Friday, July 01, 2005

An Interesting Bulletin Article...


Two weeks ago I thoroughly enjoyed a week of study at the seminary in Chicago (Mundelein). The topic was interpreting the Bible. We learned more about how early Christians interpreted the scriptures as the Jewish people did using "midrash" or teaching by means of a story. Then borrowing from their Greek culture, they also used allegory and typology (images that prefigure a later reality) to understand a scripture text. St. Thomas Aquinas in the late middle ages had some rather radical ideas about interpretation of Scripture - namely using classical Greek philosophy and "modern" theology. In the Modern Era (late 19th to 20th century) Protestant scripture scholars developed the "historical critical method" which interpreted the bible within the context of archaeological discoveries and the study of the literary styles of the scripture texts. They would study the details about the author, what writing style, what purpose for writing, the community to whom he was writing, what era, what geographical area. In 1941, Pope Pius XII decreed that all modern Catholic scholarly study of the Bible should utilize this historical critical method as the norm, and so they have. And in the process Catholic scripture scholars have taken a leadership role in modern interpretation of the Bible in the last half century.

The field of interpretation continues to grow and change, and so there are many challenges for people of faith as they continue to read, pray with, and be inspired by the Bible. It is becoming clear that there is a wide spectrum of approaches among 21st century Christians seeking to understand the truth of God's Word in the Bible. On one end you have the "post-modern" approaches which have become so skeptical of anything divine in the Bible that they decline to say that you can know anything for certain from the Bible. On the other extreme are the fundamentalists who are absolutely certain about their interpretation of Scripture and the absolute correctness of God's truth as they see it. This leads to absolute intolerance of anyone else's position but their own.

One of our speakers proposed that the best Catholic position is somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. He described it as "non-foundational biblical theology" which leads to a life of faith and moral living with a stance of humility before the truth of God. By this, I think he meant that studying the Bible is a never-ending project of searching for a satisfactory formulation of truth. We must be humble in admitting that we, even the Church, can never completely in this world explain fully God's truth. Thus as the human condition changes in every age, we should presume that our understanding of God's truth changes - God does not change, but every age is different. The truth of Scripture and Tradition are not to be seen as a depository of absolutely unchanging truths. One example of this is that the Bible in the time it was written was comfortable with slavery and presumed it would always be part of the human condition; it took the Church 18 centuries to change this teaching to respect the right to freedom for every human being.

Well, I am starting to get carried away with this Bible stuff. Maybe I will have some further ideas later.
Oh, pleeeeeze....spare us! It's no wonder his favorite biblical scholar is Fr. Raymond Brown.

He has used this "slavery" teaching before with me as an example of how Church teaching changes...Another was 'usury'....And these were used as examples of why we don't really have to believe the dogma of Mary's Perpetual Virginity.

And another priest at the parish keeps insisting that we will have "women priests". And he wonders why I attend Mass at other parishes rather than my own parish...

Gospel for Friday, 13th Week on Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:9-13

The Call of Matthew

[9] As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[10] And as He sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [12] But when He heard it, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

9. "Tax office": a public place for the payment of taxes. On "following Jesus", see the note on Matthew 8:18-22.

The Matthew whom Jesus calls here is the Apostle of the same name and the human author of the first Gospel. In Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 he is called Levi the son of Alphaeus or simply Levi.

In addition to Baptism, through which God calls all Christians (cf. note on Matthew 8:18-22), the Lord can also extend, to whomever He chooses, a further calling to engage in some specific mission in the Church. This second calling is a special grace (cf. Matthew 4:19-21; Mark 1:17-20; John 1:30; etc.) additional to the earlier calling through Baptism. In other words, it is not man who takes the initiative; it is Jesus who calls, and man who responds to this call by his free personal decision: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).

Matthew's promptitude in "following" Jesus' call is to be noted. When God speaks, soul may be tempted to reply, "Tomorrow; I'm not ready yet." In the last analysis this excuse, and other excuses, are nothing but a sign of selfishness and fear (different from that fear which can be an additional symptom of vocation: cf. John 1). "Tomorrow" runs the risk of being too late.

As in the case of the other Apostles, St. Matthew is called in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of his life: "What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And--wonder of wonders!--Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 799).

10-11. The attitude of these Pharisees, who are so prone to judge others and classify them as just men or sinners, is at odds with the attitude and teaching of Jesus. Earlier on, He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), and elsewhere He added, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).

The fact is that all of us are sinners; and our Lord has come to redeem all of us. There is no basis, therefore, for Christians to be scandalized by the sins of others, since any one of us is capable of committing the vilest of sins unless God's grace comes to our aid.

12. There is no reason why anyone should be depressed when he realizes he is full of failings: recognition that we are sinners is the only correct attitude for us to have in the presence of God. He has come to seek all men, but if a person considers himself to be righteous, by doing so he is closing the door to God; all of us in fact are sinners.

13. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, keeping the hyperbole of the Semitic style. A more faithful translation would be: "I desire mercy MORE THAN sacrifice". It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does--especially his worship of God (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 5:23-24).
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 30, 2005

As a Result of Blogger Support....

...(or lack, thereof) - I have changed templates...I will get everything (links, etc) back in the next few days...

Who has all of the facts here?

A sheriff herding the flock

In "Holy Family parts ways" (June 26), the Post-Dispatch reported that Archbishop Raymond Burke was reconsidering the decision to transfer The Rev. Rickey Valleroy from Holy Family Catholic Church to St. Norbert Catholic Church in Florissant.

Rev. Valleroy had requested an assignment near his elderly mother in south St. Louis so he could care for her. Yet he was sent to St. Norbert. At Mass on June 26 at St. Norbert, we learned that Rev. Valleroy would be reassigned in the south.

The church is in crisis. With so much else going on - the continuing child sex-abuse scandal, the upset in Belleville over the appointment of the new bishop and the pain of closing of parishes - this personnel matter might seem insignificant. But it is symptomatic.

There is not a crisis of faith, but of leadership. The church needs shepherds, but has sheriffs instead. Putting rules and bureaucracy first is easy; putting people first would be a refreshing change.

Steven Gietschier
It would seem that Archbishop Burke has exercised great compassion and leadership if Fr. Valleroy is being reassigned as he requested. Some see everything as a 'crisis' and are quick to lay blame - especially, it seems, if one does not have all of the facts. Does mr Gietschier have all of the facts of this matter? Or os he merely venting his frustrations for some other reason? The fact that an accomodation was made for Fr. Valleroy would seem to render Mr. Gietschier's rant moot.

Source of letter.

Pope Benedict Invests 32 Archbishops with Pallia

VATICAN CITY — San Antonio Archbishop José Gomez — along with more than 30 other archbishops from around the world — was invested Wednesday with a pallium, a woolen stole worn around the neck as a pre-eminent symbol of his ministry, in a festive Mass by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica.

Bishop Gaydos to speak at State Capitol

Another "Eucharist" Sale on EBAY???

Spain Legalizes Homosexual "Unions"

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Parliament legalized gay marriage Thursday, defying conservatives and clergy who opposed making traditionally Roman Catholic Spain the third country in the world to officially recognize same-sex unions. Gay rights activists cheered lawmakers and blew them kisses.
As Sodom and Gommorrah rise from the ashes in nation after nation, one can only wonder how long God will permit this to continue.

Gospel for Thurday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:1-8

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And getting into a boat He (Jesus) crossed over and came to His own city. [2] And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, "Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven." [3] And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." [4] But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? [5] For which is easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven', or to say, `Rise and walk'? [6] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--He then said to the paralytic-- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." [7] And He rose and went home. [8] When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

1. "His own city": Capernaum (cf. Matthew 4:13 and Mark 2:1).

2-6. The sick man and those who bring him to Jesus ask Him to cure the man's physical illness; they believe in His supernatural powers. As in other instances of miracles, our Lord concerns Himself more with the underlying cause of illness, that is, sin. With divine largesse He gives more than He is asked for, even though people do not appreciate this. St. Thomas Aquinas says that Jesus Christ acts like a good doctor: He cures the cause of the illness (cf. "Commentary on St. Matthew", 9, 1-6).

2. The parallel passage of St. Mark adds a detail which helps us understand this scene better and explains why the text refers to "their faith": in Mark 2:2-5 we are told that there was such a crowd around Jesus that the people carrying the bed could not get near Him. So they had the idea of going up onto the roof and making a hole and lowering the bed down in front of Jesus. This explains His "seeing their faith".

Our Lord was pleased by their boldness, a boldness which resulted from their lively faith which brooked no obstacles. This nice example of daring indicates how we should go about putting charity into practice--as also how Jesus feels towards people who show real concern for others: He cures the paralytic who was so ingeniously helped by his friends and relatives; even the sick man himself showed daring by not being afraid of the risk involved.

St. Thomas comments on this verse as follows: "This paralytic symbolizes the sinner lying in sin"; just as the paralytic cannot move, so the sinner cannot help himself. The people who bring the paralytic along represent those who, by giving him good advice, lead the sinner to God" ("Commentary on St. Matthew", 9, 2). In order to get close to Jesus the same kind of holy daring is needed, as the Saints show us. Anyone who does not act like this will never take important decisions in his life as a Christian.

3-7. Here "to say" obviously means "to say and mean it", "to say producing the result which your words imply". Our Lord is arguing as follows" which is easier--to cure the paralytic's body or to forgive the sins of his soul? Undoubtedly, to cure his body; for the soul is superior to the body and therefore diseases of the soul are the more difficult to cure. However, a physical cure can be seen, whereas a cure of the soul cannot. Jesus proves the hidden cure by performing a visible one.

The Jews thought that any illness was due to personal sin (cf. John 9:1-3); so when they heard Jesus saying, "Your sins are forgiven", they reasoned in their minds as follows: only God can forgive sins (cf. Luke 5:21); this man says that He has power to forgive sins; therefore, He is claiming a power which belongs to God alone--which is blasphemy. Our Lord, however, forestalls them, using their own arguments: by curing the paralytic by saying the word, He shows them that since He has the power to cure the effects of sin (which is what they believe disease to be), then He also has power to cure the cause of illness (sin); therefore, He has divine power.

Jesus Christ passed on to the Apostles and their successors in the priestly ministry the power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:22-23). "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 18:18). Priests exercise this power in the Sacrament of Penance: in doing so they act not in their own name but in Christ's--"in persona Christi", as instruments of the Lord.

Hence the respect, the veneration and gratitude with which we should approach Confession: in the priest we should see Christ Himself, God Himself, and we should receive the words of absolution firmly believing that it is Christ who is uttering them through the priest. This is why the minister does not say: "Christ absolves you...", but rather "I absolve you from your sins..." He speaks in the first person. So fully is he identified with Jesus Christ Himself (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 10).
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 29, 2005

From LifeSiteNews: Please Pray for Canada

Same-Sex 'Marriage' Bill Passes at 9:05 p.m. Tuesday by vote of 158 to 133
House of Commons adjourns until Sept. 26

Canada's Liberal Government Passes Same-Sex 'Marriage' Bill C-38
Becomes third nation in the world to legalize same-sex 'marriage'

Ottawa, June 28, 2005 ( – At 9 p.m. June 28, Canada's Liberal government passed, without significant amendment, third and final reading of its same-sex 'marriage' bill C-38 by a vote of 158 for to 133 against. Canada now joins Holland and Belgium as the only three countries in the world to have legalized this radical redefinition of the institution of marriage. The bill must still be passed by the Senate and then receive Royal Assent before being promulgated into Canadian law. The Liberal dominated Senate is expected to swiftly pass the law.
More from LifeSiteNews here.

Cause of the Beatification of John Paul II Begins

VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2005 (VIS) - This afternoon, eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, in the St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome, the opening session will be held of the diocesan investigation into the life, virtues and fame of saintliness of Servant of God John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla).

On May 13, in the course of a meeting with the Roman clergy held in the same basilica, Benedict XVI announced the opening of the cause, waiving the normal waiting period of five years after the death of a Servant of God.

The Essentials, in 598 Questions and Answers, A Catechetical Summary in 200 Pages

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2005 ( The new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church offers a quick synopsis of the essential contents of the faith.
And there is this!!!
Pope Presents Compendium of Catechism

As Cardinal Ratzinger He Helped Oversee Its Writing

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2005 ( Benedict XVI presented the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document prepared by a commission he headed as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

During today's presentation in the Vatican, the Pope expressed the desire to give the Compendium "to every person of good will, who would like to know the unfathomable riches of the salvific mystery of Jesus Christ."

It is not a new catechism, but a compendium that summarizes faithfully the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which appeared in 1992.
Both articles available here.

Pope Meets Orthodox Officials, Urges Unity

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI stepped up his appeals to Orthodox Christians on Wednesday, saying a unified church could help a world "full of skepticism and doubts" to believe.

[Pope] Benedict acknowledged key differences but stressed areas of agreement during a Mass attended by a delegation from the spiritual leader of the world's 200 million Orthodox, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Gospel for June 29,Solemnity: Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

From: Matthew 16:13-19:

Peter's Profession of Faith and His Primacy

[13] Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of Man is?" [14] And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." [15] He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" [16] Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." [17] And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. [18] And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. [19] I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."

13-20. In this passage St. Peter is promised primacy over the whole Church, a primacy which Jesus will confer on him after His Resurrection, as we learn in the Gospel of St. John (cf. John 21:15-18). This supreme authority is given to Peter for the benefit of the Church. Because the Church has to last until the end of time, this authority will be passed on to Peter's successors down through history. The Bishop of Rome, the Pope, is the successor of Peter.

The solemn Magisterium of the Church, in the First Vatican Council, defined the doctrine of the primacy of Peter and his successors in these terms:
"We teach and declare, therefore, according to the testimony of the Gospel that the primacy of jurisdiction over the whole Church was immediately and directly promised to and conferred upon the blessed Apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For to Simon, Christ had said, `You shall be called Cephas' (John 1:42). Then, after Simon had acknowledged Christ with the confession, `You are the Christ, the Son of the living God' (Matthew 16:16), it was to Simon alone that the solemn words were spoken by the Lord: `Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of Hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and what you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven' (Matthew 16:17-19). And after His Resurrection, Jesus conferred upon Simon Peter alone the jurisdiction of supreme shepherd and ruler over His whole fold with the words, `Feed My lambs....Feed My sheep' (John 21:15-17) [...]

"(Canon) Therefore, if anyone says that the blessed Apostle Peter was not constituted by Christ the Lord as the Prince of all the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant, or that he received immediately and directly from Jesus Christ our Lord only a primacy of honor and not a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction: let him be condemned.

"Now, what Christ the Lord, Supreme Shepherd and watchful guardian of the flock, established in the person of the blessed Apostle Peter for the perpetual safety and everlasting good of the Church must, by the will of the same, endure without interruption in the Church which was founded on the rock and which will remain firm until the end of the world. Indeed, `no one doubts, in fact it is obvious to all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, Prince and head of the Apostles, the pillar of faith, and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and the Redeemer of the human race; and even to this time and forever he lives,' and governs, `and exercises judgment in his successors' (cf. Council of Ephesus), the bishops of the holy Roman See, which he established and consecrated with his blood. Therefore, whoever succeeds Peter in this Chair holds Peter's primacy over the whole Church according to the plan of Christ Himself [...]. For this reason, `because of its greater sovereignty,' it was always `necessary for every church, that is, the faithful who are everywhere, to be in agreement' with the same Roman Church [...]

"(Canon) Therefore, if anyone says that it is not according to the institution of Christ our Lord himself, that is, by divine law, that St Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of St Peter in the same primacy: let him be condemned.

"We think it extremely necessary to assert solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God deigned to join to the highest pastoral office. "And so, faithfully keeping to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, for the glory of God our Savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion, and for the salvation of Christian peoples, We, with the approval of the sacred council, teach and define that it is a divinely revealed dogma: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks "ex cathedra", that is, when, acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, possesses through the divine assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals; and that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are therefore irreformable because of their nature, but not because of the agreement of the Church.

"(Canon) But if anyone presumes to contradict this our definition (God forbid him to do so): let him be condemned" (Vatican I, "Pastor Aeternus", Chaps. 1, 2 and 4).
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 28, 2005

The "TOLERANT" Show Their Intolerance

Allstate terminates manager over homosexuality column

From an Email:
Allstate has fired a manager because he expressed his Christian beliefs concerning homosexuality. Matt Barber was a manager in Allstate's Corporate Security Division. On his own time, and without identifying himself as an employee of Allstate, he wrote a column posted on several websites which was critical of same-sex marriage.

An outside homosexual group complained to Allstate about the column. Because of their support for the homosexual agenda, Barber was immediately fired and ushered off company property.

The message is clear: To work for Allstate one must not publicly express their Christian belief in the Bible's teaching on homosexuality. Barber was fired because he did. Homosexuals can criticize and condemn the Bible's teaching and they are welcomed, but Christians must remain silent.


Allstate has sent a message to all their agents: If you are a Christian and believe the Bible's teaching on homosexuality, you will be fired. While Allstate touts its diversity, that diversity does not include Christian beliefs on homosexuality.

First, send Allstate Chairman Edward M. Liddy an email to register your complaint demanding both a public apology and reinstatement for Mr. Barber with back pay. Then call your local Allstate agent and tell him or her you will not be purchasing any insurance from them.

You can find a listing of Allstate agents in your area by clicking here . Tell the Allstate agent you will tell your friends about their disdain for Christians who believe the Bible's teaching on homosexuality.
People embrace evil and call it good. Any Christian who has an Allstate policy should cancel it and tell Allstate why. How soon will it be before this demonic attitude is adopted by more and more companies? Who is next to lose his job for his belief in God and His moral laws?

Boys' Fireworks Prank Interrupts Mass

Parishioners of St. Peter Catholic Church were jolted Sunday when two teenagers hurled several fireworks into the sanctuary at the 11:30 a.m. Mass.

A police officer attending Mass ran after the boys, while the rest of the church, which was packed with about 500 people, calmed down.

The Archdiocese Loses a Good Man and Spokesman

Where have I been??? I just heard about this...
Leaving archdiocese, Jamie Allman has some regret

Jamie Allman resigned Friday after six turbulent months as the chief spokesman for St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke.

"I came in and helped as much as I could, and now it's better for both of us to move on," he said. Allman, 42, will return to radio to co-host the morning show on 97.1 FM.

During his time at the archdiocese, he was both reviled and lauded by St. Louis Catholics for his colorful statements to the press.
More here.

Personally, I'm saddened to see him leave. He, at least, had the fortitude to stand up to the numerous lies and distortions mades against Archbishop Burke and the Church. Surely, this is what rankled some - they found themselves face-to-face with a amn who was not willing to back down or retreat in fear.

A good man resigned from the Archdiocese. Let us pray that he will be blessed in his future endeavors. Let us pray, also, that the next spokesman for the Archdiocese will have the intestinal fortitude to face the attacks against the Church with determination and fearlessness while presenting the facts, however distasteful some may find them.

New Suit against James Beine Alleges Sex Abuse

James Beine, the former Roman Catholic priest freed from prison this month by the Missouri Supreme Court, was sued Monday by a man who said Beine abused him more than 30 years ago.

Tony Pettus' lawsuit says Beine molested Pettus in the early 1970s, when the priest took Pettus and five other boys camping at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.

Looking Ahead to Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

"Occasion to Underline the Unity of the Church"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2005 ( Here is a translation of the address benedict XVI delivered today from the window of his study, before he prayed the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

We are preparing to celebrate with great solemnity the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, who sealed with blood in Rome the proclamation of the Gospel. At 9:30 a.m. on June 29 I will preside over the holy Mass in the Vatican basilica: It will be a significant occasion to underline the unity and catholicity of the Church.

As in the past, the celebration will be attended by a special delegation sent by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. I invite the faithful of Rome -- who venerate the holy Apostles Peter and Paul as their special patrons -- pilgrims, and the whole People of God to invoke heavenly protection on the Church and her pastors.

The end of June marks for countries of the north of the world the beginning of the summer season and for many people the time of vacation begins. While I wish everyone to be able to live serenely a few days of merited rest and relaxation, I wish to make an appeal to prudence to those who set out for different holiday places. Every day, unfortunately, especially on weekends, incidents occur on the roads with so many human lives tragically cut short, and more than half of the victims are young people.

In recent years much has been done to prevent such tragic events, but there can be and must be more done with the contribution and commitment of all. Distraction and superficiality must be combated, which in an instant can ruin one's own future and that of others. Life is precious and unique: It must always be respected and protected, including with correct and prudent conduct on the roads.

May the Virgin Mary, who accompanies us in our daily journey of life, watch over those who are traveling and obtain mercy for road victims. To her, heavenly Queen of the Apostles, on the imminent feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, we entrust the Church and her missionary action in the whole world.

[Translation by ZENIT]
Source - Zenit.

Gay pride parade is brought to you by ...

Microsoft, Starbucks, Wamu among local corporate supporters

Homosexuality 'a disease' claims Spanish professor

Expert: Real focus in gay debate being lost

Gospel for Jun 28, Memorial: St. Irenaeus, Bishop & Martyr

From: Matthew 8:23-27

The Calming of the Storm

[23] And when He (Jesus) got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. [24] And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. [25] And they went and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." [26] And Hesaid to them, "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?" Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. [27] And the men marvelled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?"

23-27. This remarkable miracle left a deep impression on Jesus' disciples, as can be seen from the fact that the first three evangelists all report it. Christian Tradition has applied this miracle in various ways to the life of the Church and the experience of the individual soul. From earliest times Christian art and literature have seen the boat as representing the Church, which also has to make its way around hazards which threaten to capsize it. Indeed, very early on, Christians were persecuted in various ways by Jews of their time, and were misunderstood by the public opinion of a pagan society--which also began to persecute them. Jesus' sleeping through the storm has been applied to the fact that sometimes God seems not to come to the Church's rescue during persecution. Following the example of the Apostles in the boat, Christians should seek Jesus' help, borrowing their words, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing". Then, when it seems we can bear it no longer, Jesus shows His power: "He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm"--but first rebuking us for being men of little faith. Quite often Gospel accounts are meant to serve as examples to us: they epitomize the future history of the Church and of the individual Christian soul.
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, June 27, 2005

Catholic Culture: Was Pope JPII an Effective Governor?

John Paul II's Failure to Discipline

In his current Highlights column on, Peter Mirus examines the question of whether John Paul II's failure to discipline means he was a poor leader of the Catholic Church.

You'll find this provocative column here: Was Pope JPII an Effective Governor?

Bishop Braxton will bring a little drama to Belleville

So says Bill McClellan of the Post-Dispatch:
EDWARD K. BRAXTON was installed as the Roman Catholic bishop of Belleville last week, and I think the good folks of Belleville are in for a treat.

Several Parishes Celebrate Last Mass

Gospel for Monday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 8:18-22

Demands for Following Christ

[18] Now when Jesus saw great crowds around Him, He gave orders to go over to the other side. [19] And a scribe came up and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." [20] And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." [21] Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord let me first go and bury my father." [22] But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."

18-22. From the very outset of His messianic preaching, Jesus rarely stays in the same place; He is always on the move. He "has nowhere to lay His head" (Matthew 8:20). Anyone who desires to be with him has to "follow Him". This phrase "following Jesus" has a very precise meaning: it means being His disciple (cf. Matthew 19:28). Sometimes the crowds "follow Him"; but Jesus' true disciples are those who "follow Him" in a permanent way, that is, who keep on following Him: being a "disciple of Jesus" and "following Him" amount to the same thing. After our Lord's ascension, "following Him" means being a Christian (cf. Acts 8:26). By the simple and sublime fact of Baptism, every Christian is called, by a divine vocation, to be a full disciple of our Lord, with all that that involves.

The evangelist here gives two specific cases of following Jesus. In the case of the scribe our Lord explains what faith requires of a person who realizes that he has been called; in the second case--that of the man who has already said "yes" to Jesus--He reminds him of what His commandment entails. The soldier who does not leave his position on the battlefront to bury his father, but instead leaves that to those in the rearguard, is doing his duty. If service to one's country makes demands like that on a person, all the more reason for it to happen in the service of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Following Christ, then, means we should make ourselves totally available to Him; whatever sacrifice He asks of us we should make: the call to follow Christ means staying up with Him, not falling behind; we either follow Him or lose Him. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus explained what following Him involves--a teaching which we find summarized in even the most basic catechism of Christian doctrine: a Christian is a man who believes in Jesus Christ--a faith he receives at Baptism--and is duty bound to serve Him. Through prayer and friendship with the Lord every Christian should try to discover the demands which this service involves as far as he personally is concerned.

20. "The Son of Man": this is one of the expressions used in the Old Testament to refer to the Messiah. It appeared first in Daniel 7:14 and was used in Jewish writings in the time of Jesus. Until our Lord began to preach it had not been understood in all its depth. The title "the Son of man" did not fit in very well with Jewish hopes of an earthly Messiah; this was why it was Jesus' favorite way of indicating that He was the Messiah--thereby avoiding any tendency to encourage Jewish nationalism. In the prophecy of Daniel just mentioned this messianic title has a transcendental meaning; by using it Jesus was able discreetly to proclaim that He was the Messiah and yet avoid people interpreting His role in a political sense. After the Resurrection the Apostles at last realized that "Son of Man" meant nothing less than "Son of God".

22. "Leave the dead to bury their own dead": although this sounds very harsh, it is a style of speaking which Jesus did sometimes use: here the "dead" clearly refers to those whose interest is limited to perishable things and who have no aspirations towards the things that last forever.

"If Jesus forbade him," St. John Chrysostom comments, "it was not to have us neglect the honor due to our parents, but to make us realize that nothing is more important than the things of Heaven and that we ought to cleave to these and not to put them off even for a little while, though our engagements be ever so indispensable and pressing" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 27).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Gospel for 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 10:37-42

Jesus' Instructions to the Apostles (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [37] "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves sons or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; [38] and he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. [39] He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

[40] He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. [41] He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. [42] And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

34-37. Our Lord has not come to bring a false and earthly peace--the sort of tranquility the self-seeking person yearns for; He wants us to struggle against our own passions and against sin and its effects. The sword He equips us with for this struggle is, in the words of Scripture, "the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17), "lively and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

The word of God in fact leads to these divisions mentioned here. It can lead, even within families, to those who embrace the faith being regarded as enemies by relatives who resist the word of truth. This is why our Lord goes on (verse 37) to say that nothing should come between Him and His disciple--not even father, mother, son or daughter: any and every obstacle (cf. Matthew 5:29-30) must be avoided.

Obviously these words of Jesus do not set up any opposition between the first and fourth commandments (love for God above all things and love for one's parents): He is simply indicating the order of priorities. We should love God with all our strength (cf. Matthew 22:37), and make a serious effort to be saints; and we should also love and respect--in theory and in practice--the parents God has given us; they have generously cooperated with the creative power of God in bringing us into the world and there is so much that we owe them. But love for our parents should not come before love of God; usually there is no reason why these two loves should clash, but if that should happen, we should be quite clear in our mind and in heart about what Jesus says here. He has in fact given us an example to follow on this point: "How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49)--His reply when, as a youth, Mary and Joseph found Him in the Temple of Jerusalem after a long search. This event in our Lord's life is a guideline for every Christian--parent or child. Children should learn from it that their affection for their parents should never come before their love for God, particularly when our Creator asks us to follow Him in a way which implies special self-giving on our part; parents should take the lesson that their children belong to God in the first place, and therefore He has a right to do with them what He wishes, even if this involves sacrifice, even heroic sacrifice. This teaching of our Lord asks us to be generous and to let God have His way. In fact, however, God never lets Himself be outdone in generosity. Jesus has promised a hundredfold gain, even in this life, and later on eternal life (cf. Matthew 19:29), to those who readily respond to His will.

38-39. The teaching contained in the preceding verses is summed up in these two succinct sentences. Following Christ, doing what He asks, means risking this present life to gain eternal life.

"People who are constantly concerned with themselves, who act above all for their own satisfaction, endanger their eternal salvation and cannot avoid being unhappy even in this life. Only if a person forgets himself and gives himself to God and to others, in marriage as well as in any other aspect of life, can he be happy on this earth, with a happiness that is a preparation for, and a foretaste of, the joy of Heaven" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 24). Clearly, Christian life is based on self-denial: there is no Christianity without the Cross.

40. To encourage the Apostles and to persuade others to receive them, our Lord affirms that there is an intimate solidarity, or even a kind of identity, between Himself and His disciples. God in Christ, Christ in the Apostles: this is the bridge between Heaven and earth. (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

41-42. A prophet's mission is not essentially one of announcing future events; his main role is that of communicating the word of God (cf. Jeremiah 11:2; Isaiah 1:2). The righteous man, the just man, is he who obeys the Law of God and follows His paths (cf. Genesis 6:9; Isaiah 3:10). Here Jesus tells us that everyone who humbly listens to and welcomes prophets and righteous men, recognizing God in them, will receive the reward of a prophet and a righteous man. The very fact of generously receiving God's friends will gain one the reward that they obtain. Similarly, if we should see God in the least of His disciples (verse 42), even if they do not seem very important, they are important, because they are envoys of God and of His Son. That is why he who gives them a glass of cold water--an alms, or any small service--will receive a reward, for he has shown generosity to our Lord Himself (cf. Matthew 25:40).
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.