Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Saint" Mary Hunt says: It’s time for a Stonewall-sized rebellion

I meant to post this last week but now is as good as any time, I suppose.

As some may recall, the "Holy Families" group posted a video of several people identified as "gay saints" recently and Mary Hunt was one of those identified as having achieved sainthood.

Now, she castigates the Holy See for its recent instruction and calls for, (who could have imagined?). a rebellion, a resistance, a "stonewall"! (this sounds awfully familiar around St. Louis these days)

She says the following about the Holy See regarding "the document":
...the actual text of the document is irrelevant; dictatorships always rely more on self-censorship through fear and intimidation than actual punishment to accomplish their goals.
So touching and full of love...but there is more:
[The document] really nothing more than an effort to link the criminal activity of pedophile priests with homosexuality and to distract from the reprehensible behavior of bishops who covered up their misconduct. This is an absurd gambit on the part of the Vatican. Homosexuality has no relationship to child sexual abuse.
Did the John Jay report show that roughly 80% of the "child" sexual abuse cases occurred with post-pubescent males? Is that not homosexual? If not, what does one call it... a disoriented or frustrated heterosexuality? A different "values" system?

But maybe this is the crux of her "issues" with the Church?
This scandal has made transparent an untenable “kyriarchal” system—a model of church that locates power, both sacramental and temporal, in the hands of a few men who literally lord over the laity, speaking and acting in the name of all believers when in fact they are but a tiny percentage of the community.
Apparently then, Jesus really didn't intend to structure an hierarchical Church as the Church would have us believe and as faithful Catholics do believe...

Pope Benedict Appoints New Papal Nuncio to the US

Washington DC, Dec. 17, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI appointed this Saturday Archbishop Pietro Sambi, widely regarded as one of the Vatican’s most able diplomats, as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He replaces Colombian-born Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, whose resignation was accepted upon his reaching the age limit of 75.
. . .
Archbishop Sambi, an avid Internet user, has two fields of interest: priestly formation and Catholic higher education. He graduated from seminary with a thesis on the Bishop of Montefeltro, who dramatically reformed the priesthood in the early 20th Century. Before joining the Vatican diplomatic service, he was made responsible for the formation of priests at the Diocesan Seminary of Pennabilli. Later, he became Vice Rector of Pennabilli. As Nuncio, he involved himself in priestly formation in all of the countries he served.

Options after excommunication

The six St. Stanislaus board members and their new priest, the Rev. Marek Bozek, can repent. If they chose to, they would simply have to approach Burke, admit their mistakes and promise to be obedient. Burke then would have to decide whether to remit the penalty.

"The only other option they have is to petition Rome to revoke or amend the decree." said Charles M. Wilson, executive director of the St. Joseph Foundation, which has represented excommunicated Catholics in appeals to the Vatican.

Wilson said that because the board members and Bozek are accused of schism, he believed they would appeal to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the Holy See's orthodoxy watchdog arm.

Harmful to Children

The Coalition of Concerned Catholic Families, is requesting signatures for a petition to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, protesting the mandated "safe environment" training for children that will be selected and approved by the bishop and taught by diocesan/parish employees.

Children as young as 5 years old will be exposed to information about sexual abuse and how to protect themselves against perverts. These programs have been opposed by Catholic parents throughout the country. The principal complaint is that they do not conform to the teaching of the church.

Th Pontifical Council for the Family issued a document entitled Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality in 1995 to provide guidelines to the Universal Church for teaching subjects about human sexuality to children. Unfortunately, most American Catholics have never heard of it and the USCCB has chosen to bypass the document altogether. (my emphasis)

The Most Reverend Robert J. Hermann, Bishop, Vicar for Education, Archdiocese of St. Louis responded in a letter at the request of Archbishop Burke stating: "I too believe we need to take seriously 'The Truth an Meaning of Human Sexuality' and I also question the wisdom of doing this in the classroom.

Archbishop Burke has moved away from sex education in the schools to chastity formation. Bishop Herman stated, "I believe that, if we do a good job of teaching chastity throughout all of our grades, in an age appropriate way, we could then work with parents in guiding them in their efforts to teaching their children appropriate ways to protect themselves from abusers."

Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Baker, Oregon has also weighted in on the debate: "While the debate about what is or is not appropriate in our Churches and Schools relative to sex-education has been going on for a number of years, it appears to me that this latest initiative of 'save environment'programs is a veiled backdoor attempt to invade the delicate lives of our young children. . . "

"While the proponents of the programs will argue that they are NOT sex-education, the reality is that they still touch on the very personal and private area of sexuality at an age when it is not proper to do so."

The Coalition of Concerned Catholic Families is urging Catholic Parents to unite in this effort and to become 'one voice' with other concerned parents to stop these dangerous programs from harming our children and families. You can access the National Petition Registry on the internet. Contact Stephen J. Marino at

Gospel for Saturday, 3rd Week of Advent

From: Matthew 1:1-17

The Ancestry of Jesus Christ

[1] The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.
[2] Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
[3] and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,
[4] and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahson, and Nahson the father of Salmon,
[5] and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz due father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
[6] and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,
[7] and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa,
[8] and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,
[9] and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
[10] and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah,
[11] and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
[12] And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
[13] and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor,
[14] and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Aching and Achim the father of Eliud,
[15] and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob,
[16] and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
[17] So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.


1. This verse is a kind of title to St Matthew's entire Gospel. The promises God made to Abraham for the salvation of mankind (Gen 12:3) are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as is Nathan's prophecy to King David of an everlasting kingdom (2 Sam 7:12-16).

The genealogy presented here by St Matthew shows Jesus' human ancestry and also indicates that salvation history has reached its climax with the birth of the Son of God through the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is the expected Messiah.

The genealogy is presented in a framework of three series, each consisting of fourteen links which show the progressive development of salvation history.

For the Jews (and for other Eastern peoples of nomadic origin) genealogical trees were of great importance because a person's identity was especially linked to family and tribe, with place of birth taking secondary importance. In the case of the Jewish people there was the added religious significance of belonging by blood to the chosen people.

In Christ's time each family still kept a careful record of its genealogical tree, since because of it people acquired rights and duties.

6. Four women are named in these genealogies--Tamar (cf. Gen 38; 1 Chron 2:4), Rahab (cf. Josh 2:6,17), Bathsheba (cf. 2 Sam 11:12, 24) and Ruth (cf. Book of Ruth). These four foreign women, who in one way or another are brought into the history of Israel, are one sign among many others of God's design to save all men.

By mentioning sinful people, God's ways are shown to be different from man's. God will sometimes carry out his plan of salvation by means of people whose conduct has not been just. God saves us, sanctifies us and chooses us to do good despite our sins and infidelities--and he chose to leave evidence of this at various stages in the history of our salvation.

11. The deportation to Babylon, described in 2 Kings 24-25, fulfilled the prophets' warning to the people of Israel and their kings that they would be punished for their infidelity to the commandments of the Law of God, especially the first commandment.

16. Jewish genealogies followed the male line. Joseph, being Mary's husband, was the legal father of Jesus. The legal father is on a par with the real father as regards rights and duties. This fact provides a sound basis for recognizing St Joseph as Patron of the whole Church, since he was chosen to play a very special role in God's plan for our salvation; with St Joseph as his legal father, Jesus the Messiah has David as his ancestor.

Since it was quite usual for people to marry within their clan, it can be concluded that Mary belonged to the house of David. Several early Fathers of the Church testify to this--for example, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Irenaeus, St Justin and Tertullian, who base their testimony on an unbroken oral tradition.

It should also be pointed out that when St Matthew comes to speak of the birth of Jesus, he uses an __expression which is completely different from that used for the other people in the genealogy. With these words the text positively teaches that Mary conceived Jesus while still a virgin, without the intervention of man.

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, December 16, 2005

Fr Bozek's Reaction Regarding His Self-Imposed Excommunication

Apparently, Fr. Bozek has email, though his cell phone doesn't work (I hope the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau isn't picking up the tab). He's in Peru trying to "recharge" his spiritual and physical "batteries"...

As a priest who appears to have problems with obedience, how long will it be before the Board of St. Stanislaus determines that his propensity for disobedience isn't exactly what the board had in mind when they "hired" him? Surely, for his own sake, someone has warned him of this...If not, then he's in for a rude awakening.

Fr. Bozek responded to the news of his automatic excommunication because of his schismatic actions thus:
This news came to me as a surprise and shocked me painfully...It does not make any sense that some people in hierarchy seem to be so threatened by what is happening in St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish...
Steee-rike 1, Reverend! This priest needs a Catechism so he can review things like "Schism" and "Scandal". It's painfully obvious from his comments atht he did not properly learn any of this in his training.
We are accused of schism and declared 'excomunicated' just because we wish to remain faithful to the faith of our fathers and we want to worship in the church of our fathers...
Steeee-rike 2, Father! If you wish to remain "faithful" to the faith of your fathers, you would be humbly obedient to Church authority as your fathers were for so many decades. The opportunity to worship in the church of your fathers has been denied to all the St. Louis Polish people by a rebellious and renegade board.
The penalty of excommunication is much too serious to be declared lightly and we will appeal it to the Holy See trusting that the Pope will understand injustice done to us.
Steeee-rike 3, Father - You're out!!! You are suffering from a self-inflicted wound - no injustice has been dealt to you...Schism is serious and it requires serious medicine. Of course, you can appeal all you want, Padre - ask the Board - they've already been there and done that...It will be to no avail. The Holy Father will understand completely what all of you have done. He will, no doubt, pray for all of you as we are doing, so that all of you might repent of your detrimental and divisive actions and return to the Church. But if you think he will overlook your defiance and disobedience, then you are sadly mistaken - you have been misled by the evil one. You faith has been compromised somewhere along your journey. To lead others toward a path of eternal damnation is a most grave matter.

Source of this material is here.

USCCB Changes Classification of "Brokeback Mountain" to "O"

"O" as in Morally Offensive...What caused the change? Hmmmmm...Pressure, outrage, disgust?

See the changed classification here...The review, however, looks basically the same.

Catholic News Service has this on the change (reformatted for easier reading):
Editor's Note: "Brokeback Mountain," originally rated L (limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling), has been reclassified O -- morally offensive.

This has been done because the serious weight of the L rating -- which restricts films in that category to those who can assess, from a Catholic perspective, the moral issues raised by a movie -- is, unfortunately, misunderstood by many.

Because there are some in this instance who are using the L rating to make it appear the church's -- or the USCCB's -- position on homosexuality is ambiguous, the classification has been revised specifically to address its moral content.
There it is - it seems as if the classification was changed because many could not properly comprehend or understand what was in the glowing review and how it related to the “L” clasiification. Nice!

However, whoever wrote this patronizing, disdainful, condescending "Editor's Note" should be fired immediately as well as the person who wrote the review as well as Harry Forbes for posting this piece of trash on Catholic News Service....If I'm looking at the site correctly, Harry has removed his name from the article for some reason. (But the original can be seen here.)

Cries of Anguish from the St. Stanislaus Board

Regarding today's public disclosure by Archbishop Burke that the St Stanislaus board members, the newly hired priest and others who promote the rebellion, disobedience, and the rupturing of the unity of the Church have, indeed, entered into schism, we see the Post-Dispatch airing more cries of anguish and deception from the St. Stanislaus board members and spokesman:
“This is just last of the shameful actions done to us last couple years,” said board member Bob Zabielski. “He wants the property and that’s it and he’s using every weapon in his arsenal. This is nothing more than a peeice of paper written by a man trying to get our property.”
What an arrogant and deceitful statement. It seems as if Mr. Zabielski is completely incapable of recognizing the gravity of his offense against the unity of the Church. Of course, he has the tired old "sound bites" down pat...But then, he's had more than sufficient time to memorize them.

And apparently there is a new (old) spokesman for the group again. I pray that the previous spokesman has reconciled.
Roger Krasnicki, spokesman for the St. Stanislaus board, said he believes the excommunication applies to the six voting board directors and the priest, Bozek.

"I think it's a gross error of judgment on his part," Krasnicki said of Burke's decision. "It's a sad day in the Catholic church."
Wrong, Roger! You failed the test! The gross error was on your part and on the part of all who chose the path of pride, the path of disobedience, the path of death...It is a sad day for the Church, indeed. It always is when there is a rupture of the unity of the Church, when humility and obedience give way under the excessive weight of pride and arrogance.

Many have witnessed spoiled and unruly children behaving in a similar manner. Many times this behavior is manifested because of a certain lack of discipline early on in life. It is particularly disquieting and revealing when we see similar behavior from those who are adults. Rebellion is not an easy thing to deal with, especially when one has gone out of his way to make concessions as Archbishop Burke has done.

Perhaps Fr. Bozek, if he has any faith or any spark of fidelity to Christ and His Church, and if he truly cares for the souls of these people, will return to the diocese of Springfield and advise the lost and wayward dissidents at St Stanislaus to repent and reconcile themselves with the Church, so that they may return to the path which Christ wills for them to follow. This is how Fr. Bozek can truly help these people and their immortal souls.

It's Official: St Stanislaus is in Schism. Pray for them!

As many have recognized from the very beginning, the board members and others at St Stanislaus were embarking on a journey which would only lead them away from the Church. Archbishop Burke declares, in his latest column, the schism of St Stanislaus.

Archbishop Burke, in his weekly St. Louis Review column, reflects on this grave and lamentable situation.
The deep wound of schism in the archdiocese

by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke


I write, with heavy heart, about a situation which I, as bishop, had hoped that I would never have to address. I refer to the recent break with the communion of the Roman Catholic Church on the part of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in the City of St. Louis, and on the part of the priest from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, whom they have hired to serve them.

It saddens me, in particular, to address such a deep wound to the Church in our archdiocese in these days of our final preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Our Lord on Christmas. The fact of the schism, however, must be addressed by me now, because it has immediate effects in the whole Church, especially the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The priest in question has informed me that he will begin his service at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Christmas Eve.

As archbishop, it is my responsibility to explain the situation to all of the faithful of the archdiocese, who are so deeply affected by what has happened, in order that they not be subjected to further confusion and division, that they not be deceived about the lawfulness and validity of sacraments celebrated by the schismatic priest and that they pray for the reconciliation of those who [have] gone into schism.


Schism is "the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him" (can. 751). It is the repudiation of the authority which Christ conferred upon St. Peter and the other Apostles in communion with him, and their successors. It, therefore, involves not only a premeditated and most grave act of disobedience to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in the communion with him, but also a certain denial of an integral part of the Catholic faith, that is, the apostolic mark of the Church. In other words, those who choose to go into schism believe that they can be the Church without the pastoral teaching, ministration of the sacraments and governance of the Apostles and their successors. [my emphasis]

In the case of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, the act of disobedience involves directly not only the archbishop of St. Louis but also the Apostolic See. They have rejected both my direction and the direction of the Apostolic See.

At the beginning of my service as archbishop of St. Louis on Jan. 26, 2004, I was obliged to address the structure of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, in order that it be in conformity with universal Church law which demands that the form of civil corporation respect the office of the archbishop and pastor of the parish. Because the bylaws of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish had been altered to eliminate any recognition of the authority of the archbishop and pastor, my predecessor, then-Archbishop Justin Rigali, had taken the proper steps to rectify the matter. In the meantime, he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and, therefore, it was my responsibility, as his successor, to complete the necessary work which he had begun for the good of the faithful of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and of the whole archdiocese.

From the very beginning of my service, the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation have refused to obey my directives and, in fact, made appeal to the Apostolic See against my directives to them. The appeal was made to the Holy Father’s Congregation for the Clergy, which is competent in such matters. The Congregation for the Clergy responded to the board of directors, strongly directing them to comply with my directives. When the board of directors refused to obey either my directives or the directives of the Apostolic See, I was obliged to impose the penalty of interdict, in the hope that the members of the board would recognize the error of their way and repent. I have insisted with the members of the board of directors that the way to unity and, therefore, peace is obedience to our lawful superiors in the Church, that is, the Holy Father’s Congregation for the Clergy. {my emphasis]

Conflict with the Roman Catholic Church

Some have understood that the conflict of the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and of those who follow them is with me personally. Such is clearly not the case, as the decision of the Congregation for the Clergy indicated. Their conflict is with the Roman Catholic Church. It is a conflict which several of my predecessors addressed in their time. The members of the board of directors refuse to accept the governance of the parish by the Roman Catholic Church, insisting that they remain devout Roman Catholics by governing the parish themselves. They have, thereby, broken the bond of communion with the Apostolic See and the Archdiocese of St. Louis. [my emphasis]

Some have understood the object of the conflict to be power and money. Such is also clearly not the case. The object of the conflict is obedience, the obedience we all owe to the Apostolic teaching and discipline of the Church.

The power in question belongs to Christ alone, who continues to guide the Church through those who act in His person as shepherd and head of the flock, in virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the jurisdiction conferred by the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the bishops in communion with the Holy Father. It is precisely when we place ourselves above Christ and His authority in the Church that we introduce division into the Body of Christ.

Regarding money, there has never been a question that the money and all the other temporal goods of the parish belong to the parish, as is the case with every other parish in the archdiocese. I have no authority to seize the funds of any parish for any purpose, no matter how noble. My interest in the right ordering of parish life at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish involves money only to the extent that it includes the stewardship of the goods of the parish, according to ecclesiastical and civil law, and the vigilance over the administration of the temporal goods of the parish, so that they are used for the good of the parish. For that reason, from the beginning, I have insisted that a public audit of the parish’s goods be conducted, so that there could be no question of any misappropriation of the parish’s goods.

Act of schism

The act of schism, committed by the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, was the hiring of a suspended priest, that is a priest who is not in good standing in the Church, for the purpose of attempting to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. The priest in question, Father Marek B. Bozek, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, has left his priestly office of assistant pastor of St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield against the explicit direction of his bishop, the Most Reverend John J. Leibrecht, and after Bishop Leibrecht had explained to him more than once the gravity of his action and its consequences. [my emphasis]

The fact of the matter is that only a priest who is not in good standing would agree to employment by a group of parishioners without the appointment of the diocesan bishop, that is, a group of parishioners who are breaking communion with the Church. All priests serve in communion with the diocesan bishop who serves in communion with the Roman Pontiff. When Father Bozek left his assignment without his bishop’s permission, he was rightly suspended. The penalty of suspension prohibits him from the exercise of his priestly office (cf. can. 1333, §1).

A priest, who knowingly and willingly chooses to attempt to exercise priestly ministry outside of the communion of the Church and, thereby, assists and encourages others in breaking communion with the Church, clearly also commits the ecclesiastical crime of schism. To be clear, it is not only the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish who are in schism, but also the priest whom they have presumed to hire and who has agreed to be hired. [my emphasis]

In the secular media, it has been suggested that Bishop Leibrecht, more than once, asked me to accept Father Bozek for assignment to St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, but that I stubbornly refused. The suggestion is totally false. Bishop Leibrecht informed me immediately when he learned from Father Bozek about his intention to accept employment by the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Bishop Leibrecht assured me that he had not given Father Bozek any permission to pursue a position at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and that, on the contrary, he was insisting that Father Bozek remain faithful to the exercise of his priestly office at St. Agnes Cathedral.

Father Bozek remains a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Bishop Leibrecht as bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has made it abundantly clear that he desires Father Bozek to return to his diocese immediately, in order to be reconciled. It is my prayer that Father Bozek will respond to Bishop Leibrecht’s direction, in accord with the promise of obedience, which he made, in Bishop Leibrecht’s hands, to Bishop Leibrecht and his successors on the day of his ordination. Please pray for the same intention.

Consequences of schism

Those who commit the ecclesiastical crime of schism incur automatically the penalty of excommunication (cf. can. 1364, §1; and 1314). The excommunicated person is forbidden "to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the Sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever" (can. 1331, §1, 1º); "to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals, and to receive the sacraments" (can. 1331, §1, 2º); and "to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance" (can. 1331, §1, 3º). The various elements of the penalty underline the fact that the party in question has broken communion with the Church. The prohibition of receiving the sacraments or sacramentals is suspended when the party under sanction is in danger of death, given that he is otherwise properly disposed (cf. can. 1352, §1). [my emphasis]

Although the excommunication is incurred automatically, it is my duty as the diocesan bishop in whose jurisdiction the act of schism has taken place to declare the excommunication, after I have made certain that the parties in question have understood the gravity of their act and its most serious consequences (cf. cann. 1717-1719). It has been made clear to me for some time that the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish have understood that the action of hiring a priest who is not in good standing in the Church to serve them carried with it the penalty of excommunication. Over the months since the imposition of the penalty of interdict, it has been my hope that the members of the board of directors would seek reconciliation. Also, I have renewed several times my offer to execute civil legal documents to guarantee what is already guaranteed by Church discipline, namely, the ownership of the temporal goods of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish as a personal parish for faithful of Polish language or heritage. The members of the board of directors, however, have insisted on their governance of the parish, even if, at the same time, they have asserted their desire to be part of the Roman Catholic Church. Having attempted to address the situation through fraternal correction and other means of pastoral solicitude, including the pastoral visit of the Most Reverend Ryszard Karpinski, auxiliary bishop of Lublin in Poland and the delegate of the Polish Conference of Bishops for Polish faithful living outside their homeland, now I must declare that the latest action of the members of the board of directors constitutes schism, carrying with it the automatic penalty of excommunication (cf. can. 1341). [my emphasis]

The ordained priest who goes into schism, in addition to being bound by the above-listed prohibitions, is also rendered irregular for the exercise of Holy Orders (cf. can. 1044, §1, 2º). In other words, he may not exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders which he has received. Any Mass celebrated by a suspended and excommunicated priest is valid, but illicit. To knowingly and willingly celebrate the Holy Mass, when one is legitimately prohibited from doing so, is a most grave sin. A priest under the penalty of excommunication does not give valid sacramental absolution (cf. can. 966, §1). Neither can he validly officiate at a wedding (cf. can. 1108, §1).

The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation by a schismatic priest is invalid because he no longer has any faculty to do so, either by universal Church law or the granting of the faculty by the diocesan bishop (cf. can. 882). Baptism and the Anointing of the Sick are conferred validly but not licitly (cf. cann. 862; and 1003, §§1-2).

The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin. All of the faithful of the archdiocese should guard against any participation in the attempt to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Also, they should caution visitors and others who are unaware of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, lest they unknowingly participate in the schismatic acts. [my emphasis]

Finally, since the civil legal control of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish belongs exclusively to the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation and they have chosen to lead the members of the parish into schism, I will be obliged to suppress St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. It is not possible for St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish to remain a parish of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and, at the same time, to operate completely independently of the Apostolic See and the Archdiocese of St. Louis. [my emphasis]


As I wrote at the beginning, my heart is heavy in writing to you about the break of communion with the Church by our brothers and sisters at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, most especially at the Holy Seasons of Advent and Christmas. We must not, however, permit Satan to steal our joy at the preparation for Christmas and the celebration of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus. Let, rather, the mystery of the Incarnation, which we will celebrate with deepest joy on Christmas Day and throughout the Christmas Season be the source of our renewed prayers for the reconciliation of the members of the board of directors, of those who support them, and of Father Marek Bozek.

On Dec. 17, we will begin the final days of our preparation for the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. On each day, from Dec. 17 to Dec. 24, we will salute Christ our Savior by one of the ancient and beautiful titles given to the long-awaited Messiah. The last of the titles is Emmanuel. It contains all the other titles, for it means: God with us. Let us, through the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa, implore our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Mercy, on behalf of the reconciliation of those who have gone into schism. Christ, Divine Mercy Incarnate, accomplishes all things. Let us place the dolorous situation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish into His all-merciful and loving heart.

These are days of strong grace in the Church. May we keep them with deepest faith and so obtain the grace of being fittingly prepared for the great celebration of the Birth of our Savior. Through the observance of these final days of Advent, may many graces come to our homes and our archdiocese, uniting us in the peace which Christ brought to the world at His Birth.

Michael Schiavo Turning Terri into Poster Child for Euthanasia

Apparently, Psycho Mikey, not fully contented with gruesomely starving and dehydrating his estranged wife to death, has an uncontrollable urge to feed his narcissistic ego in an effort to ensure that others experience the joy of depriving a "loved one" of food and water:
...Schiavo's thirst for recognition...know[s] no bounds. In fact, his ego-driven self-absorption has recently launched him into the political realm. He has just announced the formation of the Terri PAC, a political action committee founded to "restore personal freedoms and individual human rights." If you think this is a bit ridiculous, then you are sadly unaware of the immensity of the culture of death into which America is nearly fully immersed.

... it is no surprise that Michael Schiavo is turning to the political realm to make sure that spouses like himself can exercise another aspect of this twisted idea of personal freedom: the "right" to eliminate an inconvenient family member when illness or debilitation strikes.

Some would call that killing. Others would describe it as pure evil. We would hope that very few indeed would perceive it as true "personal freedom." Hope, yes; unfortunately, opinion polls would prove us wrong. The vast majority of Americans condone what Michael Schiavo did to his wife; they also condone taking the lives of preborn children through abortion. It's all about those "personal freedoms" that we Americans supposedly hold so dear.
. . .
C. S. Lewis once wrote, "If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."
Judy Brown once again nails the truth for all to see...Full article is here.

Churches get OK to join stem cell suit

...a judge is allowing Missouri's Roman Catholic bishops and the Missouri Baptist Convention to join a lawsuit against a stem cell ballot initiative.

The decision Thursday by Cole County Senior Judge Byron Kinder sets the stage for a court hearing next month on the debate of when life begins and how it relates to stem cell research and human cloning.
. . .
Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, praised Thursday's court action, saying it gives the church a seat at the table as human cloning is debated in court.
Article here.

Gospel for Friday, 3rd Week in Advent

From: John 5:33-36

Christ Defends His Action (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [33] "You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. [34] Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. [35] He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [36] But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted Me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear Me witness that the Father has sent Me."


31-40. Because Jesus is Son of God, His own word is self-sufficient, it needs no corroboration (cf. 8:18); but, as on other occasions, He accommodates Himself to human customs and to the mental outlook of His hearers: He anticipates a possible objection from the Jews to the effect that it is not enough for a person to testify in his own cause (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15) and He explains that what He is saying is endorsed by four witnesses--John the Baptist, His own miracles, the Father, and the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament.

John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God (1:34). Although Jesus had no need to have recourse to any man's testimony, not even that of a great prophet, John's testimony was given for the sake of the Jews, that they might recognize the Messiah. Jesus can also point to another testimony, better than that of the Baptist--the miracles He has worked, which are, for anyone who examines them honestly, unmistakable signs of His divine power, which comes from the Father; Jesus' miracles, then, are a form of witness the Father bears concerning His Son, whom He has sent into the world. The Father manifests the divinity of Jesus on other occasions--at His Baptism (cf. 1:31-34); at the Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:1-8), and later, in the presence of the whole crowd (cf. John 12:28-30).

Jesus speaks to another divine testimony--that of the Sacred Scriptures. These speak of Him, but the Jews fail to grasp the Scriptures' true meaning, because they read them without letting themselves be enlightened by Him whom God has sent and in whom all the prophecies are fulfilled: "The economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so orientated that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, Redeemer of all men, and of the Messianic Kingdom (cf. Luke 24:44; John 5:39, 1 Peter 1:10), and should indicate it by means of different types (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11). [...] Christians should accept with veneration these writings which give __expression to a lively sense of God, which are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 15).

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, December 15, 2005

Providing help after birth

[Mary Queen of Angels] offers maternity clothes and practically everything a mother would buy for her child – diapers, clothes, toys, strollers, blankets, bottles, books, furniture and assorted baby equipment.
. . .
The program operates a child-supply center for low-income mothers at 2537 West Clay, next to Safeway Tire Center in St. Charles.
. . .
Churches and social service agencies donate the items. The center is arranged like a retail store, but everything is given away free to income-eligible mothers.
. . .
Mary Queen of Angels is the brainchild of its director, Susan Cooke. The St. Peters mother of four children is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Cottleville.

"I have always been very actively pro-life," said Cooke, 40. "I've picketed at abortion facilities where the women going in will tell us, sure, you want me to keep my baby, but where will you be when I cannot provide for my child? Mary Queen of Angels is my answer to that question."
. . .
Cooke said the program's greatest needs are diapers and monetary donations. . .For more information, call (636) 240-6812 or (636) 634-7243.
Article here.

A donation would be a great way to help out in this courageous pro-life cause.

Catholic News Service Carries Review of "Brokeback Mountain"

While the USCCB's review of "Brokeback Mountain" is not signed by the reviewer, an nearly identical review by one Harry Forbes appeared on the Catholic News Service website.

This is an affront to the Catholic community, most especially since it comes directly from the USCCB or from one of its affiliated organizations. Perhaps, the Holy Father needs to be informed of this moral depravity?

To contact individual bishops, click here.

Don't forget to contact these USCCB Officals:
Bishop William S. Skylstad, President
Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Vice President
Archbishop James P. Keleher, Treasurer
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, Secretary

What does someone who is grounded in reality say about the movie?
"Don't be fooled by Brokeback Mountain's seven Golden Globe nominations. What a sad day in America when a movie that glorifies homosexuality, adultery, dangerous and deadly unprotected anal sex and deception is up for Best Picture of the Year. This anti-family movie sends a very harmful, insidious message to its viewers, cloaked in awards nominations," said Stephen Bennett, host of Straight Talk Radio.
The morally bankrupt Catholic News Service movie review is here.

St Stanislaus To Host Catholic Action Network "2006 Convocation"

The Keynote Speaker, as listed at CAN's Website: Lena Woltering, Call To Action Vice President

Who is Lena Woltering? Catholic Action Network's event flyer (PDF File) says:
Lena Woltering has been active in Church Reform and Social Justice Work for many years. For the last nine years she has been on the Call To Action National Board and currently serves as Vice-President. She was Coordinator of the Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity (FOSIL) for ten years, and served on the State Board of the Illinois Moratorium Project working to abolish capital punishment. She also worked in prison ministry with the Missouri "Residents Encounter Christ" program. She is currently traveling across the country helping reformminded Catholics organize lay synods in their dioceses.
It was only a matter of time before those presumably in charge at St Stanislaus would be embracing other organizations claiming to be Catholic while dissenting from Catholic teachings.

Those who dissent or reject the Church's teachings and authority evidently find solace and support with others who hold similar attitudes and beliefs.

One of the scheduled "workshops" is titled: "Uniquely Catholic: Prophetic & Creative Responses to Hierarchy." This workshop might also be known as "Non Serviam"!

Priest Resigns Post Over Vatican Document

(12-15) 12:13 PST Collegeville, Minn. (AP) --

A priest at St. John's University said he was resigning his leadership position because of the Vatican's latest statement that homosexuals should be barred from entering the Roman Catholic priesthood.

"Because I can no longer honestly represent, explain and defend the church's teaching on homosexuality, I feel I must resign," the Rev. Bob Pierson said in an e-mail Wednesday to administrators and students at St. John's and the nearby College of St. Benedict.
. . .
Pierson, the chaplain and director of campus ministry, said in the e-mail that that he is gay and celibate. He said he did not accept several elements in the Vatican document, including the assertion that homosexuals are "objectively disordered."
If the document contained nothing new, but reiterated the teachings and position of the Church, why did he not resign years ago?


A Long Divorce-St Stanislaus & Archbishop Burke

We have another "wonderfully" inaccurate Letter to the Editor:
A long divorce

Archbishop Raymond Burke's divorce of St. Stanislaus has been going on for a year now.

I like the Rev. Marek Bozek's explanation of why he came to St. Stanislaus. He said he believes he was called by God to help the church in its journey to do God's will, so church members can be with Him in the next life. His statement captured my heart. What is the archbishop afraid of losing if he loses control of St. Stanislaus? I would hope he would embrace the principle of reconciliation. Since most divorces don't, I am skeptical.

John T. Tierney
St. Louis
It's mind boggling that so many persist in perpetuating such a myopic view of this tragedy. Why do so few seem to grasp the fact that it was a group of self-righteous individuals who "divorced" themselves from the Church? Does no one read anymore? Is the English language no longer understood?

Also, while Fr. Bozek may indeed believe he is being called by God to help those who choose to "divorce" themselves from the Church, he is blinded by his own pride. He is unable to properly discern God's will. If he were able to properly understand God's will for him, he would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that obedience to his superiors is God's will for him. Having chosen darkness over the light, he can no longer see clearly. He has apparently chosen to help lead a dissenting faction away from our Lord.

We can only hope and pray that these lost ones may be reconciled before it is too late and the consequences of their actions are revealed to them for all eternity.


Jesuit America Rag (er, Mag) Still in Need of Cleansing

From First Things:
Joseph Bottum writes:

Vetting advertisements for a magazine is always a little tricky. . .Still, there are limits. Take, for example, the ad on page 36 of the December 5 issue of America magazine. No, not the one urging us to “search: deeper” and “plunge into God” by enrolling at Loyola Marymount University, or the one about the College of New Rochelle needing “Assistant Deans (2).” The one, rather, that shows a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, eight and a half inches high, wrapped in a condom. . .

America is “published by Jesuits of the United States,” as it says on the magazine’s masthead, and the issue appeared just in time for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
I suppose it's not too surprising, considering the state of the Church in America today. One only need refer to the USCCB's fascination and qualified endorsement of the film Brokeback Mountain. Awash in moral confusion, should we really be surprised at things such as this?


Belleville Priests Demand Changes from Bishop Braxton

Nearly half the priests in the Diocese of Belleville voted Wednesday to demand changes in the way Bishop Edward K. Braxton is running the diocese.

The 32 priests met at St. Boniface Church in Germantown. They aired an intense, collective concern that Braxton was not listening to them, and thus not serving Southern Illinois' Roman Catholics, according to priests who were there.
More here...

Rep. Michael Corcoran, a Catholic, Attends Planned Parenthood Event

Corcoran, D-St. Ann, is a proud Catholic who could generally be counted on to vote for any legislative effort to discourage abortions.

But here he was, on a cold night last week, joining about a half-dozen legislative colleagues at a Planned Parenthood event - and pledging to the packed house of largely abortion-rights backers that he supports Plan B, the so-called morning-after pill that's now under siege.
Apparently, he is a confused Catholic, in need of a little fraternal correction and education...
Corcoran said later that he wasn't ready to say that he would definitely vote for a bill to protect Plan B. But he wasn't planning to oppose such a measure, either. "A fence-sitter, that's what I'm called," Corcoran said dryly.
Mr. Corcoran seems unable to recall that being a fence-sitter won't help one achieve ones final end... Jesus, Himself, stated
"But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth." (Apoc 3:16)
Clear words from our Lord for those of us who choose to be fence-sitters...
Corcoran, who is in the midst of his second term, says he came simply to get more information on what Plan B was and was not. Afterward, he said: "I'm fully behind Planned Parenthood and their prevention of unintended pregnancies. To me, this is about funding programs to reduce the number of abortions."
Plan B can CAUSE abortions, Mr Corcoran...Consult with your priest or Archbishop Burke if you are confused about your obligation to defend and promote the Culture of Life...

Why would any professed Catholic align himself with an organization which promotes the gruesome dismembering and murdering of innocent children?

Article here

USCCB Review of "Brokeback Mountain"

Faithful Catholics are left wondering about the USCCB's decision to give this film a rating of "L" (Limited Adult Audience) rather than a rating of "O" for "Morally Objectionable"...

Perhaps it can be understood why if we read the the review a little more closely:
As the Catholic Church makes a distinction between homosexual orientation and activity, Ennis and Jack's continuing physical relationship is morally problematic.
It's quite a bit more than "problematic"...It's morally reprehensible and a most serious abomination...what is "problematic" is the USCCB review's failure to speak clearly regarding the serious immorality of acts and attitudes of those in this movie.
The adulterous nature of their affair is another hot-button issue.
Words are supposed to mean something - words are supposed to be used as a means of communication, as a means to promote clarity of thoughts and reality. Adultery is not a "hot button issue" except to those who would promote it as a natural human experience. It is a grave (mortal) sin against God and against ones neighbors...While those who wish to corrupt the truth with special nuancing and wordsmithing may flower their language with terms like "problematic" or "hot button issue", it is inconceivable why such languange is used in a USCCB movie review, unless it is designed, as it seems, to diminish the gravity of sin and promote movies aimed at further destruction of family life and the natural law, let alone Divine Law.

But there is even more:
While the actions [homosexuality, adultery, lust] taken by Ennis and Jack cannot be endorsed, the universal themes of love and loss ring true.
What the reviewer (and apparently, he was unwilling to pen his name to the review) fails to realize and explain is that acts of homosexuality do not, can not, and never will exist under the umbrella of "universal themes of love" - it is not "love" to act on one's unnatural desires. It is not "love" to violate the will of God. It is not "love" to commit adultery. It is not "love" to engage in sodomy. Authentic love is repulsed by sin because it offends God. What we have here, being portrayed as "love", is a love of self and of self-will, an embracing of lust and self-gratification, masquerading as love.

Perhaps this unnamed reviewer should have had his review checked for clarity and doctrinal adherence by the head of the department before posting it...Then again, maybe he did?????

It's sad, but then this is just one more reason among the multitude of reasons which demonstrate why the USCCB has become so irrelevant...

The USCCB review can be read here.

Bishop Niederauer Appointed as Metropolitan Archbishop of San Francisco

VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop George Hugh Niederauer, bishop of Salt Lake City, as metropolitan archbishop of San Francisco (area 2,620, population 1,744,050, Catholics 425,210, priests 425, permanent deacons 62, religious 1,004), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in Los Angeles, U.S.A. in 1936, he was ordained a priest in 1962 and consecrated a bishop in 1995.

Menino's Catholic fallacies

George Weigel weighs in on Boston's Mayor Menino and Cathlic Charities

Gospel for Thursday, 3rd Week of Advent

From: Luke 7:24-30

The Mission of John the Baptist (Continuation)

[24] When the messengers of John had gone, He (Jesus) began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? [25] What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts. [26] What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. [27] This is he of whom it is written, `Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee.' [28] I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he." [29] (When they heard this all the people and the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John; [30] but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)


28. St. John the Baptist is the greatest of the prophets of the Old Testament because he was nearest to Christ and received the unique mission of actually pointing out the Messiah. Still, he belongs to the time of the promise (the Old Testament), when the work of redemption lay in the future. Once Christ did that work (the New Testament), those who faithfully accept God's gift of grace are incomparably greater than the righteous of the Old Covenant who were given, not this grace, but only the promise of it. Once the work of redemption was accomplished God's grace also reached the righteous of the Old Testament, who were waiting for Christ to open Heaven and let them, too, enter.

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, December 14, 2005

Why I Thank God I Couldn’t Be A Priest

Some excerpts from a very good commentary:
SCOTT McDERMOTT National Catholic Register

The Vatican’s new document on the ordination of homosexuals brings it all back.

I sat in the mental hospital for five days, reading Trollope, watching the Nagano Olympics, giving God an earful.

Why me, Lord? Why, when all I wanted was to serve God as his priest?

My desire for priesthood was born out of gratitude for my deliverance from the homosexual lifestyle and from my history of depression. Since my conversion to the Catholic faith in 1992, I had functioned for five years without anti-depressants, and I thought I had mastered my same-sex attractions sufficiently to manage as a priest.

My therapist knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t listen, and unfortunately, the religious community that had accepted me to its novitiate didn’t ask for extensive psychological documentation. Nor did the vocation director probe my struggles with homosexuality and depression in any detail.
. . .
In the debate over the recent Vatican instruction on homosexual candidates for priesthood, many writers have already discussed the need for priests to have a healthy masculinity...But the issue is broader than sexual identity.

Many scientific studies have shown that homosexuals have a much higher incidence of clinical depression, suicidal tendencies, and drug and alcohol addiction than the general public. Scholarly articles proving this point are simply too numerous to list here. In fact, the scientific literature is completely unequivocal on this point.
. . .
In our culture, we have developed the absurd habit of seeing vocation in terms of rights. But “equality before the law” does not mean that everyone is equally capable of fulfilling every role in our society. The priesthood is not an entitlement, it is a calling; God gives some men, and not others, the requisite gifts to live out the priesthood.
. . .
Since my collapse, which was really a conversion experience, I have often reflected on one of the lesser-known sayings of Jesus. “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish’ (Luke 14:28-30).”

I wish I had pondered those words before I began my misguided request for priesthood. And I wish that the instruction on vocations with respect to homosexuality had come out sooner. Thank God we have it now. It will be remembered as one of the most compassionate acts of a merciful pontificate.(emphasis added)
It [the recent Instruction] will be remembered as one of the most compassionate acts of a merciful pontificate. This is worth repeating again and again!

A compelling article with a wonderfully proclaimed truth. We must remember that there is no compassion or love in the act of confirming others in their sins. True love desires that we assist others in getting to heaven..,

The complete article (and well worth the time to read) is here.

Persistent Reverend; Wellington OKs Nativity Display

And another from the Thomas More Law Center:
ANN ARBOR, MI. – For the last four years during the Christmas season, the Village of Wellington, Florida has displayed a menorah but no nativity. Undaunted by the failure of Wellington officials to take up his written request for a nativity display last year, Reverend Tim Buamgartner of the Palm Beach Worship Center again made his request, this time with the help of the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Reverend’s persistence paid off. Although Village officials had initially indicated there would be no nativity added to the menorah this year, but would take up the issue in 2006, the Reverend’s appearance on the O’Reilly Factor brought national attention to Wellington.

On Tuesday, the Village Council unanimously voted to include a nativity alongside the menorah. More than 200 residents, most in favor of the nativity, packed the community center. They heard the Reverend’s message of inclusion, “Scrooges (ACLU) are trying to steal Christmas from our nation and community,” he said. “Leave up the menorah, recognize our wonderful Jewish community . …. but put up the nativity. It is Christmas time in America”.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented,
“In many communities across America, officials feel that if they are going to put up any religious display celebrating the holiday season, they are legally compelled to put up either a nativity display or a menorah display, but not both. The primary reason for this confusion is a series of incoherent Supreme Court cases dealing with religious displays which have the unfortunate effect of pitting one religion against another.”
Law Center trial counsel Edward L. White III spoke to the Village attorney and sent a letter to Village officials requesting, that they either add a nativity scene to their display of a menorah and evergreen tree or permit Rev. Bumgardner, himself, to place a nativity next to the menorah and tree. Mr. White explained that the menorah is a religious symbol and is the principal symbol of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The evergreen tree, however, is a secular symbol and is not the principal symbol of the Christian holiday of Christmas.

Mr. White explained that the nativity scene is the principal symbol of Christmas and it must be added next to the menorah and tree so that the Christian faith is properly represented in the Village’s display. Mr. White concluded by noting that the absence of the nativity scene from the Village’s display demonstrated hostility toward Christians, which the United States Constitution forbids.

At the Tuesday’s Village Council meeting, Thomas More Law Center affiliate attorney Dina Cellini and Rev. Bumgardner advanced these arguments when they addressed the Village Council.

Mt. Soledad Cross Case Reaches California Court of Appeal

From the Thomas More Law Center:
RANCHO SANTA FE, CA – A sixteen-year legal battle over the presence of a concrete cross surrounded by a veterans war memorial atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, California is moving on to the California Court of Appeal.

San Diegans for the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial, a community group which garnered 76 per cent of the vote in their successful ballot proposition requiring the City of San Diego to donate the property under the cross to the federal government, has appealed the Superior Court order that found the ballot measure unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Rancho Santa Fe attorney Charles LiMandri, Director of the west coast office of the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm, is representing the community group, its chairman, members of the Memorial Association, and the sons of the late contractor who built the cross in 1954. All have joined together to preserve the memorial and cross.

The cross has been the subject of a 1989 federal lawsuit filed by atheist Philip Paulson. In 1991, Federal District Court Judge Gordon Thompson ruled that the stand-alone cross on City-owned property violated the California Constitution.

However, since 2000 the cross has become the centerpiece of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.

In December 2004, the United States Congress designated the Memorial a national veterans memorial and authorized the Department of the Interior to accept a donation of the property. Supporters of the Memorial believed that a transfer of the property to the federal government was the best hope for maintaining the cross as its centerpiece in the face of continued legal challenges by Paulson.

Despite widespread popular support for the cross to remain, as it is where it is, the San Diego City Council declined to make the donation. A grass roots movement to overturn the City Council action was spearheaded by a religiously diverse group of local citizens, “San Diegans the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial.” More than 100,000 County residents signed the group’s petition calling on the Council to reverse its position.

As a result, the Council Proposition A, which authorized the donation, was placed on the July 2005 special election ballot. Prop A passed with more than 76% of the vote.

Before the vote on Prop A, attorneys for Paulson filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to stop the election. Initially, San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Yim Cowett allowed the vote to take place (although she ordered that Prop A had to receive a supermajority of 66% of the vote in order to pass).

However, after the election, Judge Cowett ruled that Prop A was unconstitutional under California Constitution which prohibits aid to religious purposes, and discrimination against or preference for religion.

Astoundingly, Judge Cowett also found representation of the City by an attorney associated with the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian public interest law firm, was an unconstitutional “entanglement” of the City government with religion.

Charles LiMandri, director of the Thomas More Law Center’s west coast regional office, said, “As far as we know, this is the first court in the nation to hold that it is unconstitutional for Christian lawyers to represent government entities. That really underscores this judge’s anti-Christian bias.”

LiMandri filed a motion to vacate Judge Cowett’s ruling on behalf of his clients. Judge Cowett refused to even consider their motion. Filing the motion, however, gave them standing to appeal.

Newly elected San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has announced publicly that the City will also appeal Judge Cowett’s order and commended LiMandri for his pro bono work on behalf of the City in the state court case.

Costco Fires Catholic Who Denied Knights of Columbus Hall for Lesbian "Marriage

Man Struggling to Support Three Small Children Faces Loss of Home Exclusive

PORT COQUITLAM, BC, November 30, 2005 ( - A member of the Knights of Columbus who is in charge of renting the fraternity's hall for weddings and other events alleges he was fired from his day job at Costco for his involvement in denying two lesbians the facility for their same-sex "wedding." The human rights case in which the lesbian couple successfully sued the Knights of Columbus over the denial of the hall made international headlines. (see coverage: )


David Hauser told in an exclusive interview that Tracey Smith, one of the lesbians involved in the human rights complaint against the Knights, was also a co-worker of his at Costco. Hauser related that Smith and many of the management at the Port Coquitlam warehouse were openly homosexual. He related that for months before Smith and her same-sex partner approached his wife for the hall rental, these same individuals had been asking him about his involvement with the hall, and knew that he was in charge of bookings.
The complete article is here.

Alleged pope incarnate excommunicated

Sect leader Edwin Gonzalez Concepcion and his followers can no longer receive communion or participate in church activities, according to the order issued by Mayaguez Bishop Ulises Casiano Vargas.

Gonzalez, a former firefighter in the town of Aguada, has told his followers that he became a manifestation of John Paul when the pope died in April and that Pope Benedict XVI is the "antichrist," according to the order, which priests in the diocese read to their congregations Sunday.
. . .
The bishop also alleged that another sect leader, Gladys Miranda, claims she is the Virgin Mary...
Drugs? Contaminated water supply? Possession?

Article here.

San Bernardino Diocese Tries Priest on Heresy, Schism Charges

In a rare move reminiscent of medieval times, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino convened a secret tribunal against a Riverside priest Tuesday after charging him with heresy and schism.
That's right...the actual use of the Code of Canon Law subjects one to the ridicule of being "medieval"...I would imagine that anyone who wishes to invoke the any of the rights of our Bill of Rights should then, in all fairness, be labeled as "backward" and "so eighteenth century"...?
Meeting at diocesan headquarters in San Bernardino, the tribunal took up the case against the Rev. Ned Reidy, 69, who said he left the Roman Catholic Church five years ago and formed his own parish near Palm Desert. The parish later affiliated with a new denomination that holds services resembling those of the Roman Catholic Church but rejects the authority of the pope, mandatory priestly celibacy, and prohibitions against blessing same-sex unions and ordaining women.
. . .
Reidy said that in advertising and Sunday bulletins, he makes it clear that his new parish, the Pathfinder Community of the Risen Christ in Bermuda Dunes, near Palm Desert, is not a Roman Catholic parish, even though it follows traditional liturgies and holds to the church's seven sacraments.

"I have never left the priesthood. I am a Catholic priest of a different face of Catholicism," he said. "I'm no longer a Roman, but [I'm] more Catholic than ever."
Of course you are!


Gospel for Dec 14, Memorial: St. John of the Cross, Priest & Doctor of the Church

From: Luke 7:18b-23

The Mission of John the Baptist

[18b] The disciples of John (the Baptist) told him of all these things. [19] And John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, "Are You He who is to come, or shall we look for another?" [20] And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, `Are You He who is to come, or shall we look for another?'" [21] In that hour He cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind He bestowed sight. [22] And He answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. [23] And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me."


18-23. "It was not out of ignorance that John enquired about Christ's coming in the flesh, for he had already clearly professed his belief, saying, `I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God' (John 1:34). That is why he does not ask, `Are You He who has come?' but rather, `Are You He who is to come?' thus asking about the future, not about the past. Nor should we think that the Baptist did not know about Christ's future passion, for it was John who said, `Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world' (John 1:29), thus foretelling His future immolation, which other prophets had already foretold, particularly Isaiah (chapter 53) [...]. It can also be replied, with St. John Chrysostom, that John made this enquiry not from doubt or ignorance, but because he wished his disciples to be satisfied on this point by Christ. Therefore, Christ gave His reply to instruct these disciples, by pointing to the evidence of His miracles (verse 22)" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae", II-II, q. 2, a. 7 ad 2).

22. In His reply to these disciples of John the Baptist, Jesus points to the miracles He has worked, which show that he has investigated the Kingdom of God; He is, therefore, the promised Messiah. Along with miracles, one of the signs of the coming of the Kingdom is the preaching of salvation to the poor. On the meaning of "the poor", see the notes on Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20 and 6:24.

Following the Lord's example, the Church has always taken special care of those in need. In our own time the Popes have stressed time and again the duties of Christians in regard to poverty caused by man's injustice to man: "Selfishness and domination are permanent temptations for men. Likewise an ever finer discernment is needed, in order to strike at the roots of newly arising situations of injustice and to establish progressively a justice which will be less and less imperfect [...]. The Church directs her attention to these new `poor'--the handicapped, the maladjusted, the old, various groups on the fringe of society--in order to recognize them, help them, defend their place and dignity in a society hardened by competition and the attraction of success" (Paul VI, "Octogesima Adveniens", 15).

23. These words refer to the same thing Simeon prophesied about when he referred to Christ as a sign that is spoken against, a sign of contradiction (cf. Luke 2:34). People who reject our Lord, who are scandalized by Him, will not reach Heaven.


Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the aculty 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, December 13, 2005

Some Quotes from the New CDW Secretary

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith was named Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship recently by Pope Benedict XVI...Here are some snips from his Commentary on the Instruction Redmptionis Sacramentum that he wrote last year.
At this point, I believe we need a preliminary evaluation of what, in a certain sense, has deviated the process of post-conciliar and especially liturgical reform.

The Council was a marvellous opportunity to prepare the Church for what awaited her in the contemporary world. Her spiritual renewal and overall reinvigoration could have become the impetus for a new epoch of evangelization. Modern developments offered immense opportunities; but things went differently.

One wonders why it is that the Church was unable to make the most of the fruits of the Council for a full reawakening of ecclesial faith. Indeed, people appeared who interpreted the Council Documents as a justification for counter-reformist attitudes, that is, the attitudes of those who took the reform to be a relaxation of regulations, which only weakened the Church and took her backwards. Pope Paul VI complained that certain people exploited one or other Council teaching to "impede evangelization" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 80).

I think that the general problem was an erroneous idea of the purpose of the Council. Indeed, speaking of the conciliar reforms, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger says: "The [Council] Fathers wanted to update the faith, indeed, to present it with its full impact. Instead, people gradually formed the idea that the reform consisted merely of throwing out the ballast, in other words, of divesting it so that in the end the reform did not appear to radicalize the faith but to dilute it" (Il Sale della Terra, p. 86).

This erroneous attitude gave rise to theological schools which, by down-playing the importance of Tradition and the ecclesial Magisterium in theological direction and research, have advanced confusing opinions,

The same situation has more or less plagued sacramental and especially Eucharistic theology. New approaches of certain other theological disciplines, such as those concerning ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, have influenced events. These bewildering theological opinions on the nature of the sacrament have subsequently given rise to not a few problems.
It is therefore regrettable that one encounters in theological circles reductive interpretations of the greatness and deep significance of the sacrament.

Some people, forgetful of its essentially sacrificial aspect, reduce it to a fraternal banquet. Some confuse the separate role of the ministerial priesthood with the common role, reducing Holy Mass to community prayers over which the priest presides; some also no longer believe in the continual presence of the Lord, and behave inappropriately during and after Mass.

Such attitudes have contributed to weakening the Eucharistic faith of a great number of our faithful and to causing this serious crisis concerning the central place of the Eucharist.
More here.

New Bishop for Marquette, MI

VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Alexander King Sample of the clergy of Marquette, U.S.A., diocesan chancellor, as bishop of the same diocese (area 42,152, population 317,616, Catholics 68,360, priests 100, permanent deacons 28, religious 70). The bishop-elect was born in Kalispell, U.S.A. in 1960 and ordained as a priest in 1990. He succeeds Bishop James Henry Garland, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Gospel for Dec 13, Memorial: St. Lucy, Virgin & Martyr

From: Matthew 21:28-32

The Parable of the Two Sons

(Jesus told the chief priests and the elders,) [28] "What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' [29] And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterwards he repented and went. [30] And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. [31] Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. [32] For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.


32. St. John the Baptist had shown the way to sanctification by proclaiming the imminence of the Kingdom of God and by preaching conversion. The scribes and Pharisees would not believe him, yet they boasted of their faithfulness to God's teaching. They were like the son who says "I will go" and then does not go; the tax collectors and prostitutes who repented and corrected the course of their lives will enter the Kingdom before them: they are like the other son who says "I will not", but then does go. Our Lord stresses that penance and conversion can set people on the road to holiness even if they have been living apart from God for a long time.

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, December 12, 2005

Both scientists and physicians know....that human embryos are alive and human

Whether or not embryos should be cloned and then and destroyed for their stem cells has been one of the hottest issues in science this year. MercatorNet asked James Sherley, an associate professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to give his views.

MercatorNet: Professor Sherley, you have been outspoken in your opposition to therapeutic cloning. What’s wrong with destroying a human embryo, especially if this research might benefit people with terrible diseases?

James Sherley: Despite the confusion that some like to create on the questions of “are embryos human beings?” and “when does a human life begin?”, both scientists and physicians know very well that human embryos are alive and human. A human life begins when a diploid complement of human DNA is initiated to begin human development. Therefore, a life can be initiated by the fusion of sperm and egg or by the introduction of a diploid nucleus into an enucleated egg (ie, “cloning”).

Given that embryos are human beings, they have a right to self and a right to life. Exploiting their parts (ie, cells) or killing them for research is moral trespass that society should not allow. Even if the research might, and let’s be clear, might benefit others, this trespass is not justified.

Gospel for Dec 12, Feast: Our Lady of Guadalupe

From: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation and Incarnation of the Son of God

[26] In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, [27] to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" [29] But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. [30] And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. [32] He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, [33] and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end." [34] And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" [35] And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. [36] And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. [37] For with God nothing will be impossible." [38] And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


26-38. Here we contemplate our Lady who was "enriched from the first instant of her conception with the splendor of an entirely unique holiness; [...] the virgin of Nazareth is hailed by the heralding angel, by divine command, as `full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28), and to the heavenly messenger she replies, `Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38). Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God, became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly to God's saving will and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with Him, serving the mystery of Redemption, by the grace of Almighty God. Rightly, therefore, the Fathers (of the Church) see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 56).

The annunciation to Mary and incarnation of the Word constitute the deepest mystery of the relationship between God and men and the most important event in the history of mankind: God becomes man, and will remain so forever, such is the extent of His goodness and mercy and love for all of us. And yet on the day when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity assumed frail human nature in the pure womb of the Blessed Virgin, it all happened quietly, without fanfare of any kind.

St. Luke tells the story in a very simple way. We should treasure these words of the Gospel and use them often, for example, practising the Christian custom of saying the Angelus every day and reflecting on the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

27. God chose to be born of a virgin; centuries earlier He disclosed this through the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23). God, "before all ages made choice of, and set in her proper place, a mother for His only-begotten Son from whom He, after being made flesh, should be born in the blessed fullness of time: and He continued His persevering regard for her in preference to all other creatures, to such a degree that for her alone He had singular regard" (Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus," 2). This privilege granted to our Lady of being a virgin and a mother at the same time is a unique gift of God. This was the work of the Holy Spirit "who at the conception and the birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity" ("St. Pius V Catechism," I, 4, 8). Paul VI reminds us of this truth of faith: "We believe that the Blessed Mary, who ever enjoys the dignity of virginity, was the Mother of the incarnate Word, of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" ("Creed of the People of God", 14).

Although many suggestions have been made as to what the name Mary means, most of the best scholars seem to agree that Mary means "lady". However, no single meaning fully conveys the richness of the name.

28. "Hail, full of grace": literally the Greek text reads "Rejoice!", obviously referring to the unique joy over the news which the angel is about to communicate.

"Full of grace": by this unusual form of greeting the archangel reveals Mary's special dignity and honor. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church "taught that this singular, solemn and unheard-of-greeting showed that all the divine graces reposed in the Mother of God and that she was adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit", which meant that she "was never subject to the curse", that is, was preserved from all sin. These words of the archangel in this text constitute one of the sources which reveal the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus"; Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God").

"The Lord is with you!": these words are not simply a greeting ("the Lord be with you") but an affirmation ("the Lord is with you"), and they are closely connected with the Incarnation. St. Augustine comments by putting these words on the archangel's lips: "He is more with you than He is with me: He is in your heart, He takes shape within you, He fills your soul, He is in your womb" ("Sermo De Nativitate Domini", 4).

Some important Greek manuscripts and early translations add at the end of the verse: "Blessed are you among women!", meaning that God will exalt Mary over all women. She is more excellent than Sarah, Hannah, Deborah, Rachel, Judith, etc., for only she has the supreme honor of being chosen to be the Mother of God.

29-30. Our Lady is troubled by the presence of the archangel and by the confusion truly humble people experience when they receive praise.

30. The Annunciation is the moment when our Lady is given to know the vocation which God planned for her from eternity. When the archangel sets her mind at ease by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary," he is helping her to overcome that initial fear which a person normally experiences when God gives him or her a special calling. The fact that Mary felt this fear does not imply the least trace of imperfection in her: hers is a perfectly natural reaction in the face of the supernatural. Imperfection would arise if one did not overcome this fear or rejected the advice of those in a position to help--as St. Gabriel helped Mary.

31-33. The archangel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is to be the Mother of God by reminding her of the words of Isaiah which announced that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, a prophecy which will find its fulfillment in Mary (cf. Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).

He reveals that the Child will be "great": His greatness comes from His being God, a greatness He does not lose when He takes on the lowliness of human nature. He also reveals that Jesus will be the king of the Davidic dynasty sent by God in keeping with His promise of salvation; that His Kingdom will last forever, for His humanity will remain forever joined to His divinity; that "He will be called Son of the Most High", that is that He really will be the Son of the Most High and will be publicly recognized as such, that is, the Child will be the Son of God.

The archangel's announcement evokes the ancient prophecies which foretold these prerogatives. Mary, who was well-versed in Sacred Scripture, clearly realized that she was to be the Mother of God.

34-38. Commenting on this passage John Paul II said: "`Virgo fidelis', the faithful Virgin. What does this faithfulness of Mary mean? What are the dimensions of this faithfulness? The first dimension is called search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to seek the deep sense of God's plan in her and for the world. `Quomodo fiet?' How shall this be?, she asked the Angel of the Annunciation [...]."

"The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance. The `quomodo fiet?' is changed, on Mary's lips, to a `fiat': Let it be done, I am ready, I accept. This is the crucial moment of faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never completely understand the `how': that there are in God's plan more areas of mystery than of clarity; that is, however he may try, he will never succeed in understanding it completely[...]."

"The third dimension of faithfulness is consistency to live in accordance with what one believes; to adapt one's own life to the object of one's adherence. To accept misunderstanding, persecutions, rather than a break between what one practises and what one believes: this is consistency[...]."

"But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting test, that of duration. Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole 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 City Cathedral", 26 January 1979).

34. Mary believed in the archangel's words absolutely; she did not doubt as Zechariah had done (cf. 1:18). Her question, "How can this be?", expresses her readiness to obey the will of God even though at first sight it implied a contradiction: on the one hand, she was convinced that God wished her to remain a virgin; on the other, here was God also announcing that she would become a mother. The archangel announces God's mysterious design, and what had seemed impossible, according to the laws of nature, is explained by a unique intervention on the part of God.

Mary's resolution to remain a virgin was certainly something very unusual, not in line with the practice of righteous people under the Old Covenant, for, as St. Augustine explains, "particularly attentive to the propagation and growth of the people of God, through whom the Prince and Savior of the world might be prophesied and be born, the saints were obliged to make use of the good of matrimony" ("De Bono Matrimonii", 9, 9). However, in the Old Testament, there were some who, in keeping with God's plan, did remain celibate--for example, Jeremiah, Elijah, Eliseus and John the Baptist. The Blessed Virgin, who received a very special inspiration of the Holy Spirit to practise virginity, is a first-fruit of the New Testament, which will establish the excellence of virginity over marriage while not taking from the holiness of the married state, which it raises to the level of a sacrament (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 48).

35. The "shadow" is a symbol of the presence of God. When Israel was journeying through the wilderness, the glory of God filled the Tabernacle and a cloud covered the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:34-36). And when God gave Moses the tablets of the Law, a cloud covered Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:15-16); and also, at the Transfiguration of Jesus the voice of God the Father was heard coming out of a cloud (Luke 9:35).

At the moment of the Incarnation the power of God envelops our Lady--an ___expression of God's omnipotence. The Spirit of God--which, according to the account in Genesis (1:2), moved over the face of the waters, bringing things to life--now comes down on Mary. And the fruit of her womb will be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary, who herself was conceived without any stain of sin (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus") becomes, after the Incarnation, a new tabernacle of God. This is the mystery we recall every day when saying the Angelus.

38. Once she learns of God's plan, our Lady yields to God's will with prompt obedience, unreservedly. She realizes the disproportion between what she is going to become--the Mother of God--and what she is--a woman. However, this is what God wants to happen and for Him nothing is impossible; therefore no one should stand in His way. So Mary, combining humility and obedience, responds perfectly to God's call: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done according to your word."

"At the enchantment of this virginal phrase, the Word became flesh" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", first joyful mystery). From the pure body of Mary, God shaped a new body, He created a soul out of nothing, and the Son of God united Himself with this body and soul: prior to this He was only God; now He is still God but also man. Mary is now the Mother of God. This truth is a dogma of faith, first defined by the Council of Ephesus (431). At this point she also begins to be the spiritual Mother of all mankind. What Christ says when He is dying--`Behold, your son..., behold, your mother" (John 19:26-27)--simply promulgates what came about silently at Nazareth. "With her generous `fiat' (Mary) became, through the working of the Spirit, the Mother of God, but also the Mother of the living, and, by receiving into her womb the one Mediator, she became the true Ark of the Covenant and true Temple of God" (Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 6).

The Annunciation shows us the Blessed Virgin as perfect model of "purity" (the RSV "I have no husband" is a euphemism); of "humility" ("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord"); of "candor" and "simplicity" ("How can this be?"); of "obedience" and "lively faith" ("Let it be done to me according to your word"). "Following her example of obedience to God, we can learn to serve delicately without being slavish. In Mary, we don't find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish virgins, who obey, but thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to what God wants, ponders what she doesn't fully understand and asks about what she doesn't know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the divine will: `Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word'. Isn't that marvellous? The Blessed Virgin, our teacher in all we do, shows us here that obedience to God is not servile, does not bypass our conscience. We should be inwardly moved to discover the `freedom of the children of God' (cf. Romans 8:21)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 173).


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.