Saturday, April 09, 2005

Burial Pictures from L'Osservatore Romano

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the zinc coffin is placed inside the third and last coffin prior to the burial in the grottos beneath St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 8, 2005. The body late Pope John Paul II is placed inside three coffins encased within each other. After the funeral, the first wooden coffin will be placed in a zinc coffin, which will in turn be placed in a massive wooden casket. The zinc coffin and wooden casket are meant to slow down the decomposition process. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the wooden casket is lowered in the grave inside the grottos beneath St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 8, 2005. The body late Pope John Paul II is placed inside three coffins encased within each other. After the funeral, the first wooden coffin is placed in a zinc coffin, which in turn is placed in a massive wooden casket. The zinc coffin and wooden casket are meant to slow down the decomposition process. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the wooden casket is seen inside the grave in the grottos beneath St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 8, 2005. The body late Pope John Paul II is placed inside three coffins encased within each other. After the funeral, the first wooden coffin is placed in a zinc coffin, which in turn is placed in a massive wooden casket. The zinc coffin and wooden casket are meant to slow down the decomposition process. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)

Local Reactions to Pope's Funeral Mass

Here are thoughts of some of the people who watched the funeral Mass live beginning at 3 a.m. St. Louis time on Friday.

Gospel for Saturday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 6:16-21

Jesus Walks on the Water

[16] When evening came, His (Jesus') disciples went down to the sea, [17] got into the boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. [18] The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. [19] When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, [20] but He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." [21] Then they were glad to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

16-21. It seems the disciples were disconcerted because darkness had fallen, the sea was getting rough and Jesus had still not appeared. But our Lord does not abandon them; when they had been rowing for some five kilometers (three miles), He arrives unexpectedly, walking on the water--to strengthen their faith, which was still weak.

In meditating on this episode Christian tradition has seen the boat as symbolizing the Church, which will have to cope with many difficulties and which our Lord has promised to help all through the centuries (cf. Matthew 28:20); the Church, therefore, will always remain firm. St. Thomas Aquinas comments: "The wind symbolizes the temptations and persecution the Church will suffer due to lack of love. For, as St. Augustine says, when love grows cold, the sea become rougher and the boat begins to founder. Yet the wind, the storm, the waves and the darkness will fail to put it off course and wreck it" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc.").
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Friday, April 08, 2005

Monthly Solidarity Mass this Sunday

The Polish Apostolate of the St. Louis Archdiocese will hold its monthly Mass of Solidarity at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 10, at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Church, 15 Plaza Square in Downtown St. Louis. The Mass, in Polish and English, is open to all and meant to show support for Archbishop Raymond L. Burke. Call (314) 749-7179 for more information.

Eucharistic Whisperings, April 8

Come, O Jesus, Come!

My suffering heart invites You, awaits you. O come and make it happy! You alone are my joy, my bliss, my love – come!

O my Jesus, give me this Body of Yours, this Body which the Holy Ghost so wonderfully formed in the virginal womb of Your Mother Mary, this Body which was so often weary for my sake, which suffered for me, died for me.

Give me, O Jesus, this Your Precious Blood, the Blood which You shed for me even in Your tenderest infancy, the Blood which deep sorrow and the agony of death forced from Your sacred pores in the Garden of Olives, which You offered for me to the very last drop in the scourging at the pillar and upon the cruel cross.

Give me this Soul, so beautiful, so holy; yes; give me the very Soul that was ever full of loving thought for me, full of attentions, full of anxiety and care.

O give me this Divinity, which has loved me with an eternal love; which has made my soul to its image and likeness, in order that it may look upon me with heavenly complacency; which has clothed me in the rich robes of its grace!

My Jesus, is it not truly so? You are here in this tiny Host wholly and entirely for me; You have given me the right to receive You, to possess You. . . . . So come, O my loving Jesus, enter into my heart!

O Jesus, come, prepare a dwelling place for Yourself within me! Or can it be that my soul does not please You more than does the tabernacle? There You are enclosed by wood, or by stone and marble - things that are as cold as ice. . . . . And my heart? . . . . . It has at least one little spark of love.

This ciborium is but of silver; and its brightness has almost faded away. But I would fain surround You with all the glory and splendor of some dear virtue, were it only the burning desire to love You!

This little sanctuary lamp has such a weak and flickering flame. Come; gladly would I be to You a blazing fire of love!
This altar is only a wayside inn upon Your Eucharistic wanderings. . . . Your journey's destination - the journey You have undertaken out of purest love--O, its destination am I! So come, O Jesus, and pay the longed-for visit to me!

* * *

Lord Jesus, come! Do You not know, I have so much to tell You; so much to ask Your pardon for; so many graces to beg of You; so much care and sorrow to confide to You?

I am sick and tired of the world; I can stand it no longer. I must spend -a short hour with You; I must rest. You, at least, understand me; You feel for me in compassionate love.

Yes, my heart is tired. It is looking everywhere for some resting-place. But if it thirst so much for love, it is because You made it so. . . . . And -do You now want it aimlessly to roam about amid this world's temptations? Oh, what will become of me in the end, if You leave me to myself? O Jesus, come, for heaven's sweet sake, and pay the longed-for visit to me!

* * *

Come, Lord Jesus I promise You that You shall be treated nicely in my heart. I will see to it that You find no more sins therein. Of course, my heart is bare and unfurnished, like the stable at Bethlehem; but You can furnish it, can fill it, with Your own sweet Self; and You need have no fear that a Herod will seek to take Your life.

I will ca1l the holy angels that they come and sing sweet songs of praise to You. Then I wi1l throw my arms about You, and make You warm with the warmth of my prayers.

O Jesus, come! In the temple of my soul You may exercise the functions of Your royal priesthood in peace, surrounded by the sweetly ascending clouds of the incense of my prayers.

Come; offer to Your heavenly Father Your so acceptable tribute of adoration;
and offer it for me, who am unworthy to appear in His presence. Offer Him Your infinite satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; and offer it especially for me, for my sins; they are so numerous and so great. And do You, Jesus, give Him due thanks for the countless benefits that- I have received from Him and for which I am so strangely ungrateful. Finally, dearest Lord, offer Him Your prayers for me - for one so distracted and so much in need of grace.

O Jesus, come! I do not know what may happen to me today. All kinds of misfortune may befall me, all kinds of sorrow come upon me; and I - O, I do not want to suffer, unless it be in Your arms; I do not want to weep, unless it be upon Your breast!

And if death should come on the mor­row? . . . . . O Jesus, what if I should die without Holy Communion? . . . . . fight the awful fight without You? . . . . . struggle against the powers of hell with­out You? . . . . . breathe forth my soul without You? . . . . . take flight for eter­nity . . . . . all alone. . . . . without You? . . . . . Death! . . . . . What man suffers in that last hour You know full well! Think of the pains You endured upon the cross, and have mercy upon me!

You never left me alone during life. Will You, then, turn away from me at the hour of my death?

O Jesus, I implore You to come! Come, enter under my roof, and bestow upon me the great, great grace to die on a day made happy by Your sweet coming to me in Holy Communion.

Dearest Jesus, come!
From Eucharistic Whisperings, Winfrid Herbst,SDS,
The Society of the Divine Saviour, 1929


Catholic League president William Donohue remarked as follows:

“The storm is about to hit. For the most part, anti-Catholic bigots and the disaffected dissidents within the Church have been quiet. What they have been waiting for is about to happen: the week between the end of the mourning and the beginning of the conclave is upon us. And that means the Left is ready to explode. (my emphasis)
“Consider what we’ve heard already. Amidst the mostly favorable coverage by the media of Pope John Paul II, he has been branded as follows: an authoritarian who seeks to silence dissent; the enemy of homosexuals; a misogynist; a polarizing figure; a man who is out of touch with the modern world; a contributor to death due to AIDS in Africa; responsible for the sexual abuse scandal; and so on.

Archbishop Burke on the Evil of Euthanasia

On March 31, Terri Schindler Schiavo died from the lack of nutrition and hydration. For her parents, her brother and her sister, Terri’s death was particularly sorrowful, for they were constrained by the courts of our nation to see their daughter and sister die for lack of the food and water which they so much desired to provide for her in their loving care.

The day of Terri Schiavo’s death was most sad for our whole nation. The United States of America, with its great abundance of material goods, would not provide basic food and water to a citizen whose life was heavily burdened but, rather, let her die of hunger and thirst because the "quality" of her life was judged not to merit the protection of the law.
The natural moral law teaches us the inviolability of innocent human life. Deliberately taking the life of an innocent person is intrinsically evil and is never justified.
What about the so-called "right to die"? No one of us has a right to die, in the sense of a right to cause one’s own death. We have a right to those material and spiritual helps which will prepare us for death, when God calls us home to Himself. Therefore, even if a person will have expressed the desire to die under certain circumstances, his desire can be respected only to the degree that his desire is true to God’s Law.
Complete article is here - a MUST-READ!

Mass In Memory of Terri Schindler Schiavo Next Tuesday

The Archdiocese of St. Louis will celebrate a Mass in memory of Terri Schindler Schiavo next week. The Mass is being coordinated by the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Committee.

Father Eugene Morris, director of worship and a professor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, will be the main celebrant at the 7 p.m. Mass, Tuesday, April 12, at Immacolata Parish, 8900 Clayton Road in Richmond Heights.
More here.

I'm Off to the Gateway Liturgical Conference...

Abp. Chaput: Remembering 'John Paul the Great'

The ocean of humanity that converged on the Vatican this week for one last glimpse of "their" Holy Father underscored a simple fact: People will remember Pope John Paul II as a great intellect, a great leader and a great pastor. But above all, they will treasure him as an unforgettable disciple of the Lord he loved - Jesus Christ.

Cardinals begin process of eyeing fellow "papabiles"

On April 18, the princes of the church, as the cardinals are called, will be locked together in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel until one of them emerges as the next pope.

Until that secret meeting - the conclave - the cardinals will observe the formal mourning period for John Paul II.

But during that time they also will be talking to each other over capuccinos, over dinners, in Vatican hallways and gardens and in their daily business meetings.

Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality

"Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality -- our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude," the main celebrant at the Mass, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said in his funeral sermon.

German-born Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals and seen as a possible successor to the pope, read a homily that traced the pontiff's life from his days as a factory worker in Nazi-occupied Poland to the last days of his life as the head of the world's 1 billion Catholics.

He said John Paul was a "priest to the last" and said he had offered his life for God and his flock "especially amid the sufferings of his final months."

"We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us," he added, pointing to the window where John Paul made his last public appearance.

Ratzinger was interrupted towards the end of the Mass by several minutes of cheers, applause and shouts of "Giovanni Paolo Santo" or "Saint John Paul," from the crowd.

"O God ... grant your servant and our Pope John Paul, who led your Church with the love of Christ ... the reward promised in the Gospel," Ratzinger said.

Text of Cardinal Ratzinger's Homily

Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 6:1-15

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fish

[1] After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. [2] And a multitude followed Him, because they saw the signs which He did on those who were diseased. [3] Jesus went up into the hills, and there sat down with His disciples. [4] Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. [5] Lifting up His eyes, then, seeing that a multitude was coming to Him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" [6] This He said to test them, for He Himself knew what He would do. [7] Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." [8] One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, [9] "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?" [10] Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so men sat down, in number about five thousand. [11] Jesus then took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. [12] And when they had eaten their fill, He told His disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." [13] So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. [14] When the people saw the sign which He had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!"
[15] Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by Himself.

1. This is the second lake formed by the river Jordan. It is sometimes described in the Gospels as the "Lake of Gennesaret" (Luke 5:1), because that is the name of the area on the north-eastern bank of the lake, and sometimes as the "Sea of Galilee" (Matthew 4:18; 15:29; Mark 1:16; 7:31), after the region in which it is located. St. John also calls it the "Sea of Tiberias" (cf. 21:1), after the city of that name which Herod Antipas founded and named after the Emperor Tiberius. InJesus' time there were a number of towns on the shore of this lake--Tiberias, Magdala, Capernaum, Bethsaida, etc.--and the shore was often the setting for His preaching.

2. Although St. John refers to only seven miracles and does not mention others which are reported in the Synoptics, in this verse and more expressly at the end of the Gospel (20:30; 21:25) he says that the Lord worked many miracles; the reason why the evangelist, under God's inspiration, chose these seven must surely be because they best suited His purpose--to highlight certain facets of the mystery of Christ. He now goes on to recount the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, a miracle directly connected with the discourses at Capernaum in which Jesus presents Himself as "the bread of life" (6:35, 48).

4. St. John's Gospel often mentions Jewish feasts when referring to events in our Lord's public ministry--as in the case here (cf. "The Dates of the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ", in the "The Navarre Bible: St. Mark", pp. 49ff, and "Introduction to the Gospel according to St. John", pp. 13ff above).

Shortly before this Passover Jesus works the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, which prefigures the Christian Easter and the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, as He Himself explains in the discourse, beginning at verse 26 in which He promises Himself as nourishment for our souls.

5-9. Jesus is sensitive to people's material and spiritual needs. Here we see Him take the initiative to satisfy the hunger of the crowd of people who have been following Him.

Through these conversations and the miracle He is going to work, Jesus also teaches His disciples to trust in Him whenever they meet up with difficulties in their apostolic endeavors in the future: they should engage in them using whatever resources they have--even if they are plainly inadequate, as was the case with the five loaves and two fish. He will supply what is lacking. In the Christian life we must put what we have at the service of our Lord, even if we do not think it amounts to very much. He can make meager resources productive.

"We must, then, have faith and not be dispirited. We must not be stopped by any kind of human calculation. To overcome the obstacles we have to throw ourselves into the task so that the very effort we make will open up new paths" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 160).

10. The evangelist gives us an apparently unimportant piece of information: "there was much grass in the place." This indicates that the miracle took place in the height of the Palestinian spring, very near the Passover, as mentioned in verse 4. There are very few bigmeadows in Palestine; even today there is one on the eastern bank of the Lake of Gennesaret, called El-Batihah, where five thousand people could fit seated: it may have been the site of this miracle.

11. The account of the miracle begins with almost the very same words as those which the Synoptics and St. Paul use to describe the institution of the Eucharist (cf. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25). This indicates that the miracle, in addition to being an _expression of Jesus' mercy towards the needy, is a symbol of the Blessed Eucharist, about which our Lord will speak a little later on (cf. John 6:26-59).

12-13. The profusion of detail shows how accurate this narrative is--the names of the Apostles who address our Lord (verses 5,8), the fact that they were barley loaves (verse 9), the boy who provided the wherewithal (verse 9) and, finally, Jesus telling them to gather up the leftovers.

This miracle shows Jesus' divine power over matter, and His largesse recalls the abundance of messianic benefits which the prophets had foretold (cf. Jeremiah 31:14).

Christ's instruction to pick up the leftovers teaches us that material resources are gifts of God and should not be wasted: they should be used in a spirit of poverty (cf. note on Mark 6:42). In this connection Paul VI pointed out that "after liberally feeding the crowds, the Lord told His disciples to gather up what was left over, lest anything should be lost (cf. John 6:12). What an excellent lesson in thrift--in the finest and fullest meaning of the term--for our age, given as it is to wastefulness! It carries with it the condemnation of a whole concept of society wherein consumption tends to become an end in itself, with contempt for the needy, and to the detriment, ultimately, of those very people who believed themselves to be its beneficiaries, having become incapable of perceiving that man is called to a higher destiny" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Address to Participants at the World Food Conference", 9 November 1974).

14-15. The faith which the miracle causes in the hearts of these people is still very imperfect: they recognize Him as the Messiah promised in the Old Testament (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15), but they are thinking in terms of an earthly, political messianism; they want to make Him king because they think the Messiah's function is to free them from Roman domination.

Our Lord, who later on (verses 26-27) will explain the true meaning of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, simply goes away, to avoid the people proclaiming Him for what He is not. In His dialogue with Pilate (cf. John 18:36) He will explain that His kingship "is not of this world": "The Gospels clearly show that for Jesus anything that would alter His mission as the Servant of Yahweh was a temptation (cf. Matthew 4:8: Luke 4:5). He does not accept the position of those who mixed the things of God with merely political attitudes (cf. Matthew
22:21; Mark 12:17; John 18:36). [...] The perspective of His mission is much deeper. It consists in complete salvation through transforming, peacemaking, pardoning, and reconciling love. There is no doubt, moreover, that all this makes many demands on the Christian who wishes truly to serve his least brethren, the poor, the needy, the outcast; in a word, all those who in their lives reflect the sorrowing face of the Lord (cf. "Lumen Gentium", 8)" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Opening Address to the Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops", 28 January 1979).

Christianity, therefore, must not be confused with any social or political ideology, however excellent. "I do not approve of committed Christians in the world forming a political-religious movement. That would be madness, even if it were motivated by a desire to spread the spirit of Christ in all the activities of men. What we have to do is put God in the heart of every single person, no matter who he is. Let us try to speak then in such a way that every Christian is able to bear witness to the faith he professes by example and word in his own circumstances, which are determined alike by his place in the Church and in civil life, as well as by ongoing events.

"By the very fact of being a man, a Christian has a full right to live in the world. If he lets Christ live and reign in his heart, he will feel--quite noticeably--the saving effectiveness of our Lord in everything he does" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 183).
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, April 07, 2005

Blogger Problems Again Tonight!

If this make it through, great....

Deja vu: Georgia Woman Being Starved and Dehydrated

Excerpts from Fr. Rob Johansen's details:
85 year-old Mae Margourik of LaGrange, Georgia, is currently being deprived of nutrition and hydration at the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy.

Furthermore, Mae's Living Will provides that nutrition and hydration are to be withheld only if she is comatose or vegetative. Mae is in neither condition. Neither is her condition terminal.

Once again we have a family divided over what care should be given to a seriously ill relative. And once again, we have a judge playing God with someone's life. But what is different, and in a sense worse, is that Mae is being deprived of food and water in clear contravention of her own stated wishes, and at the request of someone who should have no standing under Georgia law.
More here

Former President Clinton Insults Pope on Way to Funeral

ROME, April 7, 2005 ( - Former President Bill Clinton, one of recent history's most ardent political advocates of abortion, placed himself on an equal footing with the Pope and critiqued the pope's legacy in comments to reporters while en route to Rome for the papal funeral.

Transcript: Fr. Frank Pavone on "The O'Reilly Factor"

History Behind the Pope's Method of Burial

A reader asks:
I am not sure if you can answer this or not. I have been reading all I can regarding our Pope and his burial. I am curious regarding the way he is to be buried. His face covered in a white vail, items placed in his casket, total of three caskets with the last being nailed shut with gold nails. I don't know if this is all true or not. If it is I am just wondering when and how this tradition started. I am curious if you know the answer.
As far as I can tell, the account is true. I am not certain how or when this this started though.

I will review the Order for Christian Burial this evening. I'm not certain what is and is not addressed here.

Here is an interactive guide to the Papal Burial Ritual

Can anyone guide us in the right direction to find the answers?

English Text of Pope's Last Will and Testament ....

....Is available here. There is no indication who translated it.

Well done, good and faithful servant...

Pope's Will Indicates He Considered Resigning

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul's last will and testament indicated that in the year 2000 he was tormented over whether he should resign after leading the Roman Catholic Church into the new millennium.

The Holy Father's Will can be read here (Italian or Polish)

Smoking Dope at the LA Times?

Cardinal Mahony Is First-Class Pope Material

Yep, it's sounds like magic mushroom time for some...

Story here.

N.B.:Please continue reading the entire article to see that this article is, as Dale Price reminds us, 'tongue-in-cheek'.

St Stanislaus Board Enlists Aid of Retired Polish Archbishop

Part of this article appears to be a rehash of the story that ran March 7...In this, we read:
At the request of some St. Stanislaus Kostka parishioners, Wesoly recently, and secretly, engaged in the debate between St. Stanislaus and St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke. Burke is at odds with the parish over the control of church finances, which for more than a century have been managed by a lay board. The archdiocese contends St. Stanislaus' structure as a nonprofit group run by a lay board is contrary to church law, and for the last year has renewed its efforts to force the board to conform to a traditional parish structure. Wesoly sent a letter to the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, via Archbishop Wilton Gregory, asking someone at the conference to try to mediate the dispute.
I find it strange that the report states that this retired archbishop chose to communicate with the USCCB rather than to Archbishop Burke. One must also wonder what details this man has been given - one can certainly presume that he was not given all of the facts of the case.
"I am sorry for what is happening to the Polish church in St. Louis," he said. "I'm trying to get people in Washington to help."
That's one of his problems....He doesn't know where to go for help. Maybe this is part of the 'information' he received from the rebellious and disobedient ones?
Wesoly is in favor of a compromise in the dispute. He thinks both the lay board of directors and Burke need to give something to gain something.
He suggests, in effect, that Archbishop Burke ignore Canon Law and look the other way while the board acts in direct defiance of the Church. How 'pastoral' can that be? Bottom line - being truly 'pastoral' requires that corrective action be taken.
"The board says one thing and the archbishop says another," he said. "They need to sit down and begin a serious dialogue."
The board members and the spokesman need to repent of their defiance and their calumny against the Archbishop - perhaps after that, they board might review the generous proposals of the Archdiocese.
Wesoly said he believes the atmosphere of widespread church closings in the United States has contributed to the fear St. Stanislaus parishioners have that Burke simply wants to close their church.

He acknowledged that Burke had promised not to close St. Stanislaus, but said the current atmosphere of distrust that parishioners have for U.S. bishops because of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis has contributed to the St. Stanislaus situation. He mentioned a message John Paul gave to a group of U.S. bishops visiting Rome in 2004.
Abp. Wesoly has been misinformed, and the fact that he is bringing into the conversation only confirms that he is using the same tactics used by Richard Bach over the past months. The issue is a canonical one - all other extraneous issues, while they might be worthy of discussion, have no bearing in this case.
"He told the bishops they had to have the confidence of the people," Wesoly said.

He also said Burke's decision to issue the penalty of interdict against the six members of the St. Stanislaus board, "while canonically correct and right" was "spiritually and emotionally not the right thing to do."
It's easy for a retired archbishop from Poland to second-guess another, especially when it seems that he does see the entire picture. Looking at the situation through the distorted lens of the St. Stanislaus board does not permit one to make sound or prudential judgments.

The rhetoric has not ceased either. As recently as April 4, on radio station 97.1FM, Richard Bach was interviewed again in an attempt to garner sympathy for their rebellion. There was even made a request that he and Jamie Allman - have a debate on the issue on the air - as if this were an issue which could be settled by 'duking it out' in the realm of public opinion.

It is unfortunate that one seeks to find sympathy and intercessors for ones own acts of willful disobedience and insubordination. In fact, it is quite childish and immature. One wonders how these people can fair in the real world when they behave in such a juvenile and self-indulgent manner.

After Wojtyla: A “Papal Revolution” for the Third Millennium

This is the audacious proposal made by the “party” of Ratzinger and Ruini. The conclave will decide about it, and also about what to keep or leave behind of the deceased pope.

by Sandro Magister
Article here.

St. Louisans can watch the Pope's funeral live on TV

The seven-hour time difference won't diminish or delay television coverage of funeral services for Pope John Paul II, which will be seen live in the hours before dawn on Friday.
Details on local covereage here.

Trash from the Post's "SoundOff" for Apr 6

Jobs lost

At first I was angry at Archbishop Burke for closing down about 20 schools and churches, costing about 400 lower- to middle-income people their jobs. But now I understand why he did it. Some of that money is being used to pay the salary Jamie Allman requires to be the archdiocese PR spokesperson, or perhaps I should say "spin doctor."
It's so easy to hide behind a curtain of anonymity, making baseless claims, and spreading falsehoods. And the Post-Disgrace, apparently, has no problem promoting lies, innuendo and unfounded accusations.


St. Stanislaus Board Begins Campaign to Remove Members from Registry

In a callous effort to remove members from the parish registry, the board of St. Stanislaus has sent letters to some St Stanislaus Kostka parishioners who attend Polish Apostolate at St. John's received yesterday and the day before. Note that the letter is dated March 31th but was mailed on April 4th, two days after death of John Paul II. This seems rather vindictive to me.

A copy of the envelope is here and the letter is here.

Here is the flyer for a Memorial Service for the Holy Father to be held on Friday, April 8, on the Memorial of St. Stanislaus. The Flyer for the Memorial Service does have a rather provocative reference to an "invitation" to Archbishop Burke to participate.

A Special Thanks to Jarek C. for providing this information.

Gospel for April 7, Memorial: St. John Baptist de la Salle

From: John 3:31-36

The Visit of Nicodemus (Continuation)

(Jesus said to Nicodemus,) [31] "He who comes from above is above all; he who is on the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; He who comes from Heaven is above all. [32] He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony; [33] he who receives His testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. [34] For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that He gives the Spirit; [35] the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. [36] He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him."

31-36. This paragraph shows us Christ's divinity, His relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the share those have in God's eternal life who believe in Jesus Christ. Outside of faith there is no life nor any room for hope.
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, April 06, 2005

Several "Town Talk" Entries About Terri

A Bishop According to John Paul's Heart?

An Inside the Vatican NewsFlash

VATICAN CITY, Wednesday, April 6, 2005 -- This afternoon, an Italian colleague called me with a rumor.

He said he had heard from an Italian monsignor rather highly placed in the Vicariate of Rome that the Pope's testament, written on 16 pages, in Polish, beginning in 1979 (so, not just during his last illness), now translated into Italian, and which is due to be made public in a few hours, contains startling, almost incredible passages.

...John Paul II, in his testament, names the man he believes would make a worthy successor for him, and, that the name mentioned is that of an Italian bishop.
More here...

Eclipse on Pope's Funeral

Paris - Those who say eclipses herald history-shaping events will find support for their superstition when, on Friday, the sun will be briefly plunged into darkness on the day of Pope John Paul II's funeral.

Kansans Affirm True Marriage in Constitutional Amendment

( - Kansas voters have overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman -- and effectively outlawing same-sex civil unions.

The amendment passed with 70 percent support...

John Paul II as a Pioneer of Woman's Human Rights

Interview With German Theologian Jutta Burggraf

PAMPLONA, Spain, APRIL 6, 2005 ( Jutta Burggraf, professor of theology at the University of Navarre and specialist on woman and the Church, analyzes in this ZENIT interview the "feminine genius" that John Paul II so admired.

Bush, Former Presidents View Pope's Body

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, from left, wife of US President George W. Bush Laura, President W. Bush, his father former President George H.W. Bush, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, pay their respects to late Pope John Paul II as he lies in state inside St. Peter's Baslica, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 6, 2005. They knelt just a few feet (meters) from the pope's remains, dressed in a crimson robe with a white bishop's miter and will attend his funeral on Friday. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano,ho)

Which qualities cardinals will look for in the next pope

Let's not forget the adage: "Those who know, don't talk; and those who talk, don't know".

We will be hearing more, no doubt, from various pundits of their 'predictions' about who the next pope might be. (BTW, I understand that somewhere in Ireland, the betting and book making has already started.) The problem is that we will now hear, for another 10 or 11 days, more of these papal conjectures and more opinions on how the Church must change to be 'relevant' in the future...

I look up and see buzzards flying overhead, anticipating the death of the Divine Law and of moral truths because the Pope has died...when I turn on the lights I see rats and roaches scurrying about, leaving their poisonous droppings all over the place. Perhaps, it's time to set some traps?

"John Paul II was such a towering figure that in a way he blotted out everything else," says John Allen, author of "Conclave," a guide to the next papal election. "In many parts of the world people knew all about the pope but they did not know the name of their local bishop."
I don't get the point of this...? Is he talking about Catholics or people in general. Whatever the case, let's take it a step further: can we assume that more people know of Christ than know of the local bishop? If so, is this not a good step, that one has knowledge of Christ-the Savior of mankind, or of his Vicar on earth?
After a period of top heavy, Rome-centric governance, many lay Catholics are hoping for some autonomy and a louder voice in Church debates.
Automony? As if they have no free will? No, what many Catholics want is not freedom or automony but LICENSE...And, of course, this means a relaxation of the teachings of the Church - people don't want to feel guilty for sexual sins...Actually, people don't want to feel guilty about ANY sins! We would be so much better off if the Church would just eliminate SIN...

I shudder to think of where the Church would be had we been deprived of of the leadership of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia. If anything, it seems, at least to me, that we need stronger centralization and leadership - the Church should have one head, Jesus, who is represented by His Vicar, the Pope. Some, it seems, would prefer that the Church evolve, or rather, mutate into some sort of hydra - a multiheaded beast. We have witnessed this to some extent here in the U.S. with some episcopal leaders acting as if they were popes, answerable to no one.

Article is here.

Please forgive my rant...

Jimmy Carter Wants to Lead Delegation to Oversee Election of the Next Pope

President Carter who calls himself “a goodwill ambassador” and often is monitoring elections in foreign countries. Carter said he would be glad to lead the monitoring of the Cardinals in the election for the new Pope. He said, "I just hope these Cardinals are as responsible as the leaders of Cuba and North Korea in electing their leaders."
For entertainment only....


Tin Foil Hat Alert - NPR on Opus Dei

Members of the conservative Roman Catholic group Opus Dei occupy leadership positions throughout the church. The late Pope John Paul II made the founder a saint in 2004. But critics of the movement accuse Opus Dei of unscrupulous brainwashing. (my emphasis)

Three Senators Headed to Rome....

I wanted to say the "Three Stooges" but I figured it would not be a nice thing to do - It should be noted that these three Senators, Massachusetts Democrats Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Connecticut Democrat Christopher J. Dodd, are listed as elite members of American Life League's "Deadly Dozen" for embracing the evil of abortion.

Kennedy, in recalling a meeting with the Holy Father, said:
"He told us that in God's eyes, we were all created equally, we all had creative gifts, and all of our talents were enlightened by God."
The Pope, no doubt, meant ALL, even the unborn, but to Kennedy those are minor 'technical' details...

Kerry somehow managed to recall suppressed memories of the Papal visit:
"My daughters still remember standing out in the rain to see him when he visited Boston in 1979. [Of course, his daughters rememebr - he doesn't apparently] We'll never forget the example he set by forgiving the man who tried to take his life, and by praying at the Western Wall to ask Jews for their forgiveness."
Missing from this "recollection" is that the Holy Father was constantly speaking out in defense of LIFE, especially that of the UNBORN...minor details to Kerry, I suppose.

Trusting in God's almighty power and providence, may these men be moved to repentance and conversion for their relentless support of murdering the most vulnerable among us. Perhaps, they will experience a spiritual rebirth while attending the funeral of our Holy Father. Lord, may your will be done.

Source for story.

Bishop Lynch Issues Statement on Death of Terri Schindler [Schiavo]

Read it here. Grant me patience, Lord...

Cardinals Set Date For Conclave

Navarro-Valls said cardinals would celebrate a morning Mass on April 18, and then be sequestered in the Sistine Chapel in the early afternoon to start the conclave. According to church law, prelates are expected to hold one ballot on the first day of a conclave.

Hundreds Mourn Schiavo at Mass in Florida

GULFPORT, Fla. (Reuters) - Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose fate sparked a bitter and highly politicized family feud, was sent by God to deliver a message about life's meaning, a priest said at a funeral Mass organized by her parents on Tuesday.

"God sends us people like Terri to remind us of the meaning of life," Father Frank Pavone, director of an anti-abortion [pro-life] group called Priests for Life, said in a homily.
I heard there were about 700 people in attendance - the church was overflowing - it holds about 600 people.

Also something missing in these stories was that an emotional Bobby Schindler, Terri's brother, received and held up a Purple Heart which was sent to the family for Terri - I did not hear who sent them the medal.

The Reuter's story is here. The Post Dispatch has an article here.

American cardinals are mum on successor

Gee...ya think?
American Cardinals Francis George of Chicago, Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington and Justin F. Rigali of Philadelphia would not speculate about the ideology, age, nationality or charisma-quotient of their ideal papal candidate.
More from the Post

Not even a lock of her hair....

[Judge] Greer ruled that Michael Schiavo would control the burial decisions [of Terri Schindler-Schiavo] and Greer also denied a request by her parents for a lock of her hair and share of her ashes.
This is pure evil, but then, it should not be surprising, considering he had no problem dehydrating and starving her to death. Those responsible for this murder are callous, merciless creatures. My heart aches for the Schindler family, may God bless them in their pain and sorrow.


The Most Beautiful Photos of the Pope

From "L'Osservatore Romano"

Live Feed from Vatican TV

Gospel for Wednesday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 3:16-21

The Visit of Nicodemus (Continuation)

(Jesus said to Nicodemus,) [16] "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. [18] He who believes in Him is not condemned; He who does not believe is condemned already, because He had not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [19] And this is the judgment, that the light has come into world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. [21] But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God."

16-21. These words, so charged with meaning, summarize how Christ's death is the supreme sign of God's love for men (cf. the section on charity in the "Introduction to the Gospel according to John": pp. 31ff above). "`For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son' for its salvation. All our religion is a revelation of God's kindness, mercy and love for us. `God is love' (1 John 4:16), that is, love poured forth unsparingly. All is summed up in this supreme truth, which explains and illuminates everything. The story of Jesus must be seen in this light. `(He) loved me', St. Paul writes. Each of us can and must repeat it for himself--`He loved me, and gave Himself for me' (Galatians 2:20)" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Homily on Corpus Christi", 13 June1976).

Christ's self-surrender is a pressing call to respond to His great love for us: "If it is true that God has created us, that He has redeemed us, that He loves us so much that He has given up His only-begotten Son for us (John 3:16), that He waits for us--every day!--as eagerly as the father of the prodigal son did (cf. Luke 15:11-32), how can we doubt that He wants us to respond to Him with all our love? The strange thing would be not to talk to God, to draw away and forget Him, and busy ourselves in activities which are closed to the constant promptings of His grace" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 251).

"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This [...] is why Christ the Redeemer `fully reveals man to himself'. If we may use the __expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. [...] The one who wishes to understand himself thoroughly [...] must, with his unrest and uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into Him with all his own self, he must `appropriate' and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself.

How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he `gained so great a Redeemer', ("Roman Missal, Exultet" at Easter Vigil), and if God `gave His only Son' in order that man `should not perish but have eternal life'. [...]

`Increasingly contemplating the whole of Christ's mystery, the Church knows with all the certainty of faith that the Redemption that took place through the Cross has definitively restored his dignity to man and given back meaning to his life in the world, a meaning that was lost to a considerable extent because of sin. And for that reason, the Redemption was accomplished in the paschal mystery, leading through the Cross and death to Resurrection" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 10).

Jesus demands that we have faith in Him as a first prerequisite to sharing in His love. Faith brings us out of darkness into the light, and sets us on the road to salvation. "He who does not believe is condemned already" (verse 18).

"The words of Christ are at once words of judgment and grace, of life and death. For it is only by putting to death that which is old that we can come to newness of life. Now, although this refers primarily to people, it is also true of various worldly goods which bear the mark both of man's sin and the blessing of God. [...] No one is freed from sin by himself or by his own efforts, no one is raised above himself or completely delivered from his own weakness, solitude or slavery; all have need of Christ, who is the model, master, liberator, savior, and giver of life. Even in the secular history of mankind the Gospel has acted as a leaven in the interests of liberty and progress, and it always offers itself as a leaven with regard to brotherhood, unity and peace" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 8).
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, April 05, 2005

Heresy-St. Ignatius of Antioch

I exhort you, then, to leave alone the foreign fodder of heresy and keep entirely to Christian food. . . .For heretics mingle poison with Jesus Christ, as men might administer a deadly drug in sweet wine . . . so that without thought or fear of the fatal sweetness a man drinks his own death.

Letter to the Trallians, 6. (2nd century)

Father Frank Pavone on Terri Schiavo

April 4, 2005

My dear friends of Priests for Life,

What a week we have just been through! United in faith and in the pro-life cause, we are grieving the murder of Terri Schiavo. Likewise, whether Roman Catholic or not, we are mourning the passing of one of the greatest voices for the right to life, Pope John Paul II.

This is one of those times when I'm especially grateful to all of you for your fellowship, and wanted to share a few reflections on what has happened in these days.

First of all, thank God we are at the height of the Easter Season! Last week was the "Octave of Easter," that is, a special eight-day period which is all considered by the Church as "Easter Day," the Day of the Resurrection! Death, in all its forms, has been conquered by Christ! We are called to rejoice in that victory and keep it uppermost in our minds as we battle the Culture of Death. Isn't it amazing that both Terri and Pope John Paul II died so close to each other, and within the Easter celebration! Is God speaking to us? He certainly is!

You may have seen on the news that I was at Terri Schiavo's bedside during the last 14 hours of her earthly life, right up until five minutes before her death. During that time with Terri, joined by her brother and sister, I expressed your care, concern, and prayers. I told Terri over and over that she had many friends around the country, many people who were praying for her and were on her side. I had also told her the same things during my visits to her in the months before her feeding tube was removed, and am convinced she understood.
. . .
As you may have also seen, those who killed Terri were quite angry that I said so. The night before she died, I said to the media that her estranged husband Michael, his attorney Mr. Felos, and Judge Greer were murderers. I also pointed out, that night and the next morning, that contrary to Felos' description, Terri's death was not at all peaceful and beautiful. It was, on the contrary, quite horrifying. She was dehydrating to death, and looked it. Her face had an expression of dread and sorrow. In my 16 years as a priest, I never saw anything like it before.

After I said these things, Mr. Felos and others in sympathy with him began attacking me in the press and before the cameras. Some news outlets began making a story out of their attacks and said I was "fanning the flames" of enmity and hatred.

Actually, there's a simple reason why they are so angry with me. They had hoped that they could present Terri's death as a merciful and gentle act. My words took the veil of euphemism away, calling this a killing, and giving eyewitness testimony to the fact that it was anything but gentle. Mr. Felos is a euthanasia advocate, and like all such advocates, he needs to manipulate the language, to sell death in an attractive package.

Here he and his friends had a great opportunity to do so. But a priest, seeing their work close-up and then telling the world about it, just didn't fit into their plans.

One of the attacks they made was that a "spiritual person" like a priest should be speaking words of compassion and understanding, instead of venom. But compassion demands truth. A priest is also a prophet, and if he cannot cry out against evil, then he cannot bring about reconciliation. If there is going to be any healing between these families or in this nation, it must start with repentance on the part of those who murdered Terri and now try to cover it up with flowery language.

Another aspect of the Terri Schiavo tragedy is that many people misunderstand its cause and therefore its solution. They think the problem was that Terri did not leave any written instructions about whether she wanted to be kept alive. In order to avoid any such problem in their own lives, they are now told that they have to draw up a "living will." This is both erroneous and dangerous.

Terri's case is not about the withdrawal of life-saving medical treatment, but rather about the killing of a healthy person whose life some regarded as worthless. Terri was not dying, was not on life support, and did not have any terminal illness. Because some thought she would not want to live with her disability, they insisted on introducing the cause of death, namely, dehydration.

So what good is a living will supposed to accomplish, aside from saying, "Please don't argue about killing me, just kill me?"
. . .
Living wills try to predict the future, and people can argue over the interpretation of a piece of paper just as much as they argue about what they claim someone said in private.

The better solution is to appoint a health care proxy, who is authorized to speak for you if you are in a condition in which you cannot speak for yourself. This should be a person who knows your beliefs and values, and with whom you discuss these matters in detail. In case you cannot speak for yourself, your proxy can ask all the necessary questions of your doctors and clergy, and make an assessment when all the details of your condition and medical needs are actually known. That's much safer than predicting the future. Appointing a health care proxy in a way that safeguards your right to life is easy. In fact, the National Right to Life Committee has designed a "Will to Live," which can be found at and which I recommend highly.
. . .
Meanwhile, as we commend both Terri and the Pope to the Lord, and are reminded of the equal value of every life, no matter how prominent or obscure, healthy or sick. I will be writing more about the issues that have arisen in Terri's case, and about the teachings of Pope John Paul II on these matters. You'll be able to keep up on developments by checking in with us at Meanwhile, be assured of my prayers.

Sincerely, Fr. Frank Pavone National Director, Priests for Life

Young People Love the Pope Because of His Moral Stands

TORONTO, April 5, 2005 ( - Since the death of Pope John Paul II, media is awash with commentators talking about his influence. An especially consistent theme is the surprise that the Pope, who is portrayed as a severe moralist, should be so especially loved by young people. Media commentators show a consistent tone of perplexity that a man who was known for his uncompromising stands on moral issues would have such wide appeal for youth who are portrayed as dedicated hedonists.
Far too many media commentators, as well as others, do not seem open to the beauty of truth or the wisdom of God as demonstrated in morality and the natural law.

People and the youth, especially, love the Holy Father because he challenged them to follow Christ Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John Paul II constantly reminded us of Christ's love for us and that we should strive for the sacred, for the holy.

More here.

Partial birth abortion bill clears Arkansas committee

LITTLE ROCK -- A bill to ban the procedure popularly known as partial birth abortion was recommended by the House Public Health, Labor and Welfare Committee on Thursday, but not without the promise of changes to allow the procedure in an emergency.

A Physician's Poem on the Death of Terri Schiavo

Advice the Pope Gave Cardinals in View of Conclave

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2005 ( John Paul II left advice for the cardinals who would meet to elect his successor: to understand the lesson left by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave will take place.
"Michelangelo's vision must then speak to them," reflected the Pope.

Here is the Pope's poetic passage.


In the Sistine the artist painted the Judgment,
The Judgment dominates the whole interior.
Here, the invisible End becomes poignant visibility.
This End is also the summit of transparency
such is the path of all generations.

"Non omnis moriar" (Not all of me will die).
What is imperishable in me
now stands face to face with Him Who Is!
This is what fills the central wall of the Sistine profusion of color.

Do you remember, Adam? At the beginning he asked you where are you?
And you replied: I hid myself from You because I was naked.
Who told you that you were naked?
The woman whom you put here with me gave me the fruit ...

All those who populate the central wall of the Sistine painting
bear in themselves the heritage of that reply of yours!
Of that question and that response!
Such is the End of your path.


It is here, at the feet of this marvelous Sistine profusion of color
that the Cardinals gather
a community responsible for the legacy of the keys of the Kingdom.
They come right here.
And once more Michelangelo wraps them in his vision.
In Him we live and move and have our being.

Who is He?

Look, here the creating hand of the Almighty Ancient One,
turned towards Adam ...
In the beginning God created ...
He, the all-seeing One ...

The Sistine painting will then speak with the Word of the Lord:
"Tu est Petrus" (you are Peter) as Simon, the son of Jonah, heard.
To you I will give the keys of the Kingdom.
Those to whom the care of the legacy of the keys has been entrusted
gather here, allowing themselves to be enfolded by the Sistine colors,
by the vision left to us by Michelangelo
so it was in August, and then in October,
of the memorable year of the two Conclaves,
and so it will be again, when the need arises after my death.
Michelangelo's vision must then speak to them.
Conclave: a joint concern for the legacy of the keys of the Kingdom.
They will find themselves between the Beginning and the End,
between the Day of Creation and the Day of Judgment.
It is given to man once to die and after that the judgment!

A final transparency and light.
The clarity of the events
the clarity of consciences
It is necessary that during the Conclave, Michelangelo teach them
Do not forget: "Omnia nuda et aperta sunt ante oculos Eius."
You who are in all, show the way!
He will teach you ...

[Copyright, Vatican Publishing House]

An awesome passage for reflection!

Bells, White Smoke Will Announce New Pope

VATICAN CITY - Responding to Pope John Paul II's request, the Vatican will depart from centuries-old tradition by ringing bells in addition to sending up white smoke to signal the election of his successor.

Before he died Saturday at age 84, John Paul also made his wish known "to be buried in the ground" and not placed in an above-ground tomb, Archbishop Piero Marini said Tuesday.

John Paul will be laid to rest with a white silk veil on his face, a rosary in his hands and his body clad in liturgical vestments and the white miter. Following the centuries-old custom for burying popes, his body will be placed inside three coffins — wood, zinc and wood — a design meant to slow decomposition, the Vatican confirmed.

Cardinals Meet to Prepare for Papal Vote

VATICAN CITY - The College of Cardinals met Tuesday for a second day to prepare for the election of Pope John Paul II's successor, which will be announced by a ringing of bells in addition to the centuries-old practice of sending up puffs of white smoke.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the cardinals hadn't yet decided on a date for the conclave, which according to church law must occur between 15 and 20 days after the death of a pope.

Navarro-Valls said 91 of the 183 cardinals were in Rome as of Tuesday. Only 117 of them — those under the age of 80 — can vote in a conclave.

Brazilian Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, told Italian state radio Tuesday that he thought a new pope would be chosen quickly.

The next pope is likely to follow John Paul's conservative bent closely — the late pontiff appointed all but three of the 117 cardinals entitled to vote. John Paul opposed divorce, birth control and abortion, the ordination of women and the lifting of the celibacy requirement for priests, issues that sharply divided the church.

Note the issues which "sharply divide the Church" - all but one are doctrinal matters for which there is no room for dissension. This issue of celibacy, being a disciplinary matter, could - in theory - be changed. However, one must ask why one would wish to reject a great charism - the great gift of celibacy. It is a unique and precious gift from God - what ingratitude would be shown if it were to be rejected? What other of God's gifts, then, would we be willing to reject?

Secondly, those who reject the irreformable teachings of the Church in the other matters cannot, properly speaking, claim to be Catholic. They hold positions which are opposed to the teachings of the Church - they hold positions which are, simply put, heretical. One who holds an heretical position should be viewed as an heretic. They are more than 'dissenters'. Those who openly and defiantly promote their contrary 'opinions' in matters of faith and morals, should be publicly excommunicated - after having been adequately warned and admonished to repent. Failure to dispense the healing medicine of the Church allows further rot, disease, and corruption to occur within the Church. The unwary become afflicted - and souls could be lost.

Although it is to be understood that in recent times we are more likely to label the act or position of a person rather than the person himself, it seems disingenuous to refrain from acknowledging that the person who holds an heretical position is a heretic, at least, materially. Do we not call a person who steals, a thief? Or do we say that 'the man engages in thievery'. Do we call a murderer - a murderer - or do we call him a 'man who commits murder'? Does not St. Paul note that those who are engaged in fornication are "fornicators"? Does he not refer to individuals by their deeds - the idolators, the adulterers, the effeminate, the liers, the thieves, the covetous, the drunkards, the railers, the extortioners...(1 Cor 5)?

Are we not doing ourselves a great disservice by refusing to refer to certain individuals as to what they really are? Does Jesus, Himself, refer to some as "hypocrites"?

Vatican does not know identity of "secret" cardinal

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican still does not know the identity of a cardinal nominated by Pope John Paul II two years ago but whose identity he kept secret, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said, adding that it may be contained in a testament he had left for cardinals.

"At the moment, nobody knows anything about it. Before the pope's death, it wasn't revealed," Navarro-Valls told reporters at the Vatican.

"We don't know if there is something in the text of the testament left by the pope. Naturally, if there is something we will communicate it when it is read." He said the document has not yet been read by cardinals...

Judge Denies Opening Abuse Records in Terri Schiavo Case

Clearwater, FL ( -- A local judge refused to open the records of a Florida agency that is looking into allegations of abuse and neglect against Terri Schiavo by her estranged husband Michael. Florida media outlets had wanted copies of previous investigations in the case.

The Department of Children and Families had received 89 allegations of abuse and neglect in the years leading up to Terri's starvation death.
Greer ruled the records belong to the DCF and he said that Michael Schiavo can have access to them, but they can't be made public.

During a Thursday hearing, according to an AP report, DCF attorney Jennifer Lima-Smith asked Greer to keep the records sealed, saying "It's time to end this case." She said the DCF investigation is ongoing.
Hide the truth, bury it...Maybe it will all go away.


Long Lines to See the Holy Father

Thousands wait hours to pay last respects

VATICAN CITY - On Monday morning, the barriers began to go up along Via della Conciliazione, the long, wide boulevard leading from the Tiber river to St. Peter's Basilica. By the afternoon, news that John Paul II's body would be carried across St. Peter's Square and into the basilica had brought thousands of people to the Vatican grounds.

It was another beautiful, sunny day in Rome, and around 4 p.m., in order to avert a stampede, police began directing waves of about 200 through the barricades every few minutes.
More here.
See also Special Masses across the area

Archbishop Raymond Burke will be part of a memorial Mass at 7 tonight at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Catholic Church, 15 Plaza Square, northeast of Union Station downtown. The service is especially for the Polish Apostolate of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, but the public is welcome. Some hymns will be sung in Polish. The Rev. Adam Hurbanczuk, pastor of the Polish apostolate, will participate.

Gospel for Tuesday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 3:7b-15

The Visit of Nicodemus (Continuation)

(Jesus said to Nicodemus,) [7b] "You must be born anew. [8] The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes and whether it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." [9] Nicodemus said to Him, "How can this be?" [10] Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? [11] Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. [12] If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you Heavenly things? [13] No one has ascended into Heaven but He who descended from Heaven, the Son of Man. [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, [15] that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life."

3-8. Nicodemus' first question shows that he still has doubts about Jesus (is He a prophet, is He the Messiah?); and our Lord replies to him in a completely unexpected way: Nicodemus presumed He would say something about His mission and, instead, He reveals to him an astonishing truth: one must be born again, in a spiritual birth, by water and the Spirit; a whole new world opens up before Nicodemus.

Our Lord's words also paint a limitless horizon for the spiritual advancement of any Christian who willingly lets himself or herself be led by divine grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are infused at Baptism and enhanced by the Sacraments. As well as opening his soul to God, the Christian also needs to keep at bay his selfish appetites and the inclinations of pride, if he is to understand what God is teaching him in his soul: "Therefore must the soul be stripped of all things created, and of its own actions and abilities - namely, of its understanding, perception and feelings - so that, when all that is unlike God and unconformed to Him is cast out, the soul may receive the likeness of God; and nothing will then remain in it that is not the will of God and it will thus be transformed in God. Wherefore, although it is true that, as we have said, God is ever in the soul, giving it, and through His presence conserving within it, its natural being, yet He does not always communicate supernatural being to it. For this is communicated only by love and grace, which not all souls possess; and all those that posses it have it not in the same degree; for some have attained more degrees of love and others fewer. Wherefore God communicates Himself most to that soul that has progressed farthest in love; namely, that has its will in closest conformity with the will of God. And the soul that has attained complete conformity and likeness of will is totally united and transformed in God supernaturally" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", book II, chap. 5).

Jesus speaks very forcefully about man's new condition: it is no longer a question of being born of the flesh, of the line of Abraham (cf. Jn 1:13), but of being reborn through the action of the Holy Spirit, by means of water. This is our Lord's first reference to Christian Baptism, confirming John the Baptist's prophecy (cf. Mt 3:11; Jn 1:33) that He had come to institute a baptism with the Holy Spirit.

"Nicodemus had not yet savored this Spirit and this life. [...]. He knew but one birth, which is from Adam and Eve; that which is from God and the Church, he did not know; he knew only the paternity which engenders to death; he did not yet know the paternity which engenders to life. [...]. Whereas there are two births, he knew only of one. One is of earth, the other is of Heaven; one is of the flesh, the other of the Spirit; one of mortality, the other of eternity; one of male and female, the other of God and the Church. But the two are each unique; neither one nor the other can be repeated" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 11, 6).

Our Lord speaks of the wonderful effects the Holy Spirit produces in the soul of the baptized. Just as with the wind - when it blows we realize its presence, we hear it whistling, but we do not know where it came from, or where it will end up - so with the Holy Spirit, the Divine "Breath" ("pneuma") given us in Baptism: we do not know how He comes to penetrate our heart but He makes His presence felt by the change in the conduct of whoever receives Him.

10-12. Even though Nicodemus finds them puzzling, Jesus confirms that His words still stand, and He explains that He speaks about the things of Heaven because that is where He comes from, and to make Himself understood He uses earthly comparisons and images. Even so, this language will fail to convince those who adopt an attitude of disbelief.

St. John Chrysostom comments: "It was was with reason that He said not: `You do not understand,' but: `You do not believe.' When a person baulks and does not readily accept things which it is possible for the mind to receive, he may with reason be accused of stupidity; when he does not accept things which it is not possible to grasp by reason but only by faith, the charge is no longer that of stupidity, but of incredulity" ("Hom. on St. John", 27, 1).

13. This is a formal declaration of the divinity of Jesus. No one has gone up into Heaven and, therefore, no one can have perfect knowledge of God's secrets, except God Himself who became man and came down from Heaven--Jesus, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of Man foretold in the Old Testament (cf. Dan 7:13), to whom has been given eternal Lordship over all peoples.

The Word does not stop being God on becoming man: even when He is on earth as man, He is in Heaven as God. It is only after the Resurrection and the Ascension that Christ is in Heaven as man also.

13. This is a formal declaration of the divinity of Jesus. No one has gone up into Heaven and, therefore, no one can have perfect knowledge of God's secrets, except God Himself who became man and came down from Heaven--Jesus, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of Man foretold in the Old Testament (cf. Daniel 7:13), to whom has been given eternal lordship over all peoples.

The Word does not stop being God on becoming man: even when He is on earth as man, He is in Heaven as God. It is only after the Resurrection and the Ascension that Christ is in Heaven as man also.

14-15. The bronze serpent which Moses set up on a pole was established by God to cure those who had been bitten by the poisonous serpents in the desert (cf. Numbers 21:8-9). Jesus compares this with His crucifixion, to show the value of His being raised up on the cross: those who look on Him with faith can obtain salvation. We could say that the good thief was the first to experience the saving power of Christ on the cross: he saw the crucified Jesus, the King of Israel, the Messiah, and was immediately promised that he would be in Paradise that very day (cf. Luke 23:39-43).

The Son of God took on our human nature to make known the hidden mystery of God's own life (cf. Mark 4:11; John 1:18; 3:1-13; Ephesians 3:9) and to free from sin and death those who look at Him with faith and love and who accept the cross of every day.

The faith of which our Lord speaks is not just intellectual acceptance of the truths He has taught: it involves recognizing Him as Son of God (cf. 1 John 5:1), sharing His very life (cf. John 1:12) and surrendering ourselves out of love and therefore becoming like Him (cf. John 10:27; 1 John 3:2). But this faith is a gift of God (cf. John 3:3, 5-8), and we should ask Him to strengthen it and increase it as the Apostles did: Lord "increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5). While faith is a supernatural, free gift, it is also a virtue, a good habit, which a person can practise and thereby develop: so the Christian, who already has the divine gift of faith, needs with the help of grace to make explicit acts of faith in order to make this virtue grow.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Monday, April 04, 2005

What Are Some Cardinals Thinking About?

From an Inside the Vatican Newsflash
VATICAN CITY, April 5, 2005 -- Never has Rome been so filled with words, and yet so silent. Never have so many major world news organizations devoted so much time and energy to chronicling, minute by minute, the events surrounding the death and funeral of a Pope.

And never have such crowds of people waited in a line on the via della Conciliazione to enter St. Peter's Basilica.
During the evening, by chance, I met Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud walking on via della Conciliazione with two of his assistants. I asked him a question which the BBC had asked me earlier in the day, and I had been unable to answer: "What other decisions did the cardinals make today?"

"To speak with one voice," he said. "That is, to refer all questions to Monsignor Marini (the Master of Papal Ceremonies under John Paul II)."
Earlier in the day, I had been received by Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Germany. Meisner had not attended the morning meeting of the cardinals. We met at 4 p.m. in the very simple pension where he is staying, just near the offices of Inside the Vatican magazine.

...the Pope also became very critical of Western societies, Meisner said.

"I made two great intellectual errors in my life," he said. "The first was thinking that communism would end only after 100 years; the second was thinking that when communism fell, all our problems would be solved. That has proven false."

He said, "Western hedonism, as communism, will also someday collapse, and perhaps even quite soon, in four weeks."
Then he spoke about the task he now faces, of entering a Conclave and choosing a successor to Pope John Paul. "Until the death of the Pope, I refused to speculate about a possible successor, out of respect for the Holy Father. Yesterday, I began to think. There are two things I know for certain: that it won't be me, and that it will be someone else. The one I have in mind is as intelligent as a dozen professors and as devout as a child receiving its first communion." (my emphasis).
Full NewsFlash Article here.

Protecting Yourself Properly - a 'Living Will' or a 'Will to Live'

Why Not Sign a Living Will Instead of the Will to Live?
Many people who simply do not want what they see as a lot of medical technology prolonging the last few hours or days of their lives when they are terminally ill sign living wills. If you do, in many states you may not know what you're really signing.

Webster's Dictionary defines "terminal" as "of or in the final stages of a fatal disease." And this is what the ordinary person thinks: that somebody who is "terminally ill" is someone who will inevitably die, whose death cannot be prevented by medical treatment.

But in many states, that is not what it means. Instead, for the purposes of the living will you are legally in a "terminal condition" even if your life could be saved--so as to live indefinitely--by medical treatment, so long as you would still have a permanent disability of some kind.

This is a MUST read -
The bottom line is this: if you are someone who doesn't want medical technology to prolong your last hours, but who also doesn't want to be starved or allowed to die just because you have a disability, your wishes will be far more likely to be respected if you sign a properly prepared Will to Live than if you sign a living will.
Why the Need for a "Will to Live"?
In many states, the "living will" really means:
- you may be starved and dehydrated if you cannot swallow on your own

- you will be denied life-saving medical treatment even if you could live indefinitely if you have disabilities a doctor or court think make your life not worth living.
Download a "Will to Live" now for your State (from the National Right to Life Committee)

American Life League is another excellent source.
See "The Loving Will: An ethical alternative to 'living will' documents"

Prayer for a Deceased Pope from the Roman Missal

Deus, qui inter summos Sacerdotes famulum tuum N. ineffabili tua dispositione connumerari voluisti: praesta quaesumus; ut qui unigeniti Filii tui vices in terris gerebat, sanctorum tuorum Pontificum consortio perpetuo aggregetur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

God, Who, in Thine ineffable providence, didst will that Thy servant N. should be numbered among the high priests, grant, we beseech Thee, that he, who on earth held the place of Thine only-begotten Son, may be joined forevermore to the fellowship of Thy holy pontiffs. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

The Accomplishments of Pope John Paul II

VATICAN, April 4, 2005 ( - The Vatican Information Service has made available the following impressive summary of the accomplishments of Pope John Paul II.
He has written 14 encyclicals, 14 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 42 apostolic letters and 28 Motu proprio in addition to hundreds of other messages and letters. In preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul wrote the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente," dated November 10, 1994, and published four days later. He also created the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

He wrote five books: Crossing the Threshold of Hope (1994), Gift and Mystery (1996), Roman Triptych (poetry, 2003), Arise, Let us Be Going (2004) and Memory and Identity (2005).
More at LifeSiteNews here.

The Holy Father's Latest Journey.... Paradise

Despite the profound sadness at the passing of our Holy Father, I found some delight in this cartoon that a reader sent to me.

Crowds Begin Paying Last Respects to Pope

A military officer salutes as Pope John Paul II's body is carried through St. Peter's Square and into St Peter's Basilica for public viewing, Monday April 4 2005, four days before his remains will be entombed in the grotto below the church. With tens of thousands of mourners outside hoping for a glimpse of the body, 12 pallbearers flanked by Swiss Guards carry the late pontiff's body on a crimson platform from the Sala Clementina, where it had laid in state since Sunday.(AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti)

Archbishop Burke on the Death of our Holy Father


The death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II brings to fullness a life consumed in the service of Christ and His Church, under the maternal care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the universal Church and the world, I mourn the loss of his earthly presence, and entrust him into the all-merciful hands of God. Surely, the Mother of God, to whom our Holy Father had confided his life and his priestly ministry, has held him in her loving care in the hours of his last agony and his passage from this life to the life which is to come.

Complete statement here...

Thomas More Law Center Statement on Death of Pope John Paul II

ANN ARBOR, MI — The Thomas More Law Center joins all people of faith throughout the world in marking the death of Pope John Paul II. The news of the passing of the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church is a cause for both mourning and celebration.

His remarkable life truly represents one of the most profound in modern human history – calling all people to a life of prayer, holiness and dedication to Jesus Christ in the midst of a fallen world.

He warned not only Catholics, but all people of good will, of the “enormous and dramatic clash” between the culture of life and the culture of death, between good and evil. As a champion of life, he boldly proclaimed the responsibility of all people to build communities of faith and respect for the inherent dignity of every human being. He was one of the principle architects of the defeat of communism. He spoke out against abuses of the human person and rejected the selfishness of the west manifested in abortion, homosexuality, and the destructive forces of materialism and secularism. He once stated, “A nation that kills its own children has no future.”

The third longest reigning Pope, elected on October 16, 1978, he faithfully protected the traditions and doctrines of the Catholic Church, defending them with intellectual vigor and pastoral discernment.

Pope John Paul II transcended national and religious boundaries by calling all people to a life of faith and hope. He will forever be remembered by the first words of his pontificate – “Be Not Afraid!”

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Cardinal Pell Reassures Faithful

SYDNEY, (AFP) - Australian Cardinal George Pell reassured fellow Church traditionalists that the Vatican conclave that will meet this week to choose a successor to Pope John Paul II will pick another conservative.

Pell, who arrived in Rome on Sunday to help choose the next pope, told ABC radio that the one certainty about the next pontiff is that he will hold to John Paul's staunch conservative line on theological issues.

"I'm quite sure that the general line -- fidelity to basic Catholic teachings -- is absolutely unassailable," he said.

"There will be debate and discussion on what is the best way to present the message of Christ, the best way to live a Catholic life," he said, but added, "I don't think that anyone who really knows the church believes that any radical change is likely."

Pope's Funeral Will Be Friday, Burial in St. Peter's

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II's funeral will be held Friday morning, and his remains will be interred in the grotto of St. Peter's Basilica where pontiffs throughout the ages have been laid to rest, the Vatican said Monday.

From "Inside the Vatican" NewsFlash

From the NewsFlash by Dr. Robert Moynihan, Editor, Inside the Vatican
What are the cardinals meditating on with regard to the upcoming election of a successor to Pope John Paul?

By good fortune, I was able to speak today with two cardinals, Lubomyr Husar and Achille Silvestrini. I spoke with Husar, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which celebrates the liturgy according to the Byzantine rite, but which is in union with Rome, at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, after we both had flown to Rome on the same flight from Philadelphia. (We chatted for 30 minutes as we waited for his suitcase to come through on the conveyor belt.)

Husar said the cardinals -- in his view -- are looking "for a man, not a program." He said the man they are looking for with be able to balance the claims of conflicting groups so that Church teaching does not get "out of balance." He used the words "synodality," "collegiality" and "communion" in his discussion of the need to find a way for the Petrine office to function which does not compromise the prerogatives of "Peter" but yet allows legitimate space for other bishops beside the Bishop of Rome, as themselves successors of the apostles, to exercise an authoritative doctrinal and jurisdictional role in the Church. He said no one now has the answer to that question.

I spoke to Silvestrini in the Vatican Press Office. Silvestrini, now past 80, will not vote in the conclave. He was once the Vatican's "foreign minister" and so one of the most influential and high-ranking of all curial officials. And he was quite direct: "The Church needs to find a way of governing which is more collegial. This is the key point."

I deduce from these two conversations that, among the very many issues of concern to Church leaders, ranging from issues of sexual morality to Third World debt, one issue that is on the "front burner" right now is summed up in this word "communio" or "communion." That is, how can the Church remain unified, while allowing legitimate variation and difference. Finding the balance point is an extremely delicate task, for too much allowance for "difference" could fracture "communion" altogether, while too much "uniformity" could be seen as an oppressive and stultifying "centralism." This is by no means the only issue on the cardinals' minds, but it is one issue, and a key one.

It is especially key because its solution could open the way for something nearly everyone in the Church desires, but few believe is possible: an end to the schism of 1054, the reunion of the Orthodox Churches with Rome.

It was John Paul's great hope that he would move much closer to this union than he did; it will now be his successor's task to complete.
More collegiality...based on many, many stories over the years, it seems that this has more problems than benefits. Recent history is replete with statements and practices by different bishops and cardinals which differ, in varying degrees, from the teachings and disciplines of the Church. Rather than enumerate the countless examples, perhaps, our Lord will find it beneficial for us to have a Pope and bishops who are united in teaching and practices with the result being less confusion among the faithful and a true unity of the Church. I fail to see how too much "uniformity" would be considered "oppressive".

Sunday, April 03, 2005

St Louis Area Faithful Honor the Holy Father

Nearly 1,800 people crammed into the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica on Sunday night for a memorial Mass for their beloved leader, Pope John Paul II.

"We mourn the loss of our spiritual father who has taught us and guided us with extraordinary wisdom and courage," Archbishop Raymond Burke said from the pulpit. "We wonder how we shall go forward without him."

But Burke cautioned the crowd to heed what the pope had said so many times. "Do not be afraid," Burke said.

Burke's homily was interrupted by a man who walked down an aisle, arms raised, muttering something like, "living Christ in our midst." Burke looked up and briefly stopped talking, twice. The man went nearly as far as the Communion rail when three priests intervened and escorted the man outside.

There, police officers leaned him against a minivan and handcuffed him. They planned to seek warrants against him for disturbance of the peace.

The man was bare-chested, wearing a blue blazer and untied military-style boots.

"I'm peaceful," the man said to officers outside. "I'm a Catholic, I just wanted to say my piece."
Full article here.

National Mourning in Poland (pictures)

More here.

Despite Order of Archbishop, Church Celebrated Easter

March 27, 2005.
By Victor Ojeda

A church told it could not celebrate Easter defied those orders and held services anyway.

St. Stanislaus Kostka -- a Roman Catholic church with a Polish-heritage majority had its Easter Mass Sunday morning with a secret and unidentified priest as a celebrant. The parish is at odds with the Archdiocese of St. Louis -- because its lay board of directors refuses to relinquish control of its property and assets to Archbishop Raymond Burke. In June of last year, Burke removed their priest and banned Masses.

For Easter -- they defied the order and found a priest from Poland sympathetic to their cause. The board of directors flew in the celebrant, but would not name him because they fear repercussions from the archbishop. "We don't like to put our supporters in jeopardy you could say. He has volunteered to come and help us out and we welcome that all the time," lay board member John Baras said.

This is only the second time St. Stanislaus has had a priest since their public feud with the archbishop began almost a year ago. The only other time they had a mass here was Christmas. Parishioners said it is sad that they must shepherd a celebrant cloaked in secrecy, but one member, Vicky Aitken, said they refuse to give up their Roman Catholic religion. "It means so much to us as Polish people that we want to make sure our spiritual needs are taken care of," she said.

Even if it means doing so without the blessing of their church leaders. An archdiocese spokesperson said Archbishop Burke would not comment on Sunday's Easter Mass, nor would he take any action against the priest or St. Stanislaus.

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