Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 27-Faith: The Words of Life

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: That I may be firm in my faith in God's word.

Mental Picture (cf. John 6:1-70): After Jesus feeds the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, He tells them of the bread of heaven. "I am the bread of life." They must eat His flesh and drink His blood to be saved.

The crowd doesn't understand; the people walk away. Jesus asks the Apostles if they too will leave. And Peter replies, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

My Personal Application: The answer of St. Peter is a wonderful profession of a strong faith in Jesus. Peter did not understand very well the words about the bread of life, how Jesus would perform the miracle. Yet he believed in Jesus and followed Him because he had complete trust in Him. Do I have this strong faith in Jesus? Do I have faith in our Lord's words and deeds, because it is our Lord God who says and does them?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, often my faith is weak. Like the Jews who heard you speak about the Eucharist I, at times, have difficulty in believing. But I do not have doubt, because you are the one who is telling me. You are God. You are all-knowing and all-truthful. You cannot be deceived nor will you deceive me. Lord, strengthen my faith.

Thought for Today: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Check Out this WebSite/Bookstore

I received an email this morning from a secular Carmelite who owns a Catholic Bookstore in Salinas, California - Corpus Christi Book+Store.

She also has a great website devoted to St. Therese and Carmelite spirituality called

If you are in need of books, holy cards or photographs of St. Therese of Lisieux, this is THE PLACE to go...It has books and such which would be a perfect gift for those special people in your life.

The website is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Check it out!

The Little Way

How do we treat others? Lesson 3 of 5

Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

"Forty cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were five pennies and one nickel.

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough money left to leave her a tip.

“Apocalypse Now”: The Pope Rewrites the Script

In his latest Wednesday catechesis, Benedict XVI has deciphered for the faithful the enigma of the book of Revelation. It is not the Dragon that triumphs, but the Lamb: “Do not be afraid of the silence of God”.
by Sandro Magister

...[Pope] Benedict XVI has worked the miracle of synthesizing and clarifying in a simple way the meaning of the Apocalypse, in an address of only 1200 words.

The aim of the book, he said, “is to unveil, from the death and resurrection of Christ, the meaning of human history.”
. . .

Here follows the complete catechesis Benedict XVI dedicated to the Apocalypse. The text is the one written beforehand, without the improvised comments that the pope added here and there, in the colloquial style he typically uses when addressing the faithful:

John, the Seer of Patmos
by Benedict XVI, August 23, 2006

Dear brothers and sisters, in the last catechesis we meditated on the figure of the apostle John. At first we tried to see how much can be known of his life. Then, in a second catechesis, we meditated on the central content of his Gospel, of his Letters: charity, love. And today we are again concerned with the figure of John, this time to consider the seer of Revelation.

We must immediately make an observation: Whereas his name never appears in the fourth Gospel or the letters attributed to the apostle, [the Book of] Revelation makes reference to John's name four times (cf. 1:1,4,9; 22:8). On one hand, it is evident that the author had no reason to silence his name and, on the other, he knew that his first readers could identify him with precision. We know moreover that, already in the third century, the scholars argued over the true identity of the John of Revelation.
Continued here...

Gospel for Saturday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 23:1-12

Vices of the Scribes and Pharisees

[1] Then said Jesus to the crowds and to His disciples, [2] "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; [3] so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. [4] They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. [5] They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, [6] and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, [7] and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. [8] But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. [9] And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven. [10] Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. [11] He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; [12] whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


1-39. Throughout this chapter Jesus severely criticizes the scribes and Pharisees and demonstrates the sorrow and compassion He feels towards the ordinary mass of the people, who have been ill-used, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). His address may be divided into three parts: in the first (verses 1-12) He identifies their principal vices and corrupt practices; in the second (verses 13-36) He confronts them and speaks His famous "woes", which in effect are the reverse of the Beatitudes He preached in Chapter 5: no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven--no one can escape condemnation to the flames--unless he changes his attitude and behavior; in the third part (verses 37-39) He weeps over Jerusalem, so grieved is He by the evils into which the blind pride and hardheartedness of the scribes and Pharisees have misled the people.

2-3. Moses passed on to the people the Law received from God. The scribes, who for the most part sided with the Pharisees, had the function of educating the people in the Law of Moses; that is why they were said to "sit on Moses' seat". Our Lord recognized that the scribes and Pharisees did have authority to teach the Law; but He warns the people and His disciples to be sure to distinguish the Law as read out and taught in the synagogues from the practical interpretations of the Law to be seen in their leaders' lifestyles. Some years later, St. Paul--a Pharisee like his father before him--faced his former colleagues with exactly the same kind of accusations as Jesus makes here: "You then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, `The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you'" (Romans 2:21-24).

5. "Phylacteries": belts or bands carrying quotations from sacred Scripture which the Jews used to wear fastened to their arms or foreheads. To mark themselves out as more religiously observant than others, the Pharisees used to wear broader phylacteries. The fringes were light-blue stripes on the hems of cloaks; the Pharisees ostentatiously wore broader fringes.

8-10. Jesus comes to teach the truth; in fact, He is the Truth (John 14:6). As a teacher, therefore, He is absolutely unique and unparalleled. "The whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: His silences, His miracles, His gestures, His prayer, His love for people, His special affection for the little and the poor, His acceptance of the total sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of the world, and His resurrection are the actualization of His word and the fulfillment of revelation. Hence for Christians the crucifix is one of the most sublime and popular images of Christ the Teacher.

"These considerations are in line with the great traditions of the Church and they all strengthen our fervor with regard to Christ, the Teacher who reveals God to man and man to himself, the Teacher who saves, sanctifies and guides, who lives, who speaks, rouses, moves, redresses, judges, forgives, and goes with us day by day on the path of history, the Teacher who comes and will come in glory" (John Paul II, "Catechesi Tradendae", 9).

11. The Pharisees were greedy for honor and recognition: our Lord insists that every form of authority, particularly in the context of religion, should be exercised as a form of service to others; it must not be used to indulge personal vanity or greed. "He who is the greatest among you shall be your servant".

12. A spirit of pride and ambition is incompatible with being a disciple of Christ. Here our Lord stresses the need for true humility, for anyone who is to follow Him. The verbs "will be humbled", "will be exalted" have "God" as their active agent. Along the same lines, St. James preaches that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). And in the "Magnificat", the Blessed Virgin explains that the Lord "has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree [the humble]" (Luke 1:52).
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 25, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 26-Faith:That We Might Believe

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: God grant me a lively sense of faith.

Mental Picture (cf. John 6:22-70): Standing around in a group of Galileans I hear Jesus say that He is the bread that has come down from heaven. They murmur: they know Him and His parents; how then can He say He came from heaven? He says He is the bread which the Father in heaven gives for the life of the world. Some of these Jews seem to understand; some of them are hostile to His words. Jesus speaks those astonishing words now: "... whoever be­holds the Son, and believes in Him, shall have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

My Personal Application: For me, as for the Jews, our Lord's words are not easy to understand. But I have this great advantage: I already have the gift of faith. Do I possibly not appreciate this gift enough? Do I make real and vivid in my daily living the truth that God sent His Son that we might believe in Him? Or has this truth only a skin-deep effect on my life? Have I weighed the tremendous meaning our Lord's words can and should exert on everything I do? - "Amen, amen, I say to you, he who believes in me has life everlasting." A lively faith means that my whole being reacts to the belief that is in my mind.

I Speak to God: My faith is not strong enough, dear Lord, or I would be more inspired to live by the truths you revealed to me. Strengthen it, make it lively. I have the faith; help me to act in accord with it.

Thought for Today: I believe; strengthen my belief.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Eastern-rite leaders say Latin-rite bishops suppress their faith traditions

Kakkanad, Aug. 25, 2006 (CNA) - Eastern-rite Catholics of the Syro-Malabar Church, who live in Latin-rite territories, say they face severe challenges in practicing their faith and traditions, reported UCA News.
. . .
The Latin-rite Catholics "want our donations, not us," said SMC [Syro-Malabar Church] member Michael Joseph, who lives in the territory of the Latin-rite Diocese of Baroda. "We are forced to adopt their liturgy and tradition," Joseph said, alleging that some Latin-rite priests are "dead against" SMC Catholics conducting Sunday Mass in their native language, reported UCA News.

Mass in one's native language? Come now...

Lefebvrite bishop says no progress on reconciliation with Vatican

ROME (CNS) -- A year after his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, said there had been no substantial progress on reconciliation with the Vatican.

Bishop Fellay said that after the terms of a possible agreement were discussed by cardinals and Roman Curia officials in meetings last spring "there's been no development" on the issue.

How do we treat others? Lesson 2 of 5

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 P.M., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached...

It read:
"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Mrs. Nat King Cole

Notes: Many will already know that this little story has been debunked... I'm certain that it's on Nevertheless, it points out that one should be willing to help others selflessly, without regard to a reward or even a 'thank you'. Note also that this story takes place in Alabama - Nat King Cole was born in Alabama, he died in a hospital in Santa Monica, CA, on 2/15/65 of lung cancer - he was 45 years old.

Archbishop Assigns Convicted Priest to ‘Monitored’ Place

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has assigned Bryan M. Kuchar, a formerly active priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese scheduled for release from jail Aug. 30 after a sex-abuse conviction, to a temporary stay in a "secure and monitored residence" within the archdiocese.

The archdiocese continues its efforts to remove Kuchar from the priesthood through a laicization decree from the Vatican. By Church law, the archdiocese still has responsibility for Kuchar until there is a decision from the Vatican, archdiocesan officials said.

In a recent letter to Kuchar, Archbishop Burke reminded Kuchar of his vow of obedience to his bishop and ordered him not to perform any duties of a priest or to wear clerical garb after his release from jail. The archbishop also directed Kuchar not to speak to the media about his situation.

The archbishop’s recent letter to Kuchar told him that the archdiocese will not pay him a salary but will pay for health care until there is a decision from the Vatican on the laicization request.

Kuchar, 39, was sentenced to three years in the St. Louis County Jail in Clayton following his conviction by a jury in August 2003 on three counts of statutory sodomy.

UK Researcher: Embryonic Stem Cells Have Never Been Used to Treat Anyone and no Plans Exist to do so

UNITED KINGDOM, August 23, 2006 ( – Modern stem-cell advancements in umbilical cord blood have rendered human embryonic stem-cell research unnecessary according to a prestigious UK researcher, who calls cord blood the “realistic future of stem-cell technology.”

In this second part of an exclusive interview with, Dr. Peter Hollands, the Chief Science Officer of the UK Blood Bank and early pioneer of embryonic stem-cell research, explains that embryonic stem-cell researchers will keep their public mandate unless a vast media campaign educates the public about the superior benefits and proven cures of cord blood.

This article, together with part one, should be forwarded to all media news desks...maybe, someone will wake up? I understand that this has been forwarded to former Senator John Danforth, an ardent supporter of killing human life in its embryonic stage for research purposes...I wonder if Danforth really cares about the grave immorality of destroying such innocent human life? Actually, I wonder if he can even understand what he is supporting...

An Observation from the Diocese of Orange.... remember, don't you? That diocese where the bishop pulled a lady from her knees who wanted to receive Holy Communion kneeling? The diocese in which a priest claimed that it was a mortal sin to kneel to receive Holy Communion?

Well, this one is worth reading...for no other reason, to be thankful if you do not live there. (letter below edited and forwarded by Mass Abuse)

Fr. Art Holquin states:
"“Translations are like women: when they are faithful, they are not beautiful; and when they beautiful, they are not faithful!”

Let me introduce you to Fr. Art Holquin.

He is now in the prestigious position of Pastor at the ONLY Basilica in the Diocese of Orange - Basilica Mission San Juan Capistrano - AND the Old Mission San Juan Capistrano with a very large Mission San Juan Cap. elementary school in the same block (he doesn't live in the rectory, though - Bishop Brown bought him a nice condo (see Bishop Browns other "gifts to special priests"

This is the priest who, while rector at the Cathedral of the Diocese of Orange (another very public and prestigious position - another VERY large parish with an elementary school, refused to distribute communion to a woman who knelt to receive (he sidestepped and invited others to receive, while she remained kneeling at the sanctuary step). When the second and 3rd person also knelt to receive, Fr. Art handed the ciborium to the Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and returned to and sat in the presider's chair (with his chin in his hand) while the EMHC's distributed communion to the rest of the faithful.

This is the same person (Fr. Art Holquin) who, after Fr. Rod Stephens decided to leave the priesthood in order to continue to live with his male friend, hired ex-father Rod to serve on the committee of the Mission San Juan Capistrano's Serra Chapel Conservator Assessment team to help with the refurbishing of the Old Mission San Juan Capistrano.

And is the same pastor who printed a glowing report of Voice of the Faithful in his parish bulletin (and posted it on the parish website)
(here's some first hand info about the group )

Well, the latest spiritually sick and morally perverted statement comes from Fr. Art Holquin on page 14 of Bishop Brown's monthly newspaper, The OC Catholic, August 2006 edition, bottom of the second column.

He states, “Translations are like women: when they are faithful, they are not beautiful; and when they beautiful, they are not faithful!”
As a faithful Catholic - I cannot conceive of a more demeaning statement about women.


If a decent heterosexual man had that thought - he'd leave it unsaid. If he had said it after a few drinks at a dinner party, it would have been horrible. But to decide to write it down, then to have it printed in the monthly CATHOLIC paper that is at the back of ALL OF OUR 62 PARISHES in the diocese and read by THOUSANDS of Catholics, young and old, is appalling.

This man is SUPPOSED to be a father to his flock. What father would speak like that about his wife to his children? About his mother to his brothers and children? How dare he scandalize the children and young adults and especially the young ladies of our diocese. And how dare he insult ALL faithful, Catholic wives. And how dare he demean Our Blessed Mother who was also both beautiful and faithful.

One can tell the character of a man based on what he finds amusing. This man is neither a decent man nor a proper priest. He CERTAINLY should not have access to young minds, NOR be a pastor preaching to huge congregations and pastoring a parish elementary school, nor should he be hearing young adults and children's confessions and advising them.

Ladies, for the sake of your dignity and that of the church, please admonish Fr. Holquin. Men, for the sake of your wives and your daughters, please admonish Fr. Holquin. Young men , for the sake of your future wives, please admonish Fr. Holquin.

Please call Fr. Holquin's office (949-234-1360) and request a public apology to all women from the pulpit. And then request his resignation. He does not have the mind or the character necessary to honorably serve God as a priest. Consider withholding your Sunday donation until this occurs. And let Fr. Holquin know why you will not donate.

Then call (Bishop Brown (714-282-3000) and admonish him for printing this perversion in his monthly newspaper and request that Fr. Holquin be admonished and removed. Consider withholding your PSA donation until this occurs, and let the bishop know why you will not donate.

HT to massabuse for the email.

Israel’s Ambassador: “For Peace, an Interreligious Task Force”

An interview with Jerusalem’s representative at the Vatican, Oded Ben-Hur: “A state of Israel living in security and peace with its neighbors is the only guarantee for the future of the Churches in the Middle East”

by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Friday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 22:34-40

The Greatest Commandment of All

[34] But when the Pharisees heard that He (Jesus) had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. [35] And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, to test Him. [36] "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?" [37] And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."


34-40. In reply to the question, our Lord points out that the whole law can be condensed into two commandments: the first and more important consists in unconditional love of God; the second is a consequence and result of the first, because when man is loved, St. Thomas says, God is loved, for man is the image of God (cf. "Commentary on St. Matthew", 22:4).

A person who genuinely loves God also loves his fellows because he realizes that they are his brothers and sisters, children of the same Father, redeemed by the same blood of our Lord Jesus Christ: "this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God should love his brother also" (1 John 4:21). However, if we love man for man's sake without reference to God, this love will become an obstacle in the way of keeping the first commandment, and then it is no longer genuine love of our neighbor. But love of our neighbor for God's sake is clear proof that we love God: "If anyone says, `I love God', but hates his brother, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself": here our Lord establishes as the guideline for our love of neighbor the love each of us has for himself; both love of others and love of self are based on love of God. Hence, in some cases it can happen that God requires us to put our neighbor's need before our own; in others, not: it depends on what value, in the light of God's love, needs to be put on the spiritual and material factors involved.

Obviously spiritual goods take absolute precedence over material ones, even over life itself. Therefore, spiritual goods, be they our own or our neighbor's, must be the first to be safeguarded. If the spiritual good in question is the supreme one of the salvation of the soul, no one is justified in putting his own soul into certain danger of being condemned in order to save another, because given human freedom we can never be absolutely sure what personal choice another person may make: this is the situation in the parable (cf. Matthew 25:1-13), where the wise virgins refuse to give oil to the foolish ones; similarly St. Paul says that he would wish himself to be rejected if that could save his brothers (cf. Romans 9:3)--an unreal theoretical situation. However, what is quite clear is that we have to do all we can to save our brothers, conscious that, if someone helps to bring a sinner back to the Way, he will save himself from eternal death and cover a multitude of his own sins (James 5:20). From all this we can deduce that self-love of the right kind, based on God's love for man, necessarily involves forgetting oneself in order to love God and our neighbor for God.

37-38. The commandment of love is the most important commandment because by obeying it man attains his own perfection (cf. Colossians 3:14). "The more a soul loves," St. John of the Cross writes, "the more perfect is it in that which it loves; therefore this soul that is now perfect is wholly love, if it may thus be expressed, and all its actions are love and it employs all its faculties and possessions in loving, giving all that it has, like the wise merchant, for this treasure of love which it has found hidden in God [...]. For, even as the bee extracts from all plants the honey that is in them, and has no use for them for aught else save for that purpose, even so the soul with great facility extracts the sweetness of love that is in all the things that pass through it; it loves God in each of them, whether pleasant or unpleasant; and being, as it is, informed and protected by love, it has neither feeling nor taste nor knowledge of such things, for, as we have said, the soul knows naught but love, and its pleasure in all things and occupations is ever, as we have said, the delight of the love of God" ("Spiritual Canticle", Stanza 27, 8).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 25-Faith: What and Why

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To have a firm, meaningful faith in Christ.

The Idea: Where were you born? Who won the World Series in '39? Do Italians smoke cigars? What was the top-selling CD last month? To answer these questions you have to reply on faith; human faith. For you believe the truth of these ideas on the words of others who are (1) knowing and (2) honest, truthful. Every time you look at a sports page, read a history book, watch TV, you trust others. We would be mental midgets without a strong human faith; we would be considered fools.

My Personal Application: "As you have faith in God [the Father], have faith in me," said Christ. Have faith in what He tells us. Where can we find a person more (1) knowing and (2) truthful? For Christ, the God-Man is all-knowing, all-­truthful. Speaking to the Father, He said, "I pray for those who are to find faith in me through their [the Apostles'] words." We would be religious runts without strong divine faith; we would be fools.

I Speak to God: Lord, you told me so many things nobody else knows - things that are so important, so important for me. I believe you are one God in three Persons; I believe you are a real man, you died for us, you will be my judge; I believe all your Church teaches; I believe because you told me who "can neither deceive [you are all-truth­ful] nor be deceived [you are all-knowing]."

Thought for Today: He is all-knowing and all-­truthful.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

How do we treat others - Lesson 1 of 5

First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


Missouri Ban on Sexy Highway Billboards Is Unconstitutional

So says the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A two-year-old state law banning sexually suggestive billboards along Missouri highways is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court panel ruled Monday.

The ruling by the three-judge panel for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis overturned a U.S. District Court's ruling earlier this year that banning such billboards within a mile of state highways was a constitutional regulation of commercial speech.
The state will seek a rehearing from the full 8th Circuit, and if unsuccessful, might appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, Nixon spokesman John Fougere said.

OTC Abortion Drug Approved by FDA

WASHINGTON - Women may buy the morning-after pill without a prescription — but only with proof they’re 18 or older, federal health officials ruled Thursday, capping a contentious 3-year effort to ease access to the emergency contraceptive.

This flawed and repugnant decision allows the over-the-counter (OTC) sale of 'Plan B' to those who are 18 or older - I assume anyone - man, woman, or other - may purchase the abortion drug. This, of course, will allow yet another avenue of 'escape' for those involved in statutory rape. As our nation sinks deeper and deeper into the slime of decadence and immorality, we are reminded that we should be resolute in our prayers, asking God to deliver us from the evils which plague us.

HT to Darla for the link.

Gospel for August 24, Feast: St. Bartholomew, Apostle

From: John 1:45-51

The Calling of the First Disciples (Continuation)

[45] Philip found Nathaniel, and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." [46]Nathaniel said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." [47] Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him, and said to him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" [48] Nathaniel said to Him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." [49] Nathaniel answered Him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! [50] Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." [51] And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."


45-51. The Apostle Philip is so moved that he cannot but tell his friend Nathanael (Bartholomew) about his wonderful discovery (verse 45). "Nathanael had heard from Scripture that Jesus must come from Bethlehem, from the people of David. This belief prevailed among the Jews and also the prophet had proclaimed it of old, saying: `But you, O Bethlehem, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel' (Micah 5:2). Therefore, when he heard that He was from Nazareth, he was troubled and in doubt, since he found that the announcement of Philip was not in agreement with the words of the prophecy" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 20, 1).

A Christian may find that, in trying to communicate his faith to others, they raise difficulties. What should he do? What Philip did--not trust his own explanation, but invite them to approach Jesus personally: "Come and see" (verse 46). In other words, a Christian should bring his fellow-men, his brothers into Jesus' presence through the means of grace which He has given them and which the Church ministers--frequent reception of the sacraments, and devout Christian practices.

Nathanael, a sincere person (verse 47), goes along with Philip to see Jesus; he makes personal contact with our Lord (verse 48), and the outcome is that he receives faith (the result of his ready reception of grace, which reaches him through Christ's human nature: verse 49).

As far as we can deduce from the Gospels, Nathanael is the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of faith in Jesus as Messiah and as Son of God. Later on St. Peter, in a more formal way, will recognize our Lord's divinity (cf. Matthew 16:16). Here (verse 51) Jesus evokes a text from Daniel (7:13) to confirm and give deeper meaning to the words spoken by His new disciple.
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 23, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 24-Christ and the Pharisees-Meekness

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To understand your meekness and to see how I can imitate it in my own life.

Mental Picture (cf. Matt. 23:1-36): Holy Week... Jesus teaching in the temple. At the edge of the crowd Pharisees are whispering: "He is a drunkard... servant of the devil... a madman... a blasphemer... a sinner." For three years Christ has endured this, patiently showing them their errors, giving them every chance to reform. Now He stiffens with anger: "Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites; you shut heaven in men's faces... steal from widows... no justice, mercy, honor... whitened sepulchres, full of corruption... serpents, vipers." Their faces fill with fear; they slink away.

My Personal Application: It is easy to play the coward. And it doesn't take much strength to lose my temper. But the middle road - to know when to be angry without losing my temper; to know when to be quiet - that is very difficult. Am I too easy-going? following the bad example of others, watching them mislead others? Is my motto: mind my own business at all times; by silence to seem to give approval to stealing, bad language, etc.? Or am I rash in my following of Christ? - too impatient to figure out the right opportunity, the right thing to say and do. If Christ had acted as I do, would He not have driven away Zaccheus, Peter, every sinner? Am I quick-tempered, flying off the handle? How often did Christ get angry? Why did He when He did?

I Speak to God: Help me to learn how to practice meekness... more and more each day. Help me never again to think foolishly that it is weakness. It is, rather, the greatest strength.

Thought for Today: "Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

New Stem Cell Method Avoids Destroying Embryos - However...

Biologists have developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a method that, if confirmed in other laboratories, would seem to remove the principal objection to stem cell research.

“There is no rational reason left to oppose this research,” said Dr. Robert Lanza, vice president of Advanced Cell Technology and leader of a team that reported the new method in an article published online by the journal Nature.

But critics of human embryonic stem cell research raised other objections, citing the possible risk to the embryo from using the technique, and the fact that it depends on in-vitro fertilization, the generation of embryos outside the womb from a couple’s egg and sperm.

The new technique would be performed on an embryo when it is two days old, after the fertilized egg has divided into eight cells, known as blastomeres.

. . .

Critics, however, have a range of objections to the research. Catholic bishops, in particular, oppose both in-vitro fertilization and P.G.D. testing, and therefore still object to the research, even though the cells would be derived from an embryo that is brought to term.

Richard Doerflinger, deputy director for pro-life activities at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the church opposed in-vitro fertilization because of the high death rate of embryos in fertility clinics and because separating procreation from the act of love made the embryo seem “more a product of manufacture than a gift.”

From Dr. Ed Peters:The rules aren't changing, they're being applied.

And many of us would agree that it's high time!
Maybe it's just me, but I sense today a rather different mood among American bishops facing outlandish behavior by their clergy; problem-priest cases seem much less likely now to just drift along year after year in unresolved, canonically ambiguous states. Ecclesiastical justice is never swift, of course, but at last its wheels seem to be turning again. The latest evidence for this comes from a diocese in Forida. See:

Archbishop Milingo to Collaborate with Dan Brown?

The Holy See has warned that there will be “serious consequences” for a rebel African archbishop if reports that he is to work with the author of the Da Vinci Code on a new novel about exorcisms are true.

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the unpredictable African faith healer and exorcist, is reported to have agreed to work with Dan Brown on the project. The agreement was said to have been reached at a meeting in Houston, Texas, attended by representatives of Dan Brown, Sony Pictures, Random House publishing company and Target, an American company which intends to finance the film.

Sad and pathetic...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ....


Sam's Club replaces 'Christmas' with 'Holidays'

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "Here we go again"....This just in from the American Family Association:

Even though it is August, the Christmas advertising season has already begun and Sam's Club has come down on the side of "Holidays" instead of "Christmas."

In the August/September issue of their in-house magazine Source, Sam's Club has one page dedicated to Christmas. But Sam's Club doesn't refer to Christmas as being Christmas. Sam's Club promotes it as "Holidays."

On page 69 of Source, the promotional plug says: "Coming soon. Plan ahead for the holidays." On the page decorated in Christmas fashion are three products. Sam's Club wants you to buy "Holiday Cards," "Holiday Ribbon," and "Holiday Gift Bags."

On the "Christmas" page, the word Christmas isn't used! View the page ad.

On June 26, AFA wrote Wal-Mart (which owns Sam's Club) asking that they not ban "Christmas" in advertising and promotions. Included in that letter was a CD with the names of 201,595 individuals who signed the petition asking for no ban. Wal-Mart, ignoring the letter, did not even bother to respond.

Take Action
It is very important that as many as possible send an email to Sam's Club. Since this is the first Christmas ad we have seen, we will notify major retailers of the number of emails sent. Perhaps our efforts will encourage other companies not to ban "Christmas."

After you have sent your email, please forward this to your family and friends and invite them to help us "keep Christ in Christmas." Share this information with members of your church and Sunday School.

Click Here to Email Sam's Club Now!
Not really surprising - after all, money is one of the gods of our culture...

Tolerance? What is Tolerance?

Archbishop Alfred Hughes or the Archdiocese of New Orleans offers a perspective worth reading:

Tolerance is a “new” virtue in the history of civilization. Neither Plato nor Aristotle named it in Greek moral thought. Seneca failed to include it when he summarized the Roman treatment of virtue. One would search in vain to find the virtue of tolerance in Sacred Scripture or in the rich Christian tradition through most of the centuries.
. . .
It was the 18th century Enlightenment that introduced tolerance as a virtue. Thus Locke, Voltaire and Lessing promoted tolerance as the virtue to move people beyond the religious conflicts that had troubled Europe in the wake of the Reformation.

These philosophers were convinced that the aggressive promotion of religious doctrines was the cause of the endless conflicts. Interestingly, they were convinced that it was possible to realize a consensus on moral truths to form the basis for society and public policy. This understanding undergirded the development of the founding documents of our country.

There can be a particular problem when tolerance is applied to religion. It works in countries that have an established religion. It is desirable that Christian countries be tolerant of Jews; the Jewish state of Muslims; Muslim states of Christians and Jews. But the tolerance of religion in a country such as our own that has no established religion can imply that religion is an evil which must be allowed to exist. Then, we can find ourselves urged in the name of tolerance to accept a permissive society which grants to immoral behavior the same status as moral virtue. This opens the door to moral relativism and the acceptance of all diversity, constructive or destructive, as a positive value.
(my emphasis)

Gregorian Chant Brings Tradition Back to Church

The nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., are devoted to Gregorian chant, chanting seven times a day. Some even interrupt their sleep to chant at 2 a.m. Singing here are, from left, Sister Emmanuelle Hutchinson, Rev. Mother Jadwiga Makarewicz, Rev. Mother Cecilia Schullo, Rev. Mother Lucia Kuppens and Rev. Mother Noella Marcellino. The Hartford Courant photo by Rick Hartford

Duluth Diocese Uninvites Sr. Prejean as Keynote Speaker

Diocese cancels nun's Duluth talk because of anti-Bush newspaper ad
RELIGION: The author of "Dead Man Walking" was scheduled to speak at an October Catholic fundraiser, which is now canceled.

Is it not odd that she would have even been invited as a speaker in the first place?...Therein lies a story, I'm certain. Since this was a Diocese Education dinner, could not a more suitable individual have been selected, maybe someone committed to Catholic education?

Stem Cell Research: A Lesson for Our Time

From CatholicCulture, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus has posted an insightful commentary on the stem cell issue:

The most hotly debated bioethical issue for the past five years has been the acquisition of stem cells. These cells can transform into a wide variety of human cell types, and so can be used to cure disease. For this reason, a large sector of the medical research community has insisted on the need to harvest stem cells from human embryos. Others have insisted that growing embryos for this purpose is both immoral and inhuman.

Gospel for Wednesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 20:1-16

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

[1] "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. [2] After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. [3] And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; [4] and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. [5] Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. [6] And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?' [7] They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.' [8] And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' [9] And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. [10] Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. [11] And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, [12] saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' [13] But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? [14] Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. [15] Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? [16] So the last will be first, and the first last."


1-16. This parable is addressed to the Jewish people, whom God called at an early hour, centuries ago. Now the Gentiles are also being called--with an equal right to form part of the new people of God, the Church. In both cases it is a matter of a gratuitous, unmerited, invitation; therefore, those who were the "first" to receive the call have no grounds for complaining when God calls the "last" and gives them the same reward--membership of His people. At first sight the laborers of the first hour seem to have a genuine grievance--because they do not realize that to have a job in the Lord's vineyard is a divine gift. Jesus leaves us in no doubt that although He calls us to follow different ways, all receive the same reward--Heaven.

2. "Denarius": a silver coin bearing an image of Caesar Augustus (Matthew 22:19-21).

3. The Jewish method of calculating time was different from ours. They divided the whole day into eight parts, four night parts (called "watches") and four day parts (called "hours")--the first, third, sixth and ninth hour.

The first hour began at sunrise and ended around nine o'clock; the third ran to twelve noon; the sixth to three in the afternoon; and the ninth from three to sunset. This meant that the first and ninth hours varied in length, decreasing in autumn and winter and increasing in spring and summer and the reverse happening with the first and fourth watches.

Sometimes intermediate hours were counted--as for example in verse 6 which refers to the eleventh hour, the short period just before sunset, the end of the working day.

16. The Vulgate, other translations and a good many Greek codexes add: "For many are called, but few are chosen" (cf. Matthew 22:14).
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 22, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 23 - Jewish Leaders Plot Christ's Death

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord Jesus Christ, show me what it means in my life to plot your death.

Mental Picture: A dark quiet night. I stand in the shadows next to the door of a large stone house, a small light in one room. I hear men coming. Hurrying, one by one they slip past me into the house. I follow them into the room. Caiphas­ - evil Caiphas and his cronies, the Scribes and Pharisees - they are whispering. I strain to hear. "One man should die... ruining our life... he must go... get rid of him... better off without him.." What is this? They want to kill whom? I hear: "Christ!" They will kill Christ!

My Personal Application: Do I try to get Christ out of my life? Is He in the way? I know I can kill His life in me by mortal sin. I don't want to go that far. But do I act as if there is some part of my life where He doesn't fit in? Is He taking all the fun out of my social life? Do I get rid of Him from that part of my life? How does He fit into my conversations? Do I throw Him out of that part of my life ?

I Speak to Christ: O Christ Jesus, my Lord, show me myself. Am I trying to get rid of you? There is something wrong with my life if you seem to spoil it for me. Show me how I am wrong. Lord, I don't want to be a Caiphas... or a petty Scribe... or a Pharisee. I know you fit into my life. You make my life a real life. But it's so easy to forget you. Help me to remember.

Thought for Today: "In Him we live and move and have our being."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Lebanon and Clashes of Civilization: How to Recognize the Enemy

More Gospel and less diplomacy: this is the new course set by Benedict XVI. But geopolitics also has its reasons. The theses of Vittorio E. Parsi, Giulio Andreotti, and the Jesuit scholar of Islam Samir K. Samir. Plus a comprehensive analysis by Pietro De Marco.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Tuesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 19:23-30

Christian Poverty and Renunciation

[23] Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." [25] When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" [26] But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [27] Then Peter said in reply, "Lo, we have left everything and followed You. What then shall we have?" [28] Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man shall sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. [30] But many that are first will be last, and the last first."


24-26. By drawing this comparison Jesus shows that it is simply not possible for people who put their hearts on worldly things to obtain a share in the Kingdom of God.

"With God all things are possible": that is, with God's grace man can be brave and generous enough to use wealth to promote the service of God and man. This is why St. Matthew, in Chapter 5, specifies that the poor "in spirit" are blessed (Matthew 5:3).

28. "In the new world", in the "regeneration": a reference to the renewal of all things which will take place when Jesus Christ comes to judge the living and the dead. The resurrection of the body will be an integral part of this renewal.

The ancient people of God, Israel, was made up of twelve tribes. The new people of God, the Church, to which all men are called, is founded by Jesus Christ on the Twelve Apostles under the primacy of Peter.

29. These graphic remarks should not be explained away. They mean that love for Jesus Christ and His Gospel should come before everything else. What our Lord says here should not be interpreted as conflicting with the will of God Himself, the creator and sanctifier of family bonds.
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 21, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 22-Christ Weeps Over Jerusalem

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Most kind Savior, teach me the lesson of gratitude to you for your goodness to me.

Mental Picture (cf.Luke 19:29-44): The first Palm Sunday... the triumphant procession... the people singing Hosannas to Christ... coming down the slopes of Mount Olive to Magnificent Jerusalem and the gleaming temple spread below them... and Christ stops, stops to weep... because of Jerusalem's ingratitude. He had done so much for her, for the Jews, and in return... ingratitude. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." "What more could He have done?"

My Personal Application: It's fun to help others, when they appreciate it. But when they don't... well, I can feel bad, even angry, can't I? Even for little things, I expect a "thank you" or at least a smile. But have I considered this? - Christ gave me, not a little thing, but His very life. And when He looked ahead and saw how I would fail so often to thank Him - how I would at times even reject Him by sin - He wept.

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, forgive me for my ingratitude. It's so easy to forget you, so easy to put off Mass and Communion, to skip prayers. Help me to think of you and pray to you. Grant that I may never cause you to weep over me.

Thought for Today: "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

August 28 - RALLY, Christians Against Human Cloning

Dr. Alan Keyes
Dr. Rick Scarborough

7:00 P.M.
Life Christian Church
13001 Gravois Rd.
St. Louis, MO

Endorsed by: Missouri State Host Committee: (Partial Listing)
Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke – Archdiocese of St. Louis;
Bishop Robert W. Finn – Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph;
Dr. David Clippard – Exec. Dir. - Missouri Baptist Convention;
Rev. Gary Fry – Exec, Dir. - MO State Free Will Baptist Association;
Dr. John Marshall – Exec. Pastor - Second Baptist Church of Springfield;
Kay Meyer – President of Family Shield Ministries, Inc.;
Dick Bott – Bott Radio Network;
Phyllis Schlafly – President of Eagle Forum;
Dave and Joyce Meyer – Joyce Meyer Ministries;
Dr. Monte Shinkle – Concord Baptist Church;
Archbishop Irl Gladfelter – The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran

PDF Flyer from the Archdiocesan web site is here.

Bush Approves Over the Counter Early Abortion Pill

Pro-Life leaders are strongly urging Americans to immediately contact President Bush to reverse his shocking approval today of over the counter early abortion pills.

A press release by Human Life International underscored the seriousness of the move as it was titled, "President Bush Files for Divorce with Catholic Base." Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International commented, "President Bush's implied support for the abortion-causing drug Plan B is completely inconsistent with his recent veto of the embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) funding bill. What the president apparently fails to realize is that Plan B kills the same innocent unborn children that the ESCR process does."

The approval of this drug is logically inconsistent with a respect for human life. It is a horrible decision with deadly consequences...

Concerned Women for America (CWA) blasted the decision noting that it is ludicrous to allow Plan B without medical supervision when a low-dose of the same drug (birth control pills) requires medical oversight to protect women from serious health complications.

The Renovation of St. Patrick’s in Kansas City

Loving hands revive Old St. Patrick’s
A broken organ, missing altar and an antiquated heating system are challenges of restoration.
. . .
The Roman Catholic diocese had shuttered the church by 1959, after which it was used only occasionally. Now the building, thought to be the oldest church in the city limits of Kansas City, is on track to reopen next year.

The sanctuary will again hear the solemn and majestic tones of the Latin Mass, which is the focus of a group of worshippers that currently meets at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 2552 Gillham Road. Earlier this year, about 90 families took on the renovation of Old St. Patrick’s Church for a permanent home. It’s now Old St. Patrick Roman Catholic Oratory.
. . .
The group at Our Lady of Sorrows has been meeting there since 1989. Another group meets in Kansas City, Kan., at Blessed Sacrament Church — the St. Philippine Duchesne Latin Mass Community. Old St. Patrick’s was designated for the Latin Mass community at Sorrows by Bishop Robert W. Finn in 2005. An oratory has no geographical boundaries as a parish does.

This is wonderful news!!! Bishop Finn has brought the Institute of Christ the King to the diocese as Archbishop Burke has done here.

The web site for Old St Patrick Oratory is here.

If it walks and talks like a DUCK....

...It might just be one - a Dissenting UnCatholic Klub (DUCK), or just another dissenting "Catholic" organization along the lines of CTA, VOTF, ARCC, CFFC, and on and on...


Let's cut right to the chase. Everyone talks about the weather in the U.S. Catholic Church but no one does anything about it. We propose to do something about not only the weather, but the climate as well -- with your help. In fact, without your help, and the help of a million others like you, we won't be able to demand the action necessary to create the Church we need. If you've been following the horror stories for the past four years, you know it isn't only the spectacle of sex abuse by a relatively few American priests that makes us ashamed of our Church. It is the systematic cover up of that abuse by most of the nation's bishops. read more »

Yet another group arises from the dungheap of dissension. And, of course, there is nothing new with this one either. It espouses the same, tired complaints: the Church is too authoritarian and has failed to fully implement the reforms of Vatican II and because of this, the faithful must change the Church - fashioning it into an idol, shaped upon the whims and desires of the chosen elite - those to whom a 'spirit' has bestowed the heretofore unknown knowledge of 'authentic reform' - those whose numbers are dwindling, having been unable to persuade younger Catholics to join in their lost cause against the Church.

Here is some of what the group has to say:
We want to push for new laws in the American Church that will make us all accountable to one another, grounding our stand in scripture and the traditions of the primitive Church.

How primitive do they want to be? While it may not be precisely addressing this issue, let us recall what Pope Pius XII said in Mediator Dei nearly 60 years ago, and from this, we may obtain an insight, at least in principle, of the errors of abandoning the growth and development of the Church for a more primitive one from an earlier time:

63. Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. No more can any Catholic in his right senses repudiate existing legislation of the Church to revert to prescriptions based on the earliest sources of canon law. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.

64. This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism to which the illegal Council of Pistoia gave rise. It likewise attempts to reinstate a series of errors which were responsible for the calling of that meeting as well as for those resulting from it, with grievous harm to souls, and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the "deposit of faith" committed to her charge by her divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn.[53] For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father of their souls' salvation.

65. In every measure taken, then, let proper contact with the ecclesiastical hierarchy be maintained. Let no one arrogate to himself the right to make regulations and impose them on others at will. Only the Sovereign Pontiff, as the successor of Saint Peter, charged by the divine Redeemer with the feeding of His entire flock,[54] and with him, in obedience to the Apostolic See, the bishops "whom the Holy Ghost has placed . . . to rule the Church of God,"[55] have the right and the duty to govern the Christian people. Consequently, Venerable Brethren, whenever you assert your authority - even on occasion with wholesome severity - you are not merely acquitting yourselves of your duty; you are defending the very will of the Founder of the Church.

(All emphasis mine)

And we read this:

...we must elect our own bishops. And retain the power to un-elect them if they fail to serve us. We don't do that by trying to change the thinking of a pope. Not right away, not unless we think we can persuade a man of power to simply give it up.
. . .
Some say we can revolt, following the example of America's Founding Fathers. But we say it's not necessary to go into formal or practical schism. [Note: material schism seems to be sufficient.]

We just have to persuade the bishops (never underestimate the power of public opinion) to inculturate the Gospel in the United States, creating a modern autochthonous American Church...Autochthonous (pronounced aw-TOCK-thun-us) doesn't mean autonomous. It means homegrown.
. . .
We will write a Declaration of Autochthony, one that will challenge our priest-people and our people-people to work out a constitution for the American Church that carefully puts aside the Rome-based secretive, half-vast, culturally-conditioned, legalisms codified in canon law in return for the kind of servant Church envisioned at Vatican II.
Not schismatic? Could have fooled me...

Just another "Klub" doomed to unhappiness and extinction...

The Thrill is Gone...

Besides the possibility of being adopted as an apt recessional song (oops, I mean as the "sending forth" song), one might wonder what else the dwindling numbers portend. I mean, it wasn't exactly standing room only:

August 20, 2006 - A Philadelphia woman presided over mass again Sunday in defiance of the Catholic Church. She is facing excommunication by the Catholic Church, and Cardinal Rigali has released a statement in regards to DiFranco's actions.
About 35 people attended Sunday's service held at the Old Catholic Church of the Beatitudes in Lansdowne. They came for a variety of reasons from a variety of places, but all said they support Eileen DiFranco and the ordination of women priests.
Perhaps the novelty is wearing off - yet not even one month has gone by since her "ordination" to the "priestesshood" and it appears there is very little interest in following the call of her voice...

Remaining defiant, DiFranco, who expects to be formally excommunicated, says "that word is man made".

She believes it never would have come from the mouth of Jesus.

I wonder what she thinks Jesus means when he says, "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." (see Matt 25:41)? Didn't Jesus go beyond "excommunication" here? At least, with excommunication, there is a possibility of conversion and repentance.

What we witness is another example in a long string of failed catechesis, hardened hearts, or plain ignorance of what it means to be Catholic...

A video link is here.

Reactions to Bishop Doran's Column...

Bishop Thomas Doran's column, with some excerpts posted here, has generated numerous comments - most of them, it seems, are favorable. But as we know, when one is confronted with the truth, one may not like it...

F. Patrick LaSalle, a Rock­ford Catholic and member of Voice of the Faithful, a group organized to speak out against sexual abuse by the clergy, said he disagrees with Doran’s effort “to classify an entire political party.”

A majority of Americans, LaSalle added, “feels more comfortable in the party they believe protects the disadvantaged, supports minorities, the elderly and the young, fosters equal rights for all, protests unjust wars and represents the thinking of middle-class America.”

Thankfully, the Holy Father did not see it wise to appoint LaSalle as bishop. We can ask, though, what party does has a better record of "protectong the elderly and the young", of "fostering equal rights for all"? The party of death - whose support for unlimited abortion knows no bounds - even that of supporting the murder of a nearly delivered baby; whose support and advocacy of the homosexual agenda is helping to destroy the family as the main unit of society?

Toni Murray of Roscoe, an advocate of abortion rights, disagreed with Doran’s condemnation of “therapeutic abortion.” Murray said that term refers to “abortion required to save the mother, or if there are devastating problems with the fetus. In that case, it is up to those involved, not the government nor the church.”

Toni Murray fails to understand that laws of society are to be a reflection of the natural moral law, of the laws of God. The deliberate killing of the innocent unborn, regardless of the reason, is demonically evil and Bishop Doran speaks the truth, that same truth which the Church has affirmed for two millenia. Only those whose consciences are not properly formed could disagree with Bishop Doran's comments.

Celebrate LIFE in the City

A St Louis Pro-Life Event worth noting:
All are invited to "Celebrate LIFE in the CITY" with the Young Friends for Life!

Young Friends for Life, recently convened by the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, strives to enhance the participation of St. Louis' young professional community in promoting the dignity of human life from its earliest stages to natural death.

The first project is to host "Celebrate LIFE in the CITY" on Thursday, September 7, at the CITY Museum.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness about Constitutional Amendment 2, a proposed amendment to the Missouri state constitution that would protect embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

All of the proceeds from the evening will benefit a media campaign to educate Missourians about the proposed pro-cloning amendment. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the City Museum while enjoying complimentary drinks and appetizers.

Join us as we "Celebrate LIFE in the CITY" on Thursday, September 7, 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance. For more information or to order tickets, visit or call (314) 792-7556.

Gospel for Aug 21, Memorial: St. Pius X, Pope

From: Matthew 19:16-22

The Rich Young Man

[16] And behold, one man came up to Him (Jesus), saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" [17] And He said to him, "Why do you ask Me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." [18] He said to Him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, [19] Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." [20] The young man said to Him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?" [21] Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me." [22] When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.


17. The Vulgate and other translations, supported by a good many Greek codexes, fill this verse out by saying, "One alone is good, God."

20-22. "What do I still lack?" The young man kept the commandments that were necessary for salvation. But there is more. This is why our Lord replies, "if you would be perfect..." that is to say, if you want to acquire what is still lacking to you. Jesus is giving him an additional calling, "Come, follow Me": He is showing that He wants him to follow Him more closely, and therefore He requires, as He does others (cf. Matthew 4:19-22), to give up anything that might hinder his full dedication to the Kingdom of God.

The scene ends rather pathetically: the young man goes away sad. His attachment to his property prevails over Jesus' affectionate invitation. Here is sadness of the kind that stems from cowardice, from failure to respond to God's calling with personal commitment.

In reporting this episode, the evangelists are actually giving us a case-study which describes a situation and formulates a law, a case-study of specific divine vocation to devote oneself to God's service and the service of all men.

This young man has become a symbol of the kind of Christian whose mediocrity and shortsightedness prevent him from turning his life into a generous, fruitful self-giving to the service of God and neighbor.

What would this young man have become, had be been generous enough to respond to God's call? A great apostle, surely.
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 20, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 21-Recalling the Transfiguration

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: That I may come to realize that Christ is my God, who can do all things, who can fill me with tremendous peace and happiness at any time.

Mental Picture (cf. Matt. 17:1-8): A soft, sum­mer afternoon...Galilee...a high mountain top...Christ praying...Peter, James, and John sleep­ing...then awakening. There is a dazzling white light... Christ shines like the sun... His garments are white as snow! The three Apostles are filled with tremendous joy, deep peace, complete hap­piness. Peter cries out, "Lord, it is good to be here." Suddenly a brilliant cloud covers Christ; the Apostles fall to the ground, covering their eyes. A voice is heard saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him." Then silence. The Apostles look up and see only Jesus.

My Personal Application: It is hard being a Christian day after day, year after year. Christ, our King, never said it would be otherwise. "Whoever desires to come with me must share my labors," but He continued, "that he likewise might share my glory." Here He gives the Apostles and ourselves a glimpse of what His glory is. But do we always have to wait till judgment day for relief from the dullness of life? He has also said, "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you." He can give me more peace and joy in one minute than I can find in a lifetime.

I Speak to Christ: Christ, my Lord and my God, let me find my happiness by keeping close to you. Give me a taste of your peace and joy here, as a slight reminder of the overwhelming joy that you have prepared for me later.

Thought for Today: "Lord, it is good to be here."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

“Virgin": It’s not a Dirty Word

From The American TFP:
In our hypersexual culture, everything invites our youth to promiscuity. And yet it is one of our American paradoxes that, in the midst of this atmosphere, there is a growing movement at universities, high schools and colleges that call for young men and women to remain chaste before marriage. Norman Fulkerson looks at this movement in his article, “Virgin: It’s not a Dirty Word.”

Click here for more.

Gospel for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: John 6:51-58

The Discourse on the Bread of Life (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [51] "I am the living bread which came downfrom 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." [52] The Jews disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" [53] So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; [54] he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. [55] For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. [56] He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. [57] As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will live because of Me. [58] This is the bread which came from Heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"`Going to Communion every day for so many years! Anybody else would be a saint by now, you told me, and I...I'm always the same!' Son, I replied, keep up your daily Communion, and think: what would I be if I had not gone'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 534).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.