Saturday, March 11, 2006

Meditation for March 12

In the Passion, the light which overshadows all is the thought that our Lord, in spite of His infinite love for His Father, yet as a sinner is compelled to give Him pain, having for our sakes taken upon Himself the sins of the world. Per­haps you can see better what I mean if you picture the agony it would cause to see that all one's efforts to show love were taken as so many marks of hatred. I can understand how Jesus seems so anxious for someone "to grieve together with Him." Compassion really means "suffering with." Hence the further He leads you into the Garden of Gethsemane, the dearer will you be to Him, and the greater graces you will win for others.
Adapted from A Year's Thoughts
Collected from the Writings of Fr. William Doyle, S.J. (1922)

Back from Fr Corapi Conference

I see (and heard) several things have happened in just 30+ hours having been out of town at the conference. Yesterday afternoon (Friday) I heard on Catholic Radio in Kansas City (the Al Kresta show) that Catholic Charities in Boston was throwing in the towel regarding adoptions...Having not yet read about the reasons or speculations why CC would not fight the law, or worse, why they would permit secular or other institutions to assume its (CC's) part in this adoption mess is reprehensible - why would they turn over children to others so that they could be placed with homosexual "couples"?. It certainly sounds, initially at least, as a gutless and surrendering move on the part of Catholic Charities...

BTW, Fr. Corapi's Conference was "SURRENDER IS NOT AN OPTION!, Spiritual Warfare and the Family", a repeat of the conference he gave in Boston last week.

Anyway, I see many emails and news stories to get to...Thanks to all for the updates and emails! God Bless!

Meditation for March 11: The Crown of Thorns

See that blood-stained crown which our sins have woven for the brows of our King! Mark the gems that glisten and gleam in that regal diadem - precious gems, priceless jewels - the all­-saving blood of a God made man. No earthly king had ever worn a crown like this before! Never had such a coronet marked its wearer out for the homage of his fellow men!
Adapted from A Year's Thoughts
Collected from the Writings of Fr. William Doyle, S.J. (1922)

Gospel for Saturday, 1st Week of Lent

From: Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus and His Teaching, the Fulfillment of the Law (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [43] "You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. [45] So that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [47] And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."


43. The first part of this verse--"You shall love your neighbor"--is to be found in Leviticus 19:18. The second part--"hate your enemy"--is not to be found in the Law of Moses. However, Jesus' words refer to a widespread rabbinical interpretation which understood "neighbors" as meaning "Israelites". Our Lord corrects this misinterpretation of the Law: for Him everyone is our neighbor (cf. the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37).

43-47. This passage sums up the teaching which precedes it. Our Lord goes so far as to say that a Christian has no personal enemies. His only enemy is evil as such--sin--but not the sinner. Jesus Himself puts this into practice with those who crucified Him, and He continues to act in the same way towards sinners who rebel against Him and despise Him. Consequently, the saints have always followed His example--like St. Stephen, the first martyr, who prayed for those who were putting him to death. This is the apex of Christian perfection--to love, and pray for, even those who persecute us and calumniate us. It is the distinguishing mark of the children of God.

46. "Tax collectors": the Roman empire had no officials of its own for the collection of taxes: in each country it used local people for this purpose. These were free to engage agents (hence we find reference to "chief tax collectors": cf. Luke 19:2). The global amount of tax for each region was specified by the Roman authorities; the tax collectors levied more than this amount, keeping the surplus for themselves: this led them to act rather arbitrarily, which was why the people hated them. In the case of the Jews, insult was added to injury by the fact that the chosen people were being exploited by Gentiles.

48. Verse 48 is, in a sense, a summary of the teaching in this entire chapter, including the Beatitudes. Strictly speaking, it is quite impossible for a created being to be as perfect as God. What our Lord means here is that God's own perfection should be the model which every faithful Christian tries to follow, even though he realizes that there is an infinite distance between himself and his Creator. However, this does not reduce the force of this commandment; it sheds more light on it. It is a difficult commandment to live up to, but along with this we must take account of the enormous help grace gives us to go so far as to tend towards divine perfection. Certainly, perfection which we should imitate does not refer to the power and wisdom of God, which are totally beyond our scope; here the context seems to refer primarily to love and mercy. Along the same lines, St. Luke quotes these words of our Lord: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36; cf. note on Luke 6:20-49).

Clearly, the "universal call to holiness" is not a recommendation but a commandment of Jesus Christ.

"Your duty is to sanctify yourself. Yes, even you. Who thinks that this task is only for priests and religious? To everyone, without exception, our Lord said: `Be ye perfect, as My Heavenly Father is perfect'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 291). This teaching is sanctioned by chapter 5 of Vatican II's Constitution "Lumen Gentium", where it says (40): "The Lord Jesus, divine teacher and model of all perfection, preached holiness of life (of which He is the author and maker) to each and every one of His disciples without distinction: `You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect' [...]. It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society."

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, March 10, 2006

The Sermon on the Mount and our Lenten observance

Archbishop Burke's Column here.

Spain Bans Terms 'Mother' and 'Father'

Despite opposition from the Church and pro-family groups, the government has continually turned a deaf ear to the needs of traditional families, in favor of fringe politics. The argument, according to the Socialists, is that the family has changed with the times, and so has marriage. In the end, legislation was approved not only allowing homosexual couples to marry, but to also adopt children.

[Last Friday]...the Spanish government announced a ministerial order that new births would have to be registered at the State Civil Registries in the Family Book under the headings of Parent (progenitor) A, and Parent (progenitor) B.
It appears that various Lesbian groups in Spain are opposed to the government's latest registry plans...To understand, one has to understand that many words in Spanish - and other languages - have gender. That's right. Some words are masculine, and others are feminine. The government's proposal, progenitor, is masculine.
Sick and warped, all of's mind boggling how people can be so stupid...May God help us all!

Complete article here.

SF Archdiocese to reconsider its adoption policy

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco will reconsider its practice of permitting gays to adopt children through its social service agency after receiving an e-mail yesterday from its former archbishop, now a top Vatican official, opposing such adoptions. an interview with the Globe, the spokesman for the San Francisco Archdiocese had defended the practice of allowing gay adoptions.
Surely not in San Francisco...

Read more here.

Meditation for March 10: My Crucifix

I went on to ---- and once more had an opportunity of a quiet prayer before the life-size crucifix in the church which I love so much. I could not remain at His feet but climbed up until both my arms were around His neck. The Figure seemed almost to live, for it was borne in upon me how abandoned and suffering and broken-hearted He was. It seemed to console Him when I kissed His eyes and pallid cheeks and swollen lips, and as I clung to Him I knew He had won the victory, and I gave Him all He asked.
Adapted from A Year's Thoughts
Collected from the Writings of Fr. William Doyle, S.J. (1922)

Gospel for Friday, 1st Week of Lent

From: Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus and His Teaching, the Fulfillment of the Law (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [20] "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [21] "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' [22] But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the altar and go; first to be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. [25] Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; [26] truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.


20. "Righteousness": see the note on Matthew 5:6 (see below). This verse clarifies the meaning of the preceding verses. The scribes and Pharisees had distorted the spirit of the Law, putting the whole emphasis on its external, ritual observance. For them exact and hyper-detailed but external fulfillment of the precepts of the Law was a guarantee of a person's salvation: "If I fulfill this I am righteous, I am holy and God is duty bound to save me." For someone with this approach to sanctification it is really not God who saves: man saves himself through external works of the Law. That this approach is quite mistaken is obvious from what Christ says here; in effect what He is saying is: to enter the Kingdom of God the notion of righteousness or salvation developed by the scribes and Pharisees must be rejected. In other words, justification or sanctification is a grace from God; man's role is one of cooperating with that grace by being faithful to it. Elsewhere Jesus gives the same teaching in an even clearer way (cf. Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector). It was also the origin of one of St. Paul's great battles with the "Judaizers" (see Galatians 3 and Romans 2-5).

21. Verses 21-26 gives us a concrete example of the way that Jesus Christ brought the Law of Moses to its fulfillment, by explaining the deeper meaning of the commandments of that Law.

22. By speaking in the first person ("but I say to you") Jesus shows that His authority is above that of Moses and the prophets; that is to say, He has divine authority. No mere man could claim such authority.

"Insults": practically all translations of this passage transcribe the original Aramaic word, "raca" (cf. RSV note below). It is not an easy word to translate. It means "foolish, stupid, crazy". The Jews used it to indicate utter contempt; often, instead of verbal abuse they would show their feelings by spitting on the ground.

"Fool" translates an ever stronger term of abuse than "raca"--implying that a person has lost all moral and religious sense, to the point of apostasy.

In this passage our Lord points to three faults which we commit against charity, moving from internal irritation to showing total contempt. St. Augustine comments that three degrees of faults and punishments are to be noted. The first is the fault of feeling angry; to this corresponds the punishment of "judgment". The second is that of passing an insulting remark, which merits the punishment of "the council". The third arises when anger quite blinds us: this is punished by "the hell of fire" (cf. "De Serm. Dom. in Monte", II, 9).

"The hell of fire": literally, "Gehenna of fire", meaning, in the Jewish language of the time, eternal punishment.

This shows the gravity of external sins against charity--gossip, backbiting, calumny, etc. However, we should remember that these sins stem from the heart; our Lord focuses our attention, first, on internal sins--resentment, hatred, etc.--to make us realize that that is where the root lies and that it is important to nip anger in the bud.

23-24. Here our Lord deals with certain Jewish practices of His time, and in doing so gives us perennial moral teaching of the highest order. Christians, of course, do not follow these Jewish ritual practices; to keep our Lord's commandment we have ways and means given us by Christ Himself. Specifically, in the New and definitive Covenant founded by Christ, being reconciled involves going to the Sacrament of Penance. In this Sacrament the faithful "obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins" ("Lumen Gentium", 11).

In the New Testament, the greatest of all offerings is the Eucharist. Although one has a duty to go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, an essential condition before receiving Holy Communion is that one be in the state of grace.

It is not our Lord's intention here to give love of neighbor priority over love of God. There is an order of charity: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38). Love of one's neighbor, which is the second commandment in order of importance (cf. Matthew 22:39), derives its meaning from the first. Brotherhood without parenthood is inconceivable. An offense against charity is, above all, an offense against God.

[Note on Matthew 5:6 states:
6. The notion of righteousness (or justice) in Holy Scripture is an essentially religious one (cf. notes on Matthew 1:19 and 3:15; Romans 1:17; 1:18-32; 3:21-22 and 24). A righteous person is one who sincerely strives to do the Will of God, which is discovered in the commandments, in one's duties of state in life and through one's life of prayer. Thus, righteousness, in the language of the Bible, is the same as what nowadays is usually called "holiness" (1 John 2:29; 3:7-10; Revelations 22:11; Genesis 15:6; Deuteronomy 9:4).]

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, March 09, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's Address on the Human Embryo

Here is the text of Benedict XVI's address to the participants in the 12th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which focused on the topic "The Human Embryo in the Preimplantation Phase."

Off to a Lenten Retreat Tomorrow with Fr. Corapi

This will be the first time in about 4 or 5 years that I've had to see Fr. Corapi. The group who used to have them here quit for some reason or another. Anyway, he will be in the Kansas City area leading a conference sponsored by KEXS Radio and it's not really that far away.

Last week at a Lenten reflection, I was fortunate enough to hear Fr. Eugene Morris gave a great talk on the necessity of mortification. He was followed by Archbishop Burke who spoke from the heart on almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (Matthew 6).

Anyway the point is, posts may be lighter than usual although, I will try to keep the Gospel commentary up-to-date.

Pro-Death Advocates Protest in St Louis

A group supporting the dismemberment, poisoning, and murder of unborn babies gathered here today to voice its protest for South Dakota's abortion ban. The pro-death rally, said to be organized Planned unParenthood, was held at the Old Courthouse in downtown St Louis. From the pictures I saw on the news, there did not seem to be more than a dozen or so advocating for feticide - I could be wrong. The report stated that there was a Pro-Life contingent opposite the abortion "rights" group.

*** Updated ***
Judge Carnahan addresses abortion-rights crowd
Judge Debra Carnahan, wife of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, was among the speakers Thursday afternoon at a gathering of abortion-rights activists on the steps of the Old Courthouse downtown.

An unrelated breaking story prevented this reporter from stopping by. Alison Gee, political director for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, called later to say that about 80 people participated. The event was among many held simultaneously in states all over the country to protest the new South Dakota law that would ban all abortions in that state, except those to save a woman’s life.

Planned Parenthood already has filed suit to block that law, after it was signed by South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds.

In a statement sent out before the rally, Judge Carnahan said, “We’re standing in solidarity with the women of South Dakota today because this abortion ban is an attack on all women and families in America.'’
A "judge" who is negligent in protecting the rights of those least capable of defending themselves. How pathetic. A result, no doubt, of the new paganism which so many have embraced.

A Christmas Season Protest at Washburn University

Men, women and children carried signs that read: "Shame on Washburn," "Is everything protected expect Catholicism?" "Stop blaspheming the Catholic faith now," and "The God you laugh at will judge you."

"On one part of campus they're celebrating the birth of Christ, and on the other side of campus they're mocking millions that follow his faith," said Francis Slobodnik, event organizer.

Mark Serafino came from St. Louis to participate in the protest. He said coming to Topeka wasn't a question of distance but one of purpose.

"When we, as Catholics, allow our faith to be attacked and stand by, we allow our faith to be destroyed," he said.
The sign says it all! Is not the answer to the question, "Yes"?

The Topeka Capital Journal article is here.

HT to Mark S.

"Jesus Decoded"...up and running

Head of bishops' conference, accused of sexual abuse, denies claim

Anti-Catholic Statue Can Stay

Ann Arbor, MI— This week the U. S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal involving a constitutional challenge to an anti-Catholic statue depicting a Roman Catholic bishop with a grotesque facial expression wearing a miter that resembles a phallus. The statue was entitled “Holier than Thou” and included a plaque with a denigrating and derisive statement about the sacrament of penance. It was placed at one of the busiest locations on the campus of Washburn University, a tax supported public university located in Kansas.

Robert Muise, the Thomas More Law Center attorney who handled this case, commented, “Incredibly, during the course of this litigation, university officials admitted that they would never permit an anti-Jewish, anti-black, or anti-gay/lesbian statue on campus. Discrimination against the Catholic faith apparently promotes the educational mission of Washburn University. And while the federal judiciary may have turned a blind eye to this outrage, many Catholics did not.”
Surely the college would have removed the offending statue had it depicted the "Prophet"? Read more from the Thomas More Law Center here.

HT to PatteG.

Carl Olson Provides the Answers

A high schooler asks about the Coded Craziness. Will the USCCB be next?

A high schooler asks Carl questions on the Duh Vinci Code - one of my favorite responses was the one to this question:
Is everything Dan Brown wrote about in his novel false?

No. Granted, he is correct in saying that Paris is in France, London is in England, and Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian painter. All true! But after that, it's hard to find much that is completely accurate or factual. Seriously. It really is that bad.
Carl provides excellent answers to her questions and Dr. Peters suggests that he might have done the little lady's homework for her.

Check it out here.

St Francis de Sales Oratory

I had meant to write about my attending Holy Mass on Ash Wednesday at the Oratory - the Latin Mass. From the moment I stepped into the church, I knew I had left the outside world and was now in the very vortex of that juncture where the eternal and the world meet. I had entered a church which was like a cathedral. The stained glass windows of saints was magnificient. I was told that it was a beautiful church but I had no idea. And it was obvious that all glory and honor was directed to our Lord, reserved in the Most Blessed Sacrament - the center of one's life and the center of this building designed and maintained for His worship and adoration.

This is what I saw as I entered:

This photo and more of St. Francis de Sales Oratory can be seen at Rome of the West. Marcus Scotus has many excellent pictures of various churches in the area - I hope he can get more of this beautiful oratory. It's been a while since I have seen so many stained glass windows and such ornate and beautiful architecture. I must say that it is a "Must See" when in St Louis.

Cyprus: Portrait of a Christianity Obliterated

In the northern part of the island, occupied by Turkey, the churches have become stables or mosques. The diary of a trip beyond the wall
by Sandro Magister

Meditation for March 9: Jesus' Thirst

The greatest thirst of Jesus on the Cross was His thirst for souls. He saw then the graces and inspirations He would give me to save souls for Him. In what way shall I correspond and con­sole my Saviour?
Adapted from A Year's Thoughts
Collected from the Writings of Fr. William Doyle, S.J. (1922)

Gospel for Thursday, 1st Week of Lent

From: Matthew 7:7-12

The Effectiveness of Prayer

(Jesus told His disciples,) [7] "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. [8] For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. [9] Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? [10] Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? [11] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

The Golden Rule

[12] "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."


7-11. Here the Master teaches us in a number of ways about the effectiveness of prayer. Prayer is a raising of mind and heart to God to adore Him, to praise Him, to thank Him and to ask Him for what we need (cf. "St. Pius X Catechism", 255). Jesus emphasizes the need for petitionary prayer, which is the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as his Creator and Father. As God's creature and child, each of us needs to ask Him humbly for everything.

In speaking of the effectiveness of prayer, Jesus does not put any restriction: "Every one who asks receives", because God is our Father. St. Jerome comments: "It is written, to everyone who asks it will be given; so, if it is not given to you, it is not given to you because you do not ask; so, ask and you will receive" ("Comm. in Matth.", 7). However, even though prayer in itself is infallible, sometimes we do not obtain what we ask for. St. Augustine says that our prayer is not heard because we ask "aut mali, aut male, aut mala." "Mali" (= evil people): because we are evil, because our personal dispositions are not good; "male" (= badly): because we pray badly, without faith, not persevering, not humbly; "mala" (= bad things): because we ask for bad things, that is, things which are not good for us, things which can harm us (cf. "De Civitate Dei, XX", 22 and 27; "De Serm. Dom. In Monte", II, 27, 73). In the last analysis, prayer is ineffective when it is not true prayer. Therefore, "Pray. In what human venture could you have greater guarantee of success?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 96).

12. This "golden rule" gives us a guideline to realize our obligations towards and the love we should have for others. However, if we interpreted it superficially it would become a selfish rule; it obviously does not mean "do utdes" ("I give you something so that you will give me something") but that we should do good to others unconditionally: we are clever enough not to put limits on how much we love ourselves. This rule of conduct will be completed by Jesus' "new commandment" (John 13:34), where He teaches us to love others as He Himself has loved us.

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, March 08, 2006

How to Be a Loyal Catholic Today?

Fr John Hardon answered this question for us before his deah. He told us:
...much has happened in the last thirty or so years. Nowadays there are so many people who call themselves Catholic but really are not. There are books published and periodicals; there are conferences given, and symposiums held; there are religious programs and celebrations sponsored, and all professedly Catholic. But so many of these are Catholic only in name and not in reality.

In plain English, a revolution has taken place. The revolution is a revolution in doctrine and morality. But the heart of the revolution is a widespread rejection of the papacy.

The errors prevalent in the modern world undermine every single truth on which sane doctrine and sound morality are based. What are the roots of these erroneous ideas? The first root is to detach human freedom from its essential and necessary relationship to Truth. The second root is the denial that there is any visible authority on earth that is divinely authorized to teach the truth. We Catholics believe that this visible authority is the Bishop of Rome.

We return to our title for this conference, “How to be a Loyal Catholic Today?” The answer is obvious. “By being loyal to the Bishop of Rome.” To be a loyal Catholic we must know the truth taught by the Holy Father, live this truth, and suffer for this truth. The truth, of course, is the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Some may not need this reminder, yet there are so many others who could benefit from this, if only it were shared with them with prayers and true charity. As an act of Christian charity, a loving concern for another's eternal salvation, pray for those who have succumbed to the culture and thinking of this world so that their thoughts might be directed to God and the world yet to come.

Fr Hardon's complete article is here. Why not share it with another child of God?

Secret Agent Man's Dossier has a new look!

Canadian Religious Conference in Open, Major Public Dissent from Rome

OTTAWA, March 7, 2006 ( - The Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), the official organization representing the over 200 religious congregations in Canada (groups of monks, nuns and priests organized into religious orders), has publicly voiced dissent to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The controversial statements come in a letter and document written by Alain Ambeault C.S.V., the President of the Canadian Religious Conference, which intends to make suggestions to Canadian bishops as they go for their once-every-five-year visit with the Pope in the coming months.
The document states, in part, (it's 26 pages!) such things as:
Our primary intention is to express our creative fidelity to the Canadian Church; this will translate into the expression of our perception of its reality. (my emphasis)
Creative fidelity to the Canadian Church? How creative? How faithful? And notice, it's not the "Catholic" Church but the Canadian Church.

The CRC, while listing a number of "Recognitions"'s, they have a nearly equal number of "Regrets" and "Hopes"...For instance. "We regret":
...the holding up of an ideal that leaves little room for advancement and progress; the defence of principles that do not reflect human experience (divorce, contraception, protection against AIDS, alleviation of suffering at the end of life).

...the quick condemnation of theologians...

That our Church often gives priority to the reaffirmation of dogma and traditional morals rather than listening to the people’s search for meaning and journeying alongside them in the discovery of their deeper motivations.

The legalistic image of the Catholic Church – and of our Canadian Church – its rigidity and its intransigent stands on sexual morals...

The unconditional alignment of our Church with directives issued from Rome: the disappearance of the practice of general absolution in communal celebrations; the lack of consistency in regard to the role of women in the Church or to married priests…

The maintenance of a number of strict liturgical laws that still constitute barriers to the full participation of lay people in liturgical celebrations; the little place granted to women in the Eucharistic liturgy. The rigidity of the directives of Roman documents: the insistence on the observance of rules rather than taking into account the life experiences of participants.
And many, many more "Regrets" - and I listed none of the "Hopes"...In fact, one might be concerned if such a group of professed Catholics has been swayed, not by our Lord's teachings and those of His Church, but by the influence of a culture under the domination of the evil one.

It is sad to see such a loss of the faith, especially from among the so-called religious. One might rightly say that many have not lost the faith, but have, in fact, abandoned the faith, or failed miserably to nourish and grow the faith.

While reflecting on those things in the Church which one might rightly determine to be regrettable, only a person having no faith would view unchangable teachings as deplorable or objectionable. Only those unconcerned with the salvation of their own souls and the souls of others would dismiss the Church and her teachings. Of course, few among us have no hopes for the future of the Church. Many hope and pray for a purer, more faithful belief and understanding, a deeper fidelity to Christ and His Church, a courageous embracing of the cross, the graces to be able to willingly and freely say yes to His Mother when she reminds us to "Do whatever He tells you".

The document is here.

Priests for Life is calling all priests to sign a statement in response to the Catholic Legislators

On March 10, the abortion movement observes the "Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers." The day before (March 9), please join Priests for Life in a "Day of Invitation to Abortion Providers" by praying for the conversion of these poor, tormented people, and inviting them to freedom!

On February 28, 55 members of the US House of Representatives signed a “Catholic Statement of Principles.” They claim to be “committed to…protecting the most vulnerable among us.” Yet most of the signers oppose a ban on partial-birth abortion. Click here to see the voting records. In response, we ask you to sign the appeal below. A strong showing of priests behind this appeal will make it clear to “pro-choice” legislators that they cannot continue use their ‘Catholicism’ to make their abortion positions more acceptable. We will post the statement and deliver it to the legislators and the media. Thank you!
PFL Link for priests to sign

Meditation for March 8: Dilexit me

The thought that Jesus has suffered so much for me to atone for my sins and past careless life in religion has filled me with a great desire to love Him in return with all my heart. I feel, too, a growing hunger and thirst for suffering and mortification, because it makes me more like to my suffering Jesus, suffering all with joy for me.

Every day has deepened my shame, sorrow and hatred for my negligent tepid life since I entered the Society, and strengthened my resolve I and desire to make amends by a life of great fervor. I feel my past sinful life will be a spur for me to aim at great holiness.
Adapted from A Year's Thoughts
Collected from the Writings of Fr. William Doyle, S.J. (1922)

New book claims EWTN is modernist

Of course, Fr John Trigilio has issued his own statement to this heavily critical book, part of which follows:
EWTN may not be traditional enough for everyone's taste. De gustibus non disputandum est. Some of the shows for children and for youth are not attractive nor entertaining for adults, be they middle age or seniors. Likewise, not every child or teenager is going to be as big a fan of Archbishop Fulton Sheen as [adults] are. Someone may have more personal preference for Pope Pius XII while others liked John XXIII or Paul VI. What worries me is that the real war and battle is being ignored and obfuscated by these petty clashes over style, opinion, and taste.

Instead of bashing EWTN, we need to support it, as it gets no funding whatsoever from the USCCB — or any individual bishop or diocese, for that matter. Even the Vatican doesn't fund it. EWTN survives on its own, but what it does in proliferating papal teachings, the sublime beauty of the catechism, the splendor of Eucharistic Benediction, the Holy Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, daily Mass, and a plethora of shows about Catholicism, is second to none.
. . .
Our efforts need to be directed toward the real enemies: dissident theologians, incompetent bishops, heterodox clergy, and lax Catholics who repudiate Humanae Vitae and the Catechism, who support abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, and who promote or tolerate liturgical abuse.

Picking on the pope and EWTN will do nothing but play into the devil's hands. The prince of darkness is the author of all lies and is the son of perdition. If EWTN were silenced and Catholics obeyed only the popes they 'liked,' satan will have won the war after all.
A good article by Matt Abbott here.

Mark Your Calendars for Oct. 10-12

Catholic-TV Event Has Web Page

MADRID, Spain, MARCH 7, 2006 ( The first World Congress of Catholic Television Stations, which will be held in Madrid next October, has a Web site:

Read more here.

It's never too late...

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2006)—The U.S. Bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign will offer key resources to provide accurate information on the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity prior to the release of the movie based on Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. Resources include a Web site and documentary slated to air on NBC-TV stations. Also being produced is a 16-page booklet on The Authentic Jesus.
Let's hope that this is more accurate and helpful than some of the USCCB's posted NAB comentaries or movie reviews or other items. It seems to me, though, that many good and worthwhile efforts have been made in recent years by Catholics to address the 'Duh Vinci Code' and its many errors...
On March 9, the CCC will launch an Internet Web site,, to provide accurate information on Jesus, Catholic teaching, and various topics explored in The Da Vinci Code. The Web site will explain Catholic beliefs and include articles from theologians, media commentators, art experts and others that provide background and also rebut the speculation and inaccuracies about Christ and the origins of Christianity. Contributing to the Web site is the prelature of Opus Dei.
I apologize in advance for my skittish behavior, but I get nervous when I see the term "theologian" used by the USCCB...My confidence level is boosted, however, with the understanding that Opus Dei will be involved. If Opus Dei was do more than 'contribute', that is, if it was wholly responsible for the site and the content, I would have no qualms or reservations at all.
Also available in March will be a booklet, The Authentic Jesus, which will address questions raised by The Da Vinci Code and other popular portrayals of Jesus.
I suppose we will see. I would also hope that the many fine Catholic authors and commentators who have already addressed and refuted claims in the 'Duh Vinci Code' were consulted in this work.

More here at the USCCB

Town Talk: Put SNAP Under the Microscope

I THINK IT WOULD be a good idea to investigate that David Clohessy and his bunch. I don't think they're worried about any victims of sexual abuse. I think they want to take down the Catholic Church. Every time someone makes an allegation than all of a sudden here come all these other ones out of the woodwork. My suggestion would be to have lie detector test for the whole bunch, from that David Clohessy and his bunch to the priest to the victims making the accusations. I think a good thorough investigation is in order.
Clohessy is always there on TV whenever an allegation is made. It seems he never missess an opportunity for "face time". Guilt or innocence - getting to the truth - seems to be secondary, if any consideration at all is even given to it with this group.


St Aloysius Gonzaga Church to be demolished

Ignoring the wishes of a city board, the Board of Aldermen has approved legislation that would allow the demolition of the vacant St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church.

The city Preservation Board voted Dec. 19 to deny a demolition permit for the church, hall, rectory and convent. But a bill presenting a redevelopment plan and blighting study passed by the Board of Aldermen Friday would supercede the Preservation Board's decision and allow a developer to be issued demolition permits.
More here.

Thankfully, the stained glass windows have been saved and are available to families who originally helped in the purchase of the church. Some of the windows would be available for other churches, such a new or existing churches or those damaged by the recent hurricanes...Read more

100th Anniversary Celebration to be last for Father Dunne's

It was 100 years ago that Father Peter Dunne moved three boys whom he befriended into a home. Months later, he started a ministry to homeless and orphaned boys in the city of St. Louis, a ministry that has cared for thousands of children and young men.

He based it all on a simple philosophy: "The best way to care for a child is simply to care." Father Dunne's will have its 2006 Centennial Celebration Gala at 6 p.m. April 1 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet.

This year's Father Dunne's Newsboys' Home gala will be significant for two reasons: it will be the 100th anniversary, and it will be the institution's last gala.
Read more here

Gospel for Wednesday, 1st Week of Lent

From: Luke 11:29-32

The Sign of Jonah

[29] When the crowds were increasing, He (Jesus) began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. [30] For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. [31] The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than
Solomon is here. [32] The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here."


29-32. Jonah was the prophet who led the Ninevites to do penance: his actions and preaching they saw as signifying that God had sent him (cf. note on Matthew 12:41-42).

[Note on Matthew 12:41-42 states:
41-42. Nineveh was a city in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) to which the prophet Jonah was sent. The Ninevites did penance (John 3:6-9) because they recognized the prophet and accepted his message; whereas Jerusalem does not wish to recognize Jesus, of whom Jonah was merely a figure. The queen of the South was the queen of Sheba in southwestern Arabia, who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10) and was in awe of the wisdom with which God had endowed the King of Israel. Jesus is also prefigured in Solomon, whom Jewish tradition saw as the epitome of the wise man. Jesus' reproach is accentuated by the example of pagan converts, and gives us a glimpse of the universal scope of Christianity, which will take root among the Gentiles.

There is a certain irony in what Jesus says about "something greater" than Jonah or Solomon having come: really, He is infinitely greater, but Jesus prefers to tone down the difference between Himself and any figure, no matter how important, in the Old Testament.]

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.

1st Week of Lent-Trials Before Annas and Caiphas

"Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit, to be tempted by the devil." St. Matthew, 4:1.

In the life of Pope Pius IX we read of a striking meeting he had with Czar Nicholas I of Russia. For thirty years, from 1825 to 1855, the cruel Nicholas had lorded it over the Russians and many others. During his reign the Polish nuns at Minsk were "starved, flogged to death, and buried alive." How similar to the Russian treatment of the Poles until a fews years ago. History repeats. Only one nun survived to tell the heartless story, Mother Makrina; and the story got to the ears of the Holy Father.

When Nicholas came on a visit to Rome he made a formal call at the Vatican, but Pope Pius IX received him coldly, addressing him in these solemn words:
"You are one of the mightiest monarchs in the world, and I am a feeble old man, the servant of servants. But I cite you to meet me again, to meet me before the throne of the Judge of the world, and to answer there for your treatment of the nuns of Minsk."
Here was right, face to face with might. Might prevails for a time; right prevails for eternity.

How similar this scene to the one we will contemplate today - Christ be­fore the Jewish leaders Annas and Caiphas. Let me list the trials of that night. After the Last Supper and Agony in the Garden, about midnight, Judas betrayed Our Lord to His enemies, who hurried Him to Annas, a former high priest. He in turn sent Christ to Caiphas. About eight o'clock in the' morning Pilate was to pass sentence, but hearing that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent Him to Herod. Herod insulted Our Lord and sent Him back to Pilate who finally condemned Him to crucifixion. Five trials there were: Annas to Caiphas to Pilate to Herod and back to Pilate.

Consider today two of those trials. Annas, though no longer high priest took it upon himself to sit in judgment upon Our Lord. Annas questioned Christ but to no avail.

First he wanted to know the names of Christ's disciples. But Christ would not betray those who had betrayed Him. Then Annas asked about His doctrine. Christ's answer was calm and clear:
"I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in the syna­gogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why dost thou question me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; behold, these know what I have said." (St. John 18:20,21).
Annas could find no words, so a fawning subordinate soldier gave Jesus a blow. Turning to this coward of cowards Christ said:
"If I have spoken ill, bear witness to the evil; but if well, why dost thou strike me?" (St. John 18:23).
In angry desperation Annas hurried Jesus to the court of Caiphas, where the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus that they might put Him to death. Many false accusers were brought in, and many false accusations were made, but their charges did not agree.

One swore that Christ forbade the people to pay tribute to Caesar. Another, that Jesus stirred the people to sedition; He broke the Sabbath; He would not allow them to punish the adulteress; He associated with sinners; He criticized unworthy leaders; He worked miracles through the devil; He said He could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days.

In the midst of all these conflicting charges Jesus answered not a word. Finally Caiphas leaps to his feet, shakes his skinny finger into the face of Christ and screeches:
"I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God." (St. Matthew, 26:63).
Jesus answered:
"Thou hast said it." (St. Matthew, 26:64) "Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming upon the clouds of heaven."
How the words of Pope Pius IX to Czar Nicholas echo these words of
Christ to Caiphas.

This answer of Christ was clear: I am the Son of God. That is how they understood Him; that is why they put Him to death, for the council cried out:
"He is liable to death." (St. Matthew, 26:66).
They spat in His face, pushed Him, and struck Him.

What Christ went through the rest of that night we shall consider later. Stop here. Fix deeply in your mind this trial before Caiphas.

Would that the world could see it clearly! Would that Czar Nicholas had thought of this scene before he conducted the trial and torture of the nuns of Minsk!

Would that every tyrant could realize that the tables will be turned; that hereafter, sometimes even in this life, sometimes in a very short while, as in the trials at Nuremburg after World War II - hereafter those who persecute, those who torture, those who take advantage of others will see the true Judge, the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, sitting at the right hand of God to pass unerring sentence upon all, to render real rewards and real punishments.

Jesus was helpless before Caiphas; Pope Pius IX, the nuns of Minsk, were helpless before Nicholas. The victims of abortion, dishonesty, unkindness, immorality, anger and hatred, are helpless before those who make them suffer. But the roles will be reversed, sometimes even here. Have you ever been a Caiphas? Then take warning. Have you ever suffered with Christ? Then take heart!
Adapted from Talks on the Creed
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1946

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

No More Free Ride for the Cloning Bandwagon

...says Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of Pro-Life Activities at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), to a House subcommittee. He told the congressmen that there are "scientific, political, and moral lessons to be learned from this debacle" in South Korea.

“The political agenda for cloning has long been divorced from the facts,” he said. “To win public support and government funding, advocates for human cloning and ESC research have long made hyped claims and exaggerated promises to legislators and the public.”
. . .
“Therefore society, through instruments like the Nuremberg Code, has had to insist on moral absolutes such as ‘No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or a disabling injury will occur.’”

“What is new is the dominance of a ‘new ethic’ that justifies such abuses in principal—a utilitarian calculus that relativizes and demeans human life and other values if they get in the way of the research prize..."
Mr. Doerflinger's testimony, “Human Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cell Research after Seoul: Examining Exploitation, Fraud, and Ethical Problems in the Research” can be read in its entirety here.

Meditation for March 7: Jesus at the Pillar

During all these long years Jesus has been standing bound at the pillar, while I have cruelly scourged Him by my ingratitude and neglect of my vocation. Each action carelessly done, the hours spent in sleep, each moment wasted, have been so many stripes on my Saviour's bleeding Body. He has been bearing all this to save me from His Father's just anger. And all the while I have heard His gentle voice, "My child, will you not love Me? I want your heart. I want you to strive and become a saint, to be generous with Me and refuse Me nothing." Can I now turn away again as before and refuse to listen?

With Jesus naked and shivering with bitter cold at the pillar, I will try joyfully to bear the effects of cold. With Jesus covered with wounds I, too, will try to endure little sufferings without relief.
Adapted from A Year's Thoughts
Collected from the Writings of Fr. William Doyle, S.J. (1922)

A timely reflection...

(Especially considering events in the Diocese of Orange County)

Reflections from the Saints

When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration.
– St. John Chrysostom

Do we love others enough to correct them?

Such is the question posed by Fr. Paul Scalia in an article from the Arlington Catholic Herald...As Fr. Scalia reminds us,
" reality, love corrects. Because love seeks the good of the other, it does not shy away from correcting or rebuking what harms him. Out of love for his children, a father corrects them and at times punishes them — to keep them from danger. Out of love a man will confront his friend, and even risk losing the friendship — for his friend’s good."
Well worth

Hat Tip to Darla M for the suggestion!

Dr. Edward Peters on Autism and the Eucharist (The Phoenix case)

According to published reports, Bp. Olmstead of the Diocese of Phoenix has stated a 10-year-old, moderately-to-severely autistic boy should not be given Communion until it is demonstrated that the boy can receive the Host (which he apparently does reverently for some seconds) without then spitting it out (due to its texture which the boy's condition makes intolerable for him). Other shapes and sizes of Hosts have been tried without success, as has offering him the Eucharist under the appearance of Wine. Till now, the boy's father has been taking his son's Host and consuming it himself, an obviously loving act intended to facilitate his son's desire to receive Communion and preventing an immediate (objective) sacrilege to the Eucharist.
Continued here...

Fr Altier Chooses Obedience to his Bishop

In a statement issued to Spirit Daily, Fr. Altier writes:
"Praised be Jesus Christ! The people who take care of the Desert Voice website informed me of your interest in the case in which I am involved with Archbishop Flynn. It is certainly fine with me if you want to write something about it, but there really does not seem to be much of a story, on the surface, to write. The fact that this thing has taken on a life of its own with no help from anyone in particular should tell you that it is really not about me at all. Rather, it is about something much larger than me.

"Beyond that, I really do not have much to say other than what was said of the Apostles 2000 years ago, i.e., that they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name [Acts 5:41]. All of this is part of God’s loving providence and He will bring about a greater good from this than any of us can ask or imagine. Can you think of a better way to live out the Lenten observance?

"Regarding the letter from the Archbishop, I will not release it to anyone. This is done solely out of respect for the Archbishop. He did not request that I not release the letter; it is my decision to act in this manner out of respect for his Excellency.

"The Archbishop acted within the bounds of his jurisdictional rights (canon 831 §2) and I simply have to obey. The rest is up to our Lord and Our Lady. It is so wonderful because I am at peace and filled with joy knowing that through obedience I am doing the will of God.

"Who could ask for anything more in this world than to know with certainty the will of God for you at any given moment and to be able to live it out in peace and joy? The whole thing is a pure gift from God. This is my take on the whole situation, but as I mentioned above, this cannot possibly be about me. I am merely an instrument that God is using for a much larger purpose. So, if you want to write an article, you really do need to look at what God is doing here."

"We'll let the Holy Spirit do that; we'll urge obedience (above sacrifice); and we'll leave it to your own discernment."
In this day and age, with the deification of one's own will, with so many having an abject and flawed sense of freedom, and the overwhelming reliance on a relativistic attitude and philosophy of life, it is remarkable that we witness a priest whose views and actions remind us of how a priest is to be, especially as we enter into Lent - it is a clear example of one following in the footsteps of our Lord and a reminder that we, too, are to take up our cross and follow Christ.

As always, please do not neglect to pray for those in this matter.


DePaul University offers a minor in 'Queer Studies'

Students at DePaul University in Chicago, the largest Catholic university in the United States, can minor in Queer Studies through their College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as of this year. While DePaul has set an example for other Catholic institutions, administration and students say this minor probably won't appear at Marquette.

Cutting Through the Spin on Stem Cells and Cloning,

For those who have not seen Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk's acclaimed television presentation of the above titled work, I seriously recommend it as a tremendous aid for Catholics and others who wish to learn more about this important issue. The video runs about 1 hour 20 minutes, the last 15-20 or so minutes is a Q&A session.

The hour talk by Fr. Tad is immensely enlightening for those of us who may not have a full comprehension of the biological and ethical aspects of the issue. Through pictures and explanations, Fr Tad walks us through the processes, exposing and refuting a number of myths and explaining the fact the somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is nothing more than another name for cloning and that there are no fundamental differences between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning.

This video would be a great resource for a parish or group who wishes to learn more about the issue.

For more information, visit the Donum Vitae Center for Bioethics.

Which U.S. archbishop would most deserve to be made a cardinal?

American Papist is conducting a poll here, where one can express his opinion and vote for the bishop who would be most welcome as receiving the red hat from the Pope.

So far, Abp. Chaput leads Abp. Burke by a 12%, as the Democratic political machine would have, "Vote early, and vote often"....

Benedict XVI, Live. Fifteen Questions, and As Many Responses

A spontaneous dialogue between the pope and the priests of his diocese of Rome. On the Bible and the Qur’an, on Pius XII, on women in the Church, on Africa, on ecumenism, on the interpretation of the Council…
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Tuesday, 1st Week of Lent

From: Matthew 6:7-15

An Upright Intention in Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) [7] "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. [8] Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. [9] Pray then like this: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. [10] Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. [11] Give us this day our daily bread; [12] And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; [13] And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [14] For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; [15] but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."


7-8. Jesus condemns the superstitious notion that long prayers are needed to attract God's attention. True piety is not so much a matter of the amount of words as of the frequency and the love with which the Christian turns towards God in all the events, great or small, of his day. Vocal prayer is good, and necessary; but the words count only if they express our inner feelings.

9-13. The "Our Father" is, without any doubt, the most commented-on passage in all Sacred Scripture. Numerous great Church writers have left us commentaries full of poetry and wisdom. The early Christians, taught by the precepts of salvation, and following the divine commandment, centered their prayer on this sublime and simple form of words given them by Jesus. And the last Christians, too, will raise their hearts to say the "Our Father" for the last time when they are on the point of being taken to Heaven. In the meantime, from childhood to death, the "Our Father" is a prayer which fills us with hope and consolation. Jesus fully realized how helpful this prayer would be to us. We are grateful to Him for giving it to us, to the Apostles for passing it on to us and, in the case of most Christians, to our mothers for teaching it to us in our infancy. So important is the Lord's Prayer that from apostolic times it has been used, along with the Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Sacraments, as the basis of Christian catechesis. Catechumens were introduced to the life of prayer by the "Our Father", and our catechisms today use it for that purpose.

St. Augustine says that the Lord's Prayer is so perfect that it sums up in a few words everything man needs to ask God for (cf. "Sermon", 56). It is usually seen as being made up of an invocation and seven petitions--three to do with praise of God and four with the needs of men.

9. It is a source of great consolation to be able to call God "our Father"; Jesus, the Son of God, teaches men to invoke God as Father because we are indeed His children, and should feel towards Him in that way.

"The Lord [...] is not a tyrannical master or a rigid and implacable judge; He is our Father. He speaks to us about our lack of generosity, our sins, our mistakes; but He also does so in order to free us from them, to promise us His friendship and His love [...]. A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile, he is not merely formal and well-mannered; he is completely sincere and trusting" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64).

"Hallowed by Thy name": in the Bible a person's "name" means the same as the person himself. Here the name of God means God Himself. Why pray that His name be hallowed, sanctified? We do not mean sanctification in the human sense--leaving evil behind and drawing closer to God--for God is Holiness Itself. God, rather, is sanctified when His holiness is acknowledged and honored by His creatures--which is what this first petition of the "Our Father" means (cf. "St. Pius Catechism", IV, 10).

10. "Thy Kingdom come": this brings up again the central idea of the Gospel of Jesus Christ--the coming of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is so identical with the life and work of Jesus Christ that the Gospel is referred to now as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, now as the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 9:35). On the notion of the Kingdom of God see the commentary on Matthew 3:2 and 4:17. The coming of the Kingdom of God is the realization of God's plan of salvation in the world. The Kingdom establishes itself in the first place in the core of man's being, raising him up to share in God's own inner life. This elevation has, as it were, two stages--the first, in this life, where it is brought about by grace; the second, definitive stage in eternal life, where man's elevation to the supernatural level is fully completed. We for our part need to respond to God spontaneously, lovingly and trustingly.

"Thy will be done": this third petition expresses two desires. The first is that man identify humbly and unconditionally with God's will--abandonment in the arms of his Father God. The second that the will of God be fulfilled, that man cooperate with it in full freedom. For example, God's will is to be found in the moral aspect of the divine law--but this law is not forced on man. One of the signs of the coming of the Kingdom is man's loving fulfillment of God's will. The second part of the petition, "on earth as it is in Heaven", means that, just as the angels and saints in Heaven are fully at one with God's will, so--we desire--should the same thing obtain on earth.

Our effort to do God's will proves that we are sincere when we say the words, "Thy will be done." For our Lord says, "Not every one who says to Me, `Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21). "Anyone, then, who sincerely repeats this petition, `Fiat voluntas tua', must, at least in intention, have done this already" (St. Teresa of Avila, "Way of Perfection", chapter 36).

11. In making this fourth petition, we are thinking primarily of our needs in this present life. The importance of this petition is that it declares that the material things we need in our lives are good and lawful. It gives a deep religious dimension to the support of life: what Christ's disciple obtains through his own work is also something for which he should implore God--and he should receive it gratefully as a gift from God. God is our support in life: by asking God to support him and by realizing that it is God who is providing this support, the Christian avoids being worried about material needs. Jesus does not want us to pray for wealth or to be attached to material things, but to seek and make sober use of what meets our needs. Hence, in Matthew as well as in Luke (Luke 11:2), there is reference to having enough food for every day. This fourth petition, then, has to do with moderate use of food and material things--far from the extremes of opulence and misery, as God already taught in the Old Testament "Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food which is needful for me, lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, `Who is the Lord?' or lest I be poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8).

The Fathers of the Church interpreted the bread asked for here not only as material food but also as referring to the Blessed Eucharist, without which our spirit cannot stay alive.

According to the "St. Pius V Catechism" (cf. IV, 13, 21) the Eucharist is called our daily bread because it is offered daily to God in the Holy Mass and because we should worthily receive it, every day if possible, as St. Ambrose advises: "If the bread is daily, why do you take it only once a year [...]? Receive daily what is of benefit to you daily! So live that you may deserve to receive it daily!" ("De Sacramentis", V, 4).

12. "Debts": clearly, here, in the sense of sin. In the Aramaic of Jesus' time the same word was used for offense and debt. In this fifth petition, then, we admit that we are debtors because we have offended God. The Old Testament is full of references to man's sinful condition. Even the "righteous" are sinners. Recognizing our sins is the first step in every conversion to God. It is not a question of recognizing that we have sinned in the past but of confessing our present sinful condition. Awareness of our sinfulness makes us realize our religious need to have recourse to the only One who can cure it. Hence the advantage of praying insistently, using the Lord's Prayer to obtain God's forgiveness time and again.

The second part of this petition is a serious call to forgive our fellow-men, for we cannot dare to ask God to forgive us if we are not ready to forgive others. The Christian needs to realize what this prayer implies: unwillingness to forgive others means that one is condemning oneself (see the notes on Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:21:21-35).

13. "And lead us not into temptation": "We do not ask to be totally exempt from temptation, for human life is one continuous temptation (cf. Job 7:1). What, then, do we pray for in this petition? We pray that the divine assistance may not forsake us, lest having been deceived, or worsted, we should yield to temptation; and that the grace of God may be at hand to succor us when our strength fails, to refresh and invigorate us in our trials" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 15, 14).

In this petition of the "Our Father" we recognize that our human efforts alone do not take us very far in trying to cope with temptation, and that we need to have humble recourse to God, to get the strength we need. For, "God is strong enough to free you from everything and can do you more good than all the devils can do you harm. All that God decrees is that you confide in Him, that you draw near Him, that you trust Him and distrust yourself, and so be helped; and with this help you will defeat whatever hell brings against you. Never lose hold of this firm hope [...] even if the demons are legion and all kinds of severe temptations harass you. Lean upon Him, because if the Lord is not your support and your strength, then you will fall and you will be afraid of everything" (St. John of Avila, "Sermons, 9, First Sunday of Lent").

"But deliver us from evil": in this petition, which, in a way, sums up the previous petitions, we ask the Lord to free us from everything our enemy does to bring us down; we cannot be free of him unless God Himself free us, in response to our prayers.

This sentence can also be translated as "Deliver us from the Evil One", that is to say, the devil, who is in the last analysis the author of all evils to which we are prone.

In making this request we can be sure that our prayer will be heard because Jesus Christ, when He was on the point of leaving this world, prayed to the Father for the salvation of all men: "I do not pray that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15).

14-15. In verses 14 and 15 St. Matthew gives us a sort of commentary of our Lord on the fifth petition of the "Our Father".

A God who forgives is a wonderful God. But if God, who is thrice-holy, has mercy on the sinner, how much more ought we to forgive others--we sinners, who know from our own experience the wretchedness of sin. No one on earth is perfect. Just as God loves us, even though we have defects, and forgives us, we should love others, even though they have defects, and forgive them. If we wait to love people who have nodefects, we shall never love anyone. If we wait until others mend their ways or apologize, we will scarcely ever forgive them. But then we ourselves will never be forgiven. "All right: that person has behaved badly towards you. But, haven't you behaved worse towards God?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 686).

Thus, forgiving those who have offended us makes us like our Father, God: "In loving our enemies there shines forth in us some likeness to God our Father, who, by the death of His Son, ransomed from everlasting perdition and reconciled to Himself the human race, which before was most unfriendly and hostile to Him" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 14, 19).

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, March 06, 2006

Retired La Crosse Bishop Dies at Age 87

The Most Rev. John J. Paul, who died Sunday in La Crosse at age 87, is remembered by colleagues as a personable and well-loved bishop devoted to his congregation.

John Paul, bishop emeritus of the La Crosse diocese, died at 7:20 a.m. at Franciscan Skemp Medical Center. The bishop’s death was announced at Sunday morning Masses in the La Crosse diocese. Arrangements for the Vigil and Mass of Christian Burial will be announced later.

He was born, ordained as priest and installed as bishop, all in La Crosse. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of La Crosse on May 17, 1977, and was installed as bishop of the diocese on Dec. 5, 1983.

John Paul replaced Bishop Frederick Freking, who later died in 1998. John Paul retired as bishop in 1994, and was replaced by Bishop Raymond Burke.
More here

One True Religion

We have seen and can be certain that Jesus Christ is God. He came upon earth and became one of us in order to raise us up from this earth to heaven. God became man that men might become the children of God. How do we know this? From His own words.

We have seen that once we be­lieve that Christ is God, we take as true what He declares, so there will be no further argu­ment about His words. We may and should use all the reason God has given us to investi­gate if He is God, but that once determined, it is the dictate of sound reason to accept without question what He says.

Christ says: "He who follows me shall have a hundredfold and life everlasting; He who loses his life for my sake shall find it; I go to prepare a place for you." To the penitent thief, He said: "This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise." In regard to the multitudes, He said: "Father, I will that where I shall be they also shall be." Finally, hear His words to those who have lived goodly lives: "Come, you blessed of my Father and possess the king­dom of heaven."

Christ came not merely for the people who lived in His day, but for all nations to the end of the world. But how was He to reach them and minister unto them? He could have done it in various ways, but we must consider, not what He might have done, but what He did. And how did He provide for His ministry to men? He established a Church which was to continue forever the work He began. And how do we know this? From His plain decla­ration: "Thou art Peter, and upon thee I will build my church." (Matt. 16:17-20.) "As the Father hath sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21.) "Go you into the whole world and preach the things I have commanded you, and behold I shall be with you all days to the end of the world." (Matt. 28:18-20) This Church, then, is a teaching body, truly representing Christ on earth. For this reason He gave to His Church all the power of an ambassador: "He who hears you, hears Me". "All power is given me in heaven and on earth." "As the Father hath sent me, so I send you." What Christ is to the eternal Father, the Church is to Christ. The best definition of the Church is to state that it is the continuation of Jesus Christ in the world.

Our divine Lord, having thus established a religion, took good care to guarantee its con­tinuation and absolute truth. Here is His guarantee "The gates of hell shall not pre­vail against it; The Spirit of Truth, whom my Father will send, will teach you all truth; I shall be with you all days to the end of the world." Christ cannot be with error; hence, we have here the guarantee of infallibility to His Church. Indeed, how could a represent­ative of God be anything else but truth it­self? Christ did not say His Church would not have human frailty; indeed, He foretold that scandals would come; but what He did foretell and guarantee was that it should never teach error.

A judge of a court may not be an impec­cable man, but he may be a good judge. A doctor may be subject to illness, but he may nevertheless be an excellent doctor and pre­scribe beneficially for others. So the Church of God, which is not made up of angels, but of men, may in some of her pastors fail to live up to its own high teaching, but by God's special guarantee, it can never teach what is false.

We have not stated yet what church is the one founded by Christ and guaranteed as His representative. Only this have we declared and demonstrated: that Christ, the Son of God, established a Church, and that He made it His representative among men and guar­anteed it against misrepresenting Him.

In our next discussion, we shall proceed to find out where that Church is today, for we have God's word that it is in the world, and will be unto the end.
Adapted from God and Myself, An Inquiry into the True Religion (©1917)
by Martin J Scott, S.J.

Netherlands Set to Give Go-Ahead to Child Euthanasia

AMSTERDAM, September 30, 2005 ( – Dutch officials are set to give child euthanasia the go-ahead. The practice is already widespread there with an estimated 15-20 cases per year despite it being illegal. No paediatricians have been prosecuted. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia in 2001.

The governing Christian Democrats said they will approve the Groningen Protocol, the child euthanasia guidelines named after the euthanist doctors from Groningen University Medical Centre...
More at LifeSiteNews.

1st Week of Lent-The Sacrament of the Eucharist

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

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

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

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

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

The student admitted that he had never thought of that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, Christ we will worship, Christ we will serve, Christ we will love in the adorable, loving sacrament of His presence right here on earth in our tabernacles and upon our altars.
Adapted from Prayer, Precepts, and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1949

1st Week of Lent-Spiritual Duties to Parents

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

A ripple of excitement ran through the orphanage. All the motherless and fatherless little ones wanted to see the great lady who had come to take Jane, one of the orphans, home with her. The girl herself was bewildered beyond expression. After Jane had put on her hat and coat and was about ready to leave with her new mother, the great lady asked her gently and smilingly: "Do you want to go with me and be my child?"

"I don't know for sure," Jane answered timidly.

"But, I'm going to give you beautiful clothes, and a lot of playthings, and a room of your own, with a pretty bed and table and chairs."

After a moment of silent thought the little one asked anxiously: "But what am I to do for - for all that?"

Bursting into tears and pulling the little one to her heart the lady sobbed: "All you have to do is to be my child and love me."

In a way all of us are orphans and God has given us to a certain mother and a certain father to take care of us. That our parents do at great expense and sacrifice. What do our parents want in return? Like the lady who had adopted little Jane, all our parents want is our love and reverence and obedi­ence. These are the three spiritual duties of every child toward its parents.

1. Love means a sincere attachment to our parents. We are commanded to love all our fellowmen. How much more ought we to love those who gave us life and cared for us when we could not take care of ourselves? It should be a kindly, thankful attachment to and admiration for father and mother. We must wish them every blessing, no matter what their faults. We must repeatedly, determine to cause them no pain. As much as possible we want to keep from them any worry, labor or discomfort that we can spare them.

2. Love is shown especially by a sincere daily prayer. Everyone of you as a tiny boy and a tiny girl knelt down at bedtime and prayed: "God bless papa and God bless mama." Now that we are grownups, do we continue to say that prayer? Why not offer up Holy Mass for them occasionally? Why not receive Holy Communion for them and tell them about it? Particularly when you have differences and misunderstand­ings with your parents, you should pray for them.

3. Unfortunately we sometimes find that those who should be giving the example of service of God and devotion to their faith, either our parents or ourselves as parents, may not giving God the attention He deserves and demands. It is extremely sad and sinful, but there are homes where the children go to Mass and the sacraments, but the parents do not. We need to pray for parents, especially if they are spiritually careless.

4. Love is a weak thing when it does not show itself. If they are still living, we should show that we love our parents by visiting them , by remembering their birthdays, by writing a letter or card to them regularly, by avoiding cross looks and words, by providing for them in want and in danger, and by taking care of them in sickness and old age.

5. Our second big duty to parents is reverence which requires that we speak with respect to them, that we accept their corrections humbly. It requires that we excuse and hide their faults. If we are obliged to keep quiet about the failings of others in general, surely we should try to cover the faults of those nearest and dearest to us. Reverence and intelligence suggest that we consult our parents in the decisions of life, especially in matters of great importance. I realize that too many fathers and mothers do not want to be bothered with the problems of growing children, but most parents are willing and able to give some splendid advice and help. Your parents have been "through the mill" as we say. Taking them into your confidence is a wise move.

6. Reverence forbids us to despise or ignore our parents, especially when they are poor or old-fashioned. It forbids "talking back," insolence and con­tempt. The guilt of irreverence depends on how much contempt we show. Sometimes it may be a mortal sin.

7. Our third duty to one's father and mother is obedience. We want to obey, not because we are afraid of being punished, but because we love and reverence our parents. They are taking God's place, don't forget, and they are respon­sible before God in the training and rearing of their children.

Your best example and inspiration in this is the life of Jesus Himself, who was subject to Mary and Joseph, even though, as God, He knew infi­nitely more than they did, even though, as God, He was infinitely more perfect than they were.

There are many things in the world today which lead us and tempt us to fail in love and reverence and obedience to our parents. The world has gone slightly crazy in this matter. Just listen to some:

"Honor my parents? Why? I did not ask them to bring me into the world."

"Obey my parents? Why, they are out of touch with the world, they're old-fashioned. They are still behind the times."

"Reverence my parents? I'm too busy playing for the favor of the world, for a promotion at work or social circle, too busy making money."

If your parents have passed from this life to the next, we should still show our love for them by our actions and words, by praying for them, in helping others in a spirit of love for God.

All the while there stands God's law and God's promise. It is the most rock-bottom law of society. And it is the most certain promise you could ever receive. Live according to that law, honor your father and your mother, and the good Lord will bless you here and hereafter. By honoring, obeying and revering your parents you are serving God as the Gospel commands. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne

Governor signs South Dakota abortion ban

Missourians Against Human Cloning. . . a coalition of Missouri citizens and organizations established to provide Missouri voters with the truth about this amendment to our state constitution. We are confident that when Missourians understand the truth about this initiative and its ramifications, they will oppose it wholeheartedly.

Please join our growing coalition. Stand-up and speak-out against government funded human cloning being enshrined in the Missouri Constitution.
Web Site is here.

Kneel? Then leave the diocese...

Such are the reports coming out of Orange County, CA as discussed at Bettnet...

What a pastoral approach to dealing with these "sinners".

StarTribune Article on Fr. Altier

A St. Paul priest's opposition to an Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis anti-sex-abuse curriculum has led to a request by Archbishop Harry Flynn "to take some time off" from his radio and web ministries, the archdiocese's spokesman said Friday.
. . .
Along with Oregon Bishop Robert Vasa, Altier has gained a national following among curriculum foes, many of whom are associated with Catholic Parents Online, based in St. Paul. They believe that the program violates Vatican teachings (the magisterium) and that only parents should talk to children about sex.
For those in the area, I wish to remind you that Bishop Vasa will be here to give a talk on March 20, about the issue, "Evaluating and Questioning Safe Environment Programs for Children". See more here.

In the meantime, we should continue to pray for Fr. Altier, that, by his suffering in being silenced, God will grant him the perseverance to endure. We should also pray for Archbishop Flynn, that he be given the graces to see the these programs for what they really are and the grace to act in accord with the will of God.

Star Tribune article is here.


The Curt Jester reveals a well kept secret at many parishes, no doubt!

The Neocatechumenals Obey the Pope – But in Their Own Way

Communion continues to be given seated, as at a banquet. This is the upshot of a letter that the heads of the Way have written to Benedict XVI
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, March 6, 2006 – The founders and heads of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello (see photo), Carmen Hernández, and Father Mario Pezzi, have decided to obey the severe reprimand issued to them by Benedict XVI on January 12. But they did so with strong reservations over one point in particular: Eucharistic communion.
More here.

Gospel for Monday, 1st Week of Lent

From: Matthew 25:31-46

The Last Judgment

[31] "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. [32] Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, [33] and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. [34] Then the King will say to those at His right hand, `Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; [35] for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, [36] I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.' [37] Then the righteous will answer Him, `Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? [38] And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee? [39] And when did we see Thee sick or in prison and visit Thee?' [40] And the King will answer them, `Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of My brethren, you did it to Me.' [41] Then He will say to those at His left hand, `Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; [42] for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, [43] I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' [44] Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?' [45] Then He will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me.' [46] And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


31-46. The three parables (Matthew 24:42-51; 25:1-13; and 25:14-30) are completed by the announcement of a rigorous last judgment, a last act in a drama, in which all matters of justice are resolved. Christian tradition calls it the Last Judgment, to distinguish it from the "Particular Judgment" which everyone undergoes immediately after death. The sentence pronounced at the end of time will simply be a public, formal confirmation of that already passed on the good and the evil, the elect and the reprobate.

31-33. In the Prophets and in the Book of Revelation the Messiah is depicted on a throne, like a judge. This is how Jesus will come at the end of the world, to judge the living and the dead.

The Last Judgment is a truth spelled out in the very earliest credal statements of the Church and dogma of faith solemnly defined by Benedict XII in the Constitution "Benedictus Deus" (29 January 1336).

35-46. All the various things listed in this passage (giving people food and drink, clothing them, visiting them) become works of Christian charity when the person doing them sees Christ in these "least" of His brethren.

Here we can see the seriousness of sins of omission. Failure to do something which one should do means leaving Christ unattended.

"We must learn to recognize Christ when He comes out to meet us in our brothers, the people around us. No human life is ever isolated. It is bound up with other lives. No man or woman is a single verse; we all make up one divine poem which God writes with the cooperation of our freedom" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 111).

We will be judged on the degree and quality of our love (cf. St. John of the Cross, "Spiritual Sentences and Maxims", 57). Our Lord will ask us to account not only for the evil we have done but also for the good we have omitted. We can see that sins of omission are a very serious matter and that the basis of love of neighbor is Christ's presence in the least of our brothers and sisters.

St. Teresa of Avila writes: "Here the Lord asks only two things of us: love for His Majesty and love of our neighbor. It is for these two virtues that we must strive, and if we attain them perfectly we are doing His will [...]. The surest sign that we are keeping these two commandments is, I think, that we should really be loving our neighbor; for we cannot be sure if we are loving God, although we may have good reasons for believing that we are, but we can know quite well if we are loving our neighbor. And be certain that, the farther advanced you find you are in this, the greater the love you will have for God; for so dearly does His Majesty love us that He will reward our love for our neighbor by increasing the love which we bear to Himself, and that in a thousand ways: this I cannot doubt" ("Interior Castle", V, 3).

This parable clearly shows that Christianity cannot be reduced to a kind of agency for "doing good". Service of our neighbor acquires supernatural value when it is done out of love for Christ, when we see Christ in the person in need. This is why St. Paul asserts that "if I give away all I have...but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3). Any interpretation of Jesus' teaching on the Last Judgment would be wide of the mark if it gave it a materialistic meaning or confused mere philanthropy with genuine Christian charity.

40-45. In describing the exigencies of Christian charity which gives meaning to "social aid", the Second Vatican Council says: "Wishing to come to topics that are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, bearing in mind, above all, his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way, `lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man' (cf. Luke 16:18-31).

"Today there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every man, no matter who he is, and if we meet him, to come to his aid in a positive way, whether he is an aged person abandoned by all, a foreign worker despised without reason, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: `As you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" ("Gaudium Et Spes," 27).

46. The eternal punishment of the reprobate and the eternal reward of the elect are a dogma of faith solemnly defined by the Magisterium of the Church in the Fourth Lateran Council (1215): "He [Christ] will come at the end of the world; He will judge the living and the dead; and He will reward all, both the lost and the elect, according to their works. And all these will rise with their own bodies which they now have so that they may receive according to their works, whether good or bad; the wicked, a perpetual punishment with the devil; the good, eternal glory with 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.