Saturday, January 19, 2008

Just for Today, January 20

If we would use but a little violence upon ourselves in the beginning, we might afterwards do all things with ease and joy. It is hard to leave off our old customs, and harder to go against our own will. But if thou dost not overcome things that are small and light, when wilt thou overcome greater difficulties?

Resist thy inclination in the beginning, and break off the evil habit; lest perhaps by little and little the diifficulty increase upon thee. Oh! if thou were sensible how much peace thou shouldst procure to thyself!
-Bk. I, ch. xi.

I will have thee learn the perfect renunciation of thy­self, according to My wil1, without contradiction and complaint.
-Bk. III, ch. lvi.

At the first sound of the bell she would lay down her work, or break off a conversation, however interesting. If she were sewing at the time, she would leave the needle in the unfinished stitch. Whilst the bell was ringing, her sister Marie continued writing something she had just told her, and that she herself was afraid of forgetting. The Saint reproved her gently but firmly: "It would be better to lose that and obey the Rule. If you only knew what you are missing!"

For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - January 20

On the feasts of the saints consider their vir­tues, and beseech God to deign to adorn you with them.

-St. Teresa
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 January 20, The Gift of Life

God has created me in preference to so many other beings who will remain forever in uncreated nothingness.

Me? Just why did He create me?

Because God knew that I would serve Him better than others? Because more glory would accrue to Him from creating me instead of so many others?


Because I would be an object of greater joy to God, and because to compensate for my countless negligences, I would have an in­vincible ardor, a faith that moves mountains, a loving tenderness like that of repentant Mary Magdalen?


But why, then?

Because He has deigned to love me more than others? Because, without my being any more lovable, He has wished to show me more attention, and make me the object of His greater com­placence.

If such is the case, what obligation is mine? Am I to serve God as poorly as possible? Love Him but slightly? I could not have been chosen among millions to be just an ordinary person. Would it be just? Would it not be base ingratitude on my part? I, who may never have existed, received life, and now profit by it to be a little more than nothing! What an abomination!

I must aim at carrying out in its entirety God's plan for my sanctification. ­
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Father Adolfo Nicolás, New Superior General of the Jesuits

Father Adolfo Nicolás was elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus on Saturday, 19 January in a solemn ceremony following four days of prayer and conversation by the 217 electors who came to Rome from all over the world.

Smallest of All

From Credo of the Catholic Laity:

150th Anniversary of Lourdes

Responding to Archbishop Burke's 2005 request, Theater of the Word, Incorporated will mark the 150th anniversary of our Lady's apparitions at Lourdes with a production of St. Louis native Mother Mary Francis' play Smallest of All which shows how St. Bernadette as a 14 year old girl stood her ground with stubbornness, wit, humility, and faith in the face of cynicism, hostility, and skepticism from ecclesiastical and civil authorites, and ordinary folk. Archbishop Burke is a great fan of this play, and specifically requested the production.

Credo members may remember the founder and creative director of Theater of the Word, Kevin O'Brien, from the September Forum. And we know quite a few Credo members attended the first three shows at the Rigali Center. Credo board member Tom Leith will appear in Smallest of All as Jacomet, Lourdes' Chief of Police.

The show will be performed at the Rigali Center in Shrewsbury on two weekends in February; the weekend of the 15th, and the weekend of the 22nd. There will be a matinée both Sundays, and evening performances on the other days.

On Sunday February 24th, Theater of the Word will hold its first fundraising event in St. Louis. After the performance, there will be a dinner and talk by Credo's friend, Fr. Joseph Fessio, on Reclaiming the Arts. Fr. Fessio and Ignatius Press have been great supporters of Theater of the Word. The price for the whole package: show, dinner, and talk is $35. But Fr. Fessio hopes you bring your checkbook. Space is limited, and tickets for the fundraising event are available only by calling Theater of the Word.

Evening performances are at 8:00, and the matinées are at 2:00. Doors open a half hour before the show. Tickets are available from Theater of the Word, Incorporated at 314-894-9673. $15 for all performances. Except for the fundraiser, tickets also available at all Metrotix locations, and on the Metrotix website , or charge by phone at 314-534-1111.

Gospel for Saturday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Saints Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum, martyrs; St. Canute, martyr

From: Mark 2:13-17

The Calling of Matthew

[13] He (Jesus) went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about Him, and He taught them. [14] And as He passed on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[15] And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many who followed Him. [16] And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, "Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [17] And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."


14. St. Mark and St. Luke (5:27-32) both call him "Levi"; the First Gospel, on the other hand, calls him "Matthew" (Matthew 9:9-13); but they are all referring to the same person. All three accounts describe the same event. Later on, St. Mark and St. Luke, when giving the list of Apostles (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16), include Matthew, not Levi. The Fathers identify Matthew with Levi. Besides it was quite common for Jews to have two names: Jacob-Israel, Simon-Peter, Saul-Paul, Joseph-Caiaphas, John-Mark... Frequently, the name and surname were connected with some significant change in the life and mission of the person concerned. Did Jesus' saving intervention in this Apostle's life lead to a change of name? The Gospel does not tell us.

Levi-Matthew, as a publican or tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), was sitting at the `tax office', a special place where one went to pay tribute. Publicans were tax-collectors appointed by the Romans. It was, therefore, an occupation hated and despised by the people; but it was also a much-coveted position because it was an easy way to become prosperous. Matthew leaves everything behind when Jesus calls him. He immediately responds to his vocation, because Jesus gives him the grace to accept his calling.

Jesus is the basis of our confidence in being able to change, provided we cooperate with His grace, no matter how unworthy our previous conduct may have been. And He is also the source of the confidence we need in order to be apostolic--helping others to be converted and seek holiness of life. Because He is the Son of God He is able to raise up children of God even from stones (cf. Matthew 3:9). Cf. note on Matthew 9:9.

17. The scribes and Pharisees reproach the disciples, and Jesus replies with a popular proverb: `Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.' He is the doctor of souls, come to cure sinners of their spiritual ailments.

Our Lord calls everyone, His redemptive mission extends to everyone; He affirms this on other occasions, using parables such as that of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24). How, then, can we explain the restriction He seems to place here by saying that He has not come to call the righteous? It is not really a restriction. Jesus uses the opportunity to reproach the scribes and Pharisees for their pride: they consider themselves just, and their reliance on their apparent virtue prevents them from hearing the call to conversion; they think they can be saved by their own efforts (cf. John 9:41). This explains the proverb Jesus quotes; certainly His preaching makes it quite clear that `no one is good but God alone' (Mark 10:18) and that everyone must have recourse to the mercy and forgiveness of God in order to be saved. In other words, mankind is not divided into two--the just and the unjust. We are all sinners, as St. Paul confirms: `all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). Precisely because of this, Christ came to call all of us; He justifies those who respond to His call.

Our Lord's words should also move us to pray humbly and confidently for people who seem to want to continue living in sin. As St. Teresa beseeched God: "Ah, how hard a thing am I asking of Thee, my true God! I ask Thee to love one who loves Thee not, to open to one who has not called upon Thee, to give health to one who prefers to be sick and who even goes about in search of sickness. Thou sayest, my Lord, that Thou comest to seek sinners; these, Lord, are the true sinners. Look not upon our blindness, my God, but upon all the blood that was shed for us by Thy Son. Let Thy mercy shine out amid such tremendous wickedness. Behold, Lord, we are the works of Thy hands" ("Exclamations of the Soul to God", n. 8).

The Fathers of the Church see this calling by Jesus as an invitation to repentance and penance. St. John Chrysostom ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 30:3), for example, explains the phrase by putting these words in Jesus' mouth: "I am not come that they should continue sinners but that they should change and become better."
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, January 18, 2008

Just for Today, January 19

Many are found to desire contemplation; but they care not to practise those things which are required thereunto.
-Bk. III, ch. xxxi.

Marie, no doubt thinking that I was quite pious enough for my age, would only allow me time for my vocal prayers, and none for mental prayer, much as I would have loved it. One of my mistresses at the Abbey asked me how I spent my whole holidays, when I remained at home. I answered shyly that by drawing the curtains of my bed I could make a little recess in which I could hide, and there I would sit and think.

"Oh!" said the good nun, laughing, "and pray what do you think about?"

"About God, the shortness of life, eternity; in fact, I just think."

My mistress remembered this, and later used to remind me of my thinking and asked if I still kept it up. I realize now that I was really praying, whilst my divine Master gently taught my soul.
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - January 19

Open thine ears to the voices of nature, and thou shalt hear them in concert inviting thee to the love of GOd.

-Ven. Louis of 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 January 19, The Difficulty of Obedience

"Nothing is more difficult to do than what is commanded." That is a psychological fact as old as the world.

Was that not already clear in the Terrestrial Paradise? Did God ask anything difficult of our first parents? Why then did they refuse to obey Him?

The commanded act is not intrinsically difficult; in many cases it is relatively easy to accomplish, but it is difficult precisely be­cause it is commanded. It may be a very minor thing, but if it is imposed, it costs. Why? Because we do not like to submit, even in lesser details. That constitutes the particular value of obedience. To consent, for love of God, to do only what has been commanded is to live in perpetual renunciation which is the most perfect exer­cise of charity.

How consoling it is to know that the value of the virtue of obedi­ence does not lie in the acts themselves, which may be mere trifles, but in the command, which imposes constant submission of my will for love of God.

My life can be truly beautiful. It may be made up of very little acts, insignificant deeds, but by the stamp of obedience which marks them, they take on great value.

I must renew myself in the practice of obedience and strive to acquire the spirit of obedience.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Independent "Catholic" Parish to Ordain Woman

Deluded individuals are on the increase - this time in Sacramento.

Elizabeth English is a mother of two, a partner in a four-year relationship, a social worker. On Saturday, she will add one more title: Catholic priest.
A 'partner' [does this mean lesbian?] in a four year relationship who will soon become an heretical priestette?

English is a member of a small, independent Catholic church that does not recognize papal authority and ordains women to the priesthood.
It's certainly not Catholic - it's no different than any other schismatic or heretical sect that has existed in the past.

In an elaborate ceremony, English will be the first woman to take priestly vows at her Sacramento church. She knows this will likely upset many Roman Catholics.

"That is not my goal," says English, 58. "I believe I am answering God's call."
They all "believe" that they are answering God's call but we know that God is not the source or cause of their departure from Christ and His Church; this rebellion comes directly from Satan, and they are too blinded by pride or ignorance to discern this.

English, who typically wears traditional priestly clothes, [a cross-dresser?] describes herself as "Catholic to the core." She was confirmed to the faith in 2004 but left the Roman Catholic Church eight months ago to attend Good Shepherd Parish, an independent congregation. About 30 people worship at the church, which meets at the Spiritual Life Center in downtown Sacramento.
She must have had one heck of an RCIA program to have become so "Catholic to the core"...And as a courtesy to clowns, I won't call her one!

English's ordination will be held at Atonement Lutheran Church in Sacramento and is open to the public.....
Couldn't find a real Catholic parish church to do the evil deed, huh? From what I hear synagogues make nice places for fake ordinations...

Someone ought to forward this Bozek...He likes this sort of thing doesn't he?

No wonder she was excommunicated...

A recent interview of Uta Ranke-Heinemann by Jane Paulick of Deutsche Welle-World of Germany over the recent decision by Cardinal Karl Lehmann to resign as head of the German Bishops' Conference, should leave no doubt why she would incur the medicinal penalty of excommunication:

...In 1987 he became head of the Bishops' Conference, and this was the year I lost my professorship because I quoted Rahner's views on the Virgin Birth. When I turned to Lehmann for help, he failed to respond. He clearly has one opinion for theology professors and another for the flock. So while I consider Lehmann likeable, I believe that he is a master of the double standard. On a number of key issues, he has one truth for the pope and the simple-minded, and another for theology professors such as Karl Rahner.

Which ones?

The question of the Virgin Birth, use of condoms, abortion from the moment of conception. Personally I am against abortion, but not from the first moment of conception. Lehmann on the other hand called an embryo that's just seconds old an individual, i.e. something indivisible, which is scientific nonsense. Other issues include the Catholic practice of the devil and exorcism under John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI, which Lehmann happily goes along with....

Which reforms do you think the Catholic Church needs most?

The pope should not be infallible. But I'm pessimistic. This will never happen. Nothing will change. Anyone who doubts the anti-abortion and anti-condom stance, for example, will simply never be allowed to become a bishop.
What a theologian!

Gospel for Friday, 1st Week of Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Peter's Chair at Rome, St. Prisca, Virgin and Martyr

From: Mark 2:1-12

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And when He (Jesus) returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and He was preaching the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. [4] And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, [7] "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? [9] Which is easier to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk?' [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"


4. Many Jewish houses had a terraced roof accessible by steps at the back. The same structure can be found even today.

5. Here Jesus emphasizes the connection between faith and the forgiveness of sins. The boldness of the people who brought in the paralytic shows their faith in Christ, and this faith moves Jesus to forgive the man's sins. We should question how God views our faith:the faith of these people leads to the instantaneous physical and spiritual curing of this man. We should notice also that one person's need can be helped by the merits of another.

In this man's physical paralysis, St. Jerome sees a type or figure of spiritual paralysis: the cripple was unable to return to God by his own efforts. Jesus, God and man, cured him of both kinds of paralysis (cf. "Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). Cf. notes on Matthew 9:2-7.

Jesus' words to the paralytic--"Your sins are forgiven"--reflect the fact that his pardon involves a personal encounter with Christ; the same happens in the Sacrament of Penance: "In faithfully observing the centuries-old practice of the Sacrament of Penance--the practice of individual confession with a personal act of sorrow and an intention to amend and make satisfaction--the Church is defending the human soul's individual right, man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: `Your sins are forgiven'; `Go, and do not sin again' (John 8:11). As is evident, this is also a right on Christ's part with regard to every human being in the soul's life constituted by the moment of conversion and forgiveness" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 20).

7-12. Here we find a number of indicators of Jesus' divinity: He forgives sins, He can read the human heart and has the power to instantly cure physical illnesses. The scribes know that only God can forgive sins. This is why they take issue with Our Lord's statement and call it blasphemous. They require a sign to prove the truth of what He says. And Jesus offers them a sign. Thus just as no one can deny that the paralytic has been cured, so no one can reasonably deny that he has been forgiven his sins. Christ, God and man, exercised power to forgive sins and, in His infinite mercy, He chose to extend this power to His Church. Cf. note on Matthew 9:3-7.
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, January 17, 2008

Just for Today, January 18

What does solicitude about future accidents bring thee, but only sorrow upon sorrow? Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof (Matt. vi, 34). It is a vain and un­profitable thing to conceive either grief or joy for future things, which perhaps will never happen.
-Bk. III. ch. xxx.

I do not lift my eyes to see
The clouds next day may bring;
From stain of sin, Lord, keep me free
This day, beneath Thy wing!

I can endure just for today
The cross that Thou wilt send;
The daily grace, for which I pray,
Will help me to the end.
- Poems
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - January 18

In order to bear our afflictions with patience, it is very useful to read the lives and legends of the saints who endured great torments for Jesus Christ.

-St. Teresa
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 January 18, The Vow of Poverty

Here is a very apt remark:
"The vice that contributes most to laxity in a religious community is the violation of the vow of poverty....Failures against obedience and chastity are personal, and, with some exceptions, more hidden; failures against poverty destroy every economy of the religious state."
They are in general more visible, and defy the very Rule which is the rampart of the religious life.

I must, consequently, give all my attention to the observance of poverty; submit to the common rule, to the adopted customs. I must not seek finer things than those provided for everyone else; accept nothing from outsiders, except with permission, and then give it to the superiors to dispose of as they see fit.

I will gratefully accept objects that are less good, already used, less modern and less convenient; I will not think it strange that others, for reasons that I do not know, are better provided for than I, and except by the express permission of my superiors given for legitimate reasons, I will not permit myself to be better provided for than others.

Poverty encompasses religious life with a sacred barrier. To raise a hand against it is a kind of sacrilege. We do not see Mary and Joseph installing an expensive chandelier or any precious object in the stable at Bethlehem, or wearing costly garments near the crib of the Little Jesus. It would be just as gross an anomaly to
play the rich lady in my life of poverty. I must live poor in my poor life.

"I will be vigilant during the day, O my Jesus, to see if You are asking a sacrifice of me in the objects given for my use; I do not wish to be content with resolutions made in the chapel, but without being perturbed or meticulous I desire to practice the actual poverty of my state in all its rigor."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Mea Culpa?

A brother in Christ writes regarding a previous post about Marek Bozek and his participation in a "Call to Action" conference:
I. . .take issue with your label of the CTA mugs shots as "clowns and sideshow freaks."

I have known a number of professional clowns, and several (a-hem) "special people" performers, and every one of them would be utterly indignant to be compared with the likes of these very stupid and rebellous CTA "people."

I admit that I've probably used ther term "clowns" in the past. But I'd have to check the archives to see if I've used the phrase "sideshow freaks" - it's a term I can't fathom using in the normal course of conversation.

Be that as it may, I sincerely apologize to those with professions as clowns and sideshow freaks that I may have offended by comparing them with rebellious, obstinate, and dissenting individuals who profess to be Catholic.

Rome university audience applauds Pope's text

Rome, Jan. 17, 2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) chose not to visit La Sapienza university on January 17, as originally scheduled, because "the prerequisites for a dignified and tranquil reception were not present," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (bio - news) explained in a letter to the school's rector.
The Pope's lecture was read at the convocation that the Pontiff had been invited to address. [The full text of the papal address is available on the CWN site.]....

Bumper Sticker Political Endorsements

The Party of Death: No Pro-Life Activities Here!

National Memorial for the Pre-Born and their Mothers and Fathers Removed from Capitol Buildings

Contact: Jerry Horn, National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC), 540-220-0095

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- For the first time in 13 years, the Senate leadership is uncooperative in providing room for the annual interfaith pro-life prayer service observing the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

"In all past years, the Senate leadership has approved the prayer service in one of the larger auditoriums, but this year has been unwelcoming," said Dr. Paul Schenck, who coordinates the event. In previous years, Senators Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry have filed complaints against the prayer gathering.

The National Memorial for the Pre-Born and their Mothers and Fathers, the only pro-life prayer service to take place within the Capitol complex each year, will convene Tuesday, January 22, 2008 in observance of the notorious decision which led to abortion on demand....
There are some really, really sick people in Washington, D.C. and they're running our country (into the ground)...

Maintain a Vigilant Awareness of the Truth

This is too good not to share.
VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2008 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., yesterday sent a letter to the rector of Rome's "La Sapienza" University, explaining the reasons for which the Pope will not participate in today's ceremony for the inauguration of that institution's academic year.

In his letter the Cardinal writes: "As, unfortunately, the prerequisites for a dignified and tranquil welcome were not present, because of an initiative by a decidedly minority group of professors and students, it was judged opportune to postpone the scheduled visit in order to remove any pretext for demonstrations which would have been unfortunate for everyone concerned".

Nonetheless, the letter continues, given that the majority of professors and students wished to hear "a culturally meaningful word, whence to draw stimuli for their own journey in search of truth, the Holy Father has instructed that the text he prepared for the occasion be sent to you".

In his discourse, which was read out at the end of this morning's ceremony, Benedict XVI recalls the lecture he delivered at Regensburg in September 2006, during the course of his apostolic trip to Germany. On that occasion, he writes, "I spoke as Pope but, above all, as a former professor of what used to be my own university. ... However, I was invited to 'La Sapienza', the ancient university of Rome, as Bishop of Rome, and as such I must speak.

"Of course", he adds, "'La Sapienza' was once the university of the Pope, but today it is a lay university enjoying that autonomy which, on the basis of the principles on which they were founded, has always been part of the nature of universities, which must be exclusively bound by the authority of the truth".

"The Pope is first and foremost the Bishop of Rome and as such, by virtue of his succession from the Apostle Peter, has an episcopal responsibility towards the entire Catholic Church", writes the Pope. "But the community which the bishop has in his care, be it large or small, lives in the world; its conditions, its progress, its example and its word inevitably influence all the rest of the human community".

"The Pope speaks as the representative of a community of believers, ... as a representative of a community that contains within itself a wealth of ethical knowledge and experiences which are important for all humankind. In this way he speaks as a representative of ethical reason".

Benedict XVI asks himself: "What is the university? What is its task?" Then he goes on: "The true, intimate, origin of the university lies in the longing for knowledge which is inherent to mankind. Humans want to know what it is that surrounds them. They want truth".

"Truth is never just theoretical. ... Truth means more than knowing. Knowledge of truth has as its goal knowledge of good. ... What is the good that makes us true? The truth makes us good, and goodness is truth. This is the optimism that lives in Christian faith, because [that faith] has been granted the vision of the 'Logos', creative Reason which in the incarnation of God was revealed as Good, as Goodness itself".

In this context, the Holy Father presents the example of medieval universities in which, he notes, faculties of philosophy and theology "were entrusted with searching for the truth about man in its entirety and, alongside that, with the task of ensuring that awareness of truth remained high". Then, quoting a formula used at the Council of Chalcedon to describe Christology, Benedict XVI affirms that theology and philosophy must co-exist "without confusion and without separation.

"Without confusion", he adds, "means that each of the two disciplines must conserve its own identity. Philosophy must remain a real search for reason, with its own inherent freedoms and responsibilities", while theology "must continue to draw from that wealth of knowledge which it did not invent itself ... and which, since it can never be totally consumed by reflection, always provides fresh stimulus for thought".

"Without separation", he explains, means that "philosophy does not start afresh from zero each time in the mind of the thinker, but is part of the great dialogue of historical wisdom", in which "it must not close itself to what religions - and in particular the Christian faith - have received and donated to humanity as signs along its journey".

"Much of what theology and faith say", Pope Benedict observes, "can be absorbed only within the context of faith itself and therefore cannot be presented as a requirement to those people for whom this faith remains inaccessible. Yet at the same time it is true that the message of Christian faith ... is a purifying force for reason, ... an encouragement towards truth, and therefore a force against the pressures of power and interest groups".

The Holy Father also refers to modern times in which "new dimensions of knowledge" have opened up, represented in universities in two main areas: "the natural sciences, ... and the historical and human sciences". He also notes with satisfaction how "the recognition of the rights and the dignity of man" has increased.

However, despite this, "the danger of falling into inhumanity can never be completely eliminated", in particular "the danger facing the Western world ... is that man today, precisely because of the immensity of his knowledge and power, surrenders before the question of truth. ... This means that, in the end, reason gives way before the pressure of other interests and the lure of efficiency, and is forced to recognise this as the ultimate criterion".

"There is a danger", the Pope observes, "that philosophy, no longer feeling itself capable of playing its true role, may degenerate into positivism; that theology with its message to reason, may be confined to the private sphere of a particular group, large or small as it may be".

In closing his discourse, the Benedict XVI asks: "What does the Pope have to do or to say to the university?" And he answers: "Certainly he must not seek to impose on others, in an authoritarian way, a faith which can only be given in freedom.

"Over and above his ministry as a pastor in the Church and on the basis of the intrinsic nature of such pastoral ministry", the Pope concludes, "it his job to maintain high the awareness of truth, inviting reason ever and anew to seek truth, goodness, God and, on this journey, encouraging it to notice the valuable lights
that have arisen during the history of the Christian faith".

Source: VIS here.

Catholic Bishop Participates in the “seating” of California’s First Episcopal Woman Bishop

Bishop Patrick McGrath of San Jose was among those present for the official welcoming and seating on Saturday, Jan. 11 of Mary Gray-Reeves, the first woman Episcopal bishop in California. During the event, held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in San Jose, Bishop McGrath, dressed in red robes, was seated prominently behind the altar.

When California Catholic Daily asked the diocese about the appropriateness of Bishop McGrath’s participation in a non-Catholic ceremony, diocesan spokeswoman Roberta Ward downplayed McGrath’s role. “He was not a participant, and this wasn’t an ordination," said Ward. "This was an ecumenical gesture, much like when the pope does something with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
Sorry, it's not even close to being similar to the Holy Father's meetings with the Archbishop of Canterbury...Nice touch, though! Maybe some will buy that...

at Cal Catholic Daily

Gospel for Jan 17, Memorial: St. Anthony, abbot

From: Mark 1:40-45

The Curing of a Leper

[40] And a leper came to Him (Jesus), beseeching Him, and kneeling said to Him, "If You will, You can make me clean." [41] Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." [42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. [43] And He sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, [44] and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." [45] But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to Him from every quarter.


40-44. Leprosy was seen as a punishment from God (cf. Numbers 12:10-15). The disappearance of the disease was regarded as one of the blessings of the messianic times (Isaiah 35:8; cf. Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22). Because leprosy was contagious, the Law declared that lepers were impure and that they transmitted impurity to those who touched them and to places they entered. Therefore, they had to live apart (Numbers 5:2; 12:14ff) and to show that they were lepers by certain external signs. On the rite of purification, see the note on Matthew 8:4.

[The note on Matthew 8:4 states:
4. According to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 14), if a leper is cured of his disease, he should present himself to a priest, who will register the cure and give him a certificate which he needs to be reintegrated into the civil and religious life of Israel. Leviticus also prescribes the purifications and sacrifice he should offer. Jesus' instruction to the leper is, then, in keeping with the normal way of fulfilling what the laws laid down.]

The passage shows us the faithful and confident prayer of a man needing Jesus' help and begging Him for it, confident that, if Our Lord wishes, He can free him from the disease (cf. Matthew 8:2). "This man prostrated himself on the ground, as a sign of humility and shame, to teach each of us to be ashamed of the stains of his life. But shame should not prevent us from confessing: the leper showed his wound and begged for healing. If You will, he says, You can make me clean; that is, he recognized that the Lord had the power to cure him" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

On the discretion and prudence Jesus required regarding His person, see the note on Mark 1:34 and Matthew 9:30.

[The note on Mark 1:34 states:
34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.]

[The note on Matthew 9:30 states:
30. Why did our Lord not want them to publicize the miracle? Because His plan was to gradually manifest Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. He did not want to anticipate events which would occur in their own good time; nor did He want the crowd to start hailing Him as Messiah King, because their notion of messiah was nationalistic, not a spiritual one. However, the crowd did in fact proclaim Him when he worked the miracles of the loaves and the fish (John 6:14-15): "When the people saw the sign which He had done, they said, `This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!' Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by Himself."]
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, January 16, 2008

Just for Today January 17

Seldom do we find anyone so spiritual as to be strip­ped of all things. For who shall be able to find the man that is truly poor in spirit, and divested of all affection for created things? His value is as of things that are brought from far and from the uttermost coasts (Prov. xxxi, 10).
- Bk. II, ch. xi.

If thou lookest to thyself, thou canst do nothing of this of thyself. But if thou confidest in the Lord, strength will be given thee from heaven, and the world and the flesh shall be made subject to thee.
- Bk. II, ch. xii.

In order to love Jesus, to be His loving victim, the more weak and wretched we are, the more easily can His transforming and consuming love work in us. Merely to wish to be a victim is enough, provided that we are willing to remain poor and without strength of our own, and therein lies the difficulty, for, as the author of the Imitation says: Who shall be able to find the man that is truly poor in spirit? He does not tell us to seek him amongst great souls, but afar, that is, in low­liness and abjection.

Oh! let us remain far away from all that glitters, let us love our littleness, love our inability to feel what is going on in our soul; then we shall be truly poor in spirit, and Jesus will fetch us from afar and enkindle within us the fire of His love.
- Letters
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - January 17

Time is but a period. It passes like the lightning flash. Suffering passes with time; suffering, then, is very short.

- Bl. Henry Suso
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 January 17, On Being Ordinary

A few hours of cruel passion, two and a half or possibly three years of preaching, but thirty years of an ordinary, uneventful life, doing nothing outstanding, remaining unseen, unknown, just a per­son like anyone else. Joseph was a carpenter and Jesus the Son of the carpenter.

We could understand a God coming to accomplish great things, but a God come from heaven to do only insignificant things for thirty years - what a contradiction of our ordinary standard of values!

How much we need to understand this truth!

There are some sacrifices which cost a great deal. We make them; we have the courage to make them, precisely because they do cost much. That brings us honor, were it only in our own eyes. To be known as heroic or to know oneself to be heroic, compensates for the cost of the heroism. If the word heroic is too strong, let us call it generosity.

But to work at an obscure task, where nothing shows, nothing shines either for oneself or anyone else and to do that for a long time, indefinitely - what a cross! Thirty years, that is an eternity!

Such is our life. No doubt, we shall never have the opportunity for a very brilliant apostolate, or the occasion for particularly sen­sational suffering. We shall be ordinary whatever our employment.

Courage! That is to be like Jesus. What more do I need?

"Grant me, my Savior, hidden for thirty years, to love the hidden life; to rejoice in being lost in the crowd, in seeming insignificant in the eyes of all. Only grant that in the midst of very ordinary appearances, my love for You may be extraordinary."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Pastor Called to the Chancery?

From the Arch City Chronicle rumor mill we read that Fr. Gerry Kleba, Pastor of St Cronan's Parish, was called to the Archbishop's office...

What could that be about, some might wonder?

Suburban Journal Management and Advertisers Need to Hear from Us!

From today's Town Talk:

Taking back the church

THE ST. LOUIS Review won't print this because they're neo-fascist. But I'll tell you what, if Catholics are going to survive in St. Louis, we've got to get together and start to fight for the rights of women. We need women ordained. We need priests. We need more power to the lay people. With the Nazi we got now in this diocese, we're not going to see change unless the people who are the church stand up and fight scream and yell to take our church back. Please print this in the Journal. Just like St. Stanislaus, you got to go to the public media to get the word out.
Source: South County Journal, Town Talk for Jan 16

It's unbelievable that this was permitted to be printed in the Suburban Journal and posted on its web site. It is reprehensible that such hatred is allowed. The fact that such words come from an apparently severely troubled individual is no excuse for allowing bigotted name-calling and calls for violent actions to be taken.

The South County Journal and the Corporate office need to issue an apology and see that policies are effected that would no longer allow the Journal to be used to promote such hatred and calls for violent action against the Catholic Church and its Archbishop.

Below, I have posted the addresses, phone number, names and email addresses to those who should be contacted about this grave matter. Let's put them on notice and let them know how faithful Catholics feel about this gross injustice toward Archbishop Burke and the Church, and perhaps, we should let their advtertisers know as well.

South County Journal
4210 Chippewa
St. Louis, MO 63116

Main Phone Number: 314-664-2700
Main Fax Number: 314-664-8533

Staff List
Tom Carter - Advertising manager - 314-664-2700, ext. 158
Monika Kleban - Managing editor - 314-664-2700, ext. 154
Jeff Tobin - Assistant Managing editor - 314-664-2700, ext. 154
Jack Cowan - City editor - 314-664-2700, ext. 126
Jim Merkel - South Side editor - 314-664-2700, ext. 134
Steve Birmingham - South County editor - 314-664-2700, ext. 127
Shawn Clubb - Southwest City editor - 314-664-2700, ext. 137
Julie Eilerman - Editorial assistant - 314-664-2700, ext. 128
Kevin Dennis - Advertising Associate - 314-664-2700, ext. 151
Anita Rezek - Advertising Associate - 314-664-2700, ext. 125
Rob Gainer - Advertising Associate - 314-664-2700, ext. 148
Phillip Grant - Advertising Associate - 314-664-2700, ext. 149

Suburban Journals Corporate Office
14522 South Outer Forty Rd.
Town and Country, MO 63017

Main Phone Number: 314-821-1110
Main Fax Number: 314-821-0745

Staff List
Bob Williams - General manager - 314-744-5798
Dave Bundy - Editorial director - 314-744-5772
Erik Smelser - Online director - 314-744-5733
Dan Crockwell - Circulation director- 314-664-0216, ext. 184
Mary Ann Wagner - Promotions director - 314-821-1110, ext. 505
Mark Summers - Production director - 314-524-4800, ext. 239
Amy Owens - Advertising director - 314-744-5740
Chase Rankin - Advertising director - 314-744-5782
Andrea Griffith - Classified advertising manager - 314-821-1110, ext. 300
Andrea Hurley - Assistant online editor - 314-744-5763

Harvard professor Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. observed that prejudice against the Catholic Church was "the deepest bias in the history of the American people." Yale professor Peter Viereck remarked that "Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals." Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan described anti-Catholicism as the last socially-acceptable form of bigotry in the United States.

Anyone Game for a "Wild Man" Retreat?

From a local parish bulletin, we read:
Men’s Retreat
Please mark your calendars for the annual Men's Retreat at the Griesedieck farm, Friday 29 February—Sunday 2 March. The planning team has decided that we will use Richard Rohr's recent book: From Wild Man to Wise Man to guide our reflections. Stay tuned for additional details. For further information contact Rocky Sieben by phone or e-mail: rockysieben [at]

Want to know more about Richard Rohr and his "Wild Man" Retreats?
Read this: The Center For Action and Contemplation by Stephanie Block (The Wanderer, May 22, 1997)

and this: The Fr. Richard Rohr Phenomenon by Bryce Andrew Sibley (New Oxford Review Volume LXXIII, Number 3. , March 2006)

and this: Coloring Outside the Lines by Stephanie Block (The Wanderer, May 22, 1997)

So now, any guesses on which St Louis parish is hosting such a retreat?

See the parish bulletin here.

If you guessed correctly, give yourself an "Attaboy" or "Attagirl", as the case may be, for you are learning well and quickly.

Dr. Edward Peters: There really is no "functional laicization"

Caveat lector: there really is no "functional laicization"

The Diocese of Phoenix is dealing with an unfortunate situation brought on by one Msgr. Dale Fushek. … But a comment by diocesan spokesman Jim Dwyer concerning an associate of Flushek, one Fr. Mark Dippre, who abandoned ministry and married civilly a few years ago, caught my eye:
"Dippre has never been formally laicized, Dwyer said, but the diocese considers him 'functionally laicized' because he has not been in ministry and has had no ties to the diocese for several years."
I think that kind of description is going to confuse people.

Describing AWOL priests as "functionally laicized" or as "permanently inactive" or as "resigned from ministry", and so on, might seem more palatable to the public, but it masks a serious problem: none of those categories exist canonically; easy resort to such labels, in my opinion, just puts off dealing with the problems.
Read more at:

Robert Schutzius writes: Let's judge for ourselves

Before we proceed to today's Letter to the Editor in the Post-Dispatch, let's see who this Schutzius fellow is. A brief description can be found at the Women for Faith & Family website here.
Robert Schutzius, an ex-priest and a founder of the radical dissident group Association for Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC), been pushing a radical agenda for "restructuring" the Catholic Church for 30 years.

ARCC's June 17 statement on the Dallas bishops' meeting published on its web site states its concern that the bishops' charter "[reduces] all sexual abuse to the same level. This kind of draconian implementation violated the basic Christian principle of forgiveness and will result in harm to good men who have sinned and reformed".

"We are concerned by the lack of debate concerning the annulment of ordination. We are concerned at the relatively minimal involvement of lay people in bodies called to establish policies and effect structural changes. These bodies must be independent of all hierarchical ties and have real authority." (emphasis added).

ARCC also proposes an 8-page "Constitution of the Catholic Church" on its web site ( Extremely ambitious and sweeping in its objectives for "radical equality" in the Church, the 1994 "Constitution" proposes that the pope be elected for "a single ten-year term by Delegates ... chosen as representatively as possible, one third being bishops".

The "Charter of the Rights of Catholic in the Church", endorsed by a spectrum of dissenting groups, is also published on the ARCC web. Among the endorsing groups are Call to Action (CTA), homosexual advocacy groups Dignity-USA, and New Ways Ministry, the Women's Ordination Conference, and CORPUS, a national association for married priesthood.

Now that we have some background, let see what erudite opinions Robert wishes to share with St Louis Catholics...

Let's judge for ourselves

Regarding "Aquinas drops Phan lecture" (Jan. 10): Archbishop Raymond Burke is just doing his job. He is protecting us Catholic people from the likes of prominent Catholic theologian the Rev. Peter Phan, who writes about how God might be bigger than the Catholic Church. To expand our thinking that God might have ways of providing the means of salvation other than through the Catholic Church (Roman and the other versions) is risky, confusing and fearful and might lead us astray.

Even though Pope Benedict has accepted the invitation of 138 Islamic Imams to enter into dialogue, Archbishop Burke seems fearful that we in St. Louis are not adult enough to learn about the merits of interfaith dialogue. Notice that he did not take too well to the hospitality and expertise of Rabbi Susan Talve.

Fear of change and cooperation with other power structures seem typical to the St. Louis mentality. Maybe it is in the water. Do we not have the right to hear and judge for ourselves? Apparently not if you are a Catholic in St. Louis.

Robert Schutzius | Florissant
Secretary, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
Source: Post Dispatch Letters

We should hope and pray that Bob doesn't die being a frustrated, washed-up, inconsequential ex-priest whose movement is quickly passing into the annals of forgotten history. We pray that he might reconcile with the Church which he seems to despise so much...

As an added bonus, I had forgotten that WFF also had more information on Sister Louise Lears:

Sister Louise Lears, coordinator of the steering committee of "Faithful St. Louis" and of the conference, is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati who teaches health-care ethics at St. Louis University. She is also coordinator of the recently combined St. Louis leftist groups, Center for Theology and Social Analysis and Catholic Action Network for Social Justice, whose address is the same as "Faithful St. Louis".

Sister Louise was among the "women's ordination" protesters during the papal visit to St. Louis in 1999. The radical Call to Action group publicizes this protest on its web site...

Check the WFF website for more...It's a pity this mess was left for Archbishop Burke to clean up. Dissenting groups and individuals have been active for years spreading their poisons with little, it seems, being done, heretofore, to correct it. Please keep Archbishop Burke in your prayers.

More Condoms = More AIDS Cases and More Deaths

From Zenit:
Interview With Bishop Hugh Slattery of Tzaneen
By Carrie Gress

TZANEEN, South Africa, JAN. 9, 2008 ( Condoms are not an effective solution in the fight against AIDS, says Bishop Hugh Slattery, and the situation in South Africa proves it.

In this interview with ZENIT, Bishop Slattery of Tzaneen, South Africa, discusses the award-winning documentary "Sowing in Tears" that he collaborated on with producer Norman Servais, of Metanoia Media....

Bishop Slattery: Parents really struggle when it comes to giving appropriate guidance to their children. Most of them didn't get that kind of guidance when they themselves were growing up and they generally lack the skills to give it to their children.

The transition to democracy in this country has brought about freedom but at a price, especially for young people. There has been an aggressive promotion of a very secular human rights culture for everyone, including children.

As a result, parents feel they have no authority over their own children and just let them do what they like. Sometimes children threaten their parents: "If you touch me, I'll tell the police!"

The government passed a very liberal abortion law in the mid-'90s, allowing minors to have abortions without the consent of their parents -- they are just counseled, but not obliged, to inform their parents. Recently, the government has also passed legislation allowing same-sex marriages.

Despite the promotion of condoms in schools, there is a high rate of pregnancy among schoolgirls, sometimes as high as 20%.

The outside influences promote and consolidate all this kind of behavior. In fact, they make a lot of money out of it through the multimillion-dollar condom business.

South Africa and the neighboring countries of Botswana and Swaziland have the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the world and also the highest rate of condom distribution.

The conclusion is inescapable that more condoms mean more cases of AIDS and more deaths. It is, of course, "politically incorrect" both here and in the Western world to even hint at the possibility that condoms may in fact be fueling the spread of this deadly disease rather than curbing it....

At CWNews: Ad orientem: the single most important reform

From Phil Lawler at Catholic World News we read:
Jan. 15, 2008 ( - Actions speak louder.

Before he ascended to the throne of Peter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote frequently about the liturgy, and explained his love for the Mass celebrated ad orientem-- with the priest facing toward the altar, toward the east. Now as Roman Pontiff he has made his argument all the more eloquent, simply by celebrating Mass ad orientem himself in the Sistine Chapel.

If you read about the ceremony in the secular media, you almost certainly read that the Pope had "his back to the people." While that description is not inaccurate, it is reflects a distinct perspective. You could just as well observe that the Holy Father and the other worshipers in the Sistine Chapel were "facing in the same direction."...
Good commentary, as usual. Check it out.

Omaha Archbishop Suspends Priest

Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss has suspended from the ministry a former assistant pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church who has a federal lawsuit pending against the archdiocese.

The suspension means that the Rev. Ernest Ogugua, who now lives in New York, is temporarily banned from saying Mass or performing any other act of priestly ministry.

The suspension took effect Jan. 7, said the Rev. Joseph Taphorn, chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese. An announcement by the archdiocese said Curtiss took the step because Ogugua failed to obey an order to return to meet with the archbishop....

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Striking Homosexual Men

SAN FRANCISCO, January 15, 2007 ( - A new medical study appearing in the Annals of American Medicine shows that homosexuals are spreading a new, highly-infectious flesh-eating bacteria amongst themselves, most probably through anal intercourse.

The bacterium, called MRSA USA300, is impervious to front-line antibiotics and can only be treated with rarer drugs, primarily Vancomycin. Researchers say that the bug, which is a type of staphylococcus, is primed to develop immunity to that drug as well.

Infected patients may have inflammation, abscesses, and tissue loss in the affected areas. Although the bacterium does not literally "eat" the body, it manufactures toxins that can cause "necrosis" - the death of surrounding tissue....
One reaps what one sows - a fact of life too often dismissed in today's secularized and hedonistic culture.

The study, which focused on clinics in the San Francisco area, found that in some cases up to 39% of patients had the MRSA USA300 infections in their genitals or buttocks, although the disease can be spread by general skin-to-skin contact and can even be picked up from surfaces....
Wunnerful news, yes? Deviant behavior affects all of society.'s so deadly!

Californa Jesuit novices explore the length and breadth of interreligious dialogue

How far can Catholics go in “interreligious learning”? Jesuit Father Francis X. Clooney hinted at the answer to this question in a Jan. 15 posting on the internet site of America magazine, a Jesuit national weekly.

Fr. Clooney....gave a three-day seminar “on interreligious dialogue and related issues to the first year novices of the California and Oregon Provinces.”

The seminar featured, in part, the viewing of documentaries. One of the films presented was Swamiji, about the life of a French Benedictine, Henri Le Saux, who, said Clooney, “went to India in the late 1940s to help start a Catholic ashram -- a kind of monastic enclave.” However, Le Saux, said Clooney, found over a 30-year period “that he was learning and receiving far more than he could give in return...”

For Clooney, Le Saux “is an example not many can follow, but certainly makes us think about how far we can go in interreligious learning....”

Swami? God help us.

Scottish Gay Rights Chief Held Over Child Porn Charges

A LEADING campaigner for gay rights is in jail awaiting trial on a child porn charge.

Jamie Rennie, 37, who has worked with Big Brother star John Loughton, has been charged over indecent images of a child...

Rennie, the chief executive of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Youth Scotland, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month...He could face jail if convicted.

Rennie, of Edinburgh, heads the national organisation for Scotland's young lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Gospel for Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Marcellus, pope and martyr

From: Mark 1:29-39

The Curing of Peter's Mother-In-Law

[29] And immediately He (Jesus) left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her. [31] And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.

Jesus Cures Many Sick People

[32] That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. [33] And the whole city was gathered together about the door. [34] And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Jesus Goes To a Lonely Place To Pray

[35] And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. [36] And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him, [37] and they found Him and said to Him, "Everyone is searching for you." [38] And He said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." [39] And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.


34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kindof Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.

35. Many passages of the New Testament make reference to Jesus praying. The evangelists point to Him praying only on specially important occasions during His public ministry: Baptism (Luke 3:1), the choosing of the Twelve (Luke 6:12), the first multiplication of the loaves (Mark 6:46), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29), in the garden of Gethsemane prior to His passion (Matthew 26:39) etc. Mark for his part, refers to Jesus' prayer at three solemn moments: at the beginning of His public ministry (1:35), in the middle of it (6:46), and at the end, in Gethsemane (14:32).

Jesus' prayer is prayer of perfect praise to the Father; it is prayer of petition for Himself and for us; and it also a model for His disciples. It is a prayer of perfect praise and thanksgiving because He is God's beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased (cf. Mark 1:11). It is a prayer of petition because the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as Father is to ask Him for things. Jesus' prayer, as we see in very many passages (e.g. John 17:9ff) was a continuous petition to the Father for the work of redemption which He, Jesus, had to achieve through prayer and sacrifice.

Our Lord wants to give us an example of the kind of attitude a Christian should have; he should make a habit of addressing God as son to Father in the midst of and through his everyday activities--work, family life, personal relationships, apostolate--so as to give his life a genuinely Christian meaning, for, as Jesus will point out later on, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"You write: `To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself: `to get acquainted!'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way").

38. Jesus tells us here that His mission is to preach, to spread the Good News. He was sent for this purpose (Luke 4:43). The Apostles, in turn, were chosen by Jesus to be preachers (Mark 3:14; 16:15). Preaching is the method selected by God to effect salvation: "it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). This is why St. Paul says to Timothy: "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Faith comes from hearing, we are told in Romans 10:17, where St. Paul enthusiastically quotes Isaiah: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7).

The Church identifies preaching the Gospel as one of the main tasks of bishops and priests. St. Pius X went so far as saying that "for a priest there is no duty more grave or obligation more binding (to dispel ignorance)" ("Acerbo Nimis"). In this connection Vatican II states: "The people of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (cf. 1 Peter 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouths of priests (2 Corinthians 11:7).

For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mark 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Corinthians 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command `Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark 16:15) (cf. Malachi 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:11-13; etc.) and thus set up and increase the people of God" ("Presbyterorum Ordinis").

Jesus' preaching is not just limited to words: He backs up His teaching with His authority and with deeds. The Church also has been sent to preach salvation and to effect the work of salvation which it proclaims--a work done through the Sacraments and especially through the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass (Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 6).

In the Church of God all of us should listen devoutly to the preaching of the Gospel and we all should feel a responsibility to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to teach the Gospel authentically--on the authority of Christ.
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, January 15, 2008

Just for Today, January 16

(Christ.) Thou ought to seek the grace of devotion earnestly, to ask for it fervently, to wait for it patiently and confidently, to receive it thankfully, to keep it humbly, to work with it diligently, and to commit to God the time and manner of this heavenly visitation, until it shall please Him to come unto thee.

Thou ought chiefly to humble thyself when thou feels inwardly little or no devotion: and yet not to be too much dejected, not to grieve inordinately. God often gives in one short moment what He has a long time denied. He gives sometimes in the end, that which in the beginning of prayer He deferred to grant.
-Bk. IV, ch. xv.

I am indeed far from being a saint; the dispositions I am in prove that. Instead of rejoicing in my aridity, I ought to attribute it to my lack of fervor and fidelity, I ought to grieve at the way I go to sleep at my prayer and during my thanksgiving, and yet, I do not grieve. Instead, I cannot help thinking that little children please their parents as much when they are asleep as when they are awake, that surgeons put their patients to sleep for an operation, in short, that the Lord knowest our frame. He remembereth that we are dust (Ps. cii).
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - January 16

In every creature, however small it be, we may see a striking image of divine wisdom, power, and goodness.

-Ven. Bartholomew of Martyrs
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 January 16, Increase

Increase, progress: that was the law for Our Lord. Is it mine? Mother Ponnet said, "Let each succeeding prayer be holier than the one before." Not only each succeeding prayer, but each succeeding action, whatever it may be - a recreation, a class to pre­pare or teach, or any exercise of zeal.

It is not a question of visible increase or of appreciable exterior progress. If in the growing plant or the growing child the daily development is imperceptible, how much less noticeable will the increase in our charity be! The important thing is that there is growth.

If there is growth, God sees it and that alone counts.

To grow, we must love.

Merit increases as love increases. If then my love increases everyday, I am making progress.

I have two means to increase in love: the sacraments of the liv­ing, especially the Holy Eucharist; and each act of fidelity to grace.

I will prepare for Communion with great care and aim at perfect fidelity to grace. With the venerable Marie of the Incarnation I shall say:

"It is impossible not to obey when God is always present; to see Him as Love Itself makes obedience still easier. The soul desires only to please Him and lovingly to fulfill His will. At the least inspiration, she says: 'Let us go to the Cross, my Love, my soul is happy there.' Then her desire to please God is so great that it seems she must fly."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Marek Bozek Laying Hands on the Priestesses

A request was made to see pictures of Marek Bozek at the recent faux ordination of the St Louis priestesses...A little research yielded the following:

Marek Bozek laying hands on Rose Hudson (Source: KSDK)
One wonders if the St Stanislaus board approves of this? Perhaps they might be interested in hiring one of the priestesses to assist Bozek?

Be sure to check out the "rainbow" stole.

How often do we see this?

Women Priests Become Catholics

At least two Anglican women priests have become Roman Catholics because they are “fed up with being treated like dirt in their own Church,” according to Fr Michael Seed, the Franciscan friar who is ecumenical adviser to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor....

This is certainly a far cry from "Women Become Catholic 'Priests'"

Let us pray that, despite their previous difficulties, they have truly converted and have genuinely come to Rome...

Obama Apearance at Jesuit-run Catholic College Sparks Protest

Jersey City, Jan 15, 2008 / 01:11 am (CNA).- The appearance at a Catholic college of a presidential candidate who supports abortion has provoked objections from the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization focusing on Catholic identity and renewal in higher education.

On Wednesday Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama addressed St. Peter’s College, a Jesuit-run institution in Jersey City, New Jersey. College president Dr. Eugene J. Cornacchia in a press release before the event said the college welcomed Obama “as we would welcome any presidential candidate who wishes to discuss and debate the ideas and events that are shaping our history...”
Another so-called Catholic college to be avoided...and a Jesuit institution, as well - figures...

An Solemn Oath of Secrecy Means What?

As reported last night by Tim Townsend of the Post Dispatch, there is more crying by priests and others in the Belleville Diocese...

Priests say Braxton used Vatican money for vestments

Belleville — Bishop Edward Braxton's purchase of ceremonial garments with about $8,000 in donations to a Vatican fund strictly dedicated to world outreach led Belleville Diocese priests to seek an explanation Monday.

"We attempted to discuss it," said one member of the diocese's Presbyteral Council. "But no progress was made. The bishop did not want to talk about it."

As long ago as a diocesan finance council meeting Nov. 17, Braxton was asked how he had paid for the vestments, according to sources who were there. Braxton told the council the cost of about $8,000 was paid from a fund for international mission work, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because council members take an oath of secrecy...
Some oath of secrecy! Time to clean up the finance council, it sounds like to me...

Even if we were to assume that the facts are correctly stated, such matters should be kept and hammered out within the council itself and not publicized as happened in this case. The only purpose in making accusations for public review would be to express criticism of the bishop...other avenues exist for dealing with such matters. But it seems to me that someone prefers discord and dissension in Belleville.

It also seems that someone in the diocese would be willing to foot the bill for such an expenditure, if, indeed, the story is factual...I suspect that John Q Public has not been given all of the facts of this matter...

Personally, I'd break out the "truth detectors" and see who wishes to remain on the council...

*** Updated ***
More at Southern Illinois Catholic here.

Day 9 - Annual Sacred Heart Novena for Archbishop Burke


Irresistible Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O my Jesus, Thou didst say:
"Amen, I say to you, ask and you shall receive;
seek and you shall find;
knock and it shall be opened unto you."
Hence I knock, I seek, and I ask for the grace of continued wisdom for our beloved Archbishop Raymond that he may share in the most profound way the intentions of your most Sacred Heart.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!

O my Jesus, Thou didst say:
"Amen, I say to you, whatever you ask
of the Father in My name,
He will give unto you.”
Hence I ask the Father, in Thy name, for the grace of fortitude for our beloved Archbishop Raymond that he may continue to exercise his apostolic ministry according to the example of the Good Shepherd.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!

O my Jesus, Thou didst say:
"Amen, I say to you, heaven and earth shall pass away,
but My words shall not pass away."
Encouraged by Thy infallible words,
I now ask for the grace of spiritual consolation for our beloved Archbishop Raymond that he may be comforted when he finds himself as faithful disciple of Thy Son under His Cross.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!

Let us pray

Sacred Heart of Jesus, for Whom one thing alone is impossible, namely, not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace we ask of Thee, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thy tender Mother and ours.

Hail Holy Queen
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us,
And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of they womb, Jesus.
O clememt. O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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

Saint Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us!
Heart of Jesus, rich unto all that call upon Thee, have mercy on us!
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us!

Archbishop Burke Begins Process to Laicize Marek Bozek

As a followup to this post, here is the Post Dispatch's take on the excommunicated St Stanislaus priest, Marek Bozek...

ST. LOUIS — Archbishop Raymond Burke has begun the process of defrocking the pastor at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church.

Rev. Marek Bozek, 32 and a native of Poland, said Monday that he received a letter from Burke last week, informing him that he should present himself before the archbishop for "canonical admonition."

In the letter, Burke said he's begun the process of laicization, or being "dismissed from the clerical state," for Bozek. The letter cited Bozek's participation in schism at the church that has been locked in a battle with the archdiocese over control of its assets and his public support for, and participation in, an ordination ceremony of two Catholic women last year....

In the letter to Bozek, Burke said the priest must repent, apologize, do public penance and return to his own diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

Burke declared Bozek excommunicated in late 2005, after Bozek left his parish in Springfield and agreed to pastor St. Stanislaus....

Bozek said his canon lawyer was "looking for options," but said he was "very open to conversation and dialogue with the archbishop. I'm willing to hear what he has to say."

It's unfortunate that this statement cannot reasonably be considered to be true if one is to review all of the previous statements made by Bozek and others with whom he collaborates.

"My definition of compromise is that I move two steps and he move two steps and we meet in the middle," Bozek said. "But his definition is that I move four steps and he stands immovable like a rock."

The fact remains (review the 200+ previous posts) that the Archbishop has gone well beyond what many would do to accomodate this rebellious "hired" priest and his obstinate employers, the St Stanislaus board of directors.

Unless there has been a change of heart, there is really no desire for compromise - only a desire that the archbishop confirm them in their sinful and scandalous disobedience and rebellion.

The article confirms that Bozek attended and assisted the recent sham "ordination" of two women as priestesses last November. That a professed Catholic priest would engage is such activity is morally and spiritually reprehensible and goes beyond scandalous - One wonders how many of his 'parishioners' would condone such behavior? One wonders just how many of his 'parishioners' are really Catholic?

For previous St Stanislaus postings, click here.

For the Post Dispatch article, click here.