Saturday, July 11, 2009

CWR Round-Table: Caritas in Veritate - Web Exclusive

From The Catholic World Report:
When Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, was released on July 7, it sparked world-wide discussion and commentary. Catholic World Report asked a group of leading Catholic intellectuals to reflect on the encyclical, its place in the larger body of Catholic social teaching, and Pope Benedict's vision of a well-ordered and just society.

J. Brian Benestad, Francis J. Beckwith, Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., Richard Garnett, Thomas S. Hibbs, Paul Kengor, George Neumayr, Joseph Pearce, Tracey Rowland, Father James V. Schall, and Rev. Robert A. Sirico share their thoughts on Caritas in Veritate...
Continued here.

Gospel for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:7-13

The Mission of the Twelve

[7] And he (Jesus) called to him the Twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. [8] He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; [9] but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. [10] And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. [11] And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them." [12] So they went out and preached that men should repent. [13] And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

7. Cf. note on Mk 1:27; 3:14-19.
[The note on Mk 1:17 states:
27. The same authority that Jesus showed in His teaching (1:22) is now to be seen in His actions. His will is His command: He has no need of long prayers or incantations. Jesus' words and actions already have a divine power which provokes wonder and fear in those who hear and see Him.

Jesus continues to impress people in this way (Mark 2:12; 5:20-42; 7:37; 15:39; Luke 19:48; John 7:46). Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Savior. He knows this Himself and He lets it be known by His actions and by His words; according to the gospel accounts (Mark 1:38-39; 2:10-11; 4:39) there is complete continuity and consistency between what He says and He does. As Vatican II teaches ("Dei Verbum", 2) Revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately connected with each other: the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them; the deeds confirm the teaching. In this way Jesus progressively reveals the mystery of His Person: first the people sense His exceptional authority; later on, the Apostles, enlightened by God's grace, recognize the deepest source of this authority: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).]
[The note on Mk 3:14-19 states:
14-19. The Twelve chosen by Jesus (cf. 3:14) receive a specific vocation to be "people sent out", which is what the word "apostles" means. Jesus chooses them for a mission which He will give them later (6:6-13) and to enable them to perform this mission He gives them part of His power. The fact that He chooses "twelve" is very significant. This is the same number as the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, and the Apostles represent the new people of God, the Church founded by Christ. Jesus sought in this way to emphasize the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. The Twelve are the pillars on which Christ builds His Church (cf. Gal 2:9); their mission to make disciples of the Lord (to teach) all nations, sanctifying and governing the believers (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:45-48; Jn 20:21-23).]
8-9. Jesus requires them to be free of any form of attachment if they are to preach the Gospel. A disciple, who has the mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to souls through preaching, should not rely on human resources but on God's Providence. Whatever he does not in order to live with dignity as a herald of the Gospel, he must obtain from those who benefit from his preaching, for the laborer deserves his maintenance (cf. Mt 10:10).

"The preacher should so trust in God that he is convinced that he will have everything he needs to support life, even if he cannot himself obtain it; for he should not neglect eternal things worrying about temporal things" (St Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "By these instructions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek to live in any other way than by depending on what was offered to them by those to whom they preached the Gospel; otherwise this very Apostle (St Paul) would have acted contrary to this precept when he earned his living by the labors of his own hands" (St Augustine, "De Consensu Evangelistarum", II, 30).

13. St Mark is the only evangelist who speaks of anointing the sick with oil. Oil was often used for treating wounds (cf. Is 1:6; Lk 10:34), and the Apostles also use it for the miraculous cure of physical illnesses by virtue of the power given them by Jesus. Hence the use of oil as the matter of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which cures wounds of the soul and even, if appropriate, bodily diseases. As the Council of Trent teaches--"Doctrina De Sacramento Extremae Unctionis", chap. 1--in this verse of St Mark there can be seen a "hint" of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which our Lord will institute and which later on "is recommended and promulgated to the faithful by St James the Apostle" (cf. Jas 5:14ff).
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.

2nd Reading, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Ephesians 1:3-14

Hymn of Praise

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. [5] He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace [8] which he lavished upon us. [9] For he had made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ [10] a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

[11] In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, [12] we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. [13] In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
3-14. Verses 3-14 are a hymn of praise to God for the plan of salvation he has devised and brought to fulfillment in benefit of men and all creation. It is written in a liturgical style of rhythmic prose, similar to that in Colossians 1:15-20. In the Greek it is one long complex sentence full of relative pronouns and clauses which give it a designed unity; we can, however, distinguish two main sections.

The first (v. 3-10), divided into four stanzas, describes the blessings contained in God's salvific plan; St Paul terms this plan the "mystery" of God's will. The section begins by praising God for his eternal design, a plan, pre-dating creation, to call us to the Church, to form a community of saints (first stanza: vv. 3f) and receive the grace of being children of God through Jesus Christ (second stanza: vv. 5f). It then reflects on Christ's work of redemption which brings this eternal plan of God to fulfillment (third stanza: vv. 7f). This section reaches its climax in the fourth stanza (vv. 9f) which proclaims Christ as Lord of all creation, thereby revealing the full development of God's salvific plan.

The second section, which divides into two stanzas, deals with the application of this plan--first to the Jews (fifth stanza: vv. 11f) and then to the Gentiles, who are also called to share what God has promised: Jews and Gentiles join to form a single people, the Church (sixth stanza: vv. 13f).

Hymns in praise of God, or "eulogies", occur in many parts of Sacred Scripture (cf. Ps 8; Ps 19; Dan 2:20-23; Lk 1:46-54, 68-78; etc.); they praise the Lord for the wonders of creation or for spectacular interventions on behalf of his people. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, St Paul here praises God the Father for all Christ's saving work, which extends from God's original plan which he made before he created the world, right up to the very end of time and the recapitulation of all things in Christ.

We too should always have this same attitude of praise of the Lord. "Our entire life on earth should take the form of praise of God, for the never-ending joy of our future life consists in praising God, and no one can become fit for that future life unless he train himself to render that praise now" (St Augustine, "Enarrationes in Psalmos", 148).

Praise is in fact the most appropriate attitude for man to have towards God: "How can you dare use that spark of divine intelligence--your mind--in anything but in giving glory to your Lord?" (St. J. Escriva, "The Way", 782).

3. St Paul blesses God as Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because it is through Christ that all God's blessings and gifts reach us. God's actions in favor of man are actions of all three divine Persons; the divine plan which the Apostle considers here has its origin in the Blessed Trinity; it is eternal. "These three Persons are not to be considered separable," the Eleventh Council of Toledo teaches, "since we believe that not one of them existed or at any time effected anything before the other, after the other, or without the other. For in existence and operation they are found to be inseparable" ("De Trinitate" Creed, "Dz-Sch", 531).

In the implementation of this divine plan of salvation, the work of Redemption is attributed to the Son and that of sanctification to the Holy Spirit. "To help us grasp in some measure this unfathomable mystery, we might imagine the Blessed Trinity taking counsel together in their uninterrupted intimate relationship of nfinite love. As a result of their eternal decision, the only-begotten Son of God the Father takes on our human condition and bears the burden of our wretchedness and sorrows, to end up sewn with nails to a piece of wood" (St. J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 95).

St Paul describes as "spiritual blessings" all the gifts which the implementation of God's plan implies, gifts which are distributed by the Holy Spirit. When he speaks of them as being "in the heavenly places" and "in Christ", he is saying that through Christ who has risen from the dead and ascended on high we too have been inserted into the world of God (cf. 1:20; 2:6).

When man describes God as "blessed it means he recognizes God's greatness and goodness, and rejoices over the divine gifts he has received (cf. Lk 1:46, 68). Here is what St Thomas Aquinas has to say about the meaning of this passage: "The Apostle says, 'Benedictus' [Blessed be the God ...], that is, may I, and you, and everyone bless him, with our heart, our mouth, our actions--praising him as God and as Father, for he is God because of his essence and Father because of his power to generate" ("Commentary on Eph.", 1, 6).

Sacred Scripture very often invites us to praise God our Lord (cf. Ps 8:19; 33; 46-48; etc.); this is not a matter only of verbal praise: our actions should prove that we mean what we say: "He who does good with his hands praises the Lord, and he who confesses the Lord with his mouth praises the Lord. Praise him by your actions" (St Augustine, "Enarrationes in Psalmos", 91, 2).

4. As the hymn develops, the Apostle details each of the blessings contained in God's eternal plan. The first of these is his choice, before the foundation of the world, of those who would become part of the Church. The word he uses, translated here as "chose", is the same one as used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to refer to God's election of Israel. The Church, the new people of God, is constituted by assembling in and around Christ those who have been chosen and called to holiness. This implies that although the Church was founded by Christ at a particular point in history, its origin goes right back to the eternal divine plan. 'The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, ... 'predestined (the elect) to be conformed to the image of his Son in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren' (Rom 8:29). He determined to call together in a holy Church those who believe in Christ. Already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Alliance. Established in this last age of the world, and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 2).

God's choice seeks to have us become "holy and blameless before him". In the same way as in the Old Testament a victim offered to God had to be unblemished, blameless (cf. Gen 17:1), the blameless holiness to which God has destined us admits of no imperfection. By the very fact of being baptized we are made holy (cf. note on 1: 1), and during our lifetime we try to grow holier with the help of God; however, complete holiness is something we shall attain only in heaven.

The holiness with which we have been endowed is an undeserved gift from God: it is not a reward for any merit on our part: even before we were created God chose us to be his: "'He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy.' I know that such thoughts don't fill you with pride or lead you to think yourself better than others. That choice, the root of your vocation, should be the basis of your humility. Do we build monuments to an artist's paintbrush? Granted the brush had a part in creating masterpieces, but we give credit only to the painter. We Christians are nothing more than instruments in the hands of the Creator of the world, the Redeemer of all men" (St. J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 1).

"He destined us in love": the loving initiative is God's. "If God has honored us with countless gifts it is thanks to his love, not to our merits. Our fervor, our strength, our faith and our unity are the fruit of God's benevolence and our response to his goodness" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. on Eph, ad loc".).

God's election of Christians and their vocation to holiness, as also the gift of divine filiation, reveals that God is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8); we have become partakers of God's very nature (cf. 2 Pet 1:4), sharers, that is, in the love of God.

"He destined us in love", therefore, also includes the Christian's love of God and of others: charity is a sharing in God's own love; it is the essence of holiness, the Christian's law; nothing has any value if it is not inspired by charity (cf. 1 Cor 13:1-3).

5. The Apostle goes on to explore the further implications of God's eternal plan: those chosen to form part of the Church have been given a second blessing, as it were, by being predestined to be adoptive children of God. 'The state of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium, 9).

This predestination to which the Apostle refers means that God determined from all eternity that the members of the new people of God should attain holiness through his gift of adoptive sonship. It is God's desire that all be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4) and he gives each person the means necessary for obtaining eternal life. Therefore, no one is predestined to damnation (cf. Third Council of Valence, "De Praedestinatione", can. 3).

The source of the Christian's divine sonship is Jesus Christ. God's only Son, one in substance with the Father, took on human nature in order to make us sons and daughters of God by adoption (cf. Rom 8:15, 29; 9:4; Gal 4:5). This is why every member of the Church can say: "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 Jn 3:1).

What is involved here is not simply formal adoption, which is something external and does not affect the very person of the child. Divine adoption affects man's entire being, it inserts him into God's own life; for Baptism makes us truly his children, partakers of the divine nature (cf. 2 Pet 1:4). Divine sonship is therefore the greatest of the gifts God bestows on man during his life on earth. It is indeed right to exclaim "Blessed be God" (v. 3) when one reflects on this great gift: it is right for children openly to acknowledge their father and show their love for him.

Divine filiation has many rich effects as far as the spiritual life is concerned. "A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile; he 'is not merely formal and well-mannered: he is completely sincere and trusting. God is not shocked by what we do. Our infidelities do not wear him out. Our Father in heaven pardons any offense when his child returns to him, when he repents and asks for pardon. The Lord is such a good father that he anticipates our desire to be pardoned and comes forward to us, opening his arms laden with grace" (St. J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64). See the notes on Jn 1:12.

6. The gift of divine filiation is the greatest expression of the glory of God (ef. note on 1:17 below), because it reveals the full extent of God's love for man. St Paul stresses what the purpose of this eternal divine plan is-to promote "the praise of his glorious grace". God's glory has been made manifest through his merciful love, which has led him to make us his children in accordance with the eternal purpose of his will. This eternal design "flows from 'fountain-like love', the love of God the Father [...]. God in his great and merciful kindness freely creates us and, moreover, graciously calls us to share in his life and glory. He generously pours out, and never ceases to pour out, his divine goodness, so that he who is Creator of all things might at last become 'everything to everyone' (1 Cor 15:28), thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our happiness" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 2).

The grace which St Paul speaks of here and which manifests the glory of God refers first to the fact that God's blessings are totally unmerited by us and include the grace-conferring gifts of holiness and divine filiation.

"In the Beloved": the Old Testament stresses again and again that God loves his people and that Israel is that cherished people (cf. Deut 33:12; is 5:1, 7; 1 Mac 6:11; etc.). In the New Testament Christians are called "beloved by God" (1 Thess 1:4; cf. Col 3:12). However, there is only one "Beloved", strictly speaking, Jesus Christ our Lord--as God revealed from the bright cloud at the Transfiguration: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Mt 17:5). The Son of his love has obtained man's redemption and brought forgiveness of sins (cf. Col 1:13ff), and it is through his grace that we become pleasing to God, lovable by him with the same love with which he loves his Son. At the Last Supper, Jesus asked his Father for this very thing--"so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me" (Jn 17:23). "Notice", St John Chrysostom points out, "that Paul does not say that this grace has been given us for no purpose but that it has been given us to make us pleasing and lovable in his eyes, now that we are purified of our sins" ("Hom. on Eph, ad loc.").

7-8. St Paul now centers his attention on the redemptive work of Christ--the third blessing--which has implemented the eternal divine plan described in the preceding verses.

Redemption means "setting free". God's redemptive action began in the Old Testament, when he set the people of Israel free from their enslavement in Egypt (cf. Ex 11:7ff): by smearing the lintels of their doors with the blood of the lamb, their first-born were protected from death. In memory of this salvation God ordained the celebration of the rite of the Passover lamb (cf. Ex 12:47). However, this redemption from Egyptian slavery was but a prefigurement of the Redemption Christ would bring about. "Christ our Lord achieved this task [of redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God] principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension" (Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 5). By shedding his blood on the Cross, Christ has redeemed us from the slavery of sin, from the power of the devil, and from death (cf. note on Rom 3:24-25). He is the true passover Lamb (cf. Jn 1:29). "When we reflect that we have been ransomed 'not with perishable things such as silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot' (1 Pet 1:18f), we are naturally led to conclude that we could have received no gift more salutary than this power [given to the Church] of forgiving sins, which proclaims the ineffable providence of God and the excess of his love towards us" ("St Pius V Catechism", I, 11, 10).

The Redemption wrought by Christ frees us from the worst of all slaveries--that of sin. As the Second Vatican Council puts it, "Man finds that he is unable of himself to overcome the assaults of evil successfully, so that everyone feels as though bound by chains. But the Lord himself came to free and strengthen man, renewing him inwardly and casting out the 'ruler of this world' (Jn 12:31), who held him in the bondage of sin. For sin brought man to a lower state, forcing him away from the completeness that is his to attain" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 13).

In carrying out this Redemption, our Lord was motivated by his infinite love for man. This love, which far exceeds anything man could hope for, or could merit, is to be seen above all in the universal generosity of God's forgiveness, for though "sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom 5:20); this forgiveness, achieved by Christ's death on the cross, is the supreme sign of God's love for us, for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). If God the Father gave up his Son to death for the remission of men's sins, "it was to reveal the love that is always greater than the whole of creation, the love that is he himself, since 'God is love' (1 Jn 4:8, 16)", John Paul II reminds us. "Above all, love is greater than sin, than weakness, than 'the futility of creation' (cf. Rom 8:20); it is stronger than death" (Redemptor Hominis", 9).

By enabling our sins to be forgiven, the Redemption brought about by Christ has restored man's dignity. "Increasingly contemplating the whole of Christ's mystery, the Church knows with all the certainty of faith that the Redemption that took place through the Cross has definitely restored his dignity to man and given back meaning to his life in the world, a meaning that was lost to a considerable extent because of sin" ("Redemptor Hominis", 10). This action on God's part reveals his wisdom and prudence.

9. Through Christ's redemptive action, God has not only pardoned sin: he has also shown that his salvific plan embraces all history and all creation. This plan, which was revealed in Jesus Christ, St Paul calls "the mystery" of God's will; its revelation is a further divine blessing. The entire mystery embraces the establishment of the Church and the gift of divine filiation (vv. 4-7), the recapitulation of all things in Christ (v. 10), and the convoking of Jews and Gentiles to form part of the Church (vv. 11-14; cf. 3:4-7). All this has been revealed in Christ, in whom, therefore, God's revelation reaches its climax. Christ "did this by the total fact of his presence and self-manifestation--by words and works, signs and miracles, but above all by his death and glorious resurrection from the dead, and finally by sending the Spirit of truth. He revealed that God is with us, to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 4).

The fact that God reveals his plans of salvation is a further proof of his love and mercy, for it enables man to recognize God's infinite wisdom and goodness and to hear his invitation to take part in these plans. As the Second Vatican Council puts it, "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will (cf. Eph 1:9). His will was that man should have access to the Father through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature (cf. Eph 2:18; 2 Pet 1:4). By this revelation, then, the invisible God (cf. Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17), from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends (cf. Ex 33: 11; Jn 15:14f), and moves among them (cf. Bar 3:38), in order to invite and receive them into his own company" ("Dei Verbum", 2).

On the meaning of the word "mystery" in St Paul, see the notes on 1:26, 28; 2:9.

10. The "mystery" revealed by God in his love takes shape in a harmonious way, in different stages or moments ("kairoi") as history progresses. The fullness of time came with the Incarnation (cf. Gal 4:4) and it will last until the End. Through the Redemption, Christ has rechannelled history towards God; he rules over all human history in a supernatural way. Not only have God's mysterious plans begun to take effect: they have been revealed to the Church, which God uses to implement these plans. "Already the final age of the world is with us (cf. 1 Cor 10:11) and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect. However, until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells (cf. 2 Pet 3:13) the pilgrim Church, in its sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God (cf. Rom 8:19-22)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 48).

The climax of God's pre-creation plan involves "uniting" ("recapitulating") all things in Christ: Christ is to be the cornerstone and head of all creation. This means that, through his redemptive activity, Christ unites and leads the created world back to God. Its unity had been destroyed as a result of sin, but now Christ binds it together, uniting heavenly things as well as mankind and other earthly things. St John Chrysostom teaches that "since heavenly things and earthly things were torn apart from each other, they had no head [...]. (God) made Christ according to the flesh the sole head of all things, of angels and of men; that is, he provided one single principle for angels and for men [...]; for all things will be perfectly united as they ought to be when they are gathered together under one head, linked by a bond which must come from on high" ("Hom. on Eph, ad loc.").

Christ's being head of all things--as will be made manifest at the end of time-stems from the fact that he is true God and true man, the head and first-born of all creation. By rising from the dead, he has overcome the power of sin and death, and has become Lord of all creation (cf. Acts 2:36; Rom 1:4; Eph 1:19-23); all other things, invisible as well as invisible, come under his sway.

The motto taken by Pius X when he became Pope echoes this idea of Christ's Lordship: "If someone were to ask us for a motto which conveys our purpose we would always reply, 'Reinstating all things in Christ' [...], trying to bring all men to return to divine obedience" ("E supremi apostolatus").

"Uniting all things in Christ": this includes putting Christ at the summit of human activities, as the founder of Opus Dei points out: "St Paul gave a motto to the Christians at Ephesus: 'Instaurare omnia in Christo' (Eph 1:10), to fill everything with the spirit of Jesus, placing Christ at the center of everything. 'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself' (Jn 12:32). Through his incarnation, through his work at Nazareth and his preaching and miracles in the land of Judea and Galilee, through his death on the cross, and through his resurrection, Christ is the center of the universe, the first-born and Lord of all creation.

"Our task as Christians is to proclaim this kingship of Christ, announcing it through what we say and do. Our Lord wants men and women of his own in all walks of life. Some he calls away from society, asking them to give up involvement in the world, so that they remind the rest of us by their example that God exists. To others he entrusts the priestly ministry. But he wants the vast majority to stay right where they are, in all earthly occupations in which they work--in the factory, the laboratory, the farm, the trades, the streets of the big cities and the trails of the mountains" ("Christ Is Passing By", 105).

11-14. The Apostle now contemplates a further divine blessing--the implementation of the "mystery" through the Redemption wrought by Christ: God calls the Jews (vv. 11f) and the Gentiles (v. 13) together, to form a single people (v. 14). Paul first refers to the Jewish people, of which he himself is a member, which is why he uses the term "we" (v. 12). He then speaks of the Gentile Christians and refers to them as "you" (v. 13).

11-12. The Jewish people's expectations have been fulfilled in Christ: he has brought the Kingdom of God and the messianic gifts, designed in the first instance for Israel as its inheritance (cf. Mt 4:17; 12:28; Lk 4:16-22). God's intention in selecting Israel was to form a people of his own (cf. Ex 19:5) that would glorify him and proclaim to the nations its hope in a coming Messiah. "God, with loving concern contemplating, and making preparation for, the salvation of the whole human race, in a singular undertaking chose for himself a people to whom he would entrust his promises. By his covenant with Abraham (cf. Gen 15:18) and, through Moses, with the race of Israel (cf. Ex 24:8), he did acquire a people for himself, and to them he revealed himself in words and deeds as the one, true, living God, so that Israel might experience the ways of God with men. Moreover, by listening to the voice of God speaking to them through the prophets, they had steadily to understand his ways more fully and more clearly, and make them more widely known among the nations (cf. Ps 21:28-9; 95:1-3; Is 2:1-4; Jer 3:17)" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 14).

St Paul emphasizes that even before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the just of the Old Testament acted in line with their belief in the promised Messiah (cf. Gal 3:11; Rom 1:17); not only did they look forward to his coming but their hope was nourished by faith in Christ as a result of their acceptance of God's promise. As later examples of this same faith we might mention Zechariah and Elizabeth; Simeon and Anna; and, above all, St Joseph. St Joseph's faith was "full, confident, complete", Monsignor Escriva comments. "It expressed itself in an effective dedication to the will of God and an intelligent obedience. With faith went love. His faith nurtured his love of God, who was fulfilling the promises made to Abraham, Jacob and Moses, and his affection for Mary his wife and his fatherly affection for Jesus. This faith, hope and love would further the great mission which God was beginning in the world through, among others, a carpenter in Galilee--the redemption of mankind" ("Christ Is Passing By", 42).

13-14. If St Paul recognizes the magnificence of God's saving plan in the fulfillment, through Jesus, of the ancient promises to the Jews, he is even more awed by the fact that the Gentiles are being called to share in God's largesse. This call of the Gentiles is, as it were, a further blessing from God.

It is through the preaching of the Gospel that the Gentiles come to form part of the Church: faith coming initially through hearing the word of God (cf. Rom 10:17). Once a person has accepted that word, God seals the believer with the promised Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 3:14); this seal is the pledge or guarantee of divine inheritance and proves that we have been accepted by God, incorporated into his Church, and given access to that salvation which had previously been reserved to Israel. Here we can see a parallelism between the "seal" of circumcision which made the Old Covenant believer a member of the people of Israel, and the "seal" of the Holy Spirit in Baptism which, in the New Testament, makes people members of the Church (Rom 4:22; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30). The "efficient cause" of our justification s "the merciful God, who freely washes and sanctifies (cf. 1 Cor 6:11), sealing and anointing with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance" (Council of Trent, "De Justificatione", chap. 7).

A seal or pledge was the mark used in business to betoken or guarantee future payment of the agreed price in full. In this case it represents a firm commitment on God's part, to grant the believer full and permanent possession of eternal blessedness, an anticipation of which is given at Baptism and thereafter (cf. 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5). Through Christ, St Basil comments, "Paradise is restored to us; we are enabled to ascend to the kingdom of heaven; we are given back our adoption as sons, our confidence to call God himself our Father; we become partakers of Christ's grace, and are called children of light; we are enabled to share in the glory of heaven, to be enveloped in a plenitude of blessings both in this world and in the world to come [...]. If this be the promise, what will the final outcome not be? If this, the beginning, is so wonderful, what will the final consummation not be?" ("De Spiritu Sancto", 15, 36).

The gift of the Holy Spirit, who, through faith, dwells in the soul of the Christian in grace, represents, in this last stanza of the hymn, the high point in the implementation of God's salvific plan. The Holy Spirit, who gathered together the Church at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2: 14), continues to guide and inspire the apostolate of the members of the new people of God down through the centuries. The Magisterium of the Church reminds us that "throughout the ages the Holy Spirit makes the entire Church 'one in communion and ministry; and provides her with different hierarchical and charismatic gifts' ("Lumen Gentium", 4), giving life to ecclesiastical structures, being as it were their soul, and inspiring in the hearts of the faithful that same spirit of mission which impelled Christ himself. He even at times visibly anticipates apostolic action, just as in various ways he unceasingly accompanies and directs it" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 4).

God has acquired his new people at the cost of his Son's blood. This people made up of believers in Christ has replaced the people of the Old Testament, regardless of background. As the Second Vatican Council puts it, "As Israel according to the flesh which wandered in the desert was already called the Church of God (cf. 2 Ezra 13:1; Num 20:4; Deut23:1ff), so too, the new Israel, which advances in this present era in search of a future and permanent city (cf. Heb 13:14), is called also the Church of Christ (cf. Mt 16:18). It is Christ indeed who has purchased it with his own blood (cf. Acts 20:28); he has filled it with his spirit; he has provided means adapted to its visible and social union. All those who in faith look towards Jesus, the author of salvation and the principle of unity and peace, God has gathered together and established as the Church, that it may be for each and every one the visible sacrament of this saving unity" ("Lumen Gentium", 9).
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.

1st Reading, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Amos 7:12-15

Dispute with Amaziah

[12] And Amaziah said to Amos, "O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there; [13] but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

[14] Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, [15] and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, "Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'
7:1-9:10. This section is the third part of the book. It consists of five visions, with a doxology that comes near the end (9:5-6). Mixed in are some interesting details about Amos and his teaching -- the account of his call (7:14-15), a dramatic description of the "day of the Lord” (8:9-14), etc. The passage ends with an announcement of punishment (9:7-10) that serves to underscore the optimism of the final oracle, which is about future restoration.

Most of this passage is taken up with the "five visions of Amos”; these are written to a fairly fixed pattern, in a mixture of prose and verse. The visions mean that Amos' ministry includes that of "seer” as well as prophet. The message of the visions is clear: the Lord cannot be appeased by external, schismatic rites that fail to touch men's hearts or move them to conversion.

7:7-17. The vision of the plumb line (vv. 7-9) exposes the rottenness within the people. They are not level, not right; when they are checked, they are found to be askew (v. 7). From now on, the Lord is not going to overlook their infidelities; what is out of line will be destroyed (v. 9). That may be why the prophet no longer intercedes; he simply notes something that will happen inexorably.

The vision is followed by an account of Amos' altercation with Amaziah, the priest of the sanctuary of Bethel (vv. 10-17). Amaziah, a supporter of King Jeroboam, sees in Amos a prophet who is only going to cause trouble in the kingdom: he has no interest in trying to understand Amos' message -- which in fact exposes injustices and deceit to which Amaziah is party.

Amaziah calls Amos a "seer” (a translation of one of the Hebrew terms used to designate a prophet). But Amos does not regard himself as a prophet in the normal sense, a "son of a prophet” (v. 14), that is, a member of a group or fraternity of prophets, of which there were many in Israel, at least from the time of King Saul onwards (cf. 1 Sam 10:10-13; 19:20-24), nor is he an "official” prophet, a member of the staff of the royal household. Amos' reply is clear: he is a herdsman and a dresser of sycamores. But the Lord sent him to "prophesy” to Israel (v. 15). Amos, then, was an ordinary man (not a prophet, not a priest) who was commissioned by the Lord, out of the blue, to proclaim a message. A call from God is something so imperative that no one should refuse it (cf. 3:8), but at the same time it gives meaning and strength to the person's life: it confers on him a sense of authority even over institutions such as temple and king. He therefore has the last word (v. 17): "God's calling gives us a mission: it invites us to share in the unique task of the Church, to bear witness to Christ before our fellow men and so draw all things toward God. Our calling discloses to us the meaning of our existence. It means being convinced, through faith, of the reason for our life on earth. Our life -- present, past and future -- acquires a new dimension, a depth we did not perceive before. All happenings and events now fall within their true perspective: we understand where God is leading us, and we feel ourselves borne along by this task entrusted to us” (St Josemaria Escrivá, "Christ is Passing By", 45).
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.

Principles and Practices - July 12

Our Lady's Hope

From faith springs hope, which is a joyous expectation of future glory and of the means whereby it is to be acquired. Who has ever hoped for the future glory of Paradise with expecta­tion so calm, so well assured as that of Mary, who gave birth to the Author of that glory? Who has ever trusted to the loving providence of our heavenly Father with greater confidence than Mary did, who was the daughter of that Father?

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for July 12

SERVE not in murmuring, for your murmur­ing will not make you less a servant, but a bad servant. You are God's servant and God's free man; seek not your emancipation by deserting the house of your Emancipator.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-July 12

IT is in suffering, and in embracing with cheerfulness whatever cuts against the grain of our own inclinations, that we can discover if we are true lovers of Jesus Christ.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

News Updates, 7/11-12

The Little Green Book (behind the scenes at the meeting between Obama and the Pope)
The Pope gave a little book to US President Barack Obama after their meeting today in the Vatican. “This is a document about bioethics,” the Pope said. And the president replied, “Oh, what we discussed earlier. I’ll have some reading to do on the plane"...

CDF Clarification on Abortion in Wake of Fisichella Controversy
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has today published a clarification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) reiterating the Church's stand against abortion. The clarification notes that it comes after the CDF received communications from political and church leaders expressing concerns about an article published in the same newspaper by the new head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella...

Groups demand that jail stop censoring religion
Civil and religious rights organizations are demanding that a Virginia jail stop removing Bible passages and other religious material from letters written to inmates.

Court: Conscientious pharmacists must sell 'Plan B'
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against pharmacists exercising their conscience.

Other Issues

0bama's Information "Czar" Would Gag Bloggers & Others
"Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on speech that might hurt someone's feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them."...
[Claiming that Obongo pals around with terrorists (Bill Ayers) would be a "falsehood" even though it was true - 1984 has arrived, get ready!]

Gore: U.S. Climate Bill Will Help Bring About 'Global Governance'
Gore touted the Congressional climate bill, claiming it “will dramatically increase the prospects for success” in combating what he sees as the “crisis” of man-made global warming...

The Fed Under Increasing Fire
A must watch introductory clip by the American News Project which summarizes well the current push to unmask the inner workings of the Federal Reserve, the urgency of increasing transparency and the groundbreaking nature of Ron Paul's HR 1207 bill.

Summers: Worst isn't over yet
...the Financial Times sat down with Larry Summers, director of Obama's National Economic Council, for a wide-ranging talk. When the conversation turned to the current recession in the U.S., Summers did not exude optimism: Onward, then, to the toughest economic challenge Summers faces today: the recession. Here, Summers turns sombre: "I don't think the worst is over ... It's very likely that more jobs will be lost. It would not be surprising if GDP has not yet reached its low...

CIT Hires Bankruptcy Advisers After Rejection by FDIC, WSJ Says
CIT Group Inc. hired the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as an adviser as it prepares for a possible bankruptcy filing after failing to win access to government guarantees for its borrowing, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter...

Most Banks said No to California IOU's

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gospel for July 11, Memorial: St Benedict, Abbott

Saturday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Pius I, pope and martyr

From: Matthew 10:24-33

Jesus' Instructions to the Apostles (Continuation)
(Jesus said to His disciples,) [24] "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; [25] it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

[26] "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. [27] What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. [28] And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. [29] Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. [30] But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. [31] Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. [32] So every one who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven; [33] but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven."
24-25. Jesus uses these two proverbs to hint at the future that awaits His disciples: their greatest glory will consist in imitating the Master, being identified with Him, even if this means being despised and persecuted as He was before them: His example is what guides a Christian; as He Himself said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).

Beelzebul (cf. Luke 11:15) was the name of the idol of the ancient Philistine city of Ekron. The Jews later used the word to describe the devil or the prince of devils (cf. Matthew 12:24), and their hatred of Jesus led them to the extreme of applying it to Him.

To equip them for the persecution and misunderstanding which Christians will suffer (John 15:18), Jesus encourages them by promising to stay close to them. Towards the end of His life He will call them His friends (John 15:15) and little children (John 13:33).

26-27. Jesus tells His disciples not to be afraid of calumny and detraction. A day will come when everyone will come to know the whole truth about everyone else, their real intentions, the true dispositions of their souls. In the meantime, those who belong to God may be misrepresented by those who resort to lies, out of malice or passion. These are the hidden things which will be made known.

Christ also tells the Apostles to speak out clearly. Jesus' divine teaching method led Him to speak to the crowds in parables so that they came to discover His true personality by easy stages. After the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:8), the Apostles would have to preach from the rooftops about what Jesus had taught them.

We too have to make Christ's doctrine known in its entirety, without any ambiguity, without being influenced by false prudence or fear of the consequences.

28. Using this and other Gospel texts (Matthew 5:22, 29; 18:9; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5), the Church teaches that hell exists; there those who die in mortal sin suffer eternal punishment (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 3), in a manner not known to us in this life (cf. St. Teresa of Avila, "Life", Chapter 32). See notes on Luke 16:19-31.

Therefore, out Lord warns His disciples against false fear. We should not fear those who can only kill the body. Only God can cast body and soul into hell. Therefore God is the only one we should fear and respect; He is our Prince and Supreme Judge--not men. The martyrs have obeyed this precept of the Lord in the fullest way, well aware that eternal life is worth much more than earthly life.

29-31. An "as" (translated here as "penny") was a small coin of very little value. Christ uses it to illustrate how much God loves His creatures. As St. Jerome says ("Comm. in Matth.", 10:29-31): "If little birds, which are of such little value, still come under the providence and care of God, how is it that you, who, given the nature of your soul, are immortal, can fear that you are not looked after carefully by Him whom you respect as your Father?" Jesus again teaches us about the fatherly providence of God, which He spoke about at length in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Matthew 6:19-34).

32-33. Here Jesus tells us that public confession of our faith in Him--whatever the consequences--is an indispensable condition for eternal salvation. After the Judgment, Christ will welcome those who have given testimony of their faith and condemn those whom fear caused to be ashamed of Him (cf. Matthew 7:23; 25:41; Revelation 21:8). The Church honors as "confessors" those Saints who have not gone physical martyrdom but whose lives bore witness to the Catholic faith. Although every Christian should be ready to die for his faith, most Christians are called to be confessors of the faith.
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.

Reading for July 11, Memorial: St Benedict, Abbott

Saturday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Genesis 49:29-32; 50:15-26a

The Death of Jacob

[29] Then he (Jacob) charged them, and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, [30] in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. [31] There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah --[32] the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites."

After the Death of Jacob
[15] When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him." [16] So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died, [17] 'Say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. [18] His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, "Behold, we are your servants." [19] But Joseph said to them, "Fear not, for am I in the place of God? [20] As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. [21] So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he reassured them and comforted them. [22] So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. [23] And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation; the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph's knees.

The Death of Joseph
[24] And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." [25] Then Joseph took an oath of the Sons of Israel, saying, "God will visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." [26] So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
49:29-32. This repeats, in different words, the information given in 47:29-31, but now with express reference to the life and burial of the previous patriarchs, Abraham (cf. 23:1-20; 25:9) and Isaac (cf. 25:27-29). This is the only place where it is mentioned that Abraham, Rebekah and Leah were buried here. The passage acts as a reminder that they belong where their ancestors are, and that they must return there. The scene is set for the theme of the book of Exodus. Verse 32 is missing from the Vulgate Latin version.

50:1-26. In this final chapter further stress is put on the greatness of the figure of Jacob by the account of that great mourning (vv. 1-14); and the meaning is clearly revealed of the entire story of Joseph and his brothers in the context of God's plans (vv. 15-26).

50:15-21. In spite of the marks of fraternity Joseph has shown his brothers, when they lose their common father they also seem to lose their sense of fraternity. They continue to see things from a very human perspective; whereas Joseph has a more supernatural outlook, which also extends to his hope in the future (cf. v. 24). In this way the book of Genesis concludes its account of the origins of the world, of mankind and of the people of God, leaving the way open to a new and decisive intervention by God -- the great deliverance from Egypt, which the book of Exodus will recount.

50:22-26. The Lord has blessed Joseph with a long life and the joy of seeing his great-grandchildren. Even as he dies, Joseph continues to think about his people, whose destiny (he reminds them) is the fulfillment of the promise God made to his ancestors. Joseph reaffirms that that promise will be kept, and he feels that he has a part in it. Therefore, he makes them swear that his bones will be taken up from Egypt to the promised land. And so the book of Genesis comes to an end, by showing Joseph's faith in the divine promises and inviting the reader, no matter what happens, to keep alive his or her hope in God's active help.
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.

Principles and Practices - July 11

Try a Little More

Despite the nature of prayer, that it is sweet converse with God; despite its necessity, that it is to our souls as the very air is to our bodies; and despite Christ's exhortations and injunctions and example, is it not strange that prayer plays so small a part in our lives?

The ordinary Catholic who considers himself a pretty good sort of a fellow - I wonder how often his thoughts turn to God during the day, how much time he gives to God out of his day. One hour out of twenty-four? I doubt it. Half an hour? I doubt it too, unless for some few who make it a point to attend Holy Mass on weekdays.

Yet nothing is simpler. And, far from interfering with our work, it would certainly improve it.

-Lonergan, S.J.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for July 11

IF you love nothing, you will be idle, dead, miserable and detestable men. Love then, but be careful what you love.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-July 11

ST LUKE says that while Jesus Christ was on earth he obeyed the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph; but in the Blessed Sacrament he obeys as many creatures as there are priests on earth.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

Thursday, July 09, 2009

News Updates, 7/10

Pope Benedict XVI Offers Life Lessons to Obama
Abortion, conscience protection and bioethics took center stage as Benedict XVI and U.S. President Barack Obama met for the first time today. The Pope received the president, who was in Italy for the Group of Eight summit that end today in L'Aquila, for about a half hour in a private, closed-door meeting. In a communiqué issued shortly after the meeting concluded, the Vatican reported that the "conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defense and promotion of life and the right to abide by one's conscience."

Obama Meets Pope Benedict XVI (Video)
CBS News: At the end of his stay in Italy for the G-8 summit, President Barack Obama met with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican.

Excommunicated (Austrian) Female "Bishop" After Being Denied Communion, Seizes Host
The Sunday worship celebration in the Parish of St. Peter in Linz did not make the excommunicated "Bishop" Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger as happy as she would have wished. Bishop Ludwig Schwarz refused her communion with the Host. Then she took the wafer herself...Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger was dressed as a Bishop when she appeared at the Mass in official dress with a large pectoral Cross...
[Unbelievable! What arrogance, pride and rebellion infects the souls of people like this!]

Homosexual Adult Altar-Server Files Human Rights Complaint against Bishop for Dismissal
Jim Corcoran, the owner of one of Canada's largest and most lavish spas, has launched a human rights complaint against the Bishop of Peterborough Ontario for refusing him permission to continue to serve as an altar server...

Union accuses Bishop Martino of mocking Pope
Scanton leader opposes teachers' worker organization

Colombian bishops call on President to call it quits
Bogata cardinal: Better for him to leave after second term

Brains of 38 Catholic nuns studied after death
Findings: Language skills predict dementia risk

Massachusetts is first to fight US marriage law
State challenging constitutionality of definition

St. John Neumann's stole to be Obama gift to Pope
National Shrine rector: 'It's a sacred gift'

Italian court: Venice sex fair may go ahead
Mayor tried to ban event over 'urban decorum' fears

Irish Catholics say tree stump looks like Mary
'It really is unreal. Every one of us could see it'

Vermont diocese faces two new lawsuits
Accused of shifting Church assets to avoid payouts

Other Issues

Sotomayor's secret files: What don't the Democrats want us to see?
We wonder what Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has to hide. Her confirmation hearing starts Monday, but the White House refuses to turn over boxes of documents for review about her past. Republican senators requested board meeting minutes of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, where Ms. Sotomayor served on the board of directors from 1980 to 1992. White House Counsel Greg Craig contends that all documents deemed "responsive" already were sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee...
[More of the Fraudster's "Transparency"...]

Swine flu deaths in Britain double; Health experts warn of epidemic in London 'within days'

Frank proposes home loan plan for jobless
[Yippee! Free food, free healthcare, free houses, free cars, free everything! Only thing missing- JOBS!]

China Demands Currency Reform, France Backs Debate

MICROSOFT Chief: In 10 years, computers will know your intent

Gospel for Friday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Seven Holy Brothers, martyrs and Sts. Rufina and Secunda, virgins and martyrs

From: Matthew 10:16-23

Jesus' Instructions to the Apostles
(Jesus said to His disciples,) [16] "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. [17] Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, [18] and you will be dragged before governors and kings for My sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. [19] When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; [20] for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [21] Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; [22] and you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. [23] When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of Man comes."
16-23. The instructions and warnings Jesus gives here apply right through the history of the Church. It is difficult for the world to understand the way of God. Sometimes there will be persecutions, sometimes indifference to the Gospel or failure to understand. Genuine commitment to Jesus always involves effort--which is not surprising, because Jesus Himself was a sign of contradiction; indeed, if that were not the experience of a Christian, he would have to ask himself whether he was not in fact a worldly person. There are certain worldly things a Christian cannot compromise about, no matter how much they are in fashion. Therefore, Christian life inevitably involves nonconformity with anything that goes against faith and morals (cf. Romans 12:2). It is not surprising that a Christian's life often involves choosing between heroism and treachery. Difficulties of this sort should not make us afraid: we are not alone, we can count on the powerful help of our Father God to give us strength and daring.

20. Here Jesus teaches the completely supernatural character of the witness He asks His disciples to bear. The documented accounts of a host of Christian martyrs prove that He has kept this promise: they bear eloquent witness to the serenity and wisdom of often uneducated people, some of them scarcely more than children.

The teaching contained in this verse provides the basis for the fortitude and confidence a Christian should have whenever he has to profess his faith in difficult situations. He will not be alone, for the Holy Spirit will give him words of divine wisdom.

23. In interpreting this text, the first thing is to reject the view of certain rationalists who argue that Jesus was convinced that soon He would come in glory and the world would come to an end. That interpretation is clearly at odds with many passages of the Gospel and the New Testament. Clearly, Jesus refers to Himself when He speaks of the "Son of Man", whose glory will be manifested in this way. The most cogent interpretation is that Jesus is referring here, primarily, to the historical event of the first Jewish war against Rome, which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple in the year 70, and which led to the scattering of the Jewish people. But this event, which would occur a few years after Jesus' death, is an image or a prophetic symbol of the end of the world (cf. note on Matthew 24:1).

The coming of Christ in glory will happen at a time which God has not revealed. Uncertainty about the end of the world helps Christians and the Church to be ever-vigilant.
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.

Reading for Friday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30

Jacob Journeys to Egypt

[1] So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his lather Isaac. [2] And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here am I." [3] Then he said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. [4] I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes." [5] Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. [6] They also took their cattle and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, [7] his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

[28] He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to appear before him. in Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. [29] Then Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. [30] Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive."
46:1-47:12. The narrative now focuses again on the family of Jacob in Canaan. The figure and position of Joseph act as the backdrop against which to explain the establishment of Israel in Egypt; it is the result of a divine command.

Jacob goes down to Egypt forced by the famine which is ravaging the land of Canaan (cf. 47:4). The Lord has prepared the way for him by means of a series of painful events and a series of tests whose meaning is now plain to see. This is a common human experience: "The test, I don't deny it, proves to be very hard: you have to go uphill, 'against the grain'. What is my advice? That you must say "omnia in bonum", everything that happens, 'everything that happens to me I for my own good...' Therefore the right conclusion is to accept, as a pleasant reality, what seems so hard to you" (St. J Escrivá, "Furrow", 127).

46:1-5. This movement to Egypt could have put a question-mark against God's promise to give the descendants of Abraham and Isaac the land of Canaan. God's intervention convinces Jacob that this is all part of God's providential plans. In fact, Jacob's move to Egypt is the outcome of an express command from God. In Genesis 26:2 God forbade Isaac to go to Egypt: this was a sign that his land was Canaan. Now a similar command is needed to make Israel leave the country. Like everything in the patriarchal period this command is given in a night-time vision, the last such vision the patriarchs are to receive The command does not however cancel God's promise about Canaan: God himself will go with Jacob to Egypt, and he will take him out of there. The reference to this is not just to the fact that Jacob will be buried in Canaan (cf. 50:1-14) but to the ultimate liberation, the Exodus.

Jacob's status is not reduced by his going into Egypt; on the contrary, it is enhanced and underlined: "For, what does he need if God goes with him? [...] Who is as powerful in his homeland as Jacob was in a strange country? Who had such abundance of wealth, as he had in a time of famine? Who was as strong in his youth, as this man was in his old age? [...] Who was as rich in his kingdom, as this man on his pilgrimage? He even blessed kings [...], and who will call him poor whom the world was not worthy to know? for his company was in heaven" (St. Ambrose, "De Iacob Et Vita Beata", 2, 9. 38).

46:28-34. Joseph does not wait for Jacob to visit him as would be his due, given his high social position and the fact that the patriarch has immigrant status. His filial feelings and the honor owed to his father lead him to go to meet him without delay and throw himself into his arms.

Jacob sees all his sons gathered around him. Now he knows that his mission as Israel, the father of the people, is accomplished; he can die in peace. Because the Israelites are shepherds, they keep a certain distance from the Egyptians; this also ensures they do not lose their identity as a people. As regards Goshen, see the note on 45:10.
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.

Principles and Practices - July 10

What is the Motive?

Beginners in devotion and other imperfect persons are often to be found who will run here and there all day long in works of mercy, who are all ingenuity in devising plans and all hands in carrying them into execution. You would believe them to be very portraits of charity and zeal. Yet if you could penetrate into their hearts you would find that all these anxieties and promptitudes are operations of nature, not of grace, arising in great measure, if not altogether, from an ardent and unquiet temper, which could not live if it were not always embarrassed with a thousand occupations.

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for July 10

PURGE, therefore, your affections; turn the water which is running waste into your garden. Let those torrents which were formerly given to the world be devoted to the World's Creator.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-July 10

WE are struck with wonder when we hear that God obeyed the voice of Josue, and made the sun stand still. But our wonder should be far greater when we find that in obedience to the words of his priests - Hoc est corpus meum (This is my body) - God descends on the altar, that he comes wherever they call him and as often as they call him.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

Dr Edward Peters: The Canadian Communion blunder

Dr Peters writes:
Video tape shows Abp. Andre Richard (Moncton, New Brunswick) giving holy Communion to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a state funeral. It is, of course, inconceivable that Richard did not know that Harper is an evangelical Protestant. Obviously unsure what to do, Harper apparently slipped the Host into his pocket (!), and his office has not said what he eventually did with It.
Read what it means here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

News Updates, 7/9

Editorial: Pope's New Encyclical Speaks Against, not for One-World Government and New World Order
Newspapers, blogs, talk-shows on radio and television are full of discussion over Pope Benedict XVI's supposed call for a "new world order" or a "one-world government." These ideas are, however, neither based in reality nor a clear reading of the Pope's latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, the release of which yesterday spawned the heated discussion.

Ginsburg: Abortion for Undesirable Populations
I am always amazed that the pro-abortion types don't slip up and tell the truth more often. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just did. In an interview with the New York Times on Sotomayor Ginsburg opined that what she originally thought (read hoped) that Roe would result in Medicaid funded abortion:...

Catholic Church offers $100k adult stem cell grant
Hoping to contribute to end of use of embryos in research

Canadian Prime Minister in Communion controversy
Non-Catholic Stephen Harper receives Host at state funeral

Aussie priest pleads guilty to 29 sex offenses
Molesting dozens of boys at Catholic school in 70s, 80s

Philippine bombings halt UN food distribution
Military blaming Muslim separatists for church blasts

Man steals, smashes Virgin Mary statue from church
Incident caught on surveillance video gives police leads

Same-sex marriage foes reach Maine signature goal
Stop new law from going into effect, forces state vote

Other Issues

Parts of Britain "near an H1N1 epidemic"; 14 dead
Fourteen Britons who had contracted H1N1 flu have died and the rapid spread of infection in two areas of the country is close to epidemic level, health officials said on Thursday.

Obongo to Force IRA/401K Enrollment?
The plan calls for employers to set up mandatory automatic-enrollment IRAs, retirement accounts that allow for tax-deductible contributions.
[Government criminals want workers' money to fund their out-of-control spending. They do not care about the workers' retirement, Obongo's government "Death Care" program will see that the sick & elderly are "aborted" when .gov bureaucrats determine the euthanasia is the only "approved treatment!"]

Art Cashin: Stimulus Package Was a 'Hoax'
Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services, offered CNBC his stock-market outlook. Cashin reiterated his belief that another government stimulus package would be useless — because the first package was "part illusion, part hoax." And now that the economy's problems seem to be continuing, "the fire extinguisher's empty," he said.

FDIC May Ease Rules on Buyout Firms Purchasing Banks

Numbers Adding Up Against Obama's "Cap and Trade" Bill in the Senate

Swiss vow to block bank handing over data to USA

Justice Dept. demands UBS comply in tax evasion case

Transpacific box lines prepare to tear up contracts

Container Shipping "A Black Hole of Losses"

How Deregulating Derivatives Led to Disaster, and Why Re-Regulating Them Can Prevent Another

Gospel for Thursday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong, priest and companions, Chinese martyrs

From: Matthew 10:7-15

The Calling and First Mission of the Apostles (Continuation)
(Jesus said to His disciples,) [7] "And preach as you go, saying,`The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' [8] Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay. [9] Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, [10]no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. [11] And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. [12] As you enter the house, salute it. [13] And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. [14] And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. [15] Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town."
7-8. Previously, the prophets, when speaking of the messianic times, had used imagery suited to the people's spiritual immaturity. Now, Jesus, in sending His Apostles to proclaim that the promised Kingdom of God is imminent, lays stress on its spiritual dimension. The power mentioned in verse 8 are the very sign of the Kingdom of God or the reign of the Messiah proclaimed by the prophets. At first (chapters 8 and 9) it is Jesus who exercises these messianic powers; now He gives them to His disciples as proof that His mission is divine (Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:9; 52:7; 61:1).

9. "Belts": twin belts, stitched together leaving space where coins and other small, heavy objects could be secreted and carried.

9-10. Jesus urges His disciples to set out on their mission without delay. They should not be worried about material or human equipment: God will make up any shortfall. This holy audacity in setting about God's work is to be found throughout the history of the Church: if Christians had bided their time, waiting until they had the necessary material resources, many, many souls would never have received the light of Christ. Once a Christian is clear in his mind about what God wants him to do, he should not stay at home checking to see if he has the wherewithal to do it. "In your apostolic undertakings you are right--it's your duty--to consider what means the world can offer you (2 + 2 = 4), but don't forget--ever!--that, fortunately, your calculations must include another term: God + 2 + 2..." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 471).

However, that being said, we should not try to force God's hand, to have Him do something exceptional, when in fact we can meet needs by our own efforts and work. This means that Christians should generously support those who, because they are totally dedicated to the spiritual welfare of their brethren, have no time left over to provide for themselves: in this connection see Jesus' promise in Matthew 10:40-42.

11-15. "Peace" was, and still is, the normal Jewish form of greeting. On the Apostles' lips it is meant to have a deeper meaning--to be a sign of God's blessing which Jesus' disciples, who are His envoys, pour out on those who receive them. The commandment our Lord gives here affects not only this specific mission; it is a kind of prophecy which applies to all times. His messenger does not become discouraged if His word is not well received. He knows that God's blessing is never ineffective (cf. Isaiah 55:11), and that every generous effort a Christian makes will always produce fruit. The word spoken in apostolate always brings with it the grace of conversion: "Many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand" (Acts 4:4; cf. 10:44; Romans 10:17).

Man should listen to this word of the Gospel and believe in it (Acts 13:48; 15:7). If he accepts it and stays faithful to it his soul is consoled, he obtains peace (Acts 8:39) and salvation (Acts 11:4-18). But if he rejects it, he is not free from blame and God will judge him for shutting out the grace he was offered.
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.

Aug 2 - Conference w/ Abp Burke, Pierluigi Molla

Sunday, August 2, 2009
All Day Conference
at the
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
La Crosse, WI

Hosted by
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Founder, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Prefect, Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura - Vatican

With a Special Summer Guest from Italy
Pierluigi Molla
Son of Saint Gianna Molla

Click here, for more information.

Principles and Practices - July 9

Never Mind the Way

Though the evil of a fault itself - for example, an act of injury or insult committed by your neighbour - is contrary to His Will, yet as far as you are concerned, He makes use of it for your benefit and salvation. Therefore, instead of giving way to sadness and discontent you should give thanks with inward joy and gladness, doing everything that lies in your power with perseverance and resolution, without losing time, and with that loss the many and great rewards, which God wills that you should gain by this opportunity which He presents to you.

-The Spiritual Combat.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for July 9

"BLESSED are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." Remove the taint of passions, take away evil thoughts and hatred. I say not against your friend but against your enemy. Take away all this, then enter your heart and you will have joy in it. As you begin to rejoice your purity of heart will be a delight to you and lead you to prayer.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-July 9

By the celebration of a single Mass, in which he offers Jesus Christ in sacrifice, a priest gives greater honour to the Lord than if all men by dying for God offered to him the sacrifice of their lives.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

News Updates, 7/8

In new encyclical Pope Benedict slams population control, urges openness to life
...the much-anticipated social encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate was released, after being delayed for a year due to the global economic crisis. The encyclical includes several passages of great interest to those involved in the pro-life movement. The most pertinent and striking passages dealing with the life issues are reproduced below...

Caritas in Veritate in Gold and Red [George Weigel]
The revenge of Justice and Peace (or so they may think.

Caritatis in Veritate: papal encyclical calls for new moral approach to global economy
Explaining the title of the encyclical, Pope Benedict writes that the social teachings of the Catholic Church offer a means of appraising the secular world, judging social and economic systems against a clear moral standard. The guiding principle of Catholic social teaching is charity, he says. The teaching function of the Church involves explaining how that charity should be applied to practical issues: "A Christianity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance."

Bishops Blast New Stem Cell Guidelines, Some 30,000 Public Comments Ignored
Cardinal Justin Rigali is decrying a decision made by the National Institutes of Health to broaden the guidelines for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research...

Alabama Attorney General Calls Undercover Video of Planned Parenthood 'Extremely Troubling', Seeks Investigation
Alabama Attorney General Troy King has called a new undercover video released last week showing Planned Parenthood of Alabama apparently breaking state mandatory reporting laws for sexual abuse "extremely troubling" and requested the full recordings. The student-led nonprofit responsible for the recordings, Live Action, immediately sent the full footage, which the Attorney General's office received yesterday...

Refused by the Vatican, US sends Kmiec to Malta
Candidacy for Holy See quashed due to stance on abortion

Pope's private chapel reopens after restoration
Altar turned toward tabernacle, communion rail restored

Crude bombs thrown into Massachusetts church
'Nothing more than a tinged mark in one small area'

Gun pulled on pro-life sidewalk counselor
Man was determined his girlfriend would get abortion

Pope, Obama may find common ground in encyclical
Upcoming meeting may be focused on financial crisis

AP, Reuters spinning Pope's 'Charity in Truth'
Ignored Benedict's traditional stances on family, bioethics

Supreme Court ruling goes against Catholic Church
Opens door to lawsuits against Maine diocese

Second bomb blast in Philippines kills two
...on island where al-Qaida-linked militants are active

Connecticut court denies appeal from diocese
...for release of documents on handling of sex-abuse cases

Other Issues

Argentina's Banks To Shut Friday As Swine Flu Measure
Argentina's private-sector banks will shut down Friday as part of a nationwide effort to contain the spread of the A/H1N1 swine flu, local press reported Friday.

Heard through the grapevine, as yet unverified: California's new IOU's (registered warrants) have already been counterfeited
[Counterfeiting fake money...Is there no shame???]

“This may come as a shock to parents”
California slashes tax deduction for dependent children, but won’t touch Planned Parenthood funding

Afghanistan says 14 H1N1 cases on U.S. military base
Fourteen new cases of the H1N1 flu virus have been reported among U.S. citizens on the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan, the Afghan Health Ministry said on Wednesday, the second confirmed cases in three months.

Two Canada hog workers hit by new non-pandemic flu
* New flu virus not connected to H1N1 outbreak
* Hogs transmitted virus to workers

Gore likens fight against 'climate change' to battle with Nazis
[Al Gore is one sick, hypocritical individual - we should pray for his conversion and enlightenment]

Cancer patients to receive California IOUs
Court-appointed lawyers, cancer patients and alcoholics in treatment programmes have become the latest victims of California’s financial crisis, as the state grapples with a budget deficit that has ballooned to $26bn.

RBC is new Fed primary dealer
Royal Bank of Canada joined an exclusive club on Tuesday, as the investment dealer arm of the country’s largest bank was named a primary dealer by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

FBI: U.S. mortgage fraud 'rampant' and growing
U.S. mortgage fraud reports jumped 36 percent last year as desperate homeowners and industry professionals tried to maintain their standard of living from the boom years, the FBI said on Tuesday.
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
-P. J. O'Rourke