Friday, May 20, 2005

Corpus Christi Processions in the St. Louis Archdiocese

The feast of Corpus Christi will be celebrated on Sunday, May 29, with processions at several parishes in the archdiocese as well as at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Archbishop Raymond Burke will be the principal celebrant and homilist of a Mass at 5 p.m. at the cathedral basilica, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue, and will lead a procession around the block following Mass.

Along the route, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be celebrated at three outdoor altars. The first will be at the archbishop’s residence, on the southwest corner of Lindell Boulevard and Taylor Avenue. The second will be at the cathedral convent, 4440 Maryland Ave., adjacent to the cathedral school. The third will be on the grounds of Cathedral Tower, 325 N. Newstead Ave., one block north of the cathedral basilica. Benediction will be celebrated a fourth time when the procession returns to the cathedral basilica.

The St. Charles Deanery will join in the Corpus Christi celebration with a procession at 6 p.m. May 29 at three sites in St. Charles. The first Benediction will take place at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 601 N. Fourth St. The second will follow at the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, 619 N. Second St. The third will be held at St. Peter Church, 324 S. Third St. Refreshments will be served afterward at St. Peter Parish Center.

Shuttle buses will run between St. Peter and St. Charles Borromeo. For more information, call (636) 946-6370.

Other Corpus Christi processions on Sunday, May 29 are:

St. Agatha Parish, 3239 S. Ninth St., following 10 a.m. Mass, call (314) 772-1603.

St. Ambrose Parish, 5130 Wilson Ave., gather at 6 p.m., procession begins at 6:30 p.m. Call (314) 771-1228.

St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 3140 Meramec St., at the 9 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 353-7470.

St. Clement of Rome Parish, 1510 Bopp Road in Des Peres, after 11 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 965-0709.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 4556 Telegraph Road in Oakville, after 7 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 487-5736.

St. John the Baptist Parish, 4200 Delor St. in South St. Louis, after 10 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 353-1255.

St. Maurus in Biehle, after 9:30 a.m. Mass. Call (573) 788-2330.

St. Sebastian Parish, 9950 Glen Owen Drive in North County, after 10 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 868-0730.

The Legionaries of Christ: Fr. Maciel's Trial Draws Nearer

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has begun a preliminary investigation and has interviewed dozens of new witnesses – who have filled pages with new accusations

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, May 20, 2005 – Last April 2, just as John Paul II was dying in Rome, in New York the promoter of justice for the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Charles J. Scicluna, from Malta, was interviewing Paul Lennon, the former headmaster of a "School of Faith" run by the Legionaries of Christ. Mr. Lennon, who is Irish, is now a psychotherapist in Alexandria, Virginia, and a witness against one of the most revered and powerful men of the Catholic Church worldwide: Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, 85, from Mexico, the founder of the Legionaries and the apple of pope Karol Wojtyla's eye.

We should pray that the truth will prevail.

Archbishop Burke: The dignity of the celebration of the Mass

Archbishop Burke's column this week touches upon many aspects of the celbration of the Holy Mass. He states that "The attitude and disposition of Christ at the Last Supper is best understood by recalling the account of the Anointing at Bethany." The explanation of this event in our Lord's life helps us to understand more clearly the reasons why we should do all we can to ensure that the church in which Mass will be celebrated is properly prepared.

He goes on to explain that St. Francis of Assisi shared this same attitude:
In his instructions, while requiring the strictest simplicity of life for himself and his friars, he urged that nothing should be spared in what is employed for the House of God and for the celebration of the Holy Mass and other Sacraments.
Archbishop Burke continues to teach us in the remaining paragraphs by explaining:
the Liturgical faith of our ancestors;
that the "Sacred banquet" is not merely a meal, but a sacred, sacrificial banquet;
liturgical law and its necessity;
the subject of "Inculturation";
and the responsibility of priests who act in the person of Christ.

Another great article.

On a lighter local note: Anheuser-Busch Taps JibJab for Web Commercials

JibJab will roll out humorous spin to Budweiser brand online

The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

"The Lord thy God shalt thou worship and him only shalt thou serve." (St. Matthew, 4:10)

Some years back, the Newman Club of a midwestern state college was holding its regular discussion in the Student Union building. The topic was the Blessed Sacrament. After the chaplain had briefly explained the Catholic teaching, one of the non-Catholics present politely but firmly raised the objection: "Father, the Catholic teaching has no basis or parallel in science, has it? As far as we know, substance always remains the same. In other words, bread always remains bread, and wine always remains wine. They can't be changed into something different."

"Did you ever study chemistry?" the priest asked. ­

"I made a stab at it," admitted the student.

"Well," Father went on, "even if you never studied chemistry, you know that the food and drink you take is changed into flesh and bone and blood. Does the bread you eat and the wine you drink stay the same? Not at all. They are changed-into flesh and blood. That change is worked through your body which God created. If God can work a change indirectly through your body, He can work the same change directly and without any human means. He is all-powerful. God works such a change at the consecration of the Mass."

The student admitted that he had never thought of that.

Keep that comparison in mind as we consider the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of the true Body and Blood of Christ, together with His Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. Eucharist means thanksgiving. In giving us the Eucharist Christ gave fitting thanks to His heavenly Father. By celebrating the Eucharist we also give fit thanks to God for all His benefits. It is called "Holy" because it contains the very Author of holiness, and because it makes us holy.

The Eucharist has the three things needed for a sacrament: An outward sign, inward grace, and institution by Christ.

In the Blessed Sacrament we see, feel and taste bread and wine, the outward sign, the matter, the "stuff," as it were, from which the sacrament is made. Note how fitting:
1. Bread is a universal food; wine, a universal drink. They nourish the body. Holy Eucharist feeds the soul.

2. Bread and wine are changed into our flesh and blood. Communion changes us into the likeness of Christ.

3. Bread and wine express love, a union of hearts. Bread comes from the union of many grains of wheat. Wine is made from the union of many drops of the juice of the grape.

4. To make bread one must grind the grains of wheat. To make wine one must crush the grapes. What an apt figure of the passion when Jesus was ground and crushed for us.

5. The form of this sacrament are the words: This is My body; This is My blood.

The second mark of a sacrament is grace. In the Eucharist bread is changed into the flesh of the very Author of grace, the flesh that was formed in the pure womb of Mary, the flesh that healed all who touched it, the flesh that was crushed in the passion, the flesh that hung on the cruel cross, the flesh now gloriously reigning in heaven.

In the Eucharist wine is changed into the blood of Christ, the blood that is one with His sacred body, the blood that was taken from the virginal veins of His mother, the blood poured out for us in the passion, the blood that is all-powerful, one drop of which will wash away all the sins of the world.

In the Eucharist we also have the soul of the Son of God, the soul that lived on this earth, the soul now glorious in heaven, the soul, beautiful and perfect, that went out to the sick and suffering, that ached with the thoughtlessness of men, that was wrung with grief in the agony, the soul that rejoiced the redeemed in Limbo, the soul that rose victoriously.

Here in the Eucharist God is present, the God who worked miracles, the God who suffered and died for us, the God who rose for us, the God who reigns in heaven and here upon His altar throne.

Only a God could have thought of coming to us and staying with us under the appearances of bread and wine, multiplying His presence all over the earth for all time. Think of it - flour and water and the juice of the grape are the means God uses to stay with us and come to us.

In the fourth cahpter of St. Matthew's gospel, we see the devil tempting our Lord to turn stones into bread. With a mere wish Jesus could have done that. He was God. As God, He could change bread and wine into His body and blood. And He did.

The devil tempted Christ to throw Himself down from the top of the temple. Would not the angels hold him up? Instead, Jesus chose to throw Himself upon the care and love of His people in every place where the Eucharist is kept.

All the kingdoms and glory of the world were offered to Christ, if He would fall down and adore the evil one. Jesus refused, knowing that kings and kingdoms, peoples and nations would fall down in real adoration of Him in the world-wide love of the Eucharist.

Yes, Christ we will worship, Christ we will serve, Christ we will love in the adorable, loving sacrament of His presence right here on earth in our tabernacles and upon our altars.

Adapted from Prayer, Precepts, and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1949

Gospel for Friday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 10:1-12

The Indissolubility of Marriage

[1] And He (Jesus) left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to Him again; and again, as His custom was, He taught them.
[2] And Pharisees came up and in order to test Him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" [3] He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" [4] They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away." [5] But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment. [6] But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.'; [7] `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, [8] and the two shall become one.' So they are no longer two but one. [9] What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

[10] And in the house the disciples asked Him about this matter. [11] And He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12] and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

1-12. This kind of scene occurs often in the Gospel. The malice of the Pharisees contrasts with the simplicity of the crowd, who listen attentively to Jesus' teaching. The Pharisees' question aimed at tricking Jesus into going against the Law of Moses. But Jesus Christ, Messiah and Son of God, has perfect understanding of that Law. Moses had permitted divorce because of the hardness of that ancient people: women had an ignominious position in those primitive tribes (they were regarded almost as animals or slaves); Moses, therefore, protected women's dignity against these abuses by devising the certificate of divorce; this was a real social advance. It was a document by which the husband repudiated his wife and she obtained freedom. Jesus restores to its original purity the dignity of man and woman in marriage, as instituted by God at the beginning of creation. "A man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24): in this way God established from the very beginning the unity and indissolubility of marriage. The Church's Magisterium, the only authorized interpreter of the Gospel and of the natural law, has constantly guarded and defended this teaching and has proclaimed it solemnly in countless documents (Council of Florence, "Pro Armeniis"; Council of Trent, "De Sacram. Matr."; Pius XI, "Casti Connubi"; Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 48; etc.).

Here is a good summary of this doctrine: "The indissolubility of marriage is not a caprice of the Church nor is it merely a positive ecclesiastical law. It is a precept of natural law, of divine law, and responds perfectly to our nature and to the supernatural order of grace" (St J. Escriva, "Conversations", 97). Cf. note on Matthew 5:31-32.

5-9. When a Christian realizes that this teaching applies to everyone at all times, he should not be afraid of people reacting against it: "It is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly [...] the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage. To all those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and to those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity, it is necessary to reaffirm the good news of the definitive nature of that conjugal love that has in Christ its foundation and strength (cf. Ephesians 5:25).

"Being rooted in the personal and total self-giving of the couple, and being required by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in His revelation: He wills and He communicates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church.

"Christ renews the first plan that the Creator inscribed in the hearts of man and woman, and in the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony offers `a new heart': thus the couples are not only able to overcome `hardness of heart' (Matthew 19:8), but also and above all they are able to share the full and definitive love of Christ, the new and eternal Covenant made flesh. Just as the Lord Jesus is the `faithful witness' (Revelation 3:14), the `yes' of the promises of God (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20) and thus the supreme realization of the unconditional faithfulness with which God loves His people, so Christian couples are called to participate truly in the irrevocable indissolubility that binds Christ to the Church, His bride, loved by Him to the end (cf. John 13:1).

"To bear witness to the inestimable value of the indissolubility and fidelity of marriage is one of the most precious and most urgent tasks of Christian couples in our time" (John Paul II, "Familiaris Consortio", 20).
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, May 19, 2005

Former Local Priest, James Beine, Laicized by the Holy See

Former school counselor and Roman Catholic priest James Beine has been defrocked by the Vatican, the St. Louis Archdiocese announced Thursday.

James Beine’s name was on a list of just under 12 priests submitted to the Vatican in October of 2003, Archdiocesan spokesman Jamie Allman said by telephone Thursday.

After then-Cardinal John J. Carberry revoked his priestly faculties in 1977, Beine started his own church.

The Vatican laicized Beine March 29, Allman said, but the death of Pope John Paul II and the selection of a new pope delayed notification of the Archdiocese until Tuesday.

Archbishop Chaput to attend prayer event

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput will share a speaker's platform Friday with President Bush at the second National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

The breakfast is modeled on the National Prayer Breakfast, an evangelical Protestant event that's been held since the 1970s and is often attended by presidents and other elected officials.

Friday's breakfast will be preceded by a Mass celebrated by Denver's former auxiliary bishop, now San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez.

Pope Makes Bishop of Priest Who Said He’d Deny Communion to Pro-Abortion Politicians

SPRINGFIELD, May 18, 2005 ( - A Chicago-area priest, Monsignor Kevin Vann, who made headlines during the US federal election by saying he would deny John Kerry and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians Holy Communion, has been appointed the coadjutor bishop of Fort Worth Texas.

Msgr. Vann was also among those priests quoted in the Chicago papers praising the election of the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. As coadjutor, Msgr. Vann will replace the current bishop, Joseph Patrick Delaney who has been bishop of Fort Worth since 1981 and is due to retire in less than four years.
More at LifeSiteNews.

Austrian bishop resigns after liturgical-abuse complaints

Perhaps this may indicate a trend for those who are fast and furious with the Sacred Liturgy?
Vatican, May. 18 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has accepted the resignation of an Austrian bishop whose diocese was at the center of complaints about widespread liturgical abuse.

The Vatican announced on May 18 that Bishop Maximilian Aichern had resigned from the Linz diocese, which he had headed since 1982. At 72, the bishop was well short of the mandatory retirement age of 75. The Vatican announcement indicated that his resignation had been accepted under Canon 401/2 of the Code of Canon Law, which refers to "illness or other grave reason" for a bishop's resignation.

Earlier this year, an investigation by a German-language Catholic news agency,, had uncovered serious liturgical abuses in the Linz diocese, with women being encouraged to wear liturgical vestments and lead ceremonies, and prayers offered to "the good shepherdess." Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news) told that he was aware of the complaints about abuses, and his Congregation for Divine Worship was "doing what it can to help remove them."

Another story which referred to Bishop Aichern dealt with a "women's ordination" spectacle a couple of years ago:
Women’s “ordination” to go ahead. According to about ten Roman Catholic women in Austria seeking ordination, “several” Roman Catholic bishops have now offered to assist. They will be ordained within the year, they say, even if some of the bishops withdraw their offer, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt from Vienna.
Most Austrian bishops have pointed out that the women’s ordination would be invalid and that they would be excommunicated. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has advised Catholic women who cannot accept the Roman Catholic interpretation of the priestly office to switch to the Lutheran Church. Bishop Maximilian Aichern of Linz, from whose diocese most of the women come, said that while they could not receive the sacrament of ordination in the Catholic Church, the world conference of Catholic theologians was discussing the possibility of giving women a “temporary assignment” to act as priests.

Gospel for Thursday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:41-50


[41] "For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose his reward.

[42] "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. [43] And if your hand causes you to sin cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. [45] And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. [47] And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, [48] where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. [49] For every one will be salted with fire. [50] Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

41. The value and merit of good works lies mainly in the love of God with which they are done: "A little act, done for love, is worth so much" (J. Escriva, "The Way", 814). God regards in a special way acts of service to others, however small: "Do you see that glass of water or that piece of bread which a holy soul gives to a poor person for God's sake; it is a small matter, God knows, and in human judgment hardly worthy of consideration: God, notwithstanding, recompenses it, and forthwith gives for it some increase of charity" (St Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", book 2, chap. 2).

42. "Scandal is anything said, done or omitted which leads another to commit sin" ("St Pius X Catechism", 417). Scandal is called, and is, diabolical when the aim of the scandal-giver is to provoke his neighbor to sin, understanding sin as offense against God. Since sin is the greatest of all evils, it is easy to understand why scandal is so serious and, therefore, why Christ condemns it so roundly. Causing scandal to children is especially serious, because they are so less able to defend themselves against evil. What Christ says applies to everyone, but especially to parents and teachers, who are responsible before God for the souls of the young.

43. "Hell", literally "Gehenna" or "Ge-hinnom", was a little valley south of Jerusalem, outside the walls and below the city. For centuries it was used as the city dump. Usually garbage was burned to avoid it being a focus of infection. Gehenna was, proverbially, an unclean and unhealthy place: our Lord used this to explain in a graphic way the unquenchable fire of hell.

43-48. After teaching the obligation everyone has to avoid giving scandal to others, Jesus now gives the basis of Christian moral teaching on the subject of "occasions of sin"--situations liable to lead to sin. He is very explicit: a person is obliged to avoid proximate occasions of sin, just as he is obliged to avoid sin itself; as God already put it in the Old Testament: "Whoever lives in dangerwill perish by it" (Sir 3:26-27). The eternal good of our soul is more important than any temporal good. Therefore, anything that places us in proximate danger of committing sin should be cut off and thrown away. By putting things in this way our Lord makes sure we recognize the seriousness of this obligation.

The Fathers see, in these references to hands and eyes and so forth, people who are persistent in evil and ever-ready to entice others to evil behavior and erroneous beliefs. These are the people we should distance ourselves from, so as to enter life, rather than accompany them to hell (St Augustine, "De Consensu Evangelistarum", IV, 16; St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St Matthew", 60).

44. "Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched": these words constituting v. 44 are not in the better manuscripts. They are taken from Isaiah 66:24 and are repeated as a kind of refrain in vv. 46 (omitted for the same reason as v. 44) and 48. Our Lord uses them to refer to the torments of hell. Often "the worm that does not die" is explained as the eternal remorse felt by those in hell; and the "fire which is not quenched," as their physical pain. The Fathers also say that both things may possibly refer to physical torments. In any case, the punishment in question is terrible and unending.

49-50. "Every one will be salted with fire." St Bede comments on these words: "Everyone will be salted with fire, says Jesus, because spiritual wisdom must purify all the elect of any kind of corruption through carnal desire. Or he may be speaking of the fire of tribulation, which exercises the patience of the faithful to enable them to reach perfection" (St Bede, "In Marci Evangelium expositio, in loc.").

Some codexes add: "and every sacrifice will be salted with salt". This phrase in Leviticus (2:12), prescribed that all sacrificial offerings should be seasoned with salt to prevent corruption. This prescription of the Old Testament is used here to teach Christians to offer themselves as pleasing victims, impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel, symbolized by salt. Our Lord's address, which arises out of a dispute over who is the greatest, ends with a lesson about fraternal peace and charity. On salt which has lost its taste cf. note on Mt 5:13.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pro-Abortion Congressman Barred from Speaking at College Graduation

WASHINGTON -- Catholic Church officials were set to bar Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican who supports abortion rights, from speaking at a Utica nursing college commencement ceremony, officials said Tuesday.

Boehlert, a Catholic, voluntarily canceled his planned speech to the 70 graduates of St. Elizabeth's College of Nursing, saying he did not want to draw attention away from the students' celebration.

College president Marianne Monahan said Tuesday that while the cancellation was the congressman's idea, she also been told by the office of Bishop James M. Moynihan that the bishop opposed Boehlert's appearance.

More Town Talk

Impeach the archbishop?

CAN AN ARCHBISHOP be impeached? If so, there is one who is abusing his power big time and overstepping his bounds. He is not God; far from it. More pain is now being inflicted on parishioners who cannot drive anymore or are ill. He wants them to stand on the corners of former churches for a bus to take them to another church which they really do not want to go. It's not only dangerous but stupid, not to mention the weather. They will have to leave their homes earlier, etc. How much more pain will Burke cause us? We know what he needs the money for, but we need our own church. Take care of us first. There is still time, Burke, to find another way to pay for your wayward priests. We Catholics sacrificed enough. Keep St. Boniface open, give us back our dignity and our pride.
It sounds to me that this person has far too much pride already and does not need any more. And he has a flawed understanding of dignity. Perhaps he should petition the archdiocese to provide special transportation services for all parishioners to go to and from Mass? God forbid that someone has to get up a few minutes earlier on a Sunday morning. Far too many Catholics today have sacrificed nothing - except perhaps their own souls. Going a few extra blocks is a torment? One should be thankful that he even has a place to worship.

One would think the Post would be hesitant to print things of this nature, particularly when it seems to come from someone who is unable to reconcile himself to the realities of life, who hurls accusations and innuendo without supporting facts, and whose mental state seems to be in question.

Then again, this is the Post Dispatch, should we really expect anything more?

Town Talk

No sanctions for Minneapolis church that ignored archbishop

A church that granted Holy Communion to members wearing rainbow sashes on Pentecost Sunday will not be reprimanded by Archbishop Harry Flynn, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said.

Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath said he had asked the archbishop if there would be repercussions for churches that granted communion to sash-wearing congregants. Flynn's reply was no, McGrath said.
It's as if there is no longer any need to be obedient to anyone except, of course, to one's own conscience, regardless of how malformed it may be. The priest of the parish, by ignoring and disobeying the bishop, encourages others to do the same. What an example he sets for the faithful - and what a poor example Archbishop Flynn gives by failing to admonish those involved.

President's Council Reports On Alternatives to Embryo Destructive Research

Today we report on a white paper from the President's Council on Bioethics that explores alternatives to stem cell research that would not require killing human embryos. The proposals are not all perfect and there is still much research to be done but we are encouraged to see this astute group of scientists, ethicists and legal scholars embrace the idea that scientific research and ethical responsibility can and should go hand in hand.

Spread the word.
Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse

Action Item: Read the report at the Council's website:

May 17, 2005
Volume 2, Number 41

President's Council Reports On Alternatives to Embryo Destructive Research

The President's Council on Bioethics recently released a report that called for the exploration of alternatives to destroying human embryos for stem cells. The report outlines four possible means for obtaining embryonic-like stem cells that the authors say have the potential to be "morally uncontroversial." The report coincides with the release of a US Conference of Catholic Bishops poll that reveals that by a margin of 40 percentage points most Americans prefer that tax-dollars be spent on adult stem cells and other alternatives to embryo destructive research.

The Council's report suggests four ways for obtaining pluripotent cells, cells which are similar to embryonic stem cells, which do not require the willful destruction of human embryos. The report then examines each method to see if it is ethical, scientifically feasible and realistic to adopt from the perspective public policy and scientific research.

The first proposal calls on stem cells to be "derived from early IVF embryos . . . that have spontaneously died . . ." The report stresses that such an approach would require that "only those once-frozen embryos that are thawed and that die spontaneously during efforts to produce a child will be eligible for post mortem cell extraction." The report says that such a method would be acceptable for the same reasons that it acceptable for a fully developed human to donate his or her organs after death. The greatest ethical challenge to this proposal, according to the report, would be finding a way to make sure the embryo is really dead.

The second proposal says pluripotent stem cells could be obtained from a 6 to 8 cell embryo through a biopsy that would not harm the embryo. Both the feasibility and ethics of this method are highly questionable. It is unknown if the procedure can be undertaken without really harming the embryo and the long-term effect the procedure could have on humans that are born from such embryos is unknown. In a personal statement contained in the report's appendix by Council member and Culture of Life Foundation board member Robert George, this proposal is called the least promising of all four. "I do not hold out hope of obtaining pluripotent stem cells harmlessly via blastomere extraction from living human embryos," George says.

The third method is based on Dr. William Hurlbut's proposal in which stem cells would be obtained from a "biological artifact" that would be similar to an embryo but would not be human. This approach has been widely discussed but many are still unsure if the "biological artifact" would not in fact simply be a deformed human embryo.

The final method proposes reprogramming adult cells in such a way that restores to them the properties of a stem cell. There are no ethical objections to this proposal but it faces difficult technical obstacles that would require "new scientific advances and new technological innovation."

While the proposals are encouraging because they demonstrate that scientific advances may be used to develop morally acceptable approaches to stem cell research, George cautions against unrealistic expectation in the entire field of stem cell treatment. "[T]he effort in which I am happy to join to find morally legitimate means of obtaining embryonic or embryonic-type stem cells should not be interpreted as indicating any acceptance of the hyping of the therapeutic promise of embryonic stem cell research that has marred the debate over the past four years. This promotion of exaggerated expectations dishonors science and shames those responsible for it by cruelly elevating the hopes of suffering people and members of their families. It should be condemned."

Copyright 2005---Culture of Life Foundation.
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Culture of Life Foundation
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500 Fax: (202) 289-2502

Seminarians Double In 25 Years

VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2005 ( Although the Church counts on a decreasing number of clergy worldwide, the number of seminarians has almost doubled, reveals the latest edition of Church statistics.

The "Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2003" reported an increase from 64,000 in 1978, to more than 112,000 in 2001-2003, according to L'Osservatore Romano.

Gospel for Wednesday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:38-40

Being the Servant of All

[38] John said to Him (Jesus), "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us." [39] But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon after to speak evil of Me. [40] For he that is not against us is for us."

38-40. Our Lord warns the Apostles, and through them all Christians, against exclusivism in the apostolate--the notion that "good is not good unless I am the one who does it." We must assimilate this teaching of Christ's: good is good, even if it is not I who do it. Cf. note on Luke 9:49-50.

[The note on Luke 9:49-50 states:
49-50. Our Lord corrects the exclusivist and intolerant attitude of the Apostles. St Paul later learned this lesson, as we can see from what he wrote during his imprisonment in Rome: "Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will [...]. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice" (Philippians 1:15, 18). "Rejoice, when you see others working in good apostolic activities. And ask God to grant them abundant grace and that they may respond to that grace. Then, you, on your way: convince yourself that it's the only way for you" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 965).]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

ACLU Files Suit Against Abstinence Program

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the US government over its funding of a nationwide sexual abstinence programme.

The ACLU says the Silver Ring Thing programme violates the principle that the state budget cannot be used to promote religion.
Of course, the fact is that the ACLU would never file suit against the State when the State promotes or endorses any aspect of the acceptable "religions" or "religious beliefs" of atheism, secularism, moral relativism, or other anti-Christian "faiths".

If the Department of Health and Human Services were engaged in passing out various types of contraception and such, the ACLU, no doubt, would be praising the agency.
The ACLU has complained that the programme's official rings are inscribed with verses from the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 4, 3-4, reading: "God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honour."
The virulent plague of the tyranny-loving ACLU should be eradicated from this country.

Full article here.

Pope asks new priests to lead people to Christ through the Eucharist

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Maintaining a tradition of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI ordained 21 priests and urged them to lead people to Christ through the Eucharist.
. . .
After the candidates presented themselves, the pope asked his vicar for the Rome Diocese, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, "Are you sure they are worthy?" Cardinal Ruini said they were, based on information from seminary teachers and the wider Christian community.

As the candidates knelt before him one by one, the pope held their hands and asked them, "Do you promise to me and to my successors filial respect and obedience?" They answered, "Yes, I promise."
More here.

Appointments by the Holy Father

VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Clarence Silva of the clergy of the diocese of Oakland, U.S.A., vicar general, as bishop of Honolulu (area 16,660, population 1,244,898, Catholics 234,588, priests 157, permanent deacons 51, religious 361), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Honolulu in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975.

- Msgr. Kevin W. Vann of the clergy of the diocese of Springfield in Illinois, U.S.A., episcopal vicar for the clergy and pastor of the parish of the Blessed Sacrament, as coadjutor bishop of Fort Worth (area 62,007, population 2,770,961, Catholics 400,501, priests 115, permanent deacons 74, religious 160), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Springfield in 1951, and ordained a priest in 1981.

Peter Kinder chastises Catholic leadership

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is calling for social conservatives and the state's Republican leadership to "take a deep breath, sit down and work" on their disagreements -- now that the legislative session is over.

Some socially conservative groups, notably Missouri Right to Life and the Missouri Catholic Conference, are still puffed up and angry over the Legislature's failure to further restrict abortions or to impose a ban on a stem-cell procedure called "therapeutic cloning."

Kinder, who opposes abortion but also opposes the cloning ban, is a bit ticked at such critics. In fact, his suggested changes include the ouster of Catholic Conference head Larry Weber.

"I think the Catholic Conference needs some new leadership in the capital, and that is a widely held view among Republicans," Kinder said.

Rather than talk to GOP leaders, Kinder said, Weber prefers to issue "thunderbolts in the press."
From yestreday's Post Dispatch "Political Fix" column by Jo Mannies

May 29-Fr. Joseph Begue, CM, Celebrates 50 Years as a Priest

Father Begue will celebrate the 10 a.m.Latin Mass at St. Agatha on Sunday May 29th.

This will be the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

After Mass, there will be a catered lunch in the school building in honor of this good priest.

Father’s deeds speak louder than any words we can speak or write. He leads a group saying 15 decades of the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic every Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. winter and summer, rain or shine.

Totally faithful, he sets an example for others to follow in his strict adherence to the Magisterium.

He is always willing to help out at Mass or to say the Mass. He will hear your confession, visit you when you’re sick or just listen to your troubles and give you the best advice he can.

Join us in honoring Father Begue. Please note: Adult meals are $6.00 each. After the first $12.00 per family is paid, the remaining children will be free.

Make your check made payable to St. Agatha Church.
Address to:
Father Begue Lunch
St. Agatha Church
3239 S. 9th
St.Louis MO. 63118

PLEASE RSVP. For more information, call 314-894-0357.

VOTF Group Defies Bishop Doran

ROCKFORD -- Defying the bishop of the Rockford diocese, local members of a Catholic lay organization held a meeting Sunday in a church sanctuary.

Bishop Thomas Doran, who has said Voice of the Faithful is not a sanctioned Catholic group, has denied the Rockford affiliate of the organization the right to meet on church property and refused to meet with members.

Gospel for Tuesday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:30-37

Second Prophecy of the Passion

[30] They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And He (Jesus) would not have any one know it; [31] for He was teaching His disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He is killed, after three days He will rise." [32] But they did not understand the saying,band they were afraid to ask Him.

Being the Servant of All

[33] And they came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house He asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" [34] But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. [35] And He sat down and called the Twelve; and He said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." [36] And He took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in His arms, He said to them, [37] "Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me".

30-32. Although moved when He sees the crowds like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36), Jesus leaves them, to devote time to careful instruction of the Apostles. He retires with them to out-of-the-way places, and there He explains points of His public preaching which they had not understood (Matthew 13:36). Here, specifically, for a second time, He announces His death and resurrection.

In His relationships with souls Jesus acts in the same way: He calls man to be with him in the quiet of prayer and there He teaches him about His more intimate plans and about the more demanding side of the Christian life. Later, like the Apostles, Christians were to spread this teaching to the ends of the earth.

34-35. Jesus uses this argument going on behind his back to teach His disciples about how authority should be exercised in His Church--not by lording it over other, but by serving them. In fulfilling His own mission to found the Church whose head and supreme lawgiver He is, He came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28).

Anyone who does not strive to have this attitude of self-forgetful service, not only lacks one of the main pre-requisites for proper exercise of authority but also runs the risk of being motivated by ambition or pride. "To be in charge of an apostolic undertaking demands readiness to suffer everything, from everybody, with infinite charity" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 951).

36-37. To demonstrate to His Apostles the abnegation and humility needed in their ministry, He takes a child into His arms and explains the meaning of this gesture: if we receive for Christ's sake those who have little importance in the world's eyes, it is as if we are embracing Christ Himself and the Father who sent Him. This little child whom Jesus embraces represents every child in the world, and everyone who is needy, helpless, poor or sick--people who are not naturally attractive.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Monday, May 16, 2005

Abortion-Cancer Link Cover Up by U.S. National Cancer Institute

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2005 ( - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly has published an article explaining how scientists published fraudulent research and deceived the public about the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link - much as the tobacco industry covered up a tobacco-cancer link.

"The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) should be criminally investigated," declared Karen Malec, president of [The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer]. "If German scientists had played the same shell game with women's health during World War II, they would have been tried at Nuremberg under American jurisprudence."
LifeSitesNews Link.

Groups ask for more inclusion in church

Eyes seemed to lock for just a split second on a downtown Cleveland sidewalk Saturday morning -- a man in a robe and 20 women with a banner.
Walking with a banner...this should be a clue...
But to Mary Englert of Lakewood and her group -- whose long sailcloth message read, "Women are priestly people"..."We want priesthood to become more inclusive," she said.

Englert and her group -- Cleveland Women's Ordination Conference, which also included a Cleveland priest -- read a prayer from yellow pages each of them clutched, asking that Catholics allow women and married men to function as priests.
I hear the ECUSA fulfills this wants and desires...

Priest Denies Homosexual Supporters' Communion

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest denied communion to more than 100 people Sunday, saying they could not receive the sacrament because they wore rainbow-colored sashes to church to show support for gay Catholics.

Cardinal Mahony Welcomes Rainbow Sash Movement

Note that the letter is only an invitation to attend Mass - it says nothing about receiving Holy Communion.

Founder of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Msgr Gilles Wach...

Will be in St Louis and will celebrate the Latin High Mass on Sunday, May 22nd at 10:00AM at St. Agatha Church...

More info here.

Gospel for Monday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:14-29

The Curing of an Epileptic Boy

[14] And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them. [15] And immediately all the crowd when they saw Him (Jesus), were greatly amazed, and ran up to Him and greeting Him. [16] And He asked them, "What are you discussing with them?" [17] And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; [18] and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked Your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." [19] And He answered them, "Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me." [20] And they brought the boy to Him; and when the spirit saw Him, immediately it convulsed the body, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. [21] And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood. [22] And it has often cash him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if You can do anything, have pity on us and help us." [23] And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." [24] Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" [25] And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." [26] After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." [27] But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. [28] And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" [29] And He said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."

17. The demon who possessed this boy is described as a "dumb spirit" because dumbness was the main feature of the possession. On diabolic possession cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24.

19-24. As on other occasions, Jesus requires submission of faith before He works the miracle. The exclamation of Jesus refers to the request of the boy's father (verse 22), which seemed to suggest some doubt about God's omnipotence. The Lord corrects this way of asking and requires him to have firm faith. In verse 24 we can see that the father has quite changed; then Jesus does the miracle. The man's strengthened faith made him all-powerful, for someone with faith relies not on himself but on Jesus Christ. Through faith, then, we become sharers in God's omnipotence. But faith is a gift of God, which man, especially at times when he is wavering, should ask humbly and tenaciously, like the father of this boy: "I believe, help my unbelief," and like the Apostles: "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).

28-29. "In teaching the Apostles how to expel a spirit as evil as this He is teaching all of us how we should live, and telling us that prayer is the resource we should use to overcome even the severest temptations, whether they come from unclean spirits or from men. Prayer does not consist only in the words we use to invoke God's clemency but also in everything we do, out of faith, as homage to God.
The Apostle bears witness to this when he says: `Pray constantly' (1 Thessalonians 5:7)" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Laity will train for some duties of priests

The Aquinas Institute is sponsoring the program, which Archbishop Raymond Burke has said is unnecessary here.

Eight parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis will take part in a program to train laity for paid ministry positions...Archbishop Raymond Burke, who last summer said the program was unnecessary here, said this week that the archdiocesan pastors involved did not inform him of their participation in the program.
One can only guess why...The Aquinas Institute is not known for its fidelity to the teachings of the Church.
St. Louis Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Hermann sent a letter to Aquinas saying the archdiocese was not interested in supporting the program and that it was preparing its own initiative for training the laity.
Didn't seem to stop anybody from getting involved with this group, did it?
The archbishop said through his spokesman, Jamie Allman, this week that he did not want to comment on the eight St. Louis parishes participating in the Aquinas program.
The Rev. Charles Bouchard is president of Aquinas Institute - just check out his past statements - orthodoxy doesn't seem to be his strong suit.
The archdiocese recently announced a relationship with Ave Maria University in Florida that, beginning in August, will allow St. Louis Catholics to obtain a master's degree in theological studies.
And one can be certain that what will be taught will be in accord with what the Church teaches - Can the same be said of Aquinas?
There is a debate within the Catholic church as to how much responsibility and authority the laity should have in the life of a parish....But a 1987 Vatican document sought to restrict some of the new freedoms allowed the laity by the Second Vatican Council.
I think Tim Townsend gets this wrong on two counts. I believe, though I could be wrong, the document to which he refers is "Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests", which came out in August of 1997. Secondly, the Second Vatican Council did not give the laity the "right" to engage in some of the things in which a few of the laity have been involved and which the referenced "Instruction" sought to clarify. Townsend should exercise more care than he did in that particular paragraph.
Allman said Burke did receive a letter that Aquinas sent out to the bishops whose parishes are participating in the Apollos Project, but that none of the eight pastors from the St. Louis parishes selected to participate had contacted the archbishop. He said Burke had no plans to meet with the priests about the program.
Besides the two participating parishes named (of the eight), another is St. Cronan's - another bastion of heterodoxy and heteropraxy, much of which has been discussed before.

The Post article is here.

Gospel for Pentecost Sunday

From: John 20:19-23

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." [20] When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you." [22] And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

19-20. Jesus appears to the Apostles on the evening of the day of which He rose. He presents Himself in their midst without any need for the doors to be opened, by using the qualities of His glorified body; but in order to dispel any impression that He is only a spirit He shows them His hands and His side: there is no longer any doubt about its being Jesus Himself, about His being truly risen from the dead. He greets them twice using the words of greeting customary among the Jews, with the same tenderness as He previously used put into this salutation. These friendly words dispel the fear and shame the Apostles must have been feeling at behaving so disloyally during His passion: He has created the normal atmosphere of intimacy, and now He will endow them with transcendental powers.

21. Pope Leo XIII explained how Christ transferred His own mission to the Apostles: "What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly resolved to do: this He actually did. `As the Father hath sent Me, even so I send you' (John 20:21). `As Thou didst send Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world' (John 17:18). [...] When about to ascend into Heaven, He sends His Apostles in virtue of the same power by which He had been sent from the Father; and He charges them to spread abroad and propagate His teachings (cf. Matthew 28:18), so that those obeying the Apostles might be saved, and those disobeying should perish (cf. Mark 16:16). [...] Hence He commands that the teaching of the Apostles should be religiously accepted and piously kept as if it were His own: `He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me' (Luke 10:16). Wherefore the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ as He is the ambassador of the Father" ([Pope] Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum"). In this mission the bishops are the successors of the Apostles: "Christ sent the Apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father, and then through the Apostles made their successors, the bishops, sharers in His consecration and mission. The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 2).

22-23. The Church has always understood--and has in fact defined--that Jesus Christ here conferred on the Apostles authority to forgive sins, a power which is exercised in the Sacrament of Penance. "The Lord then especially instituted the Sacrament of Penance when, after being risen from the dead, He breathed upon His disciples and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit...' The consensus of all the Fathers has always
acknowledged that by this action so sublime and words so clear the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to the Apostles and their lawful successors for reconciling the faithful who have fallen after Baptism" (Council of Trent, "De Paenitentia", Chapter 1).

The Sacrament of Penance is the most sublime __expression of God's love and mercy towards men, described so vividly in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15:11-32). The Lord always awaits us, with His arms wide open, waiting for us to repent--and then He will forgive us and restore us to the dignity of being His sons.

The Popes have consistently recommended Christians to have regular recourse to this Sacrament: "For a constant and speedy advancement in the path of virtue we highly recommend the pious practice of frequent Confession, introduced by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; for by this means we grow in a true knowledge of ourselves and in Christian humility, bad habits are uprooted, spiritual negligence and apathy are prevented, the conscience is purified and the will strengthened, salutary spiritual direction is obtained, and grace is increased by the efficacy of the Sacrament itself" ([Pope] Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis").
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.