Friday, June 24, 2005

Blogger Problems?

Surely, with a new feature added today, there won't be any bugs....Right?

Abp. Burke: To Christ’s Faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

On the memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Native American hero of God.
The feast day for Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is July 14. I write some weeks before her feast day to ask that special preparations be made, in order that greater attention be given to her feast day, this year and every year, in the homes, churches and chapels of the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I write also to ask you to pray for her canonization, so that she may become better known among us and throughout the world.
Archbishop Burke gives us quite a great history lesson in his article - it is really a "must read"!

Read it here.

Seven Philadelphia Priests Laicized

PHILADELPHIA -- Seven more priests removed from their duties by the Philadelphia Archdiocese in recent years for allegedly abusing minors have been defrocked by the Vatican, the archdiocese announced Thursday.

A Question for Catholics - Songs that make a Difference

Brought to you by the National Associatoin of Pastoral Musicians:
What liturgical song has really made a difference for you? It might be a song that has helped to form or strengthen your faith; has played a significant part in the life of your parish or community; is associated with a noteworthy event; or is simply your favorite liturgical song.

We are inviting NPM members and other American Catholics to tell us your selection for a liturgical song that makes a difference. We would like to know the texts and tunes that have done the most to help American Catholics to discover, explore, nourish, and deepen their faith.

We will continue to collect choices through September 30, 2005 and then publish a list of the most popular and important songs, according to the survey, later in the fall as well as some of the stories that we receive.
Bring your gee-tars and bongos and join the lovefest as we celebrate the banal, pedestrian music that makes us feel good - songs about US!!!! But you might ask, "What about hymns for the glory of God, for His praise?" We'll have to address that question, maybe, some other day...Today, it's all about us!!!

Oops, sorry not enough coffee yet this this morning.. I wanted to post this last night but was prevented from doing so...I was surrounded and held captive by a set of drums, 2 guitars, 2 saxophones, 1 cranky trumpet, a coronet and a flute. "They" wouldn't let me anywhere near a computer.

Anyway there are so many GOOD hymns (not songs) to vote for - I haven't decided yet:
Adoro Te Devote
Pange Lingua Gloriosi
Salve Regina
Any Gregorian Chant

Check it out here...and don't forget - vote early and OFTEN...

Gospel for Jun 24, Solemnity: The Birth of St. John the Baptist

From: Luke 1:57-66, 80

The Birth and Circumcision of John the Baptist

[57] Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. [58] And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. [59] And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, [60] but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John." [61] And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name." [62] And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. [63] And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marvelled. [64] And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. [65] And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; [66] and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.

[80] And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

59. Circumcision was a rite established by God under the Old Covenant to mark out those who belonged to His chosen people: He commanded Abraham to institute circumcision as a sign of the Covenant He had made with him and all his descendants (cf. Genesis 17:10-14), prescribing that it should be done on the eighth day after birth. The rite was performed either at home or in the synagogue, and, in addition to the actual circumcision, the ceremony included prayers and the naming of the child.

With the institution of Christian Baptism the commandment to circumcise ceased to apply. At the Council of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:1ff), the Apostles definitely declared that those entering the Church had no need to be circumcised.

St. Paul's explicit teaching on the irrelevance of circumcision in the context of the New Alliance established by Christ is to be found in Galatians 5:2ff; 6:12ff; and Colossians 2:11ff.

60-63. By naming the child John, Zechariah complies with the instructions God sent him through the angel (Luke 1:13).

64. This miraculous event fulfills the prophecy the angel Gabriel made to Zechariah when he announced the conception and birth of the Baptist (Luke 1:19-20). St. Ambrose observes: `With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith untied what had been tied by disbelief" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam. in loc.").

Zechariah's is a case similar to that of St. Thomas, who was reluctant to believe in the resurrection of our Lord, and who believed only when Jesus gave him clear proof (cf. John 20:24-29). For these two men God worked a miracle and won their belief; but normally He requires us to have faith and to obey Him without His working any new miracles. This was why He upbraided Zechariah and punished him, and why He reproached Thomas: "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29).

80. "Wilderness": this must surely refer to the "Judean wilderness" which stretches from the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea to the hill country of Judea. It is not a sand desert but rather a barren steppe with bushes and basic vegetation which suit bees and grasshoppers or wild locusts. It contains many caves which can provide shelter.
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, June 23, 2005

Are you Catholic?

Take your test and see.

What's your theological worldview?

Disclaimer: Posted for your amusement only....

Belleville diocese bishop is installed

In a ceremony that combined ancient ritual with modern dance, organ pipes with drum beats and reverence with protest, Edward K. Braxton was installed Wednesday as the eighth Roman Catholic bishop of Belleville.
Modern dance and "reverence with protest"???? What's that?
The congregation was still standing as nine members of the Althoff Catholic High School Praise Dancers, barefoot and dressed in blue cassocks, entered the nave with a book of the Gospels and a bowl of incense. They danced down the center aisle as a gospel chorus, backed up by a set of drums, sang an up-tempo version of "Alleluia."

"Just beautiful," said Shirley Renner, 70, of Cahokia.
Aaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!! And I missed it.....the influence of LA right here in the midwest! Who has the pictures? Praise dancers with incense - what could be better? It's a shame Cardinal Arinze could not be there...


Catholic woman in secret "ordination"

A woman has been ordained as a priest in a secret ceremony in central Europe as an act of defiance against the Roman Catholic Church.
Of course she a way, similar to some of the prime candidates for psychiatric treatment around the world who have declared themselves pope (Pope Pius XIII, Pope Michael, etc)...
..his [Cardinal Ratzinger's] stern admonitions have been ignored. Among those conducting the ordination the BBC witnessed, were women from the Danube Seven who now describe themselves as bishops.
Interesting...they went from "priests" to "bishops" in a mere three years all without the Holy See being involved...The fact that they have been excommunicated apparently makes no difference - they now have their own self-established 'church' founded on sand of which our Lord speaks to us in today's Gospel. What a sorry lot these 'womyn' are...
Before the service, the young woman at the centre of it all spoke about her act of defiance.

She admitted it worried her, but said: "I hope that in five years, in 10 years, things will change because there are many women who would like to go the same way, and the way will be a little better prepared for them".
Keep wasting time hoping, honey - it ain't gonna happen...Remember that Jesus said to His Apostles, "He who hears you hears Me and he who rejects you, rejects Me and the One Who sent Me."
She said she did not wish to be identified because she feared losing her job teaching religious education.
At a "Catholic" institution, no doubt...
That impression was confirmed by talking to Patricia, one of those conducting the ceremony, who had been ordained in a similar way.

Patricia has impeccable Catholic credentials. For 45 years she was a Dominican sister, nun and an academic, who trained with men destined for the priesthood.
IMPECCABLE credentials?????....Whoa, that's a stretch...St. Dominic would be proud, wouldn't he?
My first feeling was: I'm doing the same study as the men, and I'm being excluded from the priesthood. It's so damned unfair," she said.
Tell it to our Lord and see what He has to say to you...Remember the parable of the vinyard workers? I think it might apply here.
But Patricia insisted there is nothing in scripture to exclude women from the priesthood: "It's a human law, a Church law, and this has been changed a number of times over the centuries. And an unjust law need not be adhered to."
So we now see that she is not a "Catholic", but a "sola scriptura" protestant...Well then, that's a horse of a different color...

More here.

Pope's new book affirms Europe's Christian roots

Rome, Jun. 22 ( - In a new book, containing major speeches he delivered prior to election to the pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI underlines the role of faith in European society.

The new book, entitled The Europe of Benedict: In the Crisis of Cultures, was introduced in Rome on June 21, at a press conference chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for the Rome diocese.

Suit alleges sex abuse by priest who died in 2003

A St. Louis-area man sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke and a dead priest Wednesday, claiming the church covered up sexual abuse by the priest in the early 1970s.
[Lawyer Ken] Chackes said the man, a husband and father who lives in the St. Louis area, repressed the memories of the abuse until he heard about allegations against another priest, with whom he had counseled while contemplating a return to the church. {all emphasis mine)

Repressed memories...Right!!! I wonder what effect money (or the promise of money) has on bringing such repressed memories to light? Or perhaps it's some other motivating factor which causes the buried memories to suddenly surface?

George Weigel: What makes a university ‘great’?

From the Denver Catholic Register:
Milwaukee’s Marquette University has been in a bit of a flap.

Marquette’s athletic teams had long been known as the “Warriors.” When the politically correct protested, the heirs of Jacques Marquette (the legendary 17th century Jesuit missionary honored in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall) caved, renaming the school’s teams the “Golden Eagles.” That made a significant contingent of Marquette fans unhappy. They continued to cheer for their “Warriors;” the vice-chairman of the board even offered a million dollar gift if the old name were restored. University president Father Robert Wild, S.J., then announced a lengthy “dialogue” to straighten things out; predictably, the “dialogue” produced an anodyne nickname — the Marquette Gold (as in the Harvard Crimson and the Stanford Cardinal).

I’m told that there were minor riots on campus. The local media were having a field day, and Father Wild finally announced yet another “process”: there would be a national plebiscite among interested parties, who would vote on a nickname from a list of ten names (chosen, of course, by a committee selected for its “diversity”).
It gets better....(or worse)...

Abp. Chaput:Commitment to protection of children continues in local, national Church

Last week the bishops of the United States met in Chicago. We voted overwhelmingly to extend the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for another five years with no significant changes.

The reason is simple. While we’ve made progress in dealing with sexual abuse within the Church, more needs to be done. Problems that go back four decades don’t go away in three years. The wounds caused by child sexual abuse are deep and long lasting. Our work to prevent those wounds in the future needs to be the same.

Gospel for Thursday, 12th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 7:21-29

Doing the Will of God

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [21] "Not every one who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. [22] On that day many will say to Me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?' [23] And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers.'

Building on Rock

[24] "Every one then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; [25] and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. [26] And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; [27] and the rain fell, and the floods came, and winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

[28] And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, [29] for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

21-23. To be genuine, prayer must be accompanied by a persevering effort to do God's will. Similarly, in order to do His will it is not enough to speak about the things of God: there must consistency between what one preaches--what one says--and what one does: "The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power" (1 Corinthians 4:20); "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22).

Christians, "holding loyally to the Gospel, enriched by its resources, and joining forces with all who love and practice justice, have shouldered a weighty task on earth and they must render an account of it to Him who will judge all men on the last day. Not every one who says, `Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but those who do the will of the Father, and who manfully put their hands to the work" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 93).

To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, to be holy, it is not enough, then, to speak eloquently about holiness. One has to practice what one preaches, to produce fruit which accords with one's words. Fray Luis de Leon puts it very graphically: "Notice that to be a good Christian it is not enough just to pray and fast and hear Mass; God must find you faithful, like another Job or Abraham, in times of tribulation" ("Guide for Sinners", Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 21).

Even if a person exercises an ecclesiastical ministry that does not assure his holiness; he needs to practice the virtues he preaches. Besides, we know from experience that any Christian (clerical, religious or lay) who does not strive to act in accordance with the demands of the faith he professes, begins to weaken in his faith and eventually parts company also with the teaching of the Church. Anyone who does not live in accordance with what he says, ends up saying things which are contrary to faith.

The authority with which Jesus speaks in these verses reveals Him as sovereign Judge of the living and the dead. No Old Testament prophet ever spoke with His authority.

22. "That day": a technical formula in biblical language meaning the day of the Judgment of the Lord or the Last Judgment.

23. This passage refers to the Judgment where Jesus will be the Judge. The sacred text uses a verb which means the public proclamation of a truth. Since in this case Jesus Christ is the Judge who makes the declaration, it takes the form of a judicial sentence.

24-27. These verses constitute the positive side of the previous passage. A person who tries to put Christ's teaching into practice, even if he experiences personal difficulties or lives during times of upheaval in the life of the Church or is surrounded by error, will stay firm in the faith, like the wise man who builds his house on rock.

Also, if we are to stay strong in times of difficulty, we need, when things are calm and peaceful, to accept little contradictions with a good grace, to be very refined in our relationship with God and with others, and to perform the duties of our state in life in a spirit of loyalty and abnegation. By acting in this way we are laying down a good foundation, maintaining the edifice of our spiritual life and repairing any cracks which make their appearance.

28-29. Jesus' listeners could clearly see the radical difference between the style of teaching of the scribes and Pharisees, and the conviction and confidence with which Jesus spoke. There is nothing tentative about His words; they leave no room for doubt.
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, June 22, 2005

Archdiocese sells five parish properties

From the Post Dispatch:
As 13 North County Roman Catholic parishes prepare to permanently close at the end of June, two school districts and a Christian church have seized the opportunity to buy some properties.

Church Closings in Steubenville...

STEUBENVILLE - A new cathedral to replace five churches in the city is being proposed by a task force of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville today. [Sunday]

The task force recommends closure of Holy Name Cathedral, St. Anthony's, St. Stanislaus, Holy Rosary and St. Pius X and a merger of those congregations and the Servants of Christ the King community, which does not have a building and grounds, into a new cathedral on St. John's Heights.

Philippines mourn Cardinal Siri

The Philippines' spiritual leader-cum-political powerbroker extraordinaire, Cardinal Jamie Sin, died yesterday after a long fight against diabetes and a heart attack. He was 76.

The former archbishop of Manila, once dubbed the "divine commander in chief", was a crucial player in the peaceful People Power risings against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada 15 years later. He will also be remembered for his extremely conservative views on social issues such as birth control.

Abp. Burke asks Fr. Biondi to clarify stem-cell comment

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke wants St. Louis University president Father Lawrence Biondi, SJ, to clarify contradictory published remarks attributed to him about embryonic stem cell research, which the Church condemns.

The archbishop asked for the clarification in a June 13 letter to Father Biondi. Father Biondi is traveling out of the country this week and was unavailable for immediate comment, said SLU spokesman Clayton Berry.

Berry, however, said that Father Biondi does not "advocate or allow" embryonic stem cell research at St. Louis University.
Source - the inaccessible St. Louis Review here.

This must be similiar to Fr. Biondi not really "advocating" SLU's involvement in allowing the "V-Monologues" to be performed at the campus with the implicit blessing of the administration.

Let's see what the Post Dispatch wrote and how others perceived Fr. Biondi's words and actions, shall we? Some excerpts from a June 12 Post Dispatch article:
Biondi's presence at meeting on stem cells creates a stir

The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, president of St. Louis University, has raised eyebrows in some Catholic circles for taking part in a private meeting of community leaders to discuss recent legislation in support of increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The meeting was not open to the press or the public, but Biondi's presence at the meeting was shared with Post-Dispatch columnist Deb Peterson. An item in Peterson's column June 5 quoted Biondi as saying, "I am not a delicate person, but I am in a delicate situation," and Peterson wrote that "Biondi supports the research."

"It was my distinct impression that he was saying embryonic stem cell research was the position he agreed with," said Cicero [Theodore Cicero, Washington University's vice chancellor for research]. "He clearly indicated he supported it, but that he was in a delicate position, especially with Burke."
Soutier [Bob Soutier, president of the St. Louis Labor Council] said Biondi told the group he was interested in learning more about stem cell research, "but that the church was going to dictate where he could go with it ... he said he was trying to gather information to learn how the research would affect the university, but that he couldn't come out in full support."
I wonder if he could come out in "partial" support?

I could not locate this article yesterday using the Post's search engine (I tried "Biondi", "stem cell". "embryonic", "louis university") but no hits to this article came up...I knew it existed because I had left it up in the browser of my downstairs computer. I haven't checked today, but maybe the search is working again - I can only wonder why the article failed to appear though...

Vatican II: The Real Untold Story

Cardinal Ruini definitively scraps the interpretations of the last Council as a rupture and a “new beginning” for the Church. And he calls for its history to be written at last, not from a partisan stance, but “according to the truth”.
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, June 22, 2005 – Forty years after its closing, Vatican Council II is still waiting for its story to be written “not from a partisan stance, but according to the truth.” Cardinal Camillo Ruini made this statement while presenting a newly issued book, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The author is Bishop Agostino Marchetto – a scholar of Church history who later served in the Holy See’s diplomatic corps and is now the secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People – and it is entitled “The Ecumenical Council of Vatican II: A Counterpoint to Its History.” The presentation of the volume took place in Rome on June 17, in the “Pietro da Cortona” room of the Capitoline Museums.
More here.

Gospel for Wednesday, Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 7:15-20

False Prophets

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [15] "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. [16] You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? [17] So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. [18] A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] Thus you will know them by their fruits."

15-20. There are many references in the Old Testament to false prophets; perhaps the best-known passage is Jeremiah 23:9-40 which condemns the impiety of those prophets who "prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray"; "who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord [...]. I did not send the prophets, yet they ran. I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied"; they "lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them; so that they do not profit this people at all."

In the life of the Church the Fathers see these false prophets, as of whom Jesus speaks, in heretics, who apparently are pious and reformist but who in fact do not have Christ's sentiments (cf. St Jerome, "Comm. in Matth.", 7). St John Chrysostom applies this teaching to anyone who appears to be virtuous but in fact is not, and thereby misleads others.

How are false prophets and genuine prophets to be distinguished? By the fruit they produce. Human nobility and divine inspiration combine to give the things of God a savor of their own. A person who truly speaks the things of God sows faith, hope, charity, peace and understanding; whereas a false prophet in the Church of God, in his preaching and behavior, sows division, hatred, resentment, pride and sensuality (cf. Gal 5:16-25). However, the main characteristic of a false prophet is that he separates the people of God from the Magisterium of the Church, through which Christ's teaching is declared to the world. Our Lord also indicates that these deceivers are destined to eternal perdition.
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, June 21, 2005

Bishop Olmsted Restores Latin Mass

The Old Mass has regained critical mass in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. The one-year experiment to determine whether enough Valley Catholics wanted Masses in Latin — the mother tongue of the church — has ended.

And Bishop Thomas Olmsted has declared Latin a winner.

The response to a first year of "Tridentine liturgy" or Latin Masses at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in east Phoenix has been so strong that Olmsted is making them permanent, and extending the special Masses to more parishes.
More here.

Pointifical Acts affecting the U.S.

VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Reno, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Phillip Francis Straling, in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Walter Allison Hurley, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., as bishop of Grand Rapids (area 17,592, population 1,283,717, Catholics 162,670, priests 136, permanent deacons 29, religious 289), U.S.A.

- Appointed Msgr. John Gerard Noonan, president-rector of the Saint John Vianney College Seminary, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Miami (area 12,836, population 4,036,799, Catholics 856,783, priests 361, permanent deacons 142, religious 509), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1983.

Pope set to return to traditional liturgy

Pope Benedict XVI wants to restore the traditional ceremonial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, with Latin instead of the vernacular and Gregorian chants.

Vatican expert Sandro Magister reported in his weekly newsletter Saturday that the pope is expected to replace Archbishop Pietro Marini, his predecessor Pope John Paul II's master of liturgical ceremonies.

Pope Benedict wants to return to the Sistine Chapel choirs singing Gregorian chant ....
Great news, yes?

Terri Schiavo's Remains Buried in Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The burial of Terri Schiavo's cremated remains didn't bring an end to the acrimony between her husband and her family.

Michael Schiavo angered his late wife's family Monday by not notifying them about the burial beforehand and by inscribing on her bronze grave marker the words "I kept my promise."
Ah, yes...a permanent reminder of one's intentional murder by dehydration and starvation. What a ghoulish act this pitiful excuse for a human being has done and continues to do. May God have mercy on him.

Gospel for June 21, Memorial: St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

From: Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Respect for Holy Things

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [6] "Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.

The Golden Rule

[12] "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

The Narrow Gate

[13] "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. [14] For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

6. Jesus uses a popular saying to teach prudent discernment in the preaching of the word of God and distribution of the means of sanctification. The Church has always heeded this warning, particularly in the sense of respect with which it administers the Sacraments--especially the Holy Eucharist. Filial confidence does not exempt us from the sincere and profound respect which should imbue our relations with God and with holy things.

12. This "golden rule" gives a guideline to realize our obligations towards and the love we should have for others. However, if we interpreted it superficially it would become a selfish rule; it obviously does not mean "do utdes" ("I give you something so that you will give me something") but that we should do good to others unconditionally: we are clever enough not to put limits on how much we love ourselves. This rule of conduct will be completed by Jesus' "new commandment" (John 13:34), where He teaches us to love others as He Himself loved us.

13-14. "Enter": in St. Matthew's Gospel this verb often has as its object the "Kingdom of Heaven" or equivalent expressions (life, the marriage feast, the joy of the Lord, etc.). We can interpret "enter" as an imperious invitation.

The way of sin is momentarily pleasant and calls for no effort, but it leads to eternal perdition. Following the way of a generous and sincere Christian life is very demanding--here Jesus speaks of a narrow gate and a hard way--but it leads to Life, to eternal salvation.

The Christian way involves carrying the cross. "For if a man resolve to submit himself to carrying this cross--that is to say, if he resolve to desire in truth to meet trials and to bear them in all things for God's sake, he will find in them all great relief and sweetness wherewith he may travel upon this road, detached from all things and desiring nothing. Yet, if he desires to possess anything--whether it comes from God or from any other source--with any feeling of attachment, he has not stripped and denied himself in all things; and thus he will be unable to walk along this narrow path or climb upward by it" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", book 2, chapter 7, 7).
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.

Cardinal Kasper Going to Moscow

VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration at noon today:

"Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will be in Moscow from June 20 to 23, 2005, in order to continue the dialogue with the Orthodox Patriarchate which began on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of the pontificate of Benedict XVI."

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Black Legend of Pius XII Was Invented by a Catholic: Mounier

And with him, another important Catholic: Mauriac. It wasn’t just communist propaganda that created the image of pope Pacelli as a Nazi-lover. Two pieces in two influential magazines have thrown new light on the origins of this image.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Monday,12th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 7:1-5

Various Precepts: Do Not Judge

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "Judge not, that you be not judged. [2] For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. [3] Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? [4] Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

1. Jesus is condemning any rash judgments we make maliciously or carelessly about our brothers' behavior or feelings or motives. "Think badly and you will not be far wrong" is completely at odds with Jesus' teaching.

In speaking of Christian charity St. Paul lists its main features: "Love is patient and kind [...]. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, 7). Therefore, "Never think badly of anyone, not even if the words or conduct of the person in question give you good grounds for doing so" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 442).

"Let us be slow to judge.--Each one sees things from his own point of view, as his mind, with all its limitations, tells him, and through eyes that are often dimmed and clouded by passion" ("ibid"., 451).

1-2. As elsewhere, the verbs in the passive voice ("you will be judged", "the measure you will be given") have God as their subject, even though He is not explicitly mentioned: "Do not judge OTHERS, that you be not judged BY GOD". Clearly the judgment referred to here is always a condemnatory judgment; therefore, if we do not want to be condemned by God, we should never condemn our neighbor. "God measures out according as we measure out and forgives as we forgive, and comes to our rescue with the same tenderness as He sees us having towards others" (Fray Luis de Leon, "Exposicion Del Libro De Job", chapter 29).

3-5. A person whose sight is distorted sees things as deformed, even though in fact they are not deformed. St. Augustine gives this advice: "Try to acquire those virtues which you think your brothers lack, and you will no longer see their defects, because you will not have them yourselves" ("Enarrationes In Psalmos", 30, 2, 7). In this connection, the saying, "A thief thinks that everyone else is a thief" is in line with this teaching of Jesus.

Besides: "To criticize, to destroy, is not difficult; any unskilled laborer knows how to drive his pick into the noble and finely-hewn stone of a cathedral. To construct: that is what requires the skill of a master" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 456).
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.