spiritual one. However, the crowd did in fact proclaim Him when he worked the miracles of the loaves and the fish (John 6:14-15): "When the people saw the sign which He had done, they said, `This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!' Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by Himself."]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Obedience to Church Authority...

A Brief Primer for the Board Members of St. Stanislaus,
for all who have questions regarding Obedience,
and for those who are confused about Obedience to Church Authority.
Christ repeatedly stressed the duty of obedience to the authority of the Church He was establishing. In His closing discourse to the disciples, He told them to teach all nations to observe all that He had commanded. This commission summarized the whole of the Savior’s public ministry. He determined as certain that, when He left the earth in visible form, He would leave the apostles and their successors with the right to command others in His name.

Everything that we associate with the Fourth Commandment about children honoring and obeying their parents, can be applied, in principle, to the honor and obedience that the faithful owe to those who hold legitimate authority in the Catholic Church. Yet, as in the case of parents and children, this is a mutual responsibility of the faithful toward those in ecclesiastical authority and of those in authority toward the faithful.

The Church’s law is unqualified about the duty of the faithful.
Christ’s faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show Christian obedience to what the sacred pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church (Canon 212).
At the same time, those holding authority to teach and govern the faithful also have their duties. There are at least a dozen provisions in Canon Law for bishops alone, legislating how they are to provide for the doctrinal, moral, and liturgical needs of the people under their care. This means that, “Christ’s faithful have the right to be assisted by their pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments” (Canon 213).
Archbishop Burke is the legitimate authority in the Archdiocese in all matters requiring his governance. The duty of all of the faithful is clear when it comes to the lawful commands of the Church.


A Novena for Archbishop Raymond Burke

Catholics throughout the St. Louis Diocese and around the country are thrilled and thankful for the example of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, who has been courageous in confronting the enemies of the Church like Abortion and Same-sex 'marriage', while at the same time promoting the traditional Latin Mass by inviting two Latin Mass communities to St. Louis. Other stories of our Archbishop's insistence on 'orthodoxy' within the diocese and even casual observers will see a dramatic difference in the Catholic Community of St. Louis since his arrival.

As is his wont, the evil one does not stand by while advances are being made for Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Consequently, Archbishop Burke has come under attack from virtually all sides. The secular media i.e. Post Dispatch and local television outlets especially, routinely mis-quote or fabricate quotes that they attribute to His Excellency, under the guise of "news". 'Liberal' Catholics represented by the like of John Kerry and many of the local and state politicians of Missouri, question Archbishop Burke's 'understanding' of separation of church and state., and "traditional" Catholics who hide behind slanderous websites publish erroneous facts and even quote extreme left wing denouncements of the Bishop in support of their separatist argument.

In light of this, we are organizing a Novena for Archbishop Burke to be begun on Friday January 14 and ending on Saturday January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe vs.. Wade. We ask that you offer your intentions for Mass and Communion on Sunday the 23rd for his intentions asking Our Lord to strengthen Bishop Burke against these numerous attacks.

Since Archbishop Burke has a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our novena will be the Irresistible Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (see below). Please commit your support for Archbishop Burke and join the fight against the enemies of the Church. We encourage you to share this campaign and spread this information through email or any other means.

Irresistible Novena
to the
Sacred Heart of Jesus

O my Jesus, Thou didst say: "Amen, I say to you, ask and you shall receive;
seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you."
Hence I knock, I seek, and I ask for the grace of...
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!

O my Jesus, Thou didst say: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father
in My name, He will give unto you.” Hence I ask the Father,
in Thy name, for the grace of...
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!

O my Jesus, Thou didst say: "Amen, I say to you, heaven and earth shall pass away,
but My words shall not pass away." Encouraged by Thy infallible words,
I now ask for the grace of...
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!

Let us pray
Sacred Heart of Jesus, for Whom one thing alone is impossible, namely, not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace we ask of Thee, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Thy tender Mother and ours.

Hail Holy Queen...
Saint Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us!
Heart of Jesus, rich unto all that call upon Thee, have mercy on us!
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us!

Vatican has approved National Directory for Catechesis

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. (CNS) -- The Vatican has approved the U.S. National Directory for Catechesis and it is scheduled to be published in May, Catholic educators were told Jan. 10 at a national symposium on the directory.

The publication of the new directory will mark "a promising new moment for the church in the United States," Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, told the gathering of about a dozen bishops and nearly 200 leaders from diocesan religious education offices across the country.

The new directory reflects significant changes in catechetics since the 1970s, including the emphasis throughout the church in recent years on placing catechesis more clearly within the framework of the church's fundamental mission of evangelization. The new document also reflects changes brought by the publication of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" in 1992 and a new General Directory for Catechesis issued by the Vatican in 1997.

Archbishop Buechlein, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Catechesis, said a notice had gone out to the bishops Jan. 7 that the Congregation for Clergy, the Vatican agency in charge of catechetics, gave its approval of the directory.

Feb 13 - Dr William A. Borst on "The Shroud of Bernardin"

Credo of the Catholic Laity is proud to welcome to our lectern Wm. A. Borst Ph.D., Professor of History at St. Louis University.

Dr. Borst writes the monthly newsletter for the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation. He became involved in the Prolife movement in 1986 and is a board member of Birthright St. Louis, he has also held several offices in the St. Louis Archdiocesan Prolife committee. His talk will focus on the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s comments when he advanced the notion that Catholic Politicians should not be judged solely or even primarily by their positions on abortion. Abortion was merely one strand in the Catholic seamless garment regarding the defense of life.

Dr. Borst has had a varied and interesting professional life. In addition to teaching history at a number of St. Louis colleges and universities he developed a passion for baseball . He has written many articles and had a number of media appearances regarding this subject. This year marks his 20th anniversary on radio station WGNU where he is a talk show host. His commentaries require him to delve deeply into world events and American culture.

In addition to his many articles he has written a number of books. His most recent The Scorpion and the Frog: A natural Conspiracy, examines secret societies and their negative influence on American social and cultural history. Books will be available at the forum.

Join us for a delicious sit down Dinner at the Radisson Hotel 7750 Carondelet in Clayton 6:00 p.m. Sunday February 13, 2005. Cost $ 20.00 per person. Free inside parking at the 7777 Bonhomme Garage. Use the Orange Level Bridge to the hotel.

For more information call 314-894-0357.

Springfield Priest Resigns After Beating in Park

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. A Catholic priest who was found badly beaten in a Springfield park last month has resigned.

A statement from the Springfield Diocese today says Monsignor Eugene Costa will no longer serve as pastor of parishes in the central Illinois communities of Sherman and Athens. His resignation was effective Friday.

The diocese says Costa is resigning to focus on his physical recovery and to deal with what the diocese calls instances of "inappropriate" behavior. Springfield diocese spokeswoman Kathy Sass declined to provide any details about the situation.

Police in Springfield say two teenagers have been charged with aggravated battery in Costa's beating.

(Thanks Ben Yount, WTAX Radio, Springfield)
"Inappropriate behavior"? Maybe it was a new form of "pastoral outreach"...


"Homeschooling Illegal" Declares German School Official

Seven homeschool families in Northwest Germany are being forced to enroll their children in public school. The Paderborn County school board has levied fines against these families and ordered the children to attend school by Monday, January 10, or the police will forcibly take them to school. Any resistance by the parents will result in the removal of these thirteen elementary age children from their homes and into state custody!

Despite the lack of state recognition in Germany for homeschooling, these families pulled their children out of public school earlier this year to begin teaching them at home. Their primary reason, as Christians, was to protect their children from the humanistic and godless values being taught to their children in the public school.
Coming soon to a police state near you? Does Christianity have anything to do with it?

I wonder if this makes Hitler and all other tyrants smile...?


Fighting homosexual "marriage" top priority for the Holy Father

Pope John Paul II put lobbying against gay [homosexual] marriage at the top of the Vatican's agenda for this year and urged politicians in prosperous nations Monday to do more for the millions of hungry people around the globe.

Archbishop Burke seeks meeting on St. Stanislaus

Archbishop Raymond Burke invited the St. Stanislaus Church board of directors to meet again with archdiocesan officials who, a statement said, will address the board's "misunderstanding" of the archbishop's intentions.

Archdiocesan spokesman Jamie Allman said Tuesday that Burke hoped the meeting would take place "as early as next week."
Article here.

Dutch Euthanasia Doctors May Now Kill Perfectly Healthy Adults

The Royal Dutch Medical Association has concluded, after a three-year investigation, that Dutch doctors ought to be able to kill patients who are not ill but who are judged to be "suffering through living."

Gospel for Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:29-39

The Curing of Peter's Mother-In-Law

[29] And immediately He (Jesus) left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her. [31] And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.

Jesus Cures Many Sick People

[32] That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. [33] And the whole city was gathered together about the door. [34] And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Jesus Goes To a Lonely Place To Pray

[35] And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. [36] And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him, [37] and they found Him and said to Him, "Everyone is searching for you." [38] And He said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." [39] And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kindof Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.

35. Many passages of the New Testament make reference to Jesus praying. The evangelists point to Him praying only on specially important occasions during His public ministry: Baptism (Luke 3:1), the choosing of the Twelve (Luke 6:12), the first multiplication of the loaves (Mark 6:46), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29), in the garden of Gethsemane prior to His passion (Matthew 26:39) etc. Mark for his part, refers to Jesus' prayer at three solemn moments: at the beginning of His public ministry (1:35), in the middle of it (6:46), and at the end, in Gethsemane (14:32).

Jesus' prayer is prayer of perfect praise to the Father; it is prayer of petition for Himself and for us; and it also a model for His disciples. It is a prayer of perfect praise and thanksgiving because He is God's beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased (cf. Mark 1:11). It is a prayer of petition because the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as Father is to ask Him for things. Jesus' prayer, as we see in very many passages (e.g. John 17:9ff) was a continuous petition to the Father for the work of redemption which He, Jesus, had to achieve through prayer and sacrifice.

Our Lord wants to give us an example of the kind of attitude a Christian should have; he should make a habit of addressing God as son to Father in the midst of and through his everyday activities--work, family life, personal relationships, apostolate--so as to give his life a genuinely Christian meaning, for, as Jesus will point out later on, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"You write: `To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself: `to get acquainted!'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way").

38. Jesus tells us here that His mission is to preach, to spread the Good News. He was sent for this purpose (Luke 4:43). The Apostles, in turn, were chosen by Jesus to be preachers (Mark 3:14; 16:15). Preaching is the method selected by God to effect salvation: "it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). This is why St. Paul says to Timothy: "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Faith comes from hearing, we are told in Romans 10:17, where St. Paul enthusiastically quotes Isaiah: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7).

The Church identifies preaching the Gospel as one of the main tasks of bishops and priests. St. Pius X went so far as saying that "for a priest there is no duty more grave or obligation more binding (to dispel ignorance)" ("Acerbo Nimis"). In this connection Vatican II states: "The people of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (cf. 1 Peter 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouths of priests (2 Corinthians 11:7).

For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mark 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Corinthians 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command `Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark 16:15) (cf. Malachi 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:11-13; etc.) and thus set up and increase the people of God" ("Presbyterorum Ordinis").

Jesus' preaching is not just limited to words: He backs up His teaching with His authority and with deeds. The Church also has been sent to preach salvation and to effect the work of salvation which it proclaims--a work done through the Sacraments and especially through the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass (Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 6).

In the Church of God all of us should listen devoutly to the preaching of the Gospel and we all should feel a responsibility to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to teach the Gospel authentically--on the authority of Christ.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Richard Bach & Jamie Allman on 97.1 FM Talk Wed @5:00pm

At or about 5:00p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, St. Stanislaus' spokesman Richard Back and Archdiocesan spokeman Jamie Allman will 'discuss' the St. Stanislaus situation on the Dave Glover show.

It should make for 'interesting' listening, since we're certain to hear the same old lines of rhetoric from Mr. Bach....

Archbishop Donoghue Era Comes to an End

It's sad to see a bishop such as Archbishop Donoghue retire. He was one of the better bishops, IMHO, of recent years.
[Archbihsop] Donoghue, 76, presided over the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta for 11 years and occasionally drew fire for controversial edicts that included a ban on women participating in foot-washing ceremonies and an edict denying Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.
He performed his duties as required of his calling in life.
Many Catholics praised him for his resolute convictions and unwillingness to bend the Catholic faith to soothe modern ears.
Amen, brothers and sisters!

I understand also that Abp. Donoghue sent his seminarians to Franciscan University of Steubenville for pre-theology classes. That says much about the theology program at FUS...

Pray that more and more good and faithful bishops are appointed to lead the people to Christ through His Church.


Jan 15 - Pro-Life Mass & Vigil with Archbishop Burke

On Saturday morning, January 15, consider attending the Annual Comemorative Mass at the Cathedral Basilica with Archbishop Raymond Burke at 8:00 a.m.

At 9:15 Archbishop Burke will lead a Prayer Procession to Planned Parenthood's abortuary at Forest Park & Boyle.

At 10:30 a.m. return to the Cathedral for Benediction.

Sponsored by: The Helpers of God's Precious Infants, Archiocesan Pro-Life Committee

Cardinal Jan P. Schotte Dead at 76

I just read about the death of this wonderful man. The Belgian cardinal was secretary general emeritus of the Synod of Bishops and president of the Central Labor Office of the Holy See. He was here a few years ago as the keynote speaker of the Arcdiosesan Eucharistic Conference (he filled in for Fr. Benedict Groeschel whose flight was delayed by weather).

He gave a very warm and moving keynote address to all in attendance. He recounted his childhood and WWII and how the Holy Eucharist was central to his life and how we all need to have Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament central in our lives. He commended then-Archbishop Rigali for restoring Eucharistic Adoration in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

I still occasionally listen to the tape of his address - he said, without mincing any words, that we must get down on our knees to adore Jesus...Perhaps, I can put some excerpts of his speech here in the next week of so.

Please keep Cardinal Schotte in your prayers.
"It was with great sadness that I learned the news of the sudden demise of the dear Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, and I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and to your relatives, as well as to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to all those who knew and respected him. With a grateful soul I recall his many years of industrious collaboration with the Holy See, and especially his generous service as secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. He leaves the example of a life spent for Christ in coherent devotion to his own priestly and religious vocation and ever attentive to social questions in complete faithfulness to the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. I raise fervent prayers appealing to the Lord to welcome this dearly beloved brother cardinal in joy and eternal peace, and I send to you and to others mourning his demise a comforting apostolic blessing as a sign of my sincere participation in your pain".

The Holy Father will preside at the cardinal's funeral on Friday January 14 at 11 a.m. at the altar of the Confession in the Vatican Basilica. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate Mass along with other cardinals.

Bill McClellan and St. Stanislaus Solidarity

There might have been no good way for the Archdiocese of St. Louis to try to wrest control of the property and funds of St. Stanislaus Kostka church from its lay board of directors, but the hard-line approach - the loud talk about parishioners "hijacking" their church, the removal of the priests, the threats of penalties against the directors - certainly seemed less than effective Sunday when parishioners voted 299-5 to reject the demands of the archdiocese.

Maybe a little tenderness would have worked better. A little less shouting, a little more love.
I have to wonder where McClellan has been for the past few years...The insinuation that Archbishop Burke took a hard-line approach, engaged in "loud-talking", and removal of priests demonstrates are certain cluelessness about the entire situation. One would think that a reported or commentator would do more to determine the facts before making comments like the above. But then again, perhaps these days that is so much wishful thinking.


Opus Dei, for the first time, gets a parish in Britain

OPUS DEI, the conservative Roman Catholic organisation that counts Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, among its members, has been given its first parish in Britain since it was founded in 1928.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, is to hand over pastoral care of St Thomas More church, Swiss Cottage, to Father Gerard Sheehan, an Opus Dei priest.
The Cardinal said: “The Catholics I’ve met in Opus Dei have clearly been very dedicated Catholics, very committed to the particular path that is prescribed by Escrivá, which is the mission of lay people in their professional fields.”
Some of the most dedicated and faithful priests I've met are those of Opus Dei...


John Paul II Highlights Humanity's 4 Challenges

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2005 ( Life, food, peace and freedom are the four urgent challenges now facing humanity, according to John Paul II.

The Pope highlighted these challenges in a full analysis of the international situation, during his traditional new-year meeting today with ambassadors of the countries that have full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The envoys, from 174 countries, were joined by representatives of the European Union, Russia, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Order of Malta.
Zenit Link.

Diocese of Phoenix Fires Youth Protection Leader

One of the nation's leading advocates for the victims of clergy abuse says she was fired Saturday when officials in the Diocese of Phoenix learned that she had been married outside the church.

Jenny O'Connor, who has led the diocese's Office of Child and Youth Protection since its founding in April 2003, was the key person in charge of working with victims of abuse by Catholic priests and preventing further abuse. She has been praised for her work by the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' youth protection office and by several of the diocese's abuse victims.

O'Connor, in an interview late Monday afternoon, said she was let go for getting married in a civil ceremony that the Catholic Church does not recognize as legitimate. Catholic teaching specifies that marriages involving Catholics must be performed in the church.
Leave it a secular paper to muddy the waters. It is not Church "teaching" but the Church's displinary laws that regulate this particular aspect of the matter. Why did she not seek a dispensation from form if they wanted to be married outside the church?

The Diocese did exactly what is necessary to prevent scandal from spreading. A person in a leadership position in a diocese should not be flouting or ignoring Church law for the sake of convenience, regardless of the circumstances.

Just as those Catholics who are living in relationships outside the Sacrament of Matrimony are not permitted to engage in the various ministries of the Church, so too, should those be barred from positions of leadership in diocesan offices.
O'Connor said her husband is dying of cancer, so their wedding had to take place more quickly than a church wedding could be arranged.

"They [diocesan officials, I presume] said that has consequences. Even though I offered to have the marriage annulled, they said I was no longer a Catholic of good standing."
That's basically the crux of the matter...I find it difficult to believe that some sort of dispensation was not sought given the urgency of the situation...


New Bishop Opens Door to "Dialogue"?

The successor to the Most Rev. Raymond Burke, who grew up in Stratford and was bishop of the diocese of La Crosse before moving on to the archdiocese of St. Louis, is cut from the same cloth.

Similar to Burke, Listecki came from average origins, as the son of a steelworker on Chicago's blue collar southeast side.

Like Burke, Bishop Jerome Listecki spent time in Rome, where he caught the pontiff's eye. Both are respected scholars.
Those who opposed Burke's statements on communion for Catholics whose politics are out of step with Rome, his ban on CROP Walk participation and his position on homosexuality are unlikely to find greater comfort in Listecki.

The church's teachings haven't changed, after all.

There is a chance now, however, for Listecki to initiate a more constructive discussion between Catholics and other believers about the core issues that led to Burke's strong stances that, however principled and proper according to Catholic theology, were poorly explained and received.
There is little possibility that Archbishop Burke's explanations could not be understood, except by those whose minds were closed. Archbishop Burke clearly explains the Church's teachings and gives more than adequate reasons for his steps in disciplinary actions. It remains a failure of those who are opposed to these matters if the explanations are not well received. After all, unless one accepts the grace of conversion and conforms his will to God's will, it is unlikely that he would accept the, sometimes hard, teachings of Christ and His Church.
It's a shallow understanding of bedrock principles that leads to some worshippers' disenchantment when a Bishop Burke bursts upon the scene. A deeper knowledge may well lead to a stronger commitment and more fulfilling religious life.
Is that statement ever true...


Gospel for Tuesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:21-28

Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum

[21] And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. [22] And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. [23] And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; [24] and he cried out, "What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God." [25] But Jesus rebuked him saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" [26] And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. [27] And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." [28] And at once His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

21. "Synagogue" means meeting, assembly, community. It was -and is- used by the Jews to describe the place where they met to hear the Scriptures read, and to pray. Synagogues seem to have originated in the social gatherings of the Jews during their exile in Babylon, but this phenomenon did not spread until much later. In our Lord's time there were synagogues, in Palestine, in every city and town of any importance; and, outside Palestine, wherever the Jewish community was large enough. The synagogue consisted mainly of a rectangular room built in such a way that those attending were facing Jerusalem when seated. There was a rostrum or pulpit from which Sacred Scripture was read and explained.

22. Here we can see how Jesus showed His authority to teach. Even when He took Scripture as His basis -as in the Sermon on the Mount- He was different from other teachers, for He spoke in His own name: "But I say to you" (Matthew 7:28-29). Our Lord speaks about the mysteries of God, and about human relationships; He teaches in a simple and authoritative way because He speaks of what He knows and testifies to what He has seen (John 3:11). The scribes also taught the people, St. Bede comments, about what is written in Moses and the prophets; but Jesus preached to them as God and Lord of Moses himself (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio"). Moreover, first He does and then He preaches (Acts 1:1)--not like the scribes who teach and do not do (Matthew 23:1-5).

23-26. The Gospels give us many accounts of miraculous cures, among the most outstanding of which are those of people possessed by the devil. Victory over the unclean spirit, as the devil is usually described, is a clear sign that God's salvation has come: by overcoming the Evil One, Jesus shows that He is the Messiah, the Savior, more powerful than the demons: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). Throughout the Gospel we see many accounts of this continuous and successful struggle of our Lord against the devil.

As time goes on the devil's opposition to Jesus becomes ever clearer; in the wilderness it is hidden and subtle; it is noticeable and violent in the case of possessed people; and radical and total during the Passion, the devil's "hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53). And Jesus' victory also becomes ever clearer, until He triumphs completely by rising from the dead.

The devil is called unclean, St. John Chrysostom says, because of his impiety and withdrawal from God. In some ways he does recognize Christ's holiness, but this knowledge is not accompanied by charity. In addition to the historical fact of this cure, we can also see, in this possessed man, those sinners who must be converted to God and freed from the slavery to sin and the devil. They may have to struggle for a long time but victory will come: the Evil One is powerless against Christ (cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24).

27. The same authority that Jesus showed in His teaching (1:22) is now to be seen in His actions. His will is His command: He has no need of long prayers or incantations. Jesus' words and actions already have a divine power which provokes wonder and fear in those who hear and see Him.

Jesus continues to impress people in this way (Mark 2:12; 5:20-42; 7:37; 15:39; Luke 19:48; John 7:46). Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Savior. He knows this Himself and He lets it be known by His actions and by His words; according to the gospel accounts (Mark 1:38-39; 2:10-11; 4:39) there is complete continuity and consistency between what He says and He does. As Vatican II teaches ("Dei Verbum", 2) Revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately connected with each other: the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them; the deeds confirm the teaching. In this way Jesus progressively reveals the mystery of His Person: first the people sense His exceptional authority; later on, the Apostles, enlightened by God's grace, recognize the deepest source of this authority: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, January 10, 2005

St Stanislaus - A Synopsis

The St Stanislaus Kostka Parish was founded in 1880 in the Archdiocese of St. Louis by the Most Reverend Peter R. Kenrick, the Ordinary of the Archdiocese.

In 1891, Archbishop Kenrick conveyed the property to the civil corporation of the parish, but he did not transfer control of the parish. When the property was conveyed, the parish corporation was structured so that all directors, including the pastor, were appointed by the Archbishop. The Archbishop also had final decision-making authority for any disagreement among the directors.

Article 1 of the original by-laws states, "The corporate power of the corporation shall under the laws of the State of Missouri be exercised in conformity with the principles and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, and in accordance with such rules and regulations as may be established from time to time, for the government of said church, by the Roman Catholic Archbishop in the Diocese of St. Louis, or by his authority."

However, by this time, the Pope had declared that parishes should not be under the control of civil corporations with lay boards of directors. This declaration of the Holy Father was not uniformly applied until the adoption of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. By 1951, all parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Louis which had this structure were brought into conformity with Church law, except for St. Stanislaus.

In 1943, then-Archbishop John Glennon requested changes be made to the parish structure to conform to Church law.

Then-Archbishop Joseph Ritter in 1954 and again in the mid-1960s requested the necessary steps be taken to change the structure to conform with Church law.

In the fall of 2003 then-Archbishop Justin Rigali met with the board of directors and began the current process of bringing the parish into conformity with the more than 200 other parishes of the archdiocese.

Changes to the civil corporation's bylaws were made by the lay board in 1981 and 2004. These changes eliminated all relationship of the archbishop of St. Louis to the corporation and were made without the approval of the archbishop.

Article 12 of the original bylaws states, in part, that "Those by-laws cannot be changed or modified, nor [...] shall any amendment be made at any time which shall in anywise be in conflict with any law of the State of Missouri, or with any rule , regulation or requirement of the said Diocese of St. Louis in force at the time of such proposed change".

Through these illegal changes of the original by-laws, the lay Board of Directors took away the authority of the Archbishop over the parish corporation. Through these revisions, the Board of Directors secured its own autonomy by removing the power of the Archbishop to remove them from office. By revising the by-laws in this manner, the members of the Board violated the original purpose of the St. Stanislaus Corporation and its relationship to Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parish and thus the Roman Catholic Church.

The current conflict between the Archdiocese and the Board of Directors clearly demonstrates that the Board is defending its own position of power, which was attained through illegal modifications of the original corporate by-laws and which for the first time is being seriously challenged.

The changes the Archdiocese is requiring in the structure of the St. Stanislaus Corporation will allow St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish to be faithful to its original mission. These changes will also ensure that parish assets will be managed in accordance with both the spirit and the law of the Roman Catholic Church. In this way the required changes will benefit the entire parish community.

On August 11, 2004, Archbishop Burke stated, "With respect to the assets of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Church law safeguards and protects all such funds, buildings and grounds. I state yet again that neither I, nor my successors as Archbishop of St. Louis, will, or, for that matter, can, access or redirect the funds on deposit in the Archdiocesan Trust of any of our parishes.

"I again ask that your parish priests be accorded the same respect and cooperation which are given to the parish priests in each of the 212 other parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The legitimate exercise of the pastoral office cannot be impeded, if a parish is truly to be Catholic in name and in fact."

St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish has been given the Archbishop's assurance that as long as the parishioners continue to worship at St. Stanislaus Church and continue to support the parish , it will not be closed. This is a unique commitment that no other parish in the archdiocese has been given.

In a two-page ruling signed by Cardinal Castillon of the Congregation for the Clergy on November 11, 2004, the Vatican ruled that " ... the current board of directors of the civil corporation (St. Stanislaus) ... have amended the by-laws of the civil corporation in such a way as to deny the authority of the parochus (pastor) and the canonically provided oversight of the Archdiocese of St. Louis."

The Congregation also stated that, "...the current board of directors and members of the civil corporation have amended the corporate documents of the civil corporation so that the parish is not in conformity with the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, namely cann. 209, 519, 532, 536, 537, 1257, and 1276."
A parishioner, Jarek Czernikiewicz, said the bylaws, beginning with the original ones adopted in 1891 and ending with those adopted in 2001, "expressly stipulate an unconditional obligation of the board of directors to exercise the powers of the corporation" in accordance with the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

"The directors of the St. Stanislaus civil corporation should accept the Vatican’s decision with dignity, obedience and respect for the Roman Catholic Church and faithful parishioners."

The information above was excerpted from various sources and compiled here for ease of understanding (I hope). If anything stated above is in error, please notify me so that any necessary corrections can be made.

From Town Talk: Wentzville Journal

Archbishop Burke has some nerve. I have never seen such arrogance as he has shown. I totally support St. Stanislaus and hope that they don't give in. They will be much better off staying independent from the Catholic Church and its corruption. We need a new archbishop, and I'm not even catholic.

Remember...Don't rashly attribute to malice that which could just as easily be explained as ignorance or stupidity. That said, maybe one could say, "We need a new Allah, and I'm not even Muslim."


Parishioners overwhelmingly reject ceding church control

The headline from the Post Dispatch is, no doubt, intended to "fan the flames".
Parishioner Anthony Kaminski of St. Peters, who is host of a Polish radio show in St. Louis, danced a little jig after the vote.

"Jesus would be dancing, too," said his wife, Alice. The emotional crowd broke into a Polish song after the announcement with the refrain: "May you live for another 100 years."
So what is being proposed is that Jesus encouraged disobedience from legitimate chuch authority?
Board member Joe Rudowski said he still considered himself a Roman Catholic.

"If the bishop does what he intends to do to the board, my feeling is I'm a martyr to the cause," he said. He said he had devoted nearly 40 years of his life as a volunteer on behalf of the parish. He said the corporation bylaws prevented the board from handing over church assets without the consent of parishioners.
Of course, the Archbishop is not stating that anyone is no longer Catholic - nor can an interdiction be considered a a cause of martyrdom. Flagrant disobedience and the subsequent scandal caused by it can be considered a reason for the imposing of a just penalty, which could go beyond that of interdict:
Can. 1371 The following are to be punished with a just penalty:
2° a person who in any other way does not obey the lawful command or prohibition of the Apostolic See or the Ordinary or Superior and, after being warned, persists in disobedience.

Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites his or her subjects to hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry, or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties.
It would appear that the board is persistent in provoking disobedience.
A minority of parishioners have supported the archbishop, and Bialczak accepted a petition Sunday from St. Stanislaus parishioners who have been celebrating the Polish Mass at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Church since Burke transferred St. Stanislaus' priests there in August. Last week, those parishioners said they had collected 140 votes in support of the archbishop.


Gospel for Monday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:14-20

Jesus Begins to Preach and Calls His First Disciples

[14] Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel."

[16] And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. [17] And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." [18] And immediately they left their nets and followed him. [19] And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. [20] And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

14-15. "The gospel of God": this __expression is found in St Paul (Rom 1:1; 2 Cor 11:7; etc.) where it means the same as "the gospel of Jesus Christ" (2 Thess 1:8; etc.), thereby implying the divinity of Jesus Christ. The imminence of the Kingdom requires a genuine conversion of man to God (Mt 4:17; Mk 6: 12; etc.). The prophets had already spoken of the need for conversion and for Israel to abandon its evil ways (Jer 3:22; Is 30:15; Hos 14:2; etc.).

Both John the Baptist and Jesus and his Apostles insist on the need for conversion, the need to change one's attitude and conduct as a prerequisite for receiving the Kingdom of God. John Paul II underlines the importance of conversion for entry into the Kingdom of God: "Therefore, the Church professes and proclaims conversion. Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind (cf. 1 Cor 13:4) as only the Creator and Father can be; the love to which the 'God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ' (2 Cor 1:3) is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of his covenant with man: even to the Cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son. Conversion to God is always the fruit of the 'rediscovery' of this Father, who is rich in mercy.

"Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, as a state ofmind. Those who come to know God in this way, who 'see' him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to him. They live, therefore, "in statu conversionis" and it is this state of conversion which marks out the most profound element of the pilgrimage of every man and woman on earth "in statu viatoris" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 13).

16-20. In these verses the evangelist describes how Jesus called some of those who would later form part of the Apostolic College (3:16ff). From the start of his public ministry in Galilee the Messiah seeks co-workers to help him in his mission as Savior and Redeemer. He looks for them among people used to hard work, people for whom life is a struggle and whose life-style is plain. In human terms they are obviously at a disadvantage vis-a-vis many of those to whom they will preach; but this in no way prevents their self-surrender from being generous and free. The light lit in their hearts was enough to lead them to give up everything. A simple invitation to follow the Master was enough for them to put themselves completely at his disposal.

It is Jesus who chooses them: he interfered in the lives of the Apostles just as he interferes in ours, without seeking our permission: he is our Lord. Cf. note on Mt 4:18-22.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

St Stanislaus Parishioners Choose to Reject the Archbishop and the Church

The Parishioners at St. Stanislaus Reject Compliance with the Archbishop and the Vatican 99% to 1%.

The question being asked was:
"Should we turn over all property, funds and parish control to the Archdiocese of St. Louis?"

There were 299 votes opposed and 5 votes for. (via Fox2KTVI TV) 9:00P.M. News.

St Louis Post Article here.

St Stanislaus Parishioners Vote on Future

The parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka are voting for their history and their future, for their great-grandparents and their children.

They will mark a ballot asking the question that has haunted them for the last 18 months: "Should we turn over all property, funds and parish control to the Archdiocese of St. Louis?"

Parish leaders said they expected between 275 to 325 out of about 500 registered church members to vote. A small but vocal contingent of Polish Catholics who have been worshipping at St. John's said last week that they had collected at least 140 names on a petition supporting Burke that they would present during the voting.

The final bylaw of the parish's original 1891 articles of association states that no "amendments (shall) be made at any time which shall in anywise be in conflict with any law of the state of Missouri, or with any rule, regulation or requirement of the said Diocese of St. Louis in force at the time of such proposed change." The parish articles of agreement also require that the church remain Roman Catholic. It is on these two points that the archdiocese may sue should parishioners decide to continue ignoring Burke's wishes.

The bylaw changes at the heart of the conflict occurred in 2001 and 2004.

Gospel for Sunday, The Baptism of the Lord

From: Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus is Baptized

[13] Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. [14] John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" [15] But Jesus answered him, "Let is be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. [16] And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; [17] and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

13. Jesus spent about thirty years (Lk 3:23) in what is normally called the "hidden life". We should marvel at the silence of the Incarnate Word of God during this period. There may be many reasons why he waited so long before beginning his public ministry, but one factor may have been the Jewish custom whereby rabbis did not carry out their function as teachers until they were thirty years old. Whatever the reason, by his long years of work beside St Joseph, our Lord teaches all Christians the sanctifying value of ordinary life and work.

The Baptist prepares the people to receive the Messiah, according to God's plan; and it is only then that Jesus commences his public life.

14. St John's reluctance to baptize Jesus is not surprising since he had given such forthright witness to Him. Jesus did not need to be baptized by John since he had no sin, but he chose to receive this baptism (see the note on v. 15) before beginning to preach, so to teach us to obey all God's commands (he had already subjected himself to circumcision, presentation in the temple and being redeemed as the first-born). God wished Jesus to humble himself even to the extent of submitting to the authority of others.

15. "Righteousness" (or "justice") has a very deep meaning in the Bible; it refers to the plan which God, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, has marked out for man's salvation. Consequently, "to fulfill all righteousness" should be understood as fulfilling God's will and designs. Thus, we could translate "fulfill all righteousness" as: "fulfill everything laid down by God." Jesus comes to receive John's baptism and hence recognizes it as a stage in salvation history--a stage foreseen by God as a final and immediate preparation for the messianic era. The fulfillment of any one of these stages can be called an act of righteousness. Jesus, who has come to fulfill his Father's Will (Jn 4:34), is careful to fulfill that saving plan in all its aspects. See the note on Mt 5:6.

16. Jesus possessed the fullness of the Holy Spirit from the moment of his conception. This is due to the union of the human nature and divine nature in the person of the Word (the dogma of the hypostatic union). Catholic teaching says that in Christ there is only one person (who is divine) but two natures (divine and human). The descent of the Spirit of God spoken of in the text indicates that just as Jesus was solemnly commencing his messianic task, so the Holy Spirit was beginning his action through him. There are very many texts in the Old Testament
which speak of the showing forth of the Holy Spirit in the future Messiah. This sign of the Spirit gave St John the Baptist unmistakable proof of the genuineness of his testimony concerning Christ (cf. Jn 1: 29-34). The mystery of the Holy Trinity is revealed in the baptism of Jesus: the Son is baptized; the Holy Spirit descends on him in the form of a dove; and the voice of the Father gives testimony about his Son. Christians must be baptized in the name of the three divine persons. "If you have sincere piety, the Holy Spirit will descend on you also and you will hear the voice of the Father saying to you from above: 'This was not my son, but now after Baptism he has been made my son'" (St Cyril of Jerusalem, "De Baptismo", 14).

17. Literally, as the RSV points out, "This is my Son, my (or the) beloved". When the _expression "the beloved" goes with "the son", normally it refers to an only son (cf. Gen 16; Jer 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zech 12:10). Repetition of the article and the solemnity of the passage show that, in the language of the Bible, Jesus is not just one more among the adopted sons of God, nor even the greatest of them. Rather, it declares strongly and correctly that Jesus is "the Son of God", the Only-begotten who is totally different from other men because of his divine nature (cf. Mt 7:21; 11:27; 17:5; Jn 3:35; 5:20; 20:17; etc.).

Here we can see the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies, especially Isaiah 42:1, which is applied now to Jesus through the voice of the Father speaking from heaven.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.