Saturday, November 03, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - November 4

Let us read the lives of the saints; let us con­sider the penances which they performed, and blush to be so effeminate and so fearful of morti­fying our flesh.
-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 4, Death

At the abbey Saint Bavon, at Gand - at the present time a mu­seum of engraved stones - is found the memorial slab of the famous painter who began the picture in the cathedral, The Adoration of the Lamb, which he worked at until his death in 1426.

This slab used to be in the transept of the cathedral; the con­stant tread of feet wore much of it away; an incrustation of marble that represented a skeleton holding before it a brass plaque can still be seen; but the Flemish verses written on the metal can no longer be read. This is the inscription: "Take example from me, you who tread on me. I was once like you; but now I am stretched out beneath your feet. Neither advice, nor art, nor medicine, have helped me. My name was Hubert van Eyck. Now I am the prey of worms."

Someone deciphered it - this form is perhaps somewhat simpli­fied, but I can easily remember it. Even while alive the human body has little value; with the fat that it contains one could make, at the most, a few pieces of soap; with its iron, a little key; the rest is in proportion. Reduced to its principal elements the whole, well paid for, is not worth more than ninety-six cents.

Fortunately there is a soul! Ponder over this thought, the price of the soul.

Without doubt I must not ridicule my brother the body too much. I must give it the place it deserves, but even after having become a religious; after having renounced the comforts of the body. . . do I not give the body more than its due?

"In this month of the dead, give me light, O my God, to esteem this envelope of flesh which binds my soul at its right value. Grant that I may never come to any important decision in the future, without having first asked myself, according to the counsel of St. Ignatius, what I would wish to have done, at the hour of my death."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Catholic School Board Committee Approves 'Pro-Gay' Manual...

...Does Not Teach Homosexual Acts Sinful
Director of the Board says, "differences of opinion in areas like theology, faith, and morals" is "natural and healthy for a living, dynamic Church"
By John-Henry Westen

WATERLOO, Ontario, November 2, 2007 ( - The Family Life Advisory Committee (FLAC) of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) met last night to consider objections to a pro-homosexual teacher resource manual which were raised by the local group Defend Traditional Marriage and Family (DTMF). Despite a petition signed by nearly 500 Catholic parents opposing the book, FLAC decided to retain "Open Minds to Equality" in an 11-5 vote...

The representative of the local bishop, Bishop Anthony Tonnos of Hamilton Diocese, on the board is Teresa Hartnett. Hartnett told that she has read through the resource book and while she admits there are some 14 pages of objectionable material in the teacher resource, "the majority of the stuff in there is absolutely wonderful stuff."

Gospel for Saturday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, religious
Old Calendar: Hubert of Liege

From: Luke 14:1, 7-11

[1] One Sabbath when He (Jesus) went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching Him.

A Lesson About Humility

[7] Now He told a parable to those who were invited, when He marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, [8] "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; [9] and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. [10] But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. [11] For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.


11. Humility is necessary for salvation that Jesus takes every opportunity to stress its importance. Here He uses the attitudes of people at banquet to remind us again that it is God who assigns the places at the Heavenly banquet. "Together with humility, the realization of the greatness of man's dignity--and of the overwhelming fact that, by grace, we are made children of God--forms a single attitude. It is not our own efforts that save us and gives us life; it is the grace of God. This is a truth which must never be forgotten" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 133).
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, November 02, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - October 3

The example of the saints is proposed to every one, so that the great actions shown us may en­courage us to undertake smaller things.

-Ven. Louis de Granada
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 3, Preparation for Death

The foreign missionary, Theophane Venard, whom the Anna­mites used to call Father Ven because of his uprightness and purity, was martyred at Tonkin in 1860 and beatified in 1909. From the cage in which he was imprisoned before his death he wrote the following letter full of profound faith and calm joyousness:

"It is near midnight. Around my wooden cage are lances and long swords; at two yards from me a lamp throws its flickering light upon my page of Chinese paper, allowing me to write these lines. I am wait­ing from day to day for my sentence. Perhaps tomorrow I will be led to death.

"According to all probability, I will be beheaded. Glorious ignominy for which heaven will be the prize! At this news, dear sister, you will weep, but from happiness. See your brother, then, the halo of the martyr crowning his head, the palm of the conqueror waving in his hand. In a little while my soul will leave the earth, will finish its exile, will end its combat. But first the grain of wheat must be crushed, the grape must be pressed. Will I be bread, and wine pleasing to the taste of the Father? I hope so, by the grace of the Savior, by the protection of His Immaculate Mother.

"And you, dear sister, I leave you in the fields of virtues and good works. Harvest numberless merits for eternal life, which awaits both of us. Harvest faith, hope, charity, patience, sweetness, perseverance, and a holy death!

"Farewell, Melanie, farewell, darling sister, farewell!"
I will read this sublime letter as if it were addressed to me.

"Dear Sister, I leave you in the field of virtues. and good works. Harvest numberless merits. Harvest faith, hope, charity, patience, sweetness, perseverance and a holy death!"
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

CWNews: New English translation of Missal is complete

Nov. 2, 2007 ( - The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has completed a draft of its English translation of the Roman Missal.

The ICEL draft, which was unveiled on November 1, will now be submitted to the bishops' conferences of the English-speaking world. Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, explained that ICEL will solicit comments on the draft, make appropriate changes, and hopes to complete the English translation by the end of 2008...
While this is good news, why does it takes over another year to listen to complaints or seek more input? Then, how long will it take?

You can help a pro-life hero!

From Pro-Life Wisconsin:
Scott Southworth, the district attorney of Juneau County and a longtime
supporter of Pro-Life Wisconsin, has been nominated for an award by CNN. The voting is done online and ends Monday, November 5, 2007 at 12 p.m. ET. Vote now and show your support for a fellow pro-lifer! All votes are anonymous and do not require registration.

According to the CNN description of Southworth, "In 2003, while in Iraq, Maj. Scott Southworth volunteered at the Mother Teresa Orphanage in Baghdad. There, he befriended Ala'a, a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Two years later, Southworth arranged to bring Ala'a to the United States. In June, he was granted legal adoption and the two officially became father and son."

If Southworth wins his category, he faces the winners of five other categories in an online vote. The race is sure to be close, with Southworth currently in the lead by one percent.

The overall winner goes to New York for a special show in December, during which Southworth hopes to promote the adoption of special needs children like Ala'a. The winner also receives $25,000, which Southworth would use in part to pay for medical equipment, a stair lift, and legal bills for Ala'a.

"As a Christian man I couldn't walk away from this little boy," Southworth said. "It's so cool to be able to promote God on CNN on national television and talk about our faith and give it a pro-life perspective."

A vote for Southworth is a vote for adoption - a cause the pro-life community supports. Southworth also talked about the importance of adoption and its role in Christianity.

"The idea of special needs adoption and how many children there are. People need to step up and adopt them. These children give back so much joy. it's not about me, Scott Southworth, and the award, but everything else we can do with this," he said.

Several of the Pro-Life Wisconsin staff have had the pleasure of meeting Ala'a, and one can see Ala'a truly loves his father. Forward this on to friends and family!
To help out, click here.

Thanks to Darla for the tip!

"Bella" breaks box office records - #1 beating SAW 4

From BellaNews:
Because of your help Bella broke records on opening weekend! Bella achieved:
-#1 highest avg Box Office per screen of any film in our category in the world this year!
-#2 highest avg Box Office per screen of any film in the world on Friday & Saturday
-#1 highest avg Box Office per screen of any film in the world on Sunday

Ebert's incredible thumbs up review

And MOST IMPORTANT- The people love it voting us #1 on Fandango and! This does not mean the race is over… actually the race has just begun. We have qualified for the Olympics and now we need to get the gold medal! Lionsgate is watching what happens this weekend to determine if they want to go wide with Bella based on this weekends box office results!

Can you help us again this weekend? This is what you can do…

1. Adopt a theater (again) for this weekend or next weekend ($1500-$3000 - visit
2. You can adopt an entire market (if interested please call Jason at: 202-375-9805)
3. Promote Bella Online (see websites below) and offline through any outlet you have access to (I am going to send you an email you can send to press next)
4. Send this email to everyone you know.
5. VERY IMPORTANT... Go to these web sites and make positive reviews if you loved the film.
(watch the trailer to make it the #1 watched trailer)

For more encouraging good news see Tony Bennett's streaming video of his endorsement, Eduardo on the Ryan Seacrest show and Eberts amazing review, go to
We hope you can help Bella make history and make a dramatic impact on the world!

God bless,
Sean Wolfington
FYI... see Bella the movie

Oblates of Wisdom Establishes House in St. Louis

The Society of the Oblates of Wisdom has established a house in St. Louis at St. Mary of Victories Church in South St. Louis.

Msgr. John F. McCarthy, director general of the society, said the move came at the invitation of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and with the welcome of Father Paul Spielman, chaplain of the Hungarian Catholic community at St. Mary of Victories.

The Society of the Oblates of Wisdom is a public association of priests from the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., for service there and in other dioceses...

The study center will serve as a pre-theology residence where candidates for the priesthood with a college degree will study philosophy, preparatory theology and classical languages in preparation for entry into a theological seminary...
In their theological orientation, Oblates of Wisdom are anti-Modernist and place a marked constructive emphasis on fidelity to the Church's Magisterium. Their spirituality is strongly traditional and is based on their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (Link)

Source: St Louis Review

Faithful San Francisco Catholics Demand Removal of Pastor of “Gay” Parish

SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 1, 2007 ( – In an open letter, Anthony Gonzales, President St. Joseph’s Men Society in San Francisco, California, has challenged the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco to shut down the homosexual and anti-Catholic activities at Most Holy Redeemer (MHR) parish and remove its pastor, Fr. Steven Meriwether...

In an interview, a spokesman for the Archdiocese told LifeSiteNews that the parish’s active involvement as a centre of the San Francisco homosexual community is “no secret.”

Indeed, documents available to the public on the parish website make it clear that neither Fr. Meriwether nor parish council members have any qualms about their parish being so closely involved in the homosexual movement’s agenda...
LifeSiteNews writes on the "open Letter" here.

Celebrating communion with Saints, Poor Souls

Archbishop Burke writes in his weekly column:
The month of November is our annual time to celebrate, in various ways, our communion with the Saints in Heaven and the Poor Souls in Purgatory. The two liturgical celebrations with which the month begins concentrate our attention on our relationship with our brothers and sisters who have gone before us in the faith and have been called by our Lord from this life to the life which is to come. On Nov. 1, the Solemnity of All Saints, we recall all of our brothers and sisters who are with our Lord in Heaven and are awaiting the resurrection of the body on the last day...

On Nov. 2, All Souls Day, we recall to mind all of our brothers and sisters who have died and are in Purgatory, being prepared to be admitted to the company of the saints. They depend upon our prayers, so that the temporal punishment due to their sins will be satisfied and they may enter the kingdom of Heaven. We call them "Poor Souls" because of the purification which they are undergoing, but they are indeed blessed souls because their purification is preparing them for Heaven. They, too, await the resurrection of the body on the last day...

More strange course offerings at Loyola Marymount University

“God, Great Spirit, Hashem, or Allah…”
More strange course offerings at Loyola Marymount University

“In this series we will focus on Native American Spirituality, Islam, Taoism, and the Divine Feminine as we continue our journey through the world's spiritual traditions,” says an advertisement for a Loyola Marymount University Extension course, titled “Wisdom Walk: Practices for Creating Peace and Balance from the World’s Spiritual Traditions.”

The course, scheduled for Oct. 22 - Nov. 12 at the Los Angeles Jesuit university, asks students to select a practice from each tradition, incorporating it into their “daily practice, which also includes service in the world.”
Yet another fine example of a Jesuit institution which would make St Ignatius very proud, yes?

From California Catholic Daily here

Prospects for peace and rumours of war: Religion and democracy in the years ahead

A great article by His Emminence, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

Even its most ardent opponents now concede grudgingly that religion is not about to whither away anytime soon. One hundred and perhaps two hundred years ago, there were hopes that this might come to pass, at least among the educated in the West. These hopes have died hard and for some it seems the disappointment is bitter indeed. Authors such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, among others, are very angry about it; like Jonah in the Old Testament, "angry enough to die". Jonah was angry because God relented and chose not to smite Nineveh (Jon. 4:1-11). Atheist anger is a condition of its own, and several explanations have been mooted. Our atheist friends evince any number of reasons to be angry with religion, and particularly with Christianity, but there is a disproportion to it all which makes one wary. Why be angry at an absence? It leads me to wonder if some atheists are angry with God precisely because – by their lights – he does not exist. It is, after all, not unheard of for children to grow up angry at a father who is remote, absent, or unknown. And the alternatives are Creative Intelligence – that is, God – or blind chance. It would be infuriating to concede that Christ, the Buddha, Aristotle, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Newton, Beethoven and Einstein are pointless froth in a heartless universe...
Continued here

How the Church Is Responding to the Letter of the 138 Muslims

From Chiesa:
For now, only the experts are speaking, while the official response is studied. But meanwhile, cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Libyan theologian Aref Ali Nayed are exchanging a series of messages. Here are the complete texts.
by Sandro Magister

Bishops To Elect Officers, Committee Chairs, Chairs-Elect

WASHINGTON (October 31, 2007)—The U.S. bishops will elect their president, vice president, treasurer-elect and ten committee chairs and chairs-elect at the November meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 12-15 in Baltimore.
The candidates are listed here.

Gospel for Nov 2, Commemoration: All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

From: John 6:37-40

The Discourse on the Bread of Life (Continuation)

[37] All that the Father gives Me will come to Me; and him who comes to Me I will not cast out. [38] For I have come down from Heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me; [39] and this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. [40] For this is the will of My Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."


37-40. Jesus clearly reveals that He is the one sent by the Father. This is something St. John the Baptist proclaimed earlier on (Jn 3:33-36), and Jesus Himself stated it in His dialogue with Nicodemus (Jn 3:17-21) and announced publicly to the Jews in Jerusalem (Jn 5:20-30). Since Jesus is the one sent by the Father, the bread of life come down from Heaven to give life to the world, everyone who believes in Him has eternal life, for it is God's will that everyone should be saved through Jesus Christ. These words of Jesus contain three mysteries: 1) that of faith in Jesus Christ, which means "going to Jesus", accepting His miracles (signs) and His words; 2) the mystery of the resurrection of believers, something which begins in this life through faith and becomes fully true in Heaven; 3) the mystery of predestination, the will of our Father in Heaven that all men be saved. These solemn words of our Lord fill the believer with hope.

St. Augustine, commenting on vv. 37 and 38, praises the humility of Jesus, the perfect model for the humility of the Christian: Jesus chose not to do His own will but that of the Father who sent Him: "Humbly am I come, to teach humility am I come, as the master of humility am I come; he who comes to Me is incorporated in Me; he who comes to Me, becomes humble; he who cleaves to Me will be humble, for he does not his will but God's" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 25, 15 and 16).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - November 2

We may have a confident hope of our salva­tion when we apply ourselves to relieve the souls in purgatory, so afflicted and so dear to God.

-­St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 2, To Quit Purgatory

A young monk who died in 1933 wrote, on November second:
"How mysterious it all is! Some of these souls so dear to God are comforted today; and others are leaving Purgatory to enter into the Beatific Vision to see God face to face. What a moment! It thrills me with happiness to think of it; to see Our Lord, to enjoy His beauty, to love Him forever. But these thoughts ought to guide my entire life, for the least of my actions have eternal repercussions, because there are degrees of glory in heaven. I must ask Our Lord to hollow out in my soul deep abysses of desire and of love - of love above all, because on the earth I have this unique privilege of visibly increasing this love. I will ask Our Lord for that; it is all that matters."

The monk's words express two great thoughts which ought to occupy me today: The happiness of the souls admitted into the Great Presence, thanks to the prayers that someone has said for them, and the urgency of my sanctity, since I will be rewarded eternally according to the measure of the desire and the love I possessed on earth. So long as I am on earth, I can increase my merits. I must not fail in that, not so much for personal concern but for God's glory, through a desire of rendering Him eternally a greater praise.

"My God, deliver the souls from Purgatory. Help those whom you still retain in the place of purification, support their suffering, and give me the grace to live more and more holily, that I may see You more quickly after my death, and love You more in eternity."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Inside the Vatican: Moscow's Field of Martyrs

Putin's "Why?"
Moscow's Field of Martyrs

Russia's president Vladimir Putin yesterday visited a place called Butovo, just outside Moscow, an empty former artillery field where thousands of the victims of the Soviet regime lie buried in common graves. Putin's visit was unprecedented. What does it mean?

- by Dr. Robert Moynihan
From an Inside the Vatican NewsFlash here.

Halloween and Harry Potter

Fr. Tom Euteneuer's Spirit & Life for Halloween

Gospel for November 1, Solemnity, All Saints

From: Matthew 5:1-12a

The Beatitudes

[1] Seeing the crowds, He (Jesus) went up on the mountain, and when He sat down His disciples came to Him. [2] And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: [3] "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. [4] Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. [5] Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. [6] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. [7] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. [8] Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. [9] Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. [10] Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. [11] Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven."


1. The Discourse, or Sermon, on the Mount takes up three full chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel--Chapters 5-7. It is the first of the five great discourses of Jesus which appear in this Gospel and it contains a considerable amount of our Lord's teaching.

It is difficult to reduce this discourse to one single theme, but the various teachings it contains could be said to deal with these five points: 1) the attitude a person must have for entering the Kingdom of Heaven (the Beatitudes, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, Jesus and His teaching, the fullness of the Law); 2) uprightness of intention in religious practice (here the "Our Father" would be included); 3) trust in God's fatherly providence; 4) how God's children should behave towards one another (not judging one's neighbor, respect for holy things, the effectiveness of prayer, and the golden rule of charity); 5) the conditions for entering the Kingdom (the narrow gate, false prophets and building on rock).

"He taught them": this refers both to the disciples and to the multitude, as can be seen at the end of the Sermon (Matthew 7:28).

2. The Beatitudes (5:3-12) form, as it were, the gateway to the Sermon on the Mount. In order to understand the Beatitudes properly, we should bear in mind that they do not promise salvation only to the particular kinds of people listed here: they cover everyone whose religious dispositions and moral conduct meet the demands which Jesus lays down. In other words, the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who suffer persecution in their search for holiness--these are not different people or kinds of people but different demands made on everyone who wants to be a disciple of Christ.

Similarly, salvation is not being promised to different groups in society but to everyone, no matter what his or her position in life, who strives to follow the spirit and to meet the demands contained in the Beatitudes.

All the Beatitudes have an eschatological meaning, that is, they promise us definitive salvation not in this world, but in the next. But the spirit of the Beatitudes does give us, in this life, peace in the midst of tribulation. The Beatitudes imply a completely new approach, quite at odds with the usual way man evaluates things: they rule out any kind of pharisaical religiosity, which regards earthly happiness as a blessing from God and a reward for good behavior, and unhappiness and misfortune as a form of punishment. In all ages the Beatitudes put spiritual goods on a much higher plane than material possessions. The healthy and the sick, the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor--all are called, independently of their circumstances, to the deep happiness that is experienced by those who live up to the Beatitudes which Jesus teaches.

The Beatitudes do not, of course, contain the entire teaching of the Gospel, but they do contain, in embryo, the whole program of Christian perfection.

3. This text outlines the connection between poverty and the soul. This religious concept of poverty was deeply rooted in the Old Testament (cf., e.g., Zephaniah 2:3ff). It was more to do with a religious attitude of neediness and of humility towards God than with material poverty: that person is poor who has recourse to God without relying on his own merits and who trusts in God's mercy to be saved. This religious attitude of poverty is closely related to what is called "spiritual childhood". A Christian sees himself as a little child in the presence of God, a child who owns nothing: everything he has comes from God and belongs to God. Certainly, spiritual poverty, that is, Christian poverty, means one must be detached from material things and practice austerity in using them. God asks certain people--religious--to be legally detached from ownership and thereby bear witness to others of the transitoriness of earthly things.

4. "Those who mourn": here our Lord is saying that those are blessed who suffer from any kind of affliction--particularly those who are genuinely sorry for they sins, or are pained by the offenses which others offer God, and who bear their suffering with love and in a spirit of atonement.

"You are crying? Don't be ashamed of it. Yes, cry: men also cry like you, when they are alone and before God. Each night, says King David, I soak my bed with tears. With those tears, those burning manly tears, you can purify your past and supernaturalize your present life" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 216).

The Spirit of God will console with peace and joy, even in this life, those who weep for their sins, and later will give them a share in the fullness of happiness and glory in Heaven: these are the blessed.

5. "The meek": those who patiently suffer unjust persecution; those who remain serene, humble and steadfast in adversity, and do not give way to resentment or discouragement. The virtue of meekness is very necessary in the Christian life. Usually irritableness, which is very common, stems from a lack of humility and interior peace.

"The earth": this is usually understood as meaning our Heavenly Fatherland.

6. The notion of righteousness (or justice) in Holy Scripture is an essentially religious one (cf. notes on Matthew 1:19 and 3:15; Romans 1:17; 1:18-32; 3:21-22 and 24). A righteous person is one who sincerely strives to do the Will of God, which is discovered in the commandments, in one's duties of state in life (social, professional and family responsibilities) and through one's life of prayer. Thus, righteousness, in the language of the Bible, is the same as what nowadays is usually called "holiness" (1 John 2:29; 3:7-10; Revelation 22:11; Genesis 15:6; Deuteronomy 9:4).

As St. Jerome comments ("Comm. on Matthew", 5, 6), in the fourth Beatitude our Lord is asking us not simply to have a vague desire for righteousness: we should hunger and thirst for it, that is, we should love and strive earnestly to seek what makes a man righteous in God's eyes. A person who genuinely wants to attain Christian holiness should love the means which the Church, the universal vehicle of salvation, offers all men and teaches them to use--frequent use of the Sacraments, an intimate relationship with God in prayer, a valiant effort to meet one's social, professional and family responsibilities.

7. Mercy is not a just a matter of giving alms to the poor but also of being understanding towards other people's defects, overlooking them, helping them cope with them and loving them despite whatever defects they may have. Being merciful also means rejoicing and suffering with other people.

8. Christ teaches us that the source of the quality of human acts lies in the heart, that is, in a man's soul, in the depths of his spirit. "When we speak of a person's heart, we refer not just to his sentiments, but to the whole person in his loving dealings with others. In order to help us understand divine things, Scripture uses the _expression `heart' in its full human meaning, as the summary and source, _expression and ultimate basis, of one's thoughts, words and actions. A man is worth what his heart is worth" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 164).

Cleanness of heart is a gift of God, which expresses itself in a capacity to love, in having an upright and pure attitude to everything noble. As St. Paul says, "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8). Helped by God's grace, a Christian should constantly strive to cleanse his heart and acquire this purity, whose reward is the vision of God.

9. The translation "peacemakers" well convey the active meaning of the original text--those who foster peace, in themselves and in others and, as a basis for that, try to be reconciled and to reconcile others with God. Being at peace with God is the cause and effect of every kind of peace. Any peace on earth not based on this divine peace would be vain and misleading.

"They shall be called sons of God": this is an Hebraicism often found in Sacred Scripture; it is the same as saying "they will be sons of God". St. John's first letter (3:1) provides a correct exegesis of this Beatitude: "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are".

10. What this Beatitude means, then, is: blessed are those who are persecuted because they are holy, or because they are striving to be holy, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thus, blessed is he who suffers persecution for being true to Jesus Christ and who does so not only patiently but joyfully. Circumstances arise in a Christian's life that call for heroism--where no compromise is admissible: either one stays true to Jesus Christ whatever the cost in terms of reputation, life or possessions, or one denies Him. St. Bernard ("Sermon on the Feast of All Saints") says that the eighth Beatitude is as it were the prerogative of Christian martyrs. Every Christian who is faithful to Jesus' teaching is in fact a "martyr" (a witness) who reflects or acts according with this Beatitude, even if he does not undergo physical death.

11-12. The Beatitudes are the conditions Jesus lays down for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. This verse, in a way summing up the preceding ones, is an invitation to everyone to put this teaching into practice. The Christian life, then, is no easy matter, but it is worthwhile, given the reward that Jesus promises.
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 31, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - November 1

We should honor God in His saints, and be­seech Him to make us partakers of the graces He poured so abundantly upon them.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 1, Saints Are Needed

In his book, The Rubies of the Chalice, Adolphe Rette, a con­vert, writes (p.195):
"Never has the presence of saints among us been more necessary than now, under the wave of materialism which is submerging us. Pius X urged the parish clergy to sanctity, giving them as patron the blessed Vianney. . . . Have you met many imitators of the Cure of Ars?"

Sanctity is not required in the priesthood alone. Should it not be found in the highest degree in religious? If every Christian, in fact, ought to tend towards perfection without having promised expressly to do it . . . Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. . . how much more religious souls who formally and pub­licly make profession of striving for sanctity?

And then, if we are to be and must be the salt of the earth, what responsibility would we have should we lose our savor? "What would become of the world," said Our Lord to St. Theresa of Avila, "if there were no more religious?"

Without doubt He spoke of live religious who carry out their engagement in its entirety. But through pity for our misery, He wished to recognize that "Even after having lost their primitive fervor, Religious Orders render to society great services." But a leaven has value only in the measure that it is a good leaven; if it loses its power to raise, throw it out; it does not fulfill its purpose.

"O my God, grant that I may be stimulated incessantly by the real­ization of my role as a leaven for the world. I have many reasons for being courageous; let this one which dominates all the others become more and more a part of me. This is not pride; it is truth, the world needs my sanctity."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Lefebrivists demand Council be “corrected,” not interpreted

Rome, Oct 30, 2007 / 01:05 pm (CNA).- In an interview with Italian journalist Paolo Luigi Rodari, the author of the blog “Palazzo Apostolico,” Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, said the schismatic movement demands not only a “correct interpretation” of Vatican II, but that the Council documents actually be changed...

UNICEF Still Promoting Abortion

One would certainly hope that no Catholic schools are sponsoring the fundraising activities UNICEF. Nor should any faithful Catholic or other Christian parent permit their children to be used as collection agents for this anti-life group...

UNICEF has been implicated in population control and "family planning" measures for many years as thoroughly documented in Winnifred Prestwich's 1993 pamphlet UNICEF Guilty as charged. The organization descended even further in 1995 when Carol Bellamy, a radical pro-abortion activist, became the executive director of the organization, a post she held till April 2005. From her elevated position, Bellamy turned UNICEF into a more direct force behind the promotion of abortion and abortifacient contraceptives working hand in hand with the notorious UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in such activities. (See's archive on such UNICEF activities: )
More here...

The Holy Father's Prayer Intention for Novermber

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That those dedicated to medical research and all those engaged in legislative activity may always have deep respect for human life, from its beginning to its natural conclusion."

His mission intention is: "That in the Korean peninsula the spirit of reconciliation and peace may grow."

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship...?

The nation's bishops will vote next month on a political roadmap for Roman Catholics headed into the 2008 election that gives top billing to abortion but also spotlights a wide range of issues, including opposition to torture and killing noncombatants in war...

"It's to get buy-in from a broader group and to listen to any of the voices that want input on its final form," said Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the conference. "Given the complexities of our political situation, this is a very good teaching document for the bishops and we're really very committed to it."

A draft of the document calls abortion and euthanasia "intrinsically evil" and "pre-eminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others." The bishops then cite other threats that can never be justified: human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, racism, torture, genocide, and "the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war."
Sounds like there is hope after all, but then we really should wait until the meeting to see what happens.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, one of the country's most vocal bishops about Catholics' need to speak in the public square, criticized the previous version of "Faithful Citizenship" for not being strong enough in underlining abortion's pre-eminence.

Chaput said in an e-mail Tuesday the revised document "is better and clearer than any version in the recent past" but isn't ideal. He said would be offering suggestions, but wouldn't be specific.

Chaput wrote that "all bricks in a building are important, but the ones in the foundation support everything else. The latter aren't just important; they're indispensable."

Like building one's house on rock instead of sand...

The Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the anti-abortion group is "grateful to the bishops for this document, and for pointing out that abortion is not just one issue among many; it attacks the very foundation of all our rights."
The "anti-aborion group" media bias here. The phrase "Pro-Life" is forbidden in the secular media.

In 2004, some bishops and American Catholics worried that the voices of a few bishops were getting undue attention.
Undue attention? More like long-overdue attention...And why was that? Why were they "worried"? Was the USCCB's seemingly long term partnership with the party of death coming to an end? Were some afraid that the light of truth, pure and unadulterated, would awaken Catholics and jar their consciences? And whom does the press like to blame for upsetting this "apple cart"?

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke drew the most notice for saying he would deny Communion to Democrat John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights. Burke has indicated he would so the same for 2008 Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic who also backs keeping abortion legal.
He and a few other courageous bishops, spoke out affirming the teachings of the Church. And he and those few others were ridiculed because they chose truth over ambiguity. Hopefully as time passes, documents coming from the USCCB will be clear and unambiguous, especially when it concerns matters of faith and morals.

Let us pray that this time we see something from the USCCB which will benefit Catholics and others, which will exhibit a needed clarity of the Church's teachings and the responsibilities of citizens, especially with respect to foundational issues.

Gospel for Wednesday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

All Hallows' Eve

From: Luke 13:22-30

The Narrow Gate

[22] He (Jesus) went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. [23] And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, [24] "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. [25] When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, 'I do not know where you are from.' [26] Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' [27] But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!" [28] There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. [29] And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. [30] And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."


23-24. Everyone is called to form part of the Kingdom of God, for he "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4). "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience: those too may achieve eternal salvation. Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life. Whatever good or truth is found among them is considered by the Church to be a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 16).

Certainly, only those who make a serious effort can reach the goal of salvation (cf. Lk 16:16; Mt 11:12). Our Lord tells us so by using the simile of the narrow gate. "A Christian's struggle must be unceasing, for interior life consists in beginning and beginning again. This prevents us from proudly thinking that we are perfect already. It is inevitable that we should meet difficulties on our way. If we did not come up against obstacles, we would not be creatures of flesh and blood. We will always have passions that pull us downwards; we will always have to defend ourselves against more or less self-defeating urges" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 75).

25-28. As at other times, Jesus describes eternal life by using the example of a banquet (cf., e.g., Lk 12:35ff; 14:15). Knowing the Lord and listening to his preaching is not enough for getting to heaven; what God judges is how we respond to the grace he gives us: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Mt 7:21).

29-30. Generally speaking, the Jewish people regarded themselves as the sole beneficiaries of the messianic promises made by the prophets; but Jesus proclaims that salvation is open to everyone. The only condition he lays down is that men freely respond to God's merciful call. When Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn in two (Lk 23:45 and par.), a sign of the end of the distinction between Jews and Gentiles. St Paul teaches: "For he [Christ] is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall [...] that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end" (Eph 2:14-16). Therefore, "all men are called to belong to the new people of God. This people therefore, whilst remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 13).
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 30, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - October 31

The best of all prayers is that in which we ask that God's holy will be accomplished, both in our­selves and in others.

-Ven. Louis de Blois
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for October 31, From Now On

At the death of his wife a great artist was overcome with bitter regret for not having told her enough how much he had esteemed, admired and loved her. "Oh that I still had some minutes to tell her."

Alas! It always goes that way. Before every deathbed one feels he could have shown more love to the one who leaves. . . . Too late!

"Why not avoid these regrets," counsels an author, "by giving from now on to the persons with whom we live this supplement of esteem or affection that we will vainly wish at their death to have given them while they were living?

"When all are sleeping, let us make the rounds of the rooms in thought, and imagine that those who rest there are dead. What reproaches would we not have to make to ourselves for certain actions that were left undone, for services that have not been ren­dered, for words which have not been pronounced, for a testi­mony of sympathy or affection which has not been given?"

But why fabricate fiction? Everyone is living, very much alive. All right, beginning tomorrow I will exert myself to give them the marks of esteem, to render them all the services, to testify to them all the love I should regret having so meagerly given them if death were to strike them tonight.

"O my God, teach me to be charitable, while I have the time, in order to avoid the regret of not having been so, when time will be no more."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

More Reflections for All Saints

On Married Saints, on the Hall of Holiness, and They Lead the Way.

This additional reflection, from "Talks for Children," is titled:

All Saints - Your Page in the Book

"Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven." St. Matthew, 5:12.

I want to tell you about a little girl called Kathleen - Kathleen Morrison, who later became a great movie actress. Later I'll tell you her name in the movies.

When Kathleen was still a little girl she was showing a friend some of her treasures - her dolls, her books, her dresses and all those things a girl likes. She thought she had nothing more to show her friend until Kathleen's dark eyes noticed her scrapbook. You know what a scrapbook is. It is a big book usually, where you paste in pictures and stories and things you want to keep, especially clipping from the papers and magazines. Kathleen's scrapbook had pictures of movie stars, all kinds of movie stars. She showed them all to her friend.

But there was one page that was blank. It had no picture or writing on it at all. Kathleen explained:

"That is where my picture is going to be when I am a great lady. I will cut out my picture and paste it right here, and if they say nice things about me I will put them right there."

Several years later Kathleen's name and picture were shown all over the land. She had changed her name to Colleen Moore. She had become a great actress. Perhaps your mother or father or grnadma or grandpa will remember her.

I'll bet her scrapbook is full now. I'll bet she has her page all covered with pictures and nice things. Oh, no, she hasn't. She still keeps that scrap­book, but her page is still blank. Why? Wel1, she says she wants to do still more wonderful things, and when she keeps that page blank she thinks about the better things she wants to do and tries much harder to do them.

Today, boys and girls, Mother Church shows us the "scrapbook of the saints," God's heroes. This is All Saints' day. Mother Church shows us the names and remarkable deeds of the heroes and heroines of God. She tells us to think about the many special friends of God whose names are not known. You may think that there are lots of saints, and there are, thousands of them.

But there are many thousands of people in heaven, saints, whose names are not known to us. Mother Church wants us to honor them today.

At the same time she leaves one page blank - for each one of you, a page where your name will be if you try to love and serve Jesus. Whether you ever become a great movie star or baseball star or any other kind of earthly star is not so important.

But it is important that every single one of you becomes a star for God, one of God's stars. And you can. Today Jesus tells us how. He tells us how we can get our names in His book. Jesus gives us the eight beatitudes, the eight blessings, the eight ways we can be happy with Him.

1. Jesus tells us we will be happy if we are poor in spirit. That means He wants us not to be thinking only about money and what money can buy.

2. He tells us that the meek will be happy and that they will own the land. Who are the meek? They are the gentle and the kind, those children who don't fight and quarrel, who try to let others have their way when it is possible.

3. Jesus says that those who are sad will be happy. Everyone of us at some time is sad. Jesus will make us glad.

4. Our Lord tells us that those who are hungry and thirsty because someone has been unjust to them, will also be happy in heaven. Perhaps some of your fathers do not make much money and you can't have all the good things you would like to have or even the good things you need. Don't worry. Jesus says you will be happy.

5. The merciful, our Lord says, will obtain mercy. If you forgive others, Jesus will forgive you. He tells us that many times.

6. Then He tells us something very important. He tells us that the pure of heart shall see God. If you try to think pure thoughts and talk pure and live pure, you will see God some day. That, is a wonderfu1 promise.

7. Peacemakers will also be happy and blessed. You know what a peace­maker is. A peacemaker is a boy or girl who tries to settle quarrels and fights and keep friends with everyone.

8. Those who suffer persecution will also be happy. Sometimes others make fun of us Catholics. They laugh even about our religion. You will even meet people who will not hire you for a job because you are a Catholic. That is persecution. Don't worry about it. Jesus will reward you.
In fact, Jesus will reward you for doing all these things He asks of us today. Doing them will make it sure that your name and your picture will be in God's book, the book of all those who loved and served Him. Those whose names are in that book, - and I do hope and pray that the name of every boy and girl here will be in that book - those whose names are in that book will live with Jesus forever. Amen.
Adapted from Talks for Children
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

Priest in secret marriage pleas guilty to half-million-dollar embezzlement

Richmond, Oct 29, 2007 / 10:47 am (CNA).- A retired Roman Catholic priest faces forty years in jail for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from two rural Virginian parishes, the Associated Press reports.

On Friday Father Rodney L. Rodis, 51, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one of money laundering.

Father Rodis embezzled money from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Church in Mineral between 2002 and 2006, prosecutors said. He wired at least $515,231 to relatives in his native Philippines to purchase property.
Who was doing the diocesan financial audits of parishes? I wonder how his children feel about this? And will he be laicized? Honesty doesn't seem to be one of his stronger traits or virtues. Maybe he had few people to pray for him and support him?

It's yet another instance to remind us of our obligation to pray for our priests who are subjected to even more temptations and tests than most laity. If we want the Almighty to send us good and holy priests, should we not pray for those we have and offer our praises to God for His blessings?

Got sin? YouTube, shredders your modern confessional

New ways to confess your sins point to a revival of the ancient religious rite

This February at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI instructed priests to make confession a top priority. U.S. bishops have begun promoting it in diocesan newspapers, mass mailings and even billboard ads. And in a dramatic turnaround, some Protestant churches are following suit. This summer, the second-largest North American branch of the Lutheran Church passed a resolution supporting the rite, which it had all but ignored for more than 100 years.

To make confession less intimidating, Protestant churches have urged believers to shred their sins in paper shredders or write them on rocks and cast them into a "desert" symbolized by a giant sand pile in the sanctuary. Three Capuchin friars now hear confessions six days a week at a mall in Colorado Springs., Colo...

Some Protestants now air their sins on videos that are shared on YouTube and iTunes or are played to entire congregations...

Confession is no longer strictly a private matter between a sinner, a priest and God. More than 7,700 people have posted their sins on, a confession Web site launched by an evangelical congregation in Cooper City, Fla.
Perhaps with the right direction, some may come to see the benefits of the Sacrament of Penance...

No more "Golden Gate Guards" at MHR

News from A Shepherd's Voice states that
...the s/m motorcycle club, the "Golden Gate Guards," have abruptly moved their scheduled November 17 Anniversary Party from Most Holy Redeemer to another location. Since every one of the "Golden Gate Guards" Anniversary Parties dating back to December 1, 2001 have been held at Most Holy Redeemer, and the "Golden Gate Guards" events calendar was changed on October 12, right after that video hit the web, a little cause and effect seems to be in operation.

The author also notes that numerous "Letters to the Editor" in the local diocesan paper were critical of those who exposed the sacrilegious behavior, rather than those who were responsible for it. Typical, blame the messenger, as they say...

New Auxiliary Bishop for Milwaukee...

The Holy Father:
- Appointed Fr. William Patrick Callahan O.F.M. Conv., spiritual director of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milwaukee (area 12,323, population 2,271,840, Catholics 707,688, priests 703, permanent deacons 167, religious 2,856), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1977.

Nagasaki, the City of the Atomic Bomb – And of the Christian Martyrs

There are 188 of them, from four centuries ago, and they will be beatified in one year. In the same city in which, on a single day in 1945, two thirds of the Catholics in Japan were killed. Was this a deliberate decision?
by Sandro Magister
More here

Last Train to Minsk

"And Sister Lucy Told Me..."
A conversation with Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the Catholic archbishop in Moscow for the past 16 years, on the eve of his departure for Belorussia
- by Dr. Robert Moynihan

MOSCOW, Russia, October 29, 2007 -- Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz drummed his powerful fingers nervously against the arms of the chair.

"Yes, I did speak with Sister Lucy," he told me. "Three times."

(He was referring to Sister Lucy of Fatima, one of the three Portuguese shepherd children who had visions of Mary on six occasions in 1917, 90 years ago. Sister Lucy died at the age of 98 in 2005, just six weeks before Pope John Paul II died on April 2 of that year.)

"You went to Portugal to see her?" I asked. (We spoke in English, which the archbishop speaks fluently.)

"Yes, three times," said Kondrusiewicz. He held up three fingers...

"She said I should consider that the essential thing is the salvation of souls, and the conversion of sinners..."
A very interesting interview with Archbishop Kondrusiewicz.

The interview is here

Feast of All Saints, The Communion of Saints

"I Believe in the Communion of Saints."

This text, taken from the Apostles' Creed, is an expression of thc Catholic belief that the saints and friends of God have vital interests in common. It is of Divine faith that things affecting one's soul in its relation to sanctity and happiness, have an intimate bear­ing on all souls that belong to the Kingdom of Christ. We Christians glory in a brotherhood whose membership transcends the nar­row limits of this world. We claim as our fellow citizens and our brethren, countless human beings dwelling in heaven, on earth, in purgatory, who are united by a mutual sympathy and friendship nmong themselves and by the common reliance they place in the goodness and favor of the Almighty.

I. Now all are called saints on earth who are sons abiding in the household of God. To be such they must be free from grievous ain. But freedom from sin and admission to the companionship of the saints, we may well recall, in the case of most men implies repent­ance for past misconduct and a determination of future amend­ment; just as it required the sorrow and tears of the returning prodigal to open once more to him the home of his youth and inno­cence.

Whether then it be Baptism or penance that has made them the friends of God, the saints on earth are the living mem­hers of the Church Militant, whose essential qualification is inno­cence and holiness, and whose cherished possession is a common heritage of merit and atonement bequeathed to them by Christ in the shedding of His Precious Blood. The saints here below have in common the same means of grace and edification, enabling them to withstand with unfaltering countenance the dangerous allurements that threaten their peace of mind.

They all partake of the Banquet of the Lord and are fed with the same Holy Bread of eternal life. Their common worship is the prayer and sacrifice of the universal Church offered up by the mediation of an Omnipotent Intercessor. It is the prayer of many hearts united with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Their voices ascend to heaven as one voice and cry, beseech­ing the Father of mercies that the day of His children on earth may be disposed in peace and that all may be numbered in the flock of the elect.

II. The saints in purgatory are those who suffer after death, but who have received from God, in the particular judgment, the certain assurance that they are saved. Their earthly existence for them is a thing of the past; but the combats they sustained in the flesh and the temptations they encountered, have left wounds and scars that were not entirely healed by the remedies applied of con­trition and penance.

Their condition, in dying, though not merit­ing everlasting punishment, nevertheless prevented their instant passage into paradise. And thus they are excluded for a time from heaven. They are the saints called the Church Suffering, because they remain in a place of purification, until by the grief and affliction they patiently endure, all wounds and traces of their earthly failings and imperfections are burnt and purged away.

But the good and the generous, when subjected to suffering, are peculiarly sensitive to the affliction of others. Hence the saints in purgatory are united in sorrow; and as their common grief at being kept far from God, is so much the more penetrating, so likewise the compassion they feel for one another's distress is deeper and more overpowering than any we can experience in this world.

Nor does this mean that these afflicted souls are separated from the living. Rather, we must say, participation in the treasury of atonement, of which the living Church holds the keys, is more necessary for them; seeing that, in their prison and chains, they are powerless to help themselves. Though confined in purgatory, they retain a rightful share of the benefits dispensed in this world by the ministers of Christ.

They are joined to their human brethren on earth by the recognition and expectancy of relief. We are able to lend them aid by offering to God, as atonement for their debt, our own prayers and other good works. What a consoling dogma of our religion that we can thus render assistance to deceased relatives and friends, our separation from whom by death we bitterly mourn! And we may be well assured of their gratitude and of their prayers in return if our charity, esteemed by God, hastens for them the glad hour of their deliverance from prison when they shall be granted refreshment, light and everlasting rest.

III. By far the most numerous branch of the Communion of saints is formed of the blessed in heaven. From every tribe and tongue nnd people are they gathered before the face of God in the everlasting courts where they participate in the all-absorbing vision of things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, which it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive. It is the Church Triumphant, the union in glory of souls washed in the Blood of the Lamb. It the unspeakable happiness that the assembly of the elect enjoy when they possess God eternally as their reward exceedingly great.

Now, if there is an identity of interest among the faithful of world, if, likewise, there is an intimate union and fellowship animating the suffering souls, then what shall we say of the union and fellowship that pervades and animates the inhabitants of the Holy City? Seeing that the heart of man was created for neither strife nor sorrow, but for happiness alone, and since rational beings instinctively seek companionship in enjoyment, thus, in the abode of perfect rest where no shadow of suffering threatens, each re­deemed soul is united with his companions of glory, and the knowledge of his own individual blessedness is immeasurably increased by sharing in the blessedness of the unnumbered thousands that sing hymns of joy before the great white throne.

But even in their joy, supreme and everlasting as it is, the saints in paradise are not forgetful of their brethren in less happy spheres. How many among them retain a vivid memory of the chastening pains they lately endured, and which they know others still endure, as the nearer preparation for participation in the privileged Communion of the beatific vision!

Further, in viewing the sacred wounds of the glorified humanity of Christ, are they not necessarily reminded of this world we dwell in? Are they not reminded that earth, and not heaven, was chosen by the Son of God for His mortal career in human flesh? And that, on this earth, He elected to suffer and to die to purchase for men so glorious a destiny? Is it possible for the elect to forget the abode where the foundations of their happiness were laid? Where God, for their benefit, mani­fested His bountiful Providence by miracles and revelations, by lessons of warning and promises of reward, by institutions of holiness and mercy? Where they themselves, sustained by Divine grace, were able to rejoice in the midst of tribulations and sorrows that appeared too heavy, too unbearable to all except to those who loved God and trusted in the power of His love?

Nay more, this present world in its actual condition, is revealed to the eyes of the blessed: They take a never-failing interest in the lives of existing men, because, however poorly circumstanced we may be, they behold the true nobility we possess as children of God redeemed equally as they by the Precious Blood of Jesus.

In our souls they see imaged the adorable likeness of our Maker. In us they recognize members of that Church whose riches are their enjoyment. And if their joy will be filled with greater rejoicing in the triumph of our salvation, then truly may we say that the saints are with us not only in mind, their hearts likewise accompany us, so to speak, in the battle we wage against the powers of dark­ness. Their intercession with God is unceasing in our behalf that, through His mercy and goodness, we may be made to persevere till the hour of victory and reward.

Practices. - Let us not permit this First of November to pass away without making some useful applications of our belief in the Communion of Saints. If we belong to the company of the just, then we are constrained to practise holiness. We are bound faith­fully to fulfil our duties toward God and man.

Still we will show little generosity in so worthy a cause if we limit our endeavors to strict duty. We must therefore multiply our deeds of virtue that our example may be a shining light for the footsteps of our fellow Christians whose welfare is so closely connected with our own.

During this month of November no person, animated with a spirit of charity and true piety, will fail to engage in special good works for the benefit of the suffering souls. Finally, let us pay due honor to the saints in paradise who are our friends nearest to God.

Let us beg them to obtain from the Almighty this favor: that our lives may resemble theirs in goodness and fidelity in the service of re­ligion, and that, in dying, we may be speedily admitted into the full participation of the celestial privileges of the Communion of Saints.
Adapted from Plain Sermons by Practical Preachers, Vol. I(©1916)
Homily by Rev Stephen Murphy, O.M.I.
Nihil Obstat: Remegius Lafort, S.T.D
Imprimatur: John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Gospel for Tuesday, 30th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 13:18-21

Parables of the Grain of Mustard Seed and of the Leaven

[18] He (Jesus) said therefore, "What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? [19] It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."

[20] And again He said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? [21] It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened."


18-21. The grain of mustard and the leaven symbolize the Church, which starts off as a little group of disciples and steadily spreads with the aid of the Holy Spirit until it reaches the ends of the earth. As early as the second century Tertullian claimed: "We are but of yesterday and yet we are everywhere" ("Apologeticum", 37).

Our Lord "with the parable of the mustard seed encourages them to have faith and shows them that the Gospel preaching will spread in spite of everything. The Lord's disciples were the weakest of men, but nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, the Gospel has been spread to every part of the world" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 46). Therefore, a Christian should not be discouraged if his apostolic action seems very limited and insignificant. With God's grace and his own faithfulness it will keep growing like the mustard seed, in spite of difficulties: "In the moments of struggle and opposition, when perhaps `the good' fill your way with obstacles, lift up your apostolic heart: listen to Jesus as He speaks of the grain of mustard seed and of the leaven. And say to Him: `"edissere nobis parabolam": explain the parable to me.' And you will feel the joy of contemplating the victory to come: the birds of the air lodging in the branches of your apostolate, now only in its beginnings, and the whole of the meal leavened" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 695).
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 29, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

"Does Richard Dawkins exist? Many people would say yes. Terry Tommyrot thinks otherwise. In a revealing interview on "The Big Questions", Dr. Tommyrot explains how belief in Richard Dawkins is, in fact, a harmful delusion, and how it can be explained scientifically."

YouTube video here

Thoughts and Counsels - October 30

It is rarely that we fall into error if we are humble and trust to the wisdom of others, in preference to our own judgment.

-Ven. Louis de Blois
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for October 30, Self Love

Shortly before his death St. Alphonse Rodriguez, aged eighty-­seven years, answered his nurse, who had asked him if he was suffering much:


"From what do you suffer?"

"From self-love."

St. Francis de Sales put no limit to the misdeeds of corrupt nature. It even goes beyond the bed of the agonizing. "Self love," he used to say, "will die only a quarter of an hour after us."

That is sufficient to plane down certain pretensions and claims. There are persons who imagine that from a definite moment they will be completely transformed; there will be nothing more of the human in them; nature will have ceased to exist; they will awaken one fine day metamorphosed into seraphim.

The true story of our lives is quite different.

Assuredly God can work miracles; He can change stones into children of Abraham, and reserves to His own pleasure the trans­formation of an ordinary soul into a privileged creature, one who, except for still touching two feet on the ground, seems to be no longer of the earth.

But so long as our steps tread our poor planet of sin, earth re­mains earth; it is true that we are born of passion and we con­tinue, to the end, to carry about in us the marks of passion; it is true that, bitten by concupiscence, we have to reckon with concu­piscence to the end.

It has been said for all without exception: Watch and pray.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Coming This Week-"Weekly Wisdom with Fr. John Corapi"

From a recent email:
Beginning November 3, 2007 Father John Corapi and the administrative arm of his ministry, Santa Cruz Media, Inc., will offer a web-based subscription service called “Weekly Wisdom with Fr. John Corapi.”

Click here to see a short video of Father Corapi introducing his new program.

The service will provide a 20-30 minute presentation each week taken from Fr. Corapi's most current homilies, sermons, and spiritual conferences. These will be chosen from the Catholic Church’s current liturgical calendar, current events, and/or matters Fr. Corapi believes are of great interest to the People of God.

At the end of each of these weekly segments, Father will be presenting some of the most important elements of spiritual direction to help you with your personal journey to God.

The only way to access these weekly talks will be via the web-based subscription service, which is linked to The service initially will be available only on a month to month basis for a monthly subscription fee of $9.95.
Many may be unable to afford this but I'm presenting this as information which might be of benefit for some.

An Open Letter to Archbishop Niederauer

From the St. Joseph's Mens Society
October 29, 2007

Most Reverend George H. Niederauer
Archbishop of San Francisco
One Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109-6602

Your Excellency:

During your first visit to Most Holy Redeemer parish on Sunday October 7th, 2007, you gave Our Lord in Holy Communion to members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI) a homosexual activist group widely known for its attacks upon and mockery of the Catholic Faith. Your subsequent October 11th apology notes that you did not recognize these “strangely dressed persons” as members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and that these individuals should not have received Holy Communion, nor should the minister of the Church administer the Sacrament to them.

First: For the sake of their souls and the souls of those Catholics worldwide who have been scandalized, your office requires you to state this formally, according to the teachings of the Church.

You must immediately and publicly state that, per canon 915:

* Membership in the so-called “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” is incompatible with the Catholic Faith (and any other group of similar nature must also be named)

* Under no circumstances are members of this group to be admitted to Holy Communion

* Those who obstinately remain in this group, incur automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church

* Members who decide to leave the group must repent publicly. A public act of scandal requires a public act of repentance. (see attached document) The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin)

These sanctions should be implemented now so that those under this discipline will have the opportunity to repent publicly by the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2007.

Second: In 1986, the Magisterium issued the instruction, the Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.* The then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous.”

Fr. Stephen Meriwether, as pastor of Most Holy Redeemer parish, has continually allowed groups that “seek to undermine the teaching of the Church…or neglect it entirely,” to use its facilities. Golden Gate Guards, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Desperate Divas Grand Drag Pageant are just a few of the groups who have rented the parish hall for their blatantly sinful displays.

Because of the public scandal this has generated, you must:

• Replace the current pastor with a priest who is faithful to Church teachings, especially on this pivotal issue.

* Give specific instructions to all ministers of the Eucharist that giving Holy Communion to men dressed in drag is not an option and can only bring further scandal.

* In addition, we, the Faithful have the right to demand that you do your Episcopal duty and publicly reiterate the position of the Church that homosexual advocacy groups cannot meet in or use any facility of the Archdiocese.

Third: It is essential that you publicly urge those ensnared in the homosexual lifestyle to seek repentance and healing through the Sacrament of Penance. Your canonical responsibility for the salvation of souls is not optional, and is a greater imperative than a misguided “tolerance” which fails to admonish the sinner.

Finally: Considering the outrageous events that have been documented by photo or video within the walls of Most Holy Redeemer parish, and especially for the probability of sacrileges that have NOT been documented, we suggest a thorough blessing of the entire building and re-consecration of Most Holy Redeemer Church.

If you are unwilling or unable to take these necessary steps, then in humility you have the responsibility to offer your resignation to Pope Benedict XVI.

We are praying that you will take the appropriate steps and do your duty as a successor of the apostles to repair the damage done by this scandal.

Sincerely in Christ,

Anthony Gonzales, President
St. Joseph’s Men Society
15732 Los Gatos Blvd. #303
Los Gatos, CA. 95032

* Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

This will likely not lead to correcting of problems, but may only exacerbate an already grave situation. The last information I had was that a file was being sent to the Vatican. That probably should have been the final communique to the public.

Miller's Apology Rejected

Miller Beer Boycott Still in Full Force as Miller Refuses to Halt S&M Gay Parade Sponsorship

SAN FRANCISCO, October 29, 2007 ( - A half-heated apology by the Miller Brewing Company has done nothing but fan the flames of an already established boycott of Miller beer. Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented on Miller's 'apology' of Oct. 26...
Continued at LifeSiteNews

And Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented today on Miller’s apology of Oct. 26:

“They either don’t get it or they think we’re stupid. Miller’s latest apology is nothing but a rehash of what it has been saying all along—it limits its apology to the use of its logo on the offensive Last Supper promotional poster for the Folsom Street Fair. But it still refuses to apologize for the anti-Catholic nature of the event itself. As we have repeatedly said, sacred symbols were sold as sex toys at the Miller-sponsored event, a stripper and a man dressed as Jesus were hoisted in cages above a Catholic church on a Sunday, and men mocked nuns in the street. Evidently, Miller thinks these kinds of things are okay....
Donohue's response is continued here.

Invoking the Saints....

Catholic Action Network recently posted the upcoming 'Women's Ordination' information on the "What's New" section of its "Justice for Women in the Catholic Church" web page:

2 women from JWCC to be ordained on November 11th in St. Louis
More information here. [the 10/15 Press Release]

Ree and Elsie will co-pastor the Thérèse of Divine Peace Inclusive Community on Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. beginning December 1, 2007. The Thérèse community will meet in Hope Chapel at the First Unitarian Church of Saint Louis, 5007 Waterman Avenue. Please join us!

Download an Invitation to the Ordination here.
If you would like to attend download the response form here.

But there is even more, and this may irritate the already agitated nerves of Catholics who see this farce for what it truly is - an open rebellion against Christ and His Church.

Why not try to bring the saints in heaven into the mix. Rebelling takes on a truly new meaning - one can be a "St Catherine of Siena" contributor. Who would invoke the name of a saint, while cooperating in the sin of others?

If you would like to sponsor the ordination through a financial contribution e-mail CAN.

All contributions welcome:
St. Therese-The Little Flower: $25
Joan of Arc: $50
St. Catherine of Sienna: $100

What sane, rational person would think that these saintly women would be pleased with the use of their names in such an endeavor? No one - the key words being 'sane' and 'rational.' What a spectacle this is...

And CAN does not end it here - there is more that it wants its readers to know (just in case, they, too, feel 'called'):

Women Led-Liturgies
an opportunity for Catholic women (especially those called to ordination) to lead prayer
St. Cronan's parish: 1202 S Boyle Ave
Don't believe it? See it here.

Pope calls for conscientious objection by pharmacists

Vatican, Oct. 29, 2007 ( - Catholic pharmacists should not be involved in the distribution of drugs designed to cause abortion or euthanasia, Pope Benedict XVI said on October 29.

In a short talk to members of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists, the Holy Father urged the group to be sensitive to "the ethical implications of the use of particular drugs."

Specifically, the Pope said, "we cannot anesthetize consciences as regards, for example, the effect of certain molecules that have the goal of preventing the implantation of the embryo or shortening a person's life."

More at here.

The Vatican Information Service link is here.