Saturday, August 19, 2006

"Remembering" Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

Few would dispute that the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin exercised great influence in the Catholic Church in the U.S. Sadly, however, that influence was not for the good of the Church. The following are pertinent excerpts from Randy Engel's new book The Rite of Sodomy.

Chapter 15

The Special Case of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin


This segment on Joseph Cardinal Bernardin was originally incorporated into the previous chapter on homosexual members of the American hierarchy. However, because of his extraordinary influence on AmChurch, I decided Cardinal Bernardin deserved a chapter all his own.

To do real justice to Cardinal Bernardin and his entourage of clerical homosexuals and pederasts and ancillary hangers-on who made up the Chicago-Washington, D. C. Homosexual/Pederast Axis would require more than one full size book.

A major HT to Patte G for passing on information on this book some time ago...

Mental Prayer for August 20-Our Lord Foretells His Death

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, that I may draw strength from your courage.

Mental Picture (cf. Mark 10:32-34): A band of pilgrims strings itself out along the Jerusalem road. They are growing dejected and even fearful. At the head is Jesus. Jesus slows His pace allowing the older disciples to cluster about Him. "We are going to Jerusalem," He says. "There the Son of Man will be betrayed to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him and put Him to death; and on the third day He will rise again." Yet Jesus stead­fastly sets His face toward the Holy City and His doom.

My Personal Application: Could anything better than this picture convince me of the matchless courage of Jesus Christ? He carried out His mission, not at the mere risk of disgrace and death; He knew, and in the least detail, all that would happen to Him. Clearly He says that "they will mock Him, and spit on Him, and scourge Him, and put Him to death." But He did not back down. His is the courage I want to master. Or do I? Do I hesitate, hold back, because I fear the cross? My courage must be in Him: in Jesus I take heart; with Him I accept the cross.

I Speak to Christ: Christ, my Lord, let me find in your courage the strength and generosity that will keep me true in my devotion to you. I need this because your call is not to the spineless or the weakling.

Thought for Today: "Wait patiently for the Lord to help you; be brave and let your heart take courage."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 19:13-15

Jesus Blesses the Children

[13] Then the children were brought to Him (Jesus) that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; [14] but Jesus said, "Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven." [15] And He laid His hands on them and went away.


13-14. Once again (see Matthew 18:1-6) Jesus shows His special love for children, by drawing them close and blessing them. The Church, also, shows special concern for children by urging the need for Baptism: "That this law extends not only to adults but also to infants and children, and that the Church has received this from Apostolic tradition, is confirmed by the unanimous teaching and authority of the Fathers.

"Besides, it is not to be supposed that Christ the Lord would have withheld the Sacrament of grace of Baptism from children, of whom He said: `Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven', whom also He embraced, upon whom He imposed hands, to whom He gave His blessing" ("St. Pius V Catechism", II, 2, 32).
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, August 18, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 19-Danger of Riches

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, that I may learn how to use what you have given me as you would want me to.

Mental Picture (cf. Luke 16:19-31): The rich man and the beggar, Lazarus. On earth the rich man feasts: a fancy dining hall, many guests. Outside his house a beggar slowly starves to death, too weak to chase away the dogs that lick his sores. They both die. Lazarus is taken to heaven; the rich man is buried in hell. Here he begs but a drop of water from Lazarus, but there is no bridging the chasm between heaven and hell. Hear him asking for permission to warn his brothers and the reply: "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not believe if one were to rise from the dead."

My Personal Application: The rich man is in hell, not because he is rich, but because he used his wealth for himself alone, despising the poor and unfortunate. The danger of wealth lies in this misuse. Do I use money and things solely for myself? Do I think of the poor? Have I helped them?... the poor box?... even at the expense of a some small pleasure for myself? Is it always what can I buy for myself? Do I ever think of buying things for my parents, brothers, sisters, and others? Am I willing to lend my things to others?

I Speak to God: O my God, all you gave me is not for myself alone but to help others also. I don't need someone to come from the dead to teach me of the dangers of great wealth and selfishness. You, Lord, have told me that in this parable. Help me, Lord, to be generous with the things I have and not to be selfish.

Thought for Today: "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do for me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The Compendium of the Catechism Is Now Online

The Compendium is available online in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.

The Link to the English version is here.

Blame Church Officials...

...that guiding principle comes from a page in the St Stanislaus playbook.

Visa recall

Parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church were informed of yet another attempt to remove our beloved pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, from ministering to the people of our parish. The Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese is attempting to recall the visa issued to Rev. Bozek, which would force him to return to Poland.

When will this stop? Will the next call be to the Department of Homeland Security to claim that Rev. Bozek brought a mysterious red liquid into this country -- sacramental wine?

Stan Rozanski

Mr. Rozanski seems to have wasted no time in laying blame at the feet of Bishop Leibrecht.

This past February several issues were brought up regarding Bozek's immigration status - and apparently little attention was paid to them. One question pertains to the type of Visa Bozek received. If it was an R-1 (Religious worker visa) then, it appears he has overstayed his maximum allowable time in the US, which is 5 years. Whatever the case, though, it seems that Bozek immigration status remains unclear.

Not only are some criticizing Church leaders unjustifiably, such as in this Letter to the Editor of the Post Dispatch, but they are refusing to place the blame where it belongs, namely on the individual who was permitted to work in the US by the granting of a Visa (Bozek) and also the current employer (St Stanislaus Kostka Church) who, it appears, may be required to file for a Visa application to employ Bozek.

Perhaps, if some at St Stanislaus were not so quick to be disobedient to the laws of God, the Church and the State, they might not be so apt to quickly condemn others - especially those who have obligations to fulfill, such as Bishop Leibrecht and Archbishop Burke.

Interesting Phenomenon

From Australia:
Four crosses too much to bear for sceptics
COULD God be living in Chelsea?

That's the question the locals are asking after a fire ripped through St Joseph's Catholic church, leaving behind some bizarre symbols.

Firefighters and demolition workers were shocked to find images of four crosses on the wall behind the church's altar.

The crosses -- two each side of the crucifix -- have many wondering whether it's a strange coincidence or an act of God.

Some parishioners are already referring to them as the "Chelsea miracle".
"It's a little bit freaky. I just noticed on the wall there were four metal plaques and around the plaques there were crosses surrounding them, " [said demolition supervisor Mark Barrett.]
"It's very weird and spooky," said CFA fire officer Ken Evans...

Gospel for Friday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 19:3-12

Marriage and Virginity

[3] And Pharisees came up to Him (Jesus) and tested Him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" [4] He answered, "Have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, [5] and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one'? [6] So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder." [7] They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" [8] He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. [9] And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

[10] The disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." [11] But He said to them, "Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. [12] For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."


4-5. "Marriage and married love are by nature ordered to the procreation and education of children. Indeed children are the supreme gift of marriage and greatly contribute to the good of the parents themselves. God Himself said: `It is not good that man should be alone' (Genesis 2:18), and `from the beginning (He) made them male and female' (Matthew 19:4); wishing to associate them in a special way with his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: `Be fruitful and multiply' (Genesis 1:28). Without intending to underestimate the other ends of marriage, it must be said that true married life and the whole structure of family life which results from it is directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich His family from day to day" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 50).

9. Our Lord's teaching on the unity and indissolubility of marriage is the main theme of this passage, apropos of which St. John Chrysostom comments that marriage is a lifelong union of man and woman (cf. "Hom. on St. Matthew", 62). On the meaning of "except for unchastity", see the note on Matthew 5:31-32).

11. "Not all men can receive this precept": our Lord is fully aware that the demands involved in His teaching on marriage and His recommendation of celibacy practised out of love of God run counter to human selfishness. That is why He says that acceptance of this teaching is a gift from God.

12. Our Lord speaks figuratively here, referring to those who, out of love for Him, renounce marriage and offer their lives completely to Him. Virginity embraced for the love of God is one of the Church's most precious charisms (cf. 1 Corinthians 7); the lives of those who practise virginity evoke the state of the blessed in Heaven, who are like the angels (cf. Matthew 22:30). This is why the Church's Magisterium teaches that the state of virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven is higher than the married state (cf. Council of Trent, "De Sacram. Matr.", can. 10; cf. also Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas"). On virginity and celibacy the Second Vatican Council teaches: "The Church's holiness is also fostered in a special way by the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to His disciples in the Gospel for them to observe. Towering among these counsels is that precious gift of divine grace given to some by the Father (cf. Matthew 19:11; 1 Corinthians 7:7) to devote themselves to God alone more easily in virginity or celibacy [...]. This perfect continence for love of the Kingdom of Heaven has always been held in high esteem by the Church as a sign and stimulus of love, and as a singular source of spiritual fertility in the world" ("Lumen Gentium", 42; cf. "Perfectae Caritatis", 12). And, on celibacy specifically, see Vatican II's "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 16 and "Optatam Totius", 10.

However, both virginity and marriage are necessary for the growth of the Church, and both imply a specific calling from God: "Celibacy is precisely a gift of the Spirit. A similar though different gift is contained in the vocation to true and faithful married love, directed towards procreation according to the flesh, in the very lofty context of the sacrament of Matrimony. It is obvious that this gift is fundamental for the building up of the great community of the Church, the people of God. But if this community wishes to respond fully to its vocation in Jesus Christ, there will also have to be realized in it, in the correct proportion, that other gift, the gift of celibacy `for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven'" (John Paul II, "Letter To All Priests", 1979).
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, August 17, 2006

A Video of the Traditional Latin Mass

The video, hosted by, is of a traditional Easter Mass offered at Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago, 1941.

It is narrated by Bishop Fulton Sheen, who explains things as the Mass progresses.

It's in black and white and can be viewed here. Running time is about 54 minutes.

HT to Marc P for the link!

Mental Prayer for August 18-Christ Blesses the Children

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: I ask the grace to realize the friend­liness, approachability of Christ.

Mental Picture (cf. Mark 10:13-16) : See the chil­dren being brought to Christ that He might bless them. Hear the disciples rebuke the parents for bothering Christ. Listen to Jesus saying: "Let the children come to me and do not hinder them." See Christ as He puts His arms about the children and His hands upon them, blessing them.

My Personal Application: The same Christ who sat on that hill in Judea many years ago - so friendly, so approachable, so eager to have these children come to Him - is today truly and really present in the tabernacle of every Catholic church and chapel. There He remains day and night. Why? He waits for me, to talk with me, to be a friend of mine, to hear of my troubles, problems, failures, successes, joys. He waits there to help me, to listen to me, to talk to me.

I Speak to Christ: Christ Jesus, I believe that you are truly and really present in the tabernacle. Help my belief to be more active and more firm. You love me more than anyone else in the whole world. You want to help me, to talk to me, to listen to me. And you are my God, all-powerful. Lord, I promise to come to you, to accept your friendship and help. Help me to do this.

Thought for Today: "Let them come to me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Thursday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 18:21-19:1

Forgiveness of Injuries. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

[21] Then Peter came up and said to Him (Jesus), "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" [22] Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

[23] "Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. [24] When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; [25] and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. [26] So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' [27] And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. [28] But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.' [29] So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' [30] He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay his debt. [31] When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. [32] Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; [33] and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' [34] And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. [35] So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

[1] Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, He went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.


21-35. Peter's question and particularly Jesus' reply prescribe the spirit of understanding and mercy which should govern Christians' behavior.

In Hebrew the figure of seventy times seven means the same as "always" (cf. Genesis 4:24): "Therefore, our Lord did not limit forgiveness to a fixed number, but declared that it must be continuous and forever" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 6). Here also we can see the contrast between the man's ungenerous, calculating approach to forgiveness, and God's infinite mercy. The parable also clearly shows that we are totally in God's debt. A talent was the equivalent of six thousand denarii, and a denarius a working man's daily wage. Ten thousand talents, an enormous sum, gives us an idea of the immense value attaching to the pardon we receive from God. Overall, the parable teaches that we must always forgive our brothers, and must do so wholeheartedly.

"Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense that you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has pardoned you" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 452).
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, August 16, 2006

Marek Bozek to be deported?

(KMOV) -- St. Stanislaus church officials said Sunday that the archdiocese is trying to have Father Marek Bozek deported.
. . .
As for Father Bozek, he is currently here on a visa as an employee of the Catholic Church in connection with his previous assignment in Springfield.

The Archdiocese is allegedly trying to get his visa revoked claiming that he has been excommunicated and as such is no longer an employee.

Attempts to reach the Archdiocese for comment Sunday were unsuccessful.

This report appears to be unsubstantiated...

The immigration issue was discussed back in January and then again in February here:
Marek Bozek was supposedly granted an R-1 (Religious Worker Visa) to work in the U.S. and a question arose about how long he might be employed for St. Stanislaus. From what I saw, there is an initial term of the visa for up to a 3 year period which is renewal for an additional 2 years, but cannot exceed 5 years.

Tim Townsend of the Post Dispatch writes:
Archdiocese issues Bozek statement
By Tim Townsend
08/14/2006 6:09 pm

The St. Louis Archdiocese issued a statement Monday refuting a KMOV report that it was working to have the Rev. Marek Bozek of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish deported.
The archdiocese “has neither initiated nor participated in any procedure regarding the legal status of Fr. Marek Bozek’s residency in the United States,” according to the statement.

... it was [Bishop] Leibrecht, not Burke, who told immigration authorities in the spring about Bozek’s job change.

Recy Moore, a spokeswoman for the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese, said Leibrecht was merely following the law when he wrote a letter to immigration authorities in March telling them the diocese no longer employed Bozek.

In an interview Monday, Bozek said he was contacted in May by officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services who requested details about where he was working. Bozek said he’d been in the process of getting permanent residency approval when he heard from the USCIS, and that St. Stanislaus has retained an attorney to ensure that the priest is not deported.

The immigration laws, we will probably hear later, are "man-made" laws - meaning they can be ignored. After all, Bozek claims to be doing what Jesus would do... "Man-made" laws - this is what we heard countless times about the Church's Canon Law when Archbishop Burke was required to declare the 'priest' and board excommunicated.

Roger Krasnicki, a spokesman for the St. Stanislaus board, said Monday that the congregation orginally feared that because Bozek’s employment visa was granted for work in a different diocese, the USCIS may have reason to revoke the priest’s visa. “But our lawyer now feels we will most probably dodge this bullet,” he said.

We shall see....

The link to Townsend's article is here.

Reaping the Whirlwind of Abortion

The Observer has posted an excellent article by Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Illinois. This should be required reading in all parishes in light of the upcoming elections. Some excerpts:

Many of the issues that confront us are serious, and we know by now that the political parties in our country are at loggerheads as to how to solve them. We know, for instance, that adherents of one political party would place us squarely on the road to suicide as a people.

The seven “sacraments” of their secular culture are abortion, buggery, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, feminism of the radical type, and genetic experimentation and mutilation. These things they unabashedly espouse, profess and promote. Their continuance in public office is a clear and present danger to our survival as a nation.

Amen, your Excellency! As long as this or any country embraces these evils, it is doomed. Those who promote such evils are indeed enemies of humanity.

What we have to remember is that violence breeds violence. When we tolerate unjust attacks upon the tiniest innocents among us, we habituate ourselves to violence. And so we have allowed these barbaric practices to corrupt our laws, our medical practice, and even our ordinary lives...The violence of abortion coarsens the lives of all of us.
. . .
Having sown the wind of abortion we now reap the whirlwind.
. . .
The toleration of sexual perversions among inverts, widespread contraception, easy access to “no fault” divorce, the killing of the elderly, radical feminism, embryonic stem cell research — all of these things defile and debase our human nature and our human destiny.
. . .
It is the duty of every Catholic to support the work of the parish Pro-Life directors and commissions and to work for the extirpation from our society of all those who in any way foster or promote these things.
. . .
These unholy sacraments of our secular culture are the seeds of the destruction of our nation.

Fr John Hardon had stated several times that Christianity must be restored in our nation, as in the world. He said it is a "dire necessity". Bishop Doran, and others, once again remind us of this fact. As Catholics we cannot sit by idly - Catholics and, indeed all Christians must be on the front lines of this deadly spiritual battle. Not only are nations at risk, but more importantly, countless souls are in peril.

History will again, no doubt, demonstrate that the contraceptive mentality is the spark which ignited the blaze of these other evils in our lifetime. Contraception breeds murderous and immoral consequences.

Total self giving, prayer, penance, reparations for our sins and the sins of the world - this, too, is a necessary aspect in defeating these evils from our society, in expiating the crimes against God and humanity which have become so commonplace in our diseased world.

Mental Prayer for August 17-Jesus Cures the Ten Lepers

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To realize the unlimited power and goodness of Christ; and also the grace to be truly grateful to Him.

Mental Picture (cf. Luke 17:11-19): See Our Lord walking along a road on the way to Jerusalem. Outside a village stand ten lepers - ugly, full of sores. "Lord, master, have mercy on us." Jesus hears their prayers; they are all cured as they go away to the priests. See their joy. But they forget Christ, all but one; he returns to Christ, giving thanks. Christ says: "Were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine?"

My Personal Application: Am I not like these ten lepers, in need of great help frequently? Don't I have troubles, problems, plans, ambitions; and yet am I not frequently so very weak and helpless? Do I turn to Christ for help? He is just as present in the Holy Eucharist today as He was on that road in Jerusalem. Do I let Him pass by; or do I stop Him, take advantage of the great power that can be mine just for the asking? And when He does help me, do I return, giving thanks?

I Speak to Christ: Lord Jesus, help me today in this particular problem, difficulty, work, desire. Help me to become a more manly, courageous follower of yours; help me to realize that you can and will help me in everything that is good for me. And make me always grateful, like that one returning leper.

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

Scientists Backtrack on Embryonic Research Claims

Bait and Switch Reveals No Hope for Cures for 5 to 10 Years

UNITED STATES, August 15, 2006 ( - Scientific researchers are now beginning the tedious task of altering the public’s expectations of the aims of human embryonic stem-cell research, deviating from the primary goals of providing stem-cell therapies to cure diseases. In what amounts to a bait and switch, these researchers, no longer promising immediate theoretical cures for a myriad of diseases desired by a desperate public, are now justifying the research by claiming that human embryonic cells are instead marvelous research tools for investigating the mechanisms of disease rather than actively curing them.

And, surely, those promoting the Missouri Stem Cell Initiative have known this all along, have they not? Are they merely looking for a potential windfall from some as yet unknown patent possibility - presumably while gorging themselves at the trough of public funding?

According to the New York Times, a number of scientists continuing medical research on human embryos admit that the inherent difficulties of developing stem-cells from human embryos for therapeutic use place any cures - if possible in the first place - years down the road. Instead these researchers want to switch the primary focus from therapies to drug research or learning about diseases through embryonic stem cell experiments.

No cures - just human experimentation and gain research data. Hitler would be so proud...

This is precisely the type of information that the public needs to know. Especially, all of those duped into signing the ballot initiative petition.

Gospel for Wednesday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 18:15-20

Fraternal Correction. The Apostles' Authority

(Jesus said to His disciples), [15] "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [17] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church; and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. [18] Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven. [19] Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in Heaven. [20] For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them."


15-17. Here our Lord calls on us to work with Him for the sanctification of others by means of fraternal correction, which is one of the ways we can do so. He speaks as sternly about the sin of omission as He did about that of scandal (cf. Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 61).

There is an obligation on us to correct others. Our Lord identifies three stages in correction: 1) alone; 2) in the presence of one or two witnesses; and 3) before the Church. The first stage refers to giving scandal and to secret or private sins; here correction should be given privately, just to the person himself, to avoid unnecessarily publicizing a private matter and also to avoid hurting the person and to make it easier for him to mend his ways. If this correction does not have the desired effect, and the matter is a serious one, resort should be had to the second stage--looking for one or two friends, in case they have more influence on him. The last stage is formal judicial correction by reference to the Church authorities. If a sinner does not accept this correction, he should be excommunicated that is, separated from communion with the Church and Sacraments.

18. This verse needs to be understood in connection with the authority previously promised to Peter (cf. Matthew 16:13-19): it is the hierarchy of the Church that exercises this power given by Christ to Peter, to the Apostles and their lawful successors--the Pope and the Bishops.

19-20. "Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est: where charity and love resides, there God is", the Holy Thursday liturgy intones, drawing its inspiration from the sacred text of 1 John 4:12. For it is true that love is inconceivable if there is only one person: it implies the presence of two or more (cf. Aquinas, "Commentary on St. Matthew", 18:19-20). And so it is that when Christians meet together in the name of Christ for the purpose of prayer, our Lord is present among them, pleased to listen to the unanimous prayer of His disciples: "All those with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14). This is why the Church from the very beginning has practiced communal prayer (cf. Acts 12:5). There are religious practices--few, short, daily "that have always been lived in Christian families and which I think are marvelous--grace at meals, morning and night prayers, the family rosary (even though nowadays this devotion to our Lady has been criticized by some people). Customs vary from place to place, but I think one should always encourage some acts of piety which the family can do together in a simple and natural fashion" ([St] J. Escriva, "Conversations", 103).
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, August 15, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 16-What a Friend Will Do

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Trust and confidence in the personal friendship of our Lord.

Mental Picture (cf. John 2:1-44): A crowd of people - Martha, Mary, friends, and neighbors ­standing in front of a sealed tomb watching our Lord with deep sympathy as He weeps for His dear friend, Lazarus, now lying dead. Then, a quiet command to roll away the stone, a call to Lazarus to come forth, and happiness and rejoic­ing on every face, including that of Christ.

My Personal Application: The people present here had no doubt that our Lord had emotions and feelings as other men had. They saw how personally interested He was in His friends, how completely He understood them. Am I, too, really convinced that Christ, God Himself, is interested in me, that He completely understands me, that He is my personal friend also? Do I have confidence in my parents, in my most intimate friends? Should I have any less con­fidence in Christ, the best of men, the closest of friends? He knows me; He is interested in me ; He wants only my happiness. Then why not approach Him with absolute trust in my daily needs, great and small?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, help me realize that you know me, love me, and want my happiness, not for what I am, because that may change, but for what you are, God and man, absolutely unchang­ing in your friendship. Because you are a man, you experienced man's hopes, needs, sorrows, and joys; because you are God, you can and will aid us in them.

Thought for Today: "Come to me, all you who labor, and I will refresh you."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Statement for Cardinal Rigali Regarding Eileen DiFranco

News Release
August 14, 2006


Recently, there has been extensive media attention regarding an attempted ordination of women, which took place on a river boat outside Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006. Eileen DiFranco, who is known to members of Saint Vincent DePaul Parish in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, participated in the event. Accordingly, the following statement is issued regarding this activity.

The full statement is here.

Gospel for Aug 15, Solemnity: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation

[39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, [40] and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. [41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! [43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44] For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

The Magnificat

[46] And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. [50] And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. [51] He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, [52] He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; [53] He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. [54] He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, [55] as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


39-56. We contemplate this episode of our Lady's visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth in the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: "Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary company...and you will hear the traditions of the House of David.... We walk in haste towards the mountains, to a town of the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:39).

"We arrive. It is the house where John the Baptist is to be born. Elizabeth gratefully hails the Mother of her Redeemer: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? (Luke 1:42-43).

"The unborn Baptist quivers...(Luke 1:41). Mary's humility pours forth in the "Magnificat".... And you and I, who are proud--who were proud--promise to be humble" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary").

39. On learning from the angel that her cousin St. Elizabeth is soon to give birth and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid. She has no regard for the difficulties this involves. Although we do not know where exactly Elizabeth was living (it is now thought to be Ain Karim), it certainly meant a journey into the hill country which at that time would have taken four days.

From Mary's visit to Elizabeth Christians should learn to be caring people. "If we have this filial contact with Mary, we won't be able to think just about ourselves and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 145).

42. St. Bede comments that Elizabeth blesses Mary using the same words as the archangel "to show that she should be honored by angels and by men and why she should indeed be revered above all other women" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

When we say the "Hail Mary" we repeat these divine greetings, "rejoicing with Mary at her dignity as Mother of God and praising the Lord, thanking Him for having given us Jesus Christ through Mary" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 333).

43. Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary "the mother of my Lord", thereby showing that Mary is the Mother of God.

44. Although he was conceived in sin--original sin--like other men, St. John the Baptist was born sinless because he was sanctified in his mother's womb by the presence of Jesus Christ (then in Mary's womb) and of the Blessed Virgin. On receiving this grace of God St. John rejoices by leaping with joy in his mother's womb--thereby fulfilling the archangel's prophecy (cf. Luke 1:15).

St. John Chrysostom comments on this scene of the Gospel: "See how new and how wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his actions [...]; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the prison of his mother's womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the Savior is about to come" ("Sermo Apud Metaphr., Mense Julio").

45. Joining the chorus of all future generations, Elizabeth, moved by the Holy Spirit, declares the Lord's Mother to be blessed and praises her faith. No one ever had faith to compare with Mary's; she is the model of the attitude a creature should have towards its Creator--complete submission, total attachment. Through her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring about the Redemption; as Mediatrix of all graces, she is associated with the redemptive work of her Son: "This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death; first when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the Precursor leaps with joy in the womb of his mother [...]. The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf. John 19:25), in keeping with the Divine Plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associating herself with His sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 57f).

The new Latin text gives a literal rendering of the original Greek when it says "quae credidit" (RSV "she who has believed") as opposed to the Vulgate "quae credidisti" ("you who have believed") which gave more of the sense than a literal rendering.

46-55. Mary's "Magnificat" canticle is a poem of singular beauty. It evokes certain passages of the Old Testament with which she would have been very familiar (especially 1 Samuel 2:1-10).

Three stanzas may be distinguished in the canticle: in the first (verses 46-50) Mary glorifies God for making her the Mother of the Savior, which is why future generations will call her blessed; she shows that the Incarnation is a mysterious __expression of God's power and holiness and mercy. In the second (verses 51-53) she teaches us that the Lord has always had a preference for the humble, resisting the proud and boastful. In the third (verses 54-55) she proclaims that God, in keeping with His promise, has always taken care of His chosen people--and now does them the greatest honor of all by becoming a Jew (cf. Romans 1:3).

"Our prayer can accompany and imitate this prayer of Mary. Like her, we feel the desire to sing, to acclaim the wonders of God, so that all mankind and all creation may share our joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 144).

46-47. "The first fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace and joy. And the Blessed Virgin had received within herself all the grace of the Holy Spirit" (St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 32). Mary's soul overflows in the words of the "Magnificat". God's favors cause every humble soul to feel joy and gratitude. In the case of the Blessed Virgin, God has bestowed more on her than on any other creature. "Virgin Mother of God, He whom the heavens cannot contain, on becoming man, enclosed Himself within your womb" ("Roman Missal", Antiphon of the Common of the Mass for Feasts of Our Lady). The humble Virgin of Nazareth is going to be the Mother of God; the Creator's omnipotence has never before manifested itself in as complete a way as this.

48-49. Mary's __expression of humility causes St. Bede to exclaim: "It was fitting, then, that just as death entered the world through the pride of our first parents, the entry of Life should be manifested by the humility of Mary" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

"How great the value of humility!--"Quia respexit humilitatem.... It is not of her faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: `Since He has looked on my humility, all generations will call me blessed'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 598).

God rewards our Lady's humility by mankind's recognition of her greatness: "All generations will call me blessed." This prophecy is fulfilled every time someone says the Hail Mary, and indeed she is praised on earth continually, without interruption. "From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: `all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me'" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 66).

50. "And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation": "At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the Resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the people of God, marked with the sign of the Cross and of the Resurrection and `sealed' with the sign of the paschal mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman's house: "His mercy is [...] from generation to generation' [...].

"Mary, then, is the one who has the "deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy". She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the "Mother of Mercy": Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy; in each one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the special preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which `from generation to generation' people become sharers according to the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 9).

51. "The proud": those who want to be regarded as superior to others, whom they look down on. This also refers to those who, in their arrogance, seek to organize society without reference to, or in opposition to, God's law. Even if they seem to do so successfully, the words of our Lady's canticle will ultimately come true, for God will scatter them as He did those who tried to build the Tower of Babel, thinking that they could reach as high as Heaven (cf. Genesis 11:4).

"When pride takes hold of a soul, it is no surprise to find it bringing along with it a whole string of other vices--greed, self-indulgence, envy, injustice. The proud man is always vainly striving to dethrone God, who is merciful to all His creatures, so as to make room for himself and his ever cruel ways.

"We should beg God not to let us fall into this temptation. Pride is the worst sin of all, and the most ridiculous.... Pride is unpleasant, even from a human point of view. The person who rates himself better than everyone and everything is constantly studying himself and looking down on other people, who in turn react by ridiculing his foolish vanity" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 100).

53. This form of divine providence has been experienced countless times over the course of history. For example, God nourished the people of Israel with manna during their forty years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-35); similarly His angel brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), and to Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 14:31-40); and the widow of Sarepta was given a supply of oil which miraculously never ran out (1 Kings 17:8ff). So, too, the Blessed Virgin's yearning for holiness was fulfilled by the incarnation of the Word.

God nourished the chosen people with His Law and the preaching of His prophets, but the rest of mankind was left hungry for His word, a hunger now satisfied by the Incarnation. This gift of God will be accepted by the humble; the self-sufficient, having no desire for the good things of God, will not partake of them (cf. St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 33).

54. God led the people of Israel as He would a child whom He loved tenderly: "the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went" (Deuteronomy 1:31). He did so many times, using Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, etc., and now He gives them a definitive leader by sending the Messiah--moved by His great mercy which takes pity on the wretchedness of Israel and of all mankind.

55. God promised the patriarchs of old that He would have mercy on mankind. This promise He made to Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 22:18), David (2 Samuel 7:12), etc. From all eternity God had planned and decreed that the Word should become incarnate for the salvation of all mankind. As Christ Himself put it, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
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, August 14, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 15-Mary's Assumption

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To be happy today because Mary is happy.

The Idea: Everyone has had the experience of seeing someone singled out for a special honor and thinking, "Well, if anyone deserves it, he does." And we feel happy just to see such a deserving person get a reward; the more deserving he is, the happier we are. If we feel this way for another ordinary human being, how much happier should we feel at seeing the Mother of God receive a fitting reward for her work in the Redemption. For we can easily forget that Mary had much sorrow and uncertainty as well as much happiness in her life. But God repaid her a hundred-fold by assuming her, body and soul, into heaven.

My Personal Application: I should be happy just because Mary is happy. But I should also be happy because Mary is the symbol of my destiny. Just as she is now bodily in heaven, forever completely happy, so some day I shall be in heaven to be completely happy forever.

I Speak to Mary: Mary, help me be happy with you. Help me see that for a Christian there is glory after the cross, happiness after tears.

Thought for Today: "Blessed be her glorious Assumption."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

August 15 - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

"Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not. be taken away from her." St. Luke, 10:2

Some years ago Collier's magazine had a news item of interest to us today. In 1914 during World War I, a Belgian boy went forth to war. His mother promised to watch for his return at a certain window of their home.

Weeks stretched into months and months stretched into years. Finally came the report that her son had been killed. She refused to believe it. Hoping against hope, she continued to watch at that certain window, until sickness and old age compelled her to stay in bed. In order to fulfill her promise of keeping watch she had a statue made of herself, dressed in her own clothes, and placed in a life-like position at the window. Although mother and son have been dead for years, that silent figure still waits and watches on the road leading to Liege.

There is another Mother who is waiting and watching for you and me, for the return of all her children. That Mother is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is looking down from a window of heaven, as it were, waiting for each one of us to come home from the battles of life, waiting to meet and greet us after the struggle of life is over.

Today we honor the fact that our Blessed Mother was taken bodily into heaven. Today we keep the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven. It is the most glorious feast of Mary, because it marks the crown and reward of her heroic life upon this earth.

You know the story. At Mary's death the Apostles were summoned. All came at once, except St. Thomas, who for some reason or other was not present at the burial. Arriving later, he was so eager to see the Mother of the Apostles, that they opened the tomb, only to find the body was gone, and to be assured that it had been taken bodily up to heaven. Today we celebrate the story that Mary was taken up into heaven.

1. This is a day of mingled sadness and gladness, of grief that Mary is leaving this earth, and leaving us motherless, of joy that now she is rewarded as she deserves, now she triumphs as the Mother of Christ.

2. Mary died, not of old age or of sickness, but of love. After the Ascen­sion of her Divine Son, she remained on this earth for many years. How she longed to be with her Son. How she longed for the company of Christ and St. Joseph and all the saints. Finally the end came.
A. She died in love, that is, she died in the state of grace. You also must die in the state of grace, at friendship with God.

B. She died for love, that is she died through faithfulness to God's law.

C. She died of love, that is, her death was caused by a longing, burn­ing love of her Son.
3. What tradition tells us about the Assumption of Mary is backed up by reason. She who was sinless should not have to suffer the consequences of sin - decay and corruption.

4. Mary's body was not only kept incorrupt, it took on new and more dazzling beauty, it began to enjoy the highest degrees of the glorified state of the blessed. If we adorn the material tabernacle of our altars because Christ is there, how much God must have adorned the body in which the son of God was kept so lovingly. Mary's triumphant Assump­tion is a day of rejoicing:
A. Her Assumption gives glory and joy to God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Mary the Trinity saw the most perfect work of their hands. In Mary they saw the most pleasing sight - one who had been faithful to God her Father, to God her Son, and to God her Spouse.

B. Her Assumption gave special joy to the angels. She was their special Queen. She was like an angel. She could help the angelic choirs better than anyone else, in honoring the Almighty.

C. Her Assumption gave joy to the saints, to those who had honored her unseen during their earthly lives, to those who were waiting for her to come home.

D. Her Assumption gives joy to you and to me, to the entire Church on earth. She is the Mother of us who still struggle in this vale of tears.
During our reflections we are considering the Commandments of God. And we are making a renewed effort to observe those laws as the express will of God. Mary knows our difficulties and our weakness. She is ready and willing to help, so that some day we may join her in heaven.

That Belgian mother waiting in the window of her home for her son to return, is a figure of Mary waiting at the window of heaven for each one of us to return to our true home, which is heaven.

Look up today and see her there. Look up as the angels carry her joy­fully homeward. Look up to her today and ask her help in keeping the laws which will assure our own assumption into heaven. Look up to your heavenly Mother and ask her to bring all her children to herself and to her Divine Son. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

[* Note: Since this talk was given in 1947, the Assumption has been declared a dogma of the faith. This was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus.]

"Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her." St. Luke, 10:42.

Not long before the first Assumption day two tiny cherubs were looking out from a window of paradise. Heaven was lovely, they admitted, but they wanted a mother. Christ had told them to be patient - when His own Mother came, she would be their Mother too.

Came the day when our Blessed Mother was taken up into heaven. Our two little angels were among the first to greet her. They gasped with ad­miration at her breath-taking beauty and her sweet, motherly smile. They knelt with the angelic choirs as Jesus crowned her Queen of heaven and earth. In the midst of the rejoicing one of the cherubs whispered to the other: "She was really worth waiting for. Isn't she lovely?"

On August 15 we celebrate that great event. Today we remember in song and ceremony the glorious taking up into heaven, body and soul, of the Mother of God. Today we rejoice with those two little angels of our story and all the other angels, and all the faithful on earth, as the Mother of Christ is carried triumphantly to her heavenly home.

Tradition tells us that all the Apostles were carried bodily to Jerusalem as the death of our Blessed Mother approached. There they saw the angels and heard them sing, as the Mother of their Lord passed away. They placed her body in a coffin and buried it in Gethsemane. Three days later St. Thomas arrived eager to see her who had been Mother to them all. They opened the grave to discover that the body was gone. They caught the odor of fresh and fragrant flowers. Jesus, they knew, had taken His Mother, body and soul, to heaven. He would not permit her virginal flesh to decay. As He had kept her from the corruption of sin, so He now keeps her from the corruption of the grave. Mary did not rise, we must remember, through her own power, as Jesus did. She was taken up, assumed, into heaven. That is why we call this the feast of the Assumption.

Although the bodily Assumption of Mary is not a dogma of faith, that is, although the Church has not declared officially that she was assumed borlily into heaven, nevertheless, that is the universal belief of the Catholic Church. At present there is a movement in the fold to declare this a dogma, a truth of faith. The reasons for this belief are strong:

1. It is impossible to imagine that our Lord would permit the body of His Mother to decay and rot in the grave.

2. Waiting for the final resurrection of all bodies at the end of the world is a punishment for original sin. Mary was kept from original sin. Therefore, she should be kept from the punishment.

3. Sacred Scripture had foretold that Mary would conquer sin. The very first book of the Bible speaks of this: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Genesis, 3:15). By her Immaculate Concep­tion Mary won a victory over sin. By her Virgin-Motherhood she won a victory over sinful desire. By her glorious Assumption she won a victory over death and decay.

4. The Ark of the Covenant which contained the tables of the law was made of wood that did not decay. The Psalmist and St. John speak of this Ark as existing still in the temple of heaven. Mary is the true Ark, for she con­tained not only the law, but the Lawgiver Himself. Most fittingly should she be made of flesh that did not decay. Most fittingly should she be carried bodily to the heavenly temple.

5. The present day belief of the Catholic Church has always been the belief of the Church. Both the Latins and Greeks, east and west, have kept this tradition in both teaching and practice.

Mary was not only taken up into heaven, she was also crowned Queen of heaven and earth. She was crowned Queen of the angels and saints, Queen of the kingdoms of the earth. She was crowned your Queen and my Queen.

In our series on the sacraments we are considering the forgiveness of sin. Why not ask this sinless one, as she is rewarded on the feast of her Assumption into heaven, to give you an understanding of the ugliness of sin, and the goodness of God in for­giving it?

Yes, the very best part, the highest position next to Christ, was hers on earth, and is hers in heaven. It will not be taken away from her.

You and I and the entire Christian world can look today to a throne on high and find a Mother who is also a Queen. May all of us this Assumption day look up and see and love this Queen Mother of us all. May we all ask her for the joy some day to be with her in the eternal glory of the presence of God. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Sacraments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne,OFM (© 1947)

The Assumption-The Light of Our Life

"Mary has chosen the best part, and it wiIl not be taken away from her." St. Luke, 10:2.

One of the best known figures in American public life about one hundre years ago was a senator by the name of William Evarts. He was an able lawyer and statesman, and an eloquent orator. In his last years as senator he suf­fered from an affliction of the eyes which made it increasingly difficult for him to read or to recognize any but the most familiar faces.

On a trip to Europe he consulted an eminent oculist who told him that there was not the slightest hope of saving his eyesight. It was merely a matter of months before night would descend upon him.

It was then Senator Evarts expressed a life-long desire: He had always wanted to see Raphael's famous Virgin at Dresden. Now more than ever he wanted to behold that beautiful creation that he might look at it with his mind, after his eyes went black. To Dresden he traveled there to behold at some length the face of the lovely Virgin. He was happy. And when darkness descended he often recalled with his mind's eye that inspiring picture. It was a source of consolation and spiritual light to him.

Who that ever caught a vision of the beautiful Mother of God could ever forget it? Who that ever really saw her as she is, could ever lose sight of her? Who that ever loved Mary - and everyone who looks at her must love her - could ever lose that love?

On August 15 we keep the feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother into heaven. We honor the fact that Mary was taken bodily up into heaven. It is the crowning privilege of her earthly pilgrimage. It is the last earthly token of her Son's love and devotion. Why and how do we believe that Mary was taken up into heaven?

1. Her body was not subject to the corruption of the grave. The rotting of the body in death is a result of sin. She had no sin. Furthermore, there are no physical relics of the Blessed Virgin, never were. No town or country have ever claimed to have her body.

2. With one voice the Church believed in the Assumption for 1500 years. With the religious revolutionaries of the 16th century came denials of it.

3. Already in the 5th century the Church kept the feast of the Assumption.

4. It is historically and scientifically certain that the bodies of many saints were kept from corruption, sometimes for centuries. This would lead us to expect the same and more for the Queen of Saints. ­

5. From the year 170, probably earlier, Mary was called the Virgin Mother of the Church. The Church, we know, was to be kept from all corrup­tion; so should the body of the Church's Mother.

6. Psalm 15:10, declares: "Thou wilt not give. . . thy holy one to see corruption." These words apply to the flesh of Christ; but the flesh of Christ was taken from the flesh of Mary. How reasonable and fitting that her flesh also should be kept from decay?

7. Her perpetual virginity argues for her Assumption. Early liturgies con­nect carnal, fleshly desires with corruption of the flesh. Mary was pure, and deserved not carnal corruption.

8. Mary was subject to no sin, not even to original sin. Death and the wasting away of the body which follows, are a result of original sin. How becoming that she who was kept from original sin by her divine Son, should also be kept from the rottening of the grave?

9. The fact that she was the Mother of God, the tabernacle, living taber­nacle of Jesus Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, seems to demand that this tabernacle, this fleshly temple be kept from decay.

10. She who was so closely associated with Christ in the work of Redemp­tion, she who stayed so close to Him in His passion and death, can be expected to share with her Son in His triumph over death.

But we who have been meditating on the virtues practiced by her Son, the virtues which He wants us Christians to have, the virtues which we find personified in the Virgin Mother, we find it so very reasonable that Christ would reward in some special, outstanding way, the outstanding virtues practiced by His Mother.

She was the living picture of the beatitudes; she was purity and humility and obedience in person. She was the perfect example of faith and hope and love. She is our model in prayer, our model in keeping the laws of the Church.

How would Christ reward such a virtuous life except by taking her bodily to Himself in heaven.

O, see the vision of her today, carried by the angels into the heavenly court. O, see our Mother borne bodily into the bosom of the Father. See this picture of her and never forget it.

Like the American senator, William Evarts, we are all blind at times, sometimes through our own fault, sometimes through the special design of the Almighty. Often we are blinded by temptation, by doubts, by our actual sins. Then we must behold in our mind's eye the Mother of us all being assumed, taken up to her heavenly throne. Look up to her and beg of her the grace to follow her life on this earth, that we may one day be privileged to be at home with our heavenly Mother - forever. Amen.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

15th Century Saint was "Pro-Choice"?

American Papist has comments on a recently USA Today article: "Where does God stand on abortion?"

Read it here.

Not Your Will, But Mine Be Done...

From the LA Times, we see this:

Female Priest Defies the Catholic Church
(As if there are "priestesses" who don't defy the Church?)

WORSHIP: Jane Via, a 58-year-old attorney and a mother
of two, was ordained as a priest in Switzerland in June.
(Jim Baird / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Jane Via said she would probably cry and, sure enough, she did.

Midway through her homily at the rented San Diego church used by her upstart congregation, Via choked up, thanking the packed house of 100 worshipers for sustaining her over the last week.

[This service of worship of self]...also marked her congregation's first gathering since she met with San Diego Bishop Robert Brom to discuss the consequences of her ordination, which could ultimately include excommunication.

Via, 58, is among 15 American women who have received ordination in recent ceremonies.
Of course, she did, but not in the Catholic Church...As a matter of fact (not opinion), she and others have stepped from the light of the Church into the darkness. They have deliberately removed themselves from the Church and placed themselves at the service of those who oppose Christ and His Church.

The Vatican's position on women entering the priesthood has not budged, despite polls showing a majority of American Catholics favor allowing them to do so.

This sentence is mandatory, it seems, in every secular report concerning these "priestesses". The uninformed or willfully ignorant, then, may wonder why the Church doesn't pay attention to opinion polls. These polls are made to sound as if they are the source of knowledge and truth.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not taken a formal position on the issue...

Perhaps not a formal position, but it seems, by its continued silence, to have taken a position. It appears to have taken an informal position, by not condemning these acts of defiance and rebellion. Is the USCCB's silence meant to show 'solidarity' with these 'oppressed' women?

"I was so angry for so long at the church and church men who weren't willing to make even the smallest change in language to include women," she [Via]said. "My anger is gone."

It sounds as if she is a frustrated 'feminazi' at heart - demanding that the Church listen to Mother God and change the language...Well, now that she thinks she is a priestess, her 'anger' has diminished...

Last November, Via co-founded the congregation where she is a priest, the independent Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community. Its roughly 65 regular members include many people who found themselves increasingly discontented with aspects of mainstream Roman Catholic churches.

Those who choose to 'found' a Church, attempt to usurp the power of Christ who has already founded His Church. They, not content with His Church, jump from the Barque of Peter, to a certain death, into a sea which is ready to swallow them if left unaided.

Dan Dinan said that, with two daughters and four granddaughters, he had always been bothered by what he saw as women's second-class status in the church. In Via, a married mother of two who is also a deputy district attorney for San Diego County, he sees an ideal pioneer.

It's obvious that there is a tremendous void of understanding concerning the important status that women have in the Church. This should be especially obvious to us on the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - a woman, exalted above all creatures. How much better would it be if more of us followed Our Lady's example of humility, holiness, and obedience? What if more of us would listen to her when she asked us, "Do whatever He tells you."

"She's not a radical, she's not far out," he said.
Her actions are rebellious and scandalous. Her actions display a contempt for Christ, His Church, and the souls of those to whom scandal has been given.

[Newcomer Alfred] O'Brien said he blamed recent scandals in the Catholic Church partly on the absence of female leaders. "There was no one around the foot of the cross when Christ died except women," he said. "Women are the backbone of the church. That's why I'm here. It's long, long overdue."

While his statement is partially correct (The Gospels tell us that John was at the foot of the Cross also), this has no bearing on whether women are to be ordained. Sadly, those who reject the irreformable teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals fall into heresy.

"It would be painful, in the sense that the church can be that narrow, but it doesn't stop us from going forward," said Sandy Trybus, a congregation member and one of Via's longtime friends.

The path which leads to eternal life is narrow - Jesus told us this. But that aside, it it not the Church which is narrow-minded, but those who minds and intellects are closed to the reality of truth.

A true friend would do everthing possible to keep his friend from falling to death, either physically or sprirtually. It is the Church which reminds us of Christ's teachings, of His love and mercy, of His suffering and death for our redemption. Since we are no greater than the Master, we, too, are to pick up our crosses if we wish to follow Him. While we may not understand, we should conform our wills to His - and this means that we become obedient even as He was. Christ gave us a Church and delegated His Apostles and their successors to teach us and to help us in our journey to heaven. How can one ever think that rejecting His Church would lead one to eternity in His Kingdom?

"I resent people who say love it or leave it," Dinan said of the Catholic Church. "We're not going to leave it. We're going to change it."

He's jumped ship already, yet claims to still be aboard walking the deck. Those who refuse to listen, even to the Church, are be treated as the rebels they are. We have Christ's promise, despite this man's opinion to the contrary, that even the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. This man's claim that they are going to change it reveals a profound sense of arrogance...

Again we see a repeat of history, another group in a long line of groups, which presumes to speak for Christ and His Church. They need our prayers and sacrifices.

Pope Benedict XVI: “So that We Can See that Believing Is Beautiful”

The complete English transcript of pope Joseph Ratzinger's interview with German televisions ARD-Bayerische Rundfunk, ZDF, Deutsche Welle, and Vatican Radio, broadcasted in the night of August 13.
From Chiesa here.

Gospel for Aug 14, Memorial: St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest & Martyr

From: Matthew 17:22-27

Second Prophecy of the Passion; the Temple Tax

[22] As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, [23] and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day." And they were greatly distressed.

[24] When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does not your Teacher pay the tax?" 25] He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?" [26] And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. [27] However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give to them for Me and for yourself."


24-27. "Half-shekel", or "didrachma": a coin equal in value to the annual contribution every Jew had to make for the upkeep of the temple--a day's wage of a laborer. The shekel or stater which our Lord refers to in verse 27 was a Greek coin worth two didrachmas.

Jesus uses things great and small to get His teaching across to His disciples. Peter, who is to be the rock on which He will found His Church (Matthew 16:18-19), He prepares by letting him see His dramatic Transfiguration (17:1-8); now He gives Peter another inkling of His divinity through an apparently unimportant miracle. We should take note of Jesus' teaching method: after His second announcement of His passion, His disciples are downhearted (Matthew 17:22-23); here He lifts Peter's spirits with this friendly little miracle.

26. This shows how conscientiously our Lord fulfilled His civic duties. Although the half-shekel tax had to do with religion, given the theocratic structure of Israel at the time, payment of this tax also constituted a civic obligation.
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, August 13, 2006

A Clone by any Other Name

Missouri's deceptively worded ballot measure.
By Colleen Carroll Campbell
Missourians will vote this November on an amendment to their state constitution that claims to ban human cloning. In a red state known for its pro-life movement, that would seem to be good news for those who believe that human embryos should not be created and destroyed for scientific research.

But political proposals are not always what they seem. The group sponsoring the amendment--the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures--is bankrolled by the founders of a multibillion-dollar biomedical research institute and supported by outspoken proponents of research cloning...And despite ballot language that says the amendment will ban human cloning but allow all stem cell research not prohibited by federal law, the fine print--which Missourians will not see in the voting booth--allows somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the scientific process used to clone human embryos.

his semantic sleight of hand is the core of the proponents' strategy. Normally "human cloning" is synonymous with somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT--the fusing of the nucleus of a body cell and an egg that has had its nucleus removed to create a cloned embryo. Research cloning destroys the embryo, while reproductive cloning implants it in a uterus. The amendment defines "cloning" as implantation, thus banning reproductive cloning while making the cloning of embryos for research a constitutional right.

"They're redefining cloning . . . as embryo transfer [into a uterus]," said Dr. Robert Onder, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. "They're trying to change the terminology to define away the moral controversy."
Colleen Carroll Campbell writes on politics, religion, and culture. She is a frequent contributor to national publications and a regular commentator on national television.

This article is well worth the time to read. Missourians are being deceived by a group of charlatans, reminiscent of yesteryear's snake oil salesmen.

Read more here...

Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: John 6:41-51

The Discourse on the Bread of Life (Continuation)
[41] The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread of life which came down from heaven." [42] They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" [43] Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. [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."


42. This is the second and last time St John mentions St Joseph in his Gospel, putting on record the general, though mistaken, opinion of those who knew Jesus and regarded him as the son of Joseph (cf. Jn 1:45; Lk 3:23; 4:22; Mt 13:55). Conceived in the virginal womb of Mary by the action of the Holy Spirit, our Lord's only Father was God Himself (cf. note on in 5:18). However, St Joseph acted as Jesus' father on earth, as God had planned (cf. notes on Mt 1:16, 18). Therefore, Joseph was called the father of Jesus and he certainly was extremely faithful in fulfilling his mission to look after Jesus. St Augustine explains St Joseph's fatherhood in this way: "Not only does Joseph deserve the name of father: he deserves it more than anyone else. In what way was he a father? As profoundly as his fatherhood was chaste. Some people thought that he was the father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the same way as others are fathers, begetting according to the flesh and not receiving their children as fruit of their spiritual affection. That is why St Luke says that they supposed he was the father of Jesus. Why does he say that they only supposed it? Because human thoughts and judgments are based on what normally happens. And our Lord was not born of the seed of Joseph. However, to the piety and charity of Joseph a son was born to him of the Virgin Mary, who was the Son of God" ("Sermon 51", 20).

In this verse, as elsewhere (cf. Jn 7:42; 4:29), St John put on record the people's ignorance, whereas he and his readers knew the truth about Jesus. The Jews' objection is not directly refuted; it is simply reported, on the assumption that it presents no difficulty to the Christian reader, to whom the Gospel is addressed.

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 evoking 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. Is 53:10-12; Jer 31:31-34).

The last sentence of v. 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 has already said: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (Jn 1:18). Later on Jesus will say to Philip at the Last Supper: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9), for Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one goes to the Father except through him (cf. Jn 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. Jn 1:1-18). Hence, Jesus Christ, sent as 'a man among men', 'utters the words of God' (Jn 3:34), and accomplishes the saving work which the Father gave him to do (cf. Jn 5:36; 17:4). To see Jesus is to see his Father (cf. Jn 14:9)" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 4).

48. With this solemn declaration, which he repeats because of his audience's doubts, (cf. Jn 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. vv. 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").

Concerning the Blessed Eucharist cf. also the notes on Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22, 24, 25; and Lk 22:16-20.

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 Cor 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. Ex 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.