Saturday, March 12, 2005

Archbishop Burke Supporters Show Solidarity

Polish Roman Catholics supporters of Archbishop Raymond Burke plan a Mass of Solidarity tomorrow. The Mass will take place at nine a-m AT St. John, Apostle and Evangelist Catholic Church AT 15 Plaza Square. It will be celebrated in both English and Polish, and will become a regular event on the second Sunday of every month. Burke and St. Stanislaus Kosta Church are at odds over control of the parish, including its financial assets. Burke has removed both priests from the Parish, and has issued an interdict forbidding parish board members from receiving sacraments.

St. Louis Gateway Liturgical Conference, April 7 & 8

Details are available at the Archdiocesan web site (PDF file) here.

Adult Stem Cells May One Day Grow New Teeth

NEW YORK, March 11, 2005 ( - While research with embryo cells remains stagnant because of medical hazards, it is beginning to look as though there really is no limit to the possibilities of therapeutic applications using adult stem cells.

Holy Father to Receive Final Examination on Monday

(AGI) - Rome, Italy, March 12 - Monday will see a further and final set of medical examinations, and then from that moment on John Paul II will be able to leave hospital and return to the Vatican. This is the picture regarding the final phase of the Pope's stay at Gemelli hospital, where he has been for 17 days. Weight has been given to the rumours by Father Richard Nitschke, who this morning met Monsignor Stanislao Dziwisz and gained confirmation from him of an imminent return to the Vatican. Already tomorrow there will be definite information at the Angelus prayer. If indeed the Pope is able to appear live on TV to the faithful in St Peters Square, this will mean that his term in hospital is coming to a close. Vatican TV technicians have been in the hospital to improve the connection, both in terms of picture and audio. The Pope yesterday spoke in front of a TV camera for the first time since the tracheotomy and his voice was croaky but audible, not so much when at the moment of blessing at the end of the Mass in which he took part he said, "good, good" to Tanzanian Cardinal, Polycarp Pengo, who brought him greetings from the people of that African country. Maybe he will have a hoarse voice from now on, hence the technicians are working to make him audible and comprehensible. (AGI) .
121428 MAR 05 COPYRIGHTS 2002-2003 AGI S.p.A.

Vatican Issues Third Intervention for Terri Schiavo

VATICAN, March 11, 2005 ( - Following on the heels of two public statements by another highly placed Vatican official, Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has spoken out against a US judge’s decision to permit the starvation of cognitively disabled Florida woman Terri Shiavo.


Gospel for Saturday, 4th Week of Lent

John 7:40-53

Different Opinions About Jesus (Continuation)

[40] When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This is really the prophet." [41] Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee? [42] Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" [43] So there was a division among the people over Him. [44] Some of them wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

[45] The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring Him?" [46] The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!" [47] The Pharisees answered them, "Are you led astray, you also? [48] Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in Him? [49] But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed." [50] Nicodemus, who had gone to Him before, and who was one of them, said to them, [51] "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?" [52] They replied, "Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee." [53] They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

40-43. "The prophet" refers to Deuteronomy 18:18, which predicts the coming of a prophet during the last times, a prophet to whom all must listen (cf. John 1:21; 6:14); and "the Christ" ("the Messiah") was the title most used in the Old Testament to designate the future Savior whom God would send. This passage shows us, once again, the range of people's attitudes towards Jesus. Many Jews--not taking the trouble to check--did not know that He had been born in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Micah (5:2) says the Lord will be born. It was their own fault that they used this ignorance as an excuse for not accepting Christ. Others, however, realized from His miracles that He must be the Messiah. The same pattern obtains throughout history: some people see Him simply as an extraordinary man, not wanting to admit that His greatness comes precisely from the fact the He is the Son of God.

46. The truth begins to influence the straightforward souls of the servants of the Sanhedrin but it cannot make headway against the obstinacy of the Pharisees. "Notice that the Pharisees and scribes derive no benefit either from witnessing miracles or reading the Scriptures; whereas their servants, without these helps, were captivated by a single discourse, and those who set out to arrest Jesus went back under the influence of His authority. And they did not say, `We cannot arrest Him, the people will not let us'; instead they extolled Christ's wisdom. Not only is their prudence admirable, for they did not need signs; it is also impressive that they were won over by His teaching on its own; they did not say, in effect, `No man has ever worked such miracles,' but `No man ever spoke like this man.' Their conviction also is worthy of admiration: they go to the Pharisees, who were opposed to Christ, and address them in the way they do" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. On St. John", 9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Friday, March 11, 2005

"Confirmed" Rather than Suppressed

In recent bulletin articles from a parish which was allowed to stay open, the pastor writes:
Barring any shocks, it should say that [we] begin a new phase of church as a personal parish with a distinct vision of proclaiming the GOSPEL OF SOCIAL JUSTICE. That is an affirmation and confirmation that is clearly the work of the Holy Spirit and exceeds any reasonable dreams or expectations that we might have had. We are inviting you to an APPRECIATION DINNER.
A new phase of "church" quaint and uplifting...And yes, it may seem like the Holy Spirit is confirming this parish in its dissent.

And from last week's bulletin, we see:
In my further thinking about our parish being a personal parish (without boundaries) focused on Social Justice. I think that we must take the arch-diocese at their word. Let us think big and then make the appropriate plans. The “powers that be” had the perfect opportunity to “suppress” us, but rather they confirmed us. It is now our time to get to work. To paraphrase an old saying, “SOCIAL JUSTICE DELAYED IS SOCIAL JUSTICE DENIED". There is another adage concerning social activism, THINK GLOBALLY AND ACT LOCALLY. [emphasis added]
This comes from a parish which is listed on various "gay/lesbian" sites as a "gay friendly" parish - one of 5 in the Archdiocese which apparently confirms people in their sins. A group called "Holy Families" was formed at this parish which rejects the teaching of the Church with regard to homosexual activity and does what it can to validate the homosexual lifestyle.

In the recent past, the parish also touted its "inclusive language" prayers and readings used at Mass. This included nearly ALL of the prayers used at Mass. At one time, if memory serves, a special group was formed to modify the texts before each Sunday's Mass.

The liturgy committee of this parish had also posted bread recipes for their bread bakers "ministry". Any bread made from those recipes would have most likely resulted in an invalid Eucharist. At the very least, it would have been gravely illicit to have used any such bread in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

This parish also proudly discussed its use of "Lay Preachers" to give homilies at Sunday Mass. The schedules of the "lay homilists" were posted at one time even posted on the web.

I may very well be wrong, but it seems more than presumptuous that the pastor would consider that the Archdiocese is confirming them and their work.

How is it possible - for those who are so opposed to the Church, to the immutable doctrines of the Church, and who reject the authority of the Church to regulate the liturgy and other matters - to engage in authentic social justice activities? How is it possible for one to truly and authentically love his fellow man if his attitude toward the Church and ultimately to Christ, is so seriously defective?

I had asked a priest a few months ago about this parish and its possible suppression. He mentioned to me that, perhaps, in the short term, it might be best to keep this group "together" by not closing the parish in order that the dissent and hostility to the Church might be confined and limited in scope. This way, other parishes might be spared the obstacles and difficulties of having to deal with the many who would be seeking other parishes to infect.

Polish immigrants planning Mass to support Abp. Burke

Polish Roman Catholics loyal to Archbishop Raymond L. Burke in his dispute with the St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish board of directors are inviting people to join them at Mass Sunday. [March 13]

The Mass, in both Polish and English, to show support for the archbishop is at 9 a.m. at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Church, 15th and Pine streets, Downtown.

Rochester Diocese Priest Put on Leave ....

...after child porn found on his computer...
The Diocese of Rochester announced Thursday it has placed Rev. Michael J. Volino on administrative leave following federal charges of trafficking child pornography. Father Volino is under house arrest and now required to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet. Federal authorities have charged Volino with possessing and receiving child pornography via the internet. In the criminal complaint Father Volino admitted to the FBI that he downloaded the child porn. He admitted that he has an addiction to it and that he's been getting counseling for three years.

Archbishop Burke: The Church and Holy Eucharist

In presenting the Church’s pastoral plan at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II reminded us strongly that it is not a question of some "new program," which we must invent, but rather "the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition" of the Church. In short, the Church’s pastoral plan is Christ Himself dwelling with us through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our souls. The plan is our life in Christ or holiness of life through daily conversion. It is the "larger and more demanding normal pastoral activity," which helps each of us and the whole Church to meet the "high standard of ordinary Christian living" (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, "At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000," Jan. 6, 2001, nos. 29-31).
More here.

Shroud of Turin: New Analysis Confirms Second Face

New Analysis Confirms Second Face on Shroud of Turin and Raises Questions About Other Images

NEW YORK, March 11, 2005 -- Skeptics and people who believe the Shroud of Turin is the genuine burial shroud of Jesus have always shared one common perception: they thought they knew what the man on the shroud looked like. Now, new computerized image analysis suggests they may be wrong.
Article here

Eucharistic Whisperings 3/11/05

How great it is!

In appearance, indeed, it is smaller even than the palm of my hand; but ah! its influence extends over the whole earth; from it there issues the very life, the very soul, of Christendom.

Without the sacred Host our beautiful churches and magnificent cathedrals would cease to be what they are, they would become spacious halls of emptiness, cold, cheerless; Christian art would sink down and die; virtue would faint and fade away; there would be a priesthood without a sacrifice and without an altar; and souls would wander aimlessly in loveless darkness, only to lose themselves on the broad path that leads to perdition.

The sun never sets upon the kingdom of the sacred Host. Its throne is the only one that has never tottered - that will never totter. It may be that a time will come when there are monarchs without subjects. But one thing shall never be: the sacred Host shall never be without adorers!

And I am here in His presence, before Jesus. How poor and little I feel before greatness such as this! O Jesus, so great! How can You find Your joy in me? How can You invite me, nay, command me, to stay an be very near to You? O little Host .... and yet so great! great! Imagination fails me...I can do no more....I must humble myself....I adore you, my Saviour!

Adapted from Eucharistic Whisperings, The Society of the Divine Saviour, 1929

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week of Lent

John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus Goes Up to Jerusalem During the Feast of Tabernacles

[1] After this Jesus went about in Galilee; He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. [2] Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand. [10] But after His brethren had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly but in private.

[25] Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? [26] And here He is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to Him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? [27 Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where He comes from. [28] So Jesus proclaimed, as He taught in the temple, "You know where I come from? But I have not come of My own accord; He who sent Me is true, and Him you do not know. [29] I know Him, for I come from Him, and He sent Me." [30] So they sought to arrest Him; but no one laid hands on Him, because His hour had not yet come.

1-2. The Jewish custom was for closer relatives to be called "brothers", brethren (cf. notes on Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 6:1-3). These relatives of Jesus followed Him without understanding His teaching or His mission (cf. Matthew 3:31); but because He worked such obvious miracles in Galilee (cf. Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10, 22-26) they suggest to Him that He show Himself publicly in Jerusalem and throughout Judea. Perhaps they wanted Him to be a big success, which would have indulged their family pride.

2. The name of the feast recalls the time the Israelites spent living under canvas in the wilderness (cf. Leviticus 23:34-36). During the eight days the feast lasted (cf. Nehemiah 8:13-18), around the beginning of autumn, the Jews commemorated the protection God had given the Israelites over the forty years of the Exodus. Because it coincided with the end of the harvest, it was also called the feast of ingathering (cf. Exodus 23:16).

10. Because He had not arrived in advance of the feast (which was what people normally did), the first caravans would have reported that Jesus was not coming up, and therefore the members of the Sanhedrin would have stopped planning anything against Him (cf. 7:1). By going up later, the religious authorities would not dare make any move against Him for fear of hostile public reaction (cf. Matthew 26:5). Jesus, possibly accompanied by His disciples, arrives unnoticed at Jerusalem, "in private", almost in a hidden way. Half-way through the feast, on the fourth or fifth day, He begins to preach in the temple (cf. 7:14).

27. In this chapter we often see the Jews disconcerted, in two minds. They argue with one another over whether Jesus is the Messiah, or a prophet, or an impostor (verse 12); they do not know where He gets His wisdom from (verse 15); they are short-tempered (verses 19-20); and they are surprised by the attitudes of the Sanhedrin (verse 26). Despite the signs they have seen (miracles, teaching) they do not want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Perhaps some, thinking that He came from Nazareth and was the son of Joseph and Mary, cannot see how this fits in with the notion usually taken from Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 53:1-8) about the Messiah's origin being unknown--except for His coming from the line of David and being born in Bethlehem (cf. Matthew 2:5 which quotes Micah 5:2; cf. John 7:42). In fact Jesus did fulfill those prophetic predictions, though most Jews did not know it because they knew nothing about His virginal birth in Bethlehem or His descent from David. Others must have known that He was of the house of David and had been born in Bethlehem, but even so they did not want to accept His teaching because it demanded a mental and moral conversion which they were not ready to make.

28-29. Not without a certain irony, Jesus refers to the superficial knowledge these Jews had of Him: however, He asserts that He comes from the Father who has sent Him, whom only He knows, precisely because He is the Son of God (cf. John 1:18).

30. The Jews realized that Jesus was making Himself God's equal, which was regarded as blasphemy and, according to the Law, was something punishable by death by stoning (cf. Leviticus 24:15-16, 23).

This is not the first time St. John refers to the Jews' hostility (cf. John 5:10), nor will it be the last (8:59; 10:31-33). He stresses this hostility because it was a fact and perhaps also to show that Jesus acts freely when, to fulfill the Father's will He gives Himself over to His enemies when His "hour" arrives (cf. John 18:4-8). "He did not therefore mean an hour when He would be forced to die, but one when He would allow Himself to be put to death. For He was waiting for the time in which He should die, even as He waited for the time in which He should be born" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 31, 5).
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, March 10, 2005

Helpful Vatican Radio Links

I wasn't sure if most people knew of these but I thought I would post the links for those who like listening to broadcasts, some of which are live:

The first is One-O-Five Live (Broadcast in Rome on 105 FM (hence the name) and worldwide via satellite and the internet, One-O-Five Live takes up the communications challenge of the 21st century with a dynamic, interactive, multi-linguistic format).

The second link (related to the first) is here.

Helpful and Informative Vatican Radio Links

I wasn't sure if most people knew of these but I thought I would post the links for those who like listening to broadcasts, some of which are live:

The first is One-O-Five Live (Broadcast in Rome on 105 FM (hence the name) and worldwide via satellite and the internet, One-O-Five Live takes up the communications challenge of the 21st century with a dynamic, interactive, multi-linguistic format).

The second link (related to the first) is here.

Helpful and Informative Vatican Radio Links

I wasn't sure if most people knew of these but I thought I would post the links for those who like listening to broadcasts, some of which are live:

The first is One-O-Five Live (Broadcast in Rome on 105 FM (hence the name) and worldwide via satellite and the internet, One-O-Five Live takes up the communications challenge of the 21st century with a dynamic, interactive, multi-linguistic format).

The second link (related to the first) is here.

Helpful and Informative Vatican Radio Links

I wasn't sure if most people knew of these but I thought I would post the links for those who like listening to broadcasts, some of which are live:

The first is One-O-Five Live (Broadcast in Rome on 105 FM (hence the name) and worldwide via satellite and the internet, One-O-Five Live takes up the communications challenge of the 21st century with a dynamic, interactive, multi-linguistic format).

The second link (possibly related to the first) is here.

Mae Duggan Offers Common Sense Reasons For School Vouchers

The announcement that several Catholic schools will be closing in St. Louis demonstrates once again the need for school choice in the city. A program that includes tuition vouchers would benefit the city’s school children, help to preserve neighborhoods and make the city more competitive in attracting residents.

A school voucher program allows parents to select whichever school they believe is best for their children — whether a public, private or parochial school. This is especially helpful for low-income families. But if Catholic and other private schools continue to close in the city, educational choices and opportunities will decline even further.

Despite numerous attempts, the St. Louis Public Schools seem beyond reform. Last year, test scores found that 52 of the city’s 94 grade schools did not meet state standards....By contrast, a voucher program would allow city students to attend a school like Cardinal Ritter High School in midtown St. Louis. The school has earned high marks for academic achievement and nurturing its students. The school boasts a graduation rate of nearly 100 percent and a college-placement rate of 95 percent.

School vouchers are similar to the GI Bill...

School vouchers are really about justice and equality.

Poorly educated students mean more poverty, which means more social problems, more crime and higher costs for taxpayers.

There is no better way to fight poverty than by providing excellent educational opportunities for all our children.
More here.

How Did We Make It This Far?

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's or even the early 80's, probably shouldn't have survived as we have. Why not, some would ask.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.

Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking ....

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors!

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable!

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms.

We had friends! We went outside and found them.

We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out any eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors, again!

Tests were not adjusted for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the school or the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors, ever.

We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility - and we learned how to deal with it. And if you are one of those, then "Congratulations!"

Source: an email from a friend.

Dutch Euthanize Sick Newborns

Euthanizing terminally ill newborns, while still very rare, is more common in the Netherlands than was believed when the startling practice was reported a few months ago - and experts say it also occurs, quietly, in other countries.

Dutch doctors estimate that at least five newborn mercy killings occur for every one reported in that country, which has allowed euthanasia for competent adults since 1985.

Subject: Why Weren`t They Spared?

Dear God:

Why didn't you spare the school children at . . .
Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96
Bethel, Alaska 2/19/97
Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamps, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville, Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield, Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond, Virginia 6/15/98
Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99
Taber, Alberta, Canada 5/28/99
Conyers, Georgia 5/20/99
Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee, California 3/5/01 and
El Cajon, California 3/22/01 ?

Concerned Student


Dear Concerned Student:

I am not allowed in schools.


How did this get started, one might ask?

Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools.

And we said, OK...

Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbors as yourself,"

And we said, OK...

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem.

And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore...

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued.

And we accepted their reasoning...

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have contraception and abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents.

And we said, that's a grand idea...

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school.

And we said, that's another great idea...

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs.

And we said, it doesn't matter what anybody (including the President) does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good...

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet.

And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....

And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex... And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said, it's just entertainment and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead...


Now we're asking ourselves why many in our society have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, or classmates or even themselves.

Undoubtedly, if we thought about it long and hard enough, we could figure it out. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with... "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW!"

Source unknown

Mount Soledad Cross Must Go...

...So says the San Diego City Council.
The 16-year saga of whether the cross would stay on public land in La Jolla came to an emotional conclusion last night as the council voted 5-3 to reject a last-ditch effort to keep it in place.

But the cross now must be moved to comply with an injunction forbidding its presence on public land. Federal Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. issued the injunction in 1991, when he ruled that the cross violated the state Constitution's guarantee of separation between church and state. Thompson had left it to the city and the lawyers in the case to resolve the matter.

In the latest court decision in the case, a panel of the 9th Circuit Circus Court of Appeals ruled in 2002 that the constitutional violation still existed when it struck down the city's second attempt to sell the land to a private buyer.

The Pope to Spend Holy Week in the Vatican

VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration to journalists, concerning the Pope's health:

"The Holy Father, accepting the advice of his doctors, will extend his stay in Gemelli' Polyclinic by a few more days, in order to complete his convalescence which is progressing regularly.

"I do not expect to issue another communique before Monday, March 14."

In reply to questions from journalists, Navarro-Valls confirmed that "the Pope will spend Holy Week in the Vatican." He indicated that the Angelus this coming Sunday would "follow the same model as the two previous Sundays." Lastly, the press office director recalled that the Pope continues to receive his collaborators, "with whom he follows the activity of the Holy See and the life of the Church. Yesterday, for example, he received Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. Thus, he has resumed the meetings he customarily holds when working in the Vatican."

Eucharistic Whisperings 3/10/05

O Salutaris Hostia!

Even heaven's pure and holy spirits are not able to comprehend that which the little white Host truly is; how, then, are we poor mortals, darkened in intellect, to do so?

In order that we may understand this great mystery, God Himself must help. But still, one thing remains eternally true: that sacred Host is here for me; so I must think of it; I must try to understand this mystery as well as I ever can; and I must love it.

O my soul, spread out your wings! Soar away! Let the flame of your love flare up, O my heart! Meditate now upon that wholly host -and love it !

From Eucharistic Whisperings, The Society of the Divine Saviour, 1929

Gospel for Thursday, 4th Week of Lent

John 5:31-47

Christ Defends His Action (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [31] "If I bear witness to Myself, My testimony is not true; [32] there is another who bears witness to Me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to Me is true. [33] You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. [34] Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. [35] He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [36] But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted Me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear Me witness that the Father has sent Me. [37] And the Father who sent He has Himself borne witness to Me. His voice you have never heard, His form you have never seen; [38] and you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He has sent. [39] You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to Me; [40] yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life. [41] I do not receive glory from men. [42] But I know that you have not the love of God within you. [43] I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. [44] How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? [45] Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. [46] If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. [47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

31-40. Because Jesus is Son of God, His own word is self-sufficient, it needs no corroboration (cf. 8:18); but, as on other occasions, He accommodates Himself to human customs and to the mental outlook of His hearers: He anticipates a possible objection from the Jews to the effect that it is not enough for a person to testify in his own cause (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15) and He explains that what He is saying is endorsed by four witnesses--John the Baptist, His own miracles, the Father, and the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament.

John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God (1:34). Although Jesus had no need to have recourse to any man's testimony, not even that of a great prophet, John's testimony was given for the sake of the Jews, that they might recognize the Messiah. Jesus can also point to another testimony, better than that of the Baptist--the miracles He has worked, which are, for anyone who examines them honestly, unmistakable signs of His divine power, which comes from the Father; Jesus' miracles, then, are a form of witness the Father bears concerning His Son, whom He has sent into the world. The Father manifests the divinity of Jesus on other occasions--at His Baptism (cf. 1:31-34); at the Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:1-8), and later, in the presence of the whole crowd (cf. John 12:28-30).

Jesus speaks to another divine testimony--that of the Sacred Scriptures. These speak of Him, but the Jews fail to grasp the Scriptures' true meaning, because they read them without letting themselves be enlightened by Him whom God has sent and in whom all the prophecies are fulfilled: "The economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so orientated that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, Redeemer of all men, and of the Messianic Kingdom (cf. Luke 24:44; John 5:39, 1 Peter 1:10), and should indicate it by means of different types (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11). [...] Christians should accept with veneration these writings which give _expression to a lively sense of God, which are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 15).

41-47. Jesus identifies three obstacles preventing His hearers from recognizing that He is the Messiah and Son of God--their lack of love of God, their striving after human glory and their prejudiced interpretation of sacred texts. His defense of His own actions and of His relationship with the Father might lead His adversaries to think that He was looking for human glory. But the testimonies He has adduced (the Baptist, the miracles, the Father and the Scriptures) show clearly that it is not He who is seeking His glory, and that the Jews oppose Him not out of love of God or in defense of God's honor, but for unworthy reasons or because of their merely human outlook.

The Old Testament, therefore, leads a person towards recognizing who Jesus Christ is (cf. John 1:45; 2:17, 22; 5:39, 46; 12:16, 41); yet the Jews remain unbelievers because their attitude is wrong: they have reduced the Messianic promises in the sacred books to the level of mere nationalistic aspirations: this outlook, which is in no way supernatural, closes their soul to Jesus' words and actions and prevents them from seeing that the ancient prophecies are come true in Him (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Merciless Judge Sends Terri to Ovens

An Important Update from "Catholics in the Public Square"

Town Talk for March 9

I was a little disappointed that I didn't see any "Town Talk" entries this morning before I left for work...But the Post came through with a couple, I see this evening...
Change your ways, Burke
I think Archbishop Burke needs to get down off his high horse or ride out of town on it.
Apparently someone wasn't really thinking too clearly - How does one "get down off one's horse and then ride outta town on it?"

Seeing as this comes from the Wentzville Journal, the statement seems out of character...This was a largely rural area before the "flight" from St Louis City and County...
Comment about pope shows lack of knowledge
The comment last week about worshiping the pope and referring to him as the Holy Father obviously shows lack of knowledge about religion in the Catholic faith. No one worships him; we do respect him. When you check the words "Holy" and "Father" in the dictionary, it will give you something better to do than to run down someone's religion.
Should we assume that a dictionary is available?


St Louis' St. Patrick's Day Parade

Rory O'Hanlon, one of Ireland's most powerful leaders, will spend St. Patrick's Day at the White House, shaking hands and talking politics with the likes of President George W. Bush and Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., speaker of the House. But on Saturday, O'Hanlon will be in downtown St. Louis, leading the 36th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
O'Hanlon's weekend will include taking part in Sunday's dedication of an 18-foot Celtic High Cross - the first in St. Louis - honoring Irish immigrants here. The ceremony will follow a Mass offered by Archbishop Raymond Burke at 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Apostle Evangelist Church, 15 Plaza Square. The granite cross features elaborate carvings, knotwork, labyrinths and spirals that capture Ireland's Celtic history.

St. Patrick's Day Parade
When: Noon Saturday, March 12
Where: Market Street between Broadway and 20th Street
How much: Free
More info: 314-241-PATS or

Interview with Ottawa Canon Lawyer, Pete Vere

Catholic Church Canon Law on Catholic Politicians Who Support Gay ‘Marriage’

OTTAWA, March 9, 2005 ( – With the same-sex ‘marriage’ issue coming to the fore in Canada and the United States, the issue of Catholic politicians receiving communion while supporting such measures is increasingly being seen as a scandal that needs to be addressed by church leaders. To clarify the issue, spoke with Ottawa-based canon lawyer Pete Vere, JCL.

LSN: What is a priest to do in a parish where one of his parishioners is a politician who supports gay ‘marriage’?

Vere: The parish priest has an obligation to correct Catholic politicians who support so-called same-sex marriage. The first paragraph of canon 528 stipulates: “The parish priest has the obligation of ensureng that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety to those living in the parish. He is therefore to [...] make every effort to bring the gospel message to those also who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith.”
More at LifeSiteNews here.

Richard McBrien Speaks of Pretentious Behavior of "Catholics"

More Catholic than the pope?
Even prior to the Second Vatican Council there were Catholics who claimed to hold themselves to a higher standard of Catholic faith and practice than the rest of the church. However, they were usually dismissed by fellow Catholics for presuming to be "more Catholic than the pope."

Although we are now almost 40 years after the council's final adjournment in December 1965, that form of pretentious behavior has not died out. In fact, the attitude seems to have made something of a comeback in recent years. There are Catholics today --- some of them recent "converts" from various Protestant denominations and even from Judaism --- who think of themselves as better Catholics than most others.
This reads as if he is using the "playbook" from the National unCatholic Reporter...showing his hostility to "Converts" to Catholicism (presumably those on fire for their faith)...none of the well known "converts" that I've seen or heard have ever presented themselves as "better Catholics" - concerned, yes - particularly about the abysmal state of catechesis in recent decades, but "better than most"? I think not.
Unaware of, or perhaps simply indifferent to, their own lack of theological sophistication, they confidently repeat one-liners --- Rodney Dangerfield-style --- from the old Baltimore Catechism or its equivalent on such diverse topics as papal infallibility, capital punishment, just war and sexual morality.
"Lack of theological sophistication"? Of course, no one could possibly be as "theologically sophisticated" as McBrien who has done more damage to the Church in the US than most "theologians". If Fr. John Hardon is to be believed, and I have no reason to doubt him and every reason to believe him, he stated that he had refuted McBrien's heresies in the past. It's shameful that few address them today.

All of the "issues" which McBrien addresses above, "papal infallibility, capital punishment, just war and sexual morality," are, of course, topics about which the Church is confused. And equally confused are those, lacking the requisite "theological sophistication", who are guided by the Magisterium and hold to and give assent to the teachings of the Church. Those of us who adhere to the Church's teachings, therefore, must be complete dolts - based on McBrien's flawless perspective.

One should notice also the "love" he must feel for the new Catechism when he states, "the old Baltimore Catechism or its equivalent". I suppose that if it is not his "catechism", it must be in error and incomplete.

He continues his rant condemning Alan Keyes for the position he took with his daughter although he does state that, he [Alan Keyes] also said that if his own daughter were a lesbian, he would characterize her in the same way [a selfish hedonist], tell her that she was in sin, and urge her to pray to God to "help her deal with that sin."

I suppose those comments are not "Catholic"...McBrien, evidently, prefers that we confirm others in their sins and praise them when they continue to head away from God? This man is a cancer within the Church!

Tidings article (what else?).

Portuguese Priest Denys Communion to Anti-Life Leaders

Lisbon, Mar. 09, 2005 (CNA) - A Franciscan priest in Portugal has caused a stir throughout the media for his refusal to give Communion to public officials who claim to be Catholic but support abortion and other attacks on human life.

Father Nuno Serras Pereira responded to the media uproar with a letter published in a Lisbon newspaper in which he argued that his decision was based on the Magisterium of the Church and on Canon Law, which teach that priests, in fidelity to the norms of the Church, are not allowed to give Holy Communion “to those Catholics who stubbornly and manifestly persist in defending, contributing to, or promoting the death of innocent human beings.”

More here.

Why God Made Moms...

Enjoy the answers given by elementary school age children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of them when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel-hair and everything nice in the world, and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string. I think.

Why did God give you your Mother and not some other Mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?
1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?
1. His last name
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your Dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because Dad's such a goofball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than Dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just got to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1 She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.

(Thanks to Frank for the Email.)

Thousands of Emails for the Holy Father

VATICAN CITY - He presides over an organization with two millennia of history, but Pope John Paul II is like anyone who's been away from the office for a while: His e-mail is piling up.

The Vatican says it has logged more than 10,000 e-mails in English alone for the pope, who is recovering in a Rome hospital from throat surgery to ease his second breathing crisis in a month.

More than 6,000 e-mails in Spanish have streamed into the pope's inbox, along with thousands of others in various languages, the Vatican said.

Charles Schumer Displays His Hatred for the Pro-Life Cause

There are many people whose actions I find so abhorrent and so disgustingly repulsive because they walk hand-in-hand with Satan himself, and do his bidding with such pleasure and glee. Charles Schumer is one of those people. I must admit that I do find it extremely difficult, at times, to pray for them. I understand completely that it is only by God's grace, that these hardened hearts will be converted. And it is by His grace that my hardened heart will also be converted. May He grant me the graces necessary to increase my charity for these people so that I may pray for their conversions. May God protect me from my lapses in charity when dealing with people. May the Lord permit me to conform my will to His will.
A controversial amendment to federal bankruptcy legislation that would have punished pro-life protesters was defeated handily in the U.S. Senate today.

The measure, courtesy of Sen. Charles Schumer, marked the second time in the past two sessions of Congress that the liberal Democrat failed in his efforts to use an important bankruptcy bill to make an example of those who oppose abortion.

Schumer called his proposed changes to S.256 "what America is all about." What those changes would have done is prohibited bankruptcy in the case of "violent abortion protestors"; the definition of violent, however, was missing and no other "violent" protestors are mentioned.

The final vote was 53-46.
More here.

Homosexual Groups Unite to Push Agenda

AgapePress) - For those who ridicule the whole notion of a homosexual "agenda," a recent press release from a new coalition of lesbian, "gay," bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) groups was unwelcome news.

In a joint statement released January 13, an alliance of 22 organizations spoke of a "shared vision," which includes the legalization of same-sex marriage, the continuation of promotional efforts throughout the nation's public school systems, the inclusion of "sexual orientation" in federal hate crimes and nondiscrimination laws, and an end to the ban on homosexuals in the military.
More of Article here.

Cincinnati Abuse Compensation Panel Distributes $3.2 million

CINCINNATI - Checks totaling $3.2 million have been mailed out to 117 people who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests, emptying a compensation fund the Archdiocese of Cincinnati created to help end a prosecutor's investigation.

An independent three-member panel created to administer the fund closed its work by mailing the checks Tuesday across the 19-county, southwestern Ohio archdiocese. The amount disbursed represents $3 million used to establish the fund in 2003 plus $200,000 in interest it had generated since then.

Advocates for victims of clergy abuse criticized the Cincinnati archdiocese for not creating a bigger fund, and for requiring that people drop lawsuits against the church in order to participate.

"I think that fund was inadequate. It was put together without input from victims," said Mike Knellinger, co-founder of the Dayton chapter of the Voice of the Faithful, an activist group within the Catholic Church.

Vatican delegate spells out new threats to women's dignity

Professor Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, spoke to the Economic and Social Council Commission on the Status of Women in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, known as 'Beijing+10'.

Professor Glendon specified the problem of "the changing age structure of the world's populations. The combination of greater longevity, falling birth-rates, rising costs of health care, and shortage of care-takers is already giving rise to tensions between younger and older generations."

Pope makes surprise appearance at window

USCCB Hails U.N. Declaration Against All Forms of Human Cloning

“The UN’s new declaration against all forms of human cloning is a powerful statement in favor of the dignity and inviolability of human life,” said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “And it provides no support for so-called ‘therapeutic cloning’ which treats human life as a commodity to be created for experimentation.”

Gospel for Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent

From: John 5:17-30

The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool at Bethzatha (Continuation)

[17] But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working still, and I am working." [18] This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but also called God His Father, making Himself equal with God.

Christ Defends His Action

[19] Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing; for whatever He does, that the Son does likewise. [20] For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. [21] For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will. [22] The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, [23] that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

[25] "Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. [26] For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself, [27] and has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. [28] Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [29] and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

[30] "I can do nothing on My own authority; as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me."

17-18. "My Father is working still, and I am working": we have already said that God is continually acting. Since the Son acts together with the Father, who with the Holy Spirit are the one and only God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can say that He is always working. These words of Jesus contain an implicit reference to His divinity: the Jews realize this and they want to kill Him because they consider it blasphemous. "We all call God our Father, who is in Heaven (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8). Therefore, they were angry, not at this, that He said God was His Father, but that He said it in quite another way than men. Notice: the Jews understand what Arians do not understand. Arians affirm the Son to be not equal to the Father, and that was why this heresy was driven from the Church. Here, even the blind, even the slayers of Christ, understand the works of Christ" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 17, 16). We call God our Father because through grace we are His adopted children; Jesus calls Him His Father because He is His Son by nature. This is why He says after the Resurrection: "I am ascending to My Father and your Father" (John 20:17), making a clear distinction between the two ways of being a son of God.

19. Jesus speaks of the equality and also the distinction between Father and Son. The two are equal: all the Son's power is the Father's, all the Son does the Father does; but they are two distinct persons: which is why the Son does what He has seen the Father do.

These words of our Lord should not be taken to mean that the Son sees what the Father does and then does it Himself, like a disciple imitating his master; He says what He says to show that the Father's powers are communicated to the Son through generation. The word "see" is used because men come to know things through the senses, particularly through the sight; to say that the Son sees what the Father does is a way of referring to all the powers which He receives from Him for all eternity (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Comm. on St. John, in loc.").

20-21. When He says that the Father shows the Son "all that He Himself is doing", this means that Christ can do the same as the Father. Thus, when Jesus does things which are proper to God, He is testifying to His divinity through them (cf. John 5:36).

"Greater works": this may be a reference to the miracles Jesus will work during His lifetime and to His authority to execute judgment. But THE miracle of Jesus was His own resurrection, the cause and pledge of our own (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20ff), and our passport to supernatural life. Christ, like His Father, has unlimited power to communicate life. This teaching is developed in verses 22-29.

22-30. Authority to judge has also been given by the Father to the Incarnate Word. Whoever does not believe in Christ and in His word will be condemned (cf. 3:18). We must accept Jesus Christ's lordship; by doing so we honor the Father; if we do not know the Son we do not know the Father who sent Him (verse 23). Through accepting Christ, through accepting His word, we gain eternal life and are freed from condemnation. He, who has taken on human nature which He will retain forever, has been established as our judge, and His judgment is just, because He seeks to fulfill the Will of the Father who sent Him, and He does nothing on His own account: in other words, His human will is perfectly at one with His divine will; which is why Jesus can say that He does not do His own will but the Will of Him who sent Him.

22. God, being the Creator of the world, is the supreme Judge of all creation. He alone can know with absolute certainty whether the people and things He has created achieve the end He has envisaged for them. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, has received divine authority (cf. Matthew 11:27; 28:18; Daniel 7:14), including the authority to judge mankind. Now, it is God's will that everyone should be saved: Christ did not come to condemn the world but to save it (cf. John 12:47). Only someone who refuses to accept the divine mission of the Son puts himself outside the pale of salvation. As the Church's Magisterium teaches: "He claimed judicial power as received from His Father, when the Jews accused Him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. [...] In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men, even in this life" (Pius XI, "Quas Primas, Dz-Sch 3677"). Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Judge of the living and the dead, and will reward everyone according to his works (cf. 1 Peter 1:17).

"We have, I admit, a rigorous account to give of our sins; but who will be our judge? The Father [...] has given all judgment to the Son. Let us be comforted: the eternal Father has placed our cause in the hands of our Redeemer Himself. St. Paul encourages us, saying, Who is [the judge] who is to condemn us? It is Jesus Christ, who died [...] who indeed intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). It is the Savior Himself, who, in order that He should not condemn us to eternal death, has condemned Himself to death for our sake, and who, not content with this, still continues to intercede for us in Heaven with God His Father" (St. Alphonsus Liguori, "The Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ Reduced To Practice", Chapter 3).

24. There is also a close connection between hearing the word of Christ and believing in Him who sent Him, that is, in the Father. Whatever Jesus Christ says is divine revelation; therefore, accepting Jesus' words is equivalent to believing in God the Father: "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me.... For I have not spoken on My own authority; the Father who sent Me has Himself given Me the commandment what to say and what to speak" (John 12:44, 49).

A person with faith is on the way to eternal life, because even in this earthly life he is sharing in divine life, which is eternal; but he has not yet attained eternal life in a definitive way (for he can lose it), nor in a full way: "Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him" (1 John 3:2). If a person stays firm in the faith and lives up to its demands, God's judgment will not condemn him but save him.

Therefore, it makes sense to strive, with the help of grace, to live a life consistent with the faith: "If men go to so much trouble and effort to live here a little longer, ought they not strive so much harder to live eternally?" (St. Augustine, "De Verb. Dom. Serm.", 64).

25-30. These verse bring the first part of our Lord's discourse to a close (it runs from 5:19 to 5:47); its core is a revelation about His relationship with His Father. To understand the statement our Lord makes here we need to remember that, because He is a single (divine) person, a single subject of operations, a single I, He is expressing in human words not only His sentiments as a man but also the deepest dimension of His being: He is the Son of God, both in His generation in eternity by the Father, and in His generation in time through taking up human nature. Hence Jesus Christ has a profound awareness (so profound that we cannot even imagine it) of His Sonship, which leads Him to treat His Father with a very special intimacy, with love and also with respect; He is aware also of His equality with the Father; therefore when He speaks about the Father having given Him life (verse 26) or authority (verse 27), it is not that He has received part of the Father's life or authority: He has received absolutely all of it, without the Father losing any.

"Do you perceive how their equality is shown and that they differ in one respect only, namely, that one is the Father, while the other is the Son? The _expression `He has given' implies this distinction only, and shows that all other attributes are equal and without difference. From this it is clear that He does everything with as much authority and power as the Father and is not endowed with power from some outside source, for He has life as the Father has" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 39, 3).

One of the amazing things about these passages of the Gospel is how Jesus manages to express the sentiments of God-Man despite the limitations of human language: Christ, true God, true man, is a mystery which the Christian should contemplate even though he cannot understand it: he feels bathed in a light so strong that it is beyond understanding, yet fills his soul with faith and with a desire to worship his Lord.
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, March 08, 2005

Bishop Listecki Starts Three-Part Mission in La Crosse

Bishop Jerome Listecki of the Diocese of La Crosse plans to spend a lot of time on the road during the next few months as he gets to know the people and places of the sprawling 19-county, largely rural diocese

"It will take me time to adjust. My first priority will be getting to know the diocese," Listecki said in an interview Wednesday, his first day on the job after being installed as bishop on Tuesday in Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman.

Marijuana-flavored candy?

Tampa, Florida - Many parents worry about the sugar and fat found in candy, now there's a new concern.

From the flavor down to the packaging parents worry this candy may lead kids to drugs. It's called Chronic Candy and it comes in lollipops, gum drops even chocolate.

Judge Greer supported by St. Petersburg diocese law firm

Although the Roman Catholic Church opposes euthanasia, the Florida law firm representing the St. Petersburg and Venice diocese contributed to the reelection campaign of Sixth Circuit Court judge George W. Greer, the judge at the core of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case who has religiously and judiciously supported the efforts of euthanasia advocate George Felos and his client, Michael Schiavo to end the brain damaged woman’s life by starvation.

Both of two major components of today’s culture and society, religion and politics, have melded into one in the Schiavo case with one common denominator----George W. Greer.

The Justice Coalition of Jacksonville has joined with the parents of Terri Schiavo, Mary and Robert Schindler Sr., in asking that Florida’s Gov. Jeb Bush immediately appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the case and requested that Charlie Crist, Florida’s Attorney General, immediately initiate a civil rights investigation.

Greer has ordered that Terri’s estranged husband and guardian remove her feeding tube at 1 p.m. on March 18. Although the courts are charged with finding the truth, Greer has steadfastly resisted all efforts to initiate an investigation into the alleged abuse of Terri Schiavo including the mysterious circumstances surrounding her injuries which occurred on Feb. 25, 1990, and allegations of abuse and neglect of Terri by Michael Schiavo which have allegedly been ongoing.


The UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration today calling on nations to enact legislation to `'prohibit all forms of human cloning." By a vote of 84 to 34, the Declaration received more support in the General Assembly than when it passed in the 6th Committee two weeks ago. The measure sets an international standard that humans should not be created through cloning for any purpose, placing human life as a priority over scientific experimentation.

The decision ends over three years of deadlock caused by countries seeking approval for cloning research. Belgium, the United Kingdom, Singapore and other countries that hope to profit from cloning humans opposed a total ban, and declared they would defy the international moral agreement.

The topic was originally introduced at the UN by pro-cloning countries to gain implicit international approval for so-called "therapeutic cloning" (creating human clones to experiment upon and kill). In 2002, these countries requested that a treaty be drafted to ban only so-called "reproductive cloning." The countries insisted that human clones are for research only and should not be allowed to survive.

The media asks, "Will the Archbishop then begin mediation?"

In a conversation with a person who is "plugged in" to both sides of the St. Stanislaus controversy, I am led to understand that:
...this friendly retired archbishop who is proposing some sort 'mediation', was handed substantial cash gifts, presumably to be given to the Vatican, with the promise of even more at some later time.

These gifts were also made, it appears, coincident with the appeal to the Holy See by which intervention was sought regarding Archbishop Burke's directives and policies of late last year.

Further, it appears that the Board informed parishioners of their altruistic generosity after the gifts were handed over.

If the Holy See was seeking some sort of "mediation", certainly it would have notified Archbishop Burke, rather than the board or others at St. Stanislaus, especially given the fact that prior directives from the Holy See were unheeded and ignored.

And one is curious to know where this process of mediation is in Canon Law?
So many questions to ponder....Will PolishSTL come back and join us and provide some explanation? How much was donated to the Holy See? Was there a designated purpose attached to the donation?

BTW, there is a new link of articles being posted for the support of disobedience. Here is an example:
An archbishop in Rome is pushing for a mediator to help settle the stalemate between the St. Stanislaus Church and the archdiocese, church members said Sunday. The Polish parish received the news in a letter written in response to their fight to maintain control of the finances of the church.

Church members marched in front of the New Cathedral Sunday to protest the archbishop's actions against the congregation.

The archbishop was not saying mass in the cathedral at the time.
His spokesman refused to comment on the protest. [all emphasis mine]

Copyright © 2005, KMOV-TV
Let's see,
Stalemate...caused by whom?

in response to their fight to maintain defiance of the Holy See and Archbishop.

Church members effect, to praise each other for willfully defying the Church. Kinda gives one goose bumps all over, doesn't it?

KMOV wrote the report. It seems that it captured most of the key words perfectly...

To send your comments in support of Archbishop Burke and the faithful Polish Catholics, visit and click on Send a comment...Perform a spiritual work of mercy!

For a Smile: God, Adam & Eve, and Children

From an email:
This is well worth reading, especially if you have children or have raised a teenager!

To those of us who have children in our lives, whether they are our own, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or is something which might make you chuckle.

Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's own children are often "out of control", as well.

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was "DON'T!"

"Don't what?" Adam replied.

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said.

"Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve...we have forbidden fruit!!!!!"

"No Way!"

"Yes way!"

"Do NOT eat the fruit!" said God.


"Because I am your Father and I said so!" God replied, wondering why He hadn't stopped creation after making the elephants. A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked!

"Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" God asked.

"Uh huh," Adam replied.

"Then why did you?" said the Father.

"I don't know," said Eve.

"She started it!" Adam said

"Did not!"

"Did too!"


Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.


If you have persistently and lovingly tried to impart wisdom to your children and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?


1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.

3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.

4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.

5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more troublesome than your own.

6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.

Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day.



Federal Court: Open Bible in Public Display Violates Constitution

Thomas More Law Center Enters Legal Battle
ANN ARBOR, MI – A federal judge has ordered an open Bible contained in a four-foot tall privately donated display in Harris County, Texas, removed because it violates the United States Constitution. The nearly 50-year old display was designed and erected by the Star of Hope Mission, a Houston-based Christian charity in memory of the late William Mosher, who had been an active member and longtime supporter of the homeless Mission.

In 2004, Houston resident Kay Staley filed a federal lawsuit to have the Bible removed from the display claiming the inclusion of the Bible violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. A federal district court judge agreed with Staley and ordered the Bible removed.

Harris County has now appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and at the county’s request, the Thomas More Law Center has filed a friend of the court brief in support of the open Bible display and the county’s legal position.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center commented, “This is another example of the hostility toward Christians exhibited by many federal courts.”

Staley confirmed her own hostility toward Christian displays in an interview last August following the court’s ruling, “There are a lot of these Ten Commandments/Bibles in a lot of places and they need to be removed.” As a result of her actions, the Houston Atheist Society gave Staley the “Activist of the Year” award.

Edward L. White III, Trial Counsel with the Thomas More Law Center who authored the brief explained, “The district court totally ignored the argument that this Memorial reflects the private speech of a private organization. The memorial to William Mosher is clearly the private speech of the Star of Hope Mission. The Fifth Circuit must now reverse the lower court decision and allow this memorial to remain.”

The Star of Hope Mission erected the memorial display in 1956 to honor the service of William Mosher, a man committed to serving the homeless. The Mission included the Bible in the display to convey that Mosher was a Christian and “Godly man” who helped others.
From an email from the Thomas More Law Center

Archdiocese of Sidney Bans US "Theologian"

A "goddess spirituality theologian", that is...And professed "Catholics" are decrying that this is "Censorship"!
The banning of feminist theologian Dr Carol Christ from speaking in the Archdiocese of Sydney is just censorship, Sydney academic Dr Kathleen McPhillips said yesterday. Dr McPhillips is a member of the Australian Feminist Theology Foundation, the group sponsoring the visit.

"This kind of censorship indicates just how repressive life is for Catholics in Sydney," said Dr McPhillips. "Feminism continues to be a dangerous discourse."

US theologian Dr Carol Christ has been banned from speaking on Church land in the Archdiocese of Sydney. Dr Christ, who was to speak at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield on Saturday, is to lecture in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra. Santa Sabina was the venue for another famous feminist theologian, Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza, who in 1995 spoke there without comment.

Speaking with Online Catholics from Brisbane, Dr Christ said that "perhaps some in the Church are afraid that if people hear what I have to say, they will be attracted to it," she said.
Of course, there will always be some who are attracted to the darkness, away from our Lord.
Asked what she would say to those who would stop her speaking, Dr Christ said yesterday, " The essence of religion is the quest for truth. Each of us may have some truth, but not all. If truth can be spoken about, it should be heard; from different positions then, we may all learn.

"Some religious leaders do not want to accept that their truth is necessarily partial. Heartfelt, undoubtedly, but incomplete. "There should be no fear of another's truth," Dr Christ said.
As Pontius Pilate asked our Lord, "Truth? What is Truth?"
These people have no truth within them. They have rejected the One Who is Truth, for an idol of their own making.

Source (requires registration)

Ed Peter's Canon Law Blog Updated 3/8/05

If you missed H. W. Crocker III’s attack on NFP in the December ‘04 Crisis (yes, Crisis), please do NOT go read it on my account. But if you saw it, and would appreciate some short canonical replies to his caricatures, check out my

Thermodynamics of Hell

Perhaps someone from Kenrick or elsewhere could respond?

Anyway, this is from an e-mail I received some time ago...Enjoy.
The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid term. The answer by one student was "so profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law, (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time.
So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa Morrison, during my freshman year, "...that it will be a cold day in Hell before I go out with you," and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in persuading her, then #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and will not freeze.

The student received the only "A" given.

Mel Gibson Refunds ‘Passion’ Previewers

Actor/director Mel Gibson's latest demonstration of generosity and fair play is another lesson Hollywood – and much of America - ought to learn.

His production company, Icon, is sending out checks to scores of church groups who were charged an extra fee to preview his blockbuster film "The Passion of the Christ" before it hit theaters last year.

...Icon says Regal Entertainment Group, the movie theater company that provided the screenings, charged a $500 "worship fee" to hundreds of the church groups.
Still, Icon says, the company "was shocked and disappointed that this additional fee (which was never reported to us) was being charged to faith-based organizations," according to a letter sent to hundreds of church groups and reviewed by the Journal.

Archbishop Flynn to Make Appearance at Latin Mass

I must have missed this over the weekend. The headline said he was to "Appear at Latin Mass" which sounded a little strange...
Archbishop Harry Flynn will make a rare appearance Sunday at South St. Paul's weekly Tridentine Mass, a Roman Catholic liturgy that dates to the 1500s and is now celebrated in limited parishes with Vatican approval.

"This was the normative Mass of the church from the 1500s all the way through the 1960s with Vatican II," said the Rev. Joseph Johnson of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. "Since the late '60s, it has been very rare that locally we have had a bishop participate in this Mass in some way."

The Tridentine Mass is celebrated in Latin at 11:30 a.m. each Sunday at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in South St. Paul. The Rev. John Echert will be this Sunday's celebrant; Flynn will participate and preach.

Boston Archdiocese, Insurer Settle Claims

BOSTON (AP) - The Archdiocese of Boston has settled with one of its former insurance carriers over claims related to lawsuits from alleged clergy abuse victims.

The archdiocese and Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company filed notice of the settlement, dated Feb. 9, in federal court Monday, stating all of the church's claims against the insurer would be dismissed.

The archdiocese sued Lumbermens in March 2004 for alleged fraud and breach of contract after the company refused to pay for more than $59 million in claims. Lumbermens countersued, arguing the church owed the company money.

Lumbermens, the lead underwriter of Kemper Insurance Cos. group, paid the archdiocese $20 million last week after the church finance council approved the settlement, according to two sources familiar with the agreement who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Calendar of Vatican Holy Week Liturgical Celebrations

VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2005 (VIS) - Given below is the program of liturgical celebrations for Holy Week, published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. This year the ceremonies will be presided by various cardinals.

SUNDAY, March 20: Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord, 20th World Youth Day on the theme "We have come to adore Him." The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square with the blessing of palms and olive branches. It will be presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome. This will be followed by a procession and the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Passion.

THURSDAY, March 24: Holy Thursday. In St. Peter's Basilica at 9:30 a.m., Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, will preside at the concelebration of the Chrism Mass and blessing of the holy oils with cardinals, bishops, and diocesan and religious priests present in Rome, as a sign of the close union between the pastor of the universal Church and his brothers in the priestly ministry. The Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection will begin in St. Peter's Basilica at 5:30 p.m. with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Cardinals, bishops and priests are invited to concelebrate Mass, presided by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. After the homily, the rite of the washing of the feet of 12 priests will take place. During this rite, those present will be invited to give alms for the people of Venezuela, hit by devastating floods in the month of February. The sum collected will be given to the Holy Father. At the end of the celebration the Blessed Sacrament will be transferred to the chapel of reposition.

FRIDAY, March 25: Good Friday. In St. Peter's Basilica at 5 p.m., Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary, will preside at the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. The celebration will be divided into three moments: Liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the Cross, and Eucharistic communion. The Stations of the Cross will take place at the Colosseum at 9:15 p.m. After the traditional 14 stations, the ceremony will conclude on Rome's Palatine hill.

SATURDAY, March 26: At 8 p.m. the Easter Vigil, presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will begin with the blessing of the new fire in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica. After the entrance procession with the Easter candle and the singing of the "Exsultet," the liturgies of the Word, of Baptism and of the Eucharist, will be concelebrated by the cardinals.

SUNDAY, March 27: Easter Sunday. At 10:30 a.m., Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square. After the celebration, at midday, the Holy Father will impart the "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the city and the world") blessing.

The exorcist revisited the echoes of 'wild, diabolical laughter' ...

...recall the St. Louis U. exorcism of 1949
This story was originally published April 17, 1988

EXORCIZO, te, immundissime spiritus, omnis incursio adversarii, omne phantasma, omnis legio. (I cast thee out, thou unclean spirit, along with the least encroachment of the wicked enemy, and every phantom and diabolical legion.)
- From the Roman Ritual of the Catholic Church, its Rite of Exorcism

One night almost 40 years ago, when Verhagen Hall at St. Louis University was a residence for Jesuits, a priest just back from a year of study at Harvard University heard a diabolical laugh that froze his blood.
Complete article here.

A Reasoned Response to Alderman Tom Villa's Letter

Parish closings

In his March 5 letter, state Rep. Tom Villa called upon the Archdiocese of St. Louis to "renew its commitment to the city of St. Louis." How?

When the state needs money, it takes it from citizens by law. The archdiocese is dependent upon contributions. It is unreasonable to think that the archdiocese can maintain parishes in which Catholic population density and contributions are insufficient to support them.

The inability or unwillingness of succeeding generations to live within the boundaries of their forebears' parishes is the problem. Why call upon the archdiocese to fix a problem it did not create and for which Villa himself has proposed no solution?

Edward A. Rohde
St. Louis

Vatican official seeks mediator in St. Stanislaus dispute

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A Polish archbishop at the Vatican is intervening to try and resolve a dispute between a Polish parish and the St. Louis archdiocese, parish members said Monday.

Archbishop Szczepan Wesoly (pronounced SCHEP'-ahn Vee-uh-SO'-wee) expressed his support in a letter in Polish dated March 4 to the board of directors at St. Stanislaus Kostka parish.
It is my understanding that Archbishop Wesoly, who is retired, is not at the Vatican but is Auxiliary Bishop of Gniezno, Poland. (source).

One wonders if this is not more propaganda coming from the Board and spokesman Richard Bach, especially seeing how little news coverage was generated by the protest march at the Cathedral this past Sunday.
"Precisely this year a bishop prohibits the participation in the sacraments, over a dispute in material matters rather than in spiritual ones," according to a translation of Wesoly's letter provided by St. Stanislaus member Richard Bach. "The Easter season is approaching and everything should be done to promote participation in the sacraments."
Bach apparently cannot grasp the fact that the board members have deliberately incurred the penalty of interdict of their own volition. Nor does he seem able to grasp the fact that humble obedience would resolve the situation. Just as our Lord was obedient to his human parents, Mary and Joseph, so should the board and all the rebelling parishioners be obedient to the Archbishop.
Archdiocese spokesman Jamie Allman said Archbishop Raymond Burke "has always been open to resolving this," but that formal mediation is not an option when canon law is in dispute.
Of course, the board wants exceptions to all the rules, because, it seems, they are special or better than all other parishes...


Kasper and Kolvenbach, Converts to the Neocon Way

The former is a theologian and cardinal, the latter is superior general of the Jesuits; both have the reputation of being progressivist. But their most recent declarations are a cold shower for the Church's left wing. The effect of the conclave.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Tuesday, 4th Week of Lent

John 5:1-16

The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool at Bethzatha

[1] After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [2] Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. [3] In these lay a multitude of invalid, blind, lame, paralyzed. [5] One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. [6] When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there for a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" [7] The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me." [8] Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk." [9] And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. [10] So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet." [11] But he answered them, "The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.'" [12] They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk'?" [13] Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. [14] Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you." [15] The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. [16] And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because He did this on the Sabbath.

1. We cannot be certain what festival this was; it probably refers to the Passover, known the world over at the time as the national festival of the Jewish people. But it could refer to another festival, Pentecost, perhaps.

2. This pool was also called the "Probatic" pool because it was located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, beside the Probatic Gate or Sheep Gate (cf. Nehemiah 3:1-32; 12:39) through which came the livestock which was going to be sacrificed in the temple. Around the end of the nineteenth century the remains of a pool were discovered: excavated out of rock, it was rectangular in shape and was surrounded by four galleries or porches, with a fifth porch dividing the pool into two.

3-4. The Fathers teach that this pool is a symbol of Christian Baptism; but that whereas the pool of Bethzatha cured physical ailments, Baptism cures those of the soul; in Bethzatha's case only one person was cured, now and again; shown through the medium of water (cf. Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 36, 1).

The Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate includes here, as a second part of verse 3 and all of verse 4: "waiting for the moving of the water; [4] For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water' whoever stepped in first after the troubling of the water was healed of whatever disease he had." The New Vulgate, however, omits this passage, assigning it to a footnote, because it does not appear in important Greek codexes and papyri, nor in many ancient translations.

14. The man may have come to the temple to thank God for his cure. Jesus goes over to him and reminds him that the health of the soul is more important than physical health.

Our Lord uses holy fear of God as motivation in the struggle against sin: "Sin no more, that nothing worse may befall you". This holy fear is born out of respect for God our Father; it is perfectly compatible with love. Just as children love and respect their parents and try to avoid annoying them partly because they are afraid of being punished, so we should fight against sin firstly because it is an offense against God, but also because we can be punished in this life and, above all, in the next.

16-18. The Law of Moses established the Sabbath as a weekly day of rest. Through keeping the Sabbath the Jews felt they were imitating God, who rested from the work of creation on the seventh day. St. Thomas Aquinas observes that Jesus rejects this strict interpretation: (The Jews), in their desire to imitate God, did nothing on the Sabbath, as if God on that day had ceased absolutely to act. It is true that He rested on the Sabbath from His work of creating new creatures, but He is always continually at work, maintaining them in existence. [...] God is the cause of all things in the sense that He also maintains them in existence; for if for one moment He were to stop exercising His power, at that very moment everything that nature contains would cease to exist" ("Comm. on St. John, in loc.").

"My Father is working still, and I am working": we have already said that God is continually acting. Since the Son acts together with the Father, who with the Holy Spirit are the one and only God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can say that He is always working. These words of Jesus contain an implicit reference to His divinity: the Jews realize this and they want to kill Him because they consider it blasphemous. "We all call God our Father, who is in Heaven (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8). Therefore, they were angry, not at this, that He said God was His Father, but that He said it in quite another way than men. Notice: the Jews understand what Arians do not understand. Arians affirm the Son to be not equal to the Father, and that was why this heresy was driven from the Church. Here, even the blind, even the slayers of Christ, understand the works of Christ" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 17, 16). We call God our Father because through grace we are His adopted children; Jesus calls Him His Father because He is His Son by nature. This is why He says after the Resurrection: "I am ascending to My Father and your Father" (John 20:17), making a clear distinction between the two ways of being a son of 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.