Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 22-Sin Prefers a Creature to God

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: I ask Christ to help me to understand this in my own life.

The Idea: A wealthy father has given his son many presents: a house, a car, a boat. He comes to his son and tells him, "I need money quickly to save the business. Would you borrow the money on your house... for only a short time." But his son replies: "I know you are a good businessman, Dad; I'm sure you can get along without me. And if you can't, why that's a good sign you won't be able to repay me. So, no loan this time."

My Personal Application; What do you think of such a selfish son? He is preferring his father's gifts to his father. Think how hurt his father must be. Yet is this not what we do when we sin? Don't we say to God by our action: "I know that you have given me this creature and every other one too, and that you want me to sacrifice it now. But I won't." What is the "creature" in my life; what do I desire most frequently? anger? ease? popularity? bad com­panions? books? Do I prefer these to the all-­good, the all-genrous God, my loving Father?

I Speak to God: Lord, I don't want to choose creatures instead of you who have given them to me. I will sacrifice them when your Command­ments tell me. But give me strength and light in times of temptation to look through the gift, the creature, to see you, the Giver, the Creator.

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

Gospel for Saturday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 12:8-12

Various Teachings of Jesus (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [8] "And I tell you, every one who acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; [9] but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. [10] And every one who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. [11] And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; [12] for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."


8-9. This follows logically from Christ's previous teaching: worse than physical evils, worse even than death, are evils of the soul, that is, sin. Those who out of fear of temporal suffering deny our Lord and are unfaithful to the demands of the faith will fall into a greater evil still: they will be denied by Christ Himself on the Day of Judgment; whereas those who are penalized in this life because of their faithfulness to Christ will receive the eternal reward of being recognized by Him and will come to share His glory.

10. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists in maliciously attributing to the devil actions which have God as their origin. A person who does that prevents God's pardon from reaching him: that is why he cannot obtain forgiveness (cf. Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28-30). Jesus understands and excuses the weakness of a person who makes a moral mistake, but He is not similarly indulgent to someone who shuts his eyes and his heart to the wonderful things the Spirit does; that was the way these Pharisees acted who accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebul; it is the way unbelieving people act who refuse to see in Christ's work a sign of the goodness of God, who reject the invitation God offers them and who thereby put themselves outside the reach of salvation (cf. Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31). See the note on Mark 3:28-30.

[The note on Mark 3:28-30 states:
28-30. Jesus has just worked a miracle but the scribes refuse to recognize it "for they had said `He has an unclean spirit'" (verse 30). They do not want to admit that God is the author of the miracle. In this attitude lies the special gravity of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--attributing to the prince of evil, to Satan, the good works performed by God Himself. Anyone acting in this way will become like the sick person who has so lost confidence in the doctor that he rejects him as if an enemy and regards as poison the medicine that can save his life. That is why our Lord says that he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not forgiven: not because God cannot forgive all sins, but because that person, in his blindness towards God, rejects Jesus Christ, His teaching and His miracles, and despises the graces of the Holy Spirit as if they were designed to trap him (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 19; St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae", II-II, q. 14, a. 3).]
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, October 20, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 21-Sin and My Happiness

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, make me realize that my real happiness lies in serving you and avoiding sin.

The Idea: As a youth, St. Augustine enjoyed every immoral pleasure available to a hot-headed, well­-to-do man of leisure. St. Camillus de Lellis had been a soldier, experiencing the life and vices of rough men-at-arms. Both knew full well the joys and fun that sin offers. Yet, once they came to know God intimately and to taste the happiness that union with Him presents, they wept bitterly to think of the years they wasted in sin. They saw sin for what it really is: a delusion that ultimately brings only shame, misery, and sorrow.

My Personal Application: Remember how terrible I felt when I did something I was truly sorry for? If only that impression could stay with me; sin never brings real happiness! What shame and remorse I feel after I have sinned when I see a crucifix.

The more I sin, the more I build up habits that will bind me like heavy chains. When I shall want to break them, I shall not be able to. My whole existence becomes a living hell. I loathe myself; I'm ashamed to appear before decent people. Do I realize how sin destroys my whole purpose in living and makes me only the loser for it? I don't gain happiness, rather I lose it, by sinning.

I Speak to God: Let me never think sin is smart or fun or that it doesn't really matter. I don't want to love myself or any creature more than you. But I am weak. Dear Jesus, fill me with your strength and your love.

Thought for Today: Lord, let your friendship be my true happiness!
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Bishops to Vote on Guidelines on Catholics and Reception of Holy Communion

US Bishops Set to Tell Catholics Opposed to Teaching on Abortion or Homosexuality not to Receive Communion

It will be interesting to see how this pans out...

WASHINGTON, October 20, 2006 ( - The U.S. bishops will vote on a proposed document, "Happy Are Those Who Are Called To His Supper: On Preparing To Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist" during their annual November meeting in Baltimore, Nov. 13-16.

The document, addressed to all the faithful, points out that Catholics may not receive communion if they are do not accept Church teaching on matters such as abortion and homosexuality. Catholics should refrain from Holy Communion, says the document, "when they lack adherence to what the Church authoritatively teaches on matters of faith and morals."

It's a bit late in coming, but it's something which is sorely needed. I wonder if this is the fruit of the work of Cardinal McCarrick's Task Force? I also wonder how many amendments and changes will be proposed. And I wonder if it will even pass...

Does anyone know if EWTN carries the bishops' meetings anymore? It's not listed on the EWTN website and I don't recall any coverage of the last 1 or 2, at least...

Source of the article is here.

The USCCB Press Release is here.

And lastly, the Catholic News Service article adressing this is here.

Archbishop Burke to be on EWTN

Tonight on "The World Over", will be the Bishops' Roundtable on Responsible Voting,
featuring Archbishop Raymond Burke of St Louis, Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford IL, and Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo ND.

Show starts at 7:00 pm CDT.

==== ALSO ====

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will be a guest on an upcoming EWTN television broadcast of "Faith and Culture," a program hosted by St. Louisan Colleen Carroll Campbell.

The program will air Sunday, Oct. 29, at 9:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 10 p.m.; and Thursday, Nov. 2, at 1 a.m.

He will discuss the moral obligations of Catholic voters.

This should be a "Must See" for all Catholics.

Adoration and the Rosary for Life

St. Anselm Parish is hosting rosary crusade eucharistic adoration prayer vigils to safeguard embryonic human life in Missouri on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 5-6.

The hourly prayers and meditations will be from 8 p.m. to midnight each night at St. Louis Abbey Church, 530 S. Mason Road in Creve Coeur.

Halloween Decorations in the Sanctuary?

Quite a few times I have seen in a church nave, the sanctuary, sometimes even around an altar, pumpkins, cornstalks, and bales of straw...When asked why, the priest or 'liturgist' would often reply that it was to remind people of the seasons, the holidays...In a church? At Mass? I would ask...I suppose I was not open to celebrating that sort of diversity - I wasn't being tolerant of paganism. I was lacking a certain depth in my understanding of "multiculturalism"...

Well, let's see what Fr Thomas Keller, associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica Parish and assistant director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship, has to say:

Can we celebrate Halloween in our parish?
by Father Thomas Keller

What does the Church say about celebrating Halloween? I recently was disconcerted to find a Jack-O-Lantern in the vestibule of our parish church.

Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, is simply the Vigil of All Saints Day. A vigil is an ancient practice of the Church where a special evening Mass precedes a great feast day. The celebration of Mass on the eve of All Hallow’s (meaning All Holy or All Saints) Day is as ancient as the feast day itself.

Today, all Catholic liturgical and devotional practices including art and environment should lead the faithful to the appropriate celebration of a particular feast. Most secular holiday decorations have no place in the liturgical environment of parish church buildings, especially since our Catholic traditions usually include beautiful and appropriate imagery to inspire the faithful. Secular Halloween costumes and decorations definitely do not belong in a parish church.

Halloween has a darker side to its annual celebration. Because of the holiness of All Saints Day, previous cultures imagined that there was more activity by demonic creatures on the night preceding the feast. As Catholics we must avoid this entirely.

However, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with secular celebrations near religious feast days. Many raucous celebrations dotted the medieval calendar, some dating back to pre-Christian times and others developed to balance the rigor of religious practices of the day. Mardi Gras and Carnivale fit this category. When these celebrations take on an excessive or even immoral character, this too is to be avoided by all Christians.

Usually, Halloween is popularly commemorated by the telling of scary stories and dressing up in costumes.

Usually this is hardly excessive nor is it paying homage to evil but instead is a social ritual expressing fearful or comic images and can be harmless and good natured. As they do with all secular observances, Christians should look at their role and evaluate their level of involvement.

Emphasis added...


Defeating Amendment 2: The Rosary Crusade & Our Lady of Guadalupe

Some excerpts from Archbishop Burke's Column here:

Why the Rosary Crusade?

Why the Rosary Crusade? The praying of the rosary has been a most powerful spiritual instrument of the Church in seeking God’s help in times of great crisis. On Oct. 7, 1571, for example, Christians were able to repel the destructive advance of the Moors upon Europe at the Battle of Lepanto. The victory seemed impossible but, with God’s help, obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was achieved. Pope St. Pius V had asked the Christians of Europe to pray the rosary for the defeat of the Moors who wished to eradicate the Catholic faith and practice in Europe. The praying of the rosary was instrumental in the saving of Christian Europe.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

There is a little known fact about the Battle of Lepanto, which highlights the intercession of the Mother of God on behalf of her children in times of great crisis and need. Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria of the Christian fleet at the Battle of Lepanto had enthroned in his cabin an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been touched to the miraculous tilma of St. Juan Diego in Mexico City. In the Battle of Lepanto, Admiral Doria invoked the intercession of the Mother of God under her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

For Admiral Doria, the praying of the rosary for victory was united to his devotion to Our Lady as she had appeared on the continent of America, just 40 years earlier, in 1531. In urging the Rosary Crusade, I ask the faithful of the archdiocese to invoke frequently the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe who, some 475 years ago, led her children of America to Christ through a new respect for all human life, when it was gravely threatened by racism and widespread human sacrifice. Our Lady, Mother of America, will not fail to hear our prayers for the end of the attacks upon human life in our nation.

Corporate praying of the rosary in our schools

On this coming Nov. 2, All Souls Day, the students in the Catholic schools within the archdiocese will pray the rosary for the safeguarding of embryonic human life, in their respective schools, at 10 a.m. I will be leading the praying of the rosary at DuBourg High School on that morning. The rosary at DuBourg High School will be broadcast on WRYT (AM-1080) and (KHOJ (AM-1460) Catholic radio, so that you, too, can join directly in the prayer.

New York Court Ruling May Force Catholic Group to Fund Abortions

Albany, NY ( -- The New York Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Cathoic and other religious social services groups must fund contraception in their employees' healht care plans. The ruling has pro-life advocates worried because it could lead to forcing the Christian groups to fund abortions as well.

Even though the groups are opposed to contraception, the state's high court ruled in a unanimous 6-0 ruling that Catholic Charities and nine other organizations must fund it anyway.

"We must weigh against (their) interests in adhering to the tenets of their faith the state's substantial interest in fostering equality between the sexes, and in providing women with better health care," the court ruled according to an AP report.

The New York Catholic Conference is considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and says it's concerned the decision will lead to forcing it to pay for employee abortions.

When the State attempts to force the Church to violate its own principles, then the Church or its agencies must appeal to higher authorities or, withdraw its funding for its employee health care. It can always elect to offest the elimination of it health care benefit with the funds it would have paid for the employee. Granted, this does put a burden on the employee, but life isn't always easy and sometimes sacrifices are necessary, especially when dealing with a secular state which has little regard for life, let alone faith or religious beliefs.

Much of the blame in this case would appear to fall on Catholic Charities, which chose to employ non-Catholics (or poorly catechized Catholics) in the first place, thereby opening itself up to such attacks. While its hiring policy might have seemed to be "charitable", it wasn't because it lacked the prudence necessary to protect itself from attack. By self-inflicting injury to it's Catholic foundation, it opened itself up to the world in a most negligent manner.

It seems that any Catholic group or agency which wishes to maintain and follow the teachings of the Church in all areas of its private and public endeavors, must, at a minimum, have in place some contractual agreement between itself and its employees to ensure that rejection of any tenets of the faith would be considered just cause for termination of employment.

How soon will it be before Catholic agencies are forced to provide insurance for abortions? Or Catholic hospitals are forced to perform abortions or facilitate euthanasia?

Amendment 1 of the U.S. Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...

Apparently, the Bill of Rights are ignored in cases of this nature.

When 'nanny' or tyrannical states wish to impose unjust requirements which are at odds with the Catholic faith, it would seem to me that an agency must fight and try to change such unjust oppression, or it must stop engaging in the questionable practice or immoral activity (such as the Catholic Charities homosexual adoption decisions), or as a last resort,it must close its doors and try another approach.

Hopefully , U.S. Supreme Court will rule that religious institutions and their agencies are exempt from such laws which coerce actions and policies which are opposed to the beliefs and doctrines of the religious institution, most especially in matters concerning intrinsic evils.

From Chiesa: Pope Benedict XVI Is Betting on Christian Italy

Benedict XVI Is Betting on Christian Italy: For a "Great Service to Europe and to the World As Well”
The programmatic address from the pope to the National Conference of the Church in Italy, delivered in Verona on the morning of Thursday, October 19, 2006. With the original section headings
by [Pope] Benedict XVI

The civil and political responsibilities of Catholics
. . .
A special attention and an extraordinary commitment are required today by the great threats to vast segments of the human family: war and terrorism, hunger and thirst, certain terrible epidemics.

But we must also face, with like determination and clarity of intention, the risk of political and legislative choices that would contradict fundamental values and anthropological and ethical principles rooted in the nature of the human being, in particular with regard to the safeguarding of human life in all its phases, from conception to natural death, and to the promotion of the family founded upon marriage, avoiding the introduction into the public order of other forms of union that would contribute to destabilizing it, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role.

The open and courageous testimony that the Italian Church and Italian Catholics have given and are giving in this regard are a valuable service to Italy, and useful and encouraging for many other nations. This commitment and this witness are certainly part of that great “yes” that we, as believers in Christ, say to man, who is loved by God.

Gospel for Friday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 12:1-7

Various Teachings of Jesus

[1] In the meantime, when so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they trod upon one another, He (Jesus) began to say to His disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. [2] Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. [3] Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."

[4] "I tell you, My friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do. [5] But I will warn you whom to fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into Hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! [6] Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. [7] Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."


3. Most Palestinian houses had a roof in the form of a terrace. There people would meet to chat and while away the time in the hottest part of the day. Jesus points out to His disciples that just as in these get-togethers things said in private became matters of discussion, so too, despite the Pharisees' and scribes' efforts to hide their vices and defects under the veil of hypocrisy, they would become a matter of common knowledge.

6-7. Nothing--not even the most insignificant thing--escapes God, His Providence and the judgment He will mete out. For this same reason no one should fear that any suffering or persecution he experiences in following Christ will remain unrewarded in eternity.

The teaching about fear, contained in verse 5, is filled out in verses 6 and 7, where Jesus tells us that God is a good Father who watches over every one of us--much more than He does over these little ones (whom He also remembers). Therefore, our fear of God should not be servile (based on fear of punishment); it should be a filial fear (the fear of someone who does not want to displease his father), a fear nourished by trust in Divine Providence.
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, October 19, 2006

Cards go to Detroit

St. Louis 3, NY Mets 1

This was a nail-biter as the box score can only suggest...

Final.....1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 1
NY Mets...1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1

Jeff Suppan, who is Catholic, was named National League MVP.

There is this story from last week about Jeff:
Pitcher tells students to know why they believe what they believe
ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan wowed his fans one day in September, and he wasn't even on the mound. He received a standing ovation from more than 400 youths and adults following his talk on how he lives out his Catholic faith as a professional baseball player and in his daily life. Suppan spoke at St. Joseph's Academy in Frontenac. The event was sponsored by the Parent Network of Catholic High Schools. The Cardinals hurler -- whose team made it into the National League Championship Series to face the New York Mets Oct. 11 -- encouraged the middle school and high school students "to keep Jesus No. 1" in their lives. Said Suppan, "I try to put Jesus in front of everything I do." He lets Jesus "really lead me and not try to do it on my own." As Catholics, they will be regularly questioned about their faith, Suppan told the youths. Now, he said, is the time for them to gain a good foundation.

Mental Prayer for October 20-Sin-The Death of the Soul

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: O God, impress this truth on my mind that mortal sin is my death.

Mental Picture: Mortuary... corpse laid out in a coffin... a friend of mine... his skin is dried and sickly white... his hands feel icy and stiff... he was the son of a wealthy father and would have inherited a lot of money... but now all of that ~ lost... he is dead.

My Personal Application: The day I commit a mortal sin - that day - I die.

Do I realize this?

Do I really understand that mortal sin kills the life of sanctifying grace in my soul?

If I am in the state of mortal sin, I am a spiritual corpse. I am no longer a son of God; I am no longer an heir to heaven. These things which my heavenly Father would have given me, I have lost. The Three Persons of God no longer dwell in my soul as in a temple, for mortal sin has driven them out. Instead, my soul is cold, shriveled, lifeless. Spir­itually I am dead.

I Speak to God: My God, I fear the death of my body, and rightly so. But help me to fear more the death of my soul. Let me realize that mortal sin is by far the worse death. Let me look at mortal sin and see, not the pleasure in it, but the loss of you, the loss of heaven. Sin is death, and I want to live, to live with you in heaven for all eternity.

Thought for Today: My God, never let me be, through mortal sin, a spiritual corpse.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

NBC cancels Madonna's mock crucifixion scene

Now, does Madonna walk, as suggested earlier?

NBC has decided to cut the "Mock Crucifixion" segment from its November 22 airing of Madonna's "Confessions" concert.

NBC did the right thing, but the fact that it did not say why the offensive part of Madonna's concert was cut shows cowardice. What NBC should have done is to admit that since it refused to air the Danish cartoons that Muslims objected to earlier in the year, it felt obliged not to treat Christians in a discriminatory manner. On September 20, I wrote to NBC chief Bob Wright making this point.

More by William Donohue here.

When Voting, Abortion and Euthanasia are Priority over War and Death Penalty

So we hear from Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, who is President of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).

[Bishop Fabbro]... told that the Pope had encouraged the Canadian bishops, in their recent 'ad limina' visits with him, to speak out on issues of life and family, and to refuse to be silenced. asked about distinctions some Catholics make with regard to election issues suggesting that concerns such as engagement in war and the death penalty are on par with abortion and euthanasia, in terms of priority in political decision making.

The Bishop disagreed with such an approach saying, when it comes to "abortion and euthanasia, we have to see those as fundamental human rights that need to take precedence in our formation of conscience - because all of our other rights are based on the right to life. So I think we do have to be careful about indicating a priority there - a priority when voting."

Again we hear a clear refutation of the continuous efforts by groups such as "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good" who promote and distort the Church's Social teachings.

Catholics in the U.S. need to be frequently reminded of these principles and priorities from their bishops and priests, especially now.

How would this play in the U.S.?

UK Pharmacy Applauded for Upholding Muslim Pharmacist’s Right to Refuse Early Abortion Drug

ROTHERHAM, United Kingdom, October 19, 2006 ( - A Muslim chemist with the Lloyds pharmacy chain has refused to distribute the abortifacient Plan B medication, a decision supported by Lloyds management.
How would Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, or employers of recently transferred or fired pharmacists handle a Muslim who refused to fill a prescription based on his deeply held religious beliefs? Would they be as accomodating as Lloyd's? Many in the U.S. have no qualms about firing Catholics or other Christians who have "deeply held religious" objections to dispensing abortifacient drugs.

Referring to the “conscience clause” of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain’s ethics code, the Lloyds’s representative said, “It states that if supplying the morning-after pill is contrary to a pharmacist’s personal, religious or moral beliefs they are entirely with their rights not to supply it.”

In 2004 Lloyds defended a London pharmacist who refused to sell the morning-after pill to a female customer on the grounds of his Catholic faith.

Quite a contrast compared to the happenings here in the U.S.

Gospel for Oct 19, Memorial of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs

Luke 11:47-54:

The Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Pharisees,) [47] "Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. [48] So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. [49] Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,' [50] that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, [51] from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. [52] Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering."

[53] As He went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press Him hard, and to provoke Him to speak of many things, [54] lying in wait for Him, to catch at something He might say.


51. Zechariah was a prophet who died by being stoned in the temple of Jerusalem around the year 800 B.C. because he accused the people of Israel of being unfaithful to God's law (cf. 2 Chronicles 24:20-22). The murder of Abel (Genesis 4:8) and that of Zechariah were, respectively, the first and last murders reported in these books which the Jews regarded as Sacred Scripture. Jesus refers to a Jewish tradition which, in His own time and even later, pointed out the stain of the blood of Zechariah.

The altar referred to here was the altar of holocausts, located outside, in the courtyard of the priests, in front of the temple proper.

52. Jesus severely reproaches these doctors of the Law who, given their study and meditation on Scripture, were the very ones who should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah, since His coming had been foretold in the sacred books. However, as we learn from the Gospel, the exact opposite happened. Not only did they not accept Jesus: they obstinately opposed Him. As teachers of the Law they should have taught the people to follow Jesus; instead, they blocked the way.

53-54. St. Luke frequently records this attitude of our Lord's enemies (cf. 6:11; 19:47-48; 20:19-20; 22:2). The people followed Jesus and were enthusiastic about His preaching and miracles, whereas the Pharisees and scribes would not accept Him and would not allow the people to follow Him; they tried in every way to discredit Him in the eyes of the people (cf. John 11:48).
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, October 18, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 19-The Effects of Personal Sin in the World Today

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Dear God, help me to see more clearly the malice of sin from its terrible effects in the world.

Mental Picture: One tragic scene after another... rows of white wooden crosses stretching as far as the eye can war has ended with countless dead...a gaunt man with glazed eyes behind barbed wire fence of concentration camp...a weeping mother holding her children made fatherless by a reckless teen-age driver.

My Personal Application: Sin is an offense against God, but actually we, not God, are the ones sin hurts. Sin is easy but its price is high. Sin causes most of the heartbreak, privation, and agony in the world today. Sin produces the humiliations and setbacks of everyday living, the gross inequality of wealth, the devastation of war. Do I realize the suffering caused by my sins: How I hurt others by cheating, by cutting remarks; by taking or injuring what does not belong to me; by rebuking and disobeying lawful authority; by cold-shouldering others; by giving bad example? Beg God to help make this clear to me.

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, give me a realization of how sin hurts me and others...of how sin always has its consequences. Keep me mindful of my obligations to others... the duty of loving my neighbor in order to love you. Give me a loathing for sin; root it out of my heart and replace it with a burning love for you and all men.

Thought for Today: Dear God, help me think of and note more examples of the harm sin does, so that I may develop a keen consciousness of how evil it is.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Spending Records "Shattered" by Cloning Supporter

From the Post-Dispatch
Proponents of Missouri constitutional amendment to protect embryonic stem cell research have broken every record on political spending for statewide races, with one billionaire couple bankrolling nearly all of the $28.7 million campaign.

That total price tag is staggering when compared to even the most expensive campaigns in Missouri history. The stem cell campaign is already more than twice as costly as any campaign for a Missouri ballot measure.

The amount spent by proponents of the stem cell measure is greater that the total spent by all candidates combined in any race to date for statewide office, including governor or U.S. senator.
. . .
More than 97 percent of the money, or $28 million, has come from Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of American Century mutual funds. After surviving cancer, the two donated more than $1.5 billion to form the Stowers Institute, which seeks to find cures for disease through stem cell research.
Altruism and philanthropy at its finest, yes?

...opponents of the stem cell measure say the couple have attempted to buy a constitutional amendment.
Now, why on earth would they think such a thing? Maybe it's the simple facts as outlined above...

Jaci Winship, of the group Missourians Against Human Cloning, said the Stowerses have perverted the ballot measure process, which she said ought to be about public participation.

And what does the Stowers Institute stand to gain from the passage of Amendment 2? 1) Unrestricted access to public taxpayer dollars since private investors are unwilling to particpate in such enterprises, and 2) patent rights, should any immoral and unethical research ever yield any positive developments.

"This isn't even close to David and Goliath," said George Connor, an associate professor of political science at Missouri State University. "I can't even come up with a good metaphor."

Which is why we must do all we can in prayer, reparations, talking with neighbors, contributing financially to Missourians Against Human Cloning and so on. We can not do this ourselves but with God all things are possible. We must pray the Rosary daily! We are in desperate need of our Lord's help and mercy.

Truth a Casualty in Missouri's Amendment 2

I will not belabor the obvious. In the 46 years I have watched and/or been a part of politics, never have I seen an election cycle in which truth was so quickly and thoroughly the first casualty. I do not mean by this something we have written about a dozen times: the pretence by pro-abortionists to be concerned about abortion.

I'm referring to one of the cleverest and utterly ruthless campaigns of disinformation you could ever image. By this I mean, of course, Missouri's Amendment 2 that would inscribe the right to clone human beings into the state Constitution.

The unconscionable, "of-course-we're-not-doing-that" insistence is almost breathtaking in its insincerity and disingenuousness. Fortunately, some national columnists are paying closer and closer attention. One of those is the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Novak.
at National Right to Life here

Identity of Communist-era spies among Polish clergy to be revealed

A new book to be out soon on the Polish market lists former Communist police spies among the country's clergy. Unlike most other new democracies in Eastern Europe, Poland never went through a thorough decommunization process. The new publication is seen as a part of the current process of squaring accounts with the past to lay ground for the what Poland's conservative government terms the 'fourth republic' , a state built on solid moral foundations in public life.

Father Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, a Roman Catholic priest, known for his important contribution to historical research on Poland's recent Communist past, has just completed a book on Polish clergy who collaborated with Communist-era secret police. The book is based on the archives of the Institute of National Rememberance, the equivalent of Germany's Gauck institute. Father Isakowicz-Zaleski:

'We should not be afraid of these archives, but release and examine them because the Gospel says the truth will set you free and that goes for the Church as well. The truth must see the light of day.'

Catholic philosopher and commentator Dariusz Karłowicz explains what the situation was like for the church:

'We have to have in mind that Communist authorities involved big forces to destroy the Catholic Church which was considered as the main center of resistance in Poland. We can't forget that in the Ministry of Interior Affairs existed a huge department dedicated only to fighting with the Catholic Church. A lot of priests were murdered and blackmailed. It was a reality only 17 years ago.'

Missouri judge tells woman: No more pregnancies

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) -- A St. Joseph woman who has three children says she was shocked when a judge ordered her not to have any more children out of wedlock while she is on probation for three years.

Mandy Nelson, 26, was given the unusual requirement by Buchanan County Circuit Judge Daniel Kellogg as part of her probation in a forgery case. Other conditions of her probation include community service hours, paying restitution and obtaining a GED or high school diploma.

"I was shocked," Nelson said. "I only have three kids. He made it seem like I was just having kids, kids, kids."

Gospel for Oct 18, Feast: St. Luke, Evangelist

From: Luke 10:1-9

The Mission of the Seventy Disciples

[1] After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. [2] And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. [3] Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. [4] Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. [5] Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!' [6] And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. [7] And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. [8] Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; [9] heal the sick in it and say to them, "The Kingdom of God has come near to you.'"


1-12. Those who followed our Lord and received a calling from Him (cf. Luke 9:57-62) included many other disciples in addition to the Twelve (cf. Mark 2:15). We do not know who most of them were; but undoubtedly some of them were with Him all along, from when Jesus was baptized by John up to the time of His ascension--for example, Joseph called Barrabas, and Matthias (cf. Acts 1:21-26). We can also include Cleopas and his companion, whom the risen Christ appeared to on the road to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:13-35).

From among these disciples, our Lord chooses seventy-two for a special assignment. Of them, as of the Apostles (cf. Luke 9:1-5), He demands total detachment and complete abandonment to divine providence.

From Baptism onwards every Christian is called by Christ to perform a mission. Therefore, the Church, in our Lord's name, "makes to all the laity an earnest appeal in the Lord to give a willing, noble and enthusiastic response to the voice of Christ, who at this hour is summoning them more pressingly, and to the urging of the Holy Spirit. The younger generation should feel this call to be addressed in a special way to themselves; they should welcome it eagerly and generously. It is the Lord Himself, by this Council, who is once more inviting all the laity to unite themselves to Him ever more intimately, to consider His interests as their own (cf. Philippians 2:5), and to join in His mission as Savior. It is the Lord who is again sending them into every town and every place where He Himself is to come (cf. Luke 10:1). He sends them on the Church's apostolate, an apostolate that is one yet has different forms and methods, an apostolate that must all the time be adapting itself to the needs of the moment; He sends them on an apostolate where they are to show themselves His cooperators, doing their full share continually in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord their labor cannot be lost (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58)" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 33).

3-4. Christ wants to instill apostolic daring into His disciples; this is why He says, "I send you out", which leads St. John Chrysostom to comment: "This suffices to give us encouragement, to give us confidence and to ensure that we are not afraid of our assailants" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 33). The Apostles' and disciples' boldness stemmed from their firm conviction that they were on a God-given mission: they acted, as Peter the Apostle confidently explained to the Sanhedrin, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, "for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

"And the Lord goes on," St. Gregory the Great adds, "Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road.' Such should be the confidence the preacher places in God that even if he is not provided with the necessities of life, he is convinced that they will come his way. This will ensure that worry about providing temporal things for himself does not distract him from providing others with eternal things" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 17). Apostolate calls for generous self-surrender which leads to detachment; therefore, Peter, following our Lord's commandment, when the beggar at the Beautiful Gate asked him for alms (Acts 3:2-3), said, "I have no silver or gold" ("ibid.", 3:6), "not so as to glory in his poverty", St. Ambrose points out, "but to obey the Lord's command. It is as if he were saying, `You see in me a disciple of Christ, and you ask me for gold? He gave us something much more valuable than gold, the power to act in His name. I do not have what Christ did not give me, but I do have what He did give me: In the name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk' (cf. Acts 3:6)" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc".). Apostolate, therefore, demands detachment from material things and it also requires us to be always available, for there is an urgency about apostolic work.

"And salute no one on the road": "How can it be", St. Ambrose asks himself, "that the Lord wishes to get rid of a custom so full of kindness? Notice, however, that He does not just say, `Do not salute anyone', but adds, `on the road.' And there is a reason for this.

"He also commanded Elisha not to salute anyone he met, when He sent him to lay his staff on the body of the dead child (2 Kings 4:29): He gave him this order so as to get him to do this task without delay and effect the raising of the child, and not waste time by stopping to talk to any passer-by he met. Therefore, there is no question of omitting good manners to greet others; it is a matter of removing a possible obstacle in the way of service; when God commands, human considerations should be set aside, at least for the time being. To greet a person is a good thing, but it is better to carry out a divine instruction which could easily be frustrated by a delay ("ibid.").

6. Everyone is "a son of peace" who is disposed to accept the teaching of the Gospel which brings with it God's peace. Our Lord's recommendation to His disciples to proclaim peace should be a constant feature of all the apostolic action of Christians: "Christian apostolate is not a political program or a cultural alternative. It implies the spreading of good, `infecting' others with a desire to love, sowing peace and joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 124).

Feeling peace in our soul and in our surroundings is an unmistakable sign that God is with us, and a fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22): "Get rid of these scruples that deprive you of peace. What takes away your peace of soul cannot come from God. When God comes to you, you will feel the truth of those greetings: My peace I give to you..., peace I leave you..., peace be with you..., and you will feel it even in the midst of troubles" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 258).

7. Our Lord clearly considered poverty and detachment a key feature in an apostle. But He was aware of His disciples' material needs and therefore stated the principle that apostolic ministry deserves its recompense. Vatican II reminds us that we all have an obligation to contribute to the sustenance of those who generously devote themselves to the service of the Church: "Completely devoted as they are to the service of God in the fulfillment of the office entrusted to them, priests are entitled to receive a just remuneration. For `the laborer deserves his wages' (Luke 10:7), and `the Lord commanded that they who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel' (1 Corinthians 9:14). For this reason, insofar as provision is not made from some other source for the just remuneration of priests, the faithful are bound by a real obligation of seeing to it that the necessary provision for a decent and fitting livelihood for the priests are available" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 20).
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, October 17, 2006

One more step to one more step...

This is a plug for my son's blog...Some really good stuff. I think he has much more time (and I know he has much more talent) than I...

Check out One more step to one more step...

Mental Prayer for October 18-The Sin of Adam and Eve

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : O God, let me see sin as you do, that I may never think it is worthwhile.

Mental Picture (cf. Genesis 4): Adam, bone-sore from a long day's hard work, is crossing a field when his tired eyes spy the blood-stained body of his son Abel. With a sharp cry of anguish he throws himself down to hug the lifeless form. "O God", he mutters, "what has that sin of mine done? My son dead... murdered by his own brother! Everything, everything has gone wrong. The joy and comfort that was ours in the Garden... now nothing but pain and hardship and sorrow. O God, O God, what have I done?"

My Personal Application: All the disagreeable things I endure - tiresome classes, fierce tempta­tions, drudgery of work, sickness and physical pain - all these exist because Adam committed that first sin. Because of original sin many people lack homes, food, clothing, the use of their eyes, arms, legs, even the use of their minds. And to think sin doesn't matter! How terrible sin must be if for but one sin God has punished not only Adam, but the whole human race!

I Speak to God: Dear Father in heaven, when I start to play with temptation as Eve did, or to do wrong out of love of someone else as Adam did, make me remember the consequences. Keep me mindful of my purpose in life so that you, not sin, will be what I always desire.

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

For those who missed the USCCB Calendar... is a screen shot of the USCCB November Calendar with the Call To Action Conference listed:

Does the USCCB Support This?

As reported earlier, the USCCB listed the National Call To Action Conference on its November Calendar. Does the very act of listing the event amount to, at least, a tacit endorsement of the agenda?

Down the Road – November Calendar

November 1 All Saints’ Day

November 2 All Souls’ Day

November 3-5 Call to Action National Conference: “Rise Up People of God,” Milwaukee, WI. Contact Linda Pieczynski, (630) 323-6924.

What is the agenda supported by Call To Action and, approved, at least implicitly, by the USCCB? We can learn this from what Call To Action has to say and offer, no doubt with approval from some episcopal leaders:

Call To Action's annual national conference is a celebration of over 3,000 people creating "the church they want to be." Presentations focus around the themes of spirituality, church reform, and peace & justice. The conference liturgy and a variety of daily prayers are often a highlight.
Spiritus Christi Eucharist
Spiritus Christi Church members, including Rev. Mary Ramerman (pictured), host a Eucharistic liturgy. Spiritus Christi in Rochester, N.Y. is an inclusive Catholic parish known for its outreach to the poor. The parish has taken a stand on ordaining women (Mary was ordained in 2001), gay unions, and welcoming everyone to Eucharist. Sat., 7:30 AM (4.07)

Roman Catholic Women Priests Celebrate Eucharist
Roman Catholic Women Priests invite us to a Eucharistic liturgy in which women, equal and sacred symbols of the Roman Catholic Chuch, celebrate in an inclusive manner the Sacred Meal of Our Faith. They invite us to join them and “discover the future alive in the present.” Facilitating this liturgy will be six ordained R.C. Women Priests, pictured below: Bridget Mary Meehan of Global Ministries University; Eileen M. DiFranco of Philadelphia; Joan Clark Houk of Pittsburgh; Kathleen Strack Kunster, serving a small community in California; Regina Nicolosi of Red Wing, Minn., a nursing home chaplain; and Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg. There are also two ordained R.C. women deacons: Juanita Cordero, a liturgist, and Mary Ellen Robertson, a hospice chaplain. Sun., 7:45 AM (13.07)

A Queer Eye for the Catholic Church
Dignity USA leadership conduct this workshop. Queer eyes see differently. They have a transforming vision. GLBT Catholics have been struggling with rejection and alienation in claiming our identity and place in the Church. The challenges continue. Through it all GLBT Catholics have come to know the importance of incluson, diversity, and the ability to know one's self and each other. They are not afraid to stand up to institutions and authorities to confront injustice. These lessons apply to all who care about transforming the Church. Dignity USA is the nation's largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered Catholics and their families and friends. National and local programs promote reform in the Church and offer spiritual and social support. Sat., 1 PM (9.06) & 2:30 PM (10.05)

I Am Calling Both Women and Men to Priesthood: Rise Up and Proclaim This, People of God!
Patricia Fresen describes the Roman Catholic WomenPriests movement that began with the 2002 ordinations of the Danube Seven and has expanded dramatically. It led to her own ordination as priest in 2003 and bishop in 2005. She tells her own story: 45 years a Dominican sister in South Africa and theology professor at seminaries in Rome and her native South Africa, and her expulsion after 45 years as a Dominican sister because she was ordained. Fresen is now coordinator of the RC Womenpriests training program preparing scores of women internationally for ordination. She discusses the program and sketches its hope for the future. Fri. 3:15 PM (2.06) & Sat. 10:15 AM (7.03)

These, my friends, are some of the topics of this conference which someone at the USCCB, in his apparent desire to celebrate a twisted and perverted diversity and a disordered tolerance, posts on the USCCB web site for the faithful to read...And we wonder why Catholics remain uncatechized and ignorant of the Faith...

A call to the USCCB Communications Office about the Call To Action Conference yielded nothing but questions about whether I was from the press, TV, a reporter....I told the woman that I was a Catholic, and that had zero impact....I then told her that I was a blogger and she stated that someone would call back...I presume thatI will get a call back when hell freezes over...

May God permit the cleansing of the USCCB to begin soon so that the damage it inflicts on countless souls might be diminished. And let us not forget to pray for these people that they might be converted.

HT to John V for the conference reminders...

Will the real Amendment 2 please stand up?

A Letter to the Editor of the Post-Dispatch:

Why is the wording of Amendment 2 so deceptive? Are Missouri citizens entitled to know the real facts about this amendment? Are there valid reasons to view this amendment with suspicion? Is Amendment 2 really about cures? Or is it really about unfettered access to taxpayers' money – money for funding a dubious enterprise which private industry has become increasingly reluctant to support? The answers to these and other questions are fundamental to Missouri voters who loathe being duped and taken for fools. Missouri citizens need to understand why there is such a reliance on the use of inexcusably deceptive language in Amendment 2.

Despite outrageous claims to the contrary, Amendment 2 actually creates a constitutional requirement to clone human embryos, which are then to be killed and used for research. Let’s be honest, shall we? "Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer"(SCNT) is the scientific term for cloning. SCNT is the very same method used to clone Dolly the sheep. Why are Amendment 2 supporters trying to deceive the voters and claim, contrary to fact, that the amendment "bans" human cloning?

Another contemptible deception of Amendment 2 is that it actually permits poor or other vulnerable women to be paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for their eggs in order for researchers to create "egg farms." This harvesting would be done at the risk of women’s health and their future fertility. While the amendment says that women cannot be paid "valuable consideration" for their eggs, subsequent language in the amendment obliterates the definition of "valuable consideration" in such a way that women can be paid "valuable consideration" for their eggs. In Clintonesque fashion, Missouri voters are told that "valuable consideration" is not really "valuable consideration".

How many citizens are aware that Amendment 2 actually gives a "blank check" to stem cell researchers? This amendment effectively allows researchers and their accomplices to "pick the pockets" of Missouri taxpayers. Moreover, this legalized larceny will have no oversight by elected representatives and it cannot be stopped by legislation. If one looks closely at Section 5 of the amendment, one reads: " state or local governmental body or official shall eliminate, reduce, deny, or withhold any public funds provided or eligible to be provided... to a person that (i) lawfully conducts stem cell research". Curiously, the ballot which the voters will see on November 7th makes no mention of this important fact. Why not? Does this not make Missouri citizens subject to "Taxation without representation"?

Based upon the simple observations of what appears to be deliberately deceptive wording in the Amendment and numerous unsupported claims from its advocates, it seems obvious that someone wants to pull "Dolly’s wool" over the eyes of Missouri citizens and change Missouri’s nickname to the "Snow Me" state - all while gorging at the public trough of taxpayer dollars.

USCCB Calendar Lists Call to Action Conference

Pathetic...Why would the USCCB list a conference composed of dissenters, heretics, schismatics and apostates?

To voice your concern, email them at or call the Office of Media Relations at (202) 541-3000.

*** Updated ***
The CTA conference has been removed from the calendar, no doubt due to our prayers and the intercession of our Blessed Mother, and, most especially by our Lord's bestowal of graces which allowed us to be His instruments in making numerous phone calls and in sending emails and faxes. Thanks be to God.

Gospel for Oct 17-Memorial: St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

From: Luke 11:37-41

The Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees

[37] While He (Jesus) was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to dine with Him; so He went in and sat at table. [38] The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first wash before dinner. [39] And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. [40] You fools! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? [41] But give for alms those things which are within; and behold everything is clean for you."


39-52. In this passage (one of the most severe in the Gospel) Jesus determinedly unmasks the vice which was largely responsible for official Judaism's rejection of His teaching--hypocrisy cloaked in legalism. There are many people, who under the guise of doing good, keeping the mere letter of the law, fail to keep its spirit; they close themselves to the love of God and neighbor; they harden their hearts and, though apparently very upright, turn others away from fervent pursuit of God--making virtue distasteful. Jesus' criticism is vehement because they are worse than open enemies: against open enemies one can defend oneself, but these enemies are almost impossible to deal with. The scribes and Pharisees were blocking the way of those who wanted to follow Jesus: they were the most formidable obstacle to the Gospel. Our Lord's invective against the scribes and Pharisees is reported even more fully in chapter 23 of St. Matthew. See the note on Matthew 23:1-39.

[The note on Matthew 23:1-39 states:
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.]

40-41. It is not easy to work out what these verses mean. Probably our Lord is using the idea of cleaning the inside and outside of dishes to teach that a person's heart is much more important than what appears on the surface--whereas the Pharisees got it the wrong way round, as so many people tend to do. Jesus is warning us not to be so concerned about "the outside" but rather give importance to "the inside".
Applying this to the case of alms: we have to be generous with those things we are inclined to hoard; in other words, it is not enough just to give a little money (that could be a purely formal, external gesture); love is what we have to give others--love and understanding, refinement, respect for their freedom, deep concern for their spiritual and material welfare; this is something we cannot do unless our interior dispositions are right.

In an address to young people, Pope John Paul II explains what almsgiving really means: "The Greek word for alms, "eleemosyne", comes from "eleos", meaning compassion and mercy. Various circumstances have combined to change this meaning so that almsgiving is often regarded as a cold act, with no love in it. But almsgiving in the proper sense means realizing the needs of others and letting them share in one's own goods. Who would say that there will not always be others who need help, especially spiritual help, support, consolation, fraternity, love? The world is always very poor, as far as love is concerned" (28 March 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.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This Day in History: Margaret Sanger opens 1st Birth Control Clinic

On this day (Oct. 16th, 1916) Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, opened up her first “family planning” clinic. The location of the clinic was no accident. She picked a poor area of Brooklyn that was mostly minorities. This coincided with her ultimate goal, which she expressed in a number of personal letters, which was the “extermination” of blacks and other minorities which she considered inferior.

Mental Prayer for October 17 - Sin, the Worst Evil

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me to realize firmly that sin is the worst evil in the world because by it I offend God and I miss my goal and purpose which is heaven.

Mental Picture: I see myself in Hiroshima, Japan ...bright sunlight... peaceful... drone of an airplane high overhead. Suddenly an enormous explo­sion! I see the whole city ignite in flames and a white cloud mushrooming miles up into the sky... I feel my skin blister from the intense heat of the atomic bomb... I hear the agonizing screaming of horror as 100,000 people die in 20 seconds... and yet this doesn't even begin to equal the evil of one mortal sin.

My Personal Application: Why is one mortal sin more evil than any amount of physical suffering? First of all, because it is an offense against an infinitely good God. Secondly, what about the person who does the sinning? Suppose I'm the one. At that moment I am in danger of an eternal living-death agony in hell. The tremendous heat and force of an atom bomb will kill me in a few seconds. But there's an end to that. Between hell and physical death there is no comparison.

I Speak to God: O God, please help me to realize that sin is the worst possible evil that could happen to me. Help me to remember that when I sin, I turn my back on the road to heaven and go in the opposite direction. My God, how foolish I am when by my sins I serve a creature rather than you!

Thought for Today: O God, let me die rather than sin again.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

A Religion of Peace Update for Oct 16

Muslim man stabs wife when daughter becomes Christian...

A devout Muslim woman was attacked and stabbed to death, allegedly by her husband, after their 17-year-old daughter announced she was embracing Christianity, according to police and news reports.

"It is the Islamic way that if a son or daughter does or plans to do something that is unacceptable or wrong for a Muslim then it is the mother who is automatically at fault and will bear the brunt of the blame," [a Muslim] source said.

Illinois Bishops on "Elections, Conscience, and the Responsibility to Vote" Catholic citizens, we inform and form our consciences as citizens in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching. The first and most essential principle of our social teaching is the dignity of every human person and each one’s basic right to life from conception to natural death. Respect for human dignity is the basis for the fundamental right to life. This is a non-negotiable principle that is supported by our beliefs but is logically independent of our faith.
. . .
Catholics should always vote for that person most committed to being a public servant dedicated to the common good. This being said, it should be noted that any candidate who supports a public policy where part of humanity (such as the pre-born, the elderly, the handicapped, or the sick) is excluded from the protection of law and treated as if they were non-persons is gravely deficient in his or her view of the requirements of a just society.
The full statement from the Catholic Bishops of Illinois is available here (PDF).

Tolerance and Diversity Update for Oct 16

Kansas Politician Charged for Physical Attack on Pro-Life Advocate

HUTCHINSON, Kansas, October 16, 2006 ( - A Kansas State Representative has been charged with battery for an assault on a pro-life demonstrator at the Kansas State Fair in September.

Abortion opponent Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, wore a cockroach costume and carried out political satire skits with another man in a demonstration against the filthy, unregulated conditions in Kansas abortion mills, during a leadership debate.

Democratic Rep. Vaughn Flora approached Newman in the crowd and tore off his mask, wounding Newman’s head in the process. Flora is facing up to one year in jail and a fine not more than $1,000 after the Reno County District Attorney’s office filed a complaint charging Flora...

Missouri Amendment 2: All Trick, No Treat

From the Bioethics Defense Fund:

Over 80% of Missourians oppose human cloning, and 100% oppose being played for a fool by tricky lawyers who drafted Amendment 2. Take a look for yourself, Show Me State. Everyone else, hold one to your wallet if this wins on November 7 because this hoax will be coming to a State near you.

1. Deceptive. Section 2 says it bans cloning. The trick is in Section 6 which gives biotech firms the constitutional right to conduct “somatic cell nuclear transfer,” the scientific definition for cloning; the same method used to clone Dolly the sheep...

2. Daughters. Section 2 says human eggs may not be bought or sold. The trick is in Section 6(17) which gives biotech firms the right to pay our cash-strapped daughters thousands of dollars to harvest their eggs, which will be needed in the millions for the kind of unethical experimentation this amendment would allow...

3. Dollars. Amendment 2 gives biotech special interests a blank check to do human cloning at taxpayer expense, but this isn’t mentioned in the 100-word ballot summary...

For more information on the ballot deception click here.
“The ballot summary [of Amendment 2] will tend to mislead those who are philosophically opposed to all nuclear transfer… nuclear transfer is cloning.”
— Judge James Smart, Missouri Court of Appeals

Did Missouri Cloning Supporters Use the California Playbook?

It's eerie considering how closely the deceptive Missouri initiative is to California's Prop 17...Below is part of what a group from California, "Cloning Hoax", had to say last year.

We, too, are facing a similar Corporate Welfare Scheme intended to defraud Missouri taxpayers.

The Taxpayer Loan to Clone Scam
The truth behind the Prop 71 money grab

Did you know that adult stem cell therapies currently treat 58 different diseases in human patients, while cloning/embryonic stem cell research has produced ZERO human treatments. Not one. [1]

So why does Big Biotech want our tax dollars to fund cloning for human embryo experiments?

Why does Big Biotech exploit suffering families by relentlessly overselling the potential of cloning and destructive embryo research? [2]


Cloned Embryonic Stem Cell Research:

• Private investor dollars have severely dropped out because embryonic stem cell research produced no human treatments despite a decade and millions of dollars invested. [3]

• Thus, Big Biotech’s need for cash is the driving force in the effort to get our tax-dollars to fund cloning for human embryo research. [3a]

• Researchers and Biotech companies can patent and mass-produce cloned, embryo, and fetal stem cell lines that can be sold to drug companies and universities - at the expense of women's health. [4]

• University scientists often present themselves as objective arbiters in the cloning debate – but most have serious financial interest in the game because cloned embryonic stem cells represent the possibility of millions of dollars in patentable stem cell lines EVEN WITHOUT EVER PRODUCING A TREATMENT OR CURE! [5]

o Cloning/Embryonic Research: NO human treatments – LOTS of Cash for Big Biotech

Adult Stem Cell Treatments:

• By contrast, in many adult stem cell treatments for current patients, a person’s own adult stem cells from fat, blood or bone marrow can be used.

• Because a person’s own cells are used in medical procedures, this is generally not patentable according to patent laws since medical operations using ones own cells and tissues should be for the benefit of humanity. [6]

• Adult Stem Cells have already led to 58 human treatments -- Embryo Cloning research has led to none. [1]

o ADULT Stem Cells: MANY human treatments – Not much Cash

Does Quick Cash, or Cures, drive the Cloning lobby?

Source Citations:

[1] Prentice, D. "Adult Stem Cells" Appendix K in Monitoring Stem Cell Research: A Report of the President's Council on Bioethics (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2004), 309-346.

[2] Michael Hiltzik, “Potential of Stem Cells Relentlessly Oversold,” Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2004; See also, Michael Fumento, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Loses its Way, WorldNetDaily (March 2005).

[3] David P. Hamilton, Biotech's bottom line: More than $40 billion in losses,” Associated Press as reported in The Wall Street Journal Online, 5/20/2004.

[3a] Ed Feulner, "Tough Cell", The Washington Times, June 8, 2005.

[4] Marshall, E.(2000) The Business of Stem Cells,” Science, 287:1419-1421; see also Neil Munroe, The New Patent Puzzle,” National Journal, March 2, 2002.

[5] Neil Munro, Doctor Who: Scientists are treated as objective arbiters in the cloning debate, but most have serious skin in the game,Washington Monthly, November 2002.

[6] Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, Senate Testimony of Jean D. Peduzzi-Nelson, Ph.D. (July 14, 2004).

The Truth about Amendment 2

Missourians Against Human Cloning...An Interview with Cathy Ruse

Gospel for Monday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 11:29-32

The Sign of Jonah

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


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

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

There is a certain irony in what Jesus says about "something greater" than Jonah or Solomon having come: really, He is infinitely greater, but Jesus prefers to tone down the difference between Himself and any figure, no matter how important, in the Old Testament.]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 16-Giving All to God

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me to understand perfect detachment.

The Idea: Detachment is the control of our likes and dislikes in such a way that they do not lead us into sin. But it is possible that even with some degree of detachment, I will still be led by my likes and dislikes so that I will not do all that God asks of me. I may have this attitude: "I will not commit any sin, but I will try to make all the money in life that I possibly can." I will be doing nothing positively wrong, but let me ask myself : "Is this the perfect use of creatures?" Wouldn't perfect use of creatures demand that I not be led in any way by my likes and dislikes? Would I not be more perfect were my attitude like this: "I don't care whether I am rich or poor; I'm going to figure out how I can best serve God and do it" or "I don't care whether God calls me to the married or single life so long as I can feel that I am doing the most for God." This is perfect detachment. It doesn't mean that I can't like any creatures, but merely that I can't let any creature influence me and lead me away from perfect love and servtce of God.

My Personal Application: How am I approaching my choice of vocation in life? Is my attitude "I won't commit any sin, but I'll enjoy all the pleasures of this life to the full wherever possible"? Ask our Lord to make you realize that there is such a thing as a "better way of life".

I Speak to God: Lord, this perfect detachment seems very hard. Give me strength and courage to try to live it.

Thought for Today: I will try to life my life with perfect detachment.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 10:17-27 (or Mark 10:17-30)

The Rich Young Man

[17] And as He (Jesus) was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" [18] And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone. [19] You know the commandments: `Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" [20] And he said to Him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." [21] And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me." [22] At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

Poverty and Renunciation

[23] And Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!" [24] And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God!" [25] 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." [26] And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?" [27] Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." [28] Peter began to say to Him, "Lo, we have left everything and followed You." [29] Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, [30] who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life."


17-18. As Matthew 19:16 makes clear, the young man approaches Jesus as an acknowledged teacher of the spiritual life, in the hope that He will guide him towards eternal life. It is not that Christ rejects the praise He is offered: He wants to show the depth of the young man's words: He is good, not because He is a good man but because He is God, who is Goodness Itself. So, the young man has spoken the truth, but he has not gone far enough. Hence the enigmatic nature of Jesus' reply and its profundity. The young man's approach is upright but too human; Jesus tries to get him to see things from an entirely supernatural point of view. If this man is to really attain eternal life he must see in Christ not just a good master but the divine Savior, the only Master, the only one who, because He is God, is Goodness Itself. Cf. note on Mt. 19:16-22.

19. Our Lord has not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). The commandments are the very core of the Law and keeping them is necessary for attaining eternal life. Christ brings these commandments to fulfillment in a double sense. First, because He helps us discover their full implications for our lives. The light of Revelation makes it easy for us to grasp the correct meaning of the precepts of the Decalogue--something that human reason, on its own, can only achieve with difficulty. Second, His grace gives us strength to counter our evil inclinations, which stem from Original Sin. The commandments, therefore, still apply in the Christian life: they are like signposts indicating the way that leads to Heaven.

21-22. Our Lord knows that this young man has a generous heart. This is why He treats him so affectionately and invites him to greater intimacy with God. But He explains that this means renunciation--leaving his wealth behind so as to give his heart whole and entire to Jesus. God calls everyone to holiness, but holiness is reached by many different routes. It is up to every individual to take the necessary steps to discover which route God wants him to follow. The Lord sows the seed of vocation in everyone's soul, to show him the way to go to reach the goal of holiness, which is common to all.

In other words, if a person does not put obstacles in the way, if he responds generously to God, he feels a desire to be better, to give himself more generously. As fruit of this desire he seeks to know God's will; he prays to God to help him, and asks people to advise him. In responding to this sincere search, God uses a great variety of instruments. Later, when a person thinks he sees the way God wants him to follow, he may still not take the decision to go that way: he is afraid of the renunciation it involves: at this point he should pray and deny himself if the light--God's invitation--is to win out against human calculation. For, although God is calling, man is always free, and therefore, he can respond generously or be a coward, like the young man we are told about in this passage. Failure to respond generously to one's vocation always produces sadness.

21. "In its precise eloquence", John Paul II points out, commenting on this passage, "this deeply penetrating event expresses a great lesson in a few words: it touches upon substantial problems and basic questions that have in no way lost their relevance. Everywhere young people are asking important questions--questions on the meaning of life, on the right way to live, on the scale of values: `What must I do...?' `What must I do to share in everlasting life?'...To each of you I say therefore: heed the call of Christ when you hear him saying to you: `Follow Me!' Walk in My path! Stand by My side! Remain in My love! There is a choice to be made: a choice for Christ and His way of life, and His commandment of love.

"The message of love that Christ brought is always important, always relevant. It is not difficult to see how today's world, despite its beauty and grandeur, despite the conquests of science and technology, despite the refined and abundant material goods that it offers, is yearning for more truth, for more love, for more joy. And all of this is found in Christ and in His way of life.... Faced with problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility: escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. But today, I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape. If you really accept that love from Christ, it will lead you to God. Perhaps in the priesthood or religious life; perhaps in some special service to your brothers and sisters: especially to the needy, the poor, the lonely, the abandoned, those whose rights have been trampled upon, or those whose basic needs have not been provided for. Whatever you make of your life, let it be something that reflects the love of Christ" ("Homily on Boston Common").

22. "The sadness of the young man makes us reflect. We could be tempted to think that many possessions, many of the goods of this world, can bring happiness. We see instead in the case of the young man in the Gospel that his many possessions had become an obstacle to accepting the call of Jesus to follow Him. He was not ready to say "yes" to Jesus and "no" to self, to say "yes" to love and "no" to escape. Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not clearly tell you so. For it was Jesus--Jesus Himself--who said: `You are My friends if you do what I command you' (John 15:14). Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the will of God. It means discipline and sacrifice, but it also means joy and human fulfillment.

"Dear young people: do not be afraid of honest effort and work; do not be afraid of the truth. With Christ's help, and through prayer, you can answer His call, resisting temptations and fads, and every form of mass manipulation. Open your hearts to the Christ of the Gospels--to His love and His truth and His joy. Do not go away sad!...

"Follow Christ! You who are single or who are preparing for marriage. Follow Christ! You who are young or old. Follow Christ! You who are sick or aging; who are suffering or in pain. You who feel the need for healing, the need for love, the need for a friend--follow Christ!

"To all of you I extend--in the name of Christ--the call, the invitation, the plea: `Come and follow Me'" (John Paul II, "Homily on Boston Common").

23-27. The reaction of the rich young man gives our Lord another opportunity to say something about the way to use material things. In themselves they are good: they are resources God has made available to people for their development in society. But excessive attachment to things is what makes them an occasion of sin. The sin lies in "trusting" in them, as if they solve all life's problems, and turning one's back on God. St. Paul calls covetousness idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Christ excludes from the Kingdom of God anyone who becomes so attached to riches that his life is centered around them. Or, more accurately, that person excludes himself.

Possessions can seduce both those who already have them and those who are bent on acquiring them. Therefore, there are--paradoxically--poor people who are really rich, and rich people who are really poor. Since absolutely everyone has an inclination to be attached to material things, the disciples see salvation as an impossible goal: "Then who can be saved?" No one, if we rely on human resources. But God's grace makes everything possible. Cf. note on Matthew 6:11.

Also, not putting our trust in riches means that everyone who does have wealth should use it to help the needy. This "demands great generosity, much sacrifice and unceasing effort on the part of the rich man. Let each one examine his conscience, a conscience that conveys a new message for our times. Is he prepared to support out of his own pocket works and undertakings organized in favor of the most destitute? Is he ready to pay higher taxes so that the public authorities can intensify their efforts in favor of development?" (Paul VI, "Populorum Progressio", 47).

28-30. Jesus Christ requires every Christian to practise the virtue of poverty: He also requires us to practise real and effective austerity in the possession and use of material things. But of those who have received a specific call to apostolate-- as in the case, here, of the Twelve--He requires absolute detachment from property, time, family, etc. so that they can be fully available, imitating Jesus Himself who, despite being Lord of the universe, became so poor that He had nowhere to lay His head (cf. Matthew 8:20). Giving up all these things for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven also relieves us of the burden they involve: like a soldier shedding some encumbrance before going into action, to be able to move with more agility. This gives one a certain lordship over all things: no longer the slave of things, one experiences that feeling St. Paul referred to: "As having nothing, and yet possessing everything" (2 Corinthians 6:10). A Christian who sheds his selfishness in this way has acquired charity and, having charity, he has everything: "All are yours; you are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).

The reward for investing completely in Christ will be fully obtained in eternal life: but we will also get it in this life. Jesus says that anyone who generously leaves behind his possessions will be rewarded a hundred times over in this life.

He adds "with persecutions" (v. 30) because opposition is part of the reward for giving things up out of love for Jesus Christ: a Christian's glory lies in becoming like the Son of God, sharing in His cross so as later to share in His glory: "provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17); "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted' (2 Timothy 3:12).

29. These words of our Lord particularly apply to those who by divine vocation embrace celibacy, giving up their right to form a family on earth. By saying "for My sake and for the Gospel" Jesus indicates that His example and the demands of His teaching give full meaning to this way of life: "This, then, is the mystery of the newness of Christ, of all that He is and stands for; it is the sum of the highest ideals of the Gospel and of the Kingdom; it is a particular manifestation of grace, which springs from the paschal mystery of the Savior and renders the choice of celibacy desirable and worthwhile on the part of those called by our Lord Jesus. Thus, they intend not only to participate in Christ's priestly office, but also to share with Him His very condition of living" (Paul VI, "Sacerdotalis Coelibatus", 23).
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.