Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stem Cell Showdown in Senate

The medical and moral implications of stem cell issues make them hot buttons in this year's elections.

The Senate is headed for a volatile showdown with the White House over the issue of stem cell research in a debate that could also put Missouri's tight U.S. Senate race in the spotlight.

Under pressure from Democrats, Senate GOP leaders agreed to hold a vote this week on long-stalled legislation that would undo President George W. Bush's restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The Republicrats have caved and have abandoned their moral compasses...
Among local lawmakers, Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, both D-Ill., have signed on as co-sponsors to the House-passed bill. And as the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Durbin helped engineer this week's legislative debate.

As a professed Catholic and a key player in legislation to destroy human life, Durbin is a disgrace, both as a professed Catholic and as a human being. Do not his public actions which advocate violating the natural moral law and the Church's explicit teachings regarding the sanctity of human life demand that he be publicly excommunicated from the Church? Should not any other professed Catholic legislator who advocates and promotes laws allowing the killing of innocent human life receive the penalty of excommunication?

Has not the time for dialogue gone on long enough? In the past 30-40 years, have we seen any pro-death, pro-abort "Catholics" change because of dialogue with Church leaders? Are these people not obstinate in their rejection of the fundamental right to life of the innocent unborn? Are they not obstinate in their rejection of the natural moral law? Have they not had ample opportunity to properly form their consciences? Perhaps some medicinal and disciplinary 'assistance' is now needed to correct or treat their blindeness or obstinacy...May God grant the necessary courage to Church leaders to do what they must do.

Mental Prayer for July 16 - Christ's Gift to Peter

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: for Full loyalty to Christ's Church.

Mental Picture (cf. Matt. 16: 15-19): When Peter recognized Him as "the Son of the living God," Christ solemnly gave His great promise:
"Thou art Peter (the rock), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven."
To Peter and his successors Christ gave His teaching and ruling power.

My Personal Application: My loyalty is not likely to be tested to the extent of dying for the Church like St. Peter and St. Thomas More.

A more practical, day-to-day checklist on my loyalty to Christ's Church would be my response to the call of the Pope and the bishops to encourage learning and sharing my faith, to fight against the gross injustices of abortion and euthanasia, to promote the natural moral law and to build up a strong family life (including family prayer), to support parish activ­ities, to contribute actively to good government, to bring morality and ethics into the business world, to encourage international cooperation and justice to the extent that I can.

These may or may not be problems for me now. What does concern me now is: What is my reaction to, and respect for, the teaching voice of the Church?

In every man's life there come times when he must "stand up and be counted," that is, when he must actively and positively show where his loyalties lie.

Am I prepared to stand up and be counted... as a staunch supporter of Jesus Christ and His Church?

I Speak to Christ: Help me understand and re­spect the authority you gave your Church. Help me to be loyal to it because I see you speaking through the Church.

Thought for Today: "Upon this rock I will build my church!"
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

White Catholics will decide the upcoming US elections...

...according to William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former domestic policy adviser to President Clinton.
. . .

...Galston's research showed a significant swing among practicing Catholics - 17 points toward Bush - and there was also a large increase in their turnout - 12 percent. "The real story of the 2004 election was much more about Catholics than it was about Protestants," he said.

"Despite the well-advertised decline of mainline Protestants, which is a genuine phenomenon, that arguably evangelical Protestants, as a percentage of the total population, peaked about 15 years ago and has been relatively stable ever since," Galston continued, "The real story of American politics in the next 10 years will be written as much around the behavior of Catholics, persuadable Catholics, as it is around the mobilization of traditionalist evangelical Protestants.”
. . .
Religion and politics isn't going to go away, Galston believes. He said, "I think that there are a lot of Catholics, moderate evangelicals and modernists who aren't crazy, who recognize that in the United States in particular, a simply secularist stance by a great political party is a formula for defeat and irrelevance."

Once again faithful Catholics will need to mobilize and hand out the Catholic Answers Voters Guide and other similar materials. We need to pray that more bishops and priests will preach the Gospel, especially the Gospel of Life. We are in an on-going battle for the protection of the lives of the innocent. When the God-given right to life is diminished or weakened by the State or society, all other rights will follow. We then become objects of a tyrannical enslavement.

Hijacked billboard of Jesus is talk of the blogs

I just saw this:
For two weeks, on a billboard near downtown Houston, a radiant, blond Jesus hoisted a can of Budweiser.

"King of Jews," the text proclaimed. "King of Beers."

The picture can be viewed here.

Gospel for July 15, Memorial: St. Bonaventure, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

From: Matthew 10:24-33

Jesus' Instructions to the Apostles (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [24] "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; [25] it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

[26] "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. [27] What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. [28] And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. [29] Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. [30] But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. [31] Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. [32] So every one who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven; [33] but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven."


24-25. Jesus uses these two proverbs to hint at the future that awaits His disciples: their greatest glory will consist in imitating the Master, being identified with Him, even if this means being despised and persecuted as He was before them: His example is what guides a Christian; as He Himself said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).

Beelzebul (cf. Luke 11:15) was the name of the idol of the ancient Philistine city of Ekron. The Jews later used the word to describe the devil or the prince of devils (cf. Matthew 12:24), and their hatred of Jesus led them to the extreme of applying it to Him.

To equip them for the persecution and misunderstanding which Christians will suffer (John 15:18), Jesus encourages them by promising to stay close to them. Towards the end of His life He will call them His friends (John 15:15) and little children (John 13:33).

26-27. Jesus tells His disciples not to be afraid of calumny and detraction. A day will come when everyone will come to know the whole truth about everyone else, their real intentions, the true dispositions of their souls. In the meantime, those who belong to God may be misrepresented by those who resort to lies, out of malice or passion. These are the hidden things which will be made known.

Christ also tells the Apostles to speak out clearly. Jesus' divine teaching method led Him to speak to the crowds in parables so that they came to discover His true personality by easy stages. After the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:8), the Apostles would have to preach from the rooftops about what Jesus had taught them.

We too have to make Christ's doctrine known in its entirety, without any ambiguity, without being influenced by false prudence or fear of the consequences.

28. Using this and other Gospel texts (Matthew 5:22, 29; 18:9; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5), the Church teaches that hell exists; there those who die in mortal sin suffer eternal punishment (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 3), in a manner not known to us in this life (cf. St. Teresa of Avila, "Life", Chapter 32). See notes on Luke 16:19-31.

Therefore, out Lord warns His disciples against false fear. We should not fear those who can only kill the body. Only God can cast body and soul into hell. Therefore God is the only one we should fear and respect; He is our Prince and Supreme Judge--not men. The martyrs have obeyed this precept of the Lord in the fullest way, well aware that eternal life is worth much more than earthly life.

29-31. An "as" (translated here as "penny") was a small coin of very little value. Christ uses it to illustrate how much God loves His creatures. As St. Jerome says ("Comm. in Matth.", 10:29-31): "If little birds, which are of such little value, still come under the providence and care of God, how is it that you, who, given the nature of your soul, are immortal, can fear that you are not looked after carefully by Him whom you respect as your Father?" Jesus again teaches us about the fatherly providence of God, which He spoke about at length in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Matthew 6:19-34).

32-33. Here Jesus tells us that public confession of our faith in Him--whatever the consequences--is an indispensable condition for eternal salvation. After the Judgment, Christ will welcome those who have given testimony of their faith and condemn those whom fear caused to be ashamed of Him (cf. Matthew 7:23; 25:41; Revelation 21:8). The Church honors as "confessors" those Saints who have not gone physical martyrdom but whose lives bore witness to the Catholic faith. Although every Christian should be ready to die for his faith, most Christians are called to be confessors of the faith.
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, July 14, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 15-To Fall and Rise Again

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask : To understand the trust of Peter.

The Idea: Young Peter first met Jesus along the Jordan. Everything about this man fascinated Peter. But how many times Peter actually failed this leader who demanded faithful loyalty.

Peter had faith, but a faith that had to stumble along and get up again. That stormy night at sea when Jesus appeared on the water. Adventurously Peter shouted out, "Lord, if it's you, call out and I'll come." Being called, Peter swung over the side of the boat and began walking over the water to Jesus. Suddenly he realized...! He trembled; his face turned ashen. "Lord, save me!" Catch­ing hold of him, Jesus chided, "Why did you hesitate, man of little faith!" Little faith: Peter had failed. But he didn't give up. Many prom­ises, many shortcomings.

Then that tragic night. A few hours before: "I'll never lose courage in you, even if I have to die with you" ; but now: "I don't even know the man!" Real sinful infidelity, and Peter knew it. A solution crept into his mind: "Suicide... like Judas!" "No, Jesus would want me to keep on trying." Then two days later Peter saw Him again alive. Jesus understood and forgave him. We know the rest of the story: loyalty to his Friend till his martyrdom.

My Personal Application: How like Peter I am. He wanted Christ's friendship. So do I. I too often fail Him. "Have confidence in me," He says. "Follow my teachings." Sometimes I suc­ceed; but frequently... But so did Peter fall. And I'll never stop trying either. And that itself - trying all over - shows confidence.

I Speak to Christ: Thank you, Lord, for giving me Peter as a model of faith and loyalty to you.

Thought for Today: "Lord, save me or I shall perish!"
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Maronite patriarch asks prayers for Lebanon

Jul. 14 ( - Patriarch Nassrallah Pierre Sfeir, the head of the Maronite Catholic Church, asked for prayers for the people of Lebanon during a July 13 press conference in Massachusetts. . .

Vincentians to Open New Residence in Perryville

From the St Louis Review:
Next weekend the Vincentians will celebrate the official opening of the order’s new residence at St. Mary’s of the Barrens in Perryville.

The dedication of the chapel within the residence will take place Friday, July 21, at an evening Mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke. The blessing of the residence will be conducted by Vincentian Provincial Father Jim Swift Saturday, July 22.

Appointment ‘quite an honor’ for Archbishop Burke

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has appointed St. Louis Archbishop Raymond L. Burke to the Vatican’s supreme court.

The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura hears final appeals of decisions by Vatican administrators and offices known as congregations, including marriage tribunals, and ensures that justice is administered correctly, according to "Pastor Bonus," a 1988 document by Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Burke will remain archbishop of St. Louis and will occasionally travel to Rome for the court’s business. He served as a legal expert for the court from 1989-94 and was named a new member on July 8.

His appointment was believed to be the first time a person from the St. Louis Archdiocese had been named to the Vatican high court.

"It’s quite an honor for me, having served those who were the judges of the tribunal, now to be appointed to it," Archbishop Burke said July 10 in a telephone interview from near Munich, Germany, where he was attending a biannual meeting of German and American theologians. "It’s a service to our Holy Father; the whole point is to help him out," Archbishop Burke said.

He returned to St. Louis July 12.

The 15 members of the Apostolic Signatura are all bishops with training in canon law. Archbishop Burke stressed that the court’s work involved more than just handing down "cold legal decisions."

"The Signatura serves a very important function in promoting reconciliation and peace within the Church. Efforts are made to bring a peaceful resolution," the archbishop said.

The Apostolic Signatura recently declined to hear an appeal by the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators (ACEE) of a 2005 decision by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education upholding Archbishop Burke’s ruling that only the Parish Teacher Committee represent teachers at local Catholic elementary schools.

Archbishop Burke said he would excuse himself from any Signatura case involving the St. Louis Archdiocese.

The court’s deliberations are conducted in Latin and their decisions are also written in that language, the archbishop said. While the court’s sessions are in Rome, its members are sent information on upcoming cases so that they are well prepared, Archbishop Burke said.

The archbishop was appointed to the court after his name was submitted to the pope by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the court’s prefect, based on nominations he had received, Archbishop Burke said. The archbishop said he didn’t know who nominated him for court membership.

The two other American members of the Apostolic Signatura are Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York and Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill.

Msgr. John Shamleffer, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Clayton and the judicial vicar of the archdiocese, said the appointment was a testament to the archbishop’s ability.

"It’s a recognition of his knowledge of the law and his academic acumen," Msgr. Shamleffer said. "It’s an important job, making sure rights are protected and overseeing tribunals," he added.

Msgr. Shamleffer said the Vatican supreme court traced its roots to the 16th century and received its current formal name in 1908. He said the use of the term "signatura" refers to the historical need of the pope’s signature in resolving disputed cases.

Also named to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura last week were Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; and Archbishop Luis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.

Information for this story was provided by Catholic News Service, Vatican News Service and Review Editor James Rygelski.


Why is in vitro fertilization sinful?

Father Mitas, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Union, answers this question in the Review's "Dear Father" column:

My wife and I are unable to have children on our own and we are good Catholics. We’d like to try the very expensive procedure of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before trying adoption. Why does the Church call IVF sinful?

The answer to your question is simple but difficult to accept.

Every childless couple knows your pain. You love each other. You love God. You want children to share that love. The Church encourages you and blesses you and prays with you that God’s will will coincide with yours and bless your love with a holy fertility that is a copy of God’s own fruitful love.

The Church, however, does not teach that every couple has an absolute right to have children, only a right to those means that God has ordained for their begetting. The bedrock principle that underlies all morality is that the end, no matter how good, does not justify bad means.

In the case of IVF the end is indisputably good, but the means are not. The teaching is this: Sex is for marriage and marriage is for Christ. Along with that is our teaching, backed by Scripture and tradition, that God established two inseparable elements in the marriage act: first, that it be unitive, and, second, that it be procreative. This is the key to understanding all of the Church’s teaching on sex.

It then becomes clear why the Church condemns artificial contraception (unitive but not procreative, IVF (procreative but not unitive), and masturbation and sodomy (neither unitive nor procreative).

In IVF the child is not conceived in his mother’s womb but in a petri dish in a laboratory, hence its name in vitro (Latin: "in glass"). The father’s sperm is usually supplied, and, even though only one fertilized ovum may be carried to term, several normally are fertilized, which are subsequently disposed of. This is unitive?

When popes Pius XI and Paul VI prophesied dire consequences if the world rejected the Church’s teaching against artificial birth control, the world laughed. The world did reject that teaching and all those evils (increases in divorce, child abuse, teen pregnancy, unstable marriages and abortion) resulted. The world still hasn’t caught on.

IVF ushers in the "Brave New World" described by Aldous Huxley in which children are produced in factories. Pope John Paul II never used the word "reproduction" in reference to the begetting of children. It’s a manufacturing word. He insisted on calling it "procreation," to remind us that parents work in union with God in a holy enterprise to create with him new life. Children are procreated; Volkswagens are reproduced.

Unhappily, there have always been childless couples. Unhappily too, there have always been unwanted children. The coincidence of these two problems provides a solution to both: adoption. Despite abortion there are still unwanted children, but adopting them has become much more difficult, that is, more expensive.

I ask you and all other couples like you to pray to God for the grace to accept his will. It may be his will that your burden of infertility is the instrument through which some unwanted and unloved child in this world becomes the accepting and appreciated gift that he intended every child to be.

Ratzinger’s New Team Trains in the Holy Office

Dias, Bertone, Lajolo, Lombardi... Appointment by appointment, Benedict XVI is changing the face of the Church’s central governance. At the center is the pope himself, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

by Sandro Magister

More here...

Was this even covered in the local press?

Yesterday there was to be a rally, a "gathering" of disgruntled eachers who seem to care more about themselves and their union than educating the children who attend Catholic schools. I have as yet been unable to find any coverage of this important development:

Rally for Catholic School Teachers

The Catholic Center
4445 Lindell

Thursday, July 13
10 AM

This event is sponsored by the Catholic elementary school teacher's union, which has been denied collective bargaining status by Archbishop Burke.

The purpose of this July 13 rally is to continue to highlight the need that elementary educators have for PROTECTION and that RECOGNITION of ACEE would begin the process of providing that protection.

At our earlier rally on June 22, we delivered to Archbishop Burke a letter requesting that he courageously assume a positive leadership role and agree to meet with representatives of ACEE to resolve the stand-off position he has taken with ACEE.

The Association of Catholic Elementary Educators (ACEE) has ties to a group which deceptively refers to itself as "Catholic" Action Network (CAN), and which has repeatedly taken positions completely at odds with Catholic teachings. CAN has a posting enumerating what this group of teachers want:

CAN asks you to Support the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators (ACEE) in its campaign to:

1) increase respect for the role of educators

2) maintain a vibrant, high quality catholic education system in St. Louis

3) seek social and economic justice for elementary educators in accordance with Catholic teaching

4) seek recognition as the colective bargaining agent for elementary educators in the Archdiocese (Source)

Please note that I have not changed any words or the spelling of anything above. Notice also that there is no emphasis given at all to the children who should be the main concern of teachers. For what reason are these people teachers if not to educate children? It certainly seems like there are a number of problems with the group, especially since it seems that its priorities are so problematic.

If anyone has pictures of this lovely affair or knows of any news coverage of it, please let me know. I'd like to see how it was covered in the local press.

Louisville Archbishop Thomas Kelly to Submit Resignation

Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly plans to submit his resignation Friday on his 75th birthday — formally launching the search for a new spiritual leader for 200,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The Vatican seldom accepts resignations immediately except in a crisis. Kelly has said he might serve another 18 months before being replaced.

A Nice Pic of Archbishop Burke at Mass

Photo by Mark Kempf
LET US PRAY — Archbishop Raymond L. Burke celebrates Mass during the recent novena in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Mount Grace Chapel, as members of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters join in prayer. The women religious, popularly known as the Pink Sisters, host the novena each year at their chapel near Adelaide Avenue and Interstate 70 in North St. Louis. This year the novena ran from June 15 to June 23, with each day’s events led by a different priest. Archbishop Burke was the celebrant and speaker June 22.

SLU president stuck in Beirut during Israeli attack

The Rev. Lawrence Biondi was supposed to speak to students at a school near Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday. Instead, the president of St. Louis University was huddled in a hotel as Israeli military pounded the city.

University spokesman Clayton Berry said Biondi has been in frequent contact with the school and is talking with the U.S. Embassy to find out when and how to best get out of the country and return home.

Another St. Louis resident, the Rev. Andre Mhanna, a Maronite Catholic priest, is traveling with Biondi.
Fr. Mhanna is the pastor of St. Raymond's...

More here.

Dallas bishop to offer resignation

Bishop Charles Grahmann, head of the Dallas Catholic diocese, will offer his resignation Saturday – an offer he said he hopes the pope quickly accepts. He turns 75 that day, the age when all Catholic bishops are required to send resignation letters to the Vatican.

Gospel for July 14, Memorial: Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

From: Matthew 10:16-23

Jesus' Instructions to the Apostles

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [16] "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. [17] Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, [18] and you will be dragged before governors and kings for My sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. [19] When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; [20] for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [21] Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; [22] and you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. [23] When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of Man comes."


16-23. The instructions and warnings Jesus gives here apply right through the history of the Church. It is difficult for the world to understand the way of God. Sometimes there will be persecutions, sometimes indifference to the Gospel or failure to understand. Genuine commitment to Jesus always involves effort--which is not surprising, because Jesus Himself was a sign of contradiction; indeed, if that were not the experience of a Christian, he would have to ask himself whether he was not in fact a worldly person. There are certain worldly things a Christian cannot compromise about, no matter how much they are in fashion. Therefore, Christian life inevitably involves nonconformity with anything that goes against faith and morals (cf. Romans 12:2). It is not surprising that a Christian's life often involves choosing between heroism and treachery. Difficulties of this sort should not make us afraid: we are not alone, we can count on the powerful help of our Father God to give us strength and daring.

20. Here Jesus teaches the completely supernatural character of the witness He asks His disciples to bear. The documented accounts of a host of Christian martyrs prove that He has kept this promise: they bear eloquent witness to the serenity and wisdom of often uneducated people, some of them scarcely more than children.

The teaching contained in this verse provides the basis for the fortitude and confidence a Christian should have whenever he has to profess his faith in difficult situations. He will not be alone, for the Holy Spirit will give him words of divine wisdom.

23. In interpreting this text, the first thing is to reject the view of certain rationalists who argue that Jesus was convinced that soon He would come in glory and the world would come to an end. That interpretation is clearly at odds with many passages of the Gospel and the New Testament. Clearly, Jesus refers to Himself when He speaks of the "Son of Man", whose glory will be manifested in this way. The most cogent interpretation is that Jesus is referring here, primarily, to the historical event of the first Jewish war against Rome, which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple in the year 70, and which led to the scattering of the Jewish people. But this event, which would occur a few years after Jesus' death, is an image or a prophetic symbol of the end of the world (cf. note on Matthew 24:1).

The coming of Christ in glory will happen at a time which God has not revealed. Uncertainty about the end of the world helps Christians and the Church to be ever-vigilant.
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, July 13, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 14-The Mission of the Apostles

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Zeal for your cause, my Jesus!

Mental Picture: See Jesus instructing the Apostles as they prepare to leave on their first mission. "Be wise as serpents and simple as doves.... You shall be hated by all men for my name's sake.... He that does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me - cannot be my disciple.... Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall I confess before the Father." Hear the Apostles preaching. Their burning love for Christ is revealed in every word and gesture. Feel their enthusiasm as they return: "Look at what we can do with Christ's power!"

My Personal Application: Do I have the same desire to do great things for Christ as had the Apostles? Men on fire with the love of Christ? This zeal springs from close, intimate living with Jesus. I am privileged to have as close a union with Him as the Twelve had, because Christ lives in me by sanctifying grace. Can I know and love Jesus without wanting to bring others to do so? Does my timidity come from lack of trust?

I Speak to Christ: Help me understand your words of advice and warning. Teach me to be prudent and adroit in my dealings with others, yet eager to bring you into their lives. Give me courage to surmount the obstacles, to endure the bigotry, to suffer the petty persecution that will come because I am your disciple. May I never let you down. I can accomplish anything with your help! Always, everywhere, may men see you in me!

Thought for Today: Love is shown by deeds.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Pope Benedict XVI Begins Vacation in Alps

INTROD, Italy, JULY 12, 2006 ( Study and rest is what the Pope plans for his summer vacation in the village of Les Combes in the heart of the Italian Alps.

Gospel for Thursday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 10:7-15

The Calling and First Mission of the Apostles (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [7] "And preach as you go, saying,`The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' [8] Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay. [9] Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, [10]no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. [11] And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. [12] As you enter the house, salute it. [13] And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. [14] And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. [15] Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town."


7-8. Previously, the prophets, when speaking of the messianic times, had used imagery suited to the people's spiritual immaturity. Now, Jesus, in sending His Apostles to proclaim that the promised Kingdom of God is imminent, lays stress on its spiritual dimension. The power mentioned in verse 8 are the very sign of the Kingdom of God or the reign of the Messiah proclaimed by the prophets. At first (chapters 8 and 9) it is Jesus who exercises these messianic powers; now He gives them to His disciples as proof that His mission is divine (Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:9; 52:7; 61:1).

9. "Belts": twin belts, stitched together leaving space where coins and other small, heavy objects could be secreted and carried.

9-10. Jesus urges His disciples to set out on their mission without delay. They should not be worried about material or human equipment: God will make up any shortfall. This holy audacity in setting about God's work is to be found throughout the history of the Church: if Christians had bided their time, waiting until they had the necessary material resources, many, many souls would never have received the light of Christ. Once a Christian is clear in his mind about what God wants him to do, he should not stay at home checking to see if he has the wherewithal to do it. "In your apostolic undertakings you are right--it's your duty--to consider what means the world can offer you (2 + 2 = 4), but don't forget--ever!--that, fortunately, your calculations must include another term: God + 2 + 2..." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 471).

However, that being said, we should not try to force God's hand, to have Him do something exceptional, when in fact we can meet needs by our own efforts and work. This means that Christians should generously support those who, because they are totally dedicated to the spiritual welfare of their brethren, have no time left over to provide for themselves: in this connection see Jesus' promise in Matthew 10:40-42.

11-15. "Peace" was, and still is, the normal Jewish form of greeting. On the Apostles' lips it is meant to have a deeper meaning--to be a sign of God's blessing which Jesus' disciples, who are His envoys, pour out on those who receive them. The commandment our Lord gives here affects not only this specific mission; it is a kind of prophecy which applies to all times. His messenger does not become discouraged if His word is not well received. He knows that God's blessing is never ineffective (cf. Isaiah 55:11), and that every generous effort a Christian makes will always produce fruit. The word spoken in apostolate always brings with it the grace of conversion: "Many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand" (Acts 4:4; cf. 10:44; Romans 10:17).

Man should listen to this word of the Gospel and believe in it (Acts 13:48; 15:7). If he accepts it and stays faithful to it his soul is consoled, he obtains peace (Acts 8:39) and salvation (Acts 11:4-18). But if he rejects it, he is not free from blame and God will judge him for shutting out the grace he was offered.
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, July 12, 2006

A Prayer Request

Recently, I received this request:
Please pray for Joseph L. who used to be a very active Catholic when a teenager. He is 25 now and has been an opium addict for 4 years. Please pray that he be totally healed, physically, mentally, and emotionally of his addiction. And please ask the good God to grant that Joseph contact me because I don't know where he is and I am suffering.

The first thing to came to mind was to ask our Lord for His mercy in this situation and to ask our Blessed Mother to help this poor man. I am convinced that it was through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help which helped rescue me from similar circumstances many, many years ago.

A good Catholic woman and mother gave me a holy card of Our Mother of Perpetual Help during that difficult time of my life and, for some reason (Divine Providence), I kept that card with me and I still have it and treasure it since it was given to me to remind me of God's infinite mercy and grace and the love of Jesus and His Mother.

The prayer on the card? The Memorare:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of The Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy clemency
hear and answer me.

The pain that this woman is suffering is probably quite unbearable. The fact that the young man may still be alive after his addiction to opium for four years speaks to the urgency of her request.
"O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to Thee,
and for all those who do not have recourse to Thee,
especially for the enemies of Holy Mother Church,
and all those in most need of Thy mercy."

Please join with me and invoke the intercession of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, whose patronage includes that of drug addicts.

"St. Maximillian, please pray for Joseph and his friend Robin, and please pray for us!"

Mental Prayer for July 13-The Call of the Apostles

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To be alert to hear what God wants me to do with my life.

Mental Picture: There is something big in the air as the crowd gathers to hear Christ speak this morning... a note of excitement in His voice... He seems to be waiting for certain faithful fol­lowers to join the group. But listen... now He is calling some by name... "Peter, and John, you Andrew, and James... you twelve will be my Apostles." Just think... what an honor... what a thrill... and look at the men chosen... poor, un­known fishermen... a tax collector... small people whom Christ will make big.

My Personal Application: What shall I do with my life? Am I listening for Christ to tell me what He wants? Am I determined to serve Him in whatever I do? He has a very definite plan for me. How can I discover it?... Look at my talents. For what am I best suited? He gave me all that I have. Would He not see to it that I have just the right equipment? Where am I most needed? Where could I do the most good? In a profession? By raising a family? As a priest or a religious?

I Speak to Christ: Lord Jesus, you are my leader, and I want to follow you. Tell me your plans for my life. You have chosen me already - to know you better than many others. Tell me now how I can serve you best. I am ready to answer your call. Help me to recognize it when and in whatever way it comes.

Thought for Today: Lord, what do you want me to do?
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Nov 9-11: St. Louis Gateway Liturgical Conference 2006

Mark Your Calendars!

From an email:
Archbishop Burke, the Office of Worship and the Gateway Planning Committee were very pleased to have you in attendance at the 2005 Gateway Liturgical Conference and would like to invite you to save the date for the 2006 Conference.

The conference will be expanding to 3 days this fall and will be held at the Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri, on:
Thursday, November 9
Friday, November 10
Saturday, November 11

This year's theme, "Celebrating God’s Love" is inspired by the recent encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI entitled "God is Love" (Deus Caritas Est).

Speakers include among others:

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect,
Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Rome

Monsignor John Unger
Associate Superintendent for Religious Education,
Archdiocese of St. Louis

Reverend Robert Barron
Professor, Department of Systematic Theology,
Mundelein Seminary, Chicago

Concert: Vienna Boys Choir
November 9 and 10, 2006

Mark Your Calendars for this Liturgical Conference and “Meet us in St. Louis”!

Complete conference details and registration materials will be forthcoming...
(I will pass these along as they become available)

Archbishop Milingo: "Married Priesthood Now"

Remember Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the bishop who attempted to marry a South Korean acupuncturist in 2001 (in a "moonie" ceremony, as I recall)...Anyway, he's back at it again:

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the charismatic cleric whose "non-conventional" healing ministry, public marriage and call for an end to mandatory celibacy led to controversy with the Vatican, plans to embark on an independent charismatic ministry to reconcile married priests with the Catholic Faith. "There is no more important healing than the reconciliation of 150,000 married priests with the 'Mother Church,' and the healing of a Church in crisis through renewing marriage and family," notes the 76-year-old archbishop.

First, 150,000 "priests" who are "married" seems like an extraordinarily high number. Secondly, whatever the number, it demonstrates that those who took a vow or a promise were, after having been ordained, unable or unwilling to fulfill that promise or vow. One can only wonder how well the "married priest" keeps his marital vows.

"Archbishop Milingo is not seeking to defy or divide the (Roman Catholic) Church, but is acting out of deep love for the Church and concern for its future," notes Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, founder of the African American Catholic Congregation.

Now there, in George Stallings, we find a stalwart defender of the faith (sarcasm)....For those who do not know of him, he is a former Catholic priest who quit the priesthood and established his own pseudo-Catholic church called Imani Temple.

The African American Catholic Congregation ("Imani Temple") was founded in July 1989 by Roman Catholic Fr. George A. Stallings, b. 1948, a noted black liturgist and pastor. He originally started the AACC as an attempt at a "new rite" within the Roman Catholic Church. In December 1989, he formally broke with the Roman Catholic Church and started to seek consecration within the Independent-Movement. At this time, the average Sunday Mass attendance at Imani Temple # 1, Washington, D.C., was about 800. It is said that attendance at Imani Temple declined somewhat after Fr. Stallings announced the break from Rome. (Source.)

So many people want to fix the Church, without the many people wish to make themselves pope without the Church....

To read more of the nonsense, click here.

HT to Dennis for the link!

Heading toward Excommunication

From Pittsburgh:
On July 31, [Joan Clark Houk]...will join 11 other female candidates in an ordination ceremony aboard a rented boat here -- the first ceremony of its kind in the United States. Eight are seeking to become women priests and the other four, deacons.

The event, a public challenge to the Roman Catholic church's teaching that only baptized men can be priests, will disturb traditional believers.
It will only disturb "traditional Catholics" if the Church fails to publicly and swiftly declare that these 'disturbed' individuals are excommunicated.

Mrs. Houk believes the best way to spur the church to ordain women is to violate what she believes is an unjust law.

"The church has to take a stand for women ... that they are the image of God and are to be respected and treated on an equal, human level. This is really why I have to do what I am doing," she said in a recent interview.

So she "believes", not what the Church believes and professes, but what her own erroneous intellect suggests. This is not much different than that position of Father Lucian Pulvermacher who has declared himself to be Pope Pius XIII or of the other 18-20 other self-appointed popes in the world, nor is it any different than any of those who choose to reject other teachings of the Church, either because of pride or from have malformed consciences.

"I believe the ordination will be valid and part of the apostolic succession," said Mrs. Houk, who earned her master's in divinity on a full scholarship at the University of Notre Dame in 1996.

Maybe she learned this from the good Fr. Richard McBrien, another whose rejection of numerous Church teachings is without question, yet who has yet to be disciplined.

"We do not promise obedience to our bishop. We promise obedience to Jesus and the Gospel," Mrs. Houk said, adding that each candidate will receive a glass chalice engraved with her name and the date.

She and others promise obedience to themselves alone - to claim obedience to Christ is to perpetrate a falsehood since our Lord, himself, said to his Apostles, "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." 9Luke 10:16)

She and her cohorts are openly and publicly rejecting our Lord, yet claim, in union with and deceived by Satan, to be ardently following in the footsteps of Christ. How sad and pitiable these confused souls are.

But such is result of a failure of Church leaders to adequately discipline those who promote heresy and dissent. By failing to act against the venemous and deadly poison of dissent, heterodoxy and heresy, some bishops have permitted the wholesale death and destruction of untold numbers of souls. Many, lacking the courage necessary to defend Christ and His Church, are more concerned with being "liked" than with being spirtual fathers.

May God grant our bishops the courage necessary to address these issues quickly and decisively so as to spare the faithful from being misled further from Christ's Church. May God grant them the ability to understand that authentic love for the children of God demands that truth cannot be compromised and that discipline is required when dialogue fails to address unbridled disobedience.

Bankruptcy a Possibility in Milwaukee Archdiocese?

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who has acknowledged in the past that bankruptcy could be a last-resort option, did not rule it out in his Herald of Hope column and in his quotes in a news story devoted to sexual abuse issues in Thursday's Catholic Herald.

"The issue of going into bankruptcy would be extremely painful and would only come after extensive consultation with the advisory groups of the archdiocese, and as a last resort," Jerry Topczewski, Dolan's chief of staff, said Thursday in an interview. "The financial and operating tension that you live under is to do everything you can do to help the victim-survivors while continuing to fund the ministries and mission and of the church here in southeastern Wisconsin.

Is this to be part of the legacy of Rembert Weakland and others?

Gospel for Wednesday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 10:1-7

The Calling and First Mission of the Apostles

[1] And He (Jesus) called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. [2] The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; [3] Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; [4] Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.

[5] These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, [6] but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [7] And preach as you go, saying, `The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.'"


1-4. Jesus calls His twelve Apostles after recommending to them to pray to the Lord to send laborers into His harvest (cf. Matthew 9:38). Christians' apostolic action should always, then, be preceded and accompanied by a life of constant prayer: apostolate is a divine affair, not a merely human one. Our Lord starts His Church by calling twelve men to be, as it were, twelve patriarchs of the new people of God, the Church. This new people is established not by physical but by spiritual generation. The names of those Apostles are specifically mentioned here. They were not scholarly, powerful or important people: they were average, ordinary people who responded faithfully to the grace of their calling--all of them, that is, except Judas Iscariot. Even before His death and resurrection Jesus confers on them the power to cast out unclean spirits and cure illnesses--as an earnest of and as training for the saving mission which He will entrust to them.

The Church reveres these first Christians in a very special way and is proud to carry on their supernatural mission, and to be faithful to the witness they bore to the teaching of Christ. The true Church is absent unless there is uninterrupted apostolic succession and identification with the spirit which the Apostles made their own.

"Apostle": this word means "sent"; Jesus sent them out to preach His Kingdom and pass on His teaching.

The Second Vatican Council, in line with Vatican I, "confesses" and "declares" that the Church has a hierarchical structure: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 3:13-19: Matthew 10:1-10). These Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17). He sent them first of all to the children of Israel and then to all peoples (cf. Romans 1:16), so that, sharing in His power, they might make all peoples His disciples and sanctify and govern them (cf. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:21-23) and thus spread the Church and, administering it under the guidance of the Lord, shepherd it all days until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:28)" ("Lumen Gentium", 19).

1. In this chapter St. Matthew describes how Jesus, with a view to the spreading of the Kingdom of God which He inaugurates, decides to establish a Church, which He does by giving special powers and training to these twelve men who are its seed.

5-15. After revealing His intention to found the Church by choosing the Twelve (verses 1-4), in the present passage He shows that He intends to start training these first Apostles. In other words, from early on in His public ministry He began to lay the foundations of His Church.

Everyone needs doctrinal and apostolic training to follow his Christian calling. The Church has a duty to teach, and the faithful have a parallel duty to make that teaching their own. Therefore, every Christian should avail of the facilities for training which the Church offers him--which will vary according to each person's circumstances.

5-6. In His plan of salvation God gave certain promises (to Abraham and the patriarchs), a Covenant and a Law (the Law of Moses), and sent the prophets. The Messiah would be born into this chosen people, which explains why the Messiah and the Kingdom of God were to be preached to the house of Israel before being preached to the Gentiles. Therefore, in their early apprenticeship, Jesus restricts the Apostles' area of activity to the Jews, without this taking from the world-wide scope of the Church's mission. As we will see, much later on He charges them to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19); "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:16). The Apostles also, in the early days of the spread of the Church, usually sought out the Jewish community in any new city they entered, and preached first to them (cf. Acts 13:46).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

RCF Rips St Joan of Arc Parish and Those Who Fail to Address the Problems

Catholic Activist Rips Diocese for Liberal Stance on Abortion, Homosexuality

St Joan of Arc Parish is well known among a number of faithful Catholics for being a hotbed of heresy and dissent in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St Paul. Why Archbishop Flynn continues to allow this parish to remain open, spreading its poison, is anyone's guess.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, is being criticized for allowing a parish to openly promote abortion and homosexuality and to claim the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God.

Stephen Brady, founder of the group Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), says there is "nothing Catholic" on the church's website.

"The real scandal, the biggest scandal in all of this, is the fact that Archbishop [Harry] Flynn would allow this priest to do this," says Brady. "And the fact that this priest feels enough courage, enough gumption to put something like this on the Internet for thousands if not millions to see, shows that he has no fear of his bishop."

It's not difficult to see the scandal caused among the public in general and faithful Catholics, in particular. The public sees a so-called Catholic parish advocating positions at odds with the Church...Faithful Catholics see the silencing of a priest such as Fr. Robert Altier for opposing programs damaging to children and which deny parents of their canonical rights.

I have heard some speculate on parishes similar to St Joan of Arc that keeping a parish as this open contains the poison and keeps it from spreading...I'm not certain that that policy really produces such results and that it may even contribute to infecting others, especially when others witness no disciplinary action for spreading dissent or even heresy.

Another Perspective on Archbishop Burke's Appointment

Pope Appoints Outspokenly Pro-life US Bishop to Vatican Supreme Court
By Gudrun Schultz

VATICAN CITY, July 11, 2006 ( – A strongly pro-life U.S. bishop has been appointed to the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, Catholic News Service reported yesterday.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis to the court on July eighth.

Archbishop Burke took an uncompromising stand in a drawn out battle during the 2004 U.S. federal election over the reception of communion by pro-abortion public figures. The Archbishop led a minority of Catholic bishops who said they would be willing to uphold Church Law by refusing communion to ‘manifest grave sinners’ until they recanted.

Continued here...

Cardinal Pell on Sexual Sickness

Sexual addiction is real. We have long recognized drug addicts, alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, but only recently has public attention begun to focus on compulsive and disordered sexuality. It is still among the least understood of all the addictions, although now a major social problem and public health issue.

A sexual addict cannot break free from escalating sexual behaviour which brings increasingly damaging consequences to self and to others. They become addicted to the neuro-chemical changes in the body produced by sexual activity. It was Patrick Carnes, an American psychologist in the late 1970’s who did most to identify and treat this disease. After years of research he claims that 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women become sexually addicted at some stage. This seems high to me, but there are now groups for those who want to break from these chains of habit.

There are many forms of this addiction including multiple affairs, sometimes anonymous, exhibitionism, voyeurism, compulsive masturbation, as well as rape and sexual abuse of children.

Mental Prayer for July 12-Jesus Prays Through the Night

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Jesus, my Lord, teach me how to pray; make me want to pray.

Mental Picture: It's night. Outside of town, on a grassy hillside, I wait in the shadows. Deep silence... then footsteps... I can see someone in the half-light... it's Christ... tired after a busy day, but coming to spend the night in prayer. I watch His calm face... His eyes lifted to heaven... His lips move, but I can't hear His prayer to His Father. Is He discussing tomorrow's work?... or perhaps praying? -praying for His soon-to­ be-chosen Apostles?... or for me?

My Personal Application: How important do I consider my daily prayer? Important enough not to put it off when I am tired as Christ was at the end of a hard day? How do I go about it? Do I pick a few moments when I can speak to God quietly? And a place where I won't be disturbed? What do I talk about? My plans? His plans for me? Do I realize how interested He is in me? That He knows me perfectly? What can I thank Him for? What do I need from Him?

I Speak to Christ: Teach me, Christ Jesus, to pray as you did. Don't let me keep you waiting or ignore you when I have promised to talk to you. If there are things in my life that I don't want to talk about to you, help me to recognize them and get rid of them. I will try to find a quiet time and place to think about and pray to you each day. Help me to shut out all else when I talk to you.

Thought for Today: Lord, teach me to pray.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

More from the Post Dispatch on Archbishop Burke's Appointment

Pope Benedict XVI has named St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to the Roman Catholic Church's supreme court, its highest judicial authority. The Vatican's Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, as it is called, hears appeals of select cases that cannot be settled in the church's lower tribunals.

"It's a very prestigious position to be named to," said Rocco Palmo, U.S. correspondent for The Tablet, a British weekly that reports on the Vatican. "It says the archbishop of St. Louis is still a national leader in the eyes of the church."

[Monsignor John B. Shamleffer, the St. Louis archdiocese's judicial vicar] said Benedict was "recognizing the archbishop's qualities" and believes he can help settle disputes.

One case that could come before the Supreme Tribunal is that of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, just north of downtown St. Louis. Late last year, Burke declared excommunicated the parish's lay board members and a priest they hired from another diocese.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls Resigns Vatican Press Office

Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. ia named as new director of the Holy See Press Office

Jul. 11 ( - Joaquin Navarro-Valls has resigned after nearly 22 years as director of the Vatican press office. He will be replaced by Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, who currently serves as director general of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center.

Given below is the text of a letter to journalists written by Fr. Lombardi for the occasion of his new appointment, and a declaration by Joaquin Navarro Valls:

Fr. Lombardi's letter:
"Dear friends,

"As I prepare to assume this new responsibility at the Holy See Press Office I am, naturally, grateful to the Holy Father and to the Superiors for the trust they place in me; but my thoughts also go out especially - and with affection - to you and to all our colleagues in the media whom I am called to serve.

"Like you, I have been working for some time to ensure that the activity of the Holy Father and the reality of the Church are known and understood objectively and adequately.

"Dr. Navarro-Valls performed his own long service in this field with exceptional ability, intelligence and dedication. We are all profoundly grateful to him and continue to depend on his friendship.

"I cannot hope to imitate him, but you may depend upon my commitment - within my limits but with all the power at my disposal - to serve the Holy Father and your own good work. I know I shall be able to depend on the collaboration generously offered - both to me and to you - by all the staff of the Press Office, beginning with Vice Director Fr. Ciro Benedettini.

"I also ask for your benevolence, so that this shared portion of our journey may be more fruitful.

"I entrust these sentiments to the Lord on the feast day of St. Benedict upon which, perhaps not by chance, I receive my appointment to this new service."

Joaquin Navarro-Valls' declaration:

"I am very grateful to the Holy Father who has seen fit to accept my oft- expressed readiness to leave, after so many years, the post of director of the Holy See Press Office.

"I know that I have, over these years, received much more than I have been able to give, more than I am at present capable of fully comprehending."

Source: Vatican Information Service.

Gospel for July 11, Memorial: St. Benedict, Abbott

From: Matthew 9:32-38

The Dumb Devil

[32] As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to Him (Jesus). [33] And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marvelled, saying, "Never was anything like this seen in Israel." [34] But the Pharisees said, "He casts out demons by the prince of demons."

The Need for Good Shepherds

[35] And Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. [36] When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. [37] Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; [38] pray therefore the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."


35. The Second Vatican Council uses this passage when teaching about the message of Christian charity which the Church should always be spreading: "Christian charity is extended to all without distinction of race, social condition or religion, and seeks neither gain nor gratitude. Just as God loves us with a gratuitous love, so too the faithful, in their charity, should be concerned for mankind, loving it with that same love with which God sought man. As Christ went about all the towns and villages healing every sickness and infirmity, as a sign that the Kingdom of God had come, so the Church, through its children, joins itself with men of every condition, but especially with the poor and afflicted, and willingly spends herself for them" ("Ad Gentes", 12).

36. "He had compassion for them": the Greek verb is very expressive; it means "He was deeply moved". Jesus was moved when He saw the people, because their pastors, instead of guiding them and tending them, led them astray, behaving more like wolves than genuine shepherds of their flock. Jesus sees the prophecy of Ezekiel 34 as now being fulfilled; in that passage God, through the prophet, upbraids the false shepherds of Israel and promises to send them the Messiah to be their new leader.

"If we were consistent with our faith when we looked around us and contemplated the world and its history, we would be unable to avoid feeling in our own hearts the same sentiments that filled the heart of our Lord" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 133). Reflection on the spiritual needs of the world should lead us to be tirelessly apostolic.

37-38. After contemplating the crowds neglected by their shepherds, Jesus uses the image of the harvest to show us that that same crowd is ready to receive the effects of Redemption: "I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see now the fields are already white for harvest" (John 4:35). The field of the Jewish people cultivated by the prophets--most recently by John the Baptist--is full of ripe wheat. In farm work, the harvest is lost if the farmer does not reap at the right time; down the centuries the Church feels a similar need to be out harvesting because there is a big harvest ready to be won.

However, as in the time of Jesus, there is a shortage of laborers. Our Lord tells us how to deal with this: we should pray to God, the Lord of harvest, to send the necessary laborers. If a Christian prays hard, it is difficult to imagine his not feeling urged to play his part in this apostolate. In obeying this commandment to pray for laborers, we should pray especially for there to be no lack of shepherds, who will be able to equip others with the necessary means of sanctification needed to back up the apostolate.

In this connection [Pope] Paul VI reminds us: "the responsibility for spreading the Gospel that saves belongs to everyone--to all who have received it! The missionary duty concerns the whole body of the Church; in different ways and to different degrees, it is true, but we must all of us be united in carrying out this duty. Now let the conscience of every believer ask himself: Have I carried out my missionary duty? Prayer for the Missions is the first way of fulfilling this duty" ("Angelus Address", 23 October 1977).
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, July 10, 2006

Alter Christus - The Most Precious Blood

July opens habitually with the feast of the most Precious Blood; hence many keep it as "the month of the Precious Blood", a practice approved and indulgenced by holy Church. Let us then take this July recollection as an occasion to renew the fervour of our spiritual life by recalling to mind some of the many stimulating thoughts about the Precious Blood which occur so often in liturgy and prayers. . . Devotion to the Precious Blood (considered in general, apart from specific acts of a separate devotion) underlies and permeates our whole spiritual life: it is bound up especially with our reception of the Sacraments, with our devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart, and is intensely pro­ductive of unbounded confidence and generous self-sacrifice. . . .


The divine Redemption. . . and its price. . . and its univer­sality! I behold Christ hanging on the Cross of Calvary, and see countless multitudes, during twenty centuries, passing under that Cross and being cleansed in the Blood that flowed from it. I am there now in my turn: with exultant joy and gratitude I look up to my Saviour who has redeemed me at "so great a price", with ardent longing also that each and every soul now passing along with me under the Cross may be saved in that Blood: "tantus labor non sit cassus!".

For all eternity we shall sing, with the multitude of the redeemed of every race, tongue and nation, the "new canticle" of praise and gratitude before the Lamb who has been slain in sacrifice and has ransomed us with His blood and made us a kingdom and priests to our God: see Apoc. 5:8-14.


What boundless confidence must animate me in all my needs, in all my prayers for self and for others, when I can present to Christ, as title-deed for His favours, His previous, far greater, gift to us of His own Precious Blood? "Dilexit me et tradidit semetipsum pro me." How could I hesitate, then, to trust His love and implore His help, even if mine are the direst needs and the most wretched poverty; for mine also are the "investigabiles divitiae Christi"?


The first step towards sanctity: humbly to confess my utter unworthiness, the miserable state of my soul infected with so many vices and passions. But, along with this, an ardent supplication, full of faith and hope, for the cleansing of my soul in that Precious Blood "cujus una stilla salvum facere totum mundum quit ab omni scelere"... May these be my feelings when I kneel at the foot of the crucifix for my confessions, in all my examinations of conscience, whenever I am aware of deliberate faults or infidelities. Jesus is longing to apply to me the power of the blood He shed for me. "Blessed are those who have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb" (Apoc. 22:14 ).


One drop of His Blood would have been sufficient to­ save the world. . . but not to satiate His love for me! So He willed that through the open wound of His side the last drop of His Blood be shed for me . . . Have I shed the first drop of my blood for Him? What violence have I done to myself at least to avoid sin, resist temptations, conquer my passions?

How soon perhaps I feel it is too hard! Yet "nondum usque ad sanguinem restitistis "! . . . And what are my prac­tices of penance to expiate my sins and others' sins? my generosity in sacrificing self in the performance of pastoral duties? . . .


I may feel at times that my spiritual life would be a very different one, had I been present at the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary? . . . But so I am, every morning, at the altar!

Do I not hold in my hands and offer to God the chalice of benediction containing the Precious Blood shed on the Cross? If my mind and my heart were alive to this reality, when my lips utter the stupendous words of the "Mysterium Fidei" - "Hic est enim calix Sanguinis Mei", what an invitation to sacrifice and immolation would every Mass not bring to me? . . . It did so for the Saints. Read, for example, some entries of the spiritual diary of St Francis Borgia (as burning as they are laconic): "During Mass, at the Chalice, longing to give my blood for Christ.". . . "At Mass, Our Lord gave me devotion 'in calice et sanguine'. I have wished for the love of the Cross:" ... During Mass at the Chalice I have asked for the chalice." ... "At Mass I have prayed 'ut audiam quid loquatur in Sacris'. And I am without wounds." - The hand of the Lord is not shortened: if I were to go to the altar after careful preparation only, and offered holy Mass with sustained recollection, would the Precious Blood at times not speak to me also? . . .


Seeing the lavishness with which Christ has given His Blood for me, in His Passion and at every Consecration and holy Communion, what other response can I give than St Francis Xavier's: "Sicut Tu amasti me, sic amo et amabo Te"? This spells heroic love, and heroism is so foreign to my slothful, commonplace and self-indulgent life!... Then I will ask, eagerly, that Christ's Blood may com­municate to me something of the fire that consumes the Sacred Heart from which it flowed, "intoxicating" me with His love: "Sanguis Christi inebria me". So that I may go forth in life, not with the cool calculating egotism which the world and the devil and the flesh teach me, but as one obsessed with a great passion, captivated by an over­powering love, living no more for himself but for the one who has conquered his heart... "Pro omnibus mortuus est Christus, ut et qui vivunt non sibi vivant sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 43.

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

The Post Dispatch's Coverage of Archbishop Burke's Appointment...

Read it here.

Dr Peters on Archbishop Burke's Recent Appointment

Funny thing about the Catholic Church: When she really wants to give someone a reward, or an honor, or some kind of recognition, she doesn't spend much time on medals and ribbons, on parchment proclamations, or (perish the thought!) a cozy research grant. No, when the Catholic Church really wants to honor a man of extraordinary talent and dedication, she gives him—another job to do.

British Scientists Blast Vatican on Stem Cell Research Excommunication

London, England ( -- British researchers are upset that the Catholic Church has decided it will excommunicate scientists who are involved in embryonic stem cell research. The Vatican says the research, which relies on the destruction of human life to obtain stem cells, is just as bad as abortion.

Some are calling this "religious persecution." Of course, to those who care not a whit about the natural moral law, it's OK to destroy human life regardless of where in the life cycle he or she is...

Some apparently think that by shaping the argument with cries of Vatican "persecution", they might succeed in hiding what they are really doing, by shifting the argument to some other unrelated point, no one will see that they are really committing abortion outside the womb. May God have mercy on their souls!

And where have we heard words like this before?
Professor Cesare Galli of the Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies in Cremona, the first scientist to clone a horse, said last week that the position makes the Catholic church like the Talbian in Afghanistan.

"I can bear excommunication. I was raised as a Catholic, I share Catholic values, but I am able to make my own judgment on some issues and I do not need to be told by the church what to do or to think," Galli told the London Telegraph newspaper. [my emphasis]

This is what everyone who has been enslaved by pride and arrogance says when he is looking to oppose the will of God and the teachings or directives of the Church. He makes himself the sole arbiter of truth, and appoints himself (or herself) as superior to the Christ and His Church. Almost identical language was used by those schismatics of St Stanislaus. Almost identical language is used by pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians...Such has been the history of the Church from the beginning.

Rove: Bush to Veto DeGette Embryonic Stem Cell Bill

President Bush will likely cast the first veto of his presidency if the Senate, as expected, passes legislation to expand federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, White House aide Karl Rove said today.
"We were all an embryo at one point, and we ought to as a society be very careful about being callous about the wanton destruction of embryos, of life," Rove said. Recent research, he said, shows "we have far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells."

Embryonic Stem Cells Key Issue in Wisconsin (and Missouri)

MADISON, Wis. -- From the back patio of his official residence here, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle can look across Lake Mendota to the campus of the University of Wisconsin and see a forest of construction cranes at the medical research complex and the new Institute of Discovery. Doyle calls the facilities "the epicenter of the world's work on embryonic stem cells."
. . .
But Doyle faces a difficult campaign, after four contentious years in office, against U.S. Rep. Mark Green, a personable Republican...[who] has voted to ban work on cells donated by fertility clinics or created from embryos in medical labs.
. . .
[In an anterview, Green said:] "I'm excited about stem cell research. But I don't believe we have to leave our moral compass behind in pursuing the promise of stem cell research."

But Doyle has called Green "a relentless opponent of stem cell research," pointing to eight votes in which he says Green "tried to ban or even criminalize proven methods of stem cell research."

Many are unaware that there is still such a thing as a "moral compass". Many are forsaking the natural moral law for a dream.

Church of England votes to make women bishops

LONDON (Reuters) - The Church of England voted on Saturday to ordain women as bishops, a major liberalising step in a faith that has also faced schism over homosexuality, although it could be years before the first woman bishop is named.

Pity...The CoE continues its movement away from the Catholic Church and from Christ.

Is This Chalice The Holy Grail?

Gospel for Monday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:18-26

The Raising of Jairus' Daughter

[18] While He (Jesus) was speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before Him, saying, "My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live." [19] And Jesus rose and followed him, with His disciples.

The Curing of the Woman with a Hemorrhage

[20] And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment; [21] for she said to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I shall be made well." [22] Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well. [23] And when Jesus came to the ruler's house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd making a tumult, [24] He said, "Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at Him. [25] But when the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. [26] And the report of this went through all that district.


18-26. Here are two miracles which occur almost simultaneously. From parallel passages in Mark (5:21-43) and Luke (8:40-56) we know that the "ruler" (of the synagogue) referred to here was called Jairus. The Gospels report Jesus raising three people to life--this girl, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus. In each case the identity of the person is clearly given.

This account shows us, once again, the role faith plays in Jesus' saving actions. In the case of the woman with the hemorrhage we should note that Jesus is won over by her sincerity and faith: she does not let obstacles get in her way. Similarly, Jairus does not care what people will say; a prominent person in his city, he humbles himself before Jesus for all to see.

18. "Knelt before Him": the eastern way of showing respect to God or to important people. In the liturgy, especially in the presence of the Blessed Eucharist, reverences are a legitimate and appropriate external sign of internal faith and adoration.

23. "The flute players": engaged to provide music at wakes and funerals.

24. "Depart, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping": Jesus says the same thing about Lazarus: "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him" (John 11:11).

Although Jesus speaks of sleep, there is no question of the girl--or Lazarus, later--not being dead. For our Lord there is only one true death--that of eternal punishment (cf. Matthew 10:28).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gospel for Sunday, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:1-6

No Prophet Is Honored In His Own Country

[1] He (Jesus) went away from there and came to His own country; and His disciples followed Him. [2] And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard Him were astonished saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works are wrought by His hands! [3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judah and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him. [4] And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." [5] And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. [6] And He marvelled because of their unbelief.


1-3. Jesus is here described by His occupation and by the fact that He is the son of Mary. Does this indicate that St. Joseph is dead already? We do not know, but it is likely. In any event, the description is worth underlining: in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke we are told of the virginal conception of Jesus. St. Mark's Gospel does not deal with our Lord's infancy, but there may be an allusion here to His virginal conception and birth, in His being described as "the son of Mary."

"Joseph, caring for the Child as he had been commanded, made Jesus a craftsman, transmitting his own professional skill to him. So the neighbors of Nazareth will call Jesus both "faber" and "fabri filius": the craftsman and the son of the craftsman" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 55). This message of the Gospel reminds us that our vocation to work is not marginal to God's plans.

"The truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God Himself, his Creator, was 'given particular prominence by Jesus Christ'--the Jesus at whom many of His first listeners in Nazareth 'were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him?... Is not this the carpenter?'" (Mark 6:23). For Jesus not only proclaimed but first and foremost fulfilled by His deeds the 'Gospel', the word of eternal Wisdom, that had been entrusted to Him. Therefore this was also 'the gospel of work', because 'He who proclaimed it was Himself a man of work', a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth (cf. Matthew 13:55). And if we do not find in His words a special command to work--but rather on one occasion a prohibition against too much anxiety about work and life--(Matthew 6:25-34)--at the same time the eloquence of the life of Christ is unequivocal: He belongs to the `working world', He has appreciation and respect for human work. It can indeed be said the 'He looks with love upon human work' and the different forms that it takes, seeing in each one of these forms a particular facet of man's likeness with God, the Creator and Father" (John Paul II, "Laborem Exercens", 26).

St. Mark mentions by name a number of brothers of Jesus, and refers in general to His sisters. But the word "brother" does not necessarily mean son of the same parents. It can also indicate other degrees of relationship--cousins, nephews, etc. Thus in Genesis 13:8 and 14:14 and 16 Lot is called the brother of Abraham (translated as "kinsman" in RSV), whereas we know that he was Abraham's nephew, the son of Abraham's brother Haran. The same is true of Laban, who is called the brother of Jacob (Genesis 29:15) although he was his mother's brother (Genesis 29:15); there are other instances: cf. 1 Chronicles 23:21-22, etc. This confusion is due to the poverty of Hebrew and Aramaic language: in the absence of distinct terms, the same word, brother, is used to designate different degrees of relationship.

From other Gospel passages we know that James and Joses, who are mentioned here, were sons of Mary of Clophas (John 19:25). We know less about Judas and Simon: it seems that they are the Apostles Simon the Cananaean (Matthew 10:4) and Judas the son of James (Luke 6:16), the author of the Catholic Epistle, in which he describes himself as "brother" of James. In any event, although James, Simon and Judas are referred to as brothers of Jesus, it is nowhere said they were "sons of Mary"--which would have been the natural thing if they had been our Lord's brothers in the strict sense. Jesus always appears as an only son: to the people of Nazareth, He is "the son of Mary" (Matthew 13:55). When He was dying Jesus entrusted His mother to St. John (cf. John 19:26-27), which shows that Mary had no other children. To this is added the constant belief of the Church, which regards Mary as the ever-virgin: "a perfect virgin before, while, and forever after she gave birth" (Paul IV, "Cum Quorumdam").

5-6. Jesus worked no miracles here: not because He was unable to do so, but as punishment for the unbelief of the townspeople. God wants man to use the grace offered him, so that, by cooperating with grace, he become disposed to receive further graces. As St. Augustine neatly puts it, "He who made you without your own self, will not justify you without yourself" ("Sermon" 169).

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.