Saturday, December 24, 2005

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccáta mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.
Quoniam to solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. Tu solus Altissimus.
Iesu Christe. Cum Sancto Spiritu + in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Gospel of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

From: John 1:1-18


[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God; [3] all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] He came for testimony to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. [8] He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

[9] The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. [11] He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. [12] But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

[14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the father. [15] (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'") [16] And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. [17] For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. [18] No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.


1-18. These verses form the prologue or introduction to the Fourth Gospel; they are a poem prefacing the account of Jesus Christ's life on earth, proclaiming and praising his divinity and eternity. Jesus is the uncreated Word, God the Only-begotten, who takes on our human condition and offers us the opportunity to become sons and daughters of God, that is, to share in God's own life in a real and supernatural way.

Right through his Gospel St John the Apostle lays special emphasis on our Lord's divinity; his existence did not begin when he became man in Mary's virginal womb: before that he existed in divine eternity as Word, one in substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This luminous truth helps us understand everything that Jesus says and does as reported in the Fourth Gospel.

St John's personal experience of Jesus' public ministry and his appearances after the Resurrection were the material on which he drew to contemplate God's divinity and express it as "the Word of God". By placing this poem as a prologue to his Gospel, the Apostle is giving us a key to understand the whole account which follows, in the same sort of way as the first chapters of the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke initiate us into the contemplation of the life of Christ by telling us about the virgin birth and other episodes to do with his infancy; in structure and content, however, they are more akin to the opening passages of other NT books, such as Col 1:15-20, Eph 1:13-14 and 1 Jn 1-4.

The prologue is a magnificent hymn in praise of Christ. We do not know whether St John composed it when writing his Gospel, or whether he based it on some existing liturgical hymn; but there is no trace of any such text in other early Christian documents.

The prologue is very reminiscent of the first chapter of Genesis, on a number of scores: 1) the opening words are the same: "In the beginning..."; in the Gospel they refer to absolute beginning, that is, eternity, whereas in Genesis they mean the beginning of Creation and time; 2) there is a parallelism in the role of the Word: in Genesis, God creates things by his word ("And God said ..."); in the Gospel we are told that they were made through the Word of God; 3) in Genesis, God's work of creation reaches its peak when he creates man in his own image and likeness; in the Gospel, the work of the Incarnate Word culminates when man is raised--by a new creation, as it were--to the dignity of being a son of God.

The main teachings in the prologue are: 1) the divinity and eternity of the Word; 2) the Incarnation of the Word and his manifestation as man; 3) the part played by the Word in creation and in the salvation of mankind; 4) the different ways in which people react to the coming of the Lord--some accepting him with faith, others rejecting him; 5) finally, John the Baptist bears witness to the presence of the Word in the world.

The Church has always given special importance to this prologue; many Fathers and ancient Christian writers wrote commentaries on it, and for centuries it was always read at the end of Mass for instruction and meditation.

The prologue is poetic in style. Its teaching is given in verses, which combine to make up stanzas (vv. 1-5; 6-8; 9-13; 14-18). Just as a stone dropped in a pool produces ever widening ripples, so the idea expressed in each stanza tends to be expanded in later verses while still developing the original theme. This kind of exposition was much favored in olden times because it makes it easier to get the meaning across-- and God used it to help us go deeper into the central mysteries of our faith.

1. The sacred text calls the Son of God "the Word." The following comparison may help us understand the notion of "Word": just as a person becoming conscious of himself forms an image of himself in his mind, in the same way God the Father on knowing himself begets the eternal Word. This Word of God is singular, unique; no other can exist because in him is expressed the entire essence of God. Therefore, the Gospel does not call him simply "Word", but "the Word." Three truths are affirmed regarding the Word--that he is eternal, that he is distinct from the Father, and that he is God. ''Affirming that he existed in the beginning is equivalent to saying that he existed before all things" (St Augustine, "De Trinitate", 6, 2). Also, the text says that he was with God, that is, with the Father, which means that the person of the Word is distinct from that of the Father and yet the Word is so intimately related to the Father that he even shares his divine nature: he is one in substance with the Father (cf. "Nicean Creed").

To mark the Year of Faith (1967-1968) Pope Paul VI summed up this truth concerning the most Holy Trinity in what is called the "Creed of the People of God" (n. 11) in these words: "We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. He is the eternal Word, born of the Father before time began, and one in substance with the Father, "homoousios to Patri", and through him all things were made. He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was made man: equal therefore to the Father according to his divinity, and inferior to the Father according to his humanity and himself one, not by some impossible confusion of his natures, but by the unity of his person."

"In the beginning": "what this means is that he always was, and that he is eternal. [...] For if he is God, as indeed he is, there is nothing prior to him; if he is creator of all things, then he is the First; if he is Lord of all, then everything comes after him--created things and time" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St John", 2, 4).

3. After showing that the Word is in the bosom of the Father, the prologue goes on to deal with his relationship to created things. Already in the Old Testament the Word of God is shown as a creative power (cf. Is 55:10-11), as Wisdom present at the creation of the world (cf. Prov 8:22-26). Now Revelation is extended: we are shown that creation was caused by the Word; this does not mean that the Word is an instrument subordinate and inferior to the Father: he is an active principle along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The work of creation is an activity common to the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity: "the Father generating, the Son being born, the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial, co-equal, co-omnipotent and co-eternal; one origin of all things: the creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporal." (Fourth Lateran Council, "De Fide Catholica", Dz-Sch, 800). From this can be deduced, among other things, the hand of the Trinity in the work of creation and, therefore, the fact that all created things are basically good.

4. The prologue now goes on to expound two basic truths about the Word--that he is Life and that he is Light. The Life referred to here is divine life, the primary source of all life, natural and supernatural. And that Life is the light of men, for from God we receive the light of reason, the light of truth and the light of glory, which are a participation in God's mind. Only a rational creature is capable of having knowledge of God in this world and of later contemplating him joyfully in heaven for all eternity. Also the Life (the Word) is the light of men because he brings them out of the darkness of sin and error (cf. Is 8:23; 9:1-2; Mt 4:15-16; Lk 1:74). Later on Jesus will say: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12; cf. 12:46).

Vv. 3 and 4 can be read with another punctuation, now generally abandoned but which had its supporters in ancient times: "All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made; in so far as anything was made in him, he was the life and the life was the light of men." This reading would suggest that everything that has been created is life in the Word, that is, that all things receive their being and activity, their life, through the Word: without him they cannot possibly exist.

5. "And the darkness has not overcome it": the original Greek verb, given in Latin as "comprehenderunt", means to embrace or contain as if putting one's arms around it--an action which can be done with good dispositions (a friendly embrace) or with hostility (the action of smothering or crushing someone). So there are two possible translations: the former is that given in the Navarre Spanish, the latter that in the RSV. The RSV option would indicate that Christ and the Gospel continue to shine among men despite the world's opposition, indeed overcoming "it", as Jesus later says: "Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33; cf. 12:31; 1 Jn 5:4). Either way, the verse expresses the darkness' resistance to, repugnance for, the light. As his Gospel proceeds, St John explains further about the light and darkness: soon, in vv. 9-11, he refers to the struggle between them; later he will describe evil and the powers of the evil one, as a darkness enveloping man's mind and preventing him from knowing God (cf. Jn 12:15-46; 1 Jn 5:6).

St Augustine ("In Ioann. Evang.", 1, 19) comments on this passage as follows: "But, it may be, the dull hearts of some cannot yet receive this light. Their sins weigh them down, and they cannot discern it. Let them not think, however, that, because they cannot discern it, therefore it is not present with them. For they themselves, because of their sins, are darkness. Just as if you place a blind person in the sunshine, although the sun is present to him, yet he is absent from the sun; in the same way, every foolish man, every unrighteous man, every ungodly man, is blind in heart. [...] What course then ought such a one to take? Let him cleanse the eyes of his heart, that he may be able to see God. He will see Wisdom, for God is Wisdom itself, and it is written: 'Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.'" There is no doubt that sin obscures man's spiritual vision, rendering him unable to see and enjoy the things of God.

6-8. After considering the divinity of the Lord, the text moves on to deal with his incarnation, and begins by speaking of John the Baptist, who makes his appearance at a precise point in history to bear direct witness before man to Jesus Christ (Jn 1:15, 19-36; 3:22ff). As St Augustine comments: "For as much as he [the Word Incarnate] was man and his Godhead was concealed, there was sent before him a great man, through whose testimony He might be found to be more than man" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 2, 5).

All of the Old Testament was a preparation for the coming of Christ. Thus, the patriarchs and prophets announced, in different ways, the salvation the Messiah would bring. But John the Baptist, the greatest of those born of woman (cf. Mt 11:11), was actually able to point out the Messiah himself; his testimony marked the culmination of all the previous prophecies.

So important is John the Baptist's mission to bear witness to Jesus Christ that the Synoptic Gospels stage their account of the public ministry with John's testimony. The discourses of St Peter and St Paul recorded in the Acts of the Apostles also refer to this testimony (Acts 1:22; 10:37; 12:24). The Fourth Gospel mentions it as many as seven times (1:6, 15, 19, 29, 35; 3:27; 5:33). We know, of course, that St John the Apostle was a disciple of the Baptist before becoming a disciple of Jesus, and that it was precisely the Baptist who showed him the way to Christ (cf. 1 :37ff).

The New Testament, then, shows us the importance of the Baptist's mission, as also his own awareness that he is merely the immediate Precursor of the Messiah, whose sandals he is unworthy to untie (cf. Mk 1:7): the Baptist stresses his role as witness to Christ and his mission as preparer of the way for the Messiah (cf. Lk 1:15-17; Mt 3: 3-12). John the Baptist's testimony is undiminished by time: he invites people in every generation to have faith in Jesus, the true Light.

9. "The true light..." [The Spanish translation of this verse is along these lines: "It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world."] The Fathers, early translations and most modern commentators see "the Word" as being the subject of this sentence, which could therefore be translated as "the Word was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world...". Another interpretation favored by many modern scholars makes "the light" the subject, in which case it would read "the true light existed, which enlightens...". Either way, the meaning is much the same.

"Coming into the world": it is not clear in the Greek whether these words refer to "the light", or to "every man". In the first case it is the Light (the Word) that is coming into this world to enlighten all men; in the second it is the men who, on coming into this world, on being born, are enlightened by the Word; the RSV and the new Vulgate opt for the first interpretation.

The Word is called "the true light" because he is the original light from which every other light or revelation of God derives. By the Word's coming, the world is fully lit up by the authentic Light. The prophets and all the other messengers of God, including John the Baptist, were not the true light but his reflection, attesting to the Light of the Word.

A propos the fullness of light which the Word is, St John Chrysostom asks: "If he enlightens every man who comes into the world, how is it that so many have remained unenlightened? For not all, to be sure, have recognized the high dignity of Christ. How, then, does he enlighten every man? As much as he is permitted to do so. But if some, deliberately closing the eyes of their minds, do not wish to receive the beams of this light, darkness is theirs. This is not because of the nature of the light, but is a result of the wickedness of men who deliberately deprive themselves of the gift of grace (Hom. on St. John, 8, 1).

10. The Word is in this world as the maker who controls what he has made (cf. St Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 2, 10). In St John's Gospel the term "world" means "all creation, all created things (including all mankind)": thus, Christ came to save all mankind: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:16-17). But insofar as many people have rejected the Light, that is, rejected Christ, "world" also means everything opposed to God (cf. Jn 17:14-15). Blinded by their sins, men do not recognize in the world the hand of the Creator (cf. Rom 1:18-20; Wis 13:1-15): "they become attached to the world and relish only the things that are of the world" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St John", 7). But the Word, "the true light", comes to show us the truth about the world (cf. Jn 1:3; 18:37) and to save us.

11. "his own home, his own people": this means, in the first place, the Jewish people, who were chosen by God as his own personal "property", to be the people from whom Christ would be born. It can also mean all mankind, for mankind is also his: he created it and his work of redemption extends to everyone. So the reproach that they did not receive the Word made man should be understood as addressed not only to the Jews but to all those who rejected God despite his calling them to be his friends: "Christ came; but by a mysterious and terrible misfortune, not everyone accepted him. [...] It is the picture of humanity before us today, after twenty centuries of Christianity. How did this happen? What shall we say? We do not claim to fathom a reality immersed in mysteries that transcend us--the mystery of good and evil. But we can recall that the economy of Christ, for its light to spread, requires a subordinate but necessary cooperation on the part of man--the cooperation of evangelization, of the apostolic and missionary Church. If there is still work to be done, it is all the more necessary for everyone to help her" (Paul VI, General Audience, 4 December 1974).

12. Receiving the Word means accepting him through faith, for it is through faith that Christ dwells in our hearts (cf. Eph 3:17). Believing in his name means believing in his Person, in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. In other words, "those who believe in his name are those who fully hold the name of Christ, not in any way lessening his divinity or his humanity" (St Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St John, in loc.").

"He gave power [to them]" is the same as saying "he gave them a free gift"--sanctifying grace--"because it is not in our power to make ourselves sons of God" ("ibid."). This gift is extended through Baptism to everyone, whatever his race, age, education etc. (cf. Acts 10:45; Gal 3:28). The only condition is that we have faith.

"The Son of God became man", St Athanasius explains, "in order that the sons of men, the sons of Adam, might become sons of God. [...] He is the Son of God by nature; we, by grace" ("De Incarnatione Contra Arrianos"). What is referred to here is birth to supernatural life: in which "Whether they be slaves or freemen, whether Greeks or barbarians or Scythians, foolish or wise, female or male, children or old men, honorable or without honor, rich or poor, rulers or private citizens, all, he meant, would merit the same honor. [...] Such is the power of faith in him; such the greatness of his grace" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St John", 10, 2).

"Christ's union with man is power and the source of power, as St John stated so incisively in the prologue of his Gospel: '(The Word) gave power to become children of God.' Man is transformed inwardly by this power as the source of a new life that does not disappear and pass away but lasts to eternal life (cf. Jn 4:14)" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 18).

13. The birth spoken about here is a real, spiritual type of generation which is effected in Baptism (cf. 3:6ff). Instead of the plural adopted here, referring to the supernatural birth of men, some Fathers and early translations read it in the singular: "who was born, not of blood...but of God", in which case the text would refer to the eternal generation of the Word and to Jesus' generation through the Holy Spirit in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary. Although the second reading is very attractive, the documents (Greek manuscripts, early translations, references in the works of ecclesiastical writers, etc.) show the plural text to be the more usual, and the one that prevailed from the fourth century forward. Besides, in St John's writings we frequently find reference to believers as being born of God (cf. Jn 3:3-6; 1 Jn 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18).

The contrast between man's natural birth (by blood and the will of man) and his supernatural birth (which comes from God) shows that those who believe in Jesus Christ are made children of God not only by their creation but above all by the free gift of faith and grace.

14. This is a text central to the mystery of Christ. It expresses in a very condensed form the unfathomable fact of the incarnation of the Son of God. "When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman" (Gal 4:4).

The word "flesh" means man in his totality (cf. Jn 3:6; 17:2; Gen 6:3; Ps 56:5); so the sentence "the Word became flesh" means the same as "the Word became man." The theological term "incarnation" arose mainly out of this text. The noun "flesh" carries a great deal of force against heresies which deny that Christ is truly man. The word also accentuates that our Savior, who dwelt among us and shared our nature, was capable of suffering and dying, and it evokes the "Book of the Consolation of Israel" (Is 40:1-11), where the fragility of the flesh is contrasted with the permanence of the Word of God: "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the Word of our God will stand for ever" (Is 40:8). This does not mean that the Word's taking on human nature is something precarious and temporary.

"And dwelt among us": the Greek verb which St John uses originally means "to pitch one's tent", hence, to live in a place. The careful reader of Scripture will immediately think of the tabernacle, or tent, in the period of the exodus from Egypt, where God showed his presence before all the people of Israel through certain sights of his glory such as the cloud covering the tent (cf., for example, Ex 25:8; 40:34-35). In many passages of the Old Testament it is announced that God "will dwell in the midst of the people" (cf., for example, Jer 7:3; Ezek 43:9; Sir 24:8). These signs of God's presence, first in the pilgrim tent of the Ark in the desert and then in the temple of Jerusalem, are followed by the most wonderful form of God's presence among us--Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect Man, in whom the ancient promise is fulfilled in a way that far exceeded men's greatest expectations. Also the promise made through Isaiah about the "Immanuel" or "God-with-us" (Is 7:14; cf. Mt 1:23) is completely fulfilled through this dwelling of the Incarnate Son of God among us. Therefore, when we devoutly read these words of the Gospel "and dwelt among us" or pray them during the Angelus, we have a good opportunity to make an act of deep faith and gratitude and to adore our Lord's most holy human nature.

"Remembering that 'the Word became flesh', that is, that the Son of God became man, we must become conscious of how great each man has become through this mystery, through the Incarnation of the Son of God! Christ, in fact, was conceived in the womb of Mary and became man to reveal the eternal love of the Creator and Father and to make known the dignity of each one of us" (John Paul II, "Angelus Address" at Jasna Gora Shrine, 5 June 1979).

Although the Word's self-emptying by assuming a human nature concealed in some way his divine nature, of which he never divested himself, the Apostles did see the glory of his divinity through his human nature: it was revealed in the transfiguration (Lk 9:32-35), in his miracles (Jn 2:11; 11:40), and especially in his resurrection (cf. Jn 3:11; 1 Jn 1:1) The glory of God, which shone out in the early tabernacle in the desert and in the temple at Jerusalem, was nothing but an imperfect anticipation of the reality of God's glory revealed through the holy human nature of the Only-begotten of the Father. St John the Apostle speaks in a very formal way in the first person plural: "we have beheld his glory", because he counts himself among the witnesses who lived with Christ and, in particular, were present at his transfiguration and saw the glory of his resurrection.

The words "only Son" ("Only-begotten") convey very well the eternal and unique generation of the Word by the Father. The first three Gospels stressed Christ's birth in time; St John complements this by emphasizing his eternal generation.

The words "grace and truth" are synonyms of "goodness and fidelity", two attributes which, in the Old Testament, are constantly applied to Yahweh (cf., e.g., Ex 34:6; Ps 117; Ps 136; Osee 2:16-22): so, grace is the __expression of God's love for men, the way he expresses his goodness and mercy. Truth implies permanence, loyalty, constancy, fidelity. Jesus, who is the Word of God made man, that is, God himself, is therefore "the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth"; he is the "merciful and faithful high priest" (Heb 2:17). These two qualities, being good and faithful, are a kind of compendium or summary of Christ's greatness. And they also parallel, though on an infinitely lower level, the quality essential to every Christian, as stated expressly by our Lord when he praised the "good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:21).

As Chrysostom explains: "Having declared that they who received him were 'born of God' and 'become sons of God,' he then set forth the cause and reason for this ineffable honor. It is that 'the Word became flesh' and the Master took on the form of a slave. He became the Son of Man, though he was the true Son of God, in order that he might make the sons of men children of God. ("Hom. on St John", 11,1).

The profound mystery of Christ was solemnly defined by the Church's Magisterium in the famous text of the ecumenical council of Chalcedon (in the year 451): "Following the holy Fathers, therefore, we all with one accord teach the profession of faith in the one identical Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We declare that he is perfect both in his divinity and in his humanity, truly God and truly man, composed of body and rational soul; that he is consubstantial with the Father in his divinity, consubstantial with us in his humanity, like us in every respect except for sin (cf. Heb 4:15). we declare that in his divinity he was begotten in this last age of Mary the Virgin, the Mother of God, for us and for our salvation" (Dz-Sch, n. 301).

15. Further on (On Jn 1:19-36) the Gospel tells us more about John the Baptist's mission as a witness to the messiahship and divinity of Jesus. Just as God planned that the Apostles should bear witness to Jesus after the resurrection, so he planned that the Baptist would be the witness chosen to proclaim Jesus at the very outset of his public ministry (cf. note on Jn 1:6-8).

16 "Grace upon grace": this can be understood, as it was by Chrysostom and other Fathers, as "grace for grace", the Old Testament economy of salvation giving way to the new economy of grace brought by Christ. It can also mean (as the-RSV suggests) that Jesus brings a superabundance of gifts, adding on, to existing graces, others--all of which pour out of the one inexhaustible source, Christ, who is for ever full of grace. "Not by sharing with us, says the Evangelist, does Christ possess the gift, but he himself is both fountain and root of all virtues. He himself is life, and light, and truth, not keeping within himself the wealth of these blessings, but pouring it forth upon all others, and even after the outpouring still remaining full. He suffers loss in no way by giving his wealth to others, but, while always pouring out and sharing these virtues with all men, he remains in the same state of perfection" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St John", 14, 1).

17. Here, for the first time in St John's Gospel, the name of Jesus Christ appears, identified with the Word of whom John has been speaking.

Whereas the Law given by Moses went no further than indicate the way man ought follow (cf. Rom 8:7-10), the grace brought by Jesus has the power to save those who receive it (cf. Rom 7:25). Through grace "we have become dear to God, no longer merely as servants, but as sons and friends" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on St John", 14, 2).

On "grace and truth" see note on Jn 1:14.

18. "No one has ever seen God": in this world men have never seen God other than indirectly: all that they could contemplate was God's "glory", that is the aura of his greatness: for example, Moses saw the burning bush (Ex 3:6); Elijah felt the breeze on Mount Horeb--the "still small voice" (RSV)--(1 Kings 19:11-13). But in the fullness of time God comes much closer to man and reveals himself almost directly, for Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (cf. Col 1:15), the maximum revelation of God in this world, to such an extent that he assures us that "he who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9). "The most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the salvation of man shines forth in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the sum total of Revelation" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 2).

There is no greater revelation God could make of himself than the incarnation of his eternal Word. As St John of the Cross puts it so well: "In giving to us, as he has done, his Son, who is his only Word, he has spoken to us once and for all by his own and only Word, and has nothing further to reveal" ("Ascent of Mount Carmel", Book II, chap. 22).

"The only Son": the RSV note says that "other ancient authorities read "God" (for Son); the Navarre Spanish has "the Only-begotten God" and comments as follows: some Greek manuscripts and some translations give "the Only-begotten Son" or "the Only-begotten". "The Only-begotten God" is preferable because it finds best support in the codexes. Besides, although the meaning does not change substantially, this translation has a richer content because it again explicitly reveals Christ's divinity.

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.

Gospel for Saturday, Dec 24, 4th Week of Advent

From: Luke 1:67-79

The Benedictus

[67] And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, [68] "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, [69] and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, [70] as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, [71] that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; [72] to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, [73] the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, [74] to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, [75] in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life. [76] And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, [77] to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, [78] through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high [79] to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."


67. Zechariah, who was a righteous man (cf. v. 6), received the special grace of prophecy when his son was born--a gift which led him to pronounce his canticle, called the "Benedictus", a prayer so full of faith, reverence and piety that the Church has laid it down to be said daily in the Liturgy of the Hours. Prophecy has not only to do with foretelling future events; it also means being moved by the Holy Spirit to praise God. Both aspects of prophecy are to be found in the "Benedictus".

68- 79. Two parts can be discerned in the "Benedictus": in the first (vv. 68-75) Zechariah thanks God for sending the Messiah, the Savior, as he promised the patriarchs and prophets of Israel.

In the second (vv. 76-79) he prophesies that his son will have the mission of being herald of the Most High and precursor of the Messiah, proclaiming God's mercy which reveals itself in the coming of Christ.

72-75. Again and again God promised the patriarchs of the Old Testament that he would take special care of Israel, giving them a land which they would enjoy undisturbed and many descendants in whom all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. This promise he ratified by means of a covenant or alliance, of the kind commonly made between kings and their vassals in the Near East. God, as Lord, would protect the patriarchs and their descendants, and these would prove their attachment to him by offering him certain sacrifices and by doing him service. See, for example, Genesis 12:13; 17:1-8; 22:16-18 (God's promise, covenant and pledge to Abraham); and Genesis 5:11-12 (where he repeats these promises to Jacob). Zechariah realizes that the events resulting from the birth of John his son, the Precursor of the Messiah; constitute complete fulfillment of these divine purposes.

78-79. The "dawning", the "dayspring", is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, coming down from heaven to shed his light upon us: "the son of righteousness shall rise, with healing on its wings" (Mal 4:2). Already in the Old Testament we were told about the glory of the Lord, the reflection of his presence--something intimately connected with light. For example, when Moses returned to the encampment after talking with God, his face so shone that the Israelites "were afraid to come near him" (Ex 34:30). St John is making the same reference when he says that "God is light and in him there is no darkness" (1 Jn 1:5) and that there will be no light in heaven "for the glory of God is its light" (cf. Rev 21:23; 22:5).

The angels (cf. Rev 1:11) and the saints (cf. Wis 3:7; Dan 2:3) partake of this divine splendor; our Lady does so in a special way. As a symbol of the Church she is revealed to us in the Apocalypse as "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feel, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (12:1).

Even when we live in this world, this divine light reaches us through Jesus Christ who, because he is God, is "the true light that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9), as Christ himself tells us: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness" (Jn 8:12).

Such is Christians' share in this light of God that Jesus tells us: "You are the light of the world" (Mt 5:14). Therefore, we must live as children of the light (cf. Lk 16:8), whose fruit takes the form of "all that is good and right and true" (Eph 5:9); our lives should shine oul, thereby helping people to know God and give him glory (cf. Mt 5:16).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Friday, December 23, 2005

Finding Christmas Peace

How to find Christmas peace in a world of unrest?

You cannot find peace on the outside but you can find peace on the inside, by letting God do to your soul what Mary let Him do to her body, namely, let Christ be formed in you.

As she cooked meals in her Nazarene home, as she nursed her aged cousin, as she drew water at the well, as she prepared the meals of the village carpenter, as she knitted the seamless garment, as she kneaded the dough and swept the floor, she was conscious that Christ was in her; that she was a living Ciborium, a monstrance of the Divine Eucharist, a Gate of Heaven through which a Creator would peer upon creation, a Tower of Ivory up whose chaste body He was to climb "to kiss upon her lips a mystical rose."

As He was physically formed in her, so He wills to be spiritually formed in you.

If you knew He was seeing through your eyes, you would see in every fellowman a child of God.

If you knew that He worked through your hands, they would bless all the day through.

If you knew He spoke through your lips, then your speech, like Peter's, would betray that you had been with the Galilean.

If you knew that He wants to use your mind, your will, your fingers, and your heart, how different you would be.

If half the world did this there would be no war! 

- Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

"The Eucharist began at Bethlehem in Mary's arms. It was she who brought to humanity the Bread for which it was famishing, and which alone can nourish it. She it was who took care of that Bread for us. It was she who nourished the Lamb whose life-giving Flesh we feed upon,"

- St. Peter Julian Eymard

"The shepherds - simple souls - came to adore the Infant Savior. Mary rejoiced at seeing their homage and willing offerings they made to her Jesus... How happy is the loving soul when it has found Jesus with Mary, His Mother! They who know the Tabernacle where He dwells, they who receive Him into their souls, know that His conversation is full of divine sweetness, His consolation ravishing, His peace superabundant, and the familiarity of His love and His Heart ineffable,"

- St. Peter Julian Eymard

More here.

A Blessed and Holy Christmas to All

And the Angel said to them, "Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be for all the people; for this day is born a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger." !

And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!"

The shepherds follow at once the voice of God which calls them to the manger; they exhort one another to do so; they seek the Redeemer and happily find Him; they make Him known to others, and heartily thank God for the grace given them.

Let us follow the inspirations of God with ready obedience; let us exhort one another to virtue by good example and edifying conversation; let us make good use of the knowledge given us by God, give it to others, and praise God for this and all He has given us.

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only begotten Son in the flesh may deliver us who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin.
Wishing all a Blessed & Holy Christmas

New Bishop for Reno

VATICAN CITY, DEC 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
. . .
- Fr. Randolph Roque Calvo of the clergy of San Francisco, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Redwood City, as bishop of Reno (area 183,506, population 607,459, Catholics 91,973, priests 42, permanent deacons 11, religious 50), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Agana on the island of Guam in 1950 and ordained as a priest in 1977.

Pope Benedict XVI Certifies the Council – The Real One

In his pre-Christmas address to the Roman curia, Benedict XVI demolishes the myth of Vatican II as a rupture and new beginning. He gives another name “reform,” to the proper interpretation of the Council. And he explains why

by Sandro Magister
ROMA, December 23, 2005 – Benedict XVI has on two occasions satisfied the great curiosity about his comments on Vatican Council II, at the fortieth anniversary of its conclusion.
. . .in his address to the curia on December 22, Benedict XVI went to the heart of the most controversial question. He asked:

“Why has the reception of the Council been so difficult for such a great portion of the Church up until now?”

And he replied:

“The problems have arisen from a struggle between two conflicting forms of interpretation. One of these has caused confusion; the other, in a silent but increasingly visible way, has brought results, and continues to bring them.”
. . .
No one can deny that in large sections of the Church, the Council's reception has been carried out in a rather different manner, without even wanting to apply to what has happened the description that the great doctor of the Church, saint Basil, gave of the Church's situation after the Council of Nicaea: he compared it to a naval battle in the darkness of a storm, saying among other things: “Harsh rises the cry of the combatants encountering one another in dispute; already all the Church is almost full of the inarticulate screams, the unintelligible noises, rising from the ceaseless agitations that divert the right rule of the doctrine of true religion” (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX). It is not a dramatic description such as this that we would want to apply to the post-Council situation, but some of what has happened does reflect itself in it. The question arises: Why has the reception of the Council been so difficult for such a great portion of the Church up until now?
. . .
On one hand, there is an interpretation that I would like to call “hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture”. It was frequently able to find favour among mass media, and also a certain sector of modern theology.
. . .
Hermeneutics of discontinuity risk leading to a fracture between the pre-Council and post-Council Church. It asserts that the Council texts as such would still not be the true expression of the spirit of the Council.
So that's what it is called - “hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture”-a quite appropriate and accurate term, yes?

More here.

Gospel for Friday, Dec 23, 4th Week of Advent

From: Luke 1:57-66

The Birth and Circumcision of John the Baptist

[57] Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. [58] And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. [59] And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, [60] but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John." [61] And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name." [62] And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. [63] And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marvelled. [64] And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. [65] And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; [66] and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.


59. Circumcision was a rite established by God under the Old Covenant to mark out those who belonged to His chosen people: He commanded Abraham to institute circumcision as a sign of the Covenant He had made with him and all his descendants (cf. Genesis 17:10-14), prescribing that it should be done on the eighth day after birth. The rite was performed either at home or in the synagogue, and, in addition to the actual circumcision, the ceremony included prayers and the naming of the child.

With the institution of Christian Baptism the commandment to circumcise ceased to apply. At the Council of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:1ff), the Apostles definitely declared that those entering the Church had no need to be circumcised.

St. Paul's explicit teaching on the irrelevance of circumcision in the context of the New Alliance established by Christ is to be found in Galatians 5:2ff; 6:12ff; and Colossians 2:11ff.

60-63. By naming the child John, Zechariah complies with the instructions God sent him through the angel (Luke 1:13).

64. This miraculous event fulfills the prophecy the angel Gabriel made to Zechariah when he announced the conception and birth of the Baptist (Luke 1:19-20). St. Ambrose observes: `With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith untied what had been tied by disbelief" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam. in loc.").

Zechariah's is a case similar to that of St. Thomas, who was reluctant to believe in the resurrection of our Lord, and who believed only when Jesus gave him clear proof (cf. John 20:24-29). For these two men God worked a miracle and won their belief; but normally He requires us to have faith and to obey Him without His working any new miracles. This was why He upbraided Zechariah and punished him, and why He reproached Thomas: "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29).

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 22, 2005

Bishops Discuss Mass Translations - A Transcript

Adoremus has posted a transcript of the US bishops’ discussion on the latest draft translation of the Order of Mass. This discussion took place on Monday afternoon, November 14, 2005, during the USCCB meeting held in Washington. The transcription, of Adoremus audio-tapes of the meeting, was made by Susan Benofy.

Thank God for Adoremus! Please consider a donation so that Adoremus can continue to provide such a wonderful service.

Vatican II Texts Were Misinterpreted, Says Pope

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2005 ( The crisis that arose in the Church after the Second Vatican Council wasn't due to the conciliar documents, but rather in their interpretation, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made a long analysis of the legacy left by the 1962-1965 gathering of the world's bishops, when he met today with his aides in the Roman Curia to express his Christmas greetings.
Continued here...

Prince Caspian in the Works?

With the big opening weekend box office success of the first Chronicles of Narnia film, rumors are already starting to circulate about the next film in the series. According to Narnia Web—and several other publications—anonymous sources are indicating that Prince Caspian has already been greenlighted.

Homosexual Activists Cheer Appointment of New San Francisco Archbishop

SAN FRANCISCO, December 22, 2005 ( - Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer, soon to be installed as the new Archbishop of San Francisco, has told a local news outlet that he is opposed to the Vatican’s prohibition of homosexuals in seminaries.

“Some who are seriously mistaken have named sexual orientation as the cause of the recent scandal regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests,” Niederauer said Monday in an interview with the Intermountain Catholic News.
. . .
The evidence that Niederauer is a supporter of the “gay” cause in the Church and in civil society is overwhelming. Glowing recommendations from the homosexual activist movement are flooding the internet news sources.

Francis DeBernardo, who leads pro-gay New Ways Ministry, a movement that has been prohibited by the Vatican as opposed to Catholic teaching, said that he expects great things from Niederauer’s appointment to San Francisco.
Link to complete article.

For from the heart come forth evil...

[11] Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. [12] Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? [13] But he answering them, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. [14] Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit. [15] And Peter answering, said to him: Expound to us this parable. [16] But he said: Are you also yet without understanding? [17] Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? [18] But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. [19] For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. [20] These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.

From Matthew 15 (Douay-Rheims)

The Post-Dispatch Blog has been literally overrun by what appears to be those who harbor a venomous, vitriolic hatred of the Catholic Church and Archbishop Burke. While several faithful Catholics and others tried to shine light on the matter of the St Stanislaus schism, that light was met with fierce opposition...Some of those who should be commended for their efforts are Jim Russell, Ken, Mike, Fr. John Schweitzer, Romuleus, Hank Mulgravy, Charles V, Joeseminarian, Jeff, and some others.

For those who would like to both sickened and inspired, you can read the 340+ posts here. It's eye-opening to say the least!

Local Opportunities for Mortal Sin

The following opportunities exist (in addition to all of the normal, everyday temptations) for one to participate in grave sin and the furthering of the ecclesiastical crime of schism:
Saturday, December 24th 2005
Confessions 7:00pm-9:00pm
Koledy(Polish Christmas Carols) 9:30pm-10:00pm *
Mass (Polish and English) 10:00 pm

*All are invited to join us for coffee after the 10:00 pm mass to meet with Reverend Bozek and your friends in the Polish Heritage Center.

Sunday, December 25th 2005
Mass 8:00 am (English)
Mass 10:00 am (Polish)

Saturday, December 31st 2005
Mass (Polish and English) 5:30 pm

Sunday, January 1st 2006
Mass 10:00 am (English)
Mass 12:00 am (Polish)
This above schedule is from the St Stanislaus Web Site.

The following from Archbishop Burke is most important, especially for anyone who intends to receive the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance at St. Stanislaus on Christmas Eve.
The ordained priest who goes into schism...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 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.
Not only is the individual not absolved, does he not also commit, objectively, at least the mortal sin of sacrilege by approaching a schismatic priest for the Sacrament?

Is not another grave sin that of Scandal?

This is a Lose-Lose situation for everyone at St Stanislaus.

If the priest or anyone else advises the faithful in a manner contrary to Archbishop Burke's explanations and admonitions, he sets himself above the bishop, the Pope, and the Church.

In essence, he has usurped the authority given by Christ to the Apostles and their legitimate successors. He has made himself pope.

Prayers make better presents for priests than most items, say some

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNS) -- How many rosaries, crucifixes and Bibles does a priest receive for Christmas? Answer: enough to open a Catholic book and gift shop.

Parish secretaries, administrators and family members of priests all agree -- priests do not need any more sacramentals as gifts.

Indeed, Catholic priests top many shoppers' "hard-to-buy-for" lists.

For many priests, prayers from the faithful are the only gifts they need.

Personal items, such as shaving and grooming items, are always welcome, and even a gift certificate for a car wash is a good idea, said Carolyn Smith, parish administrator at Immaculate Conception in Columbus...

Another favorite is giving a donation in a priest's name to a favorite charity or a parish's building fund.

But the best gift of all is to pray for vocations to the priesthood, said Amy Rohyas, office administrator at Our Lady Lourdes Parish in Marysville. "Our priests are exhausted," she said. "We really need more priests."
We should really be praying every day for our priests and for vocations. And don't forget or neglect your parish priest(s) this Christmas or your least every priest that I know enjoys good food, home-made cookies, etc. I have yet to find a priest that did not like to eat. Invite them to your home for dinner sometime. He is, after all, a spiritual father for us. Make sure he is welcomed inro your home and family.

To the Sistine Chapel Choir: The Liturgy has Need of Beauty

"On the night the Savior was born," the Pope told members of the choir, "the Angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds with the words: 'Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra Pax hominibus.' Tradition has always held that the angels did not simply speak as men do, but that they sung and that theirs was a song of celestial beauty revealing the beauty of heaven. Tradition also holds that choirs of unbroken voices can help us to feel the resonance of angelic song. And it is true that in the music of Sistine Chapel, in the great liturgies, we can feel the presence of a celestial liturgy, a small taste of the beauty by which the Lord wishes to communicate His joy.

"Indeed, praise of God calls for song," said the Holy Father. "For this reason, your contribution is essential to the liturgy; it is not some marginal adornment, quite the contrary, the liturgy requires this beauty, it needs song in order to praise God and to bring joy to the participants."

Here I come to save the day!

Mighty Mouse can fly, and is superstrong and invulnerable. He has X-ray vision, and has occasionally demonstrated a form of super-hypnosis which allows him to control inanimate objects and turn back time.

Mister Trouble never hangs around

When he hears this Mighty sound.

"Here I come to save the day"

That means that Mighty Mouse is on his way.

Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right

Mighty Mouse will join the fight.

On the sea or on the land,

He gets the situation well in hand."

And by the way, while I'm researching various superheroes, Fr. Marek Bozek has arrived to save St Stanislaus from the evil Archbishop...

Marek Bozek Arrives at St Stanislaus

New pastor arrives at St. Stanislaus
By Tim Townsend

The day after he pulled into town, the Rev. Marek Bozek, the new pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka church, introduced himself to the St. Louis media. Literally.

Minutes before a news conference at the church hall Wednesday, Bozek walked around the room and shook hands with every reporter, photographer and cameraman.

Bozek plans to celebrate his first Mass as St. Stanislaus' pastor on Christmas Eve. He has been declared excommunicated, along with the six members of the church board, by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke.

His voice breaking with nerves, Bozek read a statement saying that he had received more than 200 letters, from both supporters and opponents. He said he had received "hate letters filled with insult and malice, accusing me of things I've never heard of, accusing me of being a heretic, a pedophile, a womanizer and a promiscuous homosexual."
. . .
Bozek said he had come to St. Stanislaus Kostka, "in order to be a parish priest and nothing else" and that he wants St. Stanislaus to be a normal Roman Catholic parish. "I will laugh with them when they laugh and I will cry with them when they cry," he said.

The priest will sit on the St. Stanislaus board, but he said he would not be occupied with parish finances. "I'm not a businessman, I'm a priest," he said. "A priest doesn't have to have all the answers."

Church law requires each parish to have a finance council to assist the pastor.

In his newspaper column, Burke said he will be obliged to "suppress" St. Stanislaus, meaning it will no longer be a parish in the St. Louis archdiocese, nor even Roman Catholic. Tony Huenneke, a spokesman for the St. Louis Archdiocese, said Wednesday that, as far as he knew, the archbishop had not yet signed the decree of suppression.

Bozek acknowledged he was scared by the excommunication, which he called "the death penalty of the Catholic church." But in making his decision to come to St. Stanislaus, he said, he listened only to "vox populi, vox dei," - that is, the voice of the people, the voice of God.
He listened to the voice of whom? How can he be certain? Maybe that 10 years of theology?
Post Dispatch Link

Extremists Drive Church Agenda...So says the Distorter

As much as I hate linking to the National Catholic Distorter, this editorial was "interesting"...For those who have followed the recent Catholic Charities fiasco in Boston, and the protest that ensued for allowing "Catholic" mayor, Thomas M. Menino, who has supported gay rights and the right of women to choose to murder their unborn babies, to be honored by Catholic Charities. And let's not forget the fact that Catholic Charities has allowed children to be adopted by gay/lesbian couples. It's quite "interesting" to see the Distorter "lose it"!
For what is going on in the Boston archdiocese is, in many ways, a case study of what is occurring in the larger body of the church in the United States and elsewhere.

For Menino is also, apparently, an outstanding (and increasingly rare these days) advocate for the poor and the downtrodden.
Except if one happens to be a defenseless unborn baby...
If, as we suggest, Boston serves as a kind of bellwether on these issues, one can take courage from the independent spirit that Boston Catholics are displaying in so many ways. Simultaneously, we can lose heart at the realization that we may face the future as a church more split and divided than whole.

Much depends on how bishops handle the controversies, on what voices are given credibility, on how broadly or narrowly they construe the church and those who constitute the church.
The voices of credibility are those who speak the truth!

The bishops have a policy of prohibiting Catholic organizations from honoring those in public life who oppose Church teaching. But NCR sees it differently:
Of course, as we all know from other matters, bishops are autonomous and can interpret and apply such directives as they see fit -- or simply ignore them. (emphasis added)
Everyone is entitled to his own personal interpretation. Each person can be his own arbitor of truth. Why, it's utopia!
Obvious as the point may be to some, it is worth noting here that such scrutiny is likely not to be applied to politicians who advocate slashing benefits for the poor and/or the ill; who vote for preemptive war and the development of weapons of mass destruction; who argue for exemptions to allow torture; or who support the death penalty. They will avoid scrutiny not because it is patently stupid to expect the activities and votes of a politician to match up line by line with church teaching but because gay issues and abortion, unfortunately, have become for many the only proof texts of Catholic orthodoxy.
Shall we mention the forbidden phrase?. . .Non-negotiable issues?
Reasonableness and rationality dissipate when the absolutes of religious teaching are applied in an arena where compromise is key.
Compromise is key? As we know from our catechesis from the Distorter, the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. And sin? We are lead to believe that the 'spirit' of Vatican II threw it out the opened window so we no longer need to be burdened by a guilty conscience.
Church leaders are being pushed and bullied by bands of extreme zealots who may refer to themselves as “authentic” Catholics but who have no bona fides beyond their small circles of discontent.
Keep in mind that if one strives to be faithful to Christ and His Church, he is, by NCR's definition, an "extreme zealot".
We can become the absolutists, the literalists who keep cutting off limbs and poking out eyes to fend off that which we find disagreeable. Or we can rediscover the robustness of true Catholicism.
The "true" Catholicism according to NCR? No thanks...I prefer unadulterated truth, that which has not been poisoned.

One who strives to follow Christ must be prepared to take up his cross and follow Him. He who abhors sin and strives for virtue will be labeled as an "extremist", "fanatic", "fundamentalist", "zealot" or worse. It's part of the program. We should be prepared for it as Jesus told us.

St Louis Cathedral Photos-Well Worth a Look

Here are some great pictures of our beautiful Cathedral by another St. Louis Blogger

Gospel for Thursday, Dec 22, 4th Week of Advent

From: Luke 1:46-56

The Magnificat

[46] And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. [50] And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. [51] He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, [52] He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; [53] He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. [54] He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, [55] as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


46-55. Mary's "Magnificat" canticle is a poem of singular beauty. It evokes certain passages of the Old Testament with which she would have been very familiar (especially 1 Samuel 2:1-10).

Three stanzas may be distinguished in the canticle: in the first (verses 46-50) Mary glorifies God for making her the Mother of the Savior, which is why future generations will call her blessed; she shows that the Incarnation is a mysterious __expression of God's power and holiness and mercy. In the second (verses 51-53) she teaches us that the Lord has always had a preference for the humble, resisting the proud and boastful. In the third (verses 54-55) she proclaims that God, in keeping with His promise, has always taken care of His chosen people--and now does them the greatest honor of all by becoming a Jew (cf. Romans 1:3).

"Our prayer can accompany and imitate this prayer of Mary. Like her, we feel the desire to sing, to acclaim the wonders of God, so that all mankind and all creation may share our joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 144).

46-47. "The first fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace and joy. And the Blessed Virgin had received within herself all the grace of the Holy Spirit" (St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 32). Mary's soul overflows in the words of the "Magnificat". God's favors cause every humble soul to feel joy and gratitude. In the case of the Blessed Virgin, God has bestowed more on her than on any other creature. "Virgin Mother of God, He whom the heavens cannot contain, on becoming man, enclosed Himself within your womb" ("Roman Missal", Antiphon of the Common of the Mass for Feasts of Our Lady). The humble Virgin of Nazareth is going to be the Mother of God; the Creator's omnipotence has never before manifested itself in as complete a way as this.

48-49. Mary's __expression of humility causes St. Bede to exclaim: "It was fitting, then, that just as death entered the world through the pride of our first parents, the entry of Life should be manifested by the humility of Mary" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

"How great the value of humility!--"Quia respexit humilitatem.... It is not of her faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: `Since He has looked on my humility, all generations will call me blessed'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 598).

God rewards our Lady's humility by mankind's recognition of her greatness: "All generations will call me blessed." This prophecy is fulfilled every time someone says the Hail Mary, and indeed she is praised on earth continually, without interruption. "From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: `all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me'" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 66).

50. "And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation": "At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the Resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the people of God, marked with the sign of the Cross and of the Resurrection and `sealed' with the sign of the paschal mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman's house: "His mercy is [...] from generation to generation' [...].

"Mary, then, is the one who has the "deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy". She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the "Mother of Mercy": Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy; in each one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the special preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which `from generation to generation' people become sharers according to the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 9).

51. "The proud": those who want to be regarded as superior to others, whom they look down on. This also refers to those who, in their arrogance, seek to organize society without reference to, or in opposition to, God's law. Even if they seem to do so successfully, the words of our Lady's canticle will ultimately come true, for God will scatter them as He did those who tried to build the Tower of Babel, thinking that they could reach as high as Heaven (cf. Genesis 11:4).

"When pride takes hold of a soul, it is no surprise to find it bringing along with it a whole string of other vices--greed, self-indulgence, envy, injustice. The proud man is always vainly striving to dethrone God, who is merciful to all His creatures, so as to make room for himself and his ever cruel ways.

"We should beg God not to let us fall into this temptation. Pride is the worst sin of all, and the most ridiculous.... Pride is unpleasant, even from a human point of view. The person who rates himself better than everyone and everything is constantly studying himself and looking down on other people, who in turn react by ridiculing his foolish vanity" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 100).

53. This form of divine providence has been experienced countless times over the course of history. For example, God nourished the people of Israel with manna during their forty years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-35); similarly His angel brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), and to Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 14:31-40); and the widow of Sarepta was given a supply of oil which miraculously never ran out (1 Kings 17:8ff). So, too, the Blessed Virgin's yearning for holiness was fulfilled by the incarnation of the Word.

God nourished the chosen people with His Law and the preaching of His prophets, but the rest of mankind was left hungry for His word, a hunger now satisfied by the Incarnation. This gift of God will be accepted by the humble; the self-sufficient, having no desire for the good things of God, will not partake of them (cf. St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 33).

54. God led the people of Israel as He would a child whom He loved tenderly: "the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went" (Deuteronomy 1:31). He did so many times, using Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, etc., and now He gives them a definitive leader by sending the Messiah--moved by His great mercy which takes pity on the wretchedness of Israel and of all mankind.

55. God promised the patriarchs of old that He would have mercy on mankind. This promise He made to Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 22:18), David (2 Samuel 7:12), etc. From all eternity God had planned and decreed that the Word should become incarnate for the salvation of all mankind. As Christ Himself put it, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

After Excommunication, Some Leave St Stanislaus

After excommunication some parishioners from St. Stan's attend mass at St. Agatha's
Robert Townsend, News 4 KMOV TV
The day after Saint Louis archbishop Raymond Burke took drastic action against a local catholic church several parishioners from Saint Stanislaus still celebrate mass at an alternative parish.

Reportedly a number of parishioners have also since left Saint Stanislaus and moved their membership to Saint Agatha.

At Saint Agatha Catholic Church parishioners gathered for Saturday night Mass with the controversial excommunication at Saint Stanislaus Kostka church on their minds.

“I just think [the excommunication] is terrible,” said Richard Gleason, a St. Agatha parishioner.

Yesterday Archbishop Burke excommunicated Saint Stan's entire six member board of directors and Ffather Marek Bozek, a new priest, who was hired without approval from Archbishop Burke.

The severe penalty comes more than a year after the archbishop removed the parish's two priests.

The removal and excommunication are part of the bitter battle that Saint Stanislaus and Archbishop Burke have over finances and control of the church.

One parishioner told News 4, that during the crisis they will rely on faith and prayer.

Father Bozek, the priest who was ex-communicated, is expected to celebrate mass on Christmas Eve at Saint Stanislaus.
I had missed this story...It's good news, though. These people evidently are cooperating with God's grace.

New Priest Introduced At St. Stanislaus Kostka Church

KSDK) - Christmas mass will go on at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, even though the archbishop has excommunicated the priest and the entire lay board.

Wednesday afternoon, Father Marek Bozek arrived in St. Louis and was introduced to the media. Father Bozek said he's been the target of hate mail, ever since he decided to leave the Springfied, Missouri, diocese without church permission.

Archbishop Burke and St. Stanislaus have been battling for years over who controls the church and its assets.

The Archbishop says defiance by the board and the priest led to ex-communication. The seven are banned from taking part in Roman Catholic sacraments and functions. And, church leaders say anyone to attends the mass will be commiting a mortal sin.

Despite that, St. Stanislaus is planning to have a 10:00 p.m. mass on Christmas Eve.
A video from KSDK can be seen here.

Fr Bozek says that the excommunication causes him a lot of pain and fear.

Well that's what it should do, as well as be a wakeup call to repentance.

He also said that he has taken 10 years of theology. This must his way of telling us that he is an expert.

With respect to Archbishop Burke's statement (which is the teaching of the Church, by the way) that receiving Holy Communion from this excommunicated priest, except in danger of death, would be a mortal sin, Fr. Bozek claims receiving Holy Communion would never be a sin. This leads one to wonder what schools he attended where he learned such nonsense.

In fact, contrary to Fr. Bozek's claim, the Catechism states:
1857. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

817. In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without human sin: Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.

2089...schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."
Schism, as the Catechism tells us, and as Archbishop Burke reminds us, is a mortal sin.

With respect to receiving Holy Communion:
1385. To respond to this invitation [of receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord] we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."(218) Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

1457. According to the Church's command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year." Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession...
And lastly having established some fundamentals, we read:
2120. Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.

2118 God's first commandment condemns the main sins of irreligion: tempting God, in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony.

2139 Tempting God in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony are sins of irreligion forbidden by the first commandment.

So, apparently it seems, Fr Bozek never learned of the sin of sacrilege. Being such an expert theologian (10 years of theology), how could he have missed this?

He also stated the his 'ministry' will be a 'ministry' of reconciliation. We can only hope and pray. He "believes" that the excommunication is a "very unjust decision", he "believes that he is a priest "rescuing a congregation in the midst of a war with the Archdiocese"...He is their "Savior", I suppose.

Please pray for them.

Inside the Vatican: "Nothing Extraordinary"?

An analysis of the new Vatican document on homosexuality and the priesthood, dated November 4 and published in Rome on November 29. [This article will appear in the January issue of "Inside the Vatican" which also contains the magazine's choices for the "Top Ten People of 2005."]
- by Inside the Vatican staff

Last month we published the text of the Congregation for Catholic Education's new Instruction dealing with the admission of homosexuals to seminaries, entitled Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders. This month we analyze the gestation, purpose, background and tone of the text, what it says and leaves unsaid, its significance, and reactions to it. - The Editor
More here.

Papal ceremonies must set liturgical standards, Pope says

Vatican, Dec. 21 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) today said that papal ceremonies "must be exemplary liturgy for the entire world."
. . .
The importance of pontifical liturgy has become more pronounced, the Pope said. He noted that "today, with television and radio, many people, from all parts of the world, follow the liturgy." Those who follow the papal ceremonies are likely to use them as a yardstick against which liturgy should be measured, the Pope said. Thus the liturgy becomes a way in which the Pope teaches the Catholic faithful, giving them a proper idea of what they should expect.
. . .
Gregorian chant has a special place in liturgical music, the Holy Father continued. He reminded his listeners that the tradition of the Church has always suggested that angels chant rather than merely speaking, and that the beauty of their chant is "a celestial beauty, revealing the beauty of heaven."
Good news! More to come, I'll bet.


Christmas at the Filling Station

This little story was posted here two years ago...While searching for some heart warming stories, I came across this and decide to share it again...Enjoy.

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no lights. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. There were no children in his life. His wife had gone.

He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through. Instead of throwing the man out, George, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the space heater and warm up.

"Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy. I'll just go"

"Not without something hot in your belly," George turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you're done there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old 53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked.

"Mister can you help me!" said the driver with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken."

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold; the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But mister. Please help...."The door of the office closed behind George as he went in. George went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building and opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting.

"Here, you can borrow my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. George turned and walked back inside the office.

"Glad I loaned 'em the truck. Their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new tires..." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty with a used coffee cup beside it.

"Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought. George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator.

"Well, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on. "Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car.

As he was working he heard a shot being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Help me."

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The laundry company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound.

"Hey, they say duct tape can fix anything," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. "Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills.

"You hang in there. I'm going to get you an ambulance." George said, but the phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your police car."

He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio. He went back in to find the policeman sitting up.

"Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him. "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked.

"None for me," said the officer.

"Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city." Then George added: "Too bad I ain't got no donuts."

The officer laughed and winced at the same time. The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun.

"Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George. "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"

The cop was reaching for his gun.

"Put that thing away," George said to the cop. "We got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need the money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pee shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time.

The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job. My rent is due. My car got repossessed last week..."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Being stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer."

"Shut up and drink your coffee." the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn.

"Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

"That guy works here," the wounded cop continued.

"Yep," George said. "Just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas, boy. And you too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems." George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box.

"Here you go. Something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. A toy airplane, a racing car and a little metal truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. "And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that, too. Count it as part of your first week's pay." George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was getting a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will become a rich man and share his wealth with many people.

That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man."

Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again." The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the man's old leather jacket and his torn pants turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

"You see, George, it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."

Author Unknown

Follow the Law with Love...

I could not help but think that this sounds so much like "Follow the yellow brick road." And I was having 'visions' in my head of people skipping and flitting about - sort of like some halucinagenic 60's movie or something...

Anyway, we hear again from one Fr. William Forst, who in a previous letter asserted that he is a Catholic priest. The wisdom which we receive today is this:
Archdiocese of St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is definitely and certainly following the law; but church law, unlike civil law, is to be interpreted with love. There is no love in the excommunication of the board of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church and its priest. The archbishops of the past 110 years all interpreted church law with love.

The Rev. William Forst
St. Louis
Here I sit scratching my head wondering "Huh?"...

Anyway, if one has not dulled his intellect with who-knows-what, one can see that Archbishop Burke exhibited enormous patience and charity in his handling of this rebellion...I suppose that the next time Archbishop Burke must take some sort of disciplinary action, who should do so in a tie-dyed t-shirt and wear flowers in his hair...Maybe this would please Fr. Forst?

True, authentic love desires the highest and best for the sake of the beloved. This would be eternal life with God in heaven. Those who have separated themselves from the Church are suffering under the slavery of sin to the extent that they have chosen excommunication. Archbishop Burke, in true charity, has advised the rest of the faithful to avoid the dangers and proximity to sin at St Stanislaus. Would he be a faithful shepherd if he advised us to support those at St Stanislaus in their rebellious efforts? Does true charity, true love, not require him to lead us away from the path of spiritual death and toward the path of eternal life?

Ever notice how "assertive" ex-Catholics are? We also read the following from the same edition:
Wrongful punishment

Why isn't Archbishop Raymond Burke speaking as vehemently about pedophile priests as he is about the dispute with St. Stanislaus? Has an interdict been imposed on the abusive priests? Have they been excommunicated?

This dispute is yet another example of why membership and participation in the Catholic faith has waned. If I were still a practicing Catholic, I would worship at St. Stanislaus, with the Rev. Marek Bozek, who hasn't forgotten what worship is really about.

Cindy Feldhaus
This letter brought to us by another "I did it my way" follower. Of whom? - we do not know, though one can be certain Who it is not.
They've seen worse

The Polish people survived Sept. 1, 1939, and Joseph Stalin. The Polish of St. Stanislaus Parish will survive Archbishop Raymond Burke.

Robert Zangas
But Robert, the real question is how will they fare when they are judged by our Lord...? This is what really matters!
Bah, humbug!

I don't know who is the bigger Scrooge or Grinch: Archbishop Raymond Burke or Tim Dorsey of KTRS.

Pat Sullivan
St. Louis
My money would be on Tim Dorsey...


So, who's been naughty and who's been nice?

Pope Benedict XVI, wearing the white fur-trimmed red bonnet known as a camauro reserved for Popes, arrives to celebrate his general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican December 21, 2005. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico.

Local Catholics React To St. Stanislaus' Rebellion

From KSDK...:
...while St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church has a unique Polish heritage, it is also unique in that it is likely the only ethnic, Catholic church in St. Louis that has not subjected to the authority of church officials.
And therein lies the problem.
St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Dogtown has Irish roots. Pastor John Johnson talked about what happens when a church subjects to the authority of the archdiocese.

"It's sort of a form of Christian community," said Johnson, "cooperative... like it was in the early church. (Church officials) see where we are financially, and it's another way of being accountable for spending your money."

But does subjecting to the authority of the Archdiocese means parish pastors have less control over church money?

"No, we have total control over our money," replied Johnson.

So if all these other national or at least ethnic Catholic churches eventually became a part of and make themselves subject to the authority of the Archdiocese, then why not St. Stanislaus.?
The KSDK reporter asks the $64,000 question...It's a simple question. It's a question whose simple answer has eluded the St Stanislaus board for years.
St. Stanislaus legal advisor Roger Krasnicki said the church was established as a civil corporation in 1891 by Archbishop Kenrick. Paraphrasing church canon laws, Krasnicki said that if something has existed and not been in contradiction of morals for thirty years then it should stand.
Still unable to answer the simple question "Why should you be different than others"?

There is one true answer...because they have renounced the Church and the Church's authority and are no longer in communion with her because of PRIDE - in reality, they are no more Catholic than any other schismatic sect is...They "feel" that they are "special" and "unique", and in a certain sense they probably are.

However, the Church is One - and schism ruptures that unity attempting to divide that which cannot be divided.