Saturday, February 14, 2004

St Louis Marian Catechist Apostolate Meeting Feb 18

Two informational meetings will be offered next week to explain the Marian Catechist Apostolate at the office of the St Louis Division of the Blue Army, 6009 Heege Rd.

Both meetings will be held on Feb 18.
One is at 11:00am and the other will be at 7:00pm.

The program was developed by Fr. John Hardon at the request of the Holy Father. Before Fr Hardon died, he asked Archbishop Burke to take over the duties and responsibilities for the apostolate. Archbishop Burke is the National Director of the Marian Catechists Apostolate.

Foe more information, call the Blue Army at (314) 892-7751.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics
Copyright © 2004, Catholic Answers.
All Rights Reserved.

This voter's guide helps you cast your vote in an informed manner consistent with Catholic moral teaching. It helps you eliminate from consideration candidates who endorse policies that cannot be reconciled with moral norms that used to be held by all Christians.

On most issues that come before voters or legislators, a Catholic can take one side or the other and not act contrary to his faith. Most matters do not have a "Catholic position."

But some issues are so key, so elemental, that only one position accords with the teaching of the Christian gospel. No one endorsing the wrong side of these subjects can be said to act in accord with the Church's moral norms.

This voter's guide identifies five "non-negotiable" issues and helps you narrow down the list of acceptable candidates, whether they are running for national, state, or local offices.

Candidates who endorse or promote any of the five non-negotiables should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them. You should make your choice from among the remaining candidates.

Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good through the exercise of their voting privileges (cf. CCC 2240). It is not just civil authorities who have responsibility for a country. "Service of the common good require[s] citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community" (CCC 2239). This means citizens should participate in the political process at the ballot box.

But voting cannot be arbitrary. "A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals" (CPL 4).

Some things always are wrong, and no one may vote in favor of them, directly or indirectly. Citizens vote in favor of these evils if they vote in favor of candidates who propose to advance them. Thus, Catholics should not vote for anyone who intends to push programs or laws that are intrinsically evil.

These five issues are called non-negotiable because they concern actions that are always morally wrong and must never be promoted by the law. It is a serious sin to endorse or promote any of these actions, and no candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any of the five non-negotiables.

1. Abortion

The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is "never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it" (EV 73). Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.

The child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child's, who should not suffer death for others' sins.

2. Euthanasia

Often disguised by the name "mercy killing," euthanasia also is a form of homicide. No one has a right to take his own life (suicide), and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.

In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include doing something intrinsically evil to another person (cf. EV 73).

3. Fetal Stem Cell Research

Human embryos are human beings. "Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo" (CRF 4b).

Recent scientific advances show that any medical cure that might arise from experimentation on fetal stem cells can be developed by using adult stem cells instead. Adult stem cells can be obtained without doing harm to the adults from whom they come. Thus there no longer is a medical argument in favor of using fetal stem cells.

4. Human Cloning

"Attempts . . . for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through 'twin fission,' cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union" (RHL I:6).

Human cloning also ends up being a form of homicide because the "rejected" or "unsuccessful" clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.

5. Homosexual "Marriage"

True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other form of "marriage" undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.

"When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral" (UHP 10).

Laws are passed by the legislature, enforced by the executive branch, and interpreted by the judiciary. This means you should scrutinize any candidate for the legislature, anyone running for an executive office, and anyone nominated for the bench. This is true not only at the national level but also at the state and local levels.

True, the lesser the office, the less likely the office holder will take up certain issues. Your city council, for example, perhaps never will take up the issue of human cloning. But it is important that you evaluate every candidate, no matter what office is being sought.

Few people achieve high office without first holding low office. Some people become congressional representatives, senators, or presidents without having been elected to a lesser office. But most representatives, senators, and presidents started their political careers at the local level. The same is true for state lawmakers. Most of them began on city councils and school boards and worked their way up the political ladder.

Tomorrow's candidates for higher offices will come mainly from today's candidates for lower offices. It is therefore prudent to apply the same standards to local candidates as to state and national ones.

If candidates who are wrong on non-negotiable issues fail to be elected to lower offices, they might not become candidates for higher offices. This would make it easier to elect good candidates for the more influential offices at the state and national levels.

1. The higher the office, the easier this will be. Congressional representatives and senators, for example, repeatedly have seen these issues come before them and so have taken positions on them. Often the same can be said at the state level. In either case, learning a candidate's position can be as easy as reading newspaper or magazine articles, looking up his views on the Internet, or studying one of the many printed candidate surveys that are distributed at election time.

2. It often is more difficult to learn the views of candidates for local offices because few of them have an opportunity to consider legislation on such things as abortion, cloning, and the sanctity of marriage. But these candidates, being local, often can be contacted directly or have local campaign offices that will explain their positions.

3. If you cannot determine a candidate's views by other means, do not hesitate to write directly to him and ask how he stands on each of the non-negotiables.

1. Do not base your vote on your political party affiliation, your earlier voting habits, or your family's voting tradition. Years ago, these may have been trustworthy ways to determine whom to vote for, but today they are not reliable. You need to look at each candidate as an individual. This means that you may end up casting votes for candidates from more than one party.

2. Do not cast your vote based on candidates' appearance, personality, or "media savvy." Some attractive, engaging, and "sound-bite-capable" candidates endorse intrinsic evils and so should be opposed, while other candidates, who may be plain-looking, uninspiring, and ill at ease in front of cameras, endorse legislation in accord with basic Christian principles.

3. Do not vote for candidates simply because they declare themselves to be Catholic. Unfortunately, many self-described Catholic candidates reject basic Catholic moral teaching. They are "Catholic" only when seeking votes from Catholics.

4. Do not choose among candidates based on "What's in it for me?" Make your decision based on which candidates seem most likely to promote the common good, even if you will not benefit directly or immediately from the legislation they propose.

5. Do not reward with your vote candidates who are right on lesser issues but who are wrong on key moral issues. One candidate may have a record of voting exactly as you wish, aside from voting also in favor of, say, euthanasia. Such a candidate should not get your vote. Candidates need to learn that being wrong on even one of the non-negotiable issues is enough to exclude them from consideration.

1. For each office, first determine how each candidate stands on each of the five non-negotiable issues.

2. Eliminate from consideration candidates who are wrong on any of the non-negotiable issues. No matter how right they may be on other issues, they should be considered disqualified if they are wrong on even one of the non-negotiables.

3. Choose from among the remaining candidates, based on your assessment of each candidate's views on other, lesser issues.

In some political races, each candidate takes a wrong position on one or more of the five non-negotiables. In such a case you may vote for the candidate who takes the fewest such positions or who seems least likely to be able to advance immoral legislation, or you may choose to vote for no one.

Conscience is like an alarm. It warns you when you are about to do something wrong. It does not itself determine what is right or wrong. For your conscience to work properly, it must be properly informed-that is, you must inform yourself about what is right and what is wrong. Only then will your conscience be a trusted guide.

Unfortunately, today many Catholics have not formed their consciences adequately regarding key moral issues. The result is that their consciences do not "sound off" at appropriate times, including on election day.

A well-formed conscience never will contradict Catholic moral teaching. For that reason, if you are unsure where your conscience is leading you when at the ballot box, place your trust in the unwavering moral teachings of the Church. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an excellent source of authentic moral teaching.)

Please do not keep this voter's guide to yourself. Read it, learn from it, and prepare your selection of candidates based on it. Then give this voter's guide to a friend, and ask your friend to read it and pass it on to others. The more people who vote in accord with basic moral principles, the better off our country will be.

CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church

CPL Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Notes on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life

CRF Pontifical Council for the Family, Charter of the Rights of the Family

EV John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)

RHL Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation

UHP Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons

And along with the NCR Letter we have this "cogent" editorial

Communion ban an ineffective tactic
Legislators who support “procured abortion or euthanasia” are engaged in “manifest grave sin,” Burke said in a “notification” last year.

What about those who support embryonic stem cell research? How far does one go?

One can also rightly ask: What about politicians who do not actively support other life issues? What about politicians who demagogue the death penalty? What about those who consistently oppose programs that would assist pregnant women and reduce the number of abortions? What about politicians who support war, even preemptive war?

The inconsistencies here discredit the admonishers.

That said, what insight might be found in Burke and Hughes’ positions?

At least some dishonesty can be attributed to Catholic politicians who say they “agree with” or “accept” church teaching on abortion, but then do nothing to help curtail the practice.
Once again, we see brilliance emanating from the minds of the writers at the "Distorter". Equating Capital punishment, war, etc., with the intrinsic evil of abortion.

Actually the inconsistencies in this editorial discredit the writer as well as National Catholic Reporter. But then again, that's required standard operating procedure at NCR.

Sowing confusion among the faithful, just as the father of lies has always done and continues to do. But wait, we have even more:

Catholic politicians face the stark reality that official church teaching states that abortion is tantamount to taking of an innocent human life.

Let's be clear, here....It is more than tanatmount - it ...IS... the taking of innocent human life!
To embrace this teaching fully is to accept that more than 40 million human beings have been legally eliminated since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land 31 years ago. It is clear that many Catholics do not hold to that extreme view of the issue...
EXTREME VIEW???? Any Catholic who does not hold this view has denied a fundamental teaching of the Church, and as such, has separated himself from Christ and His Church. There is NO compromising on this teaching of the CHurch! Those who deny this cannot truthfully claim to be Catholic and in full communion with the Church, and may not partake in the sacramental life of the Church.
So what is a bishop to do?

First, preach and teach the principles of Catholic morality.
This is exactly what Archbishop Burke and others are doing!
Second, acknowledge in a democracy, when dealing with legislators, there are not easy answers and that elected officials both lead and reflect the virtues and vices of those they represent.
BZZZZT! Wrong answer...The Church gives us the truth. The hard part for many is actually choosing to abide by natural moral law. And who would want to reflect the "vices" of those who are represented? Do we not want to reflect the GOOD and do all we can to minimize or eliminate the EVIL?
Third, refrain from the temptation to move to disciplinary solutions. They are ineffective and are bound to fail, especially when they are widely viewed as inconsistent.
Widely viewed as ineffective by whom? Those heretics, apostates, or schismatics* who deny the clear and unambiguous teachings of the Church?

And what else, that discipline has never worked??? And no one ever admonishes a wayward child for doing wrong? And the best approach has always been to encourage and confirm them in their errors and sinfulness?

Sorry, but that answer is also wrong! Since you only answered 1 of 3 correctly, you fail! Go back to school and re-take your catechism classes and then come back and try to take the test again!

* 2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him." (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Archbishop Burke is misunderstood by National Catholic Reporter

But then again, the Catholic Faith is also misunderstood by them...Here's a recent "Letter to the Editor"
Your article (NCR, Jan. 23) that Bishop Raymond L. Burke of La Crosse, Wis., denies Communion to politicians who support abortion and euthanasia makes one wonder about the charity of the bishop. If the legislators are wrong, receiving the Eucharist might help them have a conversion of heart.

I feel in my bones the Rep. David Obey gave an appropriate answer for someone living in a democracy. Bishop Burke [now archbishop of St. Louis] has the right of instruction and the right to lobby and vote, but he crosses the line when he tells a Catholic how the power of the law should be applied in a pluralistic democracy. Taken to its extreme, under Burke’s law, only right-wing Catholics could stand for election.

Burke goes on to say that “they will stand with us against capital punishment, but not against procured abortion or euthanasia.” Has Burke written against capital punishment? Has he told the legislators who sponsor state murder they can no longer go to Communion? Has he taken a stand against our unilateral invasion of Iraq as Pope John Paul II has time and again?

Yes, abortion is morally unacceptable. Rep. Obey and most non-Catholics would agree, but is the alternative of “back alley -- sweep it under the poverty rug” a moral alternative? If it is, let’s get the funding

Every act of contraception is a potential abortion. Where does the now archbishop stand on that? Will he deny Communion to the 90 percent who ignore Humanae Vitae?

JAMES LEAHY Ridgefield, Conn.

Not much surprise here....I guess no one has read the Bishop's Pastoral Letter.

My suggestion to these people who don't seem to uinderstand- read the catechism if your priest are deficient in teaching the faith to you.

The Gospel of Suffering

A Lenten reflection from Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter, Salvifici Doloris, The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, February 11, 1984

Christ retains in His risen body the marks of the wounds of the Cross in His hands, feet and side. Through the Resurrection, He manifests “the victorious power of suffering”’ and He wishes to imbue with the conviction of this power the hearts of those whom He chose as Apostles and those whom He continually chooses and sends forth. The Apostle Paul will say: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12).

While the first great chapter of the Gospel of suffering is written down, as the generations pass, by those who suffer persecutions for Christ’s sake, simultaneously another great chapter of this Gospel unfolds through the course of history. This chapter is written by all those “who suffer together with Christ”, uniting their human sufferings to His salvific suffering. In these people there is fulfilled what the first witnesses of the Passion and Resurrection said and wrote about sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

Therefore in those people there is fulfilled the Gospel of suffering, and, at the same time, each of them continues in a certain sense to write it: they write it and proclaim it to the world, they announce it to the world in which they live and to the people of their time.

Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that “in suffering there is concealed” a particular “power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ”, a special grace. To this grace many saints, such as Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of “his entire life and vocation”. This discovery is a particular confirmation of the spiritual greatness which in man surpasses the body in a way that is completely beyond compare. When this body is gravely ill, totally incapacitated, and the person is almost incapable of living and acting, all the more do interior “maturity and spiritual greatness” become evident, constituting a touching lesson to those who are healthy and normal.

This interior maturity and spiritual greatness in suffering are certainly the “result” of a particular “conversion” and cooperation with the grace of the Crucified Redeemer. It is He Himself who acts at the heart of human sufferings through His Spirit of truth, through the consoling Spirit. It is He who transforms, in a certain sense, the very substance of the spiritual life, indicating for the person who suffers a place close to himself. “It is He” – as the interior Master and Guide – “who reveals” to the suffering brother and sister this “wonderful interchange”, situated at the very heart of the mystery of the Redemption.

From the Marian Catechist Website

Some Great News!

South Dakota House passes law banning abortion
Pierre, South Dakota, Feb. 11 (
South Dakota's House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would outlaw most abortions in the state. The bill, which passed 54-15, outlaw's all abortions, except where the mother's life is in danger. It does not include exceptions for rape or "health," a catch-all term that includes emotional problems and would allow abortion for virtually any reason.

The bill's chief sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt McCaulley, said of the health exception: "When we're considering an innocent life, the health of the mother is not a substantial enough justification to take the innocent life."

Critics of the bill said it is a waste of time since US Supreme Court decisions, beginning with 1973's Roe v. Wade, have declared abortion a right and have rejected most state laws setting wholesale restrictions on abortion.

The bill is aimed at abortionists, who could receive up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines for performing an abortion.

© Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.

Priest charged in pot case under investigation for sex abuse

Who would have thought it after reading the first story here.

Now comes this:
Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Mary Ann Kovach said Tuesday that she plans to meet with police to determine if sex charges should be brought against Rev. Richard Arko, 40.

Pray for him, and for all who are affected by this. Pray for the bishop and the diocese. Pray for the Church, and ask our Lord to have mercy on us all for all of our transgressions.

Bishops' Committee-The Bible, The Jews, and The Death of Jesus

Well, it's out - one week before the movie, "The Passion" is to be shown. The Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is publishing a collection of key documents of Catholic teaching on the Church's relationship to the Jews and its opposition to anti-Semitism.

The 128 page paper collection will be available on Feb 23 for the price of $11.95. Your money would probably be better spent buying the Catechism.

Here is more info.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Salvific Suffering?

A reader writes about the article below, Pope affirms "salvific" suffering :
"I don't believe I understand. What does he mean by 'salvific suffering'? If he is referring to -our- suffering, atoning for sins, didn't Christ fully accomplish that on the Cross?"

Yes, Christ fully atoned for our sins - past, present and future- when He died for us on the Cross. His suffering was salvific (saving).

However, we can, and should, unite our sufferings with His.

These are some excerpts from "Salvifici Doloris"
(The Christian Meaning Of Suffering)by Pope John Paul II (1984)
Encyclical of Pope John Paul II ...declaring the power of salvific suffering, the Apostle Paul says: “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”

These words seem to be found at the end of the long road that winds through the suffering which forms part of the history of man and which is illuminated by the Word of God. These words have as it were the value of a final discovery, which is accompanied by joy. For this reason St. Paul writes: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.” The joy comes from the discovery of the meaning of suffering, and this discovery, even if it is most personally shared in by Paul of Tarsus who wrote these words, is at the same time valid for others. The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help — just as it helped him to understand the salvific meaning of suffering.

Christ did not conceal from His listeners the need for suffering. He said very clearly: “If any man would come after me..let him take up his cross daily,” and before His disciples He placed demands of a moral nature that can only be fulfilled on condition that they should “deny themselves.” The way that leads to the kingdom of heaven is “hard and narrow,” and Christ contrasts it to the “wide and easy” way that “leads to destruction.”

On various occasions Christ also said that His disciples and confessors would meet with much persecution, something which as we know—happened not only in the first centuries of the Church’s life under the Roman Empire, but also came true in various historical periods and in other parts of the world, and still does even in our own time.

This encyclical is not really that long. It brings to light the mystery of suffering.

Our Lady of Lourdes - February 11

From Catholic Exchange

Title: Our Lady of Lourdes
Author: Gail Buckley
Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The year was 1858 and the place was the French foothills of the Pyrenees. A young girl named Bernadette Soubirous, her sister Toinette and their friend Jeanne Abadie were out gathering firewood for their families. Toinette and Abadie crossed a stream to gather wood on the other side, but Bernadette hesitated, fearing that wading in the cold water would bring on an asthma attack.

When her sister and friend moved out of her sight, she decided to take a chance anyway, and started to remove her shoes. It was at that moment that she was startled by a great noise like thunder. Turning towards a grotto behind her, she saw a single rosebush swaying as if being blown by a strong wind. Almost immediately she also saw a golden cloud form over the rosebush and a young and beautiful lady appear in the cloud. The lady smiled at Bernadette and motioned for her to come closer. All the fear that Bernadette had felt a few moments earlier faded away at the sight of this lady. She felt safe as if with her mother.

The Lady was dressed in an ivory-colored robe tied at the waist with a sapphire-colored sash. A long ivory-colored mantle trimmed in gold hung in folds flowing down to her feet. On her bare feet were two golden roses than shone like the gold trim on her mantle. Bernadette was awestruck by the vision of this Lady and didn’t speak, nor did the Lady. Bernadette found herself reaching for her rosary, which she always carried with her, and dropping down on her knees. It was then that Bernadette noticed the pearl rosary hanging on the Lady’s right arm, which she now also took into her delicate hands. Bernadette tried to lift her hand to cross herself before reciting the rosary, however, her arm seemed paralyzed. It was only after the Lady crossed herself that Bernadette was able to move her arm and do likewise. Bernadette prayed aloud, by herself. The Lady was silent except at the end of each decade when she recited, with Bernadette, the Gloria. When Bernadette finished praying the Rosary, the Lady and the golden cloud disappeared.

Bernadette had many other visions of the Lady in the grotto. At first her parents were very upset and unbelieving of the visions. Her mother thought that either Bernadette was imagining things or that what she was seeing was demonic. Word spread in the small village about her visions of this mysterious lady and crowds of people started following Bernadette to the grotto. Many ridiculed her, but some were supportive. One woman thought Bernadette might be encountering the spirit of one of her deceased friends. Bernadette’s family implored her to take holy water and throw some on the Lady. She did take some with her, but poured in on the ground.

The Lady repeatedly asked Bernadette to pray for the conversion of sinners and asked for penance for sins. When she instructed Bernadette to wash herself and drink from a place at the base of the grotto, Bernadette was perplexed. She looked, but could find no water. The Lady told her to dig in the ground, which Bernadette did, which caused quite a stir among the onlookers. Some thought she was insane. Bernadette continued to dig in the gravel and dirt until the ground started to feel damp. Then a trickle of water appeared and more started bubbling up from the ground forming a small puddle. Following the Lady’s instructions, Bernadette rubbed the water on her body and cupped some in her hands and drank it.

Still Bernadette’s mother refused to believe her daughter and other family members continued to ridicule her. When Bernadette spoke to the Lady about this, the Lady replied, “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next.”

The next request of the Lady to Bernadette was to have a chapel built on the site of her visits. For Bernadette, a shy, 14 year-old girl, this was an impossible task. She felt compelled, though, to go to the parish priest with the request. She received a curt dismissal from him with these words: “Tell the beautiful Lady that the Cure’ of Lourdes is not in the habit of dealing with mysterious strangers. If she wants a chapel and has the right to one, she must reveal her identity.”

On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1858, Bernadette got the answer to her question. “I am the Immaculate Conception,” replied the beautiful Lady. Bernadette was so excited to have an answer for the priest that she immediately set out for the rectory, repeating the words over and over to herself so as not to forget them. Although Bernadette didn’t understand the words, when she repeated them to the priest he was convinced that the mysterious Lady was the Blessed Virgin Mary. He knew that Bernadette, a poor, uneducated young girl, could not have been aware of the term "Immaculate Conception,” especially since this was a newly-proclaimed dogma in the Church that most people were not familiar with.

In 1864, Bernadette entered the order of the Sisters of Nevers and went to live in a convent. Two years later a chapel was erected and dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The puddle that had appeared when Bernadette scratched at the soil continued to get larger and larger and today produces 32,000 gallons of water daily. Thousands of pilgrims visit Lourdes each year to bathe in the miraculous waters. Today Lourdes is the most well-known healing and pilgrimage site in the world.

Lessons - Our Lady of Lourdes

On January 18, 1862, the Church officially confirmed the apparitions at Lourdes. Sixteen years later, in 1879, Sister Bernadette died. Her body, however, on display in the Sister’s Chapel, has never decomposed. Bernadette was canonized on December 8, 1933.

Prayer: Blessed Mother, our Lady of Lourdes, we thank you for appearing to the child Bernadette so as to show the world the power of God. The miracles brought forth then and even until now are a great testimony of His Love and Mercy. Thank you, Mother, not only for the miraculous healing power of the waters of Lourdes but also for the love and compassion that prevails there. We thank our Father in heaven for you, dear Mother and also for Saint Bernadette and we implore your intercessions for us that we will always be like little children, docile and loving and open to His Will. Amen.

Two key appointments for Roman Curia

Vatican, Feb. 11 (
Pope John Paul II has named new prelates to head two important Vatican offices.

The Holy Father accepted the resignations of Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious; and Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. Both outgoing Vatican officials had reached the retirement age of 75.

The new prefect of the Congregation for Religious will be Archbishop Franc Rode, the current Archbishop of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The new secretary general of the Synod of Bishops will be Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, a Croatian cleric who is currently serving as apostolic nuncio in Ukraine.

Cardinal Somalo, who is 76, had headed the Congregation for Religious since 1992; prior to that, he had been prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship from 1988 to 1992. The Spanish cardinal was also selected by Pope John Paul II in 1993 for the post of camerlengo: the Vatican official who, in the case of the Pontiff's death, coordinates the interim administration of the Holy See and convenes a papal conclave. Cardinal Somalo will continue to hold that responsibility.

Archbishop Rode, a 69-year-old Lazarist priest, has previously served at the Vatican as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, before becoming an archbishop in his native Slovenia. As the prefect of a Vatican congregation, he would be expected to be named a cardinal at the next consistory.

Cardinal Schotte, a 75-year-old Belgian, has headed the Synod of Bishops since 1984. During that time he has been responsible for the organization of a dozen meetings of the Synod, including a series of special meetings of bishops' synods from the various continents. A priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he served at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace before his latest assignment.

Archbishop Eterovic, who is 53, has been in the Vatican diplomatic service since 1980, with postings in Ivory Cost, Spain, and Nicaragua as well as a stint in the Vatican Secretariat of State. A polyglot-- he speaks Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian as well as his native Croatian-- he will now assume responsibility for the organization of the next Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the Eucharist. That meeting of the Synod, which will probably take place sometime in 2005, will be formally announced in the coming weeks. Archbishop Eterovic, too, will presumably be elevated to the College of Cardinals at the next consistory.

© Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.

For those who attended the Eucharistic Congress here in St. Louis a couple of years ago, you may remember Cardinal Schotte and his wonderful keynote address. You may also recall that he was called on at the last moment by then Archbishop Rigali to give the keynote address because Fr. Benedict Groeschel, who was to give the address, was delayed because of inclement weather. Cardinal Schotte gave an excellent imprompu talk lasting about 35-40 minutes which was interrupted several times by applause. His recollections and devotion to the our Lord and the Blessed Sacrament was truly inspiring.

I would certainly recommend listening to his address to the faithful. It was recorded and made available by St. Joseph Communications and they may still have them available. If you cannot locate a copy of the taped address and are interested in it, let me know and I'll see what can be done to get a copy to you.

Is Notre Dame really a Catholic University? Is this Hesburgh's Legacy?

At Notre Dame, gay film fest a first
Some students call this week's event a breakthrough for a religious school that officially brands homosexual behavior a sin

After the V-Monologues have come and gone this year, maybe more 'Catholic' universities will pick this up, too. I guess I will pass this along to the Cardinal Newman Society, eh?

Pope affirms "salvific" suffering

Vatican, Feb. 11 (
No one has the right deliberately to end a human life, even if the individual is suffering, Pope John Paul II insisted.
The Holy Father made his remarks during his weekly public audience on February 11, as the Church observed both the World Day for the Sick and the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. He spoke to about 4,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium.

(The Pope's regular Wednesday audience was one of only a few scheduled events at the Vatican. February 11 is also a holiday for the Vatican, commemorating the Lateran accords that established the sovereignty of the Vatican city-state.)

"Every human being, even those marked by sickness and suffering, is a great gift to the Church and to humanity," the Pope said. He said that everyone who is in pain because of illness should find other people ready to provide them with care and concern. Human suffering, he said, "is always a call for the display of merciful love."

The World Day for the Sick should be a reminder of "the important place in the Christian community for people who suffer," the Pope continued. He reminded his audience that while suffering can appear pointless from a human perspective, in the light of the Gospel we should seek its "profound salvific significance."

Pope John Paul, who delivered most of his speech in Italian, conveyed a special message in French to the participants in the official observance of the World Day for the Sick, which was taking place at the Marian shrine in Lourdes, France. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, presided at a Mass for the occasion, celebrated in the basilica at Lourdes.

At the conclusion of his public audience, the Pope made reference to the 75th anniversary of the Lateran accords, describing them as "a historic opening" and a positive benchmark in relations between the Catholic Church and the Italian state.

© Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Church of England questions sex of three wise men

London, Feb. 10 (
The Church of England has challenged the traditional belief that three wise men travelled from the East to the manger at Bethlehem.

The church's General Synod has decided that "the visitors were not necessarily wise and not necessarily men."

Authorizing a new set of prayers for use in church services, the Synod decreed that the three wise men-- as they are called in the ancient King James translation of the Bible-- must henceforth be referred to as "Magi".

The argument is that there is no biblical evidence that were three visitors or that they were indeed men.

The Synod's revision committee argued that the original Greek, magos/magoi was a transliteration of the name of an official in the Persian court. They say St. Matthew deliberately used an exotic word to emphasize the exotic nature of the visitors to Jesus.

In its report the committee says, "To translate the term into something more universally understood (as the Authorized Version did) is to miss the point being made. Further, while it seems very unlikely that these Persian court officials were female, the possibility that one or more of the magoi were female cannot be excluded completely."

© Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.
The implosion continues.

USCCB Committee to distribute 150 page booklet in advance of the Passion?

Fearful that Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" will revive age-old tension between Christians and Jews over the death of Jesus Christ, U.S. bishops are issuing strict instructions on how Catholics should view the crucifixion.

A 150-page booklet, "The Bible, the Jews and the Death of Jesus," will be released this week to every diocese in the United States, instructing Catholics on the Vatican's position: that Jews were not collectively responsible for Christ's torture and death.

[Full Story here]
Seems awfully strange to me that a Bishops' committee has the money and time to create a 150 page booklet to "remind' us that all of us are culpable for Christ's suffering and death.

The booklet is being issued by the Committee for Ecumenical Affairs of the Bishops' conference.

We must remember that most of these things are not from the Bishops but from internal committees. I am reminded of several documents that come out of these committees: "Environment and Art in Catholic Worship", "Always our Children", and the recent document about our not having to evangelize our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Why don't we contrast this with Archbishop Chaput's thoughts:

"I hope every adult Catholic in northern Colorado sees it," Chaput said, "as well as the general adult public."

Chaput said he got the idea for the forum after seeing mounting evidence of anti-Semitism during his work on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"For Catholics, anti-Semitism is more than a human rights issue; it's a form of sacrilege and blasphemy against the people God chose for his own," Chaput said.


The Catholic League asks this question...Perhaps someone should email William Donohue and advise him to contact Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Committee for Ecumenical Affairs of the Bishops' conference.

[Full Article]

Monday, February 09, 2004

Latin 'anything but dead' in Catholic schools in Wilmington Diocese

WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- For a supposedly dead language, Latin is alive and well at some Catholic schools in the Wilmington Diocese. Although it was abandoned by most public schools in the past 40 years or so, many students and teachers say that studying Latin has many benefits.

"I like that it's an ancient language that has a lot to do with the culture," said Thomas Bounds, a sophomore at Salesianum School in Wilmington. Bounds, who takes Latin II, said his Latin class, with 13 students, is smaller than most of his classes, which gives it a more personal atmosphere. He also said the language has helped him with vocabulary, English grammar and his SAT scores.

At Ursuline Academy, also in Wilmington, Latin is mandatory for sixth-graders. In the seventh and eighth grades, students can choose Latin, French or Spanish. "This year Latin was the most highly sought-after choice," said Robin Chambers, Ursuline's curriculum director. Ursuline has added a year of Latin study each fall since introducing the course three years ago.

From Catholic News Briefs
It's an encouraging sign to see this. The Romance languages are based on the Latin. The 5 major Romance languages are: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish.

It's so amazing that in our haste to jettison anything having any proximity to the pre-Vatican II era, we discarded and lost so much. I fear it will take many years to recover from this. As we can see from this story (and I'm certain that there are many others), our Catholic heritage is so rich and so beneficial. These schools, teachers, and students should be congratulated for the work they are doing.

Vatican sends draft of minicatechism to cardinals for review

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has completed a draft of a 150-page minicatechism and is sending the text to cardinals and bishops' conferences for review, a Vatican source said.

Pope John Paul II commissioned the shorter, simpler version of the 865-page "Catechism of the Catholic Church" last year, and a 10-member commission has been working on the text since March. The source said Feb. 9 that over the next few months the commission would consider the input of cardinals and bishops' conferences, and that a final draft is expected to be completed later this year.

The minicatechism outlines church teachings in four parts, under the headings of profession of faith, sacraments, commandments and prayer, the source said. The work on the draft was considered unusually fast by Vatican standards.

Last year, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation and president of the drafting commission, said he expected the preparation work to take about two years.

From Catholic News Briefs

Why the Warning to Pro-Abortion Politicians Was Right -- Even Obligatory

Two U.S. Professors Defend Bishop Burke's Decision
PRINCETON, New Jersey, FEB. 9, 2004 ( Two leading Catholic intellectuals came out in strong support of the decision by a Midwest bishop to ask pro-abortion Catholic politicians in his diocese to refrain from receiving Communion.

In an article published by National Review Online, professors Robert George and Gerard Bradley defended the actions of then La Crosse Bishop Raymond Burke (now archbishop of St. Louis).

The professors wrote: "Having made every effort to persuade pro-abortion Catholic legislators to fulfill their obligations in justice to the unborn, Bishop Burke articulated the obvious: Any Catholic who exercises political power to expose a disfavored class of human beings to unjust killing sets himself against the very faith he claims to share. The Church cannot permit such a person to pretend to share in the faith he publicly defies. By receiving Communion -- the sacrament of unity -- pro-abortion Catholics are pretending exactly that. The bishop has called a halt to the pretense."

Robert George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. Gerard Bradley is professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and president of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

The two professors expanded on their analysis for ZENIT.
Both men have stated that bishops have a duty to act, now that Archbishop Burke has taken the lead - This duty, this obligation, is not optional.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

The Post-Dispatch continues its confusion regarding Abp. Burke, church/state

Saturday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch continued its confusion of the relationship of Archbishop Burke's clear position on the Church's teaching regarding the scandal caused by Catholic politicians who advocate and promote the culture of death and the subsequent interdict to deny them Holy Communion.
"It's one thing for the Catholic church to behave like any other interest group and say, 'We have these positions and hope people will be persuaded by these positions.' That doesn't raise fears," said John Green, an Akron University professor who studies the intersection of religion and politics. "But when it gets to the next level, where religious sanctions are used against politicians because of positions they take. . ., that does raise some of the fears that people had back in the 1960s. I think that tends to increase the concern that the church may be playing an inappropriate role in democracy."
The Catholic Church behaving like any other interest group? Fears that people had in the 1960's? Inappropriate role in democracy? I guess this is similar to the same role the Church played in the past speaking out against segregation?
"It's not Rome imposing a particular view on anybody," said Starrs, director of the Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church of the American Life League, the nation's largest anti-abortion advocacy group. "It's just the Catholic church asking for all people to stand up for all innocent life, and if you want to be Catholic, some things are non-negotiable, and one of those is protecting life in the womb."
At least they quoted someone else who is Catholic and understands the position of the Church. But wait a minute. They can't let it stop there...they must select some 'real' ideologues to give the truth on the subject.
In fact, Catholics are widely divided on many social issues.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll last year found that 88 percent of Catholics find birth control morally acceptable, 62 percent found the death penalty morally acceptable and 30 percent found abortion acceptable.

"The Catholics that are in the pews are there for spiritual fulfillment and aren't looking to the church hierarchy for political leadership and guidance," said Paul Djupe, assistant professor of political science at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
Perhaps not, however, fundamental moral precepts must be understood if one is ever going to grow spiritually. And when injustice is promoted as a good when in fact it is an evil, it is the obligation of the Church to enlightened the faithful about this issue.
Still, some question whether such edicts from church leaders come close to crossing the line between the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
Apparently another person who failed to read the Constitution or pass a basic Civics class. Some believe that repeating this lie often enough will make it true.
Green said," It's one thing to say we think Senator Kerry is wrong. But it's quite another to deny the means of grace because of a political position."
If Kerry was in a state of grace, he would not hold the "Pro-Death" position he promotes. He, himself, is responsible for any denial of Holy Communion.
Sue Crawford, an associate professor of political science at Creighton University, said such fears might be more viable if Kerry had reversed his position.

"If Kerry were to come out and say, 'I was wrong and I won't do it anymore because I value my link to the church,' it would raise that concern," she said. "If he backs down on this, what else will he back down? People might be worried then about whether they could trust Catholic politicians."
That's right! People will be worried when someone accepts morality as a way of life and publicly admits that they were wrong.
Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, an abortion-rights group, believes such statements from church leaders revive concerns about whether Catholic politicians can be trusted to make laws based on the common good rather than religious beliefs.
Ah yes! We must not go without quoting Kissling! Promoting abortion, the intentional murder of the unborn in the womb - in what should be the safest place for them - is a common good? Also, If we are to understand this correctly, we should abolish all laws which have been enacted which were based on religious beliefs. What a glorious day!
"This is the fear that those of us who are Catholic have that when bishops say things like this that they may contribute to anti-Catholicism by reigniting the old belief that Catholics are not independent from Rome," Kissling said.
Actually, 'Catholics' who are estranged from Rome and the successor of St. Peter and Christ's Church of their own free will, might be better understood as schismatics and heretics. The inversion or denial of objective truth is so rampant today. One must wonder what these "Catholics" would say to Jesus if He were to confront them. Better yet, what will they say when they appear before Him on the day of judgement?