Saturday, July 30, 2005

Gospel for Saturday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 14:1-12

The Death of John the Baptist

[1] At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; [2] and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him." [3] For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; [4] because John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." [5] And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. [6] But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, [7] so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. [8] Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." [9] And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; [10] he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, [11] and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. [12] And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.

1. Herod the tetrarch, Herod Antipas (see the note on Mt 2:1), is the same Herod as appears later in the account of the Passion (cf. Lk 23:7ff). A son of Herod the Great, Antipas governed Galilee and Perea in the name of the Roman emperor; according to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian ("Jewish Antiquities", XVIII, 5, 4), he was married to a daughter of an Arabian king, but in spite of this he lived in concubinage with Herodias, his brother's wife. St. John the Baptist, and Jesus himself, often criticized the tetrarch's immoral life, which was in conflict with the sexual morality laid down in the Law (Lev 18:16;20:21) and was a cause of scandal.

3-12. Towards the end of the first century Flavius Josephus wrote of these same events. He gives additional information--specifying that it was in the fortress of Makeronte that John was imprisoned (this fortress was on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea, and was the scene of the banquet in question) and that Herodias' daughter was called Salome.

9. St Augustine comments: "Amid the excesses and sensuality of the guests, oaths are rashly made, which then are unjustly kept" ("Sermon 10").

It is a sin against the second commandment of God's Law to make an oath to do something unjust; any such oath has no binding force. In fact, if one keeps it--as Herod did--one commits an additional sin. The Catechism also teaches that one offends against this precept if one swears something untrue, or swears needlessly (cf. "St Pius V Catechism", III, 3, 24). Cf. note on Mt 5:33-37.
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, July 28, 2005

The First Sentence from Prefect Levada Makes the Legion Tremble

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has handed down a stiff sentence against Fr. Gino Burresi. The transgressions? The same ones charged against Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the powerful Legionaries of Christ

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, July 28, 2005 – On July 19, the Catholic newspaper "Avvenire" published the following note from the general secretariat of the Italian bishops' conference (CEI):

"Following the decree handed down on May 27, 2005, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, notice is hereby given that the following canonical provisions will be applied to Fr. Luigi (Gino) Burresi, of the congregation of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

"1 – revocation of the faculty to hear the confessions of any member of the faithful in any place, as provided in canons 966 and 969 of the code of canon law;

"2 – definitive prohibition against carrying out the ministry of spiritual direction for any of the faithful, whether a layperson, a clergyman, or a consecrated religious;

"3 – revocation of the faculty of preaching, as in canons 764 and 765;

"4 – prohibition against celebrating the sacraments and sacramentals in public;

"5 – prohibition against granting interviews, writing in newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, or on the internet, or participating in radio or television broadcasts on any matter involving Catholic doctrine, morality, or supernatural or mystical phenomena.

"This is made known for the understanding and profit of the faithful."

Practically speaking, the CEI has made it known that Fr. Gino Burresi, founder the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, must leave the ministry and retire to private life.

Among the reasons for the action taken, the decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cites abuses in confession and spiritual direction. But Vatican sources have confirmed that to these reasons must be added the accusations of sexual abuse made against Fr. Burresi by some men who were his followers and seminarians during the 1970's and '80's.

The Vatican decree has not been made public. But the American weekly "National Catholic Reporter" obtained a copy of it, and their correspondent John L. Allen gave a report of it in his newsletter "The Word from Rome" on July 22.

The decree against Fr. Burresi is the first to have been issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. And it is the first to bear the signature of its new prefect, former San Francisco archbishop William J. Levada (see photo). It was personally approved by the pope on May 27, when he received in an audience the secretary of the dicastery, archbishop Angelo Amato. The pope's approval "in forma specifica" does not admit appeal.
More here...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Gospel for Thursday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:47-53

The Net

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [47] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; [48] when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. [49] So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, [50] and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

[51] "Have you understood all this?" They said to Him, "Yes." [52] And He said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

[53] And when Jesus had finished these parables He went away from there.

47. "Fish of every kind": almost all the Greek manuscripts and early translations say "All kinds of things". A dragnet is very long and about two meters wide; when it is extended between two boats it forms double or triple mesh with the result that when it is pulled in it collects all sorts of things in addition to fish--algae, weeds, rubbish, etc.

This parable is rather like the parable of the cockle, but in a fishing context: the net is the Church, the sea the world.

We can easily find in this parable the dogmatic truth of the Judgment: at the end of time God will judge men and separate the good from the bad. It is interesting to note our Lord's repeated references to the last things, especially Judgment and Hell: He emphasizes these truths because of man's great tendency to forget them: "All these things are said to make sure that no one can make the excuse that he does not know about them: this excuse would be valid only if eternal punishment were spoken about in ambiguous terms" (St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11).

52. "Scribe": among the Jews a scribe was a religious teacher, a specialist in sacred Scripture and its application to life. Our Lord here uses this word to refer to the Apostles, who will have the role of teachers in His Church. Thus, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, are the "Ecclesia docens", the teaching Church; they have the authority and the mission to teach. The Pope and the Bishops exercise this authority directly and are also helped in this by priests. The other members of the Church form the "Ecclesia discens", the learning Church. However, every disciple of Christ, every Christian who has received Christ's teaching, has a duty to pass this teaching on to others, in language they can understand; therefore, he should make sure he has a good grasp of Christian doctrine. The treasure of Revelation is so rich that it can provide teaching which applies to all times and situations. It is for the word of God to enlighten all ages and situations--not the other way around. Therefore, the Church and its pastors preach, not new things, but a single unchanging truth contained in the treasure of Revelation: for the past two thousand years the Gospel has always been "good news".
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.

Voters Have Spoken - The Cross still Reigns over San Diego

I know Larry has posted on the Mt. Soledad Cross a few times in the past and the help by the Thomas More Law Center in assisting with the efforts to keep the cross. There is a news update from the Thomas More Law Center that came out this morning and it looks to be GREAT news...:
ANN ARBOR, MI. -- Despite fifteen years of adverse court rulings, city council decisions to remove the cross, a local war memorial associations agreement to settle the case by removing the cross, and last week’s surprise decision by a state judge requiring a two-thirds vote of the people before the city would be forced to donate the cross and memorial to the federal government as a national war memorial, the citizens of San Diego spoke loud and clear- - keep the cross where it is as it is. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, unofficial results show that over 75 percent of the voters voted to keep the cross and war memorial in yesterdays voting.

The 43 foot concrete Mt. Soledad Cross has been the center of a war memorial on city land since 1954. However, in 1989, an atheist filed a federal lawsuit challenging its constitutionality because it was located on public property.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, played an instrumental role in saving the cross. Its legal analysis was the basis for a federal law that declared the cross and memorial as a National War Memorial and authorized the federal government to receive a donation of the land on which the cross and memorial stood.

Commenting on the overwhelming voter support for the cross, an elated Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center said, “This is a tremendous victory in an important battle, but the war is not over. The other side has not surrendered; court battles over the cross continue.”

Two court dates are scheduled within the next month. A federal judge will hear arguments over the cross on August 15th, and a state Superior Court judge will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the ballot measure on August 12th.

Chuck LiMandri, Director of the Law Center’s western regional office, personally played a significant role in both the federal and state lawsuits over the cross. LiMandri was instrumental in obtaining the support of area Congressmen, Duncan Hunter and Randy “Duke” Cunningham, both Republicans, who authored the bill authorizing the federal government to take over the memorial as a national war memorial. President Bush signed the bill into law in December 2004.

LiMandri also served as vice –chairman of the San Diegans for the Mount Soledad National War Memorial which was established to coordinate the signature drive to place the issue on the ballot after the city refused to donate the cross and memorial to the federal government. In a historical first, it took only 23 days for the group to gather 105,000 signatures.

Gospel for Wednesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:44-46

The Hidden Treasure; The Pearl

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [44] "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
[45] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, [46] who, on finding one pearl of great value, went andsold all that he had and bought it."

44-46. In these two parables Jesus shows the supreme value of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the attitude people need if they are to attain it. The parables are very alike, but it is interesting to note the differences: the treasure means abundance of gifts; the pearl indicates the beauty of the Kingdom. The treasure is something stumbled upon; the pearl, the result of a lengthy search; but in both instances the finder is filled with joy. Faith, vocation, true wisdom, desire for Heaven, are things which sometimes are discovered suddenly and unexpectedly, and sometimes after much searching (cf. St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11). However, the man's attitude is the same in both parables and is described in the same terms: "he goes and sells all that he has and buys it": detachment, generosity, is indispensable for obtaining the treasure.

"Anyone who understands the Kingdom which Christ proposes realizes that it is worth staking everything to obtain it [...]. The Kingdom of Heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it, but the humble cry of a repentant man can open wide its doors" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 180).
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, July 26, 2005

Resentment and humility

A truly humble person never believes that he can be wronged in anything. Truly, we ought to be shamed to resent whatever is said or done against us; for it is the greatest shame in the world to see that our Creator bears so many insults from His creatures, and that we resent even a little word that is contradictory.

-- St. Teresa

Patron Saints for Grandparents

Grandchildren are a gift from God. Of all grandparents, the most highly blessed were St. Anne and St. Joachim, whose grandson was Jesus Christ and whose feast day is today.

The Gospels make no mention of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s parents, but the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal work written about 150, gives us a complete story of Sts. Anne and Joachim. Even in the early centuries of the Church, the Fathers could not sort out what was legendary in this book from what (if anything) was true. Obviously the Blessed Virgin Mary had parents. Considering the extraordinary graces God bestowed upon Mary, it stands to reason that her mother and father were also greatly loved by God. More than that, no one can say with certainty. What follows, then, is the legend of Sts. Anne and Joachim.
Continued here.

Cardinal Arinze, Holy Communion, & "Catholic" Politicians

Cardinal Francis Arinze, a top Vatican official, lived up to his reputation for outspokenness and over-the-top humor during a weekend visit to Western Pennsylvania during which he answered a "hot potato'' question about Catholic legislators who consistently advocate the right to legal abortion.

After giving a speech on the importance of the Eucharist for family life, he took written questions on a wide range of topics at a benefit dinner at the Le Mont restaurant on Mount Washington for the Apostolate for Family Consecration in Bloomingdale, Ohio. One question concerned whether Catholic legislators who support legal abortion should "be refused" Communion.

"Should the person be given [Communion]? And I ask you, do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to find the answer?" he said to laughter and applause from an audience of 120 ardent Catholics. "Are there no children from First Communion to whom you can pose the question and receive the answer? You do not need a cardinal to answer that. Because it is a straightforward matter."
More here.

Gospel for July 26, Memorial: Sts. Joachim & Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Matthew 13:36-43

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

[36] Then He (Jesus) left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." [37] He answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; [38] the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the Kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, [39] and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. [40] Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. [41] The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and evildoers, [42] and throw them out into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."

36-43. While making its way on earth, the Church is composed of good and bad people, just men and sinners: they are mixed in with one another until the harvest time, the end of the world, when the Son of Man, in His capacity as Judge of the living and the dead, will divide the good from the bad at the Last Judgment--the former going to eternal glory, the inheritance of the saints; the latter, to the eternal fire of Hell. Although the just and the sinners are now side by side, the Church has the right and the duty to exclude those who cause scandal, especially those who attack its doctrine and unity; this is can do through ecclesiastical excommunication and other canonical penalties. However, excommunication has a medicinal and pastoral function--to correct those who are obstinate in error, and to protect others from them.
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, July 25, 2005

Women Trying To Become Catholic Priests

The headline says it all....TRYING!
(1010 WINS) (SYRACUSE, N.Y.) On Monday, four Roman Catholic women plan to be ordained as priests during a cruise on the Saint Lawrence River. The women expect the Vatican to respond by excommunicating them.
"C'mon, we're not afraid of you...", they cry out! Of course, such arrogance and obstinacy is indicative of the influence of the evil one.
The ordination ceremony is planned by R-C Womenpriests, an international coalition of Catholics who advocate women's ordination. Three female bishops will perform the ceremony, The Post-Standard in Syracuse reports.

Could it be true?

Synod Might Reconsider Liturgical Music

Working Paper Suggests Return to More Prayerful Hymns
Guess someone needs to check and see how the NAPM (National Association of Pastoral Muscians) is taking this?

There will still be some parish 'music directors', however, having assumed a position of higher authority than even the Holy Father, who will continue with their banal "music" fresh the OCP song books!

Gospel for July 25, Feast: St. James, Apostle

From: Matthew 20:20-28

The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee Makes Her Request

[20] Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Him, with her sons, and kneeling before Him she asked Him for something. [21] And He said to her, "What do you want?" She said to Him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your Kingdom." [22] But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able." [23] He said to them, "You will drink My cup, but to sit at My right hand and at My left is not Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." [24] And when the ten heard it they were indignant at the two brothers. [25] But Jesus called them to Him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. [26] It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [27] and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; [28] even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

20. The sons of Zebedee are James the Greater and John. Their mother, Salome, thinking that the earthly reign of the Messiah is about to be established, asks that her sons be given the two foremost positions in it. Christ reproaches them for not grasping the true--spiritual-- nature of the Kingdom of Heaven and not realizing that government of the Church He is going to found implies service and martyrdom. "If you are working for Christ and imagine that a position of responsibility is anything but a burden, what disillusionment awaits you!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 950).

22. "Drinking the cup" means suffering persecution and martyrdom for following Christ. "We are able": the sons of Zebedee boldly reply that they can drink the cup; their generous _expression evokes what St. Paul will write years later: "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).

23. "You will drink My cup": James the Greater will die a martyr's death in Jerusalem around the year 44 (cf. Acts 12:2); and John, after suffering imprisonment and the lash in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 4:3; 5:40-41), will spend a long period of exile on the island of Patmos (cf. Revelation 1:9).

From what our Lord says here we can take it that positions of authority in the Church should not be the goal of ambition or the subject of human intrigue, but the outcome of a divine calling. Intent on doing the will of His Heavenly Father, Christ was not going to allocate positions of authority on the basis of human considerations but, rather, in line with God's plans.

26. Vatican II puts a marked emphasis on this "service" which the Church offers to the world and which Christians should show as proof of their Christian identity: "In proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, this sacred Synod offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs. The Church is not motivated by an earthly ambition but is interested in one thing only--to carry on the work of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for He came into the world to bear witness to the truth, to save and not to judge, to serve and not to be served" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 3 cf. "Lumen Gentium", 32: "Ad Gentes", 12; "Unitatis Redintegratio", 7).

27-28. Jesus sets Himself as an example to be imitated by those who hold authority in the Church. He who is God and Judge of all men (cf. Philippians 2:5-11; John 5:22-27; Acts 10:42; Matthew 28:18) does not impose Himself on us: He renders us loving service to the point of giving His life for us (cf. John 15:13); that is His way of being the first. St. Peter understood Him right; he later exhorted priests to tend the flock of God entrusted to them, not domineering over them but being exemplary in their behavior (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-3); and St. Paul also was clear on this "service": though He was "free from all men", He became the servant of all in order to win all (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff; 2 Corinthians 4:5).

Christ's "service" of mankind aims at salvation. The phrase "to give His life as a ransom for many" is in line with the terminology of liturgical sacrificial language. These words were used prophetically in Chapter 53 of Isaiah.

Verse 28 also underlines the fact that Christ is a priest, who offers Himself as priest and victim on the altar of the cross. The _expression "as a ransom for many" should not be interpreted as implying that God does not will the salvation of all men. "Many", here, is used to contrast with "one" rather than "all": there is only one Savior, and salvation is offered to all.
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.