Saturday, February 05, 2005

Abortion is Pro-Life Suggests Kerry

This week, former presidential candidate John Kerry, still calling himself a Catholic, followed the new Democratic Party policy in attempting to use pro-life language to continue pushing their agenda of unrestricted abortion. Kerry claims that the Democrats “have talked about this for a long period of time.”

Kerry’s remarks came in an interview on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’. “The discussion is not about being pro-abortion. The discussion is about how you truly value life. Valuing life is also valuing choice. Valuing life is the exception for the life of a mother or rape or incest,” he said.
From Isaiah 5:
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,

23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!

24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

I just finished listening to a tape of Cardinal Arinze this morning where he discussed, in part, Isaiah 5:20 in regard to those such as Kerry who, persisting in their slavery and abhoring true freedom, seek to thwart the will of God by perverting the truth by perverting language and reality.

LifeSiteNews article here.

St. Stanislaus board members dodge penalty - for now

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke did not issue a canonical penalty Friday against the six men on the board of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish.

The archdiocese and the St. Stanislaus board of directors confirmed that the interdict was not issued Friday. "The board did not receive an interdict and the property will not be handed over tonight as the archbishop seemed to indicate was necessary to avoid the interdict," said Roger Krasnicki, the St. Stanislaus spokesman.

"They didn't accept our last proposal, and so they have a new one that goes back to the old days," said Jamie Allman, spokesman for the archdiocese. "We solved all the concerns they had and then they turn around and say that's not enough."

Allman said Burke would make a decision about the interdict next week. "The archbishop has always maintained that this deadline is for them, not for him," he said. "He's back in town on Monday and he'll decide what to do at that point."

Gospel for Feb 5. Memorial: St. Agatha, Virgin & Martyr

From: Mark 6:30-34

The Apostles Return

[30] The Apostles returned to Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught. [31] And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. [32] And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

First Miracles of the Loaves

[33] Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from the towns, and got there ahead of them. [34] As He landed He saw a great throng, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

30-31. We can see here the intensity of Jesus' public ministry. Such was His dedication to souls that St. Mark twice mentions that the disciples did not even have time to eat (cf. Mark 3:20). A Christian should be ready to sacrifice his time and even his rest in the serviceof the Gospel. This attitude of availability will lead us to change our plans whenever the good of souls so requires.

But Jesus also teaches us here to have common sense and not to go to such extremes that we physically cannot cope: "The Lord makes His disciples rest, to show those in charge that people who work or preach cannot do so without breaks" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "He who pledges himself to work for Christ should never have a free moment, because to rest is not to do nothing: it is to relax in activities which demand less effort" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 357).

34. Our Lord had planned a period of rest, for Himself and His disciples, from the pressures of the apostolate (Mark 6:31-32). And He has to change His plans because so many people come, eager to hear Him speak. Not only is He not annoyed with them: He feels compassion on seeing their spiritual need. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). They need instruction and our Lord wants to meet this need by preaching to them. "Jesus is moved by hunger and sorrow, but what moves Him most is ignorance" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 109).
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, February 04, 2005

St Josemaria Escriva on Obedience

I do not think there can be such a thing as truly Christian obedience unless that obedience is voluntary and responsible. The children of God are not made of stone. Nor are they corpses. They are intelligent and free beings. And they all have been raised to the same supernatural order as those who hold authority. But no one can use his intelligence and freedom properly, whether it be to obey or to give an opinion, unless he has acquired an adequate Christian education. (Conversations No. 2)

What did Christ do to pour out so much good, and only good, wherever he went? The Gospels give us the answer with another biography of Jesus: "He was obedient to them." We must especially value obedience in the current environment of disobedience, rebellion and disunity.

Freedom is very close to my heart — that is precisely why I so love the christian virtue of obedience. We should all realize that we are children of God, and should want to fulfil the will of our Father. We should do things as God wants them done, because we feel like it, which is the most supernatural of reasons.

Let us be forewarned, then, for we will always tend to be selfish, and this temptation can occur in many ways. God wants us to show our faith when we obey, for he doesn't express his will with drums and trumpets. Sometimes he suggests his wishes in a whisper, deep in our conscience; and we must listen carefully to recognize his voice and be faithful.

When our ideas separate us from other people, when they weaken our communion, our unity with our brothers, it is a sure sign that we are not doing what God wants.

Let's not forget: we need humility if we are to obey. (Christ is passing by, No. 17)

How difficult it is to live humility! As the popular wisdom of Christianity says, ``Pride dies twenty-four hours after its owner.''

So when you think you're right, against what you are being told by someone who has been given a special grace from God to guide your soul, be sure that you are completely wrong. (The Forge, No. 559)

Some reflections for the evening...

St. Stanislaus Board Member Robert Zabielski Speaks.... I heard it on the this evening on my drive home...He was being interviewed about the possible interdict for refusing to comply with a lawful directive of the Archbishop and he stated that he was not afraid of an interdict or excommunication (this is paraphrased)....

However, he followed that up with this (and this is almost or nearly verbatim), "This is a clergy made law; it's not in the Bible."

This sounds a little like "Sola Scriptura", does it not? It seems more than apparent that he understands little of the faith which he professes. St. Cyprian puts it clearly, "No one can have God as his Father who does not have the Church as his Mother." By rejecting the Archbishop, he rejects the Church. By rejecting the laws of the Church, he rejects the Father - and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Yet, he is quoted in today's Post Dispatch with regard to the possible interdict as saying, "I'm not going to accept it, morally. It won't have any bearing on my religion."

To what religion is he referring? The answer is easy - he prefers his own personal brand of "Catholicism" - that which develops when one rejects those things which are offensive to his sensibilities, or embraces those things which are forbidden or sinful, such as pride.

There is a certain feeling of pity that I feel for people like this. I wonder if they were taught to view the Church with the disdain that they openly profess? I wonder what it might take for them to accept the teachings and the disciplines of the Church, willingly and obediently? I wonder if they will continue to reject the graces God wishes them to have. I feel pity for them as well because, in their implicit rejection of Christ by rejecting the Church, they are deprived of true joy and happiness.

Pope Leo XIII stated, "Obedience is not the servitude of man to man, but the submission to the will of God, Who governs through the medium of men." (Immortale Dei).

And St. Augustine reminds us, " Let the superior be obeyed like a mother, with all due honor, so that you offend not God through offending her; much more should you obey the priest who has charge of you all" (Letter 211).

And finally, from the lips of our Lord, Himself, "He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects the One Who sent Me" (Luke 10:16).

And I Almost Forgot

I was not really too surprised to see in the newest Post Dispatch article describing the saga of the St. Stanislaus rebellion with the Archdiocese of St. Louis, a potentially new rallying cry...
The St. Stanislaus Six.
The could easily be used as a replacement slogan or additional slogan for the big, red "Save St. Stan's" buttons that we occasionally see some people wearing.

Actually, when I read it, I was immediately reminded of "The Chicago Seven" (originally, "The Chicago Eight"). A warped imagination, I know...

Will Polygamy be the Next "Right" Needing Protection

Ban on plural marriage questioned
Personal beliefs? Attorney for ex-police officer asks the Utah Supreme Court to decriminalize polygamy, triggering a constitutional discussion

A lawyer for polygamous former Hildale police officer Rodney Holm urged the Utah Supreme Court on Thursday to lift a ban on plural marriage, and justices responded with sharp questions about whether the ban is constitutional.
Attorney Rodney Parker argued his client has a right not only to believe in a religious tenet of polygamy but also to practice his belief in a meaningful way.
Source here...

Of course, if this is deemed to be a "right", one can only imagine the other sick and perverted "rights" that would be in need of "protection"!

Hat Tip to The Curt Jester for the story.

Bad News in Cincinnati

For two years, the I-Team's Laure Quinlivan has been reporting on the Cincinnati Archdiocese's handling of priests who sexually abused children. In Nov. ’03, Archbishop Pilarczyk plead to the church's failure to report crimes prior to Dec. 1982, when he became Archbishop.
This story appears all over blogdom, it seems, and does not seem to bode well for those who appear to have conspired to obstruct justice and engaged in coverups.

Source (documents)


Archbishop Burke's Pastoral Letter for Lent 2005

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Church will enter the season of Lent on Wednesday, Feb. 9, during a year devoted to the gift and mystery of the holy Eucharist in the life of the Church and of the individual Christian. In his apostolic letter for the Year of the Eucharist, Pope John Paul II wrote about the connection between the Paschal Mystery and the most holy Sacrament of the Altar. "In the Eucharist, Christ makes present to us anew the sacrifice offered once for all on Golgotha. Present in the Eucharist as the risen Lord, He nonetheless bears the marks of His passion, of which every Mass is a ‘memorial,’ as the liturgy reminds us in the acclamation following the consecration: ‘We announce your death, Lord, we proclaim your resurrection’" (Mane Nobiscum Domine, No. 15).

During Mass on Ash Wednesday, the blessed ashes will be imposed on our foreheads in the form of the same cross on which Christ died. In Him, we receive the grace to turn away from our sin and the power to believe in the Gospel and bring this Good News of salvation to the world. In a very real way, we touch the reality of the Paschal Mystery every time we participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass and receive Christ’s Body and Blood in holy Communion. The blessed ashes remind us of the disposition of soul necessary for sharing in Christ’s sacrifice and of the conversion of life which communion with Christ demands.

This season of Lent is a wonderful opportunity for us to open our hearts to the mystery of the Eucharist, in which we will find healing, peace and grace as we follow in the footsteps of our crucified and risen Savior. I encourage you to respond to the Lord’s grace this Lent by regular spiritual exercises. I commend to you daily Mass, if possible, and prayer before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The regular reception of God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession will prepare your heart for a more intimate communion with Him.

Praying the Stations of the Cross and the rosary also bring us closer to our Eucharistic Lord. All Catholics are asked to abstain from meat and to fast, in accord with Church discipline and personal ability to do so. Other forms of discipline should be followed to purify our use of material goods and strengthen us as stewards of God’s gifts for the good of all. Lent is a time of almsgiving on behalf of the poor and needy.

Finally, our Holy Father in his "Message for Lent 2005" asks us to be especially attentive to our love and care for the elderly. He urges us to overcome the tendency of our society to consider the lives of the elderly to be useless and to isolate them from society, in general. May our Lenten observance help the elderly to know their privileged part in the mission of salvation and help us all to respect their dignity through concrete acts of love and care.

Invoking God’s blessing on you and your home with the prayer that He will abundantly bless your Lenten season, I remain

Yours devotedly in Christ,

(Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke

Archbishop of St. Louis

Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice

Being anti-Catholic is "the last acceptable prejudice" but is an evil that should concern more than just Catholics, a visiting scholar told a St. Louis University audience last week.

Catholics should be concerned because such beliefs undermine the Church’s moral authority and could discourage potential converts, said Philip Jenkins, a history and religious studies professor at Pennsylvania State University.

...he said a key element of the new anti-Catholicism is its contention that the Church’s core moral beliefs — especially its opposition to abortion, embryonic stem cell research and homosexual behavior — are flawed.
Jenkins’ remarks came Jan. 27 in the 10th annual De Lubac Lecture, sponsored by the SLU Theological Studies Department.

Jenkins, who is not Catholic, drew several examples from his 2003 book, "The New Anti-Catholicism: the Last Acceptable Prejudice" during his hourlong talk.

Preparing for Lent: Spiritual Journey of Prayer and Penance

Archbishop Burke has provided us with sound principles by which we should begin our preparation for the Lenten season:
Our observance of Lent prepares us for the celebration of our salvation by the suffering, dying and rising from the dead of our Lord Jesus. It prepares us to enter as fully as possible into the celebration of the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday), the three days in which Christ brought to fulfillment His public ministry by pouring out His life for us, in order that He might live for us forever in the Church. The 40 days of Lent are a journey for us into the more perfect sharing with Christ in the mystery of His suffering and dying, which lead to His victory over sin and everlasting death in our human nature by His rising from the dead.
He further enumerates specific steps we should take, including a repeated request to consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
If you have not already consecrated yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and enthroned the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home, I urge you to prepare yourself, during the season of Lent, to do so.
He reminds us to give our attention to 1) prayer, fasting and almsgiving, 2) Eucharistic prayer and worship, 3) Reception of the Sacrament of Penance, and fasting and abstinence...

He further advises us: "During these days before the beginning of Lent, we should lose no time in establishing our plan of prayer and penance in order to draw upon the strong grace of Lent."

As recently as last night, I had been looking for an article on Lenten Preparations in order to enter more deeply into the season, and, by Divine Providence, one has been delivered today.

Read the entire article carefully. It is an excellent resource for preparing oneself for Lent.

Article here.

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:14-29

Opinions About Jesus

[14] King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the Baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work with Him." [15] But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." [16] But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."

John the Baptist Beheaded

[17] For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her. [18] For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." [19] And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, [20] for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. [21] But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. [22] For when Herodias' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it." [23] And he said to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." [24] And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptizer." [25] And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptizer on a platter." [26] And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oath and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. [27] And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave him orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in prison, [28] and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. [29] When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

14. Following the popular custom, St. Mark called Herod "king", but in strict legal terminology he was only tetrarch, which is the way St. Matthew (14:1) and St. Luke (9:7) describe him, that is, a governor of certain consequence. The Herod referred to here was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great who was king of the Jews at the time of Jesus' birth.

16-29. It is interesting that the extensive account of the death of John the Baptist is inserted here in the Gospel narrative. The reason is St. John the Baptist's special relevance in the history of salvation: he is the Precursor, entrusted with the task of preparing the way for the Messiah. Besides, John the Baptist had a great reputation among the people: they believed him to be a prophet (Mark 11:32); some even thought he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:20); and they flocked to him from many places (Mark 1:5). Jesus Himself said: "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). Later, the Apostle St. John will speak of him in the Gospel: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6); but the sacred text points out that, despite this, he was not the light, but rather the witness to the light (John 5:35). We are told here that he was a righteous man and preached to everyone what had to be preached: he had a word for people at large, for publicans, for soldiers (Luke 3:10-14); for Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-12); for King Herod himself (Mark 6: 18-20). This humble, upright and austere man paid with his life for the witness he bore to Jesus the Messiah (John 1:29 and 36-37).

26. Oaths and promises immoral in content should never be made, and, if made, should never be kept. This is the teaching of the Church, which is summed up in the "St. Pius X Catechism", 383, in the following way: "Are we obliged to keep oaths we have sworn to do unjust and unlawful things? Not only are we not obliged: we sin by making such oaths, for they are prohibited by the Law of God or of the Church.
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, February 03, 2005

St. Stanislaus panel faces deadline today in dispute

Actually, this story is probably for tomorrow's edition - I think it was posted early...
Today, Joseph Rudawski and his five co-directors - the parking lot owner, a Boeing Co. manager, a former doughnut shop owner, a sewer worker and a part-time bus driver - face the rare and harsh Roman Catholic church law penalty of interdict, similar to excommunication in that it would mean the men would become barred from partaking in the sacraments of the church, including Holy Communion.

"I'm being unjustly crucified, and I've done nothing wrong," Rudawski said. "That's why I keep fighting this."
This seems like a strange choice of words, considering that the board has engaged in public acts of defiance and disobedience. As I said earlier today, the silence the past couple of weeks may be a sign of hope.
"The [A]rchbishop wants to leave all his options open, even if it's clear that the interdiction deadline is going to pass," archdiocesan spokesman Jamie Allman said. "While he said he was obliged to issue the interdiction, he feels he may also be obliged to give it more time."
This could be a signal of good will and of hope of a resolution, especially if there is some progress being made...However...
With the deadline approaching, members of the St. Stanislaus board appeared this week to be united in their continued defiance of the [A]rchbishop.

On Tuesday night, the six board members got together for their monthly meeting. At one point, someone said that if anyone wanted to resign from the board because of the threat of interdict, they were free to get up and walk away without fearing any judgment from the others...They sat there for a second, he said, "and no one moved."
Many parents understand the consequences of failing to discipline their children for grave acts of defiance and disobedience. Left unchecked, it serves to reinforce the bad behavior. Other children, seeing that such acts are not punished, may be encouraged to follow suit in order to have their way as well - merely because it worked with their siblings. Before long, the parents have a major dilemma on their hands which could have been mitigated by properly addressing the matter early on.

I have no doubt that Archbishop Burke will do what must be done for the good of the Archdiocese and the Church. I do have doubts about the board members of St. Stanislaus do what is right since they appear to be unrepentant and obstinate in their defiance of the Church and of Archbishop Burke. The example they set for Catholics in the Archdiocese and the general public, if the facts in the Post are true, is truly scandalous.

Post Dispatch article here.

Canadian Priest Slams Calgary Bishop and Knights of Columbus over "Gay" Marriage

Also Says Same Sex 'Marriage' Support No Impediment to Good Catholic Standing

The Catholic Church has been insistent that Catholic politicians may never vote in favour of legislation such as the Liberal government's same-sex "marriage" bill. The Vatican document "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," released on July 31, 2003 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, forbade any Catholic politician from voting for even [homosexual] civil unions, let alone [homosexual] 'marriage'.

But that hasn't stopped Carroll's parish pastor, Rev. Francis McDevitt of St. Mary's Parish in Barrie, Ontario, from calling [Canadian International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll] a faithful Catholic. "Aileen Carrol is a member in good standing of this parish," Fr. McDevitt told in an interview. mentioned the Vatican direction on same-sex unions and that Calgary Bishop Fred Henry had explicitly taken issue with references to Prime Minister Paul Martin as a 'devout Catholic,' disregarding the PM's un-Catholic support for homosexual 'marriage.' Rev. McDevitt retorted, "Quoting one reactionary bishop out in Calgary who wants to spew off about everything under the sun because he's a short man who needs to get lots of press - that's not the basis of how the church works in Canada."
One has to wonder about which "church" he is referring...

It is so obvious that when an individual abandons the moral teachings of the Church, the only path left is the path of disaster and spiritual death. This can be seen from the comments above quite easily and if you wish to read the complete article, there can be no doubt that this man needs serious help.

What is so troubling about those who vocally and publicly renounce the faith and belittle their superiors while exalting those who promote murder, death and deviant sexual behavior is the deadly scandal foisted upon those who witness it. A most grave injustice is perpetrated on the faithful in matters such as these! Think of the injuries that are being done to souls!

As we near the season of Lent, I am reminded of the tremendous suffering which our Lord endured for my sins, for our sins, and for our salvation. Perhaps we can pray for this priest and his conversion and for those in his parish - because he appears to be blind to the truth. In fact, we need to implore our Lord to help all of us and His Church as we continue to witness more and more diabolical attacks against the Church, her bishops, and her priests.

Read the complete article here for more details.

Straight talking Priest discusses the "gay Catholic" issue

"Homosexuality, for the most part, is a homophobia, a fear of members of the same sex - of relating to them, of competition, of risk, of failure - which led to an escape and avoidance of proper relationships and interaction in youth. Thus, in adolescence, many with same-sex attractions (SSA) unconsciously began to sexualize the gender identity which they did not attain with the resultant SSA. One cannot live in conflict, so a solution is to claim a 'gay identity' and insist others accept this. This puts the problem on others, and offers further avoidance of the steps necessary to mature as a man or woman."
Article here.

"Signs of Clinical Death" for Organ Transplants

Here is the Message John Paul II sent to the participants in the study session on the "Signs of Death," in the context of transplanting organs from the deceased, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. have chosen to explore once again, in a serious interdisciplinary study, the particular question of the "signs of death," on the basis of which a person's clinical death can be established with moral certainty, in order to proceed with the removal of organs for transplant.

I wish to assure you that your efforts are laudable and will certainly be of assistance to the competent Dicasteries of the Apostolic See -- especially the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- which will not fail to ponder the results of your reflection, and then to offer the necessary clarifications for the good of the community, in particular that of the patients and the specialists who are called to dedicate their professional expertise to the service of life.

Full Message text is here.

Vatican document on marriage tribunals to be released Feb 8

The Vatican will soon release a new teaching document on the norms that should govern the work of Church marriage tribunals.

Dignitas Connubii ("The Dignity of Marriage") will explain how ecclesiastical tribunals should handle marriage cases. The document has been prepared by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, the Vatican's top body for questions of canon law, in collaboration with other Vatican offices.

The new Vatican instruction, entitled Dignitas Connubii, will be released on February 8. article.

Canonist Dr. Ed Peters comments on "An Ineligible Papal Elector"

Just received notice that Dr. Peters has updated his blog.

Gospel for Thursday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:7-13

The Mission of the Twelve

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

7. Cf. note on Mk 1:27; 3:14-19.
[The note on Mk 1:17 states:

27. The same authority that Jesus showed in His teaching (1:22) is now to be seen in His actions. His will is His command: He has no need of long prayers or incantations. Jesus' words and actions already have a divine power which provokes wonder and fear in those who hear and see Him.

Jesus continues to impress people in this way (Mark 2:12; 5:20-42; 7:37; 15:39; Luke 19:48; John 7:46). Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Savior. He knows this Himself and He lets it be known by His actions and by His words; according to the gospel accounts (Mark 1:38-39; 2:10-11; 4:39) there is complete continuity and consistency between what He says and He does. As Vatican II teaches ("Dei Verbum", 2) Revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately connected with each other: the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them; the deeds confirm the teaching. In this way Jesus progressively reveals the mystery of His Person: first the people sense His exceptional authority; later on, the Apostles, enlightened by God's grace, recognize the deepest source of this authority: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).]

[The note on Mk 3:14-19 states:
14-19. The Twelve chosen by Jesus (cf. 3:14) receive a specific vocation to be "people sent out", which is what the word "apostles" means. Jesus chooses them for a mission which He will give them later (6:6-13) and to enable them to perform this mission He gives them part of His power. The fact that He chooses "twelve" is very significant. This is the same number as the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, and the Apostles represent the new people of God, the Church founded by Christ. Jesus sought in this way to emphasize the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. The Twelve are the pillars on which Christ builds His Church (cf. Gal 2:9); their mission to make disciples of the Lord (to teach) all nations, sanctifying and governing the believers (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:45-48; Jn 20:21-23).]

8-9. Jesus requires them to be free of any form of attachment if they are to preach the Gospel. A disciple, who has the mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to souls through preaching, should not rely on human resources but on God's Providence. Whatever he does not in order to live with dignity as a herald of the Gospel, he must obtain from those who benefit from his preaching, for the laborer deserves his maintenance (cf. Mt 10:10).

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

13. St Mark is the only evangelist who speaks of anointing the sick with oil. Oil was often used for treating wounds (cf. Is 1:6; Lk 10:34), and the Apostles also use it for the miraculous cure of physical illnesses by virtue of the power given them by Jesus. Hence the use of oil as the matter of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which cures wounds of the soul and even, if appropriate, bodily diseases. As the Council of Trent teaches--"Doctrina De Sacramento Extremae Unctionis", chap. 1--in this verse of St Mark there can be seen a "hint" of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which our Lord will institute and which later on "is recommended and promulgated to the faithful by St James the Apostle" (cf. Jas 5:14ff).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

New Bone Marrow Stem Cell has all the Flexibility of Embryonic Cells

BOSTON, February 2, 2005 ( - A type of adult stem cell has been isolated from bone marrow that shows all the characteristics of human embryonic stem cells. A team of researchers at Boston’s Tufts University have found cells that come from adult donors that can change into many, if not all of the different types of tissue in the human body. It was previously thought that only embryonic cells could produce this.

The cells were tested on rats with heart damage and some changed into heart muscle tissue to directly repair damage, and others went to form new blood vessels. Treated rats had more than twice the number of blood vessels and less scar tissue than those of the control group.

Tufts cardiologist Dr. Douglas W. Losordo said, “I think embryonic stem cells are going to fade in the rearview mirror of adult stem cells.”
Let us pray that this be true! The divine providence of God is once again revealed in scientific endeavors!
He said that bone marrow “is like a repair kit. Nature provided us with these tools to repair organ damage.”
Great news! LifeSiteNews article here.

Tomorrow and the Fate of the St. Stanislaus Board

If I recall, February 4 was the date set by Archbishop Burke for the board members to comply with his directives and the decision of the Holy See or face the punishment of "interdict or other just penalties."

Strangely, the media has been uncharacteristically quiet about this and, perhaps, the board members have been as well. I have noticed nothing new on the St. Stanislaus website...

Let us pray that progress is going on behind the scenes quietly and that the board members are coming to the realization that docility, humility, and obedience are part of what it means to be a faithful Catholic - that one must be willing to endure hardships and sacrifices for Christ and his Church, that obedience to the lawful directives of a successor of the Apostles is obedience to Christ, Himself, Who said: "He who hears you, hears me." (Luke 10:16).

As we read in Lumen Gentium §20: "This sacred Council [Vatican Council II] teaches that the Bishops, from divine institution, have taken the place of the Apostles, as the pastors of the Church: he who hears them, hears Christ; he who spurns them, spurns Christ, and Him who sent Christ".

Certainly, when a Bishop gives a lawful command or directive as Archbishop Burke has, we should, in humble obedience, follow his direction lest we, by our willful refusal, disobey and reject Christ and the Father. What a unenviable position this would be in which to place oneself, regardless of one's own ideas or opinions on the matter. We have the words of Christ Himself who makes this perfectly clear to us.

We should pray that tomorrow will be a day in which St. Stanislaus Parish accepts the generous offers of Archbishop Burke and it will be a day of rejoicing in the Archdiocese.

Previous article regarding the Feb 4 date is here.

Pope's condition concerns Archbishop Burke, others

St. Louis Catholics prayed for Pope John Paul II's health Wednesday after the Vatican disclosed that the pope, 84, had been taken to a hospital in Rome.

"I am greatly encouraged by the recent reports indicating that the condition of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II ... has stabilized," [Archbishop] Burke said in a statement. "I ask Christ's faithful in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and all people of good will in the metropolitan community, to continue their prayers for the pope ..."
We were invited out to dinner by a couple of friends Tuesday evening and I told them what I had heard and read about our Holy Father. We added special prayers for his speedy recovery when we prayed before dinner. I think many, many prayers are being said for him at this time.

Rare STD appears in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two New Yorkers have been diagnosed with a rare sexually transmitted disease that is spreading among gay [homosexual] and bisexual men in Europe, the city health commissioner says.

The disease, known as LGV or Lymphogranuloma venereum, is caused by specific strains of chlamydia and is often marked by painful, bloody rectal infection and genital ulcers.

"LGV is a serious condition and its emergence in New York City reflects continuing high levels of unsafe sexual activity among men who have sex with men," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden told a news conference on Wednesday.
Unnatural and deviant sexual behavior has dire spiritual consequences and well as physical consequences. What comes to mind when I see stories like this is the saying, "God will not be mocked" and the requirement we have to pray for all who have become slaves to sin.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

New Members Named to Congregation for Divine Worship

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2005 ( John Paul II has appointed cardinals and bishops as new members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Vatican press office reported.
The new members of the congregation include many cardinals and bishops - including Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

Some may recall (if you make a habit of reading documents from the Holy See) that Cardinal Bertone was secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1995 to 2002.


Pope's Medical Condition Stabilizes

John Paul II's condition is stable after he was hospitalized overnight for the flu, though he continues to have respiratory difficulties, says a Vatican spokesman.
Let us pray he makes a full recovery, if it be God's will, and that he return as soon as possible.


Ten Challenges for Catholic Leaders In the Aftermath of the Presidential Election

Brought to you by:
Tom Allio, Senior Director
Cleveland Diocesan Social Action Office
January 21, 2005

It seems that some of these "challenges" (bolded, below) are cheap shots aimed at Archbishop Burke and others who have promoted and defended authentic Catholic teaching. It is worth noting the various "code" words and phrases which are all too frequently used below, such as fundamentalism (for orthodoxy) or alienation (for intolerance of dissent) and independent statements of a few bishops (for teaching the truth and fidelity)...
1. Divisions exist within our Church that are deep and that jeopardize our ability to build community at the parish level and to be communities of salt and light to the larger society. (There is a great deal of alienation that needs to be addressed).

2. A creeping fundamentalism within the church provides space for some to demonize others (i.e. the notion that you can’t be a good Catholic and vote for John Kerry).

3. Outside organizations with significant resources are extremely well organized and energized. They are well situated to serve partisan purposes. They can and will exploit the divisions within the Church.

4. The independent statements of a few bishops has had a negative impact on the unity and teaching authority of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

5. Reflection and dialogue are required about how our faith should influence our politics.

6. Teaching on the consistent ethic of life needs to be strengthened not diluted. (Too much of the Presidential campaign was reduced to jingles and slogans).

7. More than ever there is a need for clarity in our teaching and messaging.

8. Greater emphasis needs to be placed upon the proper formation of one’s conscience.

9. Catholics are more than ever politically homeless. There is much work to be done among the laity to reform our political system.

10. A great challenge of our Church is to penetrate a national media that seems solely focused on the Church’s position on sexual and family matters while ignoring Church teaching on war and peace, social justice and human rights.
Of, some of these are good and should be addressed, especially numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8 - provided, of course, that they are addressed in a manner which reflects the moral and doctrinal teachings of the Church.

It must be noted, however, that the divisions within the Church which are discussed above are those which stem from rebellion, dissent, disobedience, and in some cases, ignorance. This ignorance of the faithful of the teachings of the Church is (or should be) a matter of the highest priority.

Some would do well to recall the words of St Josemaria Escriva:
Faith is the humility of the mind which renounces its own judgement and surrenders to the verdict and authority of the Church.

Obedience is the humility of the will which subjects itself to the will of another, for God's sake.
We must remember that while we are to live in the world we are called to proclaim the Gospel by our words and our actions. Those engaged in perverting the moral law bring scandal and confusion, not only to members of the Church, but to all of the peoples of the world. We must offer our prayers, sacrifices and reparations to God to grant our fellow men the graces necessary for the humility to receive the light of truth for the mind and a corresponding conversion of the heart.

In that light also, we must ask to be strengthened in our own humility.

Finally, while not wishing to impugn questionable motives for these questions, I do wonder why some of them are even listed. If one were really looking to address the true challenges we face today in this age of secularism and moral relativism, there are many others that need to be addressed.

Numerous Rebuttals in "Town Talk" Today & a plug for WRYT Radio

Blasphemy and sacrilege
THE FIRST THREE Town Talkers Jan. 19 were sacrilegious blasphemers against the Catholic Church. And you Journal folk are worst than them for publishing the blasphemies against the one true, holy Roman Catholic Church, which means universal, apostolic, traditional church. I have one word for you people: Repent now before you die because eternity is forever.
Many would not heed these words especially if they do not believe in an immortal soul or if their thinking has been corrupted by a universal salvation mentality. First and foremost is prayer.

Sue the newspaper boy
TO THE MORON that called in and said he was going to sue people that bashed the Catholic religion. You are a joke and that's about the funniest thing I ever heard. How are you going to sue people when you don't even know who they are? You're going to sue the newspaper boy? You better have big money because the newspapers are backed by some big bucks. You don't even know what freedom of speech is. People can speak their opinion. That's why they call it Town Talk. Just speak your mind. If you think you're going to sue people, you're out of your mind.
I still believe that the person last week or so who was ranting about suing everyone was a non-Catholic lunatic, but I'm sure we'll never know.
Religious experience
IN REGARD TO "Talk to parishioners," Bishop Burke and the slam that they did to Jamie Allman just because he's only been a Catholic for six years. Sometimes the new ones know better than the old ones because they pay more attention and they've chosen this religion, not grown up in it.
Perhaps, in time, Jamie Allman might set the record straight and tell us his reasons for his conversion?
Back off, Catholic bashers
I WONDER HOW many other Catholics are as sick and tired as I am of those non-Catholics and those who claim to be former Catholics, who call in or write to the newspapers to criticize our religion and our religious leaders. If you have never been a Catholic, what right have you to criticize something you know little or nothing about? And if you are a so-called, self-styled former Catholic then you could not have ever believed in or been really serious about your religion or you wouldn't have left it. In other words, it's none of your business what we Catholics believe in and do. So just mind your own business and stop your hateful bashing of Catholics and the Catholic faith.
Rather, we should be prepared for this and we should be able to charitably defend the Faith. This sort of persecution is mild, compared to what has occurred in the past. It must be noted as well that some of the most venomous enemies of the Church are those who claim to be "ex-Catholics". They, too, need our prayers and, with God's graces, they may become receptive to His call to conversion.
It's not a Democracy
THIS IS IN reference to last week's issue of Town Talk: It seems like Catholics are being blamed for everything, including accountability and loose running dogs. Some of it borders on ridiculous. I'm surprised you print this dribble. The Catholic Church is not a democracy.
Since it is an divine and human institution founded by Christ Himself, the Church must be a target of humiliation, persecution, and other attacks just as our Lord was and as He tells us that we shall be - if we choose to follow Him.
Bible lesson
THE EDITOR FAILED to correct the caller who asked Catholics to read the St. James Bible instead of the "Catechism Bible." Catholics and Protestants use the exact same new testaments in the Bibles. Chapters and verses are the same. The King James differs because it has seven fewer Old Testament books. This dates back to Martin Luther, who took them out because they weren't written in Hebrew. If you want to find out more, listen to AM1080 Catholic radio because many of the hosts of call-in shows are former Protestants and they help explain the differences and similarities. And Catholics, I love Jesus and I love the church He founded in Matthew chapter 16, verse 18. Thanks for this opportunity and God bless.
This is a great plug for Catholic Radio (WRYT) - maybe, just maybe, a few souls might come to see the light of the truth in Christ and His Church. Perhaps even some nominally Catholic individuals will be drawn more deeply to the Church? We can certainly pray that this become so.
Respect Catholics
TO ALL YOU people that are downing Catholic religion, what right do you have doing this? No one is asking you to join the Catholic religion. No one is twisting your arm. So leave us alone. If you have any Christian upbringing, you do not bad-mouth another person's religion.
A society which is poisoned by living in a 'culture of death' will have little reason to respect another's religion or opinion - moral relativism allows that all opinions are equal since there is no absolute truth (except that one - "There is no absolute truth!" We must, however, do all we can in evangelizing those professed Christians with the fullness of truth as found in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We must not expect major successes, but must remember that there is more rejoicing in Heaven over the returning of one lost member to the fold than there is in the others who remain in the fold. The work of the laity is to bring the Good News to the world, and for Catholics, we should always be aware of those opportunities where we can do this and take advantage of those opportunities - and with God's graces and blessings, help those come to Jesus Christ.

Source of Today's "Town Talk"

Gospel for Feb 2, Feast: The Presentation of the Lord

From: Luke 2:22-40

The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

[22] And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they (Joseph and Mary) brought Him (Jesus) up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord [23] (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") [24] and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons."

Simeon's Prophecy

[25] Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. [26] And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. [27] And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, [28] he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, [29] "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; [30] for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation [31] which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, [32] a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to Thy people Israel."

[33] And His father and His mother marvelled at what was said about Him; [34] and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, "Behold this child is set for the fall the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against [35] (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."

Anna's Prophecy

[36] And there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Ahser; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, [37] and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. [38] And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Childhood of Jesus

[39] And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. [40] And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

22-24. The Holy Family goes up to Jerusalem to fulfill the prescriptions of the Law of Moses--the purification of the mother and the presentation and then redemption or buying back of the first-born. According to Leviticus 12:2-8, a woman who bore a child was unclean. The period of legal impurity ended, in the case of a mother of a male child, after forty days, with a rite of purification. Mary most holy, ever-virgin, was exempt from these precepts of the Law, because she conceived without intercourse, nor did Christ's birth undo the virginal integrity of His Mother. However, she chose to submit herself to the Law, although she was under no obligation to do so.

"Through this example, foolish child, won't you learn to fulfill the holy Law of God, regardless of personal sacrifice?
"Purification! You and I certainly do need purification. Atonement and, more than atonement, Love. Love as a searing iron to cauterize our soul's uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretchedness of our hearts" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", Fourth Joyful Mystery).

Also, in Exodus 13:2, 12-13 it is indicated that every first-born male belongs to God and must be set apart for the Lord, that is, dedicated to the service of God. However, once divine worship was reserved to the tribe of Levi, first-born who did not belong to that tribe were not dedicated to God's service, and to show that they continued to be God's special property, a rite of redemption was performed.

The Law also laid down that the Israelites should offer in sacrifice some lesser victim--for example, a lamb or, if they were poor, a pair of doves or two pigeons. Our Lord, who "though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9), chose to have a poor man's offering made on His behalf.

25-32. Simeon, who is described as a righteous and devout man, obedient to God's will, addresses himself to our Lord as a vassal or loyal servant who, having kept watch all his life in expectation of the coming of his Lord, sees that this moment has "now" come, the moment that explains his whole life. When he takes the Child in his arms, he learns, not through any reasoning process but through a special grace from God, that this Child is the promised Messiah, the Consolation of Israel, the Light of the nations.

Simeon's canticle (verses 29-32) is also a prophecy. It consists of two stanzas: the first (verses 29-30) is an act of thanksgiving to God, filled with profound joy for having seen the Messiah. The second (verses 31-32) is more obviously prophetic and extols the divine blessings which the Messiah is bringing to Israel and to all men. The canticle highlights the fact that Christ brings redemption to all men without exception--something foretold in many Old Testament prophecies (cf. Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 2:6; 42:6; 60:3; Psalm 28:2).

It is easy to realize how extremely happy Simeon was--given that many patriarchs, prophets and kings of Israel had yearned to see the Messiah, yet did not see Him, whereas he now held Him in his arms (cf. Luke 10:24; 1 Peter 1:10).

33. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph marvelled not because they did not know who Christ was; they were in awe at the way God was revealing Him. Once again they teach us to contemplate the mysteries involved in the birth of Christ.

34-35. After Simeon blesses them, the Holy Spirit moves him to further prophecy about the Child's future and His Mother's. His words become clearer in the light of our Lord's life and death.

Jesus came to bring salvation to all men, yet He will be a sign of contradiction because some people will obstinately reject Him--and for this reason He will be their ruin. But for those who accept Him with faith Jesus will be their salvation, freeing them from sin in this life and raising them up to eternal life.

The words Simeon addresses to Mary announce that she will be intimately linked with her Son's redemptive work. The sword indicates that Mary will have a share in her Son's sufferings; hers will be an unspeakable pain which pierces her soul. Our Lord suffered on the cross for our sins, and it is those sins which forge the sword of Mary's pain. Therefore, we have a duty to atone not only to God but also to His Mother, who is our Mother too.

The last words of the prophecy, "that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed", link up with verse 34: uprightness or perversity will be demonstrated by whether one accepts or rejects Christ.

36-38. Anna's testimony is very similar to Simeon's; like him, she too has been awaiting the coming of the Messiah her whole life long, in faithful service of God, and she too is rewarded with the joy of seeing Him. "She spoke of Him," that is, of the Child--praising God in her prayer and exhorting others to believe that this Child is the Messiah.

Thus, the birth of Christ was revealed by three kinds of witnesses in three different ways--first, by the shepherds, after the angel's announcement; second, by the Magi, who were guided by a star; third, by Simeon and Anna, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

All who, like Simeon and Anna, persevere in piety and in the service of God, no matter how insignificant their lives seem in men's eyes, become instruments the Holy Spirit uses to make Christ known to other. In His plan of redemption God avails of these simple souls to do much good to all mankind.

39. Before their return to Nazareth, St. Matthew tells us (2:13-23), the Holy Family fled to Egypt where they stayed for some time.

40. "Our Lord Jesus Christ as a child, that is, as one clothed in the fragility of human nature, had to grow and become stronger but as the eternal Word of God He had no need to become stronger or to grow. Hence He is rightly described as full of wisdom and grace" (St. Bede, "In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
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, February 01, 2005

Pope hospitalized with breathing problems

ROME (AP) -- Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night with breathing difficulties and an inflamed throat while battling the flu during an icy spell that has swept Italy, the Vatican said.

Anxiety has been running high over the 84-year-old pope's Parkinson's disease and other ailments, but Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told The Associated Press that the decision to hospitalize him was "mainly a precaution."

He noted that the pope was not in intensive care but in the same 10th floor suite of rooms where he has been during several previous stays at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic, about 2 1/2 miles from the Vatican.

The reaction to the pontiff's condition was virtually immediate in Mexico as dozens of Catholics attended a special Mass in the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, where Pope John Paul II canonized the church's first Indian saint during one of his five trips to the country.
Once again, please continue in prayer for our Holy Father.

Article here.

Breaking News...the Holy Father is taken to the hospital

Please keep him in your prayers, especially today and this evening.


Gospel for Tuesday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 5:21-43

Jairus' Daughter is Restored to Life.
The Curing of the Woman With a Hemorrhage

[21] And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about Him; and He was beside the sea. [22] Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing Him, he fell at His feet, [23] and besought Him, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." [24] And He went with him.

And a great crowd followed Him and thronged about Him. [25] And there was a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, [26] and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. [27] She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. [28] For she said, "If I touch even His garments, I shall be made well." [29] And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. [30] And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone forth from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched My garments?" [31] And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing around You, and yet You say, `Who touched Me?'" [32] And He looked around to see who had done it. [33] But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. [34] and He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

[35] While He was speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" [36] But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." [37] And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. [38] When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, He saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. [39] And when He had entered, He said to them, "Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping." [40] And they laughed at Him. But He put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with Him, and went in where the child was. [41] Taking her by the hand He said to her, "Talitha cumi"; which means, "Little girl, I say to you arise." [42] And immediately the girl got up and walked; for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were overcome with amazement. [43] And He strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

21-43. Both Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood give us an example of faith in Christ's omnipotence, for only a miracle can cure Jairus' daughter, who is on her death-bed, and heal this lady, who has done everything humanly possible to get better. Similarly, the Christian should always expect God to help him overcome the obstacles in the way of his sanctification. Normally, God's help comes to us in an unspectacular way, but we should not doubt that, if it is necessary for our salvation, God will again work miracles. However, we should bear in mind that what the Lord expects of us is that we should every day fulfill His will.

22. At the head of each synagogue was the archisynagogist, whose function it was to organize the meetings of the synagogue on Sabbaths and holy days, to lead the prayer and hymns and to indicate who should explain the Sacred Scripture. He was assisted in his task by a council and also had an aide who looked after the material side of things.

25. This woman suffered from an illness which implied legal impurity (Leviticus 14:25ff). Medical attention had failed to cure her; on the contrary, as the Gospel puts it so realistically, she was worse than ever. In addition to her physical suffering--which had gone on for twelve years--she suffered the shame of feeling unclean according to the Law. The Jews not only regarded a woman in this position as being impure: everything she touched became unclean as well. Therefore, in order not to be noticed by the people, the woman came up to Jesus from behind and, out of delicacy, touched only His garment. Her faith is enriched by her _expression of humility: she is conscious of being unworthy to touch our Lord. "She touched the hem of His garment, she approached Him in a spirit of faith, she believed, and she realized that she was cured [...]. So we too, if we wish to be saved, should reach out in faith to touch the garment of Christ" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam", VI, 56 and 58).

30. In all that crowd pressing around Him only this woman actually touched Jesus--and she touched Him not only with her hand but with the faith she bore in her heart. St. Augustine comments: "She touches Him, the people crowd Him. Is her touching not a sign of her belief?" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 26, 3). We need contact with Jesus. We have been given no other means under Heaven by which to be saved (cf. Acts 4:12). When we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we obtain this physical contact through the sacramental species. We too need to enliven our faith if these encounters with our Lord are to redound to our salvation (cf. Matthew 13:58).

37. Jesus did not want more than these three Apostles to be present: three was the number of witnesses laid down by the Law (Deuteronomy 19:15). "For Jesus, being humble, never acted in an ostentatious way (Theophilactus, "Enarratio In Evangelium Marci, in loc."). Besides these were the three disciples closest to Jesus: later, only they will be with Him at the Transfiguration (cf. 9:2) and at His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. 14:33).

39. Jesus' words are in contrast with those of the ruler's servants; they say: "Your daughter is dead"; whereas He says: "She is not dead but sleeping". "To men's eyes she was dead, she could not be awoken; in God's eyes she was sleeping, for her soul was alive and was subject to God's power, and her body was resting, awaiting the Resurrection. Hence the custom which arose among Christians of referring to the dead, whom we know will rise again, as those who are asleep" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). What Jesus says shows us that, for God, death is only a kind of sleep, for He can awaken anyone from the dead whenever He wishes. The same happens with the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus says: "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him out of sleep." And, when the disciples think that it is ordinary sleep He is referring to, our Lord tells them plainly: "Lazarus is dead" (cf. John 11:11ff).

40-42. Like all the Gospel miracles the raising of the daughter of Jairus demonstrates Christ's divinity. Only God can work miracles; sometimes He does them in a direct way, sometimes by using created things as a medium. The exclusively divine character of miracles--especially the miracle of raising the dead--is noticed in the Old Testament: "The Lord wills and brings to life; He brings down to Sheol and raises up" (1 Samuel 2:6), because He has "power over life and death" (Wisdom 16:13). And also in the Old Testament God uses men to raise the dead to life: the prophet Elijah revives the son of the widow of Sarepta by "crying to the Lord" (cf. 1 Kings 17:21), and Elisha prevails on Him to raise the son of the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:33).

In the same way, in the New Testament the Apostles do not act by their own power but by that of Jesus to whom they first offer fervent prayer: Peter restores to life a Christian woman of Joppa named Tabitha (Acts 9:36ff); and Paul, in Troas, brings Eutychus back to life after he falls from a high window (Acts 20:7ff). Jesus does not refer to any superior power; His authority is sovereign: all He has to do is give the order and the daughter of Jairus is brought back to life; this shows that He is God.
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.

**** My apologies - this did not post correctly as I had intended and it was recently brought to my attention that it was missing.

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas Day

There will be a Candlelight Procession and Traditional Latin Mass tomorrow evening, February 2, at St. Agatha's Church at 7:00pm.

For more info: (314) 772-1603

What is this festival?
T is the festival on which the Church venerates the humility and obedience of Mary who, though not subject to the law of Moses, which required purification and presentation in the temple, yet subjected herself to it. From this comes the name Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. It is also called Candlemas, because before Mass on this day the candles used in divine service are blessed and carried in procession.

Why are the candles blessed on this day and carried in procession?
In remembrance of the presentation of Jesus to His Heavenly Father on this day, when the aged Simeon called Him: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of the people of Israel, (Luke II. 32.) and to remind us that, like the five wise virgins, we should go to meet Christ with the light of faith and good works.

With what intention are candles blessed?
With the intention of obtaining from God by their pious use and the prayers of those who devoutly carry them, health of body and soul; that our hearts, through the doctrine of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Ghost, may be interiorly enlightened; and that the fire of the love of God may be kindled in our hearts, purify them from all remains of sin, and make us partakers in the joyous light of heaven, which will never be extinguished.
From The Church's Year by Rev. Leonard Goffine

No time to teach abstinence or faithful conjugal love?

A senior Vatican official has supported the use of condoms to fight Africa's Aids pandemic, contradicting the Catholic church's official position.

Cardinal Georges Cottier, theologian of the pontifical household, told the Italian news agency Apcom that the use of condoms was "legitimate" to save lives in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia, where there was no time to teach abstinence or faithful conjugal love.

He is the most senior figure so far to argue that condoms should be admissible in exceptional circumstances.
Is this "Doing evil so that good may result"?


Legal fees of Tucson Diocese approach $800,000

TUCSON - The bill in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson's bankruptcy case stands at nearly $800,000 after four months, according to recent court filings.

The expenses, mostly legal fees, are in keeping with what would be expected in a Chapter 11 case, bankruptcy experts said. The final tally will depend on how long the case is in court.

The Tucson Diocese, which serves 350,000 Catholics in nine Arizona counties, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in September in the face of 22 pending legal actions alleging sexual abuse of children by priests. Its filing was the second by a diocese; the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., filed in July.

Priests lash out at cult of the Pope

CATHOLIC bishops have been accused of creating a damaging personality cult around Pope John Paul II and being out of touch with the lay people and priests they serve.

In a strong attack on the Catholic hierarchy, Father Eric Hodgens, from North Balwyn in Melbourne, said the Vatican's obsession with sexuality was alienating churchgoers and clergy.

"Most (of the clergy) are no longer committed to the old taboos on sexuality," Father Hodgens said in a Catholic e-magazine, Online Catholics. "Most do not believe that couples living together are doing something very wrong. Most are happy to have homosexual couples living lives of commitment."
This so-called priest and his buddies have, it seems, lost whatever faith they may have had. They should be kept as far from the faithful as possible so they are unable to spread their poison among them. They have no moral compass, and reject the guiding light of truth which has been given to us by Christ and His Church. They are the proverbial "wolves in sheeps' clothing", devouring the souls of the faithful. May God have mercy on them.


Monday, January 31, 2005

Flu Prompts John Paul II to Halt Audiences, Symptoms Were Apparent Sunday

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2005 ( John Paul II suspended audiences scheduled for today because he is suffering from the flu.

In a statement published today, Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, said that "due to flulike symptoms, which began yesterday, the Holy Father has been advised to suspend the audiences scheduled for today."

The symptoms were evident Sunday to thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square who were on hand for the praying of the midday Angelus with the Pope.

Although the Holy Father managed to express an amused smile when two children, who were with him in the Papal Apartments, released two doves in the air as a symbol of peace, his voice was hoarse and he had trouble breathing.

Please remember to keep the Holy Father in your daily prayers.

The Legion in Minneapolis-St. Paul:An Age-Old Conflict

Last October 22, Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis-St. Paul wrote a letter to Fr. Anthony Bannon, US National Director of the Legionaries of Christ. In the letter Flynn forbids Legionary priests to be active in the Archdiocese and orders that the activities of the Legion’s lay Regnum Christi movement be conducted apart from church property. A similar restriction was implemented in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. This is part of a tension between diocesan and religious priests which stretches back nearly a thousand years.

A Parallel Church?
Dr. Jeff Mirus has a new article here on the subject at

U.S. Archbishop issues perplexing "clarification" statement

Juridically, why can't this teacher of faith see the clarity and simplicity of Cardinal Arinze's recent admonition: "Rainbow Sash wearers are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion." [1]

Of all the many liturgical abuses attacking the Church today, none compare in gravity with the untold numbers of sacrilegious receptions of Holy Communion committed by persons who are persistently obstinate in their grave, manifest (known) sins. [2]

Especially grievous is the sacrilegious reception by rainbow sash-wearing 'gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender' homosexuals who, for the past five years on Pentecost Sunday, protest the Church's teachings regarding their 'intrinsically disordered' acts. [3]
It is most interesting that on January 26, 2005, Archbishop Flynn issued a new 'Clarification,' with regard to inexact comments he made to Catholic News Service [CNS] on December 14, 2004. These comments were issued after Archbishop Flynn's December meeting in Rome with His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments [CDW].

The next day, on January 27, CNS published a column entitled "Archbishop says Vatican wants uniform approach to gay rights groups." In their column, CNS quoted only two sentences of the Archbishop's 300 word 'Clarification' [CNS is own and operated by the USCCB].

Since the entire 'Clarification' contains others words of interest, it is presented in its entirety herewith.
Therefore, 'in gremio legis,' it is most perplexing when Archbishop Flynn wrote, "This recommendation needs to be reviewed by those bishops involved in the near future."

Does Archbishop Flynn mean that clearly defined Church Teaching will be received only as a 'recommendation?' Does Archbishop Flynn believe that the four bishops have the freedom to accept or reject these Church Teachings now or sometime in the near future? This is a most perplexing 'Clarification.'
Barbara Kralis' new article can be read in full here.

Some Upcoming Events....

Don't forget to check out some of the vents coming up in the next few weeks.

In less than two weeks on Sunday, February 13, Credo of the Catholic Laity is sponsoring an evening dinner and talk with Dr. William A Borst on the "The Shroud of Bernardin”. Details are here.

** A short Lenten Retreat sponsored by Credo will be held this year on Friday and Saturday, March 18-19 at St. Agatha Church downtown. The Retreat Master will, again, be Msgr. Michael Schmitz, American Superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. More information on this will available in the next couple of days.

** Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 19th. The Catholic Central Union will be holding its St. Joseph Day Dinner featuring Christopher Kahlenborn, M.D., at the Salad Bowl Restaurant, 3949 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis. His topic will be: "Why the Skyrocketing Rate of Breast Cancer?" He has done extensive research on the link between abortion, hormonal contraceptives, and breast cancer. Watch for more information in the next day or so...

** Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 12! Ther Serra Club of the St. Charles Deanery will be hosting its Second Annual Dinner Banquet honoring the Priests who serve the St. Charles Deanery. The Guest Speaker this year will be our own Archdiocesan Spiritual Shepherd, His Excellency Raymond L. Burke, Archbishpo of St. Louis. (Details on this, also in the next day or two).

Plan to attend these events, have a great meal, and listen to and learn from some great minds.

There Is a Catholic Oasis in Dubai...

...And Another Has Sprung Up in Venice

The life of a fervent parish on the Arabian peninsula, according to an account by its bishop. And a sneak preview of the new international magazine "Oasis" conceived by Cardinal Scola

Article by by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Monday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 5:1-20

The Gerasene Demoniac
[1] They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. [2] And when He (Jesus) had come out of the boat, there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, [3] who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; [4] for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. [5] Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones. [6] And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped Him; [7] and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God, do not torment me." [8] For He had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" [9] And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many." [10] And he begged Him eagerly not to send them out of the country. [11] Now a great herd of swine is feeding there on the hillside; [12] and they begged Him, "Send us to the swine, let us enter them." [13] So, He gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

[14] The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. [15] And they came to see Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. [16] And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. [17] And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. [18] And as He was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged Him that he might be with Him. [19] But He refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you." [20] And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marvelled.

1-20. The inhabitants of Gerasa were mostly pagans, as one can gather from the fact that there was such a huge herd of swine there (which must have belonged to a number of different people). Jews were forbidden to raise pigs or eat pork (Leviticus 11:7).

This miracle emphasizes, once more, the existence of the devil and his influence over men's lives: if God permits it, the devil can harm not only humans but also animals. When Christ allows the demons to enter the swine, the malice of the demons becomes obvious: they are tormented at not being able to do men harm and therefore they ask Christ to let them, at least, inflict themselves on animals. This He does, in order to show that they would have the same effect on men as they have on these swine, if God did not prevent them.

Clearly it was not Jesus' intention to punish the owners of the swine by the loss of the herd: since they were pagans that were not subject to the precepts of the Jewish law. Rather, the death of the swine is visible proof that the demon has gone out of the possessed man.

Jesus permitted the loss of some material goods because these were of infinitely less value than the spiritual good involved in the cure of the possessed man.

15-20. Notice the different attitudes to Jesus Christ: the Gerasenes beg Him to go away; the man freed from the devil wants to stay with Him and follow Him. The inhabitants of Gerasa have had our Lord near them, they have seen His divine powers, but they are very self-centered: all they can think about is the material damage they have suffered through the loss of the herd; they do not realize the marvel Jesus has worked.

Christ has invited them and offered them His grace but they do not respond: they reject Him. The man who has been cured wants to follow Jesus with the rest of His disciples but our Lord refuses; instead He gives him a task which shows Christ's unlimited compassion for all men, even for those who reject Him: the man is to stay in Gerasa and proclaim to the whole neighborhood what the Lord has done for him.

Perhaps they will think again and realize who He is who has visited them, and escape from the sins their greed has led them to commit. These two attitudes are to be found whenever Christ passes by--as are Jesus' mercy and continuous offer of grace: our Lord does not want the death of the sinner but rather that he should turn from his way and live. (cf. Ezekiel 18:23).

20. The "Decapolis" or "country of the ten cities", among the more famous of which are Damascus, Philadelphia, Scythopolis, Gadara, Pella and Gerasa. The region was located to the east of the lake of Gennesaret and was inhabited mainly by pagans of Greek and Syrian origin. This territory came under the Roman governor of Syria.
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.

Freemasonry's Influence in Europe

To understand what is happening in Europe, the phenomenon of Masonry must be taken into account, says Protestant historian César Vidal.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Pope Warns Church Courts About Marriage Rulings

"In the name of alleged pastoral needs, voices have been raised to propose that unions that have totally failed be declared invalid. To obtain this result it is suggested that recourse be taken to the expedient of maintaining the procedural appearances," the Holy Father said.

These proposals or pressures, he stressed, are against "the most elementary principles of the normative and magisterium of the Church."
Zenit article.

Bishop to let Clinton speak at Canisius College

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo said Friday he is not pleased that Canisius College invited pro-choice Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to campus but he will allow her to speak Monday at the Catholic school.
The Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec said the invitation was made without input from the diocese, and the offices of Church Ministry and Catholic Charities have pulled their sponsorship of the lecture.

But Kmiec said the speech should go forward because the church needs to maintain a dialogue with Clinton, D-N.Y., and other public officials with whom they disagree on the issue of abortion.

"It is for that reason, despite calls for the cancellation of the event, that it was thought best to allow it to proceed, though reluctantly," Kmiec said in a new release issued late Friday.

Pro-life advocates who have criticized Clinton's planned appearance weren't satisfied with the bishop's remarks.
How is it possible to have dialogue with Satan or his agents?

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo said Friday he is not pleased that Canisius College invited pro-choice Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to campus but he will allow her to speak Monday at the Catholic school.
The Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec said the invitation was made without input from the diocese, and the offices of Church Ministry and Catholic Charities have pulled their sponsorship of the lecture.

But Kmiec said the speech should go forward because the church needs to maintain a dialogue with Clinton, D-N.Y., and other public officials with whom they disagree on the issue of abortion.

"It is for that reason, despite calls for the cancellation of the event, that it was thought best to allow it to proceed, though reluctantly," Kmiec said in a new release issued late Friday.

Pro-life advocates who have criticized Clinton's planned appearance weren't satisfied with the bishop's remarks.


Gospel for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 5:1-12a

The Beatitudes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11-12. The Beatitudes are the conditions Jesus lays down for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. This verse, in a way summing up the preceding ones, is an invitation to everyone to put this teaching into practice. The Christian life, then, is no easy matter, but it is worthwhile, given the reward that Jesus promises.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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