Saturday, January 29, 2005

Cardinal Arinze cautiously talks about violence, love

The cardinal charmed a small crowd in Dallas recently with his acceptance speech for an award he got for his interfaith work. God, he said, deserves the credit for anything he's achieved as a cleric.

"When you praise a suit well-made, you are praising the tailor," he said with a smile. "Not the wood that the suit is put on in the tailor shop."
Salt Lake Tribune article.

Challenges for Legionaries and Regnum Christi

Zenit Conducts an Interview With New General Director, Father Álvaro Corcuera and dispels the 'theories' regarding Fr. Maciel's decision not to seek re-election...

Three St. Louis Priests Are Laicized

Archbishop Raymond Burke said Friday that three St. Louis priests had been laicized, or defrocked, by the Vatican.

Burke had asked Pope John Paul II to return Michael McGrath, Donald Straub and Robert Yim to "the lay state," according to a statement issued by the archdiocese, because "all three had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them."

In the archdiocese's statement, [Archbishop] Burke said he "expresses his deepest regrets to all who have been harmed by these priests and to anyone who has been abused by a member of the clergy," and urged others abused by a member of the clergy to contact the archdiocese or civil authorities.

Jamie Allman, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the Vatican was reviewing more cases of abusive priests from the archdiocese but would not say how many or provide names. He did, however, confirm that one of those was the Rev. Bryan Kuchar. He described that case as pending. Kuchar, who is fighting the laicization process, is serving three years in the St. Louis County jail after a jury found him guilty last year of three counts of statutory sodomy for molesting a 14-year-old boy in 1995.
Link to Post article.

Gospel for Saturday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 4:35-41

The Calming of the Storm

[35] On that day, when evening had come, He (Jesus) said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." [36] And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them just as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him. [37] And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was already filling. [38] But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care if we perish?" [39] And He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. [40] He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" [41] And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?"

35-41. The episode of the calming of the storm, the memory of which must have often helped the Apostles regain their serenity in the midst of struggles and difficulties, also helps us never lose the supernatural way of looking at things: a Christian's life is like a ship: "As a vessel on the sea is exposed to a thousand dangers--pirates, quicksands, hidden rocks, tempests--so man in this life, is encompassed with perils, arising from the temptations of Hell, from the occasions of sin, from the scandals or bad counsels of men, from human respect, and, above all from the passions of corrupt nature [...]. This should not cause him to lose confidence. Rather [...] when you find yourself assaulted by a violent passion [...] take whatever steps you can to avoid the occasions [of sin] and place your reliance on God [...]: when the tempest is violent, the pilot never takes his eyes from the light which guides him to port. In like manner, we should keep our eyes always turned to God, who alone can deliver us from the many dangers to which we are exposed" (St. Augustine, "Sermon 51; for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Research and Experiments on "Chimeras" Proceeding World Wide

January 27, 2005 ( - The January 25 edition of National Geographic News features a story on new research being done around the world to create hybrids of humans and animals.

In the last few years, legislation has been passed in various countries that pro-life leaders worry will allow experiments to create embryos made from human and animal cells. Such artificial creatures are, revealingly, called by scientists "chimeras," a word, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which means "a wild, impossible scheme or unreal conception."
A revealing article of scientists gone mad...

LifeSiteNews article.

Archbishop Burke - Inspiring Leader


Archbishop Raymond Burke, marching in support of life, has shown the way for other Catholic leaders to get involved in communities throughout the country.

If they don’t, abortions will continue; we will for sure lose "Christ" in Christmas, "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance as well as open displays of the Ten Commandments and crosses on government seals and elsewhere, etc.

Many Catholics are waiting to march behind such banners with their own prominent clergy out in front. Thank you and God bless you, Archbishop Burke, for being such an inspiration.

Margie Tiritilli
Montebello, Calif.
This 'Letter to the Editor' was in today's St. Louis Review and I couldn't let it go by with posting it as it coincides quite well with his column below on "Praying and Marching for Life".


Insurers Sue L.A. Archdiocese for Abuse Data

Three insurance companies have sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, accusing Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of refusing to share information about alleged sex abuse by priests, and precluding scrutiny of his activities as their supervisor.

The insurers have asked a judge to order Mahony to provide documents that could be used to defend the church or to relieve them of liability stemming from allegations by more than 535 people who say they were molested by priests since the 1930s.

"For whatever reasons, the archbishop's [Cardinal Mahony's] apparent goal is to obviate any meaningful disclosure of the facts and circumstances of these claims, and yet to pressure [the insurers] to contribute enormous sums of money" to settle the cases, according to the lawsuit.
More than $1 billion in damages could be assessed against the church, the insurance companies stated in the lawsuit. Of that total, the three insurers are "potentially at risk for hundreds of millions of dollars," said Raymond P. Boucher, court-appointed liaison counsel for the alleged victims in the Southern California clergy abuse cases.
Unbelievable - $1 Billion in damages...

No mention is made, however, of the spiritual costs - of the souls which might be eternally lost due to these scandalous crimes...

Article here.

Eucharist, not music or priest, must be focus of Mass, says Cardinal Arinze

DALLAS (CNS) -- The celebration of the Eucharist is "the supreme act of worship" for Catholics, and is at the "very heart of our religion," a top Vatican cardinal told a crowd of nearly 2,000 gathered in Dallas for a liturgical conference. Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, was the keynote speaker at the 43rd annual Southwest Liturgical Conference, held Jan. 18-21.
What a wonderful blessing it must be to be able to attend a conference with a speaker such a Cardinal Arinze. Anyone who has heard him or seen him certainly would understand this. I am looking forward to his coming here to St Louis for a liturgical conference in April.


Life Teen co-founders sued

Two co-founders of Life Teen, the nation's largest Catholic youth ministry based in the Valley, were accused Thursday in a lawsuit of covering up and helping carry out sexual attacks on a 14-year-old boy two decades ago.

The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, also claimed that the Life Teen program at St. Timothy's parish in Mesa had "a social culture which inappropriately focused upon sexual activity . . . and fostered an environment that led to inappropriate sexual behavior."

Named as defendants in the suit were Life Teen co-founders, Monsignor Dale J. Fushek and Phil Baniewicz, along with former priest Mark Lehman, resigned Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, the Diocese of Phoenix, St. Timothy's Parish and Life Teen Inc., the program founded at St. Timothy's parish in 1985.
This is not the full story. There appears to be more:
The lawsuit repeated and expanded allegations brought to the diocese last month by William J. Cesolini, who said he was sodomized at St. Tim's parish in 1985 by Lehman while Fushek watched and performed sexual acts on himself without stopping to help or report the attack to authorities.

Cesolini, a one-time seminarian, said he regained his memory of the decades-old molestations in February 2003 after another priest made an unwanted sexual advance on him. He went to a church-paid counselor, who helped him gradually recover the details of the trauma. (Emphasis mine)
He gradually "recovered" the details...


Archbishop Flynn "Clarifies" Previous Remarks

In a Jan. 26 statement, Archbishop Flynn said he met in mid-December with Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, to discuss "the difficult pastoral situation" of Rainbow Sash.

Archbishop Flynn said he was issuing the statement to clarify remarks he made in an interview with Catholic News Service in December.

Cardinal Arinze "did not in fact suggest an immediate change to the policy in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis," Archbishop Flynn said in his statement.

"However, he did clearly indicate that this situation merits further study and that ideally all of the bishops who have pastoral care for the members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach," the statement said. "This recommendation needs to be reviewed by those bishops involved in the near future."
Great! Further study is needed to develop a uniform approach in addressing those who proudly display their opposition to the Church and Church teaching yet still demand to receive Holy Communion. I suppose the Church has no guidelines regarding Holy Communion and manifest public sin and scandal?

I, for one, am no longer shocked to read stories such as this about those who appear to be in some sort of "damage control" mode because of a certain "nuancing" or "spinning" of certain facts.

I am fairly resigned these days to praying for those who hold positions of authority in the Church but fail to exercise that authority or fulfill their obligations.

CNS article here.

Archbishop Burke Reflects on the National March for Life

Our most effective means of carrying forward the apostolate of respect for human life is prayer. Given the gravity of the attack on innocent and defenseless human life in our nation, we must pray daily for the victims of abortion and for those who promote and provide procured abortion. We must also participate in the public prayer and devotion of the Church — Mass, eucharistic devotion and other devotions like the praying of the rosary — for the intention of the respect for human life.
These are words which must be taken to heart!

It is worthwhile to remember this as well and to mark in on our calendars:
Every third Saturday of the month, Mass is celebrated at 8 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for the pro-life apostolate. It is followed by the eucharistic adoration in the basilica and a march to the Planned Parenthood facility, while praying 15 decades of the rosary, and is concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the cathedral basilica.

Archbishop Burke's complete article on "Praying and marching for life" can be read here.

Papal Message for Lent 2005

Each year, the Lenten Season is set before us as a good opportunity for the intensification of prayer and penance, opening hearts to the docile welcoming of the divine will. During Lent, a spiritual journey is outlined for us that prepares us to relive the Great Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ. This is done primarily by listening to the Word of God more devoutly and by practicing mortification more generously, thanks to which it is possible to render greater assistance to those in need.

This year, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to bring to your attention a theme which is rather current, well-illustrated by the following verse from Deuteronomy: "Loving the Lord ... means life to you, and length of days..." (30:20).
This is well worth reading for reflection as we approach the season of Lent...Link.

Elderly Have a Key Role in Society, Says Pope John Paul II

John Paul II in his Message for Lent exhorted the faithful to express their affection and respect for the elderly, in the face of proposals to introduce euthanasia.

In the text, whose title is a phrase from the Book of Deuteronomy "Loving the Lord ... Means Life to You, and Length of Days," the Holy Father expresses the hope that this Lent will help "to deepen the awareness of the role that the elderly are called to play in society and in the Church."

"The care of the elderly, above all when they pass through difficult moments, must be of great concern to all the faithful, especially in the ecclesial communities of Western societies, where the problem is particularly present," said the 84-year-old Pope.
Ful article here.

Gospel for Jan 28, Memorial: St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor of the Church

From: Mark 4:26-34

Parables of the Seed and of the Mustard Seed

[26] And He (Jesus) said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, [27] and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. [28] The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. [29] But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come."

[30] And He said, "With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; [32] yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

The End of the Parables Discourse

[33] With many such parables He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; [34] He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples He explained everything.

26-29. Farmers spare no effort to prepare the ground for the sowing; but once the grain is sown there is nothing more they can do until the harvest; the grain develops by itself. Our Lord uses this comparison to describe the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God on earth to grow up to the day of harvest (cf. Joel 3:13 and Revelation 14:15), that is, the day of the Last Judgment.

Jesus is telling His disciples about the Church: the preaching of the Gospel, the generously sown seed, will unfailingly yield its fruit, independently of who sows or who reaps: it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9). It will all happen "he knows not how", without men being fully aware of it.

The Kingdom of God also refers to the action of grace in each soul: God silently works a transformation in us, whether we sleep or watch, causing resolutions to take shape in our soul--resolutions to be faithful, to surrender ourselves, to respond to grace--until we reach "mature manhood" (cf. Ephesians 4:13). Even though it is necessary for man to make this effort, the real initiative lies with God, "because it is the Holy Spirit who, with His inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It is He who leads us to receive Christ's teaching and to assimilate it in a profound way. It is He who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be found more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. `For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God' (Romans 8:14)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 135).

30-32. The main meaning of this parable has to do with the contrast between the great and the small. The seed of the Kingdom of God on earth is something very tiny to begin with (Luke 12:32; Acts 1:15); but it will grow to be a big tree. Thus we see how the small initial group of disciples grows in the early years of the Church (cf Acts 2:47; 6:7; 12:24), and spreads down the centuries and becomes a great multitude "which no man could number" (Revelation 7:9). This mysterious growth which our Lord refers to also occurs in each soul: "the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you" (Luke 17:21); we can see a prediction of this in the words of Psalm 92:12: "The righteous grow like a cedar in Lebanon." To allow the mercy of God to exalt us, to make us grow, we must make ourselves small, humble (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Luke 18:9-14).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Knights of Columbus Challenged by Canadian Lesbians...

...for Refusing to Rent Hall for "Wedding" Reception

Some may have read or heard about this recently, but this is an update which I attempted to post but for some reason failed to post properly..Here is another try:
In 2003, Deborah Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith rented a Knights of Columbus hall in Port Coquitlam. When the Knights became aware that it was to be for a homosexual couple, they cancelled the booking. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal began hearing their case on Monday and a ruling is expected tomorrow [today].

Despite the fulsome praise from some Canadian bishops, it is notable that the Supreme Court offered no protection for non-clerical objectors. Thus, Christian groups such as the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League, not being priests who are asked to officiate, are just as vulnerable as always to gay activist attacks in the courts and Human Rights Tribunals.
Details at LifeSiteNews here.

Right of the Faithful to Choose Priests, Bishops?

It is, according to groups such as this...At first, I thought I was reading something from one of our own country's groups of dissent. But this comes from the land 'down under':
Catholics should have a greater say in the appointment of their pastors and their Bishops, say Australian Reforming Catholics (ARC) and apologies given to gays, the divorced, Aboriginal people and all discriminated against by unjust Church structures.

The group, which met last September amid contraversy when Cardinal Pell banned them from Catholic land, issued a declaration arising from the conference, or 'campfire'.
The spokesperson for Australian Reforming Catholics, John Buggy, says that current Catholic governance stuctures should go the way of slavery and the subjagation of women. "The same thing needs to happen to absolute minority rule," he said.
More people to add to our prayer lists...


A Son of the Church of Pius XII Breaks the Silence on His Sanctity

The beatification of pope Pacelli brings division again. Some Jews and Catholics reject it. Pietro De Marco defends it. And he explains what is the real miracle accomplished by this pope.
A good article about Pius XII.


Humble Prayer Moves God's Heart, Says Pope

Prayer, especially in times of despair and anguish, moves the heart of God if offered with humility, says John Paul II. The Pope gave that commentary on Psalm 114(116), a song of thanksgiving raised by the man at prayer, at today's general audience...

"It is a brief but intense prayer of the man who, finding himself in a desperate situation, holds fast to the only plank of salvation," said the Holy Father...

"Once saved, the person at prayer proclaims that the Lord is 'gracious and just,' more than that, 'merciful,'" he said. "This last adjective, in the Hebrew original, makes reference to the tenderness of a mother.

"Genuine trust always sees God as love, even if at times it is difficult to understand his actions. It is certain, nevertheless, that 'The Lord protects the simple.' Therefore, in misery and abandonment, one can always count on him, 'Father of the fatherless, defender of widows.'"

The Pope continued: "Invoked with faith, the Lord extended his hand, broke the coils that encircled the person at prayer, dried the tears from his eyes, and stopped his precipitous descent into the infernal abyss."

The song, he reminded the faithful, "ends with a scene of light: The person at prayer returns to 'the land of the living,' that is, to the paths of the world, to 'walk before the Lord.'"

Gospel forThursday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 4:21-25

Parables of the Lamp and the Measure

[21] And He (Jesus) said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? [22] For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. [23] If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." [24] And He said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. [25] For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

21. A "bushel" was a container used for measuring cereals and vegetables. It held a little over eight liters (two gallons).

22. This parable contains a double teaching. Firstly, it says that Christ's doctrine should not be kept hidden; rather, it must be preached throughout the whole world. We find the same idea elsewhere in the Gospels: "what you hear whispered, proclaim it upon the house-tops" (Matthew 10:27); "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation..." (Mark 16:15). The other teaching is that the Kingdom which Christ proclaims has such ability to penetrate all hearts that, at the end of time, when Jesus comes again, not a single human action, in favor or against Christ, will not become public and manifest.

24-25. Our Lord never gets tired of asking the Apostles, the seed which will produce the Church, to listen carefully to the teaching He is giving: they are receiving a treasure for which they will be held to account. "To him who has will more be given...": he who responds to grace will be given more grace and will yield more and more fruit; but he who does not will become more and more impoverished (cf. Matthew 25:14-30). Therefore, there is no limit to the development of the theological virtues: "If you say `Enough,' you are already dead" (St. Augustine, "Sermon 51"). A soul who wants to make progress in the interior life will pray along these lines: "Lord, may I have due measure in everything, except in Love" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 247).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Revisiting "Liturgical Dance"

Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has recently and publicly criticized introducing dance into the Liturgy, as it risks reducing this sacred rite to a spectacle.

In an address in 2003, the cardinal responded to a question on "liturgical dance":

"There has never been a document from our Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments saying that dance is approved in the Mass"; and he noted that "the tradition of the Latin Church has not known the dance. It is something that people are introducing in the last ten years -- or twenty years".
Adoremus has a new article on this subject, which has been termed, (quite appropriately it seems), "Leotardation" by The Curt Jester

More "SoundOffs" from The Post about Abp. Burke & Jamie Allman

The real story

I think Jamie Allman needs to get the real story from Archbishop Raymond Burke before he starts flapping his mouth off about the people of St. Stanislaus. The truth is, after he sets up the irrevocable trust, he's going to stack the deck in his favor with him being the boss. I think that needs to come out to the people itself, then Allman should preach it that way instead of telling half-truths like the archbishop does.
Could this possibly be from one of the board members or one of those who minds have been corrupted with lies?

Worth investigating

Is it true that possibly the last person who was the spokesman for the archdiocese and Archbishop Raymond Burke got fired for speaking out for the people at St. Stanislaus? If that is the case, Jamie Allman got a good job and being an investigative reporter, he needs to tell about it.
An Executive Director of Communications should do what his superior asks him to do, provided, of course, that what is asked is morally good, or at least morally neutral. If one is unable to obey the lawful commands of a superior, one should resign the position. The public has not been informed (to my knowledge) of the reason(s) for the firing of the previous director of communications, Jim Orso.

If it is due to the suggestion as stated above, then he was undermining the efforts of the Archbishop and clearly deserved to be terminated. Jamie Allman's position surely does not include that job duty of being an investigative reporter and reporting his findings to the public.

But, as Executibe Director of Communications and Spokeman for the Archdiocese, he, more than likely, is involved with the issuing of press releases, answering media questions for the Archbishop when he is unavailable, and numerous other tasks related to Archdiocesan programs and staying abreast of news and events having an impact on the Church in the St. Louis area. My observations could be incorrect, but it is what I understood him to indicate while he was still on the radio just prior to his assuming his new position. Of course, one could always call Jamie Allman at the Archdiocesan Office of Communications...The number can be found here.


Is this for real?

It's a hate crime

I TOLD YOU to stop printing hate stuff about the Catholics. It's a hate crime and I will get a lawyer and sue you and put all of you people in jail, even the people that're doing the complaining. I'm filing a lawsuit as we speak. So you better stop printing these hate crimes about the Catholics in the paper. It's a hate crime. Understand English. It's a hate crime. You will go to jail. I will report you for doing it. I will get the governor to make sure you lose your job if you keep on printing this hate stuff about the Catholics. Shame on you. You will go to jail. It's as simple as that. You will go to hell for it, too. You will go out of business, the South County and the Post Dispatch. I'll be the new owner of the paper. So you better stop it now or you will go to jail. Remember that I'm filing a lawsuit. So you better quit it now. I'm not kidding. I will file a lawsuit for a hate crime against Catholics. Just remember that. So heed the warning.
Evidently, the Post Dispatch will print anything...This must be the Post's new comedy column.


"Town Talk" regarding St Stanislaus, Abp Burke, J. Allman...Again

The root of all evil

JAMIE ALLMAN SAID Archbishop Burke wants St. Stanislaus back in the fold. Hello, when did they leave? They had a priest and the sacraments. Who took that away? Archbishop Burke took the priest away from St. Stanislaus and is threatening the board members. What sin did they commit that was so horrible he had to do this? Since when does $9 million in assets become a sin? Burke is denying them the sacraments over money. Where is that in the Bible or the commandments?
Rather than go into the whole realm of "Where's that in the Bible", suffice it to say that, once again, ill-formed opinions abound. Archbishop Burke removed the priests from St. Stanislaus because of the treatment they received by the board and the actions the board took in denying the pastor proper oversight of the parish.
Talk to the parishioners, Bishop Burke

WHY CAN'T ARCHBISHOP Burke meet with the people at St. Stanislaus? Does he think he's above the little people that he has to have a novice who knows nothing about the Catholic religion and who has only been a Catholic for six years? You have to be a Catholic practically all your life to know what the heck's going on, and Jamie Allman doesn't fit that pattern. I don't trust Burke and I sure wouldn't trust a novice like Jamie Allman.
This is just too much! It is a distortion of the facts regarding Archbishop Burke and his meeting with the parishioners of St. Stanislaus (which he already did) and a most irresponsible condemnation of converts to the Catholic Faith. The actual facts are that being a 'cradle Catholic' is no more confirmation that a person truly knows the Faith or what is "going on" than any other person. In defense of those who convert to Catholicism, many make the journey after a diligent search for truth and, after finding that the fullness of the truth is in the Catholic Church, they choose to enter the fold of the Church willingly and eagerly. This is something which far too many 'cradle Catholics' do not do.

Jamie Allman has demonstrated a knowledge of the Faith which far surpasses that of many Catholics. He should be commended, not ridiculed, for the efforts he has made to date regarding his learning and education of the Faith. It is pure ignorance, if not manifest malice, to suggest a "novice" in the Faith should not be trusted - just as it is to suggest that a "veteran", such as Archbishop Burke is not to be trusted.

If anyone is not to be trusted, it would be those, such as this individual, who engages in rash judgement and calumny. An individual such as this, out of concern and in charity should, however, be rebuked and admonished.


Gospel for Jan 26, Memorial: Sts. Timothy & Titus, Bishops

From: Mark 4:1-20

Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables

[1] Again He (Jesus) began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. [2] And He taught them many things in parables, and in His teachings He said to them: [3] "Listen! A sower went out to sow. [4] And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. [5] Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; [6] and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. [7] Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. [8] And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." [9] And He said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

[10] And when He was alone, those who were about Him with the Twelve asked Him concerning the parables. [11] And He said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; [12] so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven." [13] And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? [14] The sower sows the word. [15] And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. [16] And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; [17] and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. [18] And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, [19] but cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. [20] But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."

1-34. Parables are a special method of preaching used by Jesus. By means of them He gradually unfolds before His listeners the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Cf. note on Matthew 13:3. Chapter 4 of St. Mark, although much shorter, is the equivalent of chapter 13 of St. Matthew and chapter 8:4-18 of St. Luke, which is the shortest synoptic account of the Kingdom parables.

1-9. The ordinary Christian, who seeks holiness in his ordinary work, must be moved to find how often our Lord uses in His parables examples taken from work situations: "In His parables on the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ constantly refers to human work: that of the shepherd (e.g. John 10:1-6), the farmer (cf. Mark 12:1-12), the doctor (cf. Luke 4:32), the sower (cf. Mark 4:1-9), the householder (cf. Matthew 13:52), the servant (cf. Matthew 24:25; Luke 12:42-48), the steward (cf. Luke 16:1-8), the fisherman (cf. Matthew 13:47-50), the merchant (cf. Matthew 13:45-46), the laborer (cf. Matthew 20:1-16). He also speaks of the various forms of women's work (cf. Matthew 13:33; Luke 15:8-9). He compares the apostolate to the manual work of harvesters (cf. Matthew 9:37; John 4:35-38) or fishermen (cf. Matthew 4:19). He refers to the work of scholars too (cf. Matthew 13:52)" (John Paul II, "Laborem Exercens", 26).

3-9. With the parable of the sower Jesus wants to move His listeners to open their hearts generously to the word of God and put it into practice (cf. Luke 11:28). God expects the same docility also fromeach of us: "It is a vivid scene. The Divine Sower is also sowing His seed today. The work of salvation is still going on, and our Lord wants us to share that work. He wants Christians to open to His love all the paths of the earth. He invites us to spread the Divine message, by both teaching and example, to the farthest corners of the earth [...]. If we look around, if we take a look at the world, which we love because it is God's handiwork, we will find that the parable holds true. The word of Jesus Christ is fruitful, it stirs many souls to dedication and fidelity. The life and conduct of those who serve God have changed history. Even many of those who do not know our Lord are motivated, perhaps unconsciously, by ideals which derive from Christianity."

"We can also see that some of the seed falls on barren ground or among thorns and thistles; some hearts close themselves to the light of faith. Ideals of peace, reconciliation and brotherhood are widely accepted and proclaimed, but all too often the facts belie them. Some people are futilely bent on smothering God's voice. To drown it out they use brute force or a method which is more subtle but perhaps more cruel because it drugs the spirit--indifference" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 150). The parable of the sower also shows us the wonderful economy of Divine Providence, which distributes various graces among men but gives each person enough to reach salvation: "There was then in the eternal providence an incomparable privilege for the Queen of Queens, Mother of Fair Love, and most singularly perfect. There were also for certain others some special favors. But after this life the sovereign goodness poured an abundance of graces and benedictions over the whole race of mankind and upon the angels; [...] every one received his portion as of seed which falls not only upon good ground but upon the highway, amongst thorns, and upon rocks, that all might be inexcusable before the Redeemer, if they enjoy not this most abundant redemption for their salvation" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 2, Chapter 7).

11-12. The Kingdom of God is a mystery. If the Twelve know it, it is simply because the mercy of God has revealed it to them, not because they are better able, by themselves, to understand the meaning of the parables.

Jesus' use of parables had many advantages: firstly, because typically the human mind grasps concepts by first working on sense-information: in His teaching Christ often clothes spiritual things in corporal images. Secondly, Sacred Scripture is written for everyone, as St. Paul says: "I am under obligation ...both to the wise and to the foolish" (Romans 1:4): this meant it made sense for him to put forward even the deepest truths by using comparisons--so that people could more easily grasp what he meant (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae I", q. 1, a.9).

The disciples are distinguished here from "those outside" (verse 11)--an _expression which Jews applied to Gentiles, and which Jesus here applies to those Jews who do not want to understand the signs which He performs (cf. Luke 12:41).

Later on, our Lord does give His disciples even more exact instruction about the content of the parables. But, since the Jews do not want to accept the signs He performs, in them are fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah (6:9-10). The parables, which were an _expression of our Lord's mercy, were the occasion for His condemning incredulous Jews, whose sins He cannot forgive because they do not wish to see or listen or be converted.

17. "They fall away": they are "scandalized": the word "scandal" originally refers to a stone or obstacle which could easily cause one to trip. Here, in the language of morality, it is used to refer to anything which leads others to commit sin (cf. note on Matthew 18:1-7). The word is also applied in a broader sense to anything which could be an occasion of sin--e.g. sorrow and tribulation. In this passage, falling away or being scandalized means being demoralized, stumbling, giving in and falling. If a person maliciously professes to be shocked by a good action, he is guilty of "pharisaical" scandal: that is what St. Paul means when he says that the cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to Jews, who refused to grasp that the saving plans of God were to be effected through pain and sacrifice (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23; cf. also Mark 14:27; Matthew 16:23).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

An Excerpt from Cardinal Schotte's Keynote Address... the St. Louis Archdiocese Eucharistic Conference a few years ago. This mp3 file runs 1 minute 48 seconds. He discusses the importance of kneeling and Eucharistic Processions.

Cardinal Schotte On Kneeling.mp3

Rockville Centre Bishop Release Report on 17 Priests

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (AP) _ Eight priests were defrocked and nine permanently suspended from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, according a report on the status of sex abuse cases that involve 23 priests.

Diocese Bishop William F. Murphy reported in a three-page letter given to parishioners and priests there that the 17 priests were disciplined, three others await canonical trials, two more have been cleared and proceedings against another have been deferred.

The People's Republik of Illinois Continues Its Promotion of Evil

Illinois churches are protesting a new state law that bars them from "discriminating" against homosexuals, contending it robs Christians of their First Amendment freedoms.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the bill into law yesterday amid a demonstration led by the Illinois Family Institute, or IFI, a non-profit group affiliated with Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund.

The measure adds "sexual orientation" to the state law that bars discrimination based on race, religion and similar traits in areas such as jobs and housing.

Bishop Gumbleton Not Ready to Step Down

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is supposed to write a letter to Pope John Paul II next Wednesday. Trouble is, he doesn't want to do it.
Why should he be willing to do what he is supposed to do? Promoting dissent requires disobedience.
"Traditionally, you are supposed to write to the Pope on your 75th birthday and offer to resign," Michigan's most politically controversial bishop said, chuckling softly over breakfast. "But it's so arbitrary - some of them they ignore, but if you are the least bit progressive, they accept it immediately."
"Progressive"??? Of course, today that is a code word for disobedient and dissenting...
He is a true child of Vatican II who was studying in Rome while the famous council was going on, and who was changed forever by it.
Ah yes...A true child of that Second Vatican Council which only occurred in some people's imaginations...Apparently, some failed to actually read the documents or failed to understand the documents as the Church does.
He laughed a few years ago when I asked if he thought he would have been made a bishop today. "Oh no!" he said, laughing.
It's a shame that he seems to show no remorse for being out of step with the Church...
What if he somehow just forgets to send the letter in?

"I suspect I'll get a call saying that the Pope is looking for my letter." He thinks forcing him into retirement would be a waste. He says he knows another round of church closings is coming.
Actually the waste has been the years spent sowing the seeds of dissent, disobedience, and questionable teaching among the faithful.

"They say it isn't arbitrary, but it is, and they never address the real reason, which is that there aren't enough priests."
I suppose we'll have to wait and see if a letter of resignation is forthcoming next Wednesday from His Excellency???


Marchers express desire to reach younger generation

An article from the Post on the "Pro-Life March in Washington...
WASHINGTON - Hundreds of anti-abortion [Pro-Life] activists from Missouri and Southern Illinois were among the tens of thousands taking part in the 32nd March for Life on Monday in Washington.

The protesters marched in wintry conditions from the Ellipse up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. Many chanted Hail Marys, and others carried signs. "If Mary were pro-choice there would be no Christmas," one said. "Let's follow Him, choose life," said another.

Gospel for Jan 25, Feast: The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle

From: Mark 16:15-18

The Apostle's Mission

[15] And He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. [16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [17] And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

15. This verse contains what is called the "universal apostolic mandate" (paralleled by Matthew 28:19-20 and Luke 24:46-48). This is an imperative command from Christ to His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. This same apostolic mission applies, especially, to the Apostles' successors, the bishops in communion with Peter's successor, the Pope.

But this mission extends further: the whole "Church was founded to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the Earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all men partakers in redemption and salvation....
Every activity of the Mystical Body with this in view goes by the name of `apostolate'; the Church exercises it through all its members, though in various ways. In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member plays a purely passive part, sharing in the life of the body it shares at the same time in its activity. The same is true for the body of Christ, the Church: `the whole body achieves full growth in dependence on the full functioning of each part' (Ephesians 4:16). Between the members of this body there exists, further, such a unity and solidarity (cf. Ephesians 4:16) that a member who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself.

"In the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the Apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in His name and by His power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 2).

It is true that God acts directly on each person's soul through grace, but it must also be said that it is Christ's will (expressed here and elsewhere) that men should be an instrument or vehicle of salvation for others.

Vatican II also teaches this: "On all Christians, accordingly, rests the noble obligation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation" ("ibid"., 3).

16. This verse teaches that, as a consequence of the proclamation of the Good News, faith and Baptism are indispensable pre-requisites for attaining salvation. Conversion to the faith of Jesus Christ should lead directly to Baptism, which confers on us "the first sanctifying grace, by which original sin is forgiven, and which also forgives any actual sins there may be; it remits all punishment due for these sins; it impresses on the soul the mark of the Christian; it makes us children of God, members of the Church and heirs to Heaven, and enables us to receive the other sacraments" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 553).

Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, as we can see from these words of the Lord. But physical impossibility of receiving the rite of Baptism can be replaced by either martyrdom (called, therefore "baptism of blood") or by a perfect act of love of God and of contrition, together with an at least implicit desire to be baptized: this is called "baptism of desire" (cf. "ibid"., 567-568).

Regarding infant Baptism, St. Augustine taught that "the custom of our Mother the Church of infant Baptism is in no way to be rejected or considered unnecessary; on the contrary, it is to be believed on the ground that it is a tradition from the Apostles" ("De Gen. ad litt"., 10, 23, 39). The new "Code of Canon Law" also stresses the need to baptize infants: "Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepare for it" (Canon 867).

Another consequence of the proclamation of the Gospel, closely linked with the previous one, is that "the Church is necessary", as Vatican II declares: "Christ is the one mediator and way of salvation; He is present to us in His body which is the Church. He Himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse to enter it, or to remain in it" ("Lumen Gentium", 14; cf. "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 4; "Ad Gentes", 1-3; "Dignitatis Humanae", 11).

17-18. In the early days of the Church, public miracles of this kind happened frequently. There are numerous historical records of these events in the New Testament (cf., e.g., Acts 3:1-11; 28:3-6) and in other ancient Christian writings. It was very fitting that this should be so, for it gave visible proof or the truth of Christianity. Miracles of this type still occur, but much more seldom; they are very exceptional. This, too, is fitting because, on the one hand, the truth of Christianity has been attested to enough; and, on the other, it leaves room for us to merit through faith. St. Jerome comments: "Miracles were necessary at the beginning to confirm people in the faith. But, once the faith of the Church is confirmed, miracles are not necessary" ("Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). However, God still works miracles through saints in every generation, including our own.

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Cardinal Arinze denies he approved U.S. Archbishop giving "Rainbow Sashers" Holy Communion

Here is a News Flash - as if we didn't already suspect that we were receiving a "nuanced" perspective from Archbishop Flynn and Catholic News Service...

Once again, Barbara Kralis confirms what we suspected. Thank you, Barb!
Archbishop Flynn told CNS that after speaking to Cardinal Arinze, he was not asked to change his policy of giving the Eucharist to sash-wearing persons. He said he received no sense that the Vatican was pushing for a single policy on this.

"I got the clear understanding that this is recognized as a very complex pastoral issue which must constantly be looked at in all its ramifications," CNS quoted Flynn as saying.

"There was encouragement to keep on teaching and also to be aware of the forces everywhere, including the United States, that are against the long tradition of the teachings of the Church."
Interestingly, in a private letter to this writer, dated January 15, 2005, Cardinal Arinze refuted the statements given by Archbishop Flynn. Cardinal Arinze's secretary wrote:

"Dear Ms. Kralis, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, asks me to thank you for your communication regarding a news release from the "Catholic News Service" dated December 14, 2004. It concerns the Cardinal's private discussion with the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, His Excellency Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.

"Cardinal Arinze wants you to know that the report was not exact and does not show his stand. He has written Archbishop Flynn about it.

"Rainbow Sash wearers, the Cardinal says, are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion."
One wonders what the motives are for people to distort the facts, the truth...? Just another reason, I suppose, to continue to view article from CNS with skepticism.


An Opportunity for a Plenary Indulgence This Saturday

I received this update via email this morning:

On Saturday, January 29th, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, will be celebrating a Latin High Mass at 10am at St. Agatha Church in downtown St. Louis.

Although today (Monday, 24 Jan) is the feast of St. Francis de Sales in the new liturgical calendar, in the 1962 Missal calendar, Saturday, January 29 is his feast day.

Since St. Francis de Sales is one of the patrons of the Institute of Christ the King, the Holy Father has granted a plenary indulgence for anyone who attends Mass with the Institute that day (of course, all other normal requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence apply - that is, Confession 1 week before/after the date, no attachment to sin, and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father).

Thanks to Marc P. for the update.

The Strange Liturgy of the Neocatechumenals

Following are excerpts from the article:
A book authorized by founders Kiko and Carmen presents a doctrinal and liturgical defense of the Neocatechumenal Way. But the criticisms about how they celebrate the mass remain intact

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, January 24 2005 – Among the new movements that have arisen within the Catholic Church in recent decades – on the "dangers" of which an editorial in "La Civiltà Cattolica" sounded the alarm on August 19, 2004 – there is one that is under closer observation than the rest: the Neocatechumenal Way.

Begun in 1964 in Spain by Francisco "Kiko" Argüello and Carmen Hernández (see photo), the Way has seen impressive growth throughout the world. On June 29, 2002, the Holy See approved its statutes. But that did not end the scrutiny. That same year, on September 21, John Paul II reminded the heads of the Way:

"It now falls to the appropriate dicasteries of the Holy See to examine the catechetical directory and all the catechetical, not to mention liturgical, practices of the Way itself."

In effect, the catechisms written by Kiko and Carmen, which provide a model for all of the Way, have never been made public, and are still under examination by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The book [a synthesis using Kiko & Carmen's unpublished texts] is an open apology for the Neocatechumenal Way, in response to the criticisms advanced up to now, even by authoritative bishops and cardinals, before and after the approval of the statutes.

But there is one point upon which this apology remains weak. And it regards the liturgical practice of the Way.

The Neocatechumenals customarily celebrate the Sunday mass on Saturday evening, separately from the parish community to which they belong.

That's not all. Given that each Neocatechumenal community corresponds to a precise stage of the Way, each community of twenty or thirty persons has its own mass. If there are ten communities in a parish, on Saturday evening there will be ten discrete masses, in separate locations.

There is a glaring contrast between the encyclical [Ecclesia de Eucharistia], the instruction [Redemptionis Sacramentum], and the indications for the eucharistic year [Mane Nobiscum Domine] on the one hand, and the liturgical practices of the Neocatechumenal Way on the other.

And to justify the liturgical praxis of the Way, the author refers to unpublished texts by Kiko and Carmen, in which they recount to their disciples their own highly particular history of the mass, according to which the great merit of the Way is that of restoring the celebration of the mass to its original purity.
In effect then, Kiko and Carmen determine how the Holy Mass is to be celebrated, rather than the Church...I know some others who think much in the same way...
The fruits of [Kiko and Carmen's] questionable history lesson are visible in the liturgies celebrated by the Neocatechumenal communities all over the world.

The masses are almost always celebrated, community by community, not in the churches, but in parish buildings. Centuries of sacred art and architecture are thus nullified. And these are substituted by new decor typical of the Way, dominated by a large, square dinner table at the center of the room. The images used are in the style of the founder, Kiko, who is a Byzantine-influenced painter. And so are the songs. The musical accompaniment is provided by the guitar, defined as the instrument "closest to the ancient Hebrew psalter."

The celebration is formally open to all. In reality, at the moment of entrance there is an exchange of greetings, presentations, and applause, which acts as a barrier to those outside the community.

In the liturgy of the Word, each of the readings is preceded and followed by long "admonitions" from the catechists, which are then followed by "echoes" from many of those present. The priest's homily is barely distinguishable from the rest of the comments.

The eucharistic liturgy is also pulled free from the norms in order to represent instead the presumed physical actions of the primitive apostolic community: with a huge loaf of bread mixed and baked according to Kiko's precise instructions, with wine which passes from hand to hand in decanters, with a communion that takes place as fellow sitting diners eating and drinking around a dinner table...
But I thought Cardinal Arinze said, "The do-it-yourself Mass is ended."?

This article was a very enlightening expose about a subject of which I had little knowledge. I have had occasion to meet a few people associated with the group, but for some reason, I always felt a little uncomfortable - now I think I can understand why...


Wisdom Doesn't Always Come with Age

From a Post Dispatch Letters to the Editor Page:
Planned Parenthood fills a gap

As an 83-year-old pro-choice woman, I would like to challenge the Catholic church on the subject of abortion. If you are not pregnant, you can't have an abortion. So why in heaven's name fight Planned Parenthood? This organization gives women the information that would keep them from getting pregnant. Many poor, rural women receive treatment from them, which is the only medical care they ever get.

Bonnie F. Redemich
Webster Groves

No Human Explanation for Italy's Weeping Madonna Statue

ROME (AP) -- A review of the probe into a statue of the Madonna said to have shed tears of blood a decade ago concluded that the phenomenon has no human explanation, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Civitavecchia diocese ordered theologians, historians and doctors to review the case and compile their conclusions in a document, according to Corriere della Sera, which published what it said was a summary of the findings.

Corriere, Italy's leading newspaper, said the document presented a critical analysis of all the testimonies given at the time, as well as all possible explanations for the phenomenon.

"Everything -- they (the experts) say unanimously -- indicates that in that corner of the Earth, at the gates of Rome, an event took place that has no human explanation and points at the mystery of the supernatural," Corriere wrote.
Article here.

Gospel for Jan 24, Memorial: St. Francis de Sales...

...Bishop & Doctor of the Church

From: Mark 3:22-30

Allegations of the Scribes

[22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He (Jesus) is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons He casts out the demons." [23] And He called them to Him, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. [26] And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. [27] But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house."

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

[28] "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; [29] but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"--[30] for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

22-23. Even Jesus' miracles were misunderstood by these scribes, who accuse Him of being a tool of the prince of devils, Beelzebul. This name may be connected with Beelzebub (which spelling is given in some codexes), the name of a god of the Philistine city of Eqron (Accaron), which means "god of the flies." But it is more likely that the prince of devils is called Beelzebul, which means "god of excrement":
"excrement" is the word Jews used to describe pagan sacrifices. Whether Beelzebub or Beelzebul, in the last analysis it refers to him to whom these sacrifices were offered, the devil (1 Corinthians 10:20). He is the same mysterious but real person whom Jesus calls Satan, which means "the enemy", whose dominion over the world Christ has come to wrest from him (1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13f) in an unceasing struggle (Matthew 4:1-10; John 16:11). These names show us that the devil really exists: he is a real person who has at his beck and call others of his kind (Mark 5:9).

24-27. Our Lord invites the Pharisees, who are blind and obstinate, to think along these lines: if someone expels the devil this means he is stronger than the devil: once more we are exhorted to recognize in Jesus the God of strength, the God who uses His power to free man from enslavement to the devil. Satan's dominion has come to an end: the prince of this world is about to be cast out. Jesus' victory over the power of darkness, which is completed by His death and resurrection, shows that the light has already entered the world, as our Lord Himself told us: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (John 12:31-32).

28-30. Jesus has just worked a miracle but the scribes refuse to recognize it "for they had said `He has an unclean spirit'" (verse 30). They do not want to admit that God is the author of the miracle. In this attitude lies the special gravity of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--attributing to the prince of evil, to Satan, the good works performed by God Himself. Anyone acting in this way will become like the sick person who has so lost confidence in the doctor that he rejects him as if an enemy and regards as poison the medicine that can save his life. That is why our Lord says that he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not forgiven: not because God cannot forgive all sins, but because that person, in his blindness towards God, rejects Jesus Christ, His teaching and His miracles, and despises the graces of the Holy Spirit as if they were designed to trap him (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 19; St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa theologiae", II-II, q. 14, a. 3).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Austrian Catholics Leaving in Record Numbers after Scandal

VIENNA, Austria -- Austrians are leaving the Roman Catholic Church in record numbers, according to statistics released last week.
Church officials attributed the 44,852 dropouts during 2004 to a scandal involving the discovery of child and other pornography on computers at a seminary in the diocese of St. Poelten, the Austria Press Agency reported.
The first thought that comes to mind is that I cannot help but think that those who are leaving or who have left have little faith or little understanding of the faith. And where will they go? The failures to teach the faith are evident as well as the failure to live one's life as a Catholic. This probably applies to both the clergy and the laity. This is such a terrible situation - all I know to do is to pray for them and for the Church.


Holy Father Reaffirms Church's Position on Condoms

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul on Saturday stressed that the Roman Catholic Church believed abstinence and fidelity within marriage, and not condoms, were the best way to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Pope's words, spoken to a new ambassador to the Vatican, took on an added significance being his first direct comment on the controversial topic since a Catholic official in Spain this [past] week appeared to question the Church's stand against condoms.

Mexican Bishop Suggests Condom Use Acceptable as “Lesser Evil”

LifeSiteNews carried a story Friday about Bishop Felipe Arizmendi who said at a news conference that condom use should be tolerated as a “lesser evil.” LifeSiteNews correctly notes that the Bishop's statement directly contradicts Humanae Vitae (No. 14) which states, in part:
"Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one..."
Pope Paul VI also continues:
Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it...
The Holy Father has recently reaffirmed the Church's position in condoms as noted in this article.

LifeSiteNews article here.

The Pro-Life Struggle (Bishop Bruskewitz)

A fourth problem which I see, is the problem that derives from several decades now of the "seamless garment" doctrine. I have no doubt that there is a linkage between the various pro-life causes, purposes and undertakings, but I think it is time, if not to eliminate, at least to evaluate a little more critically what, if anything, has been accomplished by the promotion of this "seamless garment" doctrine. I think it is plainly incorrect to exaggerate the linkage, let us say, between the opposition to the death penalty and opposition to abortion. There is not a great deal of equivalence between several hundred convicted murderers in the United States, who have had not only a fair trial but many years of judicial appeals, who are defended by lawyers and who also when they are put to death are killed with a lethal injection or a sudden jolt of electricity or some other method that at least is quick if not painless. Comparing those people to millions upon millions of innocent little babies, who, of course, commit no crimes, have no trial, have no defense, are by the very definition utterly and totally innocent, and who are killed not only without appeal, but sometimes in the heinous, gruesome and unspeakable torture, experiencing pain which can be plainly seen in ultra-sound pictures.
This is an excerpt of the text of a talk given by Bishop Bruskewitz at a pro-life dinner in 1999. (All emphasis is mine).

Part 1 of this talk is here, part 2 is here.

Remember that Dr. William Borst will be giving a talk on "The Shroud of Bernardin" and the "Seamless Garment" on Feb. 13 (details here).

Zenit - Father Richard Neuhaus on the Eucharist

Q: What do the widespread liturgical abuses and the controversy of pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion indicate regarding perceptions of and respect for the Eucharist?

Father Neuhaus: There are two questions there. The great liturgical movement of the early 20th century, led by figures such as Henri de Lubac, Danielou, Virgil Michel and Martin Hellriegel, was formally embraced by the Second Vatican Council. Many of the liturgical "reforms" following the Council, however, departed radically from the vision of the earlier movement.

This is a very big subject with many parts, but the key problem, I believe, was the ascendancy of an instrumental view of worship. Liturgy was subjected to psychological and sociological criteria alien to the very meaning of worship.

The worship of God has no purpose other than the worship of God. While worship has many benefits, we do not worship in order to attain those benefits. The simple and radical truth is that we worship God because God is to be worshiped.

The earlier movement understood that we are to worship "in the beauty of holiness," as it says in Psalm 96. This engages the aesthetic dimensions of liturgy, including the dignity of language, gestures, ritual and excellence in music and the arts.

In many ways, Catholic worship has been destabilized and impoverished since the Council. Today, fortunately, more and more liturgical scholars and pastors are committing themselves to what is called "the reform of the reform." This is not to go backward but to carry forward the great vision of the liturgical movement that was, let us pray, only temporarily derailed.

As for the controversy about pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Communion, we must hope that the discussion started will continue. This is not just about pro-abortion politicians. It engages the much deeper question of the connection between "communion" and receiving Communion.

To be rightly disposed to receive the Eucharist is to be in communion with the Church, which includes faithful adherence to the Church's magisterial teaching. Especially in America where there is a multitude of Christian denominations, many Catholics have assumed the Protestant attitude that the local parish is simply their religion of choice.

The parish is the local franchise of the Catholic Church, much as they might patronize the local franchise of McDonald's. It is further assumed that everybody has a "right" to receive Communion, just as everybody has a right to purchase a Big Mac.

Obviously, this is a severe debasement of "communion" and Communion. In the Eucharist, we receive Christ and Christ receives us, incorporating us into his body the Church, which is, most fully and rightly ordered through time, the People of God in communion with bishops who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

To be rightly disposed entails confessing whatever in our lives contradicts or compromises that "communion" with Christ and his Church and then receiving absolution. Sadly, the sacrament of reconciliation has fallen almost into desuetude in many places, and certainly not only in the United States.

One, therefore, must hope that the election-year controversy over pro-abortion politicians will lead to a much more comprehensive renewal of Catholic understanding and practice with respect to authentic "communio."
All emphasis above is mine.
Complete Article here.

Legionaries of Christ Elect New General Director

Legionaries' New General Director Assures Continuity

Father Álvaro Corcuera Succeeds Founder, Father Marcial Maciel
ROME, JAN. 23, 2005 ( The Legionaries of Christ elected a new general director, after their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, declined re-election, citing his age and his desire to see the congregation flourish under a successor.

The congregation, in a press statement issued today, explained that its general chapter "first re-elected Father Maciel by absolute majority vote," and added that "Father Maciel, 84, who has headed the Legionaries since their founding in 1941, declined" the re-election.

The Post Dispatch Profiles Abp Burke and His First Year

For a soft-spoken guy, Raymond Leo Burke has had a lot to say since he was installed as the eighth archbishop of St. Louis one year ago this week.

{Archbishop] Burke presided over some of the biggest St. Louis headlines of 2004 - from election controversies over politicians and voting, to a battle with St. Stanislaus Kostka church.

Taking the heat when you're the new guy can be difficult, and Burke did not have the luxury of a honeymoon in St. Louis. At the very beginning, he dove into the deep end. But the people who know him best say he is a kind man who leads a simple, holy life. His favorite activities are walking, reading and bird-watching. They say he is guided by his faith in Jesus and his love and respect for the Catholic church.

"You have to pray a lot and be courageous," he said last week. Burke sees his role as protecting the church and his flock. Like a dog who doesn't bark when a thief approaches, he said, "a shepherd who doesn't shepherd is useless." "Sometimes I bark," he said.
Full article.

Gospel for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 4:12-23

Preaching in Galilee. The First Disciples Called

[12] Now when He (Jesus) heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee; [13] and leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, [14] that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: [15] "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- [16] the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." [17] From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

[18] As He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. [19] And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. [21] And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. [22] Immediately, they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

[23] And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.


15-16. Here St. Matthew quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 8:23-9:1. The territory referred to (Zebulun, Naphtali, the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan), was invaded by the Assyrians in the period 734-721 B.C., especially during the reign of Tilgathpilneser III. A portion of the Jewish population was deported and sizeable numbers of foreigners were planted in the region to colonize it. For this reason it is referred to in the Bible henceforth as the "Galilee of the Gentiles".

The Evangelist, inspired by God, sees Jesus' coming to Galilee as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. This land, devastated and abused in Isaiah's time, will be the first to receive the light of Christ's life and preaching. The messianic meaning of the prophecy is, therefore, clear.

17. See the note on Matthew 3:2. This verse indicates the outstanding importance of the first step in Jesus' public ministry, begun by proclaiming the imminence of the Kingdom of God. Jesus' words echo John the Baptist's proclamation: the second part of this verse is the same, word for word, as Matthew 3:2. This underlines the role played by St. John the Baptist as prophet and precursor of Jesus. Both St. John and
our Lord demand repentance, penance, as a prerequisite to receiving the Kingdom of God, now beginning. God's rule over mankind is a main theme in Christ's Revelation, just as it was central to the whole Old Testament. However, in the latter, the Kingdom of God had an element of theocracy about it: God reigned over Israel in both spiritual and temporal affairs and it was through Him that Israel subjected other
nations to her rule. Little by little, Jesus will unfold the new-style kingdom of God, now arrived at its fullness. He will show it to be a Kingdom of love and holiness, thereby purifying it of the nationalistic misconceptions of the people of His time.

The King invites everyone without exception to this Kingdom (cf. Matthew 22:1-4). The Banquet of the Kingdom is held on this earth and has certain entry requirements which must be preached by the proponents of the Kingdom: "Therefore the Eucharistic celebration is the center of the assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides. Hence priests teach the faithful to offer the divine Victim to God the Father in the sacrifice of the Mass, and with the Victim to make an offering of their whole lives. In the spirit of Christ the pastor, they instruct them to submit their sins to the Church with a contrite heart in the Sacrament of Penance, so that they may be daily more and more converted to the Lord, remembering His words, `Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 5).

18-22. These four disciples had already met our Lord (John 1:35-42), and their brief meeting with Him seems to have had a powerful effect on their souls. In this way Christ prepared their vocation, a fully effective vocation which moved them to leave everything behind so as to follow Him and be His disciples. Standing out above their human defects (which the Gospels never conceal), we can see the exemplary generosity and promptness of the Apostles in answering God's call.

The thoughtful reader cannot fail to be struck by the delightful simplicity with which the evangelists describe the calling of these men in the midst of their daily work.

"God draws us from the shadows of our ignorance, our groping through history, and, no matter what our occupation in the world, He calls us in a loud voice, as He once called Peter and Andrew" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 45).

"This divine and human dialogue completely changed the lives of John and Andrew, and Peter and James and so many others. It prepared their hearts to listen to the authoritative teaching which Jesus gave them beside the Sea of Galilee" ("ibid"., 108).

We should notice the words of Sacred Scripture used to describe the alacrity with which the Apostles follow our Lord. Peter and Andrew "immediately" left their nets and followed Him. Similarly, James and John "immediately" left the boats and their father and followed Him. God passes by and calls us. If we do not answer Him "immediately", He may continue on His way and we could lose sight of Him. When God passes by, He may do so rapidly; it would be sad if we were to fall behind because we wanted to follow Him while still carrying many things that are only a dead weight and a nuisance....

23. "Synagogue": this word comes from the Greek and designates the building where the Jews assembled for religious ceremonies on the Sabbath and other feast days. Such ceremonies were non-sacrificial in character (sacrifices could be performed only in the Temple of Jerusalem). The synagogue was also the place where the Jews received their religious training. The word was also used to designate local Jewish communities within and without Palestine.
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.