Saturday, February 11, 2006

Gospel for Saturday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 8:1-10

Second Miracle of the Loaves

[1] In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, He (Jesus) called His disciples to Him, and said to them, [2] "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat; [3] and if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come a long way." [4] And His disciples answered Him, "How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?" [5] And He asked them, "How many loaves have you?" They said, "Seven." [6] And He commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground; and He took the seven loaves, and having given thanks He broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. [7] And they had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He commanded that these also should be set before them. [8] And they ate, and were satisfied; and took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. [9] And there were about four thousand people. [10] And He sent them away; and immediately He got into the boat with His disciples, and went to the district of Dalmanutha.


1-9. Jesus repeats the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish: the first time (Mark 6:33-44) He acted because He saw a huge crowd like "sheep without a shepherd"; now He takes pity on them because they have been with Him for three days and have nothing to eat.

This miracle shows how Christ rewards people who persevere in following Him: the crowd had been hanging on His words, forgetful of everything else. We should be like them, attentive and ready to do what He commands, without any vain concern about the future, for that would amount to distrusting Divine Providence.

10. "Dalmanutha": this must have been somewhere near the Lake of Gennesaret, but it is difficult to localize it more exactly. This is the only time it is mentioned in Sacred Scripture. In the parallel passage in St. Matthew (15:39) Magadan (sometime Magdala) is mentioned.

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, February 10, 2006

Church Buildings -- Monuments with Mixed Messages

A great article over at Adoremus!

Join Faithful Catholics at Rally for Cardinal George

Cardinal Francis George has been under serious attack in the media including calls for his resignation. These attacks have come from many who identify themselves as Catholic. A rally is planned for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, at Holy Name Cathedral to show the support of the Catholic people in the Arch diocese for the Cardinal.
More here.

Controversy over billboards in St Louis

There was a report last evening on KTVI Channel 2 News over a billboard campaign hitting St Louis in preparation for an upcoming event here.
Focus on the Family will bring its international Love Won Out conference to St. Louis on February 25. The one-day event is designed to educate and equip attendees on the issues surrounding homosexuality and provide help for those struggling – and those whose loved ones struggle – with unwanted same-sex attractions.
. . .
Billboards for the event are now being seen along St. Louis highways. These signs feature individuals who are among thousands who have left homosexuality, along with the message: "I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How." Love Won Out is led primarily by those who have left homosexuality themselves, along with researchers and therapists from across the nation.
Of course, those promoting the Homosexuality is Great agenda are not pleased. And I could find no refererence to the story on KTVI's pathetic excuse for a website.

More on Love Won Out Comes to St. Louis

A great letter: "Good shepherd"


"A flock is in good shape when the shepherds are concerned for the sheep; when they loose the dogs on the wolf; when they bring the flock to graze not in areas where the grass is poisonous but where they can find nourishment.

"We need shepherds who are not mute sheepdogs, because the dogs, if they remain silent, are useless; they should be barking to sound the alarm." So wrote St. Jose Maria Escriva in 1970.

In St. Louis we have a courageous shepherd who is not mute despite the wagging tongues that try to defame him. We thank the good God for Archbishop Raymond Burke.

Anne C. Messmer
St. Louis
As always, we give thanks to God for giving us a shepherd, a faithful Bishop, who is concerned about the salvation of souls. Pray for him!

A letter from the St. Louis Review.

How to challenge embryonic stem-cell petition gatherers

From the St. Louis Review:
Editor’s note: With a little research, and the courage to show one’s faith, Catholics who are approached by petition-gatherers for a constitutional amendment election to protect embryonic stem-cell research in Missouri can avoid supporting it.

The best argument a Catholic can give in declining to sign the petition is that embryonic stem-cell research is immoral because it results in the creation of an embryo only for scientific harvesting of cells. The embryo is destroyed in the process.

Only God can create life, and people should never be responsible for destroying it.

Follow that with the fact that research with adult stem cells from living persons has resulted in numerous cures, and there is promise for more. Thus far, years of research with embryonic stem cells have yet to produce one instance of a cure.

The Archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate is offering informational flyers for anyone interested in speaking out against those who are collecting signatures for the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.

The apostolate offers the following information and suggestions when encountering signature collectors:

Many of the signature gatherers are paid personnel from out of state. They cannot vote on the issue.

Signature gatherers primarily operate on public property such as libraries, post offices and license bureaus. This is legal as long as they do not interfere with people wishing to use those facilities.

Those distributing the petitions must, however, have permission to stand on private property. If you notice that a signature collector is on private property, inquire with the manager right away whether that person has permission to solicit signatures for a political initiative there. Local grocery stores, including Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop ’n Save, do not allow signature collecting for any political effort.

The language on the petition is deceptive. The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the organization sponsoring the initiative, claims that the amendment will ban human cloning.

However, this is because the coalition has redefined cloning as the implantation of a cloned embryo into a uterus. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is cloning. The initiative will, in fact, legalize the cloning of human embryos and allow destructive research to be conducted on human embryos.

The proposal also allows taxpayer money to be used to carry out unethical research, including cloning human embryos and extracting their stem cells for research.

Adult stem-cell research has already successfully treated 65 diseases. Embryonic stem cells have not treated or cured a single disease.

Remind people that once they have signed the petition, they can’t change their minds and remove their signatures.

If the initiative makes it on the Nov. 7 ballot and passes, it will amend the Missouri constitution. This is a much more permanent change than a new law.

More information can be found on the following Web sites: Missouri Catholic Conference; Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics; and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

For more information or for copies of the flyer, call the Respect Life Apostolate at (314) 792-7555 or e-mail

Look who's calling who a "Cafeteria Catholic"

I received two emails this morning from a group which hails itself "Catholics for Faithful Citizenship", taken, no doubt, from the USCCB's most "enlightening" publication on the proper (read,'democratic party')discernment of issues regarding Catholic voting.

Imagine my surprise to see this subject line on the first email:
PELOSI -- We Salute Catholic Schools for Teaching our Children Character, Compassion, and Values
Shocked??? I sure was, but that was only the beginning, for there is more:
Washington, D.C - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in support of House Resolution 657, honoring the contributions of Catholic schools, which passed unanimously in House this evening:

"President John F. Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address: 'With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own.' I rise today to thank our Catholic schools for doing God's work here on earth for generation after generation.

"More than 163,000 educators teach in nearly 8,000 Catholic schools in America, and they educate nearly 2.5 million students every year. My husband and I, and our five children, have attended over 100 years of Catholic school education.

"I can tell you firsthand that Catholic schools provide exceptional education. They contribute to a student's intellectual, ethical and spiritual development. As a devout Roman Catholic and the product of Catholic schools, I rely every day on the values and the sense of responsibility that were deepened for me by my Catholic education.

"The theme of this year's Catholic Schools Week is 'Character. Compassion. Values.' Education is about more than reading, writing, and arithmetic, although it is certainly about that. But it is also about teaching each child to live and work with integrity and in a way that serves others.

"My Catholic education helped me appreciate that we all contain a spark of divinity, to recognize that spark of divinity in every person, and to respond to that spark with humility and awe, even when it's found in 'the least of these.'

"Catholic schools teach their students that our personal faith means public obligation. Simply put, faith means we have work to do. My Catholic education taught me that to minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us. That lesson should inform every debate we have here in Congress, whether it is education, health care, job creation, or the budget, which should be a statement of our national values.

"Our Catholic schools truly do God's work here on earth, and they deserve our nation's gratitude. I join my colleagues in thanking all of the teachers, parents, and students of Catholic schools who bring our nation closer to the 'beloved community' it was meant to be."
Now before we get too sidetracked, remember where this email came from - we can focus on Pelosi's "devout adherence to the Catholic faith" later, if necessary (and it probably isn't).

So I'm thinking, "Hmmmmmmmm, what's up with this?" Then, while considering whether or not to attempt to "digest" this Pelosi screed, I look at the next email which states:
"John Boehner - Cafeteria Catholic"
Whew!!! Now, it's all becoming crystal clear - with a name like "Catholics for Faithful Citizenship", how could one not immediately come to the realization that we are dealing with just another group of 'confused' and mistaken "Catholics"...How can one make that judgment? Look what the groups says, in part, about John Boehner:
Boehner like most cafeteria Catholics, has made the decision to use his Catholicism to rally support around a single issue; abortion. Boehner does not even touch on the subject of working towards an end to abortion by addressing the real life causes of abortion.
Of course, nowhere do we read where others are labeled "Cafeteria Catholics"...For instance: Patrick Leahy, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Tom Harkin, Christopher Dodd, Susan Collins, Mary Landrieu or others...
But I digress.
...Boehner voted against debt reduction for Africa.
Boehner voted for the Iraq war.
Boehner voted for the Budget Reconciliation Act, that has robbed the poor in this nation and given back to the rich.
Catholic for Faithful Citizenship Director John Kelly commented today. “If political rhetoric was a solution the problem would be solved. We can all recite the favored lines about life, culture and family. Rhetoric is no different than a jet passing overhead – an empty roar that fades into the background noise with no noticeable impact.”

America has paid a high moral and political price since the 1973 decision. If Leader Boehner wants to use his Catholicism for political gain, then he should begin by embracing the rich tradition of our Social Teaching. Until then, he is no more than a sound byte for those who wish to co-opt the Catholic Faith for political gain. Boehner has shown a total disregard for those impoverished, those who are without jobs, and the least among us. To claim he is for families when it is clear that only wealthy families need apply, Boehner betrays the memory of Pope John Paul II.
It sounds like someone is getting mobilized for the 2006 elections and the same old, tired attempts are going to be made to sway Catholics to vote for pro-death, anti-family, pro-homosexual, evil-embracing Demonic-Rats, especially those who profess to be Catholic...This is not to say that the "Republic-Rats" are better. It's strictly a matter of the blind (in this case, Catholics for Faithful Citizenship) trying to lead others into error and confusion...apparently because of malformed consciences or misunderstandings of authentic social justice teachings.

Unbelievable? Look here. For some reason, I can't shake the feeling that this group has some sort of backing by covert ops at the USCCB...

Catholic "Regimen" is "Stifling"

He grew up in a devoutly Catholic family in Evansville, Ind. He studied to be a priest before he decided that the "regimen was stifling - to put it mildly."

He rejected religion for a period, he said. Before he found a home in the Ethical Society, he embraced Buddhism, yoga and the Church of Religious Science.
One wonders if ethics is even understood at the Mid Rivers Ethical Society? No doubt, it's easy...


Bishop Calls for Fasting for Immigration "Justice"

Several hundred school children, parents, priests, religious, lay ministers, community organizers and San Gabriel Region Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala gathered at Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights Feb. 1 to announce the communal fast.

"We are calling and inviting our community to initiate a month of fasting and prayer," said Bishop Zavala, in the hopes of persuading U.S. Senators to oppose HR 4437, a bill that would make illegal presence in the U.S. a crime, rather than the civil offense it is now. Estimates are that some 11 million immigrants are undocumented.
From the Tidings

Sony Provides Website for Da Vinci Code Critics

The company is putting up a Web site today — well ahead of the movie's release on May 19 — that will give a platform to some of the fiercest critics of "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, the book that is the movie's source.

The site,, will post essays by about 45 Christian writers, scholars and leaders of evangelical organizations who will pick apart the book's theological and historical claims about Christianity.

China: Twenty Million Communists at Prayer

This is how many persons are thought to belong to the communist party and, at the same time, adhere to a religion. The official stance forbids it. But some think this is a mistake – and are writing about it
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Friday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 7:31-37

The Curing of a Deaf Man

[31] Then He (Jesus) returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. [32]And they brought Him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought Him to lay His hand upon him. [33] And taking him aside from the multitude privately, He put His fingers into his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue; [34] and looking up to Heaven, He sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." [35] And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. [36] And He charged them to tell no one; but the more He charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. [37] And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well; He even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."


32-33. Sacred Scripture quite often shows the laying on of hands as a gesture indicating the transfer of power or blessing (cf. Genesis 48:14ff; 2 Kings 5:11; Luke 13:13). Everyone knows that saliva can help heal minor cuts. In the language of Revelation fingers symbolized powerful Divine action (cf. Exodus 8:19; Psalm 8:4; Luke 11:20). So Jesus uses signs which suit in some way the effect He wants to achieve, though we can see from the text that the effect--the instantaneous cure of the deaf and dumb man--far exceeds the sign used.

In the miracle of the deaf and dumb man we can see a symbol of the way God acts on souls: for us to believe, God must first open our heart so we can listen to His word. Then, like the Apostles, we too can proclaim the "magnalia Dei", the mighty works of God (cf. Acts 2:11). In the Church's liturgy (cf. the hymn "Veni Creator") the Holy Spirit is compared to the finger of the right hand of God the Father ("Digitus paternae dexterae"). The Consoler produces in our souls, in the supernatural order, effects comparable to those which Christ produces in the body of the deaf and dumb man.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Who would have imagined?

Supreme Court's Ginsburg Offended by "Outrageously Anti-Abortion" Homily at Mass
"Ginsburg used to attend the annual Red Mass, a Catholic Mass that honors lawyers, but then she had a bad experience: 'I went one year and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion.'...

Perhaps she will honor her country and be the next to resign from the Court...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Passing of Fr. John Miller

It is my sad duty to inform you that our dear friend, Father John Miller, passed to his reward last night.

Father Miller was a fearless soldier in the Army of Christ. He will be sorely missed. Please keep him in your prayers.

V/. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
R/. And let perpetual light shine upon him.

V/. May he rest in peace.
R/. Amen.

V/. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R/. Amen.

Prayers for Joliet

Bishop places priest on administrative leave
JOLIET—Bishop Joseph L. Imesch has placed Father James Burnett, rector of the Cathedral of St. Raymond, on administrative leave Feb. 7, according to Franciscan Sister Judith Davies, chancellor for the Diocese of Joliet.

And then this:
'Grieving and hurting'
JOLIET — A day after their pastor was suspended because of a sexual abuse allegation, stunned parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Raymond gathered to pray for healing.

Prayers were offered for victims of sexual abuse, as well as for the parish and for the Rev. James Burnett. The cathedral rector was placed on administrative leave Tuesday, when a 34-year-old Gulf War veteran went public with an accusation that Burnett molested him while at St. Mary Church in Mokena about 25 years ago.

New Site Review for Catholic Action Network...

The Rating for Fidelity, as if anyone needed to ask: DANGER!

The Catholic Action Network claims to be "an independent, authentic, and inclusive organization working for social justice within the Catholic Church, and in our world. Comprised of both lay and religious, the members of CAN seek to provide an active vehicle to put faith into action." In reality, they are a dissident organzation working towards a false idea of justice and peace. Along with regularly featuring articles by well-known dissidents such as Joan Chittister, CAN openly promotes the ordination of women, same-sex unions, and changing the liturgy.
Complete site review here.

Cardinal Newman Society Refutes Catholic News Service

Cardinal Newman Society Decries False and Misleading Catholic News Service "Attack"

MANASSAS, VA (February 8, 2006) - The Cardinal Newman Society, a national organization to strengthen and renew Catholic identity at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities, has demanded that the Catholic News Service issue a correction and apologize for a highly misleading and damaging article about the Society posted Tuesday evening.

The article’s headline (“Cardinal Newman Society head says group operates within magisterium”) and first seven paragraphs focus on the malicious allegation that the Cardinal Newman Society is “setting up a teaching authority independent of the bishops.” No facts or arguments are presented to support the allegation, and no source is identified as making such a complaint.
Catholic News Service, affiliated with the USCCB, seems to operate much the same way as the USCCB. Anyone who has read its articles for any length of time can detect the leanings of Catholic News Service. Facts seem to get it the way, at times, and it appears to lack objectivity in its reporting.

As a matter of fact, Catholic Culture (formerly PetersNet) rates the site with a Yellow Caution indicator stating:
"The site itself is filled with news and articles, but needs to be used with caution as some of the articles contain some very questionable material. A better source for national and world news affecting the Church would be Catholic World News or Zenit."
Faithful Catholics would have to agree, I believe, with this assessment. Catholic World News (CWN) is soooo much better than Catholic News Service and one will not encounter the heterdoxy on CWN that one is very likely to find at Catholic News Service. One might wonder how the bishops permit this to continue at Catholic News, but then again, we probably already know the answer as to why.

Catholic News Service has links to dissident sites, such as National Catholic Reporter and others...See Catholic Culture's report here for details.

The attack on the Cardinal Newman Society by Catholic News Service is really no's an organization which seems to be infected with the same disease as its father, the USCCB...

See Patrick O'Reilly's rebuttal and letter here...

Pope meets Laura Bush, says worried about terror

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict received U.S. First Lady Laura Bush on Thursday and told her that he was worried about terrorism around the world and violence sparked by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Helps with the Second Commandment

"Gather up first the weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn; but the wheat gather into my barn." St. Matthew, 13:30.

The famous British general, Lord Wolseley, was known to have an intense dislike for cursing and swearing. He was very severe about this, and his officers were careful not to curse or swear in his presence.

He happened to visit an Irish garrison whose commander was a hard swearer, a veteran in the use of violent language. The troops were called out for Lord Wolseley's inspection. They maneuvered about with perfect precision and satisfaction. Then it happened. The commander gave the bugler an order to sound the "charge," but inste~d the bugler blew "retreat."

The commander, accustomed as he was to cursing, could hardly restrain himself. His face grew purple with rage. He was about to let fly a torrent of cursing when he caught the eye of Lord Wolseley. He choked back the oaths, looked hopelessly about, spurred his horse, rode up to the quivering bugler and yelled at the top of his voice: "Oh, you naughty, naughty, bugler."

There was a man who choked back, fought back his habitual urge to curse and swear just because his superior officer was within ear-shot. He knew that the general would be displeased and would reprimand any mis­use of the name of God, might even discipline him for it. If we who are tempted to curse and swear would only remember that the Lord of heaven and earth is within ear-shot, that cursing displeases Him, and that He will surely punish any misuse of His Holy Name, we too would control our cursing.

I realize that this devilish habit usually begins in boyhood when it seems to be a mark of manliness to use the name of God and Jesus and Christ in every sentence. It becomes a habit with possibly little or no malice in it. Nevertheless, it is displeasing and offensive to God and we must make every effort to overcome it. May I offer a few suggestions:
1. Every man and young man in this parish should be an active, fervent member of the Holy Name Society. As such you will be repeatedly and even continually reminded to show love and respect for the names of God. You will receive God into your hearts every month at least. With the help of God you can respect His name.
Unfortunately I am forced to suggest that some of our women might be enrolled in the Holy Name Society because too many of the gentle, devout sex today have acquired the sinful and unladylike habit of cursing and swearing.

2. Another suggestion: Check yourself every day. In the evening look back over the day and add up the number of times you have misused God's holy names. Suppose you have said "God" five times without thought or in vain. Then in your night prayer say five times: "Blessed be God. . . Blessed be His Holy Name." If you have misused the name of Jesus ten times say: "Blessed be the name of Jesus." That will be a check and also a way of reparation, making up to God for the abuse of His blessed names.

3. Punish yourself in some effective way. During World War Two the Rev. Michael Clare, chaplain at Fort McArthur, set up in the camp what the men called a "cussidor." Into it the soldiers were invited to drop a voluntary "fine" every time they were guilty of blasphemy, cursing, swearing, profanity or indecent language. The funds realized were used to furnish flowers for the post chapel altar, and to help members of the camp who were financially embarrassed.

Have a "cussidor" in your own home or in your office or factory. Fine yourself a dollar of five every time you or any of your co-workers curse. Use the money for charity or to help your church. When you begin to lose money by cursing and swearing, you will perhaps begin to realize what is so terribly true - that you are losing God's grace and blessing by your profanity.

4. When you hear others misuse the names of God, then quietly, either in a whisper or in your heart, repeat: "Blessed be God. . . Blessed be the name of Jesus." Try to make up for this foul stench of cursing and swear­ing that draws down God's curse upon the world, upon your work, yes, and God forbid, upon your home and your own children.

5. Above all get into the habit of using the name of God and the name of Jesus with love and respect much more frequently. Often during the day and night, while riding to and from work, in the quiet of your home, yes, and in the turmoil of household duties and caring for the children, you can breathe the name of God and the sweet, strong, saving name of Jesus. When you hit your finger with a hammer, or stick your thumb with a needle, say Jesus, but say it as a prayer.

6. Wear your Holy Name button. Let it remind you of the love you want to show toward the Holy Name at all times.

7. Attend Benediction whenever you can, and join whole-heartedly in the Divine Praises, the prayer of reparation for profane language.
Blessing the name of God and Jesus is like sowing good seed, the wheat of which we read in Gospel. Cursing and swearing are the weeds. Sowing weeds is the work of the devil. God, the Lord of all, is not going to strike you dead and punish you now, but in the day of harvest He will have His angels gather up the cursings and the cursers and bind them in bundles to burn, but those who love and honor and revere His Holy Names He will gather into his heavenly home. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne

Leading United Nations Abortion Advocate is Professor at a Pontifical Catholic University

For the "Truth is stranger than fiction" file...

Gospel for Thursday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 7:24-30

The Curing of the Syrophoenician Woman

[24] And from there he (Jesus) arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid. [25] But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet. [26] Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. [27] And he said to her, "Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." [28] But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." [29] And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter." [30] And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.


24. The region of Tyre and Sidon is nowadays the southern part of Lebanon--Phoenicia in ancient times. The distance from the lake of Gennesaret to the frontier of Tyre and Sidon is not more than 50 kms (30 miles). Jesus withdrew from Palestine to avoid persecution by the Jewish authorities and to give the Apostles more intensive training.

27. Our Lord actually uses the diminutive--"little dogs" to refer to the Gentiles--thereby softening a scornful _expression which Jews used. On the episode of the Canaanite woman cf. notes on parallel passages, Mt 15:21-28.

[The notes on Mt 15:21-28 states:
21-22. Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities on the Mediterranean coast, in present-day Lebanon. They were never part of Galilee but they were near its northeastern border. In Jesus' time they were outside the territory of Herod Antipas. Jesus withdrew to this area to escape persecution from Herod and from the Jewish authorities and to concentrate on training His Apostles.

Most of the inhabitants of the district of Tyre and Sidon were pagans. St. Matthew calls this woman a "Canaanite"; according to Genesis (10:15), this district was one of the first to be settled by the Canaanites; St. Mark describes the woman as a "Syrophoenician" (Mark 7:26). Both Gospels point out that she is a pagan, which means that her faith in our Lord is more remarkable; the same applies in the case of the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13).

The Canaanite woman's prayer is quite perfect: she recognizes Jesus as the Messiah (the Son of David)--which contrasts with the unbelief of the Jews; she expresses her need in clear, simple words; she persists, undismayed by obstacles; and she expresses her request in all humility: "Have mercy on me." Our prayer should have the same qualities of faith, trust, perseverance and humility.

24. What Jesus says here does not take from the universal reference of His teaching (cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). Our Lord came to bring His Gospel to the whole world, but He Himself addressed only the Jews; later on He will charge His Apostles to preach the Gospel to pagans. St. Paul, in his missionary journeys, also adopted the policy of preaching in the first instance to the Jews (Acts 13:46).

25-28. This dialogue between Jesus and the woman is especially beautiful. By appearing to be harsh He so strengthens the woman's faith that she deserves exceptional praise: "Great is your faith!" Our own conversation with Christ should be like that: "Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 101).]
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, February 08, 2006

Guess...Who Are "Jesuit" priests?

Not really sure yet?
Can't quite tell?

The Archdiocesan newspaper had an article on this reunion. In addition to the article, there was a large B&W ad on page 9:
St. Louis Jesuits make music after long layoff

In the spring, Fathers O’Connor, Foley and Dufford and Schutte will do four live performances, in St. Louis, Washington, Chicago and Anaheim, Calif. The group hasn’t done any public performances together in nearly 20 years.

"It’s our little reunion tour," Schutte said. "It’s going to be a wonderful shot in the arm for many people."

The St. Louis Jesuits will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 25, at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, Grand and Lindell boulevards. Tickets are $20; call (866) 551-1951 or buy them at Catholic Supply of St. Louis.

The "Morning Light" CD is available at Catholic Supply of St. Louis.
Tickets available - It will probably be like a trip back in time...If you haven't figured out which ones are Jesuit priests yet, try this next picture...Still stumped? Me, too.
Some might want to consider this post as a bit of a penance - a special act of mortification, if you will. If you're in need of some extra penance though, you might consider reading what OCP has to say about the St. Louis Jesuits...But ONLY with the approval of your confessor or spiritual director...

Gimme some of that old time religion music...

Marriage Protection Amendment Action Alert

An Email Alert:

Senate To Vote On Homosexual Marriage Ban In Early March
The U.S. Senate will vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) in early March. This constitutional amendment will make marriage between one man and one woman the only legal marriage.

Your help is needed in sending one million emails to the Senate in support of the MPA.

Senators who vote against the MPA, or support a filibuster to avoid a vote on the MPA, are supporting homosexual marriage.

ACTION NEEDED TODAY! Those favoring homosexual marriage are already contacting their Senators urging defeat of the MPA.

Time is short! Please send your letters today! Ask members of your Sunday School class and church to send an email in support of the MPA. Ask your pastor to put an announcement in the church bulletin and newsletter. They can send an email by clicking on

Click Here to email your two U.S. Senators now!

Remember, it is very important to forward this to friends and family if we are to reach our goal of one million.

American Family Association

P.S. Please forward this e-mail message to your family and friends!

Rolling Stone Magazine Attacks Senator Brownback

A 7,000-word profile of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback in the current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine is full of factual errors a review of the article by Culture & Cosmos shows. The article also contains numerous observations that are stated as fact but are simply the opinion of the article's author Jeff Sharlet.

Reconciliation with Rome? "It's all hot air."

So says the leader of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, iIn a homily delivered on February 2 at the SSPX seminary in Flavigny...
The traditionalist leader said that the SSPX would unflinchingly support the same arguments that drove Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to break with Rome in 1988. He insisted that the Vatican moved away from Catholic traditions after the Second Vatican Council. "Rome seems to have lost its way," he said, and no accord would be possible unless the Vatican changed its policies.

"We are not opposed to agreements," Bishop Fellay said. "But it has to be made possible." To make a deal possible, he continued, Rome must change its stance, "because we will not budge; we want to remain Catholics."
CWNews article here...

Sounds just like some others we've heard of recently here in St Louis...

Archbishop Chaput: Bad public policy & bad law

...the evidence now clearly shows that public institutions, including public schools, are among the most common environments for sexual abuse of minors by adults. But under Colorado law, the financial and legal liability for sexual abuse in public schools is drastically reduced. Since two-thirds of children from practicing Catholic families in Colorado attend public schools, this should gravely concern the whole Catholic community.

In January, legislators offered three bills to the Colorado General Assembly that would extend or eliminate the statute of limitations for allowing lawsuits in the sexual abuse of minors. But every one of these bills — House Bill 1088, House Bill 1090 and especially Senate Bill 143 — ignores the serious problem of sexual abuse in public schools and other public institutions, and focuses instead on religious and private organizations. In other words, some Colorado legislators seem determined to be harsh when it comes to Catholic and other private institutions, and much softer when it comes to their own public institutions, including public schools. And it will be families, including Catholic families, who suffer.
More here...

Please, Pray....

...for the repose of my Mother-in-Law, who passed away this morning.

Gospel for Wednesday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 7:14-23

What Defiles a Man

[14] And He (Jesus) called the people to meet Him, and said to them, "Hear Me, all of you, and understand: [15] there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things that come out of a man are what defile him." [17] And when He had entered the house, and left the people, His disciples asked Him about the parable. [18] And He said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, [19] since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) [20] And He said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, [22] coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. [23] All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.


15. Some important codexes add here: "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear," which would form verse 16.

18-19. We know from Tradition that St. Mark was the interpreter of St. Peter and that, in writing his Gospel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he gathered up the Roman catechesis of the head of the Apostles.

The vision which St. Peter had in Joppa (Acts 10:10-16) showed him the full depth of what Jesus teaches here about food. When he returns to Jerusalem, St. Peter himself tells us this in his report on the conversion of Cornelius: "I remembered the word of the Lord" (Acts 11:16). The now non-obligatory character of such prescriptions laid down by God in the Old Testament (cf. Leviticus 11) would have been something St. Peter included in his preaching. For interpretation of this text cf. also note on Matthew 15:10-20.

[Note on Matthew 15:10-20 states:
10-20. Our Lord proclaims the true meaning of moral precepts and makes it clear that man has to answer to God for his actions. The scribes' mistake consisted in concentrating on externals and not giving pride of place to interior purity of heart. For example they saw prayer in terms of exact recital of fixed forms of words rather than as a raising of the soul to God (cf. Matthew 6:5-6). The same thing happened in the case of dietary regulations.

Jesus avails Himself of the particular cases dealt with in this passage to teach us where to find the true center of moral action: it lies in man's personal decision, good or evil, a decision which is shaped in his heart and which then is expressed in the form of action. For example, the sins which our Lord lists are sins committed in the human heart prior to being acted out. In the Sermon on the Mount He already said this: "Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).]

20-23. "In order to help us understand divine things, Scripture uses the _expression `heart' in its full meaning, as the summary and source, _expression and ultimate basis, of one's thoughts, words and actions" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 164).

The goodness or malice, the moral quality, of our actions does not depend on their spontaneous, instinctive character. The Lord Himself tells us that sinful actions can come from the human heart.

We can understand how this can happen if we realize that, after original sin, man "was changed for the worse" in both body and soul and was, therefore, prone to evil (cf. Council of Trent, "De Peccato Originali"). Our Lord here restores morality in all its purity and intensity.

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

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Archbishop Burke Heads Team to Visit Washington Theological Union

From Rocco Palmo's blog:
This week, a team headed by Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis will investigate the Washington Theological Union, where most of the professed seminarians who will be ordained for religious orders undertake their studies.

Burke raised some eyebrows with his remarks at WTU during Morning Prayer today, which one witness referred to as "striking."
Normally I would not link to Rocco's blog, but there are some rather "interesting" comments regarding some of Archbishop Burke's remarks regarding the visitation.

Read it here.

HT to Johnna H!

Sins Against the Second Commandment

"Lord, save us! we are perishing!" St. Matthew, 8:26.

In the early 1900's Messina, Italy, had the reputation of being an ir­religious and sinful city. They had even conducted a blasphemous proces­sion and had given voice to the defiant threat thrown at the Lord:
"Send down an earthquake, if you can."

It is a matter of history that a short time after this wicked and devilish challenge the city of Messina was totally destroyed by an earthquake in the year of 1908. Those people learned, as everyone who breaks the Second Commandment will learn, that God avenges sins against His Holy Name, and that God preaches in a different way than we do.

1. One of the worst sins not only against the Second Commandment, but in the entire catalogue of sin, is blasphemy, which means an expression that is insulting to God, to religion, or to the saints.
A. One commits blasphemy by words, gestures, writing, drawing, or by distributing writings insulting to the Lord.

B. Blasphemy is a direct insult to the Lord Himself. It is directly in­sulting to Him by being against faith, the sacraments, the Mass or some sacred person.

C. It is an extremely serious sin, as we read in the Old Testament. "He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die." Levit. 24 :16. It usually includes hatred or contempt or lack of faith. It is so frightfully sinful because it generally has not the excuse of passion, human weakness, or self-interest, but is cold-blooded and malicious.

D. Frequently expressions which seem to be blasphemous are really not so; they are rather profanity. Again, loss of temper and a weak faith often lead people to say things which they really do not mean.
2. Cursing means calling down evil upon ourselves or others.
A. Sometimes it is serious and deliberate, and is like a prayer to God asking Him to bring about some evil. Often the curser only vaguely intends to wish evil to someone, or he wishes to express his anger towards animals or inanimate things.

B. It is a sin against love of self and love of neighbor. It is a sin of disrespect toward God and His Holy Name. It is a venial sin when it is due to thoughtlessness or a habit which one is trying to correct, or if it is the cursing of animals or lifeless things. It is a mortal sin when the evil wished is serious, when we think about it, and really mean the curse.
3. Profanity means taking God's name in vain. Here we need to remember the words of Ecclesiasticus, 23: 10: "Let not the naming of God be usual in thy mouth. . . for thou shalt not escape free from sin."
A. Profanity is committed by:
1. Using the name of God without just cause, thoughtlessly, through habit, impatience, surprise, or merely to emphasize a point. Your use of God's name is profane when it does not honor God, or help your neighbor or help you.

2. Speaking lightly or jokingly of God or holy thing".

3. Using words of Scripture unbecoming to believers, like "damn", "hell," or words that mimic in sound the name of God.

The all-too-common American expression. "Jeez," should be noted here. It sounds exactly like the first part of the Holy Name of Jesus. Any­one who loves the Holy Name and who wants to keep the Second Command­ment carefully, ought to avoid that expression, and others like it.

B. The sinfulness of profanity or using the name of God in vain, de­pends upon the deliberation, the irreverence intended and the scandal given. Ordinarily profanity is only a venial sin. It becomes serious and a mortal sin when there is deliberate and intentional contempt of God or His Holy Name.
4. Even though we previously discussed perjury we would like to empha­size again its wickedness. Perjury means to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, "so help me God," and then to tell a lie. The perjurer asks God to witness to a lie. Even the civil courts punish one who perjures himself. It is also a serious offense against the law of God.

In fact, the four great offenses we have mentioned today are against the Second Commandment - blasphemy, cursing, profanity, and perjury. Oh, how the world is clouded with these sins. Like a black breath these sins against God's Holy Name rise to heaven continuously.

To continue blaspheming and cursing and indulging in profanity is to make sure of your damnation. It is like being out on a wild and stormy sea, like the apostles in the Gospel this morning. They cried out: "Lord save us! we are perishing!"

The Catholic with the bad habits of cursing and profanity is perishing. Call out to the Lord today to help you overcome that disgusting habit.

Lord, save us from it. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne


Hot Cross Buns Banned in English School
By Hilary White

IPSWICH, February 7, 2006 ( – The UK’s mania for political correctness has struck again where a school has banned hot cross buns, a traditional sweet pastry associated with Good Friday. A representative of Oaks Primary School in Ipswich, said the buns, which include two strips of decorative icing intersecting in the middle, might offend Jehovah’s Witnesses who attend the school.

Hot cross buns, a spicy currant or raisin studded yeast bun, topped with a "Cross" of lemon-flavored icing, have been a feature of English culture since the Middle Ages.

Compendium of the Catechism Available March 31

WASHINGTON (February 6, 2006) — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a 200-page synthesis of the 1992 Catechism, will be available starting March 31, 2006. It will be published exclusively by USCCB Publishing, the publishing office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

USCCB Publishing will launch the Compendium in English and Spanish at the 2006 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, an annual gathering of over 30,000 parish and diocesan leaders in religious education, adult faith formation, liturgy, and youth ministry. The paperback version will be available first with the hardcover to follow shortly after.
At the RECongress in LA - Heterdox City?


What Bravery Is Instilled in Young Men These Days

ANKARA, TURKEY: Boy is sought in killing of Catholic priest

A teenage boy fatally shot an Italian Roman Catholic priest [in the back] in a church in the Black Sea port city of Trabzon on Sunday, shouting "God is great" as he escaped, according to police and witnesses.

Officers were searching for the boy, about 14 or 15 years old, according to a police official.
Ah yes...making Mohammed proud!!!


SNAP Wants Cardinal George Sanctioned

A victims' rights group demanded sanctions Friday against Cardinal Francis George and others for the slow response to abuse allegations in the archdiocese.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered outside the archdiocesan chancery office, also demanded the firing of Catholic school officials who allegedly failed to report allegations of child abuse. In addition, they are seeking reprimands from bodies that audit the archdiocese to ensure it is in compliance with the Catholic bishops' charter.

Blessed Are the Meek: The Life and Martyrdom of a Priest on Mission in Turkey

Fr. Andrea wanted to live in the Middle East “as Jesus lived there, with the humble gift of his life.” They killed him, crying out “Allah is great,” while he prayed
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, February 7, 2006 – He had knelt down to pray shortly before celebrating the Mass in the little Catholic Church of Trabzon, in the north of Turkey, on the Black Sea, when a young man shot him in the back twice with a pistol, crying out “Allah is great.”

This is how Fr. Andrea Santoro, 60, of the diocese of Rome, a missionary in Turkey, was killed on Sunday, February 5.

Nativity-bad; Jewish menorah & Islamic star and crescent-good

From the Thomas More Law Center:

Sharply Divided Court Upholds City's Anti-Christian Ban of Nativity in New York City Public Schools

ANN ARBOR, MI — A sharply divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that it is constitutionally permissible for New York City public schools to ban the display of the Christian nativity during Christmas, while permitting the display of the Jewish menorah and the Islamic star and crescent during Hanukkah and Ramadan.

The legal challenge to this policy was brought by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Ms. Andrea Skoros and her two children, who attend public elementary schools in New York.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, called the decision another outrageous example of federal courts discriminating against Christians. Said Thompson, “Many federal courts are using the contrived endorsement test to cleanse America of Christianity. This unprincipled test allows judges to impose their ideological views under the pretext of constitutional interpretation. Thus, the majority opinion says it is legitimate to discriminate against Christians in the largest public school system in the country, with over one million students enrolled in its 1200 public schools and programs. This should be a wake-up call for Christians across this nation.”

Judge Straub was equally critical in his dissenting opinion. In his separate and lengthy, 46-page dissent, Judge Straub stated, “It is my view that the policy of the New York City Department of Education to arrange for the children to celebrate the holiday season in schools through the use of displays and activities that include religious symbols of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah and the Muslim commemoration of Ramadan, but starkly exclude any religious symbols of the Christian holiday of Christmas, fails under the [Constitution], both on its face and as applied.”

Judge Straub concluded, “I find it clear that the current policy and displays violate the Establishment Clause insofar as a reasonable student observer would perceive a message of endorsement of Judaism and Islam and a reasonable parent observer would perceive a message that Judaism and Islam are favored and that Christianity is disfavored.”

The policy at issue expressly states that the display of “secular holiday symbol decorations is permitted,” and it lists as examples the menorah and the star and crescent. The policy specifically excludes the display of the Christian nativity scene. The City defended its policy by arguing that the menorah and star and crescent were permissible symbols because they were “secular,” whereas the nativity scene had to be excluded because it was “purely religious.” Even though the majority recognized that the City’s argument was fallacious, stating that the policy “mischaracterizes” these symbols, it still upheld the discriminatory ban on the Christian nativity.

Judge Straub strongly disagreed with the majority, arguing that this aspect of the policy was itself a violation of the Constitution. He noted that the nativity scene or crèche “depicts a historical event and thus, has some non-religious aspects to it.” He concluded that the City’s “action in defining a menorah and star and crescent as secular, and a crèche as ‘purely religious,’ is impermissible insofar as it takes positions on divisive religious issues.”

Robert Muise, the Law Center’s attorney handling the case, commented, “This is a shocking decision and Christians should be outraged by it. We strongly believe that the majority decision is fundamentally flawed, as pointed out by the dissent, and we intend to take this fight to the next level. This battle is far from over.”

Gospel for Tuesday, 5th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 7:1-13

The Tradition of the Elders

[1] Now when the Pharisees gathered together to Him (Jesus), with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, [2] they saw that some of His disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. [3] (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; [4] and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.) [5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?" [6] And He said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; [7] in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' [8] You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men. [9] And He said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! [10] For Moses said, "Honor your father and your mother'; and `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die'; [11] but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God)--[12] then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, [13] thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."


1-2. Hands were washed not for reasons of hygiene or good manners but because the custom had religious significance: it was a rite of purification. In Exodus 30:17ff the Law of God laid down how priests should wash before offering sacrifice. Jewish tradition had extended this to all Jews before every meal, in an effort to give meals a religious significance, which was reflected in the blessings which marked the start of meals. Ritual purification was a symbol of the moral purity a person should have when approaching God (Psalm 24:3ff; 51:4 and 9); but the Pharisees had focused on the mere external rite. Therefore Jesus restores the genuine meaning of these precepts of the Law, whose purpose is to teach the right way to render homage to God (cf. John 4:24).

3-5. We can see clearly from this text that very many of those to whom St. Mark's Gospel was first addressed were Christians who had been pagans and were unfamiliar with Jewish customs. The Evangelist explains these customs in some detail, to help them realize the significance of the events and teachings reported in the Gospel story.

Similarly, Sacred Scripture needs to be preached and taught in a way which puts it within reach of its hearers. This is why Vatican II teaches that "it is for the bishops suitable to instruct the faithful [...] by giving them translations of the sacred texts which are equipped with necessary and really adequate explanations. Thus the children of the Church can familiarize themselves safely and profitably with the Sacred Scriptures, and become steeped in their spirit" ("Dei Verbum", 25).

11-13. For an explanation of this text cf. note on Mt. 15:5-6. Jesus Christ, who is the authentic interpreter of the Law, because as God He is its author, explains the scope of the fourth commandment and points out the mistakes made by the Jewish casuistry. There were many other occasions when He corrected mistaken interpretations offered by the Jewish teachers: for example, when He recalls that phrase of the Old Testament, "Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Hosea 6:6, 1 Samuel 15:22; Sirach 35:4) in Matthew 9:13.

[The note on Matthew 15:5-6 states:
5-6. Over the years teachers of the Law (scribes) and priests of the temple had distorted the true meaning of the fourth commandment. In Jesus' time, they were saying that people who contributed to the temple in cash or in kind were absolved from supporting their parents: it would be sacrilegious for parents to lay claim to this "corban" (offerings for the altar). People educated in this kind of thinking felt that they were keeping the fourth commandment--in fact, fulfilling it in the best way possible--and they were praised for their piety by the religious leaders of the nation. But what in fact it meant was that, under the cloak of piety, they were leaving elderly parents to fend for themselves. Jesus, who is Messiah and God, is the one who can correctly interpret the Law. Here He explains the proper scope of the fourth commandment, exposing the error of Jewish practice at the time.

For Christians, therefore, the fourth commandment includes affectionate help of parents if they are old or needy, even if one has other family, social or religious obligations to attend to. Children should check regularly on whether they are looking after their parents properly.]

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

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

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rzeppa to head St. Vincent de Paul Society

Zip Rzeppa was a television sportscaster and has run for public office, but he may be tackling his biggest challenge yet with his new job.

Rzeppa has been named executive director of the St. Louis Metropolitan Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic community assistance organization. He took over the position Jan. 19.

Even 'sick or damaged' life must be defended, Pope tells faithful

In a strong condemnation of abortion, Pope Benedict XVI urged the faithful on Sunday to develop a new respect for life, even when it is "sick or damaged."

In marking the Italian Catholic Church's "Day for Life," Benedict stressed the need to protect all human life.

The pontiff cited the 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," in which Pope John Paul II delivered the Vatican's most forceful condemnation of abortion, artificial contraception, euthanasia and experimentation on human embryos.

Benedict told pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square: "We know well that this truth risks being contradicted by the hedonism of the so-called well-off societies: Life is exalted as long as it's pleasant, but one tends to not respect it any more when it is sick or damaged."

Fr Andrea Santoro, a martyr for the third millennium

Fundamentalism among assassin's motives: the killer shouted "Allah akhbar, Allah is great!" But it could also be revenge by mafia controlling prostitution.

Ankara (AsiaNews) - Grief, but also "recognition", in the thoughts of the Vatican's nuncio in Ankara for the sacrifice of Fr Andrea Santoro, a "fidei donum" priest killed this afternoon in the Saint Mary Church of Trebizond (Trabzon in Turkish), nothern Turkey. Contacted by telephone, Monsignor Antonio Lucibello, who took up his post as nuncio just over a month ago, told AsiaNews: "This is a source of great sorrow, but also a great recognition for this priest from the diocese of Rome who had committed himself to missionary work. During the Great Jubilee we often had martyrdom mentioned as the Church's keynote. Fr Andrea is a new martyr for this millennium. Let us hope that his blood is the seed for new Christians. Fr Andrea was a missionary just like Saint Paul who says: My duty is to evangelize."

Representations Offensive to the Religious Sentiments

VATICAN CITY, FEB 4 2006 (VIS) - In response to several requests for the Holy See's position vis-à-vis recent representations offensive to the religious sentiments of individuals and entire communities, the Vatican press office states:

"1. The right to freedom of thought and expression, sanctioned by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, cannot imply the right to offend the religious sentiments of believers. This principle obviously applies for any religion.

2. In addition, coexistence calls for a climate of mutual respect favoring peace among men and nations. Moreover, these kinds of exasperated criticisms or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation. A reading of history shows that wounds existing in the life of a people are not healed in this way.

3. However, it must be said immediately that the offenses caused by an individual or a member of the press cannot be imputed to the public institutions of the corresponding country, whose authorities might and should intervene eventually, according to the principles of national legislation. Therefore, violent actions of protest are equally deplorable. Reaction in the face of offense cannot fail the true spirit of all religion. Real or verbal intolerance, no matter where it comes from, whether as action or reaction, is always a serious threat to peace."
While I believe that some people we be offended no matter what, one should not deliberately attempt to offend another because of his religion. However, it seems to me that violent criminal reactions and behavior to cartoons are much worse than "equally deplorable"...

Who would like to bet that those starting fires and engaging in other illegal criminal acts of violence over some cartoons are not fanatical or crazed "Religion of Peace" Mohammedans proclaiming their disgust and outrage but covert Christians and Jews who have infiltrated the ranks of Islamofacism - all in an effort to sway public opinion...I mean, why accept any responsibility for ones own criminal, frenzied and psychotic behavior? Surely, it's always someone elses fault...

I suppose they haven't seen or read Jack Chick's tracts yet?

So far it seems that some Danish imams distributed booklets that showed, in addition to the original 12 cartoons, three fraudulent anti-Mohammed pictures that were much more offensive than the ones published in Denmark. Some think that these three unpublish images are what ignited the outrage in the Muslim world.

The End of a Taboo: Even Romano Amerio Is “A True Christian”

Amerio was the leading figure of the traditionalist opposition in the Church of the twentieth century, and was punished for this through a general ostracism. But now it turns out that his central thesis is the same as that of Benedict XVI – who wants to make peace with the Lefebvrists

By Sandro Magister
ROMA, February 6, 2006 – For the morning of Monday, February 13, Benedict XVI has scheduled a meeting of the cardinal prefects of the Vatican congregations in order to decide two questions: the lifting of the sentence of excommunication against the followers of archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and the widening of the permission to celebrate the Mass in Latin according to the rite established by the Council of Trent.

Benedict XVI has already taken two important steps toward the correction of these irregularities.

On August 29, at Castelgandolfo, he received the two principal leaders of the Lefebvrist Fraternity, Bernard Fellay and Franz Schmidberger, “in an atmosphere of love for the Church and of the desire to arrive at perfect communion.”

On December 22, in his pre-Christmas address to the Vatican curia, he made an interpretation of Vatican Council II that took into account the seriousness of some of the criticisms advanced by the traditionalists. In particular, the pope wanted to reassure them that the conciliar decree on religious liberty does not have to be understood as a surrender to relativism.

Gospel for Feb 6, Memorial: St. Paul Miki, Martyr, & His Companions, Martyrs

From: Mark 6:53-56

Cures at Gennesaret

[53] And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. [54] And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him (Jesus), [55] and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard He was. [56] And wherever He came in, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought Him that they might touch even the fringe of His garment; and as many as touched it were made well.



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

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

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Baptismal Sponsors

"Go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a witness to them." St. Matthew, 8:10.

Back in the 1920's a mere boy was crowned king. Though only eight years old, Prince Michael was crowned king of Bulgaria to succeed his deceased father. As Michael was not old enough to rule, his mother, the queen, ruled for him. To help take care of her son's domain she appointed a guardian or regent. In case of the queen mother's death this regent was to have full powers until the young king came of age.

The sponsor at Baptism is like this regent. He governs in place of another. Every baptized person inherits a kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. Does not God then make us His sons and daughters? But, if a child cannot manage an earthly kingdom, much less can a mere boy or girl manage a heavenly kingdom. Just as King Michael needed a governor until he came of age, so the baptized child, heir of the kingdom of heaven, needs a gover-. nor until it can take care of its own spiritual possessions. We call such a governor a sponsor or godparent.

Though the Bible does not mention sponsors, we find them already in early Christian times. They were always necessary, but especially during the early persecutions. In those days there was constant danger that parents would be martyred, and that the children would fall back into paganism. Godparents were absolutely necessary to take care of these orphaned Catholic children.

Sponsors are just as necessary today. We, too, live in a time of perse­cution, not bloody persecution, but an under-handed, serpent-like sort of attack. The Romans cried: "The Christians to the lions." Today the enemies of Christ cry out: "The Christians to the lions - the lions of impurity and greed, the lions of injustice and pride." In the newspaper, at the theater, over the radio, and in godless schools we meet these lions. To protect us from them the Church has sponsors.

As you know, sponsors are those persons who present the child to be baptized. In the name of the child they make a profession of faith. They take upon themselves the duty of seeing to the spiritual needs of the little one. After birth an infant needs a nurse to take care of its body. After spiritual birth a child needs a sponsor to take care of its soul. Primarily this duty belongs to parents. Should they die, or be unable or unwilling to take spiritual care of their offspring, the duty falls upon the sponsors. They must help the child keep its baptismal promises, help the child learn his prayers and catechism, and see that he attends a Catholic school.

To be sponsor is an honor. Allow me to repeat some of the require­ments for those who receive this honor. A sponsor must have the use of reason and be a member of the Church in good standing. He must be old enough for the responsibility. He should not be the father or mother, husband or wife of the one baptized. The priest or the parents must appoint the godparents, who, to show their acceptance, hold or touch the infant during the ceremony. Sponsors should know something about the Catholic faith.

Only Catholics can be sponsors, because only a Catholic can carry on the instruction of the child in its Catholic faith. In most cases a priest will permit a nonCatholic relative to stand by, but in every case the official sponsors must be Catholic.

During the ceremony they answer for the child. They recite the Apos­tles' Creed and the Our Father. They hold, or at least touch the child, at the pouring of the water and saying of the words. These great honors bring great responsibilities.

Should the parents die or neglect their Christian duty, the sponsors are to look after the Catholic education of their charge.

In general godparents do not have a great deal to do with the training of their godchildren. The parents take care of it. However, I would make two suggestions: Pray every day for your godchild. Secondly, when financially able godparents should occasionally give some religious gift to their spiritual children. This gift may be a prayer-book, Rosary, a sub­scription to some good Catholic magazine, or a Cath­olic book like "The Lives of the Saints," which can be obtained in editions adapted to young people.

In most parishes it is customary for the sponsors to offer a little gift to the priest on the occasion of a Baptism. This is generally done after the ceremony is over. If your gift takes the form of money, I suggest that it be enclosed in an envelope and quietly offered. In this matter there is a wide range of practice. Follow the custom that prevails in your parish. Offering something is a fine gesture of appreciation.

To all of you who ever have been sponsors, and who ever will be sponsors, I say: Take your duties seriously. Realize your responsibility. You are the special guardians and protectors of those who have inherited a king­dom. Help your charges arrive at their kingdom. Amen.
Adapted from "Talks on the Sacraments" (1947)
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM

Gospel for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:29-39

The Curing of Peter's Mother-In-Law

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

Jesus Cures Many Sick People

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

Jesus Goes To a Lonely Place To Pray

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Church of God all of us should listen devoutly to the preaching of the Gospel and we all should feel a responsibility to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to teach the Gospel authentically--on the authority of Christ.

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

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