Saturday, February 18, 2006

Controversy and Marek Bozek

Controversy follows Marek Bozek from Poland to St. Louis
By Tim Townsend

Mark 1:21-22
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The Gospel reading for this recent Sunday was from the book of Mark, the namesake of the young Catholic priest in green vestments who stood in the sanctuary addressing his flock.

The Rev. Marek Bozek was talking about authority. But only the most literal-minded in attendance could have believed Bozek's words were meant as a general lesson on the subject.

Most of those sitting in the pews had been through two years of battles with the St. Louis archdiocese over the control of their church, St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. And they knew Bozek's words about authority and obedience were aimed squarely at the man who had declared the priest excommunicated from the Catholic church: St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke.

Catholics, said the 31-year-old Bozek, are taught to revere the church's authority and the authority of those in the church hierarchy. Though it is central to the church, he said, "obedience, thank goodness, is not the highest value."
Perhaps, the priest/theologian could explain why our Lord chose to be obedient unto death, rather than to cry out for justice or appeal to the truth...Did He not tell Pilate that he would have no power over Him had it not be given to him from above...

Perhaps also, he could explain how one is to receive the graces to nurture the virtue of charity if one deliberately chooses disobedience and defiance? There are far too many problems with Bozek's rationale, a rationale which is nothing more than a justification for his own schismatic actions and behavior. The attempt to explain away an unlawful and sinful disobedience while comparing it to a refusal to obey an unlawful command is repugnant and unworthy of one who claims to be a Christian.
"There are three other values that are higher: justice, truth, charity," he said. "Authority and obedience need to serve these three values. If any authority demands of you obedience that would be unjust, untruthful, uncharitable, you - as a Catholic - not only can be disobedient, but should be disobedient."
And here is the crux of his problem. Having become a self-appointed arbiter of Truth, Justice, and Charity, he has decided precisely what authorities he will obey - which, in this case, is none other than the board which hired him and provides his livelihood, at least for now...

He defied his own bishop and he defied Archbishop Burke. He rejects and disobeys the lawful commands and directives of both. He defies the Church by teaching that which is contrary to what the Church teaches regarding the liceity and validity of the Sacraments. He defies the laws of the Church regarding his lack of faculties to celebrate the Sacraments by appealing to Canon Law. He even defies Christ, our Saviour, because he defies the Church which Christ founded and established.
The story of the fight over St. Stanislaus, like any good story, has produced dramatic plot lines ("Archbishop removes priests from St. Stanislaus"), a variety of settings ("Another parish gets official Polish nod") and intriguing characters ("Burke formally denies sacraments to defiant board").

In December, a new character was introduced: Marek Bozek, the young rebel savior.

A hard childhood

When Bozek was 5 years old in Poland his father was murdered, most likely, he said, by Soviet troops stationed nearby along the Poland-Soviet Union border. He said the case was never investigated or prosecuted.

"I saw my dead father's body," he said. "I saw his brains."

His mother left him and his younger sister "within weeks or months" of his father's death and remarried. Bozek was adopted by his aunt and uncle and his sister was raised by their grandmother.

"I was old enough to be conscious of what happened and young enough that it influences the rest of your life," he said.

Bozek talks with pride about his association, as a teenager, with anti-communist Polish groups. He sees himself today as a passionate idealist who will stand up to injustice.
One needs to be able to properly discern what is and what is not "justice and injustice"...Unfortunately, Bozek seems incapable of making a proper judgment in the matter as it would be applied to the St Stanislaus situation.
On Christmas Eve, when he celebrated his first Mass at St. Stanislaus, Bozek said he had not come for the glory.

"I did not come here to be powerful, to be a warrior or a hero," he said in his homily. And yet that's the way he was perceived - an idealistic young priest from Poland who had stood up to communism and was now promising - despite professional and spiritual risk - to lead the members of St. Stanislaus in their fight with authority.

In his Christmas Day homily, Bozek told his congregation something else about himself: Before coming to Missouri, he had left his seminary in Poland after being accused of "promiscuous homosexuality," accusations, he said, which were never proven.

Bozek entered the seminary in his hometown of Olsztyn, in the archdiocese of Warmia, when he was 23. He quickly became a presence at the seminary, called Hosianum, and was elected president of the student body in his first year.

"I am a person who is either loved or hated," said Bozek. "I cause extreme reactions, so very fast I made friends there, and probably some enemies."

Two years later, Bozek was confronted by the seminary's rector at the time, the Rev. Jan Guzowski, and was told to leave the seminary immediately.

In an interview, Guzowski said some of Bozek's classmates had accused him of propositioning them. "When we did an investigation, we found homosexual pornography in his room," said Guzowski. "That was the last straw."
I was given Fr. Guzoski's name and email address from a reader from Poland when the Bozek issue first came up...The facts speak for themselves. If Fr. Guzoski says he was kicked out of the seminary, are we not to believe him, but rather believe a man who has demonstrated an inability to keep his promises and who opposes what the Church and our Archbishop tell us?
Bozek said that's news to him. "There's nothing I can say to it, it's his version and I've never heard of any of it before," he said. "I left on my own responsibility."
There is probably much which is "news" to him...
Warmia's archbishop, Edmund Michal Piszcz, later investigated. He said "nothing was really proven" in the case, but agreed with Guzowski that Bozek had been removed from the seminary.

Bozek maintains that he left on his own.

Soon afterward, in the spring of 2000, the Rev. David Hulshof, director of Springfield-Cape Girardeau's vocations office, received an e-mail from Bozek inquiring about a career in the diocese.

When Hulshof asked Bozek why he wanted to come to Missouri, Bozek told him "he left his seminary freely to perhaps better serve in a missionary diocese where everyone wasn't Catholic," Hulshof said.
Was there no indication that he was asked to leave not one, but two seminaries? Apparently not...He wanted to evangelize to non-Catholics - Well, he certainly has his work cut out for him now...
Over its 25,700 square miles of southern Missouri, the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau claims 64,000 Catholics - about 5 percent of the population. Because there are so few Catholics in southern Missouri, it is considered a missionary diocese, and Bozek said it was this characteristic that attracted him.
Am I the only one who sees this as a bit far-fetched? What sort of research would have been done to make such a discovery in the middle of the US. Really, I would like to know....Are there statistics where we can look this up somewhere...How exactly was this determination made? Are there no other places in the US where the "stats" are worse? Forgive my skepticism, but I'm not taking this bait.
In a letter of recommendation to the diocese, Piszcz wrote: "I know Marek would like to continue his formation for a priesthood and as his hitherto existing archbishop I give him my own recommendation."

He did not mention why Bozek left Hosianum.

"There is no reason why if someone is accused of something at one place they cannot go on to another," Piszcz said recently.

After he was ordained in 2002, Bozek was assigned to be an associate pastor at St. Canera parish in Neosho.

He spent about 18 months there before Bishop John J. Leibrecht, leader of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese, reassigned him to St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield in the summer of 2004. Leibrecht said he'd been told Bozek was preparing to tell his congregation in Neosho from the pulpit that he was homosexual. Bozek denies it.
Strange. A reasonable person, upon seeing or hearing of a certain pattern regarding one's character or behavior, might be concerned and seek clarification so that some sort of help could be provided...
Leibrecht asked Bozek if he had "an agenda." Bozek said he did not, but Leibrecht decided the rumors were distracting from Bozek's ministry - which Bozek says was true - so he brought the priest to Springfield.
Bozek said he is "a celibate and chaste priest."
Bozek has no agenda???? What then, is this current escapade in which he is involved? Is it not an agenda to bring "justice" and "truth" (or at least his versions) to the poor persecuted people of St. Stanislaus?
Break with Springfield

By fall, people in Springfield, including Leibrecht, were hearing rumors that Bozek was considering leaving for St. Stanislaus. But the bishop said when he asked the priest about his plans, Bozek always denied it. Bozek finally came to Leibrecht's office in early December and told him he was abandoning his vow of obedience to the bishop in order to heed God's call. God, Bozek told his bishop, was calling him to return the sacraments to the parishioners of St. Stanislaus.
Of course! We are supposed to believe that God was calling him to reject his promises and his duties...that God was calling him to disobedience. In all truth, to which some seem so oblivious, God knows that the Sacraments were never taken away from the people. To state or imply otherwise is either a flagrant manifestation of ignorance or a deliberate lie. And to accept the claim that God was calling him to this rebellion is to ask us to reject that same God. Such a calling to disobedience and rebellion would be an impossibility. Only the evil one would be calling him to such an action.
The 75-year-old Leibrecht said he feels a "personal betrayal" in Bozek's decision. On the morning Bozek gave Leibrecht his final decision, Leibrecht asked the priest to sit down and take his coat off. Bozek refused.
Apparently, for him, obedience has always been an issue.
"I begged him not to leave. I gave him every reason I could think of," said Leibrecht, "but he made the decision anyway. It was," he paused, then began to cry softly, "it was one of the saddest days of my life."

Since December, Bozek has maintained that his only reason for leaving his diocese, betraying his bishop and risking excommunication was to bring the sacraments back to the people of St. Stanislaus. His resolve has only strengthened since he arrived.
Like everyone confused by sinfulness and slavery, one digs in his heels ever deeper to confirm himself in his sin and reinforce his own attitudes.
"I would never get involved here if the archbishop had not taken away the sacraments from these people," he said. "This is the biggest atrocity in the 21st century in the Catholic church - to use the sacraments as a game. That's a bigger abuse than the abuse of minors, or at least the same gravity, because the sacraments are the most holy thing for Catholics. If you take seriously what the church teaches about sacraments, it's the very presence of the Lord. And how can you use the very presence of God to manipulate someone?"
Let's get this straight - the Archbishop's removal of the priests from the parish because of the actions of the board and his establishing another parish where the the people could receive the sacraments is the "BIGGEST ATROCITY in the 21st CENTURY". . ."a BIGGER ABUSE THAN the ABUSE OF MINORS"?

This man has absolutely NO clue. If I were to make such statements publicly, I'm certain that I would be declared as delusional, at the very least! We will wait and see if Bozek is called to task for his "cogent" observations. Nevertheless, incoherent statements of this nature are indicative of a mind which is grossly confused, or certain facts are being manipulated to distort the truth.

Additionally, one can safely assume that he has never seen the Code of Canon Law which provides explicit rules and procedures for the governance of the Church. And surprisingly, there are canons which directly address when the bishop can and must do what he has done...But then, when one is no longer Catholic, why on earth would one consider himself bound by laws of a Church to which he no longer supports or believes.
Most of St. Stanislaus's parishioners also belong to, or at least attend, other churches closer to where they live. And although some chose not to accept the sacraments at their other churches during the months when St. Stanislaus was without a priest, none of them was barred from seeking the sacraments elsewhere. Many took part in whatever sacraments they felt they needed at another parish.
Bingo!!! Tim Townsend strikes gold with the truth!
Bozek insists that the members of St. Stanislaus have the right to the sacraments in their own church, and that right is worth his own exile.

Leibrecht said Bozek's sacraments logic was "very, very weak."
What an understatement! This explains a great deal and it probably the most enlightening statement in the article.
"There were other reasons than that," he said. "I thought to myself, something else is going on here, there are other motivations he had."

He said he thought he'd understood Bozek, "but I'm less sure that I understand him now."

Hopeful after meeting

Few people who know Bozek believe that, even if he could, he would stay at St. Stanislaus for the rest of his career. "He's 31 years old," said Hulshof. "I don't see him staying in one place for the rest of his life."

Bozek himself hints that his situation at St. Stanislaus is tenuous, and depends largely on how things work out between St. Stanislaus and the archdiocese. "For right now, I see myself as the pastor of St. Stanislaus. As long as they need me," he said. "But if my presence becomes the main obstacle to the reconciliation, I am going to go away."
He's a hired hand - hired at the will and whim of a board which has no regard for the Church or her authority. How devoted are they going to be to a mere hired hand?

Bozek is living in the U.S. on a religious worker's visa, and has a one-year contract with St. Stanislaus, which can be extended. He is paid $1,900 per month, his rent is paid for, he receives a food allowance and he has insurance benefits.

Bozek and Burke met last Tuesday. Neither would talk about what they discussed, though Bozek said he left the meeting more hopeful for a reconciliation.

Meanwhile, parish activity at St. Stanislaus is buzzing. Bozek has started an adult education class on the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and a movie night. He is busily recruiting altar servers, Eucharistic ministers and lectors. St. Stanislaus counted 250 households as members when Burke removed the priests 18 months ago, compared to 500 today, according to Bozek. The new priest is putting about 800 people in the pews each weekend over the course of three Masses, including one celebrated in Polish.

The hardest part of his new job is dealing with the hate mail accusing him of pedophilia and rampant homosexual acts, Bozek said.
If this is true, it certainly serves no purpose. Hopefully, he does not see requests for his conversion, repentance, and reconciliation as "hate mail". But then, as human nature tells us, many think they are persecuted when in fact, others, out of love for Christ and neighbor, offer fraternal correction.
He is determined, however, not to become distracted from what he considers his main job: saving souls. He relies on a Latin phrase, per aspera ad astra (through the thorns to the stars), to help him get through the loneliest points. "Christianity is not about easy solutions, it's about just and true solutions," he said. "And sometimes justice demands self-sacrifice."
If he is truly concerned with saving souls, he would not be leading people away from the Church. He would not be engaging in distortions of fact about the Archbishop denying the Sacraments to the "faithful". He would not be engaged in acts which rupture the unity of the Church nor would he be supporting the actions of a renegade board which engages in a rebellious and defiant atitude toward the lawful bishop of the local Church. Leading souls away from the Church is gravely sinful - sinful unto eternal damnation.
In Bozek's mind the heroic stature he has acquired in some parts of the St. Louis Catholic world for standing up to Burke is tempered by the knowledge that he's hurt people - especially Leibrecht - and a belief that he is simply an actor cast in an ongoing drama. This is not a struggle he was seeking.

"This crusade found me," he said.
Bozek is still confused about a number of issues...He is in such need of prayer. Let us not forget to pray for him.

St Louis Post Dispatch article here.

Opus Dei demands cuts to Da Vinci Code

The conservative Roman Catholic group at the centre of The Da Vinci Code, the film adaptation of Dan Brown's controversial novel, has called on the film-makers to change the ending so as not to offend Catholics.
More from the Guardian here

For those who like "The Da Vinci Code"...

...there is another book which includes:
Coded messages ... Catholic conspirators ... Historical schemes ... A deep and stunning surprise about Jesus ...
Sounds similar to Dan Brown's thriller, yes? Want more?

Now comes lawyer-historian-writer Steve Berry with "
The Templar Legacy."
His theological thriller features coded messages, Catholic conspirators, historical schemes and - what else? - a deep and stunning surprise about Jesus.

Berry also tosses in militant monks, cliff-hanger chapter endings, a bunch of violence (some of it in Copenhagen, most of it in southern France) and some historical insight into the Knights Templar, thought by real historians to be gone since the 14th century.

Alter Christus - Helps to Perseverance in Fervor

"If only I could persevere in these dispositions" is often the anxious thought that comes to us on days of greater fervour: for experience has taught us how difficult it is to carry out, amidst the cold blasts of the world, resolutions taken in the sheltered warmth of the sanctuary. Even if there were no temptations and onslaughts from without, there would still be constant danger from our inherent fickle­ness and waywardness: how easily the mind loses sight of the ideal pursued, how quickly the will wearies of effort. . .

We know the remedy: constant watchfulness over the state of our soul and frequent renewal of our purpose. And we know where we can find it: in our examination of conscience, which we should do every day; in our confession, every week; in our recollection day, every month... Do we make a diligent use of these helps to perseverance in fervour?


It was one of the obligations which the 1917 Code of Canon Law (can. 125) urged upon clerics. All ascetical writers insist on its neces­sity for spiritual progress. We have grown familiar with it during the long years of our seminary training... And, probably, we have never wholly given up that salutary exercise. But are we earnest enough about it, and do we gather serious fruit from it? - Often perhaps it turns out to be a superficial, perfunctory exercise. So many causes may contribute to rob it of nearly all its value: routine, preoccupations and worries, monotonous recurrence of the same faults, weariness and fatigue at the end of the day...

Let us arm ourselves against these dangers by a generous resolve to fight courageously against all difficulties, and by practical means to secure a fruitful examen of conscience: determine the place and the time and the method which experience has taught us are best for us. It is essential that we should examine carefully, every night, how we fared during the day: the sins and faults commItted, our shortcomings in the practice of virtues and in the duties of our ministry; then, reassert our determination not to put up with our failings but to try again and aim at thorough fidelity to our ideal.

* If every evening, at the feet of the crucifix or near the Sacred Heart in the tabernacle, we go through this exercise earnestly, we shall certainly find in it a great help to per­severe in our fervour.


Our confession day ought to be for us, every week, another unfailing source of renewed fervour. The earnest pre­paratory examination of our conscience, the feelings of sincere contrition, above all the graces of the Sacrament: all combine to re-awaken in us fidelity to our ideal and generosity in the pursuit of it.

This supposes of course that we surround the Sacrament with all the care and reverence due to it. Too easily perhaps priests neglect in their own case what they recommend so earnestly to their penitents. Their preparation is hurried and superficial; the confession itself is made in an off-hand manner, perhaps between two distracting conversations; the penance is performed mechanically...

Of how much additional grace they who treat the Sacrament so lightly deprive themselves! Nor will they find in it the stimulus to renewed fervour it would prove if received with greater devotion.

The possibility of getting such a periodical renewal of fervour on our confession day ought to be an additional reason for us to be regular with our confessions and to observe the common practice of confessing every week. Longer intervals may be forced upon us by circumstances, but are they not at times merely the result of our want of appreciation and eagerness, - of insufficient generosity, - of a repugnance that could be overcome by greater humility and faith?

* Let us examine what influence our confession day habitually has upon our spiritual life. - What shall we do to increase it? . . .

One of the most efficacious means to renew periodically our fervour is the monthly recollection. We know how urgently Pius X and Pius XI recommended it in their exhorta­tions to the clergy. .. Let us renew our resolution to make the most of this great stimulus to perseverance.

If we have in our diocese the great advantage of recollection days in common for priests, let us make every sacrifice to be present at them. But the fruit of those gatherings will depend on our earnestness and spirit of recollection during the prescribed exercises, and on the practical applications we make to ourselves by personal reflection.

If left to ourselves, let us make sure of a day and a time when we can find the necessary leisure for the customary exercises, and compensate the drawback of our isolation by a more intimate contact with Our Lord in fervent and somewhat prolonged prayer.

* Do we profit by our recollection day to examine seriously our life in the light of our vocation, of our retreat resolutions, perhaps also of our particular obligations in some association of priests (if we have joined any)?

Do we take this occasion to seek the very profitable help of spiritual direction, when circumstances make this possible?

Our priestly ideal is too grave a concern to neglect anything that may help us towards it. - "Admoneo te ut resuscites gratiam Dei quae est in te. . ."

"Deus, in te sperantium fortitudo, adesto propitius invocationibus nostris: et quia sine te nihil potest mortalis infirmitas, praesta auxilium gratiae tuae; ut in exsequendis mandatis tuis, et voluntate tibi et actione placeamus. Per C.D.N."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 38.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Gospel for Saturday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:2-13

The Transfiguration

[2] And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them, [3] and His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth bleach them. [4] And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. [5] And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah." [6] For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. [7] And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son; listen to Him." [8] And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only. [9] And as they were coming down the mountain, He charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man should have risen from the dead. [10] So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. [11] And they asked Him, "Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?" [12] And He said to them, "Elijah does come first to restore all things; and how is it written of the Son of Man, that He should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? [13] But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him."


2-10. We contemplate in awe this manifestation of the glory of the Son of God to three of His disciples. Ever since the Incarnation, the divinity of our Lord has usually been hidden behind His humanity. But Christ wishes to show, to these favorite disciples, who will later be pillars of the Church, the splendor of His divine glory, in order to encourage them to follow the difficult way that lies ahead, fixing their gaze on the happy goal which is awaiting them at the end. This is why, as St. Thomas comments (cf. "Summa Theologia", III, q. 45, a. 1), it was appropriate for Him to give them an insight into His glory. The fact that the Transfiguration comes immediately after the first announcement of His passion, and His prophetic words about how His followers would also have to carry His cross, shows us that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

What happened at the Transfiguration? To understand this miraculous event in Christ's life, we must remember that in order to redeem us by His passion and death our Lord freely renounced divine glory and became man, assuming flesh which was capable of suffering and which was not glorious, becoming like us in every way except sin (cf. Hebrew 4:15). In the Transfiguration, Jesus Christ willed that the glory which was His as God and which His soul had from the moment of the Incarnation, should miraculously become present in His body. "We should learn from Jesus' attitude in these trials. During His life on earth He did not even want the glory that belong to Him. Though He had the right to be treated as God, He took the form of a servant, a slave (cf. Philippians 2:6)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 62). Bearing in mind WHO became man (the divinity of the person and the glory of His soul), it was appropriate for His body to be glorious; given the PURPOSE of His Incarnation, it was not appropriate, usually, for His glory to be evident. Christ shows His glory in the Transfiguration in order to move us to desire the divine glory which will be given us so that, having this hope, we too can understand "that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18).

2. According to Deuteronomy (19:15), to bear witness to anything the evidence of two or three must concur. Perhaps this is why Jesus wanted three Apostles to be present. It should be pointed out that these three Apostles were specially loved by Him; they were with Him also at the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and will also be closest to Him during His agony at Gethsemane (Mark 14:33). Cf. note on Matthew 17:1-13.

7. This is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains the meaning of the Transfiguration: "Just as in Baptism, where the mystery of the first regeneration was proclaimed, the operation of the whole Trinity was made manifest, because the Son Incarnate was there, the Holy Spirit appeared under the form of a dove, and the Father made Himself known in the voice; so also in the Transfiguration, which is the sign of the second regeneration [the Resurrection], the whole Trinity appears--the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Spirit in the bright cloud; for just as in Baptism He confers innocence, as signified by the simplicity of the dove, so in the Resurrection will He give His elect the clarity of glory and the refreshment from every form of evil, as signified by the bright cloud" ("Summa Theologiae", III, q. 45, 1.4 ad 2). For, really, the Transfiguration was in some way an anticipation not only of Christ's glorification but also of ours. As St. Paul says, "it is the same Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:16-17).

10. That the dead would rise was already revealed in the Old Testament (cf. Daniel 12:2-3; 2 Maccabees 7:9; 12:43) and was believed by pious Jews (cf. John 11:23-25). However, they were unable to understand the profound truth of the death and Resurrection of the Lord: they expected a glorious and triumphant Messiah, despite the prophecy that He would suffer and die (cf. Isaiah 53). Hence the Apostles' oblique approach; they too do not dare to directly question our Lord about His Resurrection.

11-13. The scribes and Pharisees interpret the messianic prophecy in Malachi (3:1-2) as meaning that Elijah will appear in person, dramatically, to be followed by the all-triumphant Messiah, with no shadow of pain or humiliation. Jesus tells them that Elijah has indeed come, in the person of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:13) and has prepared the way of the Messiah, a way of pain and suffering.

Verse 12 is a question which Jesus puts to His disciples, but they should really have asked it themselves, had they realized that Christ's Resurrection presupposed the Messiah's suffering and death. Since they fail to ask it, Jesus does, to teach them that He like Elijah (that is, John the Baptist) must experience suffering before entering His glory.

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 17, 2006

Bozek finds hope in meeting with Archbishop

Despite a church dispute that has resulted in excommunication, the Rev. Marek Bozek is confident that reconciliation is possible between him, St. Stanislaus parish and the archbishop of St. Louis.

Bozek confirmed that he had a personal meeting with Archbishop Raymond Burke on Tuesday, although he said a "gentlemen's agreement" prevented him from discussing the meeting.
Gentlemen's agreement? Of course, this is from a man who could not keep his promise of obedience to his own bishop.
"Both the archbishop and I are willing to work for reconciliation," he said. The response from the archdiocese to those comments is not as optimistic.

"Canon law, like any legal system, prescribes specific procedures that must be observed in the enacting of a legal process or action," the written response stated. "As far as the Archdiocese of St. Louis is aware, the Board of Directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and Fr. Marek Bozek have not completed the canonical procedures that would be necessary for the suspension of either the excommunication of Fr. Bozek and the Board of Directors or the suppression of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Canon 1734 in the Code of Canon Law outlines the procedure that is to be followed."
Canon 1734 states:
Can. 1734 ß1 Before having recourse, the person must seek in writing from its author the revocation or amendment of the decree. Once this petition has been lodged, it is by that very fact understood that the suspension of the execution of the decree is also being sought.

ß2 The petition must be made within the peremptory time limit of ten canonical days from the time the decree was lawfully notified.

ß3 The norms in ßß1 and 2 do not apply:
1ƒ in having recourse to the Bishop against decrees given by authorities who are subject to him;
2ƒ in having recourse against the decree by which a hierarchical recourse is decided, unless the decision was given by the Bishop himself ;
3ƒ in having recourse in accordance with canon. 57 and 1735.
The article continues, in part:
While all sides are focused on church law and regulations, the people of St. Stanislaus are busy being a Catholic church. . .The new priest has been busy with weddings, funerals and baptisms, and he recently started an adult education class, "The Splendor of Vatican II," and a movie club.
This is a bit hard to comprehend. Having been suppressed, St Stanislaus Kostka Parish is no longer part of the Catholic Church - it is not Catholic. Neither Archbishop Burke's Decree of Supression (PDF) nor the Notification indicate in any way that it is Roman Catholic. While some may pretend to be Catholic, that pretension does not make it so.

The thought occurred to me this evening at Adoration, for some strange reason, that many claim to be Catholic and many wish to be known as Catholic, but how few there seem to be who actually want and desire to be Catholic - how few are there who truly strive to follow our Lord by submitting themselves to His Church, who freely conform their wills to His, despite the culture, even within parts of the Church, which exhorts them to pick and choose what to believe or who to obey. But more on that later...
"It's like baking a pie from scratch," [Bozek] said. "It has started looking and smelling good."
Stated like most who choose disobedience...sort of protestant, really. While it might look like a Catholic church, we know that it is not. And pity those, who in flagrant disobedience and defiance (or ignorance) are receiving the Sacraments either illicitly or invalidly. How sad. As always, we need to continue to pray for their repentance and conversion.

Springfield News-Leader article

New cardinals? Rome buzzes with excitement as rumors fly

Unfortunately, I don't see Archbishop Burke's name in the list - it would be nice, though, to address him as "Your Emminence" rather than "Your Excellency". Of course, many have no doubt that sooner or later, this will happen.

Catholic News Service link...

Fr John Trigilio:Boycott Da Vinci Code film

A well known Catholic priest is calling for Catholics to boycott the upcoming feature film version of Dan Brown's popular novel The "Duh" Vinci Code.
Fiction, yes. Literature, no. Recommend, no. Denounce and repudiate, yes. Had such ludicrous conspiracy theories been written about Islam, Judaism or any other religion, there would be lawsuits and protests galore. Catholics let their enemies kick them in the groin too much. It's time to wake up, stand up and defend our religion and our Church. Dan Brown should find another hobby.

Anti-abortion bill passes (South Dakota) Senate committee

From Staff Reports
February 17, 2006, 10:59 am

A bill to ban nearly all abortion in South Dakota passed 5-1 in the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning.

The bill, which says a state task force found that life begins at conception, is an attempt to force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that is the foundation for legal abortion in the United States.

Supporters of the proposed ban, which has passed the House, told the panel it’s time to look at that decision again.

“This is now 2006. Thirty-three years have gone by,’’ Republican Rep. Roger Hunt of Brandon said. “We know about DNA. We know about the fact that the child in a mother’s womb basically has a separate identity."

Hat Tip to Darla M. for the update

More Letters on St Stanislaus, Archbishop Burke

I was unaware of these letters until a periodic review of the St Stanislaus website was done as I was looking for any updated FOSIL/Call to Action/Catholic Action Network Conference event listings for the "convocation" being held at St. Stanislaus next Saturday on Feb 25...
Questions for Burke
By Daryl Schlesser | Arcadia, Wis.

One has to wonder why a person of Archbishop Raymond Burke’s caliber can turn against so great a God and his beloved mother, Mary?

As Christ and his apostles walked the countryside teaching and establishing churches, Archbishop Burke has left a trail of church closings, destruction and scattered faithful.

How many tears do you think Mary has shed watching her poor, hungry, sick and homeless as she sees millions of dollars spent on an ego shrine in La Crosse?

Instead of condemning the good people of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish of St. Louis, he had a golden opportunity to learn how they successfully ran the nuts and bolts of their parish, leaving his clergy more than enough time to minister to the faithful so that this great church could flourish even beyond our wildest dreams. Or are we destined to become a church driven by money, power, politics, sex and ego?

May the Triune God Bless and Save us all.
Daryl Schlesser
Arcadia, WI
Member of Saint Boniface Parish
Wumandee, Wisconsin.
Archbishop Burke made tough decision
By Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz | Peterson, Minn.

Daryl Schlesser’s letter regarding Archbishop Raymond Burke made absolutely no sense. It’s very hard to argue with strictly emotional statements that have no basis in fact, but I will attempt my best.

Anyone who knows the man knows he has not turned against God and Mary. Anyone who knows him knows that the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe is no ego trip but something built for the glory of God and the renewal of God’s people. Anyone who knows him knows that he does not delight in closing churches but only closed them because of practical necessity. Anyone who knows him knows that his decision to deal with St. Stanislaus Parish was done only because he knows his duties as a bishop and that those duties are not always pleasant.

Mr. Schlesser believes the archbishop could have learned something from the parish. Apparently Mr. Schlesser needs to learn that the situation at St. Stanislaus had always been against the norms of the Catholic Church, even when the agreement allowing the lay board of trustees was first signed in 1891. Apparently Mr. Schlesser needs to learn that many previous archbishops of St. Louis tried to deal with the parish and none succeeded. Apparently Mr. Schlesser needs to learn that the St. Stanislaus board has never had an audit done that was made available to the archdiocese or the general public and so no one really knows how much money they have or how much their land and properties are worth.

Archbishop Burke at least had the courage and forthrightness to take the bull by the horns even though it would have been easier to let it slide, as so many did before him. Because he took decisive action does not mean he should be subjected to the slanders of those who do not know him or the situations he faces.

Here we see in the first letter, an example of a pitiable man in the throes of a very confused state, speaking the same distortions which have become "sound bite" items and "cheers" of those who choose schism over fidelity and obedience. Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, of course and as usual, responds clearly and factually, in a manner which rational people will understand.

Seven Wonders Finalist No.13: St. Louis Cathedral Basilica

St. Louis Cathedral Basilica is the official name of the Catholic church on the northwestern corner of Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End, but it is known to most as the New Cathedral.

Built in the early 1900s, it replaced the Old Cathedral on the St. Louis riverfront as the seat of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In 1997, the church was elevated to basilica status.

Its design - including a conspicuous, green-tiled main dome - combines architecture of the Romanesque style on the exterior with a Byzantine style inside.

. . .the cathedral is best known for its mosaic work, which was begun in 1912 and completed in 1988. It is the largest collection of mosaics in the world, covering more than 83,000 square feet with more than 41.5 million pieces. The work reflects the efforts of 20 artists.
The Cathedral is surely one of the most beautiful churches in the world. It is a "Must See" for anyone visiting the St. Louis area.

Full story here.

Senator Jim Talent’s switch called ‘big distraction’

by Jennifer Brinker, St Louis Review Staff Writer

As U.S. Sen. Jim Talent from Missouri announced his decision last week to withdraw his support for a federal bill to ban human cloning, pro-life leaders in Missouri and at the national level have shown disappointment over his decision.

At the same time, the Missouri Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, is calling on the Republican senator to oppose an initiative that would constitutionally protect embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning in Missouri.

The conference’s assistant director, Mike Hoey, said that Talent’s decision to distance himself from the federal legislation and his support of a newer alternative method of stem cell research are nothing more than "a big distraction" from the constitutional amendment issue that Missouri voters will likely face on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Last week, Talent withdrew as a co-sponsor of SB 658, the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, claiming it would have a negative effect on newer technologies used in certain forms of stem-cell research.

Deacon Larry Weber, director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, called on Talent to reconsider his position on the bill.

"Pro-life Missourians expect that Senator Talent will not succumb to false statements and promises of cloning advocates, and will hold fast to his position in support of the cloning ban," Weber said.

In a speech Feb. 10 to the U.S. Senate, Talent also expressed his support for a newer method of stem-cell research called altered nuclear transfer, or ANT.

The procedure is similar to somatic cell nuclear transfer, more commonly known as therapeutic cloning, which the Church teaches is immoral. Altered nuclear transfer on a broad level creates an embryo, but it is genetically modified to prevent growth beyond an early stage.

Furthermore, a specific kind of the research, called oocyte-assisted reprogramming, has the potential to create pluripotent stem cells without creating and destroying an embryo. That theory, however, is still being debated among Catholic ethicists.

"It’s complicated — a very speculative type of technology," Hoey said of ANT. "We don’t know all of the moral ramifications of it. (Talent is) trying to use that to get out of a tight political spot."

During his speech to the Senate, Talent expressed his disapproval of somatic cell nuclear transfer, which the Church has repeatedly taught involves human cloning. (The full text of Talent’s speech can be downloaded as a PDF at

"The reason SCNT is controversial is that it is a form of cloning," Talent said in his speech. "In fact, it is the same technique that was used successfully to create Dolly the sheep."

Rich Chrismer, a spokesperson for Talent, said that the senator has not taken a position on the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which would constitutionally protect somatic cell nuclear transfer and human cloning in Missouri.

"He doesn’t always take positions on state issues, and he doesn’t take positions on ballot initiatives before it’s determined if they will be on the ballot," said Chrismer.

Hoey said the Missouri Catholic Conference is asking Missouri citizens to urge Talent to oppose the ballot initiative.

"This election is bigger than Jim Talent," said Hoey. "This constitutional amendment is more important than Jim Talent."

He added a message to the senator: "If you want to come along with us and defeat this, you can — but if you don’t, we’re going to remember."

Hoey added that Talent, who is up for re-election in November against state auditor Claire McCaskill, needs to make the ballot initiative a major theme of his re-election campaign.

"He is a national (and state) leader on pro-life," said Hoey. "If he wants to exercise leadership, he’s got to make this a major theme of his re-election campaign."

Talent spokesperson Chrismer acknowledged that Talent has received some opposition from both sides of the debate on his position on the federal cloning bill and ANT. However, he added that Talent’s goal is to "strike a balance, so that we can get the stem cells that we need to relieve human suffering, without cloning or destroying an embryo."

"Senator Talent has always been opposed to human cloning and supports stem-cell research," said Chrismer. "He has made very clear that alternatives like ANT, or ANT-OAR alternatives like that, should be pursued as a way to break the stalemate that we currently face and allow us to effectively ban human cloning."

Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said his immediate concern lies not with Talent’s support of ANT, but his decision to withdraw support of the cloning ban legislation.

"This kind of ban is what you would want to set the outer limit, so that the new technologies don’t slide over into what we all object to," said Doerflinger. "I think the ban is very carefully written."

Catholic ethicists, including Doerflinger and Father Edward Richard, MS, professor of moral theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury, have noted that ANT is an umbrella term, with several scientific approaches to creating pluripotent stem cells.

Father Richard said any sound Catholic would not support ANT on a general level because it still creates a human embryo that would be destroyed.

However, oocyte-assisted reprogramming has the potential to create embryonic-like stem cells without destroying human life.

"Oocyte-assisted reprogramming seems to many ethicists and scientists a very acceptable approach, because its goal is simply to make embryonic stem cells directly, without ever making an embryo," said Doerflinger.

But many Catholic ethicists and scientists are hesitant to support the method of stem-cell research, until more answers are found.

Last month, a number of scientists and ethicists, including several from Catholic backgrounds, issued a statement through the Ethics and Public Policy Center of Washington, D.C., in which they endorsed oocyte-assisted reprogramming, with the condition it would be "technically feasible." (The statement can be found at "All they’re saying is if this really never makes an embryo, this would be acceptable," said Doerflinger. The group is open to exploring the idea using animal cells.

However, Father Richard warned that oocyte-assisted reprogramming uses the same process as somatic cell nuclear transfer.

"The problem with that is it has the full complement of human genes, and the nucleus is being placed in the egg, just like you do in cloning," said Father Richard.

"And the problem is I don’t think (scientists) can prove with moral certainty that that one cell that would be produced is never a human zygote."

Doerflinger also said he was concerned with Talent’s proposal to create a competition that would create incentives for scientists to create embryonic stem cells without cloning human embryos.

"I’m not sure that’s appropriate, for one thing," said Doerflinger. "I think a race is how we got the Korean cloning scandal. And then you have this incentive to say, ‘I passed the finish line,’ even if you didn’t."

The Missouri Catholic Conference is asking Missourians to contact Talent to urge his opposition to the proposed ballot issue in Missouri that seeks to protect human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Talent can be reached by phone at (202) 224-6154, fax at (202) 228-1518, or on the Internet at

Mother Mary Francis

Archbishop Burke reflects on the life and recent death of this Poor Clare nun whose life was so devoted to our Lord. "Her love of Christ had its source and finest expression in her communion with Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament."

Archbishop Burke's column is here.

Heagle and Ferder - Breach of Faith

This was "buried" in a previous post but deserves it own posting:

On behalf of the Seattle Archdiocese, a nun and a priest teamed up to evaluate or counsel priests accused of sex abuse. They also counseled victims, one of whom is suing over the conflict of interest.

Gospel for Friday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 8:34-9:1

Christian Renunciation (Continuation)

[34] And He (Jesus) called to Him the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. [35] For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel's will save it. [36] For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? [37] For what can a man give in return for his life? [38] For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels".

[1] And He said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come with power."


35. "Life": in the original text and the New Vulgate the word literally means "soul." But here, as in many other cases, "soul" and "life" are equivalent. The word "life" is used, clearly, in a double sense: earthly life and eternal life, the life of man here on earth and man's eternal happiness in Heaven. Death can put an end to earthly life, but it cannot destroy eternal life (cf. Matthew 10:28), the life which can only be given by Him who brings the dead back to life.

Understood in this way, we can grasp the paradoxical meaning of our Lord's phrase: whoever wishes to save his (earthly) life will lose his (eternal) life. But whoever loses his (earthly) life for Me and the Gospel, will save his (eternal) life. What, then, does saving one's (earthly) life mean? It means living this life as if there were non other--letting oneself be controlled by the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (cf. 1 John 2:16). And losing one's (earthly) life means mortifying, by continuous ascetical effort, this triple concupiscence--that is, taking up one's cross (verse 34)--and consequently seeking and savoring the things that are God's and not the things of the earth (cf. Colossians 3:1-2).

36-37. Jesus promises eternal life to those who are willing to lose earthly life for His sake. He has given us example: He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:15); and He fulfilled in His own case what He said to the Apostles on the night before He died: "Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

38. Each person's eternal destiny will be decided by Christ. He is the Judge who will come to judge the living and the dead (Matthew 16:27). The sentence will depend on how faithful each has been in keeping the Lord's commandments--to love God and to love one's neighbor, for God's sake. On that day Christ will not recognize as His disciple anyone who is ashamed to imitate Jesus' humility and example and follow the precepts of the Gospel for fear of displeasing the world or worldly people: he has failed to confess by his life the faith which he claims to hold. A Christian, then, should never be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16); he should never let himself be drawn away by the worldliness around him; rather he should exercise a decisive influence on his environment, counting on the help of God's grace. The first Christians changed the ancient pagan world. God's arm has not grown shorter since their time (cf. Isaiah 59:1). Cf. Matthew 10:32-33 and note on same.

1. The coming o the Kingdom of God with power does not seem to refer to the second, glorious coming of Jesus at the end of time (the Parousia); it may, rather, indicate the amazing spread of the Church in the lifetime of the Apostles. Many of those present here will witness this. The growth and spread of the Church in the world can be explained only by the divine power God gives to the mystical body of Christ. The Transfiguration of our Lord, which is recounted in the next passage, is a sign, given to the Apostles, of Jesus' divinity and of the divine powers which He will give His Church.

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, February 16, 2006

Bishops Bruskewitz and Corrada expect 1962 missal to play important future role

Where have these people been?

Vatican urged to reopen debate on birth control
PARIS (Reuters) - Encouraged by Pope Benedict's encyclical on love, a Roman Catholic bishop and a group of Christian intellectuals in France are urging the Vatican to reopen the debate on its ban on artificial birth control.

Bishop Francis Deniau told the Catholic magazine Le Pelerin this week that Benedict's first encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love), which was widely praised for the positive way it spoke about sexual love, was a hopeful sign for possible change.
If this bishop is being quoted correctly and in context, then this is just another sign of the problems we face. This is more than dissent - this is heresy, pure and simple. Of course, ignoring the constant teaching of the Church, he continues:
Deniau, bishop of Nevers in eastern France, noted that a papal commission had advised in 1966 to allow it, but Pope Paul ignored their recommendation after consulting several cardinals, including the future Pope John Paul.

"The analyses made by the first commission in 1966, which did not condemn contraception, are worth being reviewed and debated," Deniau said. He said many Catholics found they could not follow the "rhythm method" of family planning.

"It's important that these things are not seen in a rigid fashion," he said.
The Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, prophetically stated what would happen to all of society if contraception was allowed and embraced. Perhaps the good bishop should re-read Humanae Vitae with an open mind.

Nor are the considerations of heretics and apostates worthy of further review or debate. The debate is closed! It is a theological impossibility for the Church's teaching forbidding artificial contraception to change.

Lest we forget, the grave sinfulness of contraception is taught infallibly by the Church's ordinary universal teaching authority. Those who defend contraception forfeit any claim to being professed Catholics. Consequently, those who persist in their defense of contraception, deprive themselves of the divine graces which are reserved to bona fide members of the Roman Catholic Church. (Source)

Any bishop or any priest who teaches contrary to what the Church professes cares not a whit for the salvation of the souls entrusted to him. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing, an agent of the devil himself. We should pray for his conversion and repentance.

There are some who willingly choose to follow Christ and conform their wills to His will. And there are many who choose to reject Him and His Church. Spare us, O Lord!

Link to article.


Canada's Largest Catholic Paper Lauds Gay Propaganda Film Brokeback Mountain

Gospel for Thursday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 8:27-33

Peter's Profession of Faith

[27] And Jesus went on with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" [28] And they told Him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others one of the prophets." [29] And He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter answered Him, "You are the Christ." [30] And He charged them to tell no one about Him.

Jesus Foretells His Passion and Resurrection. Christian Renunciation

[31] And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. [32] And He said this plainly. And Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him. [33] But turning and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men."


29. Peter's profession of faith is reported here in a shorter form than in Matthew 16:18-19. Peter seems to go no further than say that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Eusebius of Caesarea, in the fourth century, explains the Evangelist's reserve by the fact that he was the interpreter of St. Peter, who omitted from his preaching anything which might appear to be self-praise. The Holy Spirit, when inspiring St. Mark, wanted the Gospel to reflect the preaching of the prince of the Apostles, leaving it to other evangelists to fill out certain important details to do with the episode of the confession of Peter.

The sketchiness of the narrative still show Peter's role quite clearly: he is the first to come forward affirming the messiahship of Jesus. Our Lord's question, "But who do you say that I am?", shows what Jesus is asking the Apostles for--not an opinion, more or less favorable, but firm faith. It is St. Peter who expresses this faith (cf. note on Matthew 16:13-20).

31-33. This is the first occasion when Jesus tells His disciples about the sufferings and death He must undergo. He does it twice more, later on (cf. Mark 9:31 and 10:32). The Apostles are surprised, because they cannot and do not want to understand why the Master should have to suffer and die, much less that He should be so treated "by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes." But Peter, with his usual spontaneity, immediately begins to protest. And Jesus replies to him using the same words as He addressed the devil when he tempted Him (cf. Matthew 4:10); He wants to affirm, once again, that His mission is spiritual, not earthly, and that therefore it cannot be understood by using mere human criteria: it is governed by God's designs, which were that Jesus should redeem us through His passion and death. So too, for a Christian, suffering, united with Christ, is also a means of salvation.

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 15, 2006

Sister Helen Prejean testifies that Ryan is 'a man of honesty'

. . .U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer barred the 66-year-old Dominican nun from New Orleans from mentioning the issue that brought her together with Ryan - the crusade to repeal the death penalty in America.

Pallmeyer ruled that the death penalty issue was irrelevant to charges that Ryan steered big-money state contracts and leases to friends and got free vacations and gifts in return.

Prejean testified that she had repeatedly met with Ryan to discuss "public policy" and "social policy" issues.

Archbishop Burke meets with St. Stanislaus' priest

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke met Tuesday with a priest he declared excommunicated in December. The Rev. Marek Bozek, who was hired as pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish late last year, confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he had met with the archbishop but would not comment on their conversation.

Bozek, a Polish national who has worked as a Catholic priest in southwestern Missouri for three years, left his home diocese of Springfield Cape-Girardeau without the permission of his own bishop, John J. Leibrecht, to lead St. Stanislaus.

Leibrecht suspended Bozek on Dec. 2, and the priest was immediately hired by St. Stanislaus's lay board of directors. The parish had been without an ordained leader since August 2004, when Burke removed its priests.

By hiring Bozek, the six members of the board also brought excommunication on themselves by committing a schismatic act, according to Burke. The archbishop has since "suppressed" St. Stanislaus, meaning the parish north of downtown is no longer part of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Phone calls to the archdiocese seeking comment were not returned Tuesday afternoon.
Perhaps our friends from St. Stanislaus would care to comment?

Perhaps, Archbishop Burke was informing him of the next step in the process - that about which Dr Ed Peters commented on Dec 20 2005:
Fr. Bozek needs to know something here: contumacy for an excommunication imposed for an act of schism is itself punishable, this time, by penal dismissal from the clerical state (1983 CIC 1364 § 2). Moreover, once imposed, penal dismissal from the clergy--not being a censure (1983 CIC 1336 § 1, 5°)--is not reversible by what amounts to offering a sincere apology. Indeed, reinstatement of a "defrocked" priest is reserved to Rome (1983 CIC 293) and is so rare as to be non-existent.

Not too surprising...

..."Evidence Doesn't Matter" in American Psychological Association Abortion Advocacy

Springfield, IL (Feb. 15, 2005) -- According to a spokesperson for the American Psychological Association, the APA's pro-choice position, first adopted in 1969, is based on a civil rights view, not on scientific proof of any mental health benefits arising from abortion.
More at LifeSiteNews

More on Ferder and Heagle

Ferder and Heagle's web site is called "Tender Fires", The Spiritual Promise of SexualityThese two are scheduled to be here in St Louis on February 24-26 at the Mercy Center, for a Workshop for Voice of the Faithful, St Louis, on: Sexuality & Spirituality.

Archbishop Burke has been notified of this pair's coming to the Archdiocese at the request of another dissenting organization (VOTFSL) in our midst. Let us pray that those who would choose to pervert the teachings of the Church and of the natural moral law are admonished to cease or, at least, to take their poison elsewhere.

From Our Lady's Warriors, we read about TARA (Therapy and Renewal Associates):
Described as an outpatient psychotherapy resource for clergy, members of religious communities, lay ministers, other professional adults, couples and families, and co-directed by dissenters Sr. Fran Ferder and Fr. John Heagle, they counsel that sodomy and a homosexual lifestyle is perfectly acceptable.
Emphasis below is mine:

Dr. Ludwig, director of university ministry and professor of Catholic studies at De Paul University in Chicago, author of Reconstructing Catholicism for a New Generation, is an expert at "deconstructing Catholicism" — as his signature in support on the Voice of the Faithful petition indicates.. . .Ludwig's appearance in Des Moines, along with the recent appearances of high-profile dissidents in other dioceses — such as Australian ex-priest Michael Morwood in Los Angeles, New Age proselytizer St. Jose Hobday in Altoona-Johnstown, Pa., Sr. Fran Ferder and Fr. John Heagle in Boise, Idaho — not only demonstrates the commitment of a significant number of bishops to the ongoing destruction of the Church in America, but most importantly signals the determination of the hijackers of Vatican II to take advantage of the sex abuse scandals to maintain control and continue Amchurch's triumphal march...(Link: Catholic Culture)
... The mobilizing metaphor of this council document (Lumen Gentium, specifically its description of the Church as The People of God) remains the image of the church as a community of faith in history. The result has been a revolution in Catholic consciousness that is stronger than our words and deeper than our symbols. It is a shift from understanding the church primarily as the hierarchical institution to experiencing it as a community of disciples. It is a way of recognizing the primordial dignity of baptism as the basis for all mission and ministry. (7. Partnership: Men & Women in Ministry, by Fran Ferder and John Heagle, Ave Maria Press, 1989, pp. 116-117.)
(Link: The Wanderer)
The author sees a close connection between the human being, adam, and ‘earth’ which is adamah in Hebrew. Human beings are a mixture of matter and spirit, of rootedness in the earth while having their origin in God’s creative breath. Since the earthy being had as yet no gender, in English it should be referred to as ‘it’. We translate it as ‘earth-creature’.1

In Hebrew, ‘he’ and ‘it’ are the same word; about `earth creature', see F.FERDER and J.HEAGLE, Partnership, Notre Dame 1989, pp. 31-46.
The following link contains a list of books recommended by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL.
Ferder, Fran and Heagle, John. Partnership: Women and Men in Ministry. Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1989.
(Link: Dominican Sisters, Springfield IL)
From a "DANGEROUS to the FAITH" website:
WHY HAVE YOU (Fran Ferder) AND JOHN HEAGLE, two celibate people, chosen to work in the area of sexuality? . . .

You talk about diversity and inclusivity as an essential teaching of Jesus—that we need to let everyone come to the table.

That is definitely a central message that we want to communicate. Often it's around issues that deal with sexuality that people don't feel included in our church. I don't see a lot of people who are pro-capital punishment feeling like they're not part of our church or that they can't participate in the sacraments. But someone divorced and remarried without an annulment is explicitly excluded, unless they are refraining from sex with their spouse.

This is where genital behavior—what you do or don't do with your genitals—becomes the defining issue in Catholic morality. And we need to move away from that.
(Link: The Claretians)
Those Who Feel Called to Priesthood
An Experience of Priesthood
by Fran Ferder, F.S.P.A., Ph.D.
New Woman, New Church, New Priestly Ministry
Proceedings of the Second Conference on the Ordination of Roman Catholic Women
November 1978, Baltimore, U.S.A. pp 101-109.

Fran Ferder, FSPA, authored Called to Break Bread?, a psychological investigation of 100 women who feel called to priesthood in the Catholic Church. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Loyola University, Chicago, and is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She currently serves on the staff of the Quixote Center, Mt. Rainier, Maryland.
Ferder and Heagle have co-authored several books, including: Partnership: Women and Men in Ministry and Your Sexual Self: Pathway to Authenticity. Their most recent book Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality (Crossroad Publishing) was released this fall.

I reached Ferder and Heagle by telephone in Seattle to talk about their new book.
by Gerry McCarthy, Editor of The Social Edge
(Link: The Social Edge)
There is so much more, but I will have to post a followup. I must gratefully thank D. Meyers for for her tremendous help and courage in putting so much time and effort into exposing this poison in the Diocese of LaCrosse and elsewhere.

Who said, "Ya can't fix stupid"?

During the 2004 campaign, John Kerry was subjected to bitter invective from religious leaders and pundits for his stance on abortion. Raymond Burke, the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Louis, went so far as to forbid Kerry Communion in his diocese, and Fox News commentator Sean Hannity opined that if Kerry couldn't support a major tenet of his religion "... he can go to another church."

All of this might be considered fair play except -- as Franken notes, no pro-choice Republican Catholics, including such notables as Rudolph Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even a member of George Bush's own cabinet, were ever subjected to these sanctions or criticisms.

Franken quips that Hannity, a Catholic and a staunch proponent of the death penalty, may have since left the church in search of a religion that is "more bloodthirsty." While Hannity might be allowed some partisan license, it's difficult to see any appropriateness in Bishop Burke's hypocrisy.
As if there is no hypocrisy in Franken's words? This is from a review of Al Franken's book, "The Truth with jokes".

Apparently had he done any research at all or read any of the pastoral letters by Archbishop Burke, he might not come off as a clueless "comedian"...

Fr Heagle and Sr Ferder - Soon To Be Here

Breach of Faith
On behalf of the Seattle Archdiocese, a nun and a priest teamed up to evaluate or counsel priests accused of sex abuse. They also counseled victims, one of whom is suing over this conflict of interest.. . .

Their co-written book, Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, makes the case for a new, healthier vision of Christian sexuality based on joy rather than sin. They have also issued support for homosexuality, a position that has earned them the title of "dissidents" among orthodox Catholics and put them at odds with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, whom Ferder once called "woefully ignorant of recent findings on human sexual development."
This article will be followed up with a number a links which demonstrate very profound problems with this "team".

Honduran Cardinal Speaks on Global Poverty, and more...

As well as other things...
In an interview, Rodriguez Maradiaga said an issue recently in the news in the U.S. - bishops in favor of denying Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights - is not relevant in Honduras "because those people never come to church."

But, he said, "personally, I could never deny Holy Communion to a person. It would be a public scandal. Those who know they shouldn't be accepting the Eucharist have their own consciences. In my capacity as a pastor, I would never decide that for someone else."
The greater public scandal would be to allow a so-called "Catholic" who supports and facilitates the murder of innocent children to receive Holy Communion...I'm afraid the good cardinal is a bit confused on this point.



Homosexual activists are never "satisfied". The objectively disordered inclination they have, directly affects, for many, their ability for rational thought. Being "possessed", as it were, to a certain unnatural depravity, they continue to ask for, and in some cases, demand that they be permitted to "have their way" with teenagers as this recent article explains:
Gay Activists Ask Canada to Lower Age of Consent for Anal Sex, National Post Agrees

TORONTO, February 14, 2006 ( - Homosexual activists have long sought to distance themselves from pedophiles, however Canada's most prominent homosexual activist group has now demanded the lowering the age of consent for anal sex to 16 from 18. Surprisingly, Canada's National Post, regarded by some as a 'conservative' paper has come out in favour of the proposal...
The promotion, advocacy and approval of homosexual vices (or any sort of sins against Chastity) fosters a complete rejection of God and the rejection of any sense of objective morality. It leads to moral decay and rot within any society. It becomes the means by which society inflicts upon itself - suicide - a sexual suicide. More and more we think our "liberation" has set us free, yet, as history demonstrates, we are becoming more and more enslaved by the addiction of sexual perversity and deviance. And the ultimate consequence of this will be death.

Prayer, sacrifice, acts of penance and mortification are needed to atone for the enormous sins against life and against God that we are witnessing today. May God grant us the grace to see what is happening to us and to repair the damage we are inflicting upon ourselves by rejectng His moral order and principles.

Lifesite Article here.

Gospel for Wednesday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 8:22-26

The Curing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida

[22] And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to Him (Jesus) a blind man, and begged Him to touch him. [23] And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village. And when He had spit on his eyes and laid His hands upon him, He asked, "Do you see anything?" [24] And he looked up and said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." [25] Then again He laid His hands upon his eyes; and He looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly. [26] And He sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."


22-25. Normally the cures which Jesus worked were instantaneous; not so in this case. Why? Because the blind man's faith was very weak, it would seem, to begin with. Before curing the eyes of his body, Jesus wanted the man's faith to grow; the more it grew and the more trusting the man became, the more sight Jesus gave him. In this way Jesus acted in keeping with His usual pattern: not working miracles unless there was a right predisposition, yet encouraging a good disposition in the person and giving more grace as he responds to the grace already given.

God's grace is essential even for desiring holy things: "Give us light, Lord. Behold, we need it more than the man who was blind from his birth, for he wished to see the light and could not, whereas nowadays, Lord, no one wishes to see it. Oh, what a hopeless ill is this! Here, my God, must be manifested Thy power and Thy mercy" (St. Teresa, "Exclamations of the Soul to God", 8).

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 14, 2006

The Creator and Mankind

It has been demonstrated in our previous reflections that the Maker of all things imposed His will on them. In the firmament and in the elements of earth this will is expressed in what we call nature's laws. They are inflex­ible. In animals it is instinct which governs invariably. But what rules man? Con­science. This is God's will conveyed to man, telling him to do right and to avoid wrong.

As an example of how conscience acts, take a child who tells his first lie. When for the first time he says what he knows is not so, a blush comes to his countenance. This blush is the external sign of the shock within as nature cries out against falsehood. A confirmed liar shows no external disturbance because he has silenced conscience. Some nations and some individuals have more delicate consciences than others, but there are certain fundamental things which every people and every person feel to be obligatory.

Conscience is the bond between the Creator and the creature. And just as an individual may by carelessness or selfishness or licentious­ness distort or destroy conscience, so may nations. We have an instance of this in the degraded and unblushing immorality of ancient Rome, even at the very height of her civili­zation. But the Creator has nevertheless as­serted Himself. Nation after nation that has turned from righteousness has come to a sad end.

And so it is with the individual. He who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind. Often, how­ever, the wicked prosper and the just suffer, but this is because God, if He always rewarded the good and punished the wicked here below, would be a mere employer, not the Lord and Creator. God could stop all the evil in the world instantly if He wished to, but He would then be interfering with the free will He has bestowed on man. For if He punished trans­gressions of His law on the spot, man would be morally forced to keep it and could give no external manifestation of his submission and loyalty.

So God permits evil in order to leave man free to choose between good and evil. For if there were no evil in the world, man would have no exercise of his liberty, which consists in absolute freedom of choice. If a man could only do right, he would be bound, not free.

Now with liberty goes responsibility. Man must answer for the use he makes of his won­drous gift. This brings him in direct relation with his Maker. The greatest transgressions may be those unseen by one's fellow-man. God alone knows all and sees all. Hence the necessity of a guiding code of morals by which man will be judged. This code is written on the heart of man. It was also given on Mt. Sinai in the Ten Commandments. Even apart from Mt. Sinai's promulgation, is there any one of the Ten Commandments that any decent man would wish to see revoked? Would you respect God if He permitted lying, or steal­ing, or dishonor to parents, or the lust that would rob you of your wife's affection or your daughter of her virtue? Would you respect God if He did not demand your reverence and obedience?

If God is entitled to our obedience, He is hound to make known to us His law. He might do this in various ways. It is not for us to say how He shall do it. He could com­mand us directly and personally, He could do it by the ministry of angels, He could write His law in the firmament so that all might read it. But He has not chosen to do so. Instead He has made a covenant with man­kind, employing human agencies to make known His dispensations. This is a state­tnont. It requires proof, which we shall pro­ceed to give shortly.

The covenant between God and man is called religion. Religion comes from the two Latin words re and ligo, which mean to bind back. It signifies the bond by which man is brought back into right relations with God. We, like sheep, had gone astray; individuals and nations had departed from right. God would bring back His erring children, and the ordinary means is by religion. This bond be­tween the Creator and His creature we shall now consider.

I ask you to take up the matter in a fair way, as far as possible without prejudice. Prejudice kills right judgment. In a law suit, see how each party misjudges the other. That is why they must appear before a judge, who hears both sides. In our Civil War see how the North viewed the South and the South the North.

A person who is not a Christian, with difficulty views the Church rightly. Among Christians, behold how one sect regards another, and, above all, see how the sects regard the Catholic Church. Persons who have joined the Catholic Church from other denomina­tions marvel at the way in which they had misunderstood her. Their first and strongest feeling after conversion is how they could have so mistaken and misrepresented her. As a rule, they burn with zeal to have others see her truth and beauty once they have beheld her as she is.

Christ said, speaking of His Church: "As the world has hated me, so will it hate you." In connection with this saying, I have an occurrence to relate. It is given by the late Father Gallwey, the noted Jesuit. Three English gentlemen, who were very literary, had the custom of meeting at one another's homes in turn and discussing literary topics. They read, each time they met, portions of the great masters, - Homer, Virgil, Horace, Dante, Shakespeare, etc. They always con­cluded by reading a passage from the Bible, the King James version.

It happened that one day they touched on that part wherein Christ uses the words I re­ferred to: "As the world has hated me, so will it hate you." One of the gentlemen re­marked on hearing the phrase that it had a meaning for him which it had never had be­fore. Christ, he said, was here giving a char­acteristic of His Church, - it was to be hated and persecuted by the world. "Now, my friends," he continued, "which of the Chris­tian churches does the world today hate and persecute?"

They went into the matter and concluded that there was but one church in the world with which the world was in opposition, and always had been, the Catholic Church. All the other churches had made friends with the world, were living on good terms with the world. From the Apostles down to the pres­ent day, the Catholic Church stood out against the spirit of the world, and the world stood against it.

After these reflections, the three agreed that it was worth while looking into the claims of such a church. They did so, and found to their astonishment that all their lives they were opposed to a church that they did not know. They had taken for granted the state­ments of her opponents and had arrayed themselves against her. On investigating for themselves, they saw things differently, and were convinced that she was the true Church of Christ. They had the strength of their con­victions, for they sought out a priest and ap­plied for admission into the Church. Father Gallwey was the priest and he it is who gives us these particulars.

We shall now, with unprejudiced mind, I trust, consider the matter of religion and its relation to ourselves personally. Please leave others out of the question and reflect on the points which follow as a personal matter between you and your Maker. God and Myself.
Adapted from God and Myself, An Inquiry into the True Religion (©1917)
by Martin J Scott, S.J.

Building a Catholic Action Plan for Reform

A very timely article from Catholic Culture:
Among the concerns of many Catholics across the world is how to faithfully deal with a bishop who manages his diocese in a manner that undermines or offers little support to the teachings of the Church or its disciplines and norms. Many Catholics feel called to action, but nearly as many feel that they are without an action plan.

I’m one of those tortured souls who have been – especially at times – frustrated into immobility. However, I’m also one of the lucky ones who live in a community with many faithful Catholics. In the absence of this support, it is easy to feel like you are on an island, and the sheer agony of this aloneness has driven many to the point of despair. I’m keenly aware of the pain suffered by many of our readers, whose impassioned letters detailing their untenable situations have given me a window into their plight.

So what to do? Ask your parish priest how one may morally show disagreement with one’s bishop without exhibiting disobedience? Even with a good priest, this would be a very awkward discussion – and many people are without a sound spiritual director to turn to for consultation.

Pope, curial officials discuss proposal to reconcile with SSPX

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI presided over his first major meeting with top Roman Curia officials, an encounter that sources said focused on a proposal to reconcile with followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

More than 20 heads of congregations and pontifical councils attended the Feb. 13 meeting, which was to be followed up by a similar session in late March. No details of the February meeting were made available by the Vatican press office...
As I understand it, Cardinal Arinze is not please with a universal indult, but until something definite is available, we can pray that the next meeting on March 23 may be fruitful...


Another look at the report is here at Spero News

Promoting the Culture of Death

"It took just one generation to turn what was considered a war crime into a so-called act of compassion by a husband..." A quote from a Dutch journalist during the Terri Schindler Schiavo murder as reported by Fr. Wade Menezes at the recent Annual Marian Conference here in St. Louis.

So who is on the speaking circuit under the auspices of "bioethics"? None other than two of those most responsible for the horrific murder of Terri Schiavo - her estranged "husband", Michael, and the incompetent judge in pronouncing the death sentence for an innocent woman, the dishonorable George Greer. It is uncertain what direction this symposium will take, but it seems a bit far-fetched to conclude that these two would participate in The University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics 10th Anniversary Symposium if they were to be challenged about their gravely immoral and repugnant actions.

WCC Meets in Brazil

VATICAN CITY, FEB 14, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is due to participate in the inaugural session of the ninth general assembly of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC). The meeting is being held at Porto Alegre, Brazil, from February 14 to 23 on the theme: "God in Your Grace, transform the world." . . .

VATICAN CITY, FEB 14, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a message to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for the occasion of the ninth general assembly of the Geneva- based World Council of Churches (WCC), which is being held at Porto Alegre, Brazil, from February 14 to 23.
Link for this article.

What wrong with this picture?

New San Francisco Archbishop Thinks Gay Propaganda Film Brokeback Mountain is "Very Powerful"

I think I'm going to be sick! Maybe we aren't praying enough?

Cardinal Arinze Blog and Podcasts

Nice! It's hosted at Familyland...

Hat Tip to The American Papist!

Activism: Write to "L'Osservatore Romano" to capitalize pronouns when referring to God

An email making the rounds (and this is a major pet peeve of mine, as I always try to ensure that I follow this respectful practice). I'm passing this on as received:
Dear Friends,
Ave Maria!

As you all know, it has been the centuries-old tradition in the vernacular languages to capitalized pronouns and possessive pronouns referring to Almighty God and to our Divine Lord Jesus. Faithful translations of the Popes' letters and addresses into the vernacular tongues have always maintained this important sign of respect for the majesty of God and the divinity of Our Blessed Lord. The English translations coming now from the English Edition of the Osservatore Romano have systematically stopped this Catholic protocol, most recently in the Pope's encyclical.

Fortunately the expert translators of Papal material into the Portuguese, Italian and Spanish tongues continue to follow this respectful practice which exists also in their own traditions. It is certainly evident that the clergy and faithful in these countries would not accept the introduction of referring to the Divinity in the lower case, and it is equally certain that we should not accept anything less regarding our own Catholic tradition. The respectful reference to God in the upper case, incidentally, is a practice followed also by devout Protestants.

So I am asking all of you, who feel so inspired, to send a letter or e-mail to the Director of the Osservatore Romano, Signor Mario Agnes, expressing your displeasure at this callous and disrespectful practice and requesting that the editors correct the texts on the internet and in any future printed versions.

The email address of the Osservatore is:

or [via snail mail to:]

"L'Osservatore Romano"
00120 Cittá del Vaticano

"And I say to you: Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God. But he that shall deny Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God" (Lk. 12, 8-9).

Thank you all and may God bless you.
In Christ,
Father Thomas Carleton

Gospel for Feb 14, Memorial: St. Cyril, Monk, & St. Methodius, Bishop

From: Mark 8:14-21

The Leaven of the Pharisees (Continuation)

[14] Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. [15] And He (Jesus) cautioned them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." [16] And they discussed it with one another, saying, "We have no bread." [17] And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? [18] Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? [19] When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." [20] And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." [21] And He said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"


15-16. In another Gospel passage--Luke 13:20-21 and Matthew 31:33--Jesus uses the simile of the leaven to show the vitality of His teaching. Here "leaven" is used in the sense of bad disposition. In the making of bread, leaven is what causes the dough to rise; the Pharisees' hypocrisy and Herod's dissolute life, stemming from their personal ambition, were the "leaven" which was poisoning from within the "dough" of Israel and which would eventually corrupt it. Jesus seeks to warn His disciples about these dangers, and to have them understand that if they are to take in His doctrine they need a pure and simple heart.

But the disciples fail to understand: "They weren't educated; they weren't very bright, if we judge from their reaction to supernatural things. Finding even the most elementary examples and comparisons beyond their reach, they would turn to the Master and ask: `Explain the parable to us.' When Jesus uses the image of the `leaven' of the Pharisees, they think that He's reproaching them for not having purchased bread....These were the disciples called by our Lord. Such stuff is what Christ chose. And they remain just like that until they are filled with the Holy Spirit and thus become pillars of the Church. They are ordinary people, full of defects and shortcomings, more eager to say than to do. Nevertheless, Jesus calls them to be fishers of men, co-redeemers, dispensers of the grace of God" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 2). The same thing can happen to us. Although we may not be very gifted, the Lord calls us, and love of God and docility to His words will cause to grow in our souls unsuspected fruit of holiness and supernatural effectiveness.

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.