Saturday, March 26, 2005

Cardinal Rejects Idea of Fatima as Interreligious Center

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 26, 2005 ( Cardinal José Saraiva Martins expressed publicly his opposition to any talk about turning the Shrine of Fatima into a center of interreligious dialogue with Muslims.

The statements by the cardinal prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes were in reaction to the announcement by some groups and Web pages of the construction of an "ecumenical church" in the shrine.

"Fatima has been and always will be a Catholic Marian shrine," insisted the Portuguese cardinal. "Naturally, this does not exclude, indeed it includes, the continuation of dialogue with all religions, including Muslims.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling present activities "unwise and untimely."

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails so express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.

One may ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of Harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."

Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like am ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?

In that dramatic scene on Calvery's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.

There was a time when the church was very powerful -- in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey Gad rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent -- and often even vocal -- sanction of things as they are.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.


Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus - For Terri

Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...Faith - faith that, in Your Divine Providence at this Lenten & Easter Season, Terri Schiavo will be protected from those intent on murdering her.

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of...Hope - hope that, in Your Divine Mercy, those in authority will open their hearts and minds to You and that You will guide them in their actions and give them the courage to do what is right.

Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away." Encouraged by Your infallible words I now ask for the grace of...Charity - charity that will allow me to pray for those who, enslaved by the Evil One, are intent on destroying Your precious gift of life, especially of those who are the innocent and vulnerable.

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Hail, Holy Queen...

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

And let's not forget The Divine Mercy Novena

Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:
"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."
More here.

Governor cancels appearance at Good Friday service

[Governor Jeb] Bush was expected to attend an outdoor Good Friday service at 12:30 p.m. at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the state capital.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, who attended the event with demonstrators, noted with irony that part of the liturgy Bush would have read with the participants included the following text, entitled "The Fifth Station of the Cross":
"Lord Jesus, sometimes I don't want to do what is right or to help someone in need, but you want me to respond positively to the needs of others in my life. Help me to say 'yes' and be willing to give heroic assistance to all who are in need."
"It is clear that Governor Bush canceled his scheduled participation in this Stations of the Cross service out of fear and guilt of seeing supporters of Terri Schiavo pleading for her life," Mahoney said.

"Our prayer for Governor Bush is the same prayer he would have prayed publicly on this Good Friday, had he kept his scheduled appointment."
As time runs outs for Terri Schiavo, all of us should,with renewed vigor, storm heaven with out prayers, penances, and sacrifices, so that God might give an abundance of grace to those who can intercede on her behalf.

Articler here.

Shiavo Affidavits/Documentation

The following documents have been collected from case evidence, testimony and other sources in the public record.

These items give significant illustration that the circumstances surrounding Terri's collapse may be suspect and that the following actions by the guardian should be investigated.
See them here.

Also see Violations of Florida Statutes against Terri Schiavo

Gospel for Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter

From: Matthew 28:1-10

Jesus Appears To The Women

[1] Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. [2] And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. [3] His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. [4] And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. [5] But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. [6] He is not here; for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. [7] Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. Lo, I have told you." [8] So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. [9] And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. [10] Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee; and there they will see Me."

1-15. The resurrection of Jesus, which happened in the early hours of the Sunday morning, is a fact which all the evangelist state clearly and unequivocally. Some holy women discover to their surprise that the tomb is open. On entering the hall (cf. Mark 16:5-6), they see an angel who says to them, "He is not here; for He has risen, as He said." The guards who were on duty when the angel rolled back the stone go to the city and report what has happened to the chief priests. These, because of the urgency of the matter, decide to bribe the guards; they give them a considerable sum of money on condition that they spread the word that His disciples came at night and stole the body of Jesus when they were asleep. "Wretched craftiness," says St. Augustine, "do you give us witnesses who were asleep? It is you who are really asleep if this is the only kind of explanation you have to offer!" ("Ennarationes in Psalmos", 63, 15). The Apostles, who a couple of days before fled in fear, will, now that they have seen Him and have eaten and drunk with Him, become tireless preachers of this great event: "This Jesus, they will say, "God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32).

Just as He foretold He would go up to Jerusalem and be delivered to the leaders of the Jews and put to death, He also prophesied that He would rise from the dead (Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34). By His resurrection He completes the sign He promised to give unbelievers to show His divinity (Matthew 12:40).

The resurrection of Christ is one of the basic dogmas of the Catholic faith. In fact, St. Paul says, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14); and, to prove his assertion that Christ rose, he tells us "that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me" (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). The creed states that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day ("Nicene Creed"), by His own power (Ninth Council of Toledo, "De Redemptione Creed"), by a true resurrection of the flesh ("Creed" of St. Leo IX), reuniting His soul with His body (Innocent III, "Eius Exemplo"), and that this fact of the resurrection is historically proven and provable ("Lamentabili", 36).

"By the word `resurrection' we are not merely to understand that Christ was raised from the dead...but that He rose by His own power and virtue, a singular prerogative peculiar to Him alone. Our Lord confirmed this by the divine testimony of His own mouth when He said: `I lay down My life, that I may take it again....I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again' (John 10:17-18). To the Jews He also said, in corroboration of His doctrine" `Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up' (John 2:19-20) [...]. We sometimes, it is true, read in Scripture that He was raised by the Father (cf. Acts 2:24; Romans 8:11); but this refers to Him as man, just as those passages on the other hand, which say that He rose by His own power, related to Him as God" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 8).

Christ's resurrection was not a return to His previous earthly existence; it was a "glorious" resurrection, that is to say, attaining the full development of human life--immortal, freed from all limitations of space and time. As a result of the resurrection, Christ's body now shares in the glory which His soul had from the beginning. Here lies the unique nature of the historical fact of the resurrection. He could not be seen by anyone but only by those to whom He granted that grace, to enable them to be witnesses of this resurrection, and to enable others to believe in Him by accepting the testimony of the seers.

Christ's resurrection was something necessary for the completion of the work of our Redemption. For, Jesus Christ through His death freed us from sins; but by His resurrection He restored us all that we had lost through sin and, moreover, opened for us the gates of eternal life (cf. Romans 4:25). Also, the fact that He rose from the dead by His own power is a definitive proof that He is the Son of God, and therefore His resurrection fully confirms our faith in His divinity.

The resurrection of Christ, as has been pointed out, is the most sublime truth of our faith. That is why St. Augustine exclaims: "It is no great thing to believe that Christ died; for this is something that is also believed by pagans and Jews and by all the wicked: everyone believes that He died. The Christians' faith is in Christ's resurrection; that is what we hold to be a great thing--to believe that He rose" ("Enarrationes in Psalmos", 120).

The mystery of the Redemption wrought by Christ, which embraces His death and resurrection, is applied to every man and woman through Baptism and the other sacraments, by means of which the believer is as it were immersed in Christ and in His death, that is to say, in a mystical way he becomes part of Christ, he dies and rises with Christ: "We were buried therefore with Him by baptism unto death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

An ardent desire to seek the things of God and an interior taste for the things that are above (cf. Colossians 3:1-3) are signs of our resurrection with 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.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Schiavogate---The Big Cover-up

Some excerpts:
“People may die during the course of abuse investigations and the investigation may become moot”.

Apparently that’s what Florida’s Sixth Circuit Court George Greer is hoping. Maybe even the judges in the 2nd District Court of Appeals at Lakeland have the same mindset.

It appears that Greer has a vested interest in the death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Her death may make moot the warranted and overdue investigations of Greer’s own complicity in the case---alleged violations of guardianship laws and well as the alleged cover-up of criminal wrongdoing in the matter---an obstruction of justice---a prosecutable offense for which culpability will only increase with judicial homicide.

Not only has Greer unlawfully become a party to the action by acting as both jurist and guardian ad litem in the case but he, like Michael Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, may need to insure that Terri Schiavo dies and her body immediately cremated in order to destroy evidence of not only the alleged criminal wrongdoing of Michael Schiavo but perhaps by Greer himself in impeding and interfering in valid abuse investigations.

And then there’s the guardianship issue.
According to an investigation conducted by The Empire Journal, not only has Michael Schiavo allegedly egregiously violated the guardianship laws of the State of Florida, but so has Greer. By refusing to act on the petitions submitted by Terri’s parents to remove the estranged husband as the guardian, Greer has violated his statutory duties as well as aided in the alleged abuse, neglect and exploitation of the ward.

Greer has steadfastly dodged the guardianship issue, refusing to rule on petitions to remove Schiavo as guardian of the person of Terri Schiavo, abdicating the duties of the judicial office as well as his position on the Sixth Circuit Committee on Guardianship Monitoring.

Condoned Medicare Fraud
More here

More Arrests at the Woodside Hospice

Joshua Heldreth (front) is arrested by police officers for trespassing in Pinellas Park, Florida, March 25, 2005. The young protester attempted to take a glass of water into the Woodside Hospice for the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo...

A protester talks with a police officer before being arrested for trespassing in Pinellas Park, Florida, March 25, 2005. The protester attempted to take a glass of water into the Woodside Hospice...

Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies, and Pinellas Park, Fla., police officers arrest two young girls for trespassing on Woodside Hospice property

An unidentified demonstrator is taken in to police custody after making a symbolic gesture of attempting to bring water to Terri Schiavo, Friday, March 25, 2005,

Source Yahoo here

Fr. Frank Pavone Calls for Civil Disobedience - On Friday morning, after a federal court once again refused the Schindler's request to reattach their daughter's feeding tube, some of Terri's supporters issued a call for civil disobedience.

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said no court anywhere has the authority to authorize the starvation of a human being.

"The Terri Schiavo case has demonstrated that we are being governed by unelected judges, and that the legislative and executive branches of government lack the will to stand up to them when they authorize acts of violence.

"The matter, therefore, now rests with the people," he said in a statement.

"When government fails to protect life, the people must do so directly.

"Today must mark the beginning of a new era of civil disobedience and conscientious objection, with simultaneous, determined efforts to curb the authority of the courts and restore government to the people through their elected representatives."

In a recent column, Pavone said he has visited Terri twice -- most recently at the beginning of February. At that time, he said, he talked to her and listened as she "struggled to speak," and watched her "focus her eyes and smile and attempt to kiss her parents."

Catholic Civil Rights League on Laity and Political Affairs

Political and judicial authority is binding in conscience only when exercised for the common good, within the limits of the natural moral law.[25]

Even when public authority becomes oppressive, Catholics are bound to obey the laws of the state insofar as they do not conflict with divine law.

But no parliament, no legislature and no court has the authority to set aside the commandments of God, nor to command obedience to laws and regulations that are contrary to the natural moral law.

When this abuse of authority occurs in a democracy, Catholics must take all legal and political steps necessary to defend ourselves and our fellow citizens, and may, in addition, resort to conscientious objection, civil disobedience, non-co-operation and other forms of non-violent resistance in accordance with the natural moral law and the Gospel.[26]

Should such steps become necessary, the unity of Christians and non-Christian believers in God and our willingness to suffer will ultimately overcome the abuse of authority and power of the state.
The footnotes refer us to Gaudium et Spes #74 which is printed below:
74. ...It is clear, therefore, that the political community and public authority are founded on human nature and hence belong to the order designed by God, even though the choice of a political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free will of citizens.(3)

It follows also that political authority, both in the community as such and in the representative bodies of the state, must always be exercised within the limits of the moral order and directed toward the common good-with a dynamic concept of that good-according to the juridical order legitimately established or due to be established. When authority is so exercised, citizens are bound in conscience to obey.(4) Accordingly, the responsibility, dignity and importance of leaders are indeed clear.

But where citizens are oppressed by a public authority overstepping its competence, they should not protest against those things which are objectively required for the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and the rights of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority, while keeping within those limits drawn by the natural law and the Gospels.

The Holy Eucharist: The Mystery of Faith

by Archbishop Burke
My second reflection upon the Church’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist centers on the first chapter of Pope John Paul II encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia (On the Eucharist in Its Relationship with the Church)," which is titled "The Mystery of Faith." It is a particularly fitting reflection during the holiest days of the Church year, in which the Holy Eucharist was instituted and Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary, which it makes present, was accomplished. Before I enter into a reflection on the Holy Eucharist as the Mystery of Faith, however, I draw your attention to a most important event in the archdiocese, which is directed toward the richer participation in the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Holy Mass, by all the faithful.

Gateway Liturgical Conference

Divine Mercy Novena Starts Today

...and do we ever need to reflect on this.

Bishop Brom's careful apology fails to end dispute

From talk shows to e-mails, the nuanced words of the statement have been parsed and debated:

"I deeply regret that denying a Catholic funeral for John McCusker at the Immaculata has resulted in his unjust condemnation and I apologize to the family for the anguish this has caused them. To help rectify this situation, insofar as it can be, I will preside at a Mass for the family, in memory of John, at the Immaculata. In consideration for the family, I will not be available for any further public statements on this matter," Brom wrote Monday.

Adding to the speculation is a cover letter that accompanied the statement when it was sent Tuesday to Catholic clergy.

"The enclosed statement ... should be read carefully," wrote Monsignor Steven Callahan, a top official with the diocese. "Note the extent and nature of the apology that Bishop Brom offered, free of media interpretations."

Mark Brumley, president of San Francisco-based Ignatius Press, a Catholic publishing company, said the bishop's statement was unclear.

"It would serve the community of San Diego well to have some clarification," said Brumley, a former spokesman for the San Diego diocese. "There are people on many sides of this issue who will look to the statement to see where the bishop comes down on the issue and will be unable to do so."

Following in the Footsteps of Our Lord

A touching email from LifeSiteNews:
Dear Readers,

Please accept our heartfelt wishes for a joyous and blessed Easter. Apart from emergency broadcasts there will be no news reports for Good Friday or Easter Monday.

As we contemplate the events of Our Lord's passion this weekend we cannot help but see the comparison in the suffering and impending death of the 41-year-old disabled Florida woman Terri Schiavo. She, as He did, suffers during Holy Week, is a silent victim, and thirsting with guards stopping all that would come to her aid. Condemned to death by today's robed high-priests in the judiciary, and betrayed by one who should have been her beloved husband, Terri shares the condemnation and betrayal of Our Lord. During Our Lord's death His mother Mary watched helpless and praying, Terri's parents Bob and Mary Schindler watch and pray as their daughter follows in His Way of the Cross.

John-Henry Westen

Mother arrested in attempt to stop abortion of 14 year old daughter

I had wanted to report on this story earlier, but I have been fixed, primarily, on the barbaric on-going murder of Terri Schiavo. I heard a shocking story this past Sunday on a local evangelical radio station, KJSL 920AM. This station provides news updates that the Post Dispatch will never print - the estimated number of abortions occurring daily at the Hope(less) Clinic in Granite City, IL., just across the river here in St. Louis. The people associated with the station also provide a Christian presence and witness by gathering there daily (I believe) to try and save children and souls. For these people and their endeavors, I have the utmost respect and praise.

As I was driving home, I changed channels to KJSL and could not believe what I was hearing. There was a mother being interviewed on the radio and she was speaking about her recent run-in with the "health care providers" at the abortuary/baby killing factory. Her account of the tragic episode was heartbreaking. The place were this run-in occurred kills the babies of young girls and women from all over the country - based upon the fact that many of the cars bear out-of-state license plates. I wish I had been able to listen to the entire program to get all of the details. I will relate those which I heard that are not in the story.

The article here does not include all of the facts as related by the mother. Some excerpts from the article:
A Southern Illinois woman was arrested last week (March 17) after trying to intervene on behalf of her 14-year old daughter's effort to have an abortion. The girl was allegedly taken to an abortion clinic by the mother of the man allegedly to have impregnated the 14-year old.

According to the girl's mother, her 14-year old daughter was called off from school in Madison County by a woman posing as the girl's “grandmother.” The woman took the girl from her home only minutes before the girl’s mother returned home from work.
The "grandmother" is the mother of the man who impregnated the 14 year old girl...The article states that the man's age was not released, HOWEVER, the girl's mother reported that he is in his early 20's (if I recall correctly).

The 'grandma', I believe, also took the girl out of school even though the school had been advised not to release the girl to anyone but her parents or her grandfather.

This seems to be a clear case of statutory rape...I am not certain if he has been arrested or not. The girl's mother stated that "grandma" pressured the pregnant girl to abort the baby because the father, who is due to graduate from college soon, would suffer if he had to quit school, support the baby, and blah, blah, know the drill.
My husband and I rushed to the abortion clinic where we saw our daughter’s name on the roster and the time she had checked in,” the mother said. She then went into the clinic and searched a room filled with young women awaiting abortions but did not see her daughter.

She took a seat near the main desk and said, “I was told I could not prove my daughter was there so I began calling her name. A medical tech at the clinic told me , ‘It’s your daughter’s rights, it’s her body. You have no rights.’”

After continuing to call out her daughter’s name and telling her “don’t do it,” authorities were called and the mother was arrested.
The mother stated that she KNEW her daughter was there because she saw her daughter's name highlighted on the clipboard help by one of the "rent-a-cops" at the entrance. The clipboard had several names with appointment times and those who had arrived for their appointments where highlighted to designate that fact.

The article relates the rest of the story as I heard it on the radio from the mother. The police, unconcerned with a clear case of statutory rape, chose instead to arrest a mother trying to rescue her daughter [this sounds eerily similar to another case, yes?]

I'm not familiar with laws of the Peoples Republik of Illinois, but it seems criminal to permit minors access to abortions without parental consent. It also would seem to be criminal to deliberately keep mother and daughter separated. Yet again, would it not be a criminal act to "bury the records" of this abortion, as the article states? It seems to me that there were a number of crimes committed on this day - and if they are not crimes in the eyes of the State, they most certainly are crimes in the eyes of God.

How long will it be before this country sinks so deep into the abyss of depravity that it will be impossible to escape? While it is easy to become discouraged or despondent because of the pervasive evil all around us, let us walk with Christ toward Golgotha - we must unite our hearts with His, we must unite our sorrows with His, we must unite ourselves to Him - He took upon Himself all of these evils which we are witnessing, and have witnessed, and will ever witness. He bore them all for us as we will recall most vividly tomorrow. He gave His life for our salvation - If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, and faithfully follow Him and His Church, we will be guided beyond the desolation around us.

My Dear Jesus, please forgive me and forgive us all - have mercy on us!

Link to article here.

A very special tip of the hat to Bobby Dale for reminding me of this story!

The Terri Schiavo Case - Generation X’s Roe vs. Wade

As we commit this reflection to writing, Terri Schindler-Schiavo has spent the past five days without food and water...

We denounce this slow and painful execution of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. We denounce this execution as gravely immoral, fundamentally unjust, and a gross violation of the Natural Law....

Moreover, we denounce this execution as gravely immoral. The culture of death alleges that Terri is in a persistently vegetative state....

Each of the undersigned was born during the 1970s. As members of Generation-X, each of us survived the abortion holocaust ensuing from Roe vs. Wade. A quarter of our generation did not. In the name of medical privacy and personal choice, a quarter of our generation found itself butchered in the womb. Abortion has claimed more lives among our generation than the combined effort of AIDS, drugs, and gang violence. [And I will add, all of the wars throught the history of mankind]

Yet our blood has not satiated the culture of death. In the name of medical privacy and personal choice, the culture of death now seeks the blood of our elderly, our disabled, and our terminally ill. Like Roe vs. Wade, the execution of Terri Schindler-Schiavo is a defining moment in the culture war. It sets a precedent whereby our society no longer judges our elderly, our disabled, and our terminally ill as fully human.

“First you kill those who want to die,” forewarns the American Catholic ecumenist Dr. Bill Cork. “Then you kill those whose family wants them to die, then those where one family member wants them to die, and then those whose families want them to live. Finally, you kill those who want to live but who get in the way of the state.”
Read the full editorial here...a very poignant article...

Gospel for Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

This is the Commentary ONLY
The Gospel for today is: John 18:1-19:42

1. The previous chapter, dealing as it did with the glory of the Son of God (cf. Jn 17:1, 4, 10,22,24), is a magnificent prologue to our Lord's passion and death, which St John presents as part of Christ's glorification: he emphasizes that Jesus freely accepted his death (14:31) and freely allowed himself to be arrested (18:4, 11). The Gospel shows our Lord's superiority over his judges (18:20-2 1) and accusers (19:8, 12); and his majestic serenity in the face of physical pain, which makes one more aware of the Redemption, the triumph of the Cross, than of Jesus' actual sufferings.

Chapters 18 and 19 cover the passion and death of our Lord - events so important and decisive that all the books of the New Testament deal with them, in some way or other. Thus, the Synoptic Gospels give us extensive accounts of what happened; in the Acts of the Apostles these events, together with the resurrection, form the core of the Apostles' preaching. St Paul explains the redemptive value of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, and the catholic epistles speak of his salvific death, as does the Apocalypse, where the Victor, enthroned in heaven, is the sacrificed Lamb, Jesus Christ. It should also be noted that whenever these sacred writings mention our Lord's death they go on to refer to his glorious resurrection.

St John's Gospel locates these events in five places. The first (18:1-12) is Gethsemane, where Jesus is arrested; after this (18:13-27) he is taken to the house of Annas, where the religious trial begins and Peter denies Jesus before the high priest's servants. The third scene is the praetorium (18:28-19:16), where Jesus is tried by the Roman procurator: St John gives an extensive account of this trial, highlighting the true character of Christ's kingship and his rejection by the Jews, who call for his crucifixion. He then goes on (19:17-37) to describe the events which occur after the procurator's unjust sentence; this scene centers on Calvary. St John then reports the burial of our Lord in the unused tomb near Calvary belonging to Joseph of Arimathea.

The climax of all these events is the glorification of Jesus, of which he himself had spoken (cf. Jn 17:1-5) - - his resurrection and exaltation to his Father's side.

Here is Fray Luis de Granada's advice on how to meditate on the passion of our Lord: "There are five things we can reflect on when we think about the sacred passion. [...] First, we can incline our heart to sorrow and repentance for our sins; the passion of our Lord helps us do this because it is evident that everything he suffered he suffered on account of sins, so that if there were no sins in the world, there would have been no need for such painful reparation. Therefore, sins - yours and mine, like everyone else's - were the executioners who bound him and lashed him and crowned him with thorns and put him on the cross. So you can see how right it is for you to feel the enormity and malice of your sins, for it was these which really caused so much suffering, not because these sins required the Son of God to suffer but because divine justice chose to ask for such great atonement.

"We have here excellent motives, not only to abhor sin but also to love virtues: we have the example of this Lord's virtues, which so clearly shine out during his sacred passion: we can follow these virtues and learn to imitate then especially his great humility, gentleness and silence, as well as the other virtues for this is one of the best and most effective ways of meditating on the sacred passion - the way of imitation.

"At other times we should fix our attention on the great good the Lord does us here, reflecting on how much he loved us and how much he gave us and how much it cost him to do so. [...] At other times it is good to focus our attention on knowledge of God, that is, to consider his great goodness, his mercy, his justice, his kindness, and particularly his ardent charity, which shines forth in the sacred passion as nowhere else. For, just as it is a greater proof of love to suffer evils on behalf of one's friend than to do good things for him, and God could do both [...], it pleased his divine goodness to assume a nature which could suffer evils, very great evils, so that man could be quite convinced of God's love and thereby be moved to love him who so loved man.

"Finally, at other times one can reflect [...] on the wisdom of God in choosing this manner of atoning for mankind: that is, making satisfaction for our sins, inflaming our charity, curing our pride, our greed and our love of comfort, and inclining our souls to the virtue of humility [...], abhorrence of sin and love for the Cross" ("Life of Jesus Christ", 15).1-2. "When Jesus had spoken these words": this is a formula often used in the fourth Gospel to indicate a new episode linked with what has just been recounted (cf. Jn 2:12; 3:22; 5:1; 6:1; 13:21; etc.).

The Kidron (etymologically "turbid") was a brook which carried water only during rainy weather, it divided Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, on slopes of which lay the garden of Gethsemane (cf. Mt 26:32; Lk 21:37; 22:39). The distance from the Cenacle, where the Last Supper took place, to the garden of Gethsemane was little more than a kilometer.

3. Because Judea was occupied by Romans, there was a garrison stationed at Jerusalem - a cohort (600 men) quartered in the Antonia tower, under the authority of a tribune. In the Greek what is translated here as "a band of soldiers" is "the cohort", the name for the whole unit being used though only part is meant: it does not mean that 600 soldiers came out to arrest Jesus. Presumably the Jewish authorities, who had their own temple guard - referred to here as "officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees" - must have sought some assistance from the military. Judas' part consisted in leading the way to where Jesus was and identifying the man to be arrested.

4-9. Only the fourth Gospel reports this episode prior to Jesus' arrest, recalling the words of the Psalm: "Then my enemies will be turned back in the day when I call" (Ps 56:9). Our Lord's majesty is apparent: he surrenders himself freely and voluntarily. This does not, however, mean that the Jews involved are free from blame. St Augustine comments on this passage: "The persecutors, who came with the traitor to lay hold of Jesus, found him whom they sought and heard him say, 'I am he'. Why did they not lay hold of him but fell back to the ground? Because that was what he wished, who could do whatever he wished. Had he not allowed himself to be taken by them, they would have been unable to effect their plan, but neither would he have done what he came to do. They in their rage sought him to put him to death; but he also sought us by dying for us. Therefore, after he displayed his power to those who had no power to hold him, they did lay hands on him and by means of them, all unwitting, he did what he wanted to do" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 112, 3).

It is also moving to see how Jesus takes care of his disciples, even though he himself is in danger. He had promised that none of his own should perish except Judas Iscariot (cf. Jn 6:39; 17:12); although his promise referred to protecting them from eternal punishment, our Lord is also concerned about their immediate safety, for as yet they are not ready to face martyrdom.10-11. Once again we see Peter's impetuosity and loyalty; he comes to our Lord's defense, risking his own life, but he still does not understand God' plans of salvation: he still cannot come to terms with the idea of Christ dying - just as he could not when Christ first foretold his passion (Mt 16:21-22). Our Lord does not accept Peter's violent defense: he refers back to what he said in his prayer in Gethsemane (cf. Mt 26:39), where he freely accepted his Father' will, giving himself up to his captors in order to accomplish the Redemption.

We should show reverence to God's will with the same docility and meekness as Jesus accepting his passion. "Stages: to be resigned to the will of God; to conform to the will of God; to want the will of God; to love the will of God" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 774).

13-18. Jesus is brought to the house of Annas, who, although he was no longer high priest, still exercised great religious and political influence (cf. note on Lk 3:2). These two disciples, St Peter and the other disciple, probably John himself, are disconcerted; they do not know what to do, so they follow Jesus at a distance. Their attachment to him was not yet sufficiently supernatural; discouragement has displaced bravery and loyalty - and will soon lead to Peter's triple denial. However noble his feelings, a Christian will be unable to live up to the demands of his faith unless his life has a basis of deep piety.

19-21. During this first interrogation - preliminary to his later examination by the Sanhedrin (Lk 22:66-71) - Jesus lays stress on the fact that he has always acted openly: everyone has had an opportunity listen to him and to witness his miracles - so much so that at times he has been acclaimed as the Messiah (cf. Jn 12:12-19 and par.). The chief priests themselves have seen him in the temple and in the synagogues; but not wishing to see (cf. Jn 9:39-41), or believe (cf. Jn 10:37-38), they make out that his objectives are hidden and sinister.

22-23. Again, we see Jesus' serenity; he is master of the situation, as he is throughout his passion. To the unjust accusation made by this servant, our Lord replies meekly, but he does defend his conduct and points to the injustice with which he is being treated. This is how we should behave if people mistreat us in any way. Well-argued defense of one's rights is compatible with meekness and humility (cf. Acts 22:25).

25-27. Peter's denials are treated in less detail here than in the Synoptic Gospels, but here, as there, we can see the Apostles' humility and sincerity which lead them to tell about their own weaknesses. Peter's repentance is not referred to here, but it is implied by the mention of the cock crowing: the very brevity of St John's account points to the fact that this episode was well known to the early Christians. After the resurrection the full scope of Jesus' forgiveness will be evidenced when he confirms Peter in his mission as leader of the Apostles (cf. Jn 21:15-17).

"In this adventure of love we should not be depressed by our falls, not even by serious falls, if we go to God in the sacrament of Penance contrite an resolved to improve. A Christian is not a neurotic collector of good behavior reports. Jesus Christ our Lord was moved as much by Peter's repentance after his fall as by John's innocence and faithfulness. Jesus understands our weakness and draws us to himself on an inclined plane. He wants us to make an effort to climb a little each day" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", '75).

28. The Synoptics also report the trial before Pilate, but St John gives a longer and more detailed account: in 18:28-19:16 is the center of the five parts of his account of the Passion (cf. note on 18:1). He describes the events that take place in the praetorium, highlighting the majesty of Christ as the messianic King, and also his rejection by the Jews.

There are seven stages here, marked by Pilate's entrances and exits. First (vv. 29-32) the Jews indict Jesus in a general way as an "evildoer". Then follows the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus (vv. 36-37) which culminates in Christ stating that he is a King, after which Pilate tries to save our Lord (vv. 38-40) by asking the people if they want him to release "the King of the Jews".

The centerpoint of the account (19:1-3) is the crowning with thorns, with the soldiers mockingly doing obeisance to Christ as "King of the Jews". After this our Lord is led out wearing the crown of thorns and draped in the purple robe (vv. 4- 7) - the shameful scene of the Ecce Homo. The Jews' accusation now turns on Jesus' making himself the Son of God. Once again, Pilate, in the praetorium again, speaks with Jesus (vv.8-12) and tries to probe further into his divine origin. The Jews then concentrate their hatred in a directly political accusation: "Everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar" (Jn 19:12). Finally (vv. 13-16), in a very formal way, stating time and place, St John narrates how Pilate points to Jesus and says: "Here is your King!" And the leaders of the Jews openly reject him who was and is the genuine King spoken of by the prophets.

"Praetorium": this was the Roman name for the official residence of the praetor or of other senior officials in the provinces of the Empire, such as the procurator or prefect in Palestine. Pilate's usual residence was on the coast, in Caesarea, but he normally moved to Jerusalem for the major festival periods, bringing additional troops to be used in the event of civil disorder. In Jerusalem, at this time and later, the procurator resided in Herod's palace (in the western part of the upper city) or else in the Antonia tower, a fortress backing onto the northeastern corner of the temple esplanade. It is not known for certain which of these two buildings was the praetorium mentioned in the Gospel; it was more likely the latter.

"So that they might not be defiled": Jewish tradition at the time ("Mishnah"; "Ohalot" treatise 7, 7) laid down that anyone who entered a Gentile or pagan house incurred seven days' legal defilement (cf. Acts 10:28); such defilement would have prevented them from celebrating the Passover. It is surprising that the chief priests had a scruple of this sort given their criminal inclinations against Jesus. Once more our Lord's accusation of them is seen to be well founded: "You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel" (Mt 23:24).

29-32. St John has omitted part of the interrogation which took place in the house of Caiaphas and which is reported in the Synoptics (Mt 26:57-66 and par.), which tell us that the meeting at Caiaphas' terminated with Jesus hem declared deserving of death for the blasphemy of proclaiming himself the Son of God (cf. Mt 26:65-66). Under the Law of Moses blasphemy was punishable by stoning (cf. Lev 24:16); but they do not proceed to stone him - which the certainly could have done, even though the Romans were in control: they were ready to stone the adulterous woman (cf.Jn 8:1-11) and a short time later they did stone St Stephen (cf. Acts 7:54-60) - because they wanted to bring the people along with them, and they knew that many of them regarded Jesus a Prophet and Messiah (cf. Mt 24:45-46; Mk 12:12; Lk 20:19). Not daring to stone him, they will shrewdly manage to turn a religious charge into a politics question and have the authority of the Empire brought to bear on their side they preferred to denounce Jesus to the procurator as a revolutionary who plotted against Caesar by declaring himself to be the Messiah and King of the Jews; by acting in this way they avoided risking the people's wrath and ensured that Jesus would be condemned by the Roman authorities to death by crucifixion.

Our Lord had foretold a number of times that he would die in this way (cf. Jn 3:14; 8:28; 12:32-33); as St Paul later put it, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree"' (Gal 3:13; cf. Deut 21:23).

33-34. There is no onus on Pilate to interfere in religious questions, but because the accusation levelled against Jesus had to do with politics and public order, he begins his interrogation naturally by examining him on the main charge: "Are you the King of the Jews?"

By replying with another question, Jesus is not refusing to answer: he wishes to make quite clear, as he has always done, that his mission is a spiritual one. And really Pilate's was not an easy question to answer, because, to a Gentile, a king of the Jews meant simply a subverter of the Empire; whereas, to a Jewish nationalist, the King-Messiah was a politico-religious liberator who would obtain their freedom from Rome. The true character of Christ's messiahship completely transcends both these concepts - as Jesus explains to the procurator, although he realizes how enormously difficult it is for Pilate to understand what Christ's Kingship really involves.

35-36. After the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, Jesus refused to be proclaimed king because the people were thinking in terms of an earthly kingdom (cf. Jn 6:15). However, Jesus did enter Jerusalem in triumph, and he did accept acclamation as King-Messiah. Now, in the passion, he acknowledges before Pilate that he is truly a King, making it clear that his kingship is not an earthly one. Thus, "those who expected the Messiah to have visible temporal power were mistaken. 'The kingdom of God does not mean food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Rom 14:17). Truth and justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That is the kingdom of Christ: the divine activity which saves men and which will reach its culmination when history ends and the Lord comes from the heights of paradise finally to judge men" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 180).

37. This is what his kingship really is: his kingdom is "the kingdom of Truth and Life, the kingdom of Holiness and Grace, the kingdom of Justice, Love and Peace" (Preface of the Mass of Christ the King). Christ reigns over those who accept and practise the truth revealed by him - his Father's love for the world (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:9). He became man to make this truth known and to enable men to accept it. And so, those who recognize Christ's kingship and sovereignty accept his authority, and he thus reigns over them in an eternal and universal kingdom.

For its part, "the Church, looking to Christ who bears witness to the truth, must always and everywhere ask herself, and in a certain sense also contemporary 'world', how to make good emerge from man, how to liberate the dynamism of the good that is in man, in order that it may be stronger than evil, than any moral, social or other evil" (John Paul II, "General Audience", February 1979).

"If we [Christians] are trying to have Christ as our king we must consistent. We must start by giving him our heart. Not to do that and still talk about the kingdom of Christ would be completely hollow. There would be no real Christian substance in our behavior. We would be making an outward show of a faith which simply did not exist We would be misusing God's name to human advantage. [...] If we let Christ reign in our soul, we will not become authoritarian. Rather we will serve everyone. How l like that word: service! To serve my king and, through him, all those who have been redeemed by his blood. I really wish we Christians knew how to serve, for only by serving can we know and love Christ and make him known and loved" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 181-182).

By his death and resurrection, Jesus shows that the accusations laid against him were based on lies: it was he who was telling the truth, not his judges and accusers, and God confirms the truth of Jesus - the truth of his words, of deeds, of his revelation - by the singular miracle of his resurrection. To men Christ's kingship may seem paradoxical: he dies, yet he lives for ever; he is defeated and is crucified, yet he is victorious. "When Jesus Christ him appeared as a prisoner before Pilate's tribunal and was interrogated by him...did he not answer: 'For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth'? It was as if with these words [...] he was once more confirming what he had said earlier: 'You will know the truth, and truth will make you free'. In the course of so many centuries, of so many generations, from the time of the Apostles on, is it not often Jesus Christ himself that has made an appearance at the side of people judged for the sake of truth? And has he not gone to death with people condemned for the sake of truth? Does he ever cease to be the continuous spokesman and advocate for person who lives 'in spirit and truth'? (cf. Jn 4:23). Just as he does not cease to be it before the Father, he is it also with regard to the history of man" (J Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 12).

38-40. The outcome of the interrogation is that Pilate becomes convinced of Jesus' innocence (cf. Jn 19:4, 12). He probably realizes that the accusations made against Jesus were really an internal matter in which the Jews were trying to involve him; but the Jewish authorities are very irate. It is not easy for him to find away out. He tries to do so by making concessions: first, he has recourse to a passover privilege, offering them the choice between a criminal and Jesus, but this does not work; so he looks for other ways to save him, and here also he fails. His cowardice and indecision cause him to yield to pressure and commit the injustice of condemning to death a man he knows to be innocent.

"The mystery of innocent suffering is one of the most obscure points on the entire horizon of human wisdom; and here it is affirmed in the most flagrant way. But before we uncover something of this problem, there already grows up in us an unrestrained affection for the innocent one who suffers, for Jesus, [...] and for all innocent people - whether they be young or old - who are also suffering, and whose pain we cannot explain. The way of the cross leads us to meet the first person in a sorrowful procession of innocent people who suffer. And this first blameless and suffering person uncovers for us in the end the secret of his passion. It is a sacrifice" (Paul VI, "Address on Good Friday", 12 April 1974).

1-3. Christ's prophecy is fulfilled to the letter: the Son of Man "will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise" (Lk 18:32f; cf. Mt 20:18f).

Scourging was one of the most severe punishments permitted under Roman law. The criminal was draped over a pillar or other form of support, his naked back exposed to the lash or "flagellum". Scourging was generally used as a preliminary to crucifixion to weaken the criminal and thereby hasten his death.

Crowning with thorns was not an official part of the punishment; it was an initiative of the soldiers themselves, a product of their cruelty and desire to mock Jesus. On the stone pavement in the Antonia tower some drawings have been found which must have been used in what was called the "king game"; dice were thrown to pick out a mock king among those condemned, who was subjected to taunting before being led off for crucifixion.

St John locates this episode at the center of his narrative of the events in praetorium. He thereby highlights the crowning with thorns as the point which Christ's kingship is at its most patent: the soldiers proclaim him as King of the Jews only in a sarcastic way (of. Mk 15:15, 16-19), but the evangelist gives us to understand that he is indeed the King.

5. Wearing the insignia of royalty, Christ, despite this tragic parody, projects the majesty of the King of Kings. In Rev 5:12 St John will say: "Worth is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"

"Imagine that divine face: swollen by blows, covered in spittle, torn by thorns, furrowed with blood, here fresh blood, there ugly dried blood. And, since the sacred Lamb had his hands tied, he could not use them to wipe away the blood running into his eyes, and so those two luminaries of heaven were eclipsed and almost blinded and made mere pieces of flesh. Finally, so figured was he that one could not make out who he was; he scarcely seemed human; he had become an altarpiece depicting suffering, painted by those cruel artists and their evil president, producing this pitiful figure to plead his before his enemies" (Fray Luis de Granada, "Life of Jesus Christ", 24).

6-7. When Pilate hears the Jews accuse Jesus of claiming to be the Son of God, he grows still more alarmed: his wife has already unnerved him by sending him a message, after a dream, not to have anything to do with this "righteous man". But the shouting (v. 12) orchestrated by the Jewish authorities pressurizes him into agreeing to condemn Jesus.

Although technically Jesus is crucified for supposedly committing a political crime (cf. note on Jn 18:29-32), in fact it is on clearly religious grounds that he is sent to death.

8-11. Pilate is impressed by Jesus' silence, by his not defending himself, and when the procurator says that he has power to release him or to condemn him, our Lord then says something quite unexpected - that all power on earth comes from God. This means that in the last analysis even if people talk about the sovereignty of the king or of the people, such authority is never absolute; it is only relative, being subject to the absolute sovereignty of God: hence no human law can be just, and therefore binding in conscience, if it does not accord with divine law.

"He who delivered me" - a reference to all those who have contrived our Lord's death, that is, Judas, Caiaphas, the Jewish leaders, etc. (cf. 18:30-35). They are the ones that really sent Christ to the cross; but this does not exonerate Pontius Pilate from blame.

13. "The Pavement", in Greek "Iithostrotos", literally a "pavement", "flagged expanse", therefore a yard or plaza paved with flags. The Hebrew word "Gabbatha" is not the equivalent of the Greek "lithostrotos"; it means "height" or "eminence". But both words refer to the same place; however, its precise location is uncertain due to doubts about where the praetorium was located: cf. note on Jn 18:28.

Grammatically, the Greek could be translated as follows: "Pilate... brought Jesus out and sat him down on the judgment seat": in which case the evangelist implies that Pilate was ridiculing the Jewish leaders by a mock enthronement of the "King of the Jews". This would fit in with Pilate's attitude towards the Jewish leaders from this point onwards (vv. 14-22) and with the purpose of the inspired writer, who would see in this the enthronement of Christ as King.

14. "The day of Preparation", the Parasceve. The sixth hour began at midday. Around this time all leavened bread was removed from the houses and replaced by unleavened bread for the paschal meal (cf. Ex 12:15ff), and the lamb was officially sacrificed in the temple. St John notes that this was the time at which Jesus was condemned, thereby underlying the coincidence between the time of the death sentence and the time the lamb was sacrificed: Christ is the new Paschal Lamb; as St Paul says (cf. 1 Cor 5:7), "Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed".

There is some difficulty in reconciling what St John says about the sixth hour, with the information given in Mark 15:25 about Jesus being crucified at the third hour. Various explanations are offered, the best being that Mark is referring to the end of the third hour and John to the beginning of the sixth hour both would then be talking of around midday.

15. The history of the Jewish people helps us understand the tragic paradox of the attitude of the Jewish authorities at this point. The Jews were very conscious all along of being the people of God. For example, they proudly asserted that they had no Father but God (cf. Jn 8:4). In the Old Testament Yahweh is the true King of Israel (cf. Deut 33:5; Num 23:21; 1 Kings 22:19; Is 6:5); when they wanted to copy the neighboring peoples and asked Samuel for a king (cf. I Sam 8:5. 20), Samuel resisted, because Israel had only one absolute sovereign, Yahweh (1 Sam 8:6-9). But eventually God gave in to their request and himself designated who should be king over his people. His first choice, Saul, was given sacred anointing, as were David and his successors. This rite of anointing showed that the Israelite king was God's vicar. When the kings failed to meet the people's expectations, they increasingly yearned for the messianic king, the descendant or "Son" of David, the Anointed "par excellence" or Messiah, who would rule his people, liberate them from their enemies and lead them to rule the world (cf. 2 Sam 7:16; Ps 24:7; 43:5; etc.). For centuries they strove heroically for this ideal, rejecting foreign domination.

During Christ's time also they opposed Rome and Herod, whom, not being a Jew, they regarded as an illegitimate king. However, at this point in the Passion, they hypocritically accept the Roman emperor as their true and only king. They also reject the "easy yoke" of Christ (cf. Mt 11:30) and bring the full weight of Rome down upon him.

"They themselves submitted to the punishment; therefore, the Lord handed them over. Thus, because they unanimously rejected God's government, the Lord let them be brought down through their own condemnation: for, rejecting the dominion of Christ, they brought upon themselves that of Caesar" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St John", 83).

A similar kind of tragedy occurs when people who have been baptized and therefore have become part of the new people of God, throw off the "easy yoke" of Christ's sovereignty by their obstinacy in sin and submit to the terrible tyranny of the devil (cf. 2 Pet 2:21).

17. "The place of a skull" or Calvary seems to have got its name from the fact that it was shaped like a skull or head.

St Paul points to the parallelism that exists between Adam's disobedience and Christ's obedience (cf. Rom 5:12). On the feast of the Triumph of the Cross the Church sings "where life was lost, there life has been restored", to show how,just as the devil won victory by the tree of paradise, so he was overpowered by Christ on the tree of the Cross.

St John is the only evangelist who clearly states that Jesus carried his own cross; the other three mention that Simon of Cyrene helped to carry it. See note on Mt 27:31 and Lk 23:26.

Christ's decisiveness in accepting the cross is an example which we should follow in our daily life: "You yourself must decide of your own free will to take up the cross; otherwise, your tongue may say that you are imitating Christ, but your actions will belie your words. That way, you will never get to know the Master intimately, or love him truly. It is really important that we Christians convince ourselves of this. We are not walking with our Lord unless we are spontaneously depriving ourselves of many things that our whims, vanity, pleasure or self-interest clamor for" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 129).

As Simeon had prophesied, Jesus would be a "sign that is spoken against" (Lk 2:34) - a standard raised on high which leaves no room for indifference, demanding that every man decide for or against him and his cross: "he was going therefore to the place where he was to be crucified, bearing his own Cross. An extraordinary spectacle: to impiety, something to jeer at; to piety a great mystery. [...] Impiety looks on and laughs at a king bearing, instead of a scepter, the wood of his punishment; piety looks on and sees the King bearing that cross for himself to be fixed on, a cross which would thereafter shine on the brow of kings; an object of contempt in the eyes of the impious, but something in which hereafter the hearts of the saints should glorify, as St Paul would later say, But God forbid that I should glory; save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (St Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 117, 3).

18. Knowing what crucifixion in ancient times entailed will help us understand much better the extent of the humiliation and suffering Jesus bore for love of us. Crucifixion was a penalty reserved for slaves, and applied to the most serious crimes; it was the most horrific and painful form of death possible; it was also an exemplary public punishment and therefore was carried out in a public place, with the body of the criminal being left exposed for days afterwards. These words of Cicero show how infamous a punishment it was: "That a Roman citizen should be bound is an abuse; that he be lashed is a crime; that he be put to death is virtually parricide; what, then, shall I say, if he be hung on a cross? There is no word fit to describe a deed so horrible" ("In Verrem", II, 5,66).

A person undergoing crucifixion died after a painful agony involving loss of blood, fever caused by his wounds, thirst, and asphyxiation, etc. Sometimes the executioners hastened death by breaking the person's legs or piercing him with a lance, as in our Lord's case. This helps us understand better what St Paul says to the Philippians about Christ's humiliation on the Cross: "he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant [or slave], being born in the likeness of men... ; he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:7-8).

St John says little about the other two people being crucified, perhaps because the Synoptic Gospels had already spoken about them (see notes on Lk 23:39-43).

19-22. The "title" was the technical term then used in Roman law to indicate the grounds on which the person was being punished. It was usually written on a board prominently displayed, summarizing the official document which was forwarded to the legal archives in Rome. This explains why, when the chief priests ask Pilate to change the wording of the inscription, the procurator firmly refuses to do so: the sentence, once dictated, was irrevocable: that is what he means when he says, "What I have written I have written." In the case of Christ, this title written in different languages proclaims his universal kingship, for it could be read by people from all over the world who had come to celebrate the Passover - thus confirming our Lord's words: "I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world" (Jn 18:37).

In establishing the feast of Christ the King, Pope Pius XI explained: "He is said to reign 'in the minds of men', both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is Truth itself and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the holy will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of our hearts, too, by reason of his 'charity which surpasseth all knowledge', and his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him; for there never was, nor ever will be a man loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ" (Pius XI, "Quas Primas").23-24. And so the prophecy of Psalm 22 is fulfilled which describes accurately the sufferings of the Messiah: "They divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots" (Ps 22:19). The Fathers have seen this seamless tunic a symbol of the unity of the Church (cf. St Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 118,4).

25. Whereas the Apostles, with the exception of St John, abandon Jesus in the hour of his humiliation, these pious women, who had followed him during his public life (cf. Lk 8:2-3) now stay with their Master as he dies on the cross (cf. note on Mt 27:55-56).

Pope John Paul II explains that our Lady's faithfulness was shown in four ways: first, in her generous desire to do all that God wanted of her (cf. Lk 1:34); second, in her total acceptance of God's Will (cf. Lk 1:38); third, in the consistency between her life and the commitment of faith which she made; an finally, in her withstanding this test. "And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole of life can be called faithfulness. Mary's 'fiat' in the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent 'fiat' that she repeats at the foot of the Cross" ("Homily in Mexico Cathedral", 26 January 1979).

The Church has always recognized the dignity of women and their important role in salvation history. It is enough to recall the veneration which from the earliest times the Christian people have had for the Mother of Christ, the Woman "par excellence" and the most sublime and most privileged creature ever to come from the hands of God. Addressing a special message to women, the Second Vatican Council said, among other things: "Women in trial, who stand upright at the foot of the cross like Mary, you who so often in history have given to men the strength to battle unto the very end and to give witness to the point of martyrdom, aid them now still once more to retain courage in their great undertakings, while at the same time maintaining patience and an esteem for humble beginnings" (Vatican II, "Message to Women", 8 December 1965).

26-27. "The spotless purity of John's whole life makes him strong before the Cross. The other apostles fly from Golgotha: he, with the Mother of Christ, remains. Don't forget that purity strengthens and invigorates the character" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 144).

Our Lord's gesture in entrusting his Blessed Mother to the disciple's care, has a dual meaning (see p. 19 above and pp. 35ff). For one thing it expresses his filial love for the Virgin Mary. St Augustine sees it as a lesson Jesus gives us on how to keep the fourth commandment: "Here is a lesson in morals. He is doing what he tells us to do and, like a good Teacher, he instructs his own by example, that it is the duty of good children to take care of their parents; as though the wood on which his dying members were fixed were also the chair of the teaching Master" (St Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 119, 2).

Our Lord's words also declare that Mary is our Mother: "The Blessed Virgin also advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associating herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim who was born of her. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple" (Vatican 11, "Lumen Gentium", 58).

All Christians, who are represented in the person of John, are children of Mary. By giving us his Mother to be our Mother, Christ demonstrates his love for his own to the end (cf. Jn 13:1). Our Lady's acceptance of John as her son shows her motherly care for us: "the Son of God, and your Son, from the Cross indicated a man to you, Mary, and said: 'Behold, your son' (Jn 19:26). And in that man he entrusted to you every person, he entrusted everyone to you. And you, who at the moment of the Annunciation, concentrated the whole program of your life in those simple words: 'Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word' (Lk 1:38): embrace everyone, draw close to everyone, seek everyone out with motherly care. Thus is accomplished what the last Council said about your presence in the mystery of Christ and the Church. In a wonderful way you are always found in the mystery of Christ, your only Son, because you are present wherever men and women, his brothers and sisters, are present, wherever the Church is present" (John Paul II, "Homily in the Basilica of Guadalupe", 27 January 1979).

"John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, brought Mary into his home, into his life. Spiritual writers have seen these words of the Gospel as an invitation to all Christians to bring Mary into their lives. Mary certainly wants us to invoke her, to approach her confidently, to appeal to her as our mother, asking her to 'show that you are our mother"' ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 140).

John Paul II constantly treats our Lady as his Mother. In bidding farewell to the Virgin of Czestochowa he prayed in this way: "Our Lady of the Bright Mountain, Mother of the Church! Once more I consecrate myself to you 'in your maternal slavery of love'. "Totus tuus"! I am all yours! I consecrate to you the whole Church - everywhere and to the ends of the earth! I consecrate to you humanity; I consecrate to you all men and women, my brothers and sisters. All peoples and all nations. I consecrate to you Europe and all the continents. I consecrate to you Rome and Poland, united, through your servant, by a fresh bond of love. Mother, accept us! Mother, do not abandon us! Mother, be our guide!" ("Farewell Address" at Jasna Gora Shrine, 6 June 1979).

28-29. This was foretold in the Old Testament: "They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink" (Ps 69:21). This does not mean that they gave Jesus vinegar to increase his suffering; it was customary to offer victims of crucifixion water mixed with vinegar to relieve their thirst. In addition to the natural dehydration Jesus was suffering, we can see in his thirst an __expression of his burning desire to do his Father's will and to save a souls: "On the Cross he cried out "Sitio"!, 'I thirst'. He thirsts for us, for our love, for our souls and for all the souls we ought to be bringing to him along the way of the Cross, which is the way to immortality and heavenly glory" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 202).

30. Jesus, nailed on the cross, dies to atone for all the sins and vileness of man. Despite his sufferings he dies serenely, majestically, bowing his head now that he has accomplished the mission entrusted to him. "Who can sleep when he wishes to, as Jesus died when he wished to? Who can lay aside his clothing when he wishes to, as he put off the flesh when he chose to?... What must be hope or fear to find his power when he comes in judgment, if it can be seen to be so great at the moment of his death!" (St Augustine, "ln loann. Evang.", 119, 6).

"Let us meditate on our Lord, wounded from head to foot out of love for us. Using a phrase which approaches the truth, although it does not express its full reality, we can repeat the words of an ancient writer: 'The body of Christ is a portrait in pain'. At the first sight of Christ bruised and broken - just a lifeless body taken down from the cross and given to his Mother - at the sight of Jesus destroyed in this way, we might have thought he had failed utterly. Where are the crowds that once followed him, where is the kingdom he foretold? But this is victory, not defeat. We are nearer the resurrection than ever before; we are going to see the glory which he has won with his obedience" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 95).

31-33. Jesus dies on the Preparation day of the Passover - the Parasceve - that is, the eve, when the paschal lambs were officially sacrificed in the Temple. By stressing this, the evangelist implies that Christ's sacrifice took the place of the sacrifices of the Old Law and inaugurated the New Alliance in his blood (cf. Heb 9:12).

The Law of Moses required that the bodies should be taken down before nightfall (Deut 21:22-23); this is why Pilate is asked to have their legs broken, to bring on death and allow them to be buried before it gets dark, particularly since the next day is the feast of the Passover.

On the date of Jesus' death see "The Dates of the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ" in "The Navarre Bible: St Mark" pp. 48ff.

34. The outflow of blood and water has a natural explanation. Probably the water was an accumulation of liquid in the lungs due to Jesus' intense sufferings.

As on other occasions, the historical events narrated in the fourth Gospel are laden with meaning. St Augustine and Christian tradition see the sacrament and the Church itself flowing from Jesus' open side: "Here was opened wide the door of life, from which the sacraments of the Church have flowed out, without which there is no entering in unto life which is true life. [...] Here the second Adam with bowed head slept upon the cross, that thence a wife might be formed of him, flowing from his side while he slept. 0 death, by which the dead come back to life! is there anything purer than this blood, any wound more healing!" (St Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 120, 2).

The Second Vatican Council, for its part, teaches: "The Church - that is, the kingdom of Christ - already present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 3).

"Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for men, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. People, their happiness and their life, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 165).

35. St John's Gospel presents itself as a truthful witness of the events of our Lord's life and of their spiritual and doctrinal significance. From the words of John the Baptist at the outset of Jesus' public ministry (1:19) to the final paragraph of the Gospel (21:24-25), everything forms part of a testimony to the sublime phenomenon of the Word of Life made Man. Here the evangelist explicitly states that he was an eyewitness (cf. also Jn 20:30-31; 1 Jn 1:1-3).

36. This quotation refers to the precept of the Law that no bone of the paschal lamb should be broken (cf. Ex 12:46): again St John's Gospel is telling, us that Jesus is the true paschal Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (cf. Jn 1:29).

37. The account of the Passion concludes with a quotation from Zechariah (12:10) foretelling the salvation resulting from the mysterious suffering and death of a redeemer. The evangelist thereby evokes the salvation wrought by Jesus Christ who, nailed to the cross, has fulfilled God's promise of redemption (cf. Jn 12:32). Everyone who looks upon him with faith receives the effects of his Passion. Thus, the good thief, looking at Christ on the cross, recognized his kingship, placed his trust in him and received the promise of heaven (Cf. Lk 23:42-43).

In the liturgy of Good Friday the Church invites us to contemplate and adore the cross: "Behold the wood of the Cross, on which was nailed the salvation of the world", and from the earliest times of the Church the Crucifix has been the sign reminding Christians of the supreme point of Christ's love, when he died on the Cross and freed us from eternal death.

"Your Crucifix. - As a Christian, you should always carry your Crucifix with you. And place it on your desk. And kiss it before going to bed and when you wake up: and when your poor body rebels against your soul, kiss it again" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 302).

38-39. Our Lord's sacrifice produces its firstfruits: people who were previously afraid now boldly confess themselves disciples of Christ and attend to his dead Body with exquisite refinement and generosity. The evangelist mentions that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus used a mixture of myrrh and aloes in lavish amount. Myrrh is a very expensive aromatic resin, and aloes a juice extracted from the leaves of certain plants. They were used as an __expression of veneration for the dead.

40. The Fourth Gospel adds to the information on the burial given by the Synoptics. Sacred Scripture did not specify what form burial should take, with the result that the Jews followed the custom of the time. After piously taking our Lord's body down from the cross, they probably washed it carefully (cf. Acts 9:37), perfumed it and wrapped it in a linen cloth, covering the head with a sudarium or napkin (cf. Jn 20:5-6). But because of the imminence of the sabbath rest, they were unable to anoint the body with balsam, which the women planned to do once the sabbath was past (cf. Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1). Jesus himself, when he praised Mary for anointing him at Bethany, had foretold in a veiled way that his body would not be embalmed (cf. note on Jn 12:7).

41. Many of the Fathers have probed the mystic meaning of the garden - usually to point out that Christ, who was arrested in the Garden of Olives and buried in another garden, has redeemed us superabundantly from that first sin which was committed also in a garden, the Garden of Paradise They comment that Jesus' being the only one to be buried in this new tomb meant that there would be no doubt that it was he and not another that rose from the dead. St Augustine also observes that "just as in the womb of the Virgin Mary none was conceived before him, none after him, so in this tomb none before him, none after was buried" ("In Ioann. Evang.". 120, 5).

Among the truths of Christian doctrine to do with Christ's death and burial are these: "one, that the body of Christ was in no degree corrupted in the sepulchre, according to the prediction of the Prophet, 'Thou wilt not give thy holy one to see corruption' (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:31); the other... that burial, passion and death apply to Christ Jesus not as God but as man, yet they are also attributed to God, since, as is clear, they are predicated with propriety of that Person who is at once perfect God and perfect man" ("St Pius V Catechism", I 5, 9).
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, March 24, 2005

Thomas More Law Center Reaffirms Governor’s Authority Under State Criminal Laws... Prevent Death of Terri Schiavo – Legal Memo Provided to Governor 17 Months Ago
ANN ARBOR, MI — Former prosecutor of Jack Kevorkian, Richard Thompson, reaffirmed Thursday morning the authority of Florida Governor Jeb Bush to utilize state criminal laws to prevent the death of Terri Schiavo. Pointing to two legal memos prepared by the Thomas More Law Center which were delivered to Governor Bush in October of 2003, Thompson again urged Bush to launch a formal criminal investigation into the facts surrounding the disability of Schiavo.

The two letters dated October 15th and 16th point to the constitutional authority of Governor Bush to order the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate violations of criminal laws. The letters cite a number of facts suggesting Terri Schiavo is a victim of domestic abuse and neglect, and may be a victim of domestic violence. Furthermore, the letters point out that officials from the Florida Department of Children and Family Services have the authority to enter the premises where Schiavo is currently being held and remove her if they believe that medical care is necessary to avert a likely risk of death or serious injury.

The October 15 letter concludes that a growing number of facts establish probable cause to “conduct a full criminal investigation of the circumstances surrounding the disability of Ms. Schiavo. To date, the facts of this case have not yet been viewed through the lens of a criminal investigation. Shamefully, the government’s investigatory resources have not been brought to bear on discovering the truth in this case.”

Speaking Thursday, Thompson once again urged Governor Bush to launch a formal criminal investigation and remove Terri Schiavo from the custody of her current guardian. He further indicated that the consent of Schiavo’s guardian is not necessary to obtain custody of Terri. Thompson also offered the assistance of attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center to assist the Governors staff if needed.

The two legal opinions were prepared and delivered to Governor Bush in October of 2003, after Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed. Bush through his aides requested the legal counsel at the time, but instead chose to work with the Florida legislature to pass emergency legislation to prevent the death of Schiavo.

The memos can be viewed here. (PDF File) These are MUST READ memos. Governor Bush has the authority and the obligation to act to save this woman!

The is a moral obligation to provide nourishment to Terri Schiavo & others

LAST YEAR at this time, the Holy Father spoke out about this issue which has unfolded before us in a gruesome way this past week.
On March 20, speaking to participants in an international congress on the “vegetative” state, Pope John Paul II profoundly changed the worldwide debate on how to respond to this condition. He issued the first clear and explicit papal statement on the obligation to provide food and water for patients in a “persistent vegetative state” (PVS).

With the Pope’s statement, the Church’s teaching authority has rejected each aspect of the theory that opposes assisted feeding for patients in a PVS. The Pope’s speech marks a new chapter in the Catholic contribution to efforts against euthanasia by omission

For many years, and through many battles in courts and legislatures, pro-life groups have tried to ensure that these patients receive the food and fluids they need to survive. (Patients in the “vegetative” state have sleep/wake cycles and so are not comatose, but by definition they show no sign that they are aware of themselves or their surroundings.)

Leading the other side of the debate, of course, have been “right-to-die” groups who see such patients as better off dead (or sometimes see their families as better off if the patients are dead). Bioethicist Daniel Callahan warned in the Hastings Center Report in October 1983 that many of his colleagues favored broad policies for withdrawing feeding tubes not because of special burdens involved in such feeding, but because “a denial of nutrition may in the long run become the only effective way to make certain that a large number of biologically tenacious patients actually die.”

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous rejection of a constitutional “right” to assisted suicide in 1997, and the refusal of any state except Oregon to legalize that practice, the euthanasia debate has focused even more squarely on the removal of food and fluids.
More here.

Schiavo Case: "Another Station in Her Calvary"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2005 ( The rejection by a U.S. appeals court to give food and water to Terri Schiavo is "another painful station in her calvary," says L'Osservatore Romano.

In a front-page article, today's Italian edition of the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper commented on the decision of Schiavo's parents to appeal to federal courts to save their daughter's life.

"Unfortunately, until now, in her painful journey Terri seems to have come across executioners -- from the one who decided for the first time to let her die, to the judges who have now signed her sentence," stated the newspaper article.

"And this, despite the opinion of most of American society and the intervention of President George W. Bush himself, who expressed his regret over the judge's decision," added the newspaper. "Meanwhile, unaware of the media noise caused by her case, Terri is dying in silence."

Cardinal Ratzinger's Meditations for Way of the Cross

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2005 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the meditations and prayers that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger prepared for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum this Good Friday.
Available here

An Hour of Prayer for Terri Schiavo Tomorrow 3:00pm

A Email Notice just in:
At 3pm on Friday (tomorrow) there will be an hour of prayer for Terri Schiavo at the Clayton Courthouse.

We just want to give a PEACEFUL hour of prayer for the recognition of the dignity of poor woman's life.

This case carries enormous implications and could be this generations Roe v. Wade.

I think it's important for people to see that others care. We have contacted radio and TV and STL Archdiocese has agreed to send out an email. Please feel free to bring signs that support Terri Schiavo.

Keyes: 'Jeb Bush has the authority' to save Terri

Decries judicial arrogance in appearance on Hannity Show
March 24, 2005
RenewAmerica staff

On Wednesday, Mar. 23, Alan Keyes told Sean Hannity that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is authorized by the Florida and national constitutions to intervene and spare brain-damaged Terri Schiavo from starvation.

"The governor at any point has the right to intervene," said Keyes. "And if he fails to act, he is failing to do his duty."

Unfortunately, Keyes noted, the courts have argued for years that "they are, in a sense, the makers of the law, and above the law, and that once they speak, nobody gets to do anything. That's not true."

"I think the arrogance of the courts has become pretty normal now, and the main reason is because we've allowed certain powers, including the power of judicial review, to go unchecked."

Keyes continued, "I mean, we are dealing with a branch of government that feels that there is no force in the government, whether at the state or the federal level, that can control them."

"This is wrong," Keyes said, "and is destroying the integrity of our system of constitutional self-government."

Alluding to the Terri Schiavo case, Keyes asked:

"If the executive looks at an action by the judiciary, compares it to the requirements of the Florida constitution in this case, and finds the judiciary wanting, is the executive obliged by his oath to accept that and allow the Constitution to be harmed? Or is he obliged by his oath to defend and protect the integrity of the Constitution? I think the answer is clear."

Keyes stressed that "one of the reasons, under the American system, we give executive power to a single executive--rather than to a deliberative body, or a plural executive, or some judicial-type executive (which had existed in the past)--is so that the executive can act expeditiously, and that long delay will not result in permanent and irreversible damage to the citizens or the Constitution."

He urged Gov. Bush to act quickly to save Terri.

Five Briefs Say Gov. Bush Has the Legal Authority to Save Terri Schiavo

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Schiavo Case

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order Terri Schiavo's (search) feeding tube reinserted, leaving the severely brain-damaged woman's family with few legal options for keeping their daughter alive.

After being dealt a pair of blows in their effort to keep Schiavo alive, Bob and Mary Schindler (search) had argued in the 40-page emergency filing with the high court that their 41-year-old daughter faces an unjust and imminent death based on a decision by her husband to remove a feeding tube without strong proof of her consent. They allege constitutional violations of due process and religious freedom.
Fox News

The time has come for Governor Bush exercise his executive poweres and send in the DCF to rescue Terri Schiavo from this murder imposed by judicial tyranny!

A New Blog & An Interesting Take on Parish Closings

Mr. Thomas Szyszkiewicz has joined the world of "blogdom" with his new blog, "Epiphany".

From his profile (which says it better than I can):
Mr. Szyszkiewicz has been in the Catholic press since 1985, starting at what was then the Catholic Bulletin (it’s now The Catholic Spirit) in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (for an entire six months). But the journalism bug had bit and wouldn’t let go, so he started freelance writing in the National Catholic Register in 1990. Besides the Register, his articles been published in Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, Catholic World Report, Columbia and This Rock, and ghost written in New Covenant and Be. He also served for four years as editor of what was the Times Review in the Diocese of La Crosse and is now The Catholic Times. He's a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville (1984) with a B.A. in Theology.
Don't pass up his writings.

His latest, titled "Flight or fight?", deals with parish closings.

Archbishop Gregory Ignores Rubrics For Holy Thursday Rite

ATLANTA - Archbishop Wilton Gregory says he will allow women to participate in a traditional foot-washing ceremony, reversing a ban his predecessor issued last year.

Gregory himself planned to take part in a Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony that involves boys and girls Thursday evening at Atlanta's Cathedral of Christ the King.

Gregory's predecessor, Archbishop John F. Donoghue, prompted criticism last year when he told area priests to exclude women from the ritual.

"I believe the focus of the Easter triduum should be the Eucharist, Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, not a specific optional rite of Holy Thursday," Gregory said of his decision.
A fine example he sets.....especially considering the posts on "obedience"...Encourage and promote dissent - that's a quality we all look for in our bishops...


More "Catholics" Embrace Schism

In Boston, married "priests" to fill Catholics' Easter void
In a challenge to the authority of Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, former parishioners of closed Catholic churches in Natick and Quincy have asked married priests to celebrate Easter Sunday Masses for them.

The Masses are scheduled to take place in non-Catholic settings -- one in a Protestant church and one in a city park -- and will be said by priests who have been suspended by the church because they married despite promises of celibacy.
So rather than go to Easter Mass at a Catholic parish, they choose a Protestant church or a park, with a "priest" without faculties? Maybe it'll rain Sunday?

But then, what is going on in Boston isn't much different that what is going on here with the defiant group at St. Stanislaus.
"'s definitely another step toward the schism that a lot of people have been fearing," said the Rev. William A. Clark, who has been following the parish closings as an assistant professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross. "They're not giving up on their faith, but on the leadership, and that has big implications ecclesiologically. It's the way the Protestant Reformation began."
Do you hear the chant in the background???? "We are a highly educated group of people...We're intelligent enough to make those decisions...We are following our consciences"...and on, and on, and on.....the same lamentable droning.

The one thing we do not hear, though, is an admission of pride. All of this dissension stems from pride - a profound lack of the virtue of humility. And without humility, there can not be obedience.

As we should understand from in Tuesday's Gospel commentary, if we are to follow Christ, we must also follow His example of obedience. is glorification of the Father, because Christ, by voluntarily accepting death out of love, as a supreme act of obedience to the Will of God, performs the greatest sacrifice man can offer for the glorification of God.
And we can see, especially in today's Gospel, just how we are to model our lives after our Lord in a spirit of humility:
Aware that He is the Son of God, Jesus voluntarily humbles Himself to the point of performing a service appropriate to household servants.

In this scene (the washing of the Apostles' feet), He teaches us the same thing, through specific example, thereby exhorting us to serve each other in all humility and simplicity (cf. Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:3)

"I have given you an example of humility. I have become a slave, so that you too may learn to serve all men with a meek and humble heart" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 103).
Jesus, the God-Man, humbled Himself in such a profound way, that He, being God, was obedient, not only to the Father but also to His human parents - what a marvelous example that should be for us.

The Boston article is here