Saturday, May 06, 2006

Papal Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations



Theme: Vocation in the mystery of the Church

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The celebration of the coming World Day of Prayer for Vocations gives me the opportunity to invite the entire People of God to reflect on the theme Vocation in the mystery of the Church. The Apostle Paul writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world … He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1,3-5). Before the creation of the world, before our coming into existence, the heavenly Father chose us personally, calling us to enter into a filial relationship with Him, through Jesus, the Incarnate Word, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Dying for us, Jesus introduced us into the mystery of the Father’s love, a love which completely envelops his Son and which He offers to all of us. In this way, united with Jesus, the Head, we form a sole body, the Church.
. . .

From Catholic Exchange: The Suiciding of the Church

The Suiciding of the Church

"This is an ancient, rigid, secretive, top-down, all-male monarchy. It always has been. It always will be. The answer is not to reform them, but to go around them and to contain them."

So thundered David Clohessy, National Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, to a throng of agitated members of Voice of the Faithful, another group that once claimed the mantle of reform.

Whatever constructive role these groups once played in the national “dialogue” about the abuses perpetrated by predatory, largely homosexual priests, it has long since past. In fact, they don’t seek dialogue at all. Clohessy now counsels against dialogue with bishops and instead urges Catholics to lobby state legislatures to exempt dioceses from statutes of limitation that prevent an endless stream of aging, often dubious, claims.
Clohessy and friends are intent on one thing - the destruction of the Church...They know they are becoming more and more irrelevant as time goes on and perhaps, the loss of media exposure is too painful to bear...

Gospel for Saturday, 3rd Week of Easter

From: John 6:60-69

The Disciples' Reaction

[60] Many of His (Jesus') disciples, when they heard of it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" [61] But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? [62] Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending where He was before? [63] It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. [64] But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that should betray Him. [65] And He said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father."

[66] After this many of the disciples drew back and no longer went with Him. [67] Jesus said to the Twelve, "Will you also go away?" [68] Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; [69] and we have believed, and have come to know, that You are the Holy One of God."


60-62. Many of His listeners find the Eucharistic mystery completely incomprehensible. Jesus Christ requires His disciples to accept His words because it is He who has spoken them. That is what the supernatural act of faith involves--that act "whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because of the intrinsic truth of the things, viewed by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them, and who can neither be deceived nor deceive" (Vatican I, "Dei Filius", Chapter 3).

As on other occasions, Jesus speaks about future events to help His disciples believe: "I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe" (John 14:29).

63. Jesus says that we cannot accept this mystery if we think of it in too human a way, in other words, by just seeking to indulge our senses or having too earthbound a view of things. Only someone who listens to His words and receives them as God's revelation, which is "spirit and life", is in a position to accept them.

66. The promise of the Eucharist, which caused arguments (verse 52) among Christ's hearers at Capernaum and scandalized some of them (verse 61), led many people to give up following Him. Jesus had outlined a wonderful and salvific truth, but those disciples closed themselves to divine grace; they were not ready to accept anything which went beyond their very limited horizons. The mystery of the Eucharist does call for a special act of faith. St. John Chrysostom therefore advised Christians: "Let us in everything believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what it said be contrary to our thoughts and senses. [...] Let us act likewise in respect to the [Eucharistic] mysteries, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His words. For His words cannot deceive" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 82).

67-71. This passage is similar to that at Capernaum where Peter again, in the name of the Twelve, takes the initiative in expressing his faith in Jesus as Messiah (cf. Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30). Other people present may have been unbelieving, but the Apostles are not scandalized by our Lord's words: they say that they have already a deep-rooted confidence in Him; they do not want to leave Him. What St. Peter says (verse 68) is not just a statement of human solidarity but an
_expression of genuine supernatural faith--as yet imperfect--which is the result of the influence of divine grace on his soul (cf. Matthew 16:17).

Although the Twelve stay with Him at this point, Judas will later betray the Master. Jesus' foreknowledge of this future infidelity throws a shadow over His joy at the loyalty of the Twelve. We Christians should be humble enough to realize that we are capable of betraying our Lord if we give up using the means He has left us to cleave to Him. St. Peter's words (verse 68) are a beautiful aspiration we can use whenever we feel tempted.

68. Simon Peter expresses the feelings of the Apostles who, through staying loyal to Jesus, are getting to know Him much better and becoming more closely involved with Him: "Seek Jesus; endeavoring to acquire a deep personal faith that will inform and direct your whole life. But, above all, let it be your commitment and your program to love Jesus, with a sincere, authentic and personal love. He must be your friend and your support along the path of life. He alone has words of eternal life" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Address to Students in Guadalajara", 30 January 1979).

69. "The Holy One of God": this is what the original text must have said, according to most of the Greek codexes and the most important early translations. "The Holy One" is one of the expressions which designate the Messiah (cf. Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; 4:34; Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:10), or God Himself (cf. Isaiah 6:3; 43:15; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 John 2:20; etc.). The rendering "the Christ, the Son of God" found in some translations, including the Vulgate, is supported by less important Greek manuscripts, and would seem to be an explanation of the messianic significance of the original phrase.
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, May 05, 2006

Church 'Will Not Budge One Inch' on Condom Use

Vatican City, May 04, 2006 (CNA) - In an exclusive interview with Colombia’s Radio Cadena Nacional (RCN), Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said the Catholic Church would not back down from its long-standing teaching on condoms and the prevention of AIDS.

The cardinal told RCN that the Vatican “maintains unmodified the teaching on condoms” and said the recent statements by Italian Cardinal Maria Martini “are nothing more than his own personal opinions which do not reflect [Church] teaching.”

Mental Prayer - First Saturday of May

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Fifth Glorious Mystery (Mary's Queenship)

The Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: For the understanding of this prayer which we say after Mass each morning.

Hail, Holy Queen: A respectful greeting like saying "hello" or "good day, Mary." Queen of all the the saints in heaven... of all of us here on earth... my Queen. Mary who watches over... leads... and protects her people... watch over, lead, and protect me.

Mother of Mercy: Mary, my Mother, cares for me as her child. Mercy means kindness, love toward one who is in trouble or who has done wrong. How a mother is merciful to her child who is in trouble. How often I do wrong when I sin... how often in need of help and forgiveness. Mary, my mother, help me... be merciful to me.

Hail, our life: As a Christian I want to build my life around her. I want to dedicate myself to her. Mary, help me to lead my life as you lived yours... in union with Christ.

Our sweetness: Our beloved... one dear to us... to me... one whom I love... be my happiness and joy. ­

Our hope: Hope means to rely on, to trust in. It is of course on you that I rely, Mother, I am con­fident that you love me... will help me... in temptations... in troubles... in all my actions.

To thee do we cry: To you, Mary, do we come to pray.

Poor banished children of Eve: Poor... as beggars... we live in a world which does not want to belong to God... exiled from heaven by the sin of Adam and Eve.

To thee do we send up our sighs: To you, Mary, do we look for help... to you do we pray.

Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears: We who are in this world full of troubles and sorrow and hardships.

Turn then most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile, show unto us, the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Thought for Today: Mother of mercy, to thee do we cry.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Church in Colorado scores victory as statutes of limitation bill crumbles

Great News!!! Probably to the dismay of Bishop Gumbleton, but the House members in Colorado seem to understand the issues...
Denver, May. 05, 2006 (CNA) - The Catholic Church in Colorado scored a hard-fought victory yesterday as the state House of Representatives rejected a bill which many call “blatantly anti-Catholic” in its effort to create an open season on lawsuits against the Church over sexual abuse cases in which the perpetrator may have died decades ago.
The bill, sponsored by senate president Joan Fitz-Gerald, passed the state senate last week, but could not maintain its steam with sufficient votes in the House.

At one point, Fitz-Gerald went so far as to try to amend the bill to include state institutions but ran into heavy opposition with insurance companies saying they would not cover municipal governments for lawsuits made on old claims.
More here

Statistics Support Church's Teachings on Chastity and Marriage

This article is from one of St. Louis' former auxiliary bishops, Michael Sheridan; another good man elevated to the episcopacy. He is the Bishop of Colorado Springs:

These statistical findings merely give support to the age-old teachings of the Church regarding chastity and marriage. If those teachings seem too "old-fashioned" for some of today’s young people, let’s hope and pray that scientific findings like those of Dr. Crouse will scare a little sense into them.
While many of us are aware of the statistics to which Bishop Sheridan refers, it never hurts to be reminded of them.

Complete article here.

Vatican prelate ponders legal action on Da Vinci Code

From Catholic World News:
Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news), the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that Christians should not be silent in the face of blasphemy and public attacks on the faith. He recommended practical responses to the falsehoods presented in the novel, possibly including legal action against the author.

May 12 - Patrick Madrid to speak

Catholic author and well known apologist Patrick Madrid will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 12, at St. Peter Parish, 324 S. Third St. in St. Charles.

The free presentation is sponsored by Body of Christ Outreach. For information call (636) 922-4761 or e-mail

Why does my parish do Holy Thursday differently?

Dear Father:
I recently moved into a parish where on Holy Thursday even-ing at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper everyone washed each other’s hands. This didn’t make any sense. Why is this an option?

The Response:
This is not an option nor even allowed.

According to St. John, the night before Jesus died he washed the feet of the 12 Apostles. St. John uses the washing of the Apostles’ feet to further emphasize how Christ is the servant of servants the next day from the cross. This action reveals more about Christ and his passion than the upcoming ministry of the Apostles. In changing this ritual, the unique role of Christ — the suffering servant — is obscured.

The rite properly celebrated consists simply of the celebrant removing the chasuble (the outer vestment) and washing the feet of 12 men who represent the apostles. The celebrant alone should wash the feet as he normally acts in the person of Christ during the celebration of the sacraments and rites of the Catholic Church. Deeper meaning could be expressed to the assembly if the celebrant is also the pastor of the parish.

This ceremony also serves as an example to all Christians to be servants; however, we must first see how Christ offers his service, which is perfectly expressed at his death on the cross the next day on Good Friday. So, technically, after Pentecost, with the strengthening by the Holy Spirit, each Apostle (and, by extension, every believer) should be willing to live and die for the truth of the Gospel. This is the type of service symbolized.

Every ancient ritual during Holy Week aids the participant through opening the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection through word and action. Maybe this is a good time for parish liturgy committees to review how faithfully they celebrate these ancient rituals. A good guide is the Congregation for Divine Worship’s 1988 circular letter concerning "The Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts." [Paschales Solemnitatis]

Father Keller is an associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica Parish and assistant director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship.

With regard to "hand washing", we should recall that in the Gospels, it was Pontius Pilate who "washed his hands"...

This article is from the St. Louis Review

EU Pervs Continue to Press Agenda

From the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute:
New EU Law Forces Homosexual 'Marriage' on All Member States
By Samantha Singson

A new law may force nations in the European Union to accept same-sex unions from other nations. The European Free Movement Directive entered into legal force last week and it requires EU member states to grant residency to homosexuals who are not citizens if their partner is a citizen of an EU country.

The directive grants family reunification rights to same-sex partners when one of the partners resides in an EU country that gives legal recognition to same-sex unions. But EU countries without same-sex marriage or partnership laws are not let off the hook. Though not automatically required to give legal recognition to same-sex unions such nations are obligated under the new law to perform an investigation into the stability of same-sex couples seeking reunification rights. If a relationship is deemed "real and durable," then national authorities are required to facilitate entry and residence for the gay partner who is a non-citizen.

European justice commissioner Franco Frattini summarized the new law. "With two people in a durable relationship" in a country without laws recognizing same-sex unions "the member state has to facilitate. The right [to residency] is not given but it does mean member states have an obligation to assess," he said.

"The main provision is that you can recognize marriages or partnerships only when the hosting country has similar provisions. In those cases where there is no direct obligation to recognize, member states must facilitate entry and residence of partners in a durable relationship after a concrete assessment," Frattini said. "This new position will facilitate the situation of gay couples across Europe."

Gay rights groups such as the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) regard the implementation of the directive as a partial victory. "Facilitation does not imply any obligation to recognize. We are preparing to test the legislation and see how the EU courts will go," said an ILGA spokesman.

The EU has repeatedly taken measures to force anti-family and anti-life policies on member states. In December, an EU human rights committee issued a report that was critical of a concordat between Slovakia and the Vatican that would have given medical professionals the right to refuse to perform abortions. The report also said that in countries where same-sex unions are legal, clergy would be obligated to perform them. In November a meeting was held at the EU Parliament to discuss ways to make abortion legal in all EU countries.

Copyright 2006 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
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EWTN visit to energize people about their faith

Excerpts from the St. Louis Review:
EWTN personalities will be at the Family Arena in St. Charles on Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14 [as part of it 25th anniversary]. Admission is free. Those who have tickets receive early admission, but all others will be able to enter after 8:15 a.m. for general admission.

On Saturday, "EWTN Live," hosted by Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, with guests Dolores Grier, Patrick Madrid and Father Edgardo Arellano, will be taped starting at 6 p.m. for later broadcast.

[Michael P. Warsaw, president of EWTN Global Catholic Network] noted the warm welcome he has received from Archbishop Raymond Burke. The archbishop will conclude the two-day event by celebrating Mass at the site.

Speakers Saturday will include Raymond Arroyo, Deacon Bill Steltemeier, Father Richard Ho Lung, MP, and Father Robert Levis and Father John Trigilio. A Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. with the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Mother Assumpta Long, founding member, Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, will speak Sunday.
For information call (877) 398-6725 or visit

St. Gianna members to meet pastor

"Meet the Pastor Nights" have been set for parishioners of the new St. Gianna Parish in Wentzville.

The new parish is in territory previously served by St. Patrick Parish in Wentzville and Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie. It is the first new parish in St. Charles County since 1981.

On April 28, Archbishop Raymond Burke appointed Father Timothy Elliott as pastor of St. Gianna. He will meet with new parishioners at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at St. Patrick, 405 S. Church St. in Wentzville, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Immaculate Conception, 7701 Highway N. Those living within the boundaries of the new parish are invited to attend either night.

The parish complex, when completed, will include a church, rectory, parish offices and grade school on 25 acres along Highway N about a mile east of the intersection with Highway Z.

May 9 - Rosary Crusade

Archbishop Burke has a special request:

I ask you to mark Tuesday, May 9, on your calendar.

Please join me, with the faithful of the archdiocese, at 7 p.m. May 9 at the Old Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Louis King of France, to inaugurate the Rosary Crusade for the protection of our tiniest brothers and sisters, human lives at the embryonic stage of development.

Before the clear and present threat to the most innocent and defenseless among us, the Rosary Crusade is a fundamental and most eloquent expression of the life of God, who is Love, within us.
Be there if you can...

Curial Meeting about Traditionalist Concerns Confirmed

The Classical Roman rite of Holy Mass "was never abrogated" and "is consequently legitimate," Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, told the Italian I Media news agency late last week in the first interview granted by any of the cardinal participants of the April 7 dicastery and March 23 meetings of the College of Cardinals.
Of course, this may be a bit of a shock to some who believe the rite of the Mass as it was celebrated for centuries should have been "abrogated"...I hear this from priests (or those who claim to be priests) and laity, many of whom never quite "got it" as far achieving a fundamental understanding of what worship is supposed to be.

This recent interview is certain to continue speculation about an upcoming document allegedly in the works that would free the Classical Roman rite of the liturgy. In this recent interview, Cardinal Medina outlined three connected, but separate discussions that have been the topic of many news articles and online media speculation over the past weeks.
It's better to take the time to do things right rather than to do it quickly...Besides, currently there is the indult which helps, to some extent...Of course, it's not a panacea and there are still many issues. How many seminarians are even learning Latin these days? How many of our priests know Latin, despite the fact that Pope John XXIII directed that Latin be taught as part of priestly formation?
"I would not raise my hopes too high when it comes to seminary formation, at least not in the near future," said Fr. Thomas Kocik. "After all, few are the seminaries that train men to celebrate the Mass of Paul VI in a traditional manner, such as in Latin, with Gregorian chant, priest and people facing the same direction," he said. "So can we really expect widely available training for the traditional rite, even if its use is unconditionally approved?" (Fr. Kocik is a parish priest in the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., and is the author of The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate, Ignatius Press 2003).

Fr. Joseph Santos, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Providence, R.I., offers the Novus Ordo and the Classical Roman liturgy every Sunday. "One thing that must be underlined is the competency of priests to celebrate the old rite in Latin," Fr. Santos said. "Many have no knowledge of the language; good intentions are not enough," he said. "A general indult could make things worse, not better, with a multitude of well-intentioned, but inept celebrations."
We certainly don't need those as there are plenty of inept Novus Ordo celebrations already...If you are blessed to have a good and holy priest who celebrates Holy Mass in a dignified and reverent manner as the Church desires, then you should give thanks to God for your wonderful blessings. And don't neglect to thank your priest for his fidelity...

of Brian Mershon's article here...

Religion of Peace?

Cardinal Pell sparks outrage over Koran comments
Australia's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell has sparked furious reaction today with his description of the Muslim holy book as an incitement to violence.

In a speech delivered to a group of Catholic business leaders in the United States, the archbishop also took aim at what he claimed were hysterical and extreme claims about global warming, saying the west's obsession with climate change is a symptom of pagan emptiness...
So why the outrage? God only knows; but these days, one will be persecuted or ridiculed for pointing out the obvious...
"I recommend that you, too, read this sacred text of the Muslims, because the challenge of Islam will be with us for the remainder of our lives."

Having read the sacred text, Cardinal Pell then sets out what he discovered. The Koran, he says, is riddled with invocations to violence. There are so many of these, he says, that after about 50, or 60, or 70 pages, he stopped taking notes.

He goes on to say that considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited.

This should be no surprise to anyone but the uneducated or the willfully ignorant.

here and here.

St. Louis Jesuits: 'I don't think we're rebels at all'

I don't think they're very good musicians or composers either...This is an interview in the Tidings (LA diocesan paper).

Bishop Vasa on Contraception and Keeping the Word of God

Some great points in this article:

“Those who say, ‘I know him,’ but do not keep his commandments are liars and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (I John 2:4-5)

I was further struck by the reading from the second century martyr, St. Justin, who writes: “No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.”

The truth is that it is simply not possible to say on one hand, “I do love the Lord with my whole heart, mind and soul” and at the same time to say, “My decisions about how to deal with the most marvelous God-given gift of fertility has nothing to do with God.” The claim that one loves God with one’s whole self while exempting a very significant element of that self from the sphere of God’s dominion, indeed from the sphere of God’s love, must answer to the First Letter of St. John, Chapter 2, Verse 4.

I suspect that if we took some liberties with the Scripture we could envision Jesus saying: “You cannot love God and contraception at the same time. You will either love one and hate the other or be committed to one and despise the other.” There it is then...
More here.

The "It's Just Fiction!" Doctrine: Reading Too Little Into The Da Vinci Code

A great article by Carl Olson...

Gospel for Friday, 3rd Week of Easter

From: John 6:52-59

The Discourse on the Bread of Life (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [52] The Jews disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" [53] So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; [54] he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. [55] For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. [56] He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. [57] As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will live because of Me. [58] This is the bread which came from Heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." This He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.


49-51. The manna during the Exodus was a figure of this bread--Christ Himself--which nourishes Christians on their pilgrimage through this world. Communion is the wonderful banquet at which Christ gives Himself to us: "the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh". These words promise the manifestation of the Eucharist at the Last Supper: "This is My body which is for you" (1 Corinthians 11:24). The words "for the life of the world" and "for you" refer to the redemptive value of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In some sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were a figure of the sacrifice of Christ, part of the animal offered up was later used for food, signifying participation in the sacred rite (cf. Exodus 11:3-4). So, by receiving Holy Communion, we are sharing in the sacrifice of Christ: which is why the Church sings in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Corpus Christi: "O sacred feast in which we partake of Christ: His sufferings are remembered, our minds are filled with His grace and we receive a pledge of the glory that is to be ours" ("Magnificat Antiphon", Evening Prayer II).

52. Christ's hearers understand perfectly well that He means exactly what He says; but they cannot believe that what He says could be true; if they had understood Him in a metaphorical, figurative or symbolic sense there would be no reason for them to be surprised and nothing to cause an argument. Later, Jesus reaffirms what He has said--confirming what they have understood Him to say (cf. verses 54-56).

53. Once again Jesus stresses very forcefully that it is necessary to receive Him in the Blessed Eucharist in order to share in divine life and develop the life of grace received in Baptism. No parent is content to bring children into the world: they have to be nourished and looked after to enable them to reach maturity. "We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion to nourish our souls and to give us an increase of grace and the gift of eternal life" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 289).

54. Jesus clearly states that His body and blood are a pledge of eternal life and a guarantee of the resurrection of the body. St. Thomas Aquinas gives this explanation: "The Word gives life to our souls, but the Word made flesh nourishes our bodies. In this Sacrament is contained the Word not only in His divinity but also in His humanity; therefore, it is the cause not only of the glorification of our souls but also of that of our bodies" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

Our Lord uses a stronger word than just "eating" (the original verb could be translated as "chewing") which shows that Communion is a real meal. There is no room for saying that He was speaking only symbolically, which would mean that Communion was only a metaphor and not really eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ.

"All these invitations, promises and threats sprang from the great desire which (Jesus) had of giving us Himself in the holy Sacrament of the altar. But why should Jesus so ardently desire us to receive Him in Holy Communion? It is because love always sighs for, and tends to a union with, the object beloved. True friends wish to be united in such a manner as to become only one. The love of God for us being immense, He destined us to possess Him not only in Heaven, but also here below, by the most intimate union, under the appearance of bread in the Eucharist. It is true we do not see Him; but He beholds us, and is really present; yes, He is present in order that we may possess Him and He conceals Himself, that we may desire Him, and until we reach our true homeland Jesus Christ wishes in this way to be entirely ours, and to be perfectly united to us" (St. Alphonsus Liguori, "The Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ Reduced to Practice", Chapter 2).

55. In the same way as bodily food is necessary for life on earth, Holy Communion is necessary for maintaining the life of the soul, which is why the Church exhorts us to receive this Sacrament frequently: "Every day, as is desirable, and in the greatest possible numbers, the faithful must take an active part in the sacrifice of the Mass, avail themselves of the pure, holy refreshment of Holy Communion and make a suitable thanksgiving in return for this great gift of Christ the Lord. Here are the words they should keep in mind: `Jesus Christ and the Church desire all Christ's faithful to approach the sacred banquet every day. The basis of this desire is that they should be united to God by the sacrament and draw strength from it to restrain lust, to wash away the slight faults of daily occurrence and to take precautions against the more serious sins to which human frailty is liable' (Decree of the S.C. of the Council, 20 December 1905)" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Mysterium Fidei").

"The Savior has instituted the most august sacrament of the Eucharist, which truly contains His flesh and His blood, so that he who eats this bread may live forever; whosoever, therefore, makes use of it often with devotion so strengthens the health and the life of his soul, that it is almost impossible for him to be poisoned by any kind of evil affection. We cannot be nourished with this flesh of life, and live with the affections of death. [...]. Christians who are damned will be unable to make any reply when the just Judge shows them how much they are to blame for dying spiritually, since it was so easy for them to maintain themselves in life and in health by eating His Body which He had left them for this purpose. Unhappy souls, He will say, why did you die, seeing that you had at your command the fruit and the food of life?" (St. Francis de Sales, "Introduction to the Devout Life", II, 20, 1).

56. The most important effect of the Blessed Eucharist is intimate union with Jesus Christ. The very word "communion" suggests sharing in the life of our Lord and becoming one with Him; if our union with Jesus is promoted by all the sacraments through the grace which they give us, this happens more intensely in the Eucharist, for in it we receive not only grace but the very Author of grace: "Really sharing in the body of the Lord in the breaking of the eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. `Because the bread is one, we, though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread' (1 Corinthians 10:17)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 7). Precisely because the Eucharist is the sacrament which best signifies and effects our union with Christ, it is there that the whole Church manifests and effects its unity: Jesus Christ "instituted in His Church the wonderful sacrament of the Eucharist, by which the unity of the Church is both signified and brought about" (Vatican II, "Unitatis Redintegratio", 2).

57. In Christ, the Incarnate Word sent to mankind, "the whole fullness of deity, dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9) through the ineffable union of His human nature and His divine nature in the Person of the Word. By receiving in this sacrament the body and blood of Christ indissolubly united to His divinity, we share in the divine life of the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. We will never be able to appreciate enough the intimacy with God Himself--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--that we are offered in the eucharistic banquet.

"We can therefore do nothing more agreeable to Jesus Christ than to go to Communion with the dispositions suitable to so great an action, since we are then united to Jesus Christ, according to the desire of this all-loving God. I have said with `suitable' and not `worthy' disposition, for who could communicate if it was necessary to be worthy of so great a Savior? No one but a God would be worthy to receive a God. But by this word suitable, or convenient, I mean such a disposition as becomes a miserable creature, who is clothed with the unhappy flesh of Adam. Ordinarily speaking, it is sufficient that we communicate in a state of grace and with an anxious desire of advancing in the love of Jesus Christ" (St. Alphonsus Liguori, "The Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ Reduced to Practice", Chapter 2).

58. For the third time (cf. 6:31-32 and 6:49) Jesus compares the true bread of life, His own body, with the manna God used to feed the Israelites every day during their forty years in the wilderness--thereby, inviting us to nourish our soul frequently with the food of His body.

"`Going to Communion every day for so many years! Anybody else would be a saint by now, you told me, and I...I'm always the same!' Son, I replied, keep up your daily Communion, and think: what would I be if I had not gone'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 534).
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, May 04, 2006

Catholic Women's Group Involved in Legal Prostitution Scheme in Germany

The "Sozialdienst katholischer Frauen" (SkF) [Catholic Women's Welfare Service] is, according to its website, "a women's association in the Catholic Church (in Germany) . . . supporting women on the outskirts of society who suffer from discrimination and the feeling of being excluded." SKF in Cologne, in conjunction with the police and the health department spent three years coming up with the plan for a fenced off compound on the city outskirts where prostitutes can ply their trade "safely".


Mental Prayer for May 5-God's Goodness to All Mankind

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To realize God's overwhelming love for mankind.

Mental Picture: Look into one of the thousands of the world's laboratories where men are busy investigating the secrets of nature and learning how to use them. Then see their massive dams along great rivers taming the raging currents. See the farmer growing man's food, the miner digging out the earth's treasures, the manufacturer making of these raw materials new things for the use and pleasure of men.

My Personal Application: Men are called the kings of the earth. This is true. For all things on earth are for man. Moreover, man is greater than any of the forces of the universe - greater even than the atom. For man captures all of these things and uses them as he pleases.

What is it that makes man so great? His soul - ­God's greatest gift. It is by his soul with its intelligence and power of will that man conquers the world, sees and loves beauty, can laugh or be sad, desire happiness. It is our soul that makes us men - kings of God's universe and future citizens of heaven. And how have I loved God in return for this gift He has given us out of His love?

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, your goodness to men is beyond my ability to understand fully. I know your goodness from what you have done: making us out of nothing to be kings of all earthly creation, destined for unending life of joy. Is there any­thing more you could do that you have not done? What shall I do to prove my love for you? As your actions speak louder than your words, so I will make my actions speak loudly and prove that I really mean it when I say, "I love you above all things."

Thought for Today: God has made us kings.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Help on Infallibility

One of the readers writes:
...I maintain that homosexuality is just as natural and inherently good as heterosexuality.

On women's ordination, I am not questioning the wisdom of Our Lord. I am questioning the wisdom of later "leaders."

Not all teaching is infallible, and that's a fact.
Well, let's just do some "fact" checking, shall we...?

The Doctrinal Commentary (by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei was signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, and by Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli, Secretary, on June 29, 1998. This commentary was issued coincident with the promulgation of "Ad tuendam fidem" by Pope John Paul II, in which he modified the Oriental and Latin codes of canon law.

One of the best examples and explanations of the Profession Fidei and the Doctrinal Commentary that I've seen was put together by EWTN (Colin Donovan, I believe) and posted on its web site here...

Briefly, the Summary of Categories of Belief in Professio fidei list three categories which are re-stated here, minus the examples:
I. Divinely Revealed
Doctrines contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and defined with a solemn judgment of the Church as divinely revealed truths by any of the following:

a) the Roman Pontiff speaking ex cathedra
b) the College of Bishops gathered in council
c) infallibly proposed by the ordinary and universal Magisterium

These doctrines require of all members of the faithful the assent of theological faith, based on the authority of the Word of God (de fide credendi). Whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy, as indicated by the respective canons of the Oriental and Latin Codes of Canon Law.
II. Definitively Proposed
Doctrines definitively proposed by the Church on faith and morals which are necessary for faithfully keeping and expounding the deposit of faith, even if they have not been proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as formally revealed. They can be defined by:

a) the Roman Pontiff speaking ex cathedra
b) the College of Bishops gathered in council
c) taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church as sententia definitive tenenda.

Such doctrines are joined to Divinely Revealed truths by a) historical relationship or b) logical connection. Even though they are not proposed as formally revealed they could, by dogmatic development, one day be declared to be revealed.

These doctrines require firm and definitive assent based on theological faith in the Holy Spirit's assistance to the Church's Magisterium and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters.

Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

There is no difference with respect to the full and irrevocable consent which must be given to teachings set forth as I. Divinely Revealed and II. Those Proposed as to be Definitively Held.
III. Authentic Ordinary Magisterium

Teachings presented as true, or at least as sure, even if they have not been defined with a solemn judgment or proposed as definitive by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, whether of the Pope or of the College of Bishops.

Religious submission of will and intellect.
Particular note should be paid to the "Assent Required" of the above categories. No claim is made that we must "understand" before giving our assent. Understanding is not a requirement. Faith precedes understanding, faith seeks understanding...

In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe." (CCC 158)

And we should not forget what Faith is:
Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. (CCC 1814)

May 7-SNAP Plans Candle Light Vigil at Cathedral

This from an email update I received...Apparently some have too much time on their hands:
PLEASE JOIN SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) at a Candle Light Service to honor those who died as a result of clergy abuse and to show support for their families and friends.

Date & Time - Sunday, May 7th, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.

Place - In front of the New Cathedral

Please bring family, friends and anyone who would like to remember these true martyrs of the church. For more information, please call Barb at 314-862-xxxx or Mary Ellen at 314-962-xxxx
Those who died as a result of abuse??? True martyrs of the [C]hurch???

I would think time spent in prayer and conversation with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament would be more beneficial.

Why Latin?

Note: This was written prior to the changes which occurred after the Second Vatican Council...

"Each heard them speaking in his own tongue." Acts, 2:6.

A customer once asked a druggist why doctors write their prescriptions in Latin and not in English. The druggist told him because Latin is more exact and definite than English. He explained that Latin is a dead language, which means that it does not change, as English so often does during one short generation.

The druggist showed his questioner that a large number of drugs are obtained from flowers and herbs. He even showed the man his pharm­acopaeia, the official and standard book which describes drugs, chemicals, and medicines. He pointed out many scientific names - all in Latin. In fact, two thirds of all drugs have no English name at all. They have a name only in Latin and hence could not possibly be written in English.

The man who mixes medicines gave another reason: "Suppose a doctor did write out in the vernacular a prescription, and his patient was unedu­cated. Suppose the patient lost the prescription, but thought he remembered what it said. And then suppose, for example, the doctor had ordered iodine of potassium, but the patient thought it was cyanide of potassium. A sick person could take ten grains of the first and it would not kill him. But one grain of the second drug will make him a corpse."

The man behind the counter gave another reason: "Latin is a language used by scientific men all over the world, especially in medicine and drugs. No other language is used. You can get a Latin prescription filled in any real drug store in the world."

The druggist smiled as he told this experience: "The other day I filled a prescription which we had made up right here several years ago. Since then the patient has been traveling almost around the world. That prescription has been stamped by druggists in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Constantinople, Cairo, Tokyo and Shanghai. What good would an English prescription have been in Shanghai?"

For similar and higher reasons the Catholic Church prescribes Latin as the official language of her public ceremonies, particularly of the Mass.

1. First we must know that Latin is not used in all Masses in the Roman Catholic Church. Right in Southern Italy the Italo-Greeks have said Mass in Greek for over a thousand years. Arabic and Greek are used in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. The Byzantine Rite uses fourteen different languages, but the Mass is the same in all. With these exceptions aside, the Mass is said in Latin. Why?

2. The use of one common language in the liturgy makes for uniformity in public worship. In the great majority of countries a Catholic will feel right at home while hearing Mass. Just suppose that the language of the Mass was to be the language of that particular people, with the idea that every­body in church could hear it and understand it. That would mean churches no larger than a fair-sized hall. The altar would almost have to be in the middle and the priest would have to shout in order to be heard and under­stood by all. We could not celebrate more than one Mass at a time in the same church because of distractions. There could be no organ playing or singing.

Furthermore, if each country had its own Missal in its own language, we would have to have as many kinds of Missals as there are kinds of tongues. Most languages change constantly; the Missals would have to be revised repeatedly.

An English priest saying Mass in Paris would have to carry his English Missal along, and then his Paris congregation would not understand him. What would missionaries do in countries where there is no written lan­guage? What would they do in places like China, where it takes years of painstaking study before they can speak or preach in that language? Travel­ing through Europe in 1950, I encountered some of the usual language difficulties, but, thank the Lord, I could say daily Mass in a language I knew from a book with which I was thoroughly familiar.

Then suppose the priest was saying Mass for a group of representatives of five or six different nations, as I had the privilege of doing in St. Peter's at Rome on May 6, 1950. What language could he or should he use? I heard several people of different tougues giving the Latin responses to my Mass.

True, these are negative reasons, but they are sound ones, for the use of a single, universal language, especially in public service.

3. A positive reason is that Latin does not change. The words mean today exactly what they meant to the Apostles. Other tongues change the meaning of words often in just a few years time.

4. The main reason is that unity of language makes for unity in the Church. There is little or no danger of errors of faith creeping in through the language. A priest can say Mass at the majority of Catholic altars throughout the world in the same language he used in his parish church.

And the Catholic layman, though he travel the world, can find a church somewhere nearby where the Holy Sacrifice is offered in the same words he heard at home. Everywhere the meaning is the same.

5. Furthermore, that meaning is made clear to the intelligent, up-to-date Catholic in every country by means of translations into the vernacular or language of the people, of the prayers and ceremonies of the Mass. That is why we urge you to secure and use an English Missal. In many places priests explain the prayers and ceremonies, as we have tried to do in this series on the Mass.

6. Again, we must always remember that Mass is a sacrifice, an action, and that people can take part in the Sacrifice of the altar without understanding the words in their literal meaning.

When you hear 35,000 people of all tongues and races and nations joining in the singing of a plainchant Credo in Latin, as I heard in the great home church of the Pope in Rome, you realize the beauty and value of one common language.

It helps doctors and druggists in their important work. It helps the Church in its work. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Mass
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1950)

Da Vinci Code protests are already starting...

From Tradition Family Property

Take a moment to send your concerns to Regal Cinemas, the country’s largest theater chain about the screening of The DaVinci Code. Click here to send an instant protest now!

One group of TFP supporters in Rochester just couldn’t wait. They decided to protest now. Read the story about the May Day protest in Rochester by clicking here.

A top Vatican official has come out in support of organized protest. Click here for more.

Become a protest organizer now. Click here for more.

Vatican Excommunicates 4 Chinese Bishops

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Thursday excommunicated two bishops ordained by China's state-controlled church without the pope's consent, escalating tensions as the two sides explored preliminary moves toward improving ties.

The Vatican also excommunicated the two bishops who ordained them, citing church law.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls cited Article 1382 of the Roman Catholic Church's canon law. That article states that "both the bishop who, without a pontifical mandate, consecrates a person a bishop, and the one who receives the consecration from him, incur a 'latae sententiae excommunication,'" which means they are automatically excommunicated.

Alexandria Church Filled for First Latin Mass

Nearly 600 Catholics, young and old, from around the Washington Metropolitan area attended the 12:30 p.m. Mass at St. Lawrence Church.
“We were getting a lot of phone calls so I was expecting a large crowd,” said Father Christopher Mould, pastor of St. Lawrence.

“I love the beauty and the awesomeness of the prayers,” said Gigi Strube, a Catholic from Centreville who had been attending Tridentine Masses in Washington. “They’re God-centered, not people-centered. They lift our hearts up to God.”
More at the Catholic Herald here.

Vatican Issues Declaration re: Episcopal Ordinations in China

VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2006 (VIS) - The director of the Holy See Press Office, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, released the following declaration.

"I can inform you of the position of the Holy See regarding the episcopal ordination of the priests Joseph Ma Yinglin e Joseph Liu Xinhong, which took place, respectively, last Sunday, April 30, in Kunming (province of Yunnan) and Wednesday, May 3, in Wuhu (province of Anhui).

The Holy Father has learned of the news with profound displeasure, since an act so relevant for the life of the Church, such as an episcopal ordination, has been carried out in both cases without respecting the requirements of communion with the Pope.

It is a grave wound to the unity of the Church, for which severe canonical sanctions, as it is known, are foreseen (cfr. canon 1382 from the Code of Canon Law).

According to the information received, bishops and priests have been subjected to - on the part of external entities to the Church - strong pressures and to threats, so that they would take part in the episcopal ordinations which, being without pontifical mandate, are illegitimate and, besides, contrary to their conscience. Various prelates have given a refusal to similar pressures, while others were not able to do anything but submit with great interior suffering. Episodes of this kind produce lacerations not only in the Catholic community but also in the internal conscience itself.

We are therefore facing a grave violation of religious liberty, notwithstanding that it is sought to present the two episcopal ordinations as a proper act to provide the pastors for vacant dioceses.

The Holy See follows with attention the troubled path of the Catholic Church in China and even aware of some particularities of such a path, believed and hoped that similar, deplorable episodes by now would belong to the past.

She considers that now it is her precise duty to give voice to the suffering of the entire Catholic Church, in particular to that of the Catholic community in China and especially to that of those bishops and priests who were seen obligated, against conscience, to take part or to participate in the episcopal ordination, of which, neither the candidates or the consecrating bishops want to carry out without having received the pontifical mandate.

If the news is true that other episcopal ordinations are to take place in the same manner, the Holy See would like to underline the need for respect for the liberty of the Church and for the autonomy of its institutions from whatever external interference, and sincerely wishes that such unacceptable acts of violence and inadmissible constrictions are not repeated.

The Holy See has, on various occasions, stressed her willingness for honest and constructive dialogue with the competent Chinese authorities for the purpose of finding a solution that would satisfy the needs of both parties.

Initiatives such as the above mentioned do not favor such dialogue but instead create new obstacles against it."

Immigration, Then and Now...

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt 1907


The pictures below were taken at Montebello high school on Monday, March 27, 2006. The students were part of a walkout aimed at influencing Congress, which was debating immigration policy and the potential of cracking down on illegal immigrants in the country.

Although the flag-raising took place at Montebello high school, officials of the Montebello Unified School District were quick to point out that the protesters were not students from Montebello high school. Assistent Superintendent Robert Henke said the high school was under a lockdown and all the students were in their classrooms. He said that the 800 to 1000 students were from neighboring school districts such as the El Rancho Unified School District and the Whittier Union High School District.

They marched to Montebello high school, lowered the flags, replaced the school flag with a Mexican flag, flew the U.S. flag upside down, and stole the California flag that had been on the pole.


About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in 1787,
Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years before:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

"The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage ."

When Civilizations Meet: How Joseph Ratzinger Sees Islam

The author of this essay is an Egyptian Jesuit who is very familiar with both the pope and the Muslim religion. It was written for and published by “Asia News.” Here it is in its entirety
by Samir Khalil Samir, S.J.

Gospel for Thursday, 3rd Week of Easter

From: John 6:44-51

The Discourse on the Bread of Life (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [44] "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. [45] It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. [46] Not that any one has seen the Father except Him who is from God; He has seen the Father. [47] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. [48] I am the bread of life. [49] Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. [50] This is the bread which comes down from Heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. [51] I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."


44-45. Seeking Jesus until one finds Him is a free gift which no one can obtain through his own efforts, although everyone should try to be well disposed to receiving it. The Magisterium of the Church has recalled this teaching in Vatican II: "Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth" ("Dei Verbum", 5).

When Jesus says, "They shall all be taught by God", He is invoking Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:33ff, where the prophets refer to the future Covenant which God will establish with His people when the Messiah comes, the Covenant which will be sealed forever with the blood of the Messiah and which God will write on their hearts (cf. Isaiah 53:10-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The last sentence of verse 45 refers to God's Revelation through the prophets and especially through Jesus Christ.

46. Men can know God the Father only through Jesus Christ, because only He has seen the Father, whom He has come to reveal to us. In his prologue St. John already said: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known" (John 1:18). Later on Jesus will say to Philip at the Last Supper: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), for Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one goes to the Father except through Him (cf. John 14:6).

In other words, in Christ God's revelation to men reaches its climax: "For He sent His Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all men, to dwell among men and to tell them about the inner life of God (cf. John 1:1-18). Hence, Jesus Christ, sent as `a man among men', `utters thewords of God' (John 3:34), and accomplishes the saving work which the Father gave Him to do (cf. John 5:36; 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (cf. John 14:9)" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 4).

48. With this solemn declaration, which He repeats because of His audience's doubts, (cf. John 6:35, 41, 48), Jesus begins the second part of His discourse, in which He explicitly reveals the great mystery of the Blessed Eucharist. Christ's words have such a tremendous realism about them that they cannot be interpreted in a figurative way: if Christ were not really present under the species of bread and wine, this discourse would make absolutely no sense. But if His real presence in the Eucharist is accepted on faith, then His meaning is quite clear and we can see how infinite and tender His love for us is.

This is so great a mystery that it has always acted as a touchstone for Christian faith: it is proclaimed as "the mystery of our faith" immediately after the Consecration of the Mass. Some of our Lord's hearers were scandalized by what He said on this occasion (cf. verses 60-66). Down through history people have tried to dilute the obvious meaning of our Lord's words. In our own day the Magisterium of the Church has explained this teaching in these words" "When Transubstantiation has taken place, there is no doubt that the appearance of the bread and the appearance of the wine take on a new expressiveness and a new purpose since they are no longer common bread and common drink, but rather the sign of something sacred and the sign of spiritual food. But they take on a new expressiveness and a new purpose for the very reason that they contain a new `reality' which we are right to call "ontological". For beneath these appearances there is no longer what was there before but something quite different [...] since on the conversion of the bread and wine's substance, or nature, into the body and blood of Christ, nothing is left of the bread and the wine but the appearances alone. Beneath these appearances Christ is present whole and entire, bodily present too, in His physical `reality', although not in the manner in which bodies are present in place.

For this reason the Fathers have had to issue frequent warnings to the faithful, when they consider this august Sacrament, not to be satisfied with the senses which announce the properties of bread and wine. They should rather assent to the words of Christ: these are of such power that they change, transform, `transelement' the bread and the wine into His body and blood. The reason for this, as the same Fathers say more than once, is that the power which performs this action is the same power of Almighty God that created the whole universe out of nothing at the beginning of time" (Paul VI, "Mysterium Fidei").

49-51. The manna during the Exodus was a figure of this bread--Christ Himself--which nourishes Christians on their pilgrimage through this world. Communion is the wonderful banquet at which Christ gives Himself to us: "the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh". These words promise the manifestation of the Eucharist at the Last Supper: "This is My body which is for you" (1 Corinthians 11:24). The words "for the life of the world" and "for you" refer to the redemptive value of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In some sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were a figure of the sacrifice of Christ, part of the animal offered up was later used for food, signifying participation in the sacred rite (cf. Exodus 11:3-4). So, by receiving Holy Communion, we are sharing in the sacrifice of Christ: which is why the Church sings in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Corpus Christi: "O sacred feast in which we partake of Christ: His sufferings are remembered, our minds are filled with His grace and we receive a pledge of the glory that is to be ours" ("Magnificat Antiphon", Evening Prayer II).

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, May 03, 2006

The Language of the Mass

During the first two centuries the liturgical language at Rome was Greek. During the next two centuries Greek and Latin were used side by side. Then Latin supplanted Greek altogether. Since most of the west-nations were evangelized from Rome, Latin became the liturgical language of the whole Western Church.

The advantages of having one liturgical language, and that an unchangeable one, are obvious:
a) The use of the same language throughout the Church pro­motes the unity and union of its members.

b) The liturgy would have lost much of its sublime and ven­erable character if, in the course of time, as often as the words of living language would change their meaning or become obsolete or trivial, the Church would have to substitute new ones. (Com­pare the language of Chaucer, and even of Shakespeare and Mil­ton, with our present English.)

c) Wherever a Catholic goes, the language of the Church makes him feel at home, whereas non-Catholics are strangers as they leave their own country.*

d) If the Mass were said in every country in the vernacular, priests traveling in foreign lands would either have to know many languages or carry their own Missals with them if they wished to say Mass.

e) The Mass being a sacrifice, and not merely a form of prayer or a sermon, it is not necessary to understand all the words said by the priest in order to take part in the service. Even though the Mass were said in the vernacular, most of our churches are ­so large that the people could hardly understand the words spoken by the priest at the altar.

f) We never hear the faithful complain that the use of the Latin tongue detracts in any way from their devotion.

g) Not only the Roman Catholic Church, but the Russian, Greek, Armenian, Chaldean, and other Eastern Churches celebrate the liturgy in a tongue distinct from the vernacular. In Egypt, for example, the Christians speak Arabic, while the liturgical language is partly Greek, partly Coptic. To this day the Jews use Hebrew in their synagogue service, although it is a dead language. Even the pagan Romans retained in their public religious rites the old Latin words and forms after they had become unintelligible to the majority of the people.
* This was the case until the 1960's when the vernacular was introduced, for Latin was still in universal use at the time Fr. Laux wrote, and the Latin Rite "is found throughout the world. -Editor, 1990.
From Mass and the Sacraments
by Fr. John Laux, M.A. (c-1934 Benziger, 1990-Tan Books)

More on St. Boniface and Diocese of Orange

I received this email and felt it should be shared so that prayers may be offered for all involved:


Dear friends of St. Boniface, the Diocese of Orange and The Holy Roman Catholic Church,

This is the first email to the St. Boniface community.

We will be distributing more information by email, so it would be a great help if you could get others at St. Boniface (and anywhere in the Diocese of Orange) to add themselves to our email list. If you would forward this email to all those you know, and add a personal note of encouragement to be added to the email list, it would be a great help.

Also, if you and/or some of your friends would be willing to help in any way: translating flyers, handing them out before and after the mass you regularly attend, making phone calls, or starting prayer vigils/devotions that would also be invaluable.

Please let us know if you can help and we will contact you asap.

Please join us in a Novena to St. Rita (St. of the impossible) beginning Sunday, May 14, thru Tuesday, May 22 - Feast day of St. Rita, for the conversion of souls of priests and bishops and salvation of Holy Mother Church (and add your own intentions) in the Diocese of Orange. (scroll down to Novena Prayer). You could also print it out and distribute it to friends on May 14, after Sunday Mass, and/or recite after daily mass at St. Boniface.

Here are a few more links with information about our diocese. (this one is VERY long and detailed with lots of documented support and links covering many different subjects) (This is a new blog posted about St. Boniface. Please add your comments or personal experience on the "comments" link at the end of the post)

(This is one of the posts on the above link. These links are very informative, also)

Bishop Brown has publicly opposed laws that seek to prevent homosexuality from gaining special protection and bent over backwards to appear tolerant and accepting of homosexuals, whether in society or the seminary.

In February of 2000, Bishop Brown sent each priest in the diocese two articles by Fr. Gerald D. Coleman dealing with the Prop. 22 ban on homosexual marriage. In the message Bishop Brown wrote that Fr. Coleman’s article “expresses very well my own thoughts on this subject.” In that article, Fr. Coleman argued, “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term, committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of our society as domestic partnerships.” The story was chronicled in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission:

Damnable Falsehood, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, January 2001,

Studied Ambiguity - Reply to Father Coleman’s Open Letter to the Mission, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, May 2001,

Lynch Responds To Coleman, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, June 2001,

A copy of the memo can be seen here:

Bishop Brown has even looked the other way while one of his own priests, Fr. Rod Stephens, was known to be living with his gay lover and allowed him to continue as Director of Liturgy and Evangelization for the diocese.

Fr. Stephens has since taken a leave of absence from the priesthood, but Bishop Brown has allowed his pastors to retain his consultation services throughout the diocese and pay him handsomely, reportedly to the tune of around $300.00 an hour at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, St. Anthony Mary Claret Parish, and the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

The Fr. Rod Stephens cover-up was documented in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission:

All That Perceptions Stuff - Ex-priest Rod Stephens Still Works in Orange Diocese, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, July/August 2004,
Bishop Brown also allowed a gay priest looking at naked boys and gay sex on his computer to remain at a Catholic parish that has a grade school.

See : Diocese breaks zero tolerance vow, Orange County Register, July 20, 2003,

See also: No Vow Of Silence Here, OC Weekly, Dec. 26, 2003 - Jan. 1, 2004,

His record on the subject of homosexuality makes it clear that this issue is very dear to his heart.

Does anyone else see a pattern here?

Bishop Brown said he didn’t want to be a part of an initiative that he claims “contributed to attitudes of intolerance and hostility directed at homosexual citizens.”

Yet he has no problem contributing to attitudes of intolerance and hostility directed at Catholics who practice traditional Catholic piety!

----------End of Email ------------

As I suggested, we should pray for all involved in this...

From St. Athanasius...

This didn't get posted yesterday for some reasom, so I will repost it this evening.

The Seventh Century From The Saints – 57 – St. Athanasius (Doctor, 296-373)-"Discourse Against the Arians," (Bk. I, ch.1, no. 1, Migne's Patrologia G.,
"Those who go off to heretics, and all who leave the [Catholic Roman] Church for heresy, abandon the name of Christ. Those who call these men 'Christians' are in grievous error, since they neither understand Scripture at all nor the faith which it contains..."

Another Lesson on Obedience

Washington - Precious Penknife

"An obedient man shall speak of victory." Proverbs, 21:28.

One of the most picturesque spots in the country is Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. On my way there several years ago I stop­ped at Alexandria, Virginia, to review some of the revered relics of the Father of our Country. Among them is a little penknife with this inspiring story.

As every school boy knows, Washington was born at Wakefield, West­moreland County, Virginia. While he was still a tiny child, the parental home burned down, and his father moved the family to a plantation near Fredericksburg. To this city now and then came ships with foreign goods, which they exchanged for the raw materials of Virginia. What boy would not be enchanted with dreams of distant ports brought nearer by these boats? Washington's facination was fed by the fact that his half brother, Lawrence, sailed with the English navy. The salt of the sea ran strong in his blood. He, too. wanted to be a sailor.

He persuaded his brother, Captain Washington, to secure him a com­mission in the British fleet. The occasion was a visit to his brother's beautiful home, Mount Vernon. Lawrence felt it would be good training for his younger brother, and made the necessary arrangements. George hurried home to bid good-bye to his mother.

He was due for a disappointment. To his request for her permission his mother replied:
"For one thing, my son, you are too young to leave home. Another thing, I do not want you to enter the navy. The life is rough and unsuited to a boy of fourteen."
Trained in obedience from infancy, George saw nothing to do but sub­mit to the desire of his mother, and give up his ambition of sailing the seven seas. Mother Washington appreciated his deference to her desires, and expressed her pleasure by giving George a white-handled knife. With the knife she offered him some admirable advice:
"Always obey your superiors."

The fourteen-year-old future president kept that precious penknife with him until his death-fifty years later. From year to year it meant more to him as the following incident bears witness.

Many moons later Washington was chosen commander-in-chief of the patriots of the Revolution. His mother's gift was always with him. He once showed the knife to his chief of staff, General Henry Knox, telling the story of how he received it, and repeating his mother's words: "Always obey your superiors."

Soon came Valley Forge and the terrible winter of 1777-1778. Days of suffer­ing followed. Clothing, bread, meat, and blankets were scarce and often wanting. Tattered, famished, freezing and feeble, his suffering followers were losing faith in their leader. Washington felt that Congress was fail­ing to back them up with food and supplies.

Sympathy for his men almost drove him to despair. The strain was more than he could stand. He would hand over the sword to another. He penned his resignation to Congress. He summoned his officers to tell them his decision. Present was General Knox, chief of staff. The precious penknife lay upon the written resignation. Thoughtfully Knox picked it up. Silently he handed it to Washington. After a moment Knox broke the silence by telling the story of the little knife. Then he asked Washington:
"Who elected you leader of the American Army?"

"Why, the Congress did," replied Washington.

"Have you had any orders to leave your post?"

"No," answered Washington.

The point was clear; the penknife clinched it. He was sworn to obey the orders of Congress. Obey he would. A burst of flame in the fireplace was the last anyone saw of that resignation.

One shudders to picture early American history - without that pen­knife. Had Washington disregarded his mother's wish, had he resigned, had he walked out on the Revolution, what might have happened to the infant America? Truly precious was that penknife.

Its value has increased with the years. It points a lesson most necessary right now - obedience to the laws of God and the laws of our country.

"Always obey your superiors," is a patriotic lesson; it is a religious lesson.

Our celebration of the birthday of Washington, February 22, must place in prominence everything for which that penknife stood.

We need all the lessons of Washington's life. We need the respect he had for his mother. We need his courtesy and patience. We need his spirit of work, his desire for improvement, his temperance, his humility, his bravery. More than all else we need his religious heart, his spiritual ideals. Religion and morality are still what he called them, "the pillars of America." We need his Valley Forge spirit of prayer, his grateful affection for his Catholic friends and compatriots, his unbiased, unembarrassed appreciation of the help of the Catholic Church here and abroad.

Beside his hatchet place his penknife, precious relics both. Truth­ - may you love it ever. Loyalty and obedience - may we give them ever. Amen.
Adapted from Occasional Talks
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1949)

Arizona priest still complaining

A Catholic priest who took a leave of absence in January, citing health-related and "other" reasons, says in a letter to newspapers that Bishop Thomas Olmsted has turned his back on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Catholics.

"I refuse to serve as a priest in a church environment that is increasingly sending a false and destructive message that my LGBT brothers and sisters and I are little more than immature, defective sex addicts," said the Rev. Chris Carpenter, former pastor of Christ the King parish in Mesa.

This priest is one of nine priests in the Phoenix diocese who signed a "pro-homosexual statement" in 2003...

Some previous history was blogged:
here (Only one priest has obeyed Bishop Olmsted - so far...),

here (Five priests follow Bishop Olmsted's instruction & withdraw signatures),
here (Two more priests remove name from "Phoenix Declaration" list),

and here (Q & A on Bishop Olmsted's suspension of Fr. John Cunningham).

Carpenter said the bishop's position has resulted in the resignation of several other priests...Carpenter said the exodus from church ranks over the declaration and other issues has resulted in " a growing influx of foreign-born priests with little to no knowledge of the local language or culture." The result, he said, is that Catholics are leaving the church.
The faithful need good and holy priests who teach the truth, administer the Sacraments, and strive to save souls...

Bishop Olmsted is a good bishop whose is concerned with saving souls and there are surely many good priests assisting him. With God's grace and help they will be successful in this mission...

Thoughts on China's New Bishops

Dr Edward Peters has some additional thoughts on the episcopal ordinations in China:
The excommunications consequent to the illicit episcopal ordinations (1983 CIC 1382) staged by Chinese Communists are so obvious that few commentators have mentioned them. Here I raise a different question: In the face of some sacraments being so obviously celebrated with no discernible pastoral sense and, in fact, driven by little besides a "let's stick it to the Catholic Church" animus, has the time come to step back and ask some hard questions about the canonical validity of such sacraments?
The issue Dr Peters raises is not one of matter or form, but of intention...a rather interesting view...

The full text of his comments is here

The Holy Father on Apostolic Tradition

VATICAN CITY, MAY 3, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience to the Apostolic Tradition, a theme of "great relevance in the life of the Church". The audience in St. Peter's Square numbered 52,000 people.

"The Vatican Council affirms that the Tradition is 'apostolic', above all in its origins", explained the pope, "God ... willed to reveal it so that the salvation of souls may be integrally transmitted to all generations ... For this, Christ, in Whom the will of God is completed, sent the apostles to preach ... the Gospel as a source of all truth and moral law".

Family of Terri Schiavo alarmed by judge’s participation on pro-euthanasia panel

St. Petersburg, May. 01, 2006 (CNA) - One year after the death of Terri Schiavo, the judge who ordered her feeding tube removed spoke at a right-to-die symposium; something Schiavo’s family calls a disturbing conflict of interests.

In March 2005, Circuit Judge George Greer ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo and ordered the disabled Florida woman’s feeding tube removed. She died of marked dehydration.

Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, said the judge’s participation in the symposium “is indicative of [Greer’s] own biases against the disabled, and may well be in violation of Florida’s judicial canons as prescribed by the Supreme Court of the State of Florida," claimed Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother.
Laws? Why, who pays any attention to that anymore? Laws are merely impediments to our freedoms, our rights to do whatever we want, whenever we want. They are the shackles of antiquarian rulers designed to keep us in servitude and bondage...

Gospel for May 3, Feast: Sts. Philip and James, Apostles

From: John 14:6-14

Jesus Reveals the Father (Continuation)

(Jesus said to Thomas), [6] "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." [7] "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; henceforth you know Him and have seen Him.

[8] Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." [9] Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father?' [10] Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does His works. [11] Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the words themselves.

[12] "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. [13] Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; [14] if you ask anything in My name, I will do it."


4-7. The Apostles did not really understand what Jesus was telling them: hence Thomas' question. The Lord explains that He is the way to the Father. "It was necessary for Him to say `I am the Way' to show them that they really knew what they thought they were ignorant of, because they knew Him" (St. Augustine, "In. Ioann. Evang.", 66, 2).

Jesus is the way to the Father--through what He teaches, for by keeping to His teaching we will reach Heaven; through faith, which He inspires, because He came to this world so "that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life" (John 3:15); through His example, since no one can go to the Father without imitating the Son; through His merits, which make it possible for us to enter our Heavenly home; and above all He is the way because He reveals the Father, with whom He is one because of His divine nature.

"Just as children by listening to their mothers, and prattling with them, learn to speak their language, so we, by keeping close to the Savior in meditation, and observing His words, His actions, and His affections, shall learn, with the help of His grace, to speak, to act, and to will like Him.

"We must pause here...; we can reach God the Father by no other route...; the Divinity could not be well contemplated by us in this world below if it were not united to the sacred humanity of the Savior, whose life and death are the most appropriate, sweet, delicious and profitable subjects which we can choose for our ordinary meditations" (St. Francis de Sales, "Introduction to the Devout Life", Part II, Chapter 1, 2).

"I am the way": He is the only path linking Heaven and Earth. "He is speaking to all men, but in a special way He is thinking of people who, like you and me, are determined to take our Christian vocation seriously: He wants God to be forever in our thoughts, on our lips and in everything we do, including our most ordinary and routine actions.

"Jesus is the way. Behind Him on this Earth of ours He has left the clear outlines of His footprints. They are indelible signs which neither the erosion of time nor the treachery of the Evil One have been able to erase" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 127).

Jesus' words do much more than provide an answer to Thomas' question; He tells us: "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life". Being the Truth and the Life is something proper to the Son of God become man, who St. John says in the prologue of his Gospel is "full of grace and truth" (1:14). He is the Truth because by coming to this world He shows that God is faithful to His promises, and because He teaches the truth about who God is and tells us that true worship must be "in spirit and truth" (John 4:23). He is Life because from all eternity He has divine life with His Father (cf. John 1:4), and because He makes us, through grace, sharers in that divine life. This is why the Gospel says: "This is eternal life, that they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent" (John 17:3).

By His reply Jesus is, "as it were, saying, By which route do you want to go? I am the Way. To where do you want to go? I am the Truth. Where do you want to remain? I am the Life. Every man can attain an understanding of the Truth and the Life; but not all find the Way. The wise of this world realize that God is eternal life and knowable truth; but the Word of God, who is Truth and Life joined to the Father, has become the Way by taking a human nature. Make your way contemplating His humility and you will reach God" (St. Augustine, "De Verbis Domini Sermones", 54).

8-11. The Apostles still find our Lord's words very mysterious, because they cannot understand the oneness of the Father and the Son. Hence Philip's persistence. Then Jesus "upbraids the Apostle for not yet knowing Him, even though His works are proper to God--walking on the water, controlling the wind, forgiving sins, raising the dead. This is why He reproves him: for not recognizing His divine condition through His human nature" (St. Augustine, "De Trinitate", Book 7).

Obviously the sight of the Father which Jesus refers to in this passage is a vision through faith, for no one has ever seen God as He is (cf. John 1:18; 6:46). All manifestations of God, or "theophanies", have been through some medium; they are only a reflection of God's greatness. The highest _expression which we have of God our Father is in Christ Jesus, the Son of God sent among men. "He did this by the total fact of His presence and self-manifestation--by words and works, signs and miracles, but above all by His death and glorious resurrection from the dead, and finally by sending the Spirit of truth. He revealed that God was with us, to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 4).

12-14. Before leaving this world, the Lord promises His Apostles to make them sharers in His power so that God's salvation may be manifested through them. These "works" are the miracles they will work in the name of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 3:1-10; 5:15-16; etc.), and especially the conversion of people to the Christian faith and their sanctification by preaching and the ministry of the sacraments. They can be considered greater works than Jesus' own insofar as, by the
Apostles' ministry, the Gospel was not only preached in Palestine but was spread to the ends of the earth; but this extraordinary power of apostolic preaching proceeds from Christ, who has ascended to the Father: after undergoing the humiliation of the cross Jesus has been glorified and from Heaven He manifests His power by acting through His Apostles.

The Apostles' power, therefore, derives from Christ glorified. Christ our Lord says as much: "Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it". "It is not that he who believes in Me will be greater than Me, but that only that I shall then do greater works than now; greater, by him who believes in Me, than I now do by myself without Him" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 72, 1).

Jesus Christ is our intercessor in Heaven; therefore, He promises us that everything we ask for in His name, He will do. Asking in His name (cf. 15:7, 16; 16:23-24) means appealing to the power of the risen Christ, believing that He is all-powerful and merciful because He is true God; and it also means asking for what is conducive to our salvation, for Jesus is our Savior. Thus, by "whatever you ask" we must understand what is for the good of the asker. When our Lord does not give what we ask for, the reason is that it would not make for our salvation. In this way we can see that He is our Savior both when He refuses us what we ask and when He grants it.

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.