Saturday, October 29, 2005

Godpel for Saturday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 14:1, 7-11

[1] One Sabbath when He (Jesus) went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching Him.

A Lesson About Humility

[7] Now He told a parable to those who were invited, when He marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, [8] "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; [9] and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. [10] But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. [11] For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.


11. Humility is necessary for salvation that Jesus takes every opportunity to stress its importance. Here He uses the attitudes of people at banquet to remind us again that it is God who assigns the places at the Heavenly banquet. "Together with humility, the realization of the greatness of man's dignity--and of the overwhelming fact that, by grace, we are made children of God--forms a single attitude. It is not our own efforts that save us and gives us life; it is the grace of God. This is a truth which must never be forgotten" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 133).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Friday, October 28, 2005

Senate Democrats Establish Abortion Litmus Test for State Dept Refugee Job

An Email from the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute:
It is amazing that Senate Democrats can turn anything into a debate about abortion. The State Department is trying to fill a key post on refugees and Senate Dems are forcing a pro-abortion litmus test on the job. Hey, Senator Boxer, the job is not about abortion. It is about helping poor people in trouble.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse
Spreading the word!
It appears that US Senate Democrats intend to impose an abortion litmus test on a State Department job that has nothing to do with abortion. Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey came under fire by Senate Democrats who charge that she has a history of opposing abortion at the UN. Sauerbrey has been nominated by President Bush to head the $700 million State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

At Sauerbrey's confirmation hearings on Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, California Sen. Barbara Boxer chastised Sauerbrey, charging her with being pro-life. "I question the wisdom of putting someone in that position who I believe has shown zealotry on the issue of reproductive health including family planning," said Boxer.

The charge centers on an attempt by the Bush administration last spring to pass an amendment to a UN resolution that clarified that neither the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action or the 2000 Beijing +5 platform created a universal right to abortion. The resolution had the support of more than 2,400 NGOs from around the world. Even pro-abortion NGOs and governments said the resolution was unnecessary because they acknowledged that neither Beijing document created a right to abortion.

Most of Sauerbrey's work at the UN has been to focus attention on issues other than "reproductive health." At several UN meetings, Sauerbrey has initiated language to support women in education, political self-determination, and development. Most importantly, Sauerbrey took the lead in opposing human trafficking whereby women are kidnapped and forced into prostitution.

Even with this strong record, Sauerbrey opponents are insisting that the only issue is abortion. Writing in the Planned Parenthood publication "choice! magazine", Betsy Illingworth says that "Sauerbrey's record on reproductive health and family planning raises more than a few red flags" because she "declared that abortion is not a legitimate element of reproductive health assistance. . ." It should be pointed out that even the UN General Assembly agrees that abortion is not included in "reproductive health." As recently as two weeks ago, Kori Annan's right hand adviser told the US Congress that abortion was not included in the UN's understanding of "reproductive health."

Critics have also charged that Sauerbrey lacks the technical experience in dealing with refugees. Her supporters point out that her job at the UN has given her extensive experience in international social policy and she has experience managing bureaucracies. "I have spent most of my adult life in public service. I've built and managed many, many organizations both in and out of government," Sauerbrey said during testimony. "Most refugees are women and children and in the course of the last four years working at the UN I have worked with every issue that is pertinent to women's human rights and they are certain pertinent to refugees."

Copyright 2005 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

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Abp. Chaput: Narnia tales remind us of eternal Christian truths

Archbishop's Column for the Week of Oct 26, 2005:
As every parent and teacher knows, some of the best learning never takes place in a classroom. We learn most deeply from the example of others and from personal experience. But we’re also shaped by the stories that touch our hearts and fire our imaginations.

No one understood this better than the great British Catholic scholar, J.R.R. Tolkien. In writing the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Tolkien single-handedly created the modern fantasy universe.
. . .
As a committed Catholic, Tolkien wove the Christian story into the fabric of Middle Earth. It’s no accident that Frodo and Sam finally destroy the power of Sauron, the Dark Lord, on a date that just happens to be March 25 — the great feast of the Annunciation on the Church calendar; the day God took on human flesh. Tolkien did that deliberately. In fact, the “Lord of the Rings” is filled with scores of similar Christian clues and metaphors.

Tolkien’s Anglican friend and fellow scholar, C.S. Lewis, did the same. One of the greatest Christian apologists of the 20th century, Lewis is remembered for classics like “Mere Christianity,” “The Abolition of Man,” “Surprised by Joy,” “The Screwtape Letters,” “The Problem of Pain” and “The Great Divorce.” But maybe his best work was his storytelling for young people.

In writing his seven-book “Chronicles of Narnia,” Lewis created a fantastic saga of dwarves, witches, trolls and centaurs, much like Tolkien. And again like Tolkien, Lewis’ Great Lion — Aslan — is unmistakably a figure of Jesus Christ. As for Aslan’s father, the Emperor Across the Sea: Well, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to infer Who that might be.
Full article here.

A Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Raymond L. Burke

On the 40th Anniversary of "Nostra Aetate"

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,


1. "In our day," or, in Latin, "Nostra Aetate," are the opening words of one of the shortest and yet most compelling documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The full title of the document is: "Declaration on the Relation of the Church to NonChristian Religions." Oct. 28 marks the 40th anniversary of its promulgation.

2. In these last days of October, various celebrations of the anniversary, bringing us together with our brothers and sisters of other religions, are taking place to honor the promulgation of "Nostra Aetate." I note, for example, the public lecture of John Borelli of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, to be given at St. Francis Xavier College Church on the campus of St. Louis University, on the eve of the anniversary, that is, Oct. 27. Representatives of the Islamic, Jewish and Hindu faiths, and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will respond to Dr. Borelli’s lecture.

3. I write to you now to invite all of the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to reflect with me upon the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, so that we may live more fully what the Church teaches regarding our relationship with our brothers and sisters who follow a nonChristian religion. Through our study of the teaching of the Church, may we imitate ever more fully the love of Christ, who came into the world that all might enjoy eternal life.

The declaration itself

4. "Nostra Aetate" is set within the context of the drawing closer together of all peoples in our times, especially through the modern means of communication and transportation, and within the context of the Church’s duty "to foster unity and charity among individuals, and even among nations." The council reminds us that the Church, therefore, looks to what all men and women have in common, "what tends to promote fellowship among them" (n. 1a).

5. It is also set within the context of the Church’s firm belief that we all "stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth" and that we all "share a common destiny, namely God." The Church holds that the providence of God, His plan for our salvation, extends to all and excludes none. She firmly trusts that, when Christ returns in glory on the Last Day, all peoples will walk by His light (n. 1b).

6. The declaration addresses the deeply rooted and common quest of all human beings, Christian and nonChristian alike, to find "an answer to the unsolved riddles of human existence." The same questions have weighed upon man’s heart throughout the past and continue to weigh upon his heart in the present and into the future. They are: "What is man? What is the meaning and purpose of life? What is upright behavior, and what is sinful? Where does suffering originate, and what end does it serve? How can genuine happiness be found? What happens at death? What is judgment? What reward follows death? And, finally, what is the ultimate mystery, beyond human explanation, which embraces our entire existence, from which we take our origin and toward which we tend" (n. 1c)? It is the daily search to address these most profound questions of life which we share with all our brothers and sisters. Our religious beliefs are different but they address the same questions.

7. The teaching and discipline reflected in "Nostra Aetate" are not new to the Church’s doctrine and practice. One thinks, for example, of the striking story of the deep and lasting friendships which our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II had with the Jewish children with whom he grew up in Wadowice and Cracow. I recall from my own youth a certain respectful fascination about the Jewish religion, in particular, because of the way in which I was taught about the sacred Scriptures and Church doctrine, sacred worship and the natural moral law. I remember one of the religious sisters, who taught me in elementary school, underlining our close bonds with the Jewish religion, quoting Pope Pius XI’s declaration: "Spiritually, we are all Semites" (Pope Pius XI, address "To Belgian Pilgrims," Sept. 6, 1938, La Documentation Catholique, 29 [1938], col. 1460). In other words, I grew up with a deep sense of how much our Catholic faith and practice is rooted in the Jewish religion.

Hinduism and Buddhism: teaching and way of life

8. In addressing the deepest questions regarding life and its ultimate meaning, men and women have developed in the past and continue to develop in the present "a certain awareness of a hidden power, which lies behind the course of nature and the events of human life." Some have identified a supreme being and some have called the supreme being "Father." Together with the development of belief in a "hidden power" or "supreme being," a religious way of living also developed. Being true to their religious conviction, the various peoples have developed a certain moral code, according to which they have all striven to provide, with integrity, an answer to questions which always face mankind.

9. In the context of addressing the common awareness of "a hidden power" which sustains nature and human life, in particular, "Nostra Aetate" reflects on two world religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. What it finds in these religions, as well as in others, is the effort of each religion, in its own way, "to calm the hearts of men by outlining a program of life covering doctrine, moral precepts and sacred rites" (n. 2a). The Church acknowledges that these great religions, which have struggled to respond to mankind’s deepest questioning, have provided moral guidance for individuals and communities. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council declares:

"The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrine which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men" (n. 2b).

At the same time, the Church, true to her own divine faith, must always proclaim Christ "who is the way, the truth and the life (John 1:16)." Regarding Christ, the council declares: "In Him, in whom God reconciled all things to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life" (n. 2b).

Fundamental principle of interfaith relationships

10. Reflecting upon Hinduism and Buddhism, the declaration provides, in a summary manner, the principle which should guide all ecumenical and interfaith discussions and activities:

"Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among nonChristians, also their social life and culture" (n. 2c).

There can be no contradiction between the one truth, the fullness of which is revealed in Christ, and the elements of truth found and respected in other religions. Catholics are encouraged then to enter into conversations with members of other religions, exercising prudence and charity at all times, so that we both respect the beliefs and practices of others and, at the same time, reflect the integrity of our own faith and practice.

11. Interfaith conversations are more timely than ever, given the increasing closeness we have with all peoples. Today, there is a special need, for example, for us to understand the religious faith of people of Islamic faith, who are ever more numerous in our midst. Given the fascination with religions of the East among some Catholics, especially in the cultivation of the spiritual life, it is important to understand clearly what we hold in common with each religion and what is significantly different in the belief and practice of each religion with respect to the Catholic faith.


12. The declaration next treats the Islamic religion, noting, from the start, the Church’s "high regard" for Muslims and summarizing the various aspects of the Islamic faith and practice. The council notes, in particular, Islam’s worship of God, "who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men." The council also acknowledges the desire of the devout Muslims to submit themselves in obedience to God’s plan for us and our world, to His laws, in imitation of Abraham for whom they have the greatest reverence. Muslims revere our Lord Jesus Christ as a prophet, even though they do not share our faith in His divine nature and person, and they give His mother, the Virgin Mary, greatest honor. They "await the day of judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead," and, for that reason, like ourselves, place strong emphasis on worshiping God by prayer, fasting and almsgiving (n. 3a).

13. The council also acknowledges "many quarrels and dissensions" between Christians and Muslims throughout their common history. The council asks that all forget the past hurts and urges every effort at "mutual understanding" for the sake of the common good (n. 3b). Given the deeply hurtful experiences with terrorism, often falsely identified as a religious work of followers of Islam, it is more important than ever to understand as fully as possible what Muslims truly believe, and to give an integral account of our faith to our brothers and sisters of Islamic faith.


14. With a deep warmth and respect, the Council acknowledges "the spiritual ties which link the people of the New Covenant to the stock of Abraham," that is, the Jewish people (n. 4a). The Church professes that her sons and daughters are children of Abraham, sharing in the call which he received from the Lord, and that the salvation accomplished by Christ on Calvary was prefigured in the Exodus. "The Church believes that Christ who is our peace has through His cross reconciled Jews and Gentiles, and made them one in Himself (cf. Ephesians 2:14-16) (n. 4b).

15. The Roman Catholic Church, as the declaration reminds us, believes that salvation is from the Jewish people. In this regard, the declaration quotes the Apostle Paul, who states the Church’s faith regarding Judaism:

"They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenant, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen" (Romans 9:4-5).

In other words, our faith comes to us through the Chosen People, the Jewish people, as does our Savior. The declaration also reminds us that the Apostles were first nurtured in the Jewish faith, as were "many of those early disciples who proclaimed the Gospel of Christ to the world" (n. 4c).

16. We must also recognize, as the declaration reminds us, that the Jewish people "for the most part" did not accept the Gospel and, in fact, opposed its proclamation. The opposition notwithstanding, the truth is that the Jewish people are, according to Catholic faith, most dear to God who never takes back His promise of salvation, who never withdraws His choice of the Jews as His people and the abundant gifts with which He showered upon them. The Church, together with devout Jews, "awaits the day, known to God alone, when all peoples will call on God with one voice and ‘serve him shoulder to shoulder’" (Zephaniah 3:9; cf. Isaiah 66:23; Psalm 65:4; Romans 11:11-32)" (n. 4d). Given the "common spiritual heritage," the declaration calls for the fostering of "mutual understanding and appreciation," among Catholics and Jews, especially "by way of biblical and theological enquiry" and discussions (n. 4d).

17. "Nostra Aetate" addresses directly the charge of the Jewish people with "the crimes committed during (Christ’s) passion." The declaration, reminding us that not all Jews followed their leaders who asked for our Lord’s death, teaches that Christ "underwent suffering and death because of the sins of all men, so that all might attain salvation" (n. 4f and h). In other words, we are all, inasmuch as we sin, responsible for the passion and death of Christ. The declaration states clearly:

"It is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from Holy Scripture" (n. 4f).

The declaration, once again calling to mind our common spiritual roots with the Jewish people, reproves "every form of persecution" and deplores "all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews" (n. 4g).

Peace with all peoples

18. The declaration concludes with an exhortation to all Catholics to be at peace with all their brothers and sisters, thus showing themselves to be true sons and daughters of God the Father. If God created us all in His own image and likeness, and if God the Son Incarnate suffered and died for us all, without boundary or discrimination, then we cannot profess true faith in God, while at the same time excluding any individual or group of individuals from our love. The declaration recalls the words of the First Letter of John, which are unmistakable in their meaning: "He who does not love does not know God; for God is love" (1 John 4:9) (n. 5a).

19. For us, as Christians, there is no justification, "either in theory or in practice for any discrimination between individual and individual, or between people and people, arising either from human dignity or from the rights which flow from it" (n. 5 b). The declaration draws then the following conclusion regarding our conduct as followers of Christ:

"Therefore, the Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, color, condition in life or religion" (n. 5c).

The call of the council to put aside any form of racism or other discrimination must be renewed in every time, for there is always the temptation portrayed in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the temptation to deny love to a brother because he is of a different race or people. We, on the contrary, must constantly strive to love our brothers and sisters as the Good Samaritan, as Christ, loves, that is, without boundary or discrimination.

Further reflections

20. In the light of the past 40 years, we should consider some of the currents which led the council to issue "Nostra Aetate." Even before the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council had begun under the direction of Blessed Pope John XXIII, there were calls among some bishops and theologians to address the question of the Catholic Church’s relationship to the Jewish community. This was due in part to an ongoing reflection upon the issues which surrounded the Shoah or Holocaust, during which over 6 million European Jews were tortured and killed, in the most deplorable manner, by the Nazi regime. There was also a real concern to examine the often painful relationship between the Church and Jews, a relationship often marked by misunderstandings and persecution, especially on the part of Catholics in their relationships with Jews. The personal witness of Blessed Pope John XXIII and his openness to the Jewish leaders of his time greatly aided these reflections.

21. The original drafts of these reflections were to be a chapter in another proposed decree of the council, "On Ecumenism or Christian Unity." Because of the groundbreaking nature of the issues involved, however, it was decided to treat in two separate documents the distinctively interfaith questions and the ecumenical questions.

22. It is important to note here the distinction between "interfaith" considerations and "ecumenical" considerations. By "ecumenical," we mean the effort through prayer, dialogue and cooperation to restore "full visible unity" among all Christians. Ecumenism is inspired by and flows from the very prayer of Jesus, as He was entering upon His Passion and death:

"I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:20-21).

For Catholics, interfaith or interreligious efforts are related to ecumenism, but they involve the larger religious community and point to dialogue and cooperation among fellow human beings who are seeking the truth, according to various religious faiths.

23. After it was decided that the decree unitatis redintegratio "On Ecumenism," would stand alone, there was further debate about how the council might deal with the "Jewish question." Some of the bishops rightly thought that, if the Church were to speak concretely about the Jews, then she should also say something about other great world religions. This is why there were added discussions of Hinduism and Buddhism, and also there was added a separate number on the Church’s high regard for Muslims, in which also the troubles between Catholics and Muslims are addressed. It is important to note that the references to Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, while brief, are positive and have provided well the basis for the ongoing interfaith relationship of Catholics with these religions over the past 40 years.

24. The most significant legacy of "Nostra Atate" still remains its chapter on the Church’s "special bond" with Judaism. Here it must be noted that, while recognizing the truth in the Jewish religion, as in other religions, the Church can never obscure her belief in the truth that God has saved all people through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, God the Son Incarnate. Another document of the Second Vatican Council, the dogmatic constitution "Lumen Gentium (On the Church)," addresses this truth and its implications for our relationship with other religions:

"Basing itself on Scripture and tradition, (this council) teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is mediator and the way of salvation; He is present to us in His Body which is the Church (n. 14a).

"Lumen Gentium" also affirms:

"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may attain eternal salvation" (n. 16a).

Consequently, the Church rejects both the exclusivist position which limits the power of the Holy Spirit to touch an individual’s heart as well as the pluralist stance which claims that all paths to God are equal. The Church believes rather, that Jesus Christ is the one universal Savior and that, through Him, all are brought into relationship with God, most fully and perfectly through incorporation into the Church, but also in other ways perhaps known only to God.

25. In our day, then, we are called by God to live and work with peoples of many diverse beliefs. As Catholics, we must continue to share our faith by word and example, always relying upon the fact that conversion is ultimately the work of God. At the same time, we must attempt to understand the rich doctrines and experiences of other religions, even though they may differ significantly from our own. This is accomplished through respectful dialogue. In our dialogue during these past 40 years, we have discovered the many common questions which underlie the spiritual hungers of us all. Beyond this, we are called to dialogue, collaboration and cooperation in addressing the moral and ethical issues affecting the common good.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis

26. Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis share a proud legacy of interfaith understanding and cooperation. Under the pioneering example of my predecessors, Cardinal Joseph Ritter and Cardinal John Carberry, as well as Archbishop John May and Archbishop Justin Rigali, the Church in the archdiocese has implemented the challenge of "Nostra Aetate" by attempting to build bridges of understanding with brothers and sisters of different faiths. The Archdiocesan Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs is very active, continuing to represent and guide Catholics in ecumenical and interfaith questions. The outstanding collaboration of the Church with other religious communities and organizations was certainly evident in the warm and enthusiastic response of so many of other faiths and Christian denominations during the historic pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II to St. Louis in 1999. It also has proven to be a steady foundation upon which to go forward since the most painful day of Sept. 11, 2001.

27. Of particular importance has been the archdiocese’s ongoing work with Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis. For 20 years now, this remarkable organization has been a catalyst for dialogue, celebration and joint action, bringing together the various faith communities of the region and often providing a common religious voice at a time when much of the world sees only divisions. The motto of Interfaith Partnership reflects the integrity and sensitivity of interfaith relationships: "Although we agree to differ, we promise to love and unite to serve."

28. An interfaith group which began as a direct response to the Holy Father’s visit to St. Louis, Faith Beyond Walls, merits special mention. Formed as a joint initiative of Interfaith Partnership, the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition and St. Louis 2004, Faith Beyond Walls mobilizes interfaith resources and volunteers to carry out various projects to better the community. I take the occasion to commend Catholics in the archdiocese who support the work of these and all organizations which fulfill the mission of "Nostra Aetate."


29. As Catholics, we receive our direction from our pastors in the Church. Over the past more than 26 years, we have been blessed by the remarkable sensitivity and strength of our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II. In his many travels throughout the world, he always made time to meet with other Christians and the leaders of all faith communities. His consistent calls for peace and his most sincere efforts in dialogue made him a prophetic voice to a world so often fragmented by social and religious divisions. From the very beginning of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has continued to affirm the Church’s stance of interreligious cooperation as the true road to peace and harmony. During his first pastoral visit outside of Italy, that is his participation in World Youth Day in his homeland of Germany, he had significant meetings with other Christians, but also with the Jewish and Islamic communities in Cologne.

30. The task of interfaith understanding and collaboration belongs to us all. It must become the lived experience of all of us. These 40 years since the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council have been particularly plagued with violence and social conflicts which cry out to be resolved. As religious people, we believe that beyond our differences there remains always our common human dignity and divine destiny. Thus the ongoing challenge of the declaration "Nostra Aetate" remains as relevant as ever in our day, every day! I conclude with the closing words of the declaration, a mandate which should also be part of our daily examination of conscience:

"Accordingly, following the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the sacred council earnestly begs the Christian faithful to "conduct themselves well among the Gentiles" (1 Peter 2:12) and if possible, as far as depends on them, to be at peace with all men (cf. Romans 12:18) and in that way to be true sons of the Father who is in heaven (cf. Matthew 5:45).

Given at St. Louis on the 18th day of October, the Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist, in the Year of the Lord 2005.

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of St. Louis

Gospel for Oct 28, Feast: St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles

From: Luke 6:12-16

The Calling of the Apostles

[12] In these days He (Jesus) went out into the hills to pray; and all night He continued in prayer to God. [13] And when it was day, He called His disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom He named Apostles: [14] Simon, whom He named Peter, and Andrew, his brother, and James and John, and Philip and Bartholomew, [15] and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, [16] and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.


12-13. The evangelist writes with a certain formality when describing this important occasion on which Jesus chooses the Twelve, constituting them as the apostolic college: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 2:13-19; Matthew 10:1-42). These Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17). He sent them first of all to the children of Israel and then to all peoples (cf. Romans 1:16), so that, sharing in His power, they might make all peoples His disciples and sanctify and govern them (cf. Matthew 28:16-20; and par.) and thus spread the Church and, administering it under the guidance of the Lord, shepherd it all days until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:20). They were fully confirmed in this mission on the day of Pentecost (cf. Act 2:1-26) [...]. Through their preaching the Gospel everywhere (cf. Mark 16:20), and through its being welcomed and received under the influence of the Holy Spirit by those who hear it, the Apostles gather together the universal Church, which the Lord founded upon the Apostles and built upon Blessed Peter their leader, the chief cornerstone being Christ Jesus Himself (cf. Revelation 21:14; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20). That divine mission, which was committed by Christ to the Apostles, is destined to last until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:20), since the Gospel, which they were charged to hand on, is, for the Church, the principle of all its life for all time. For that very reason the Apostles were careful to appoint successors in this hierarchically constituted society" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 19-20).

Before establishing the apostolic college, Jesus spent the whole night in prayer. He often made special prayer for His Church (Luke 9:18; John 17:1ff), thereby preparing His Apostles to be its pillars (cf. Galatians 2:9). As His Passion approaches, He will pray to the Father for Simon Peter, the head of the Church, and solemnly tell Peter that He has done so: "But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:32). Following Christ's example, the Church stipulates that on many occasions liturgical prayer should be offered for the pastors of the Church (the Pope, the bishops in general, and priests) asking God to give them grace to fulfill their ministry faithfully.

Christ is continually teaching us that we need to pray always (Luke 18:1). Here He shows us by His example that we should pray with special intensity at important moments in our lives. "`Pernoctans in oratione Dei. He spent the whole night in prayer to God.' So St. Luke tells of our Lord. And you? How often have you persevered like that? Well, then...." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 104).

On the need for prayer and the qualities our prayer should have, see the notes on Matthew 6:5-6; 7:7-11; 14:22-23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 11:1-4; 22:41-42.

12. Since Jesus is God, why does He pray? There were two wills in Christ, one divine and one human (cf. "St. Pius X Catechism", 91), and although by virtue of His divine will He was omnipotent, His human will was not omnipotent. When we pray, what we do is make our will known to God; therefore Christ, who is like us in all things but sin (Hebrews 4:15), also had to pray in a human way (cf. "Summa Theologiae", III, q. 21, a. 1). Reflecting on Jesus at prayer, St. Ambrose comments: "The Lord prays not to ask things for Himself, but to intercede on my behalf; for although the Father has put everything into the hands of the Son, still the Son, in order to behave in accordance with His condition as man, considers it appropriate to implore the Father for our sake, for He is our Advocate [...]. A Master of obedience, by His example He instructs us concerning the precepts of virtue: `We have an advocate with the Father' (1 John 2:1)" ("Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.").

14-16. Jesus chose for Apostles very ordinary people, most of them poor and uneducated; apparently only Matthew and the brothers James and John had social positions of any consequence. But all of them gave up whatever they had, little or much as it was, and all of them, bar Judas, put their faith in the Lord, overcame their shortcomings and eventually proved faithful to grace and became saints, veritable pillars of the Church. We should not feel uneasy when we realize that we too are low in human qualities; what matters is being faithful to the grace God gives us.

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, October 27, 2005

Notre Dame's Pro-Homosexual Focus Deserving of Criticism, Says Catholic Group

(AgapePress) - A Catholic pro-family group is protesting several programs at the University of Notre Dame that encourage students to declare their homosexuality.
Robert Ritchie is director of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP), a Catholic organization based in Pennsylvania. Ritchie views the recent events on the South Bend, Indiana, campus as an attack on traditional Catholic morality. In response, his group is trying to get the word out.

School board bans religious holidays

Another reason to homeschool or to send children to a good parochial school...The public system is diseased.
Nixes days off after Muslim group asked classes be canceled for Eid

Rather than add a school holiday for Muslims who were requesting one, a Florida school board has canceled all religious observances – including Yom Kippur, Good Friday and the day after Easter.

Culture of Life Foundation Statement Regarding Harriet Miers Withdrawal


For Immediate Release

For further comment, contact Mark Adams, 202-289-2500; or 318-794-1170

Washington DC – October 27, 2005 – Culture of Life Foundation President Austin Ruse said today, “We praise the courage of Harriet Miers in her decision to withdraw her name from consideration for the US Supreme Court. We praise President Bush for what must have been a very difficult decision in accepting Ms. Miers’ withdrawal.”

“We eagerly await the President’s next nominee to the Supreme Court. We fully expect the President to choose a nominee who is a judicial conservative, one who will strictly interpret the Constitution. We encourage the President to choose a nominee with a strong paper trail.

“The very potent conservative coalition --- that worked so well during the Roberts nomination process --- sadly was shattered in recent weeks. We have no doubt this powerful coalition with gather again for the President’s next nominee.”

“We look forward to supporting Ms. Miers in her continuing duties as White House Counsel.”


The Culture of Life Foundation is a Washington DC-based research institute that gathers and disseminates the facts and science related to the culture of life broadly understood.

EU Threatens Poland for Electing Pro-family President

BRUSSELS, October 26, 2005 ( – The European Union may try to deny Poland its EU voting status because its newly elected President-elect, Lech Kaczynski, opposes the celebration of homosexuality.
To be accepted by the world, one must embrace the decadence of the world.


Danforth Criticizes Christian Sway in GOP

The influence of evangelical Christians in the Republican Party hurts the organization and divides the country, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth said during a visit to the Bill Clinton School of Public Service on Wednesday.

Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri and an Episcopal priest, met with students during a seminar and held a luncheon talk at the graduate school.

"I think that the Republican Party fairly recently has been taken over by the Christian conservatives, by the Christian right," he said in an interview after his talks. "I don't think that this is a permanent condition but I think this has happened, and that it's divisive for the country."
More here.

"Christian conservatives"....I wonder what he would prefer - spineless liberals like himself? More Socialists? Islamofascists? Danforth has lost his way. He's been lost for a long time...Maybe it's his special "Episcopal priest" training? As I understand it, he is a supporter and defender of the Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer research (cloning) initiatives in the state. The truth apparently means nothing to him. He is in serious need of prayer and conversion.

Completely Overlooked - Death of Monika Hellwig

I just discovered that Monika Hellwig died earlier this month. The Obit from the Post reads:
Monika Konrad Hildegard Hellwig, a Georgetown University theologian who defended Catholic intellectualism against a Vatican crackdown, died Sept. 30, 2005, at Washington Hospital Center. Ms. Hellwig, 74, had a cerebral hemorrhage.

As president and executive director of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities from 1996 until two months ago, she was a leader in the U.S. discussion of Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," which required colleges to teach and follow church doctrine more closely.

Ms. Hellwig, a former nun who attended the Second Vatican Council, was respected by laity, theologians and church leaders, even when she publicly expressed differences of opinion with church hierarchy.

She taught for more than 30 years at Georgetown. She left in 1996 to run the association of more than 200 Catholic colleges and universities.
Though known as a vocal dissenter against the Church, let us pray that God will have mercy on her soul and that she may see the glory of heaven.

Another Lutheran pastor heads to Catholic Church

In August, The Layman Online published a story about a warning by Carl E. Braaten, one of the nation's leading Lutheran theologians, to the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

In the article, "Leading Lutheran scholar: ELCA's liberal drift causing 'brain drain' from denomination," Braaten lamented the exodus of Lutheran scholars and ministers from the mainline Lutheran denomination to the Roman Catholic Church. He expressed his dismay over the direction the ELCA in strong words, including "heresy," "pious piffle," and "empty body." He warned that the denomination was on a "trajectory that leads to rank antinomianism."

Braattan said his departed colleagues were "convinced that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has become just another liberal protestant denomination. Hence, they have decided that they can no longer be a part of that. Especially, they say, they are not willing to raise their children in a church that they believe has lost its moorings in the great tradition of evangelical (small e) and catholic (small c) orthodoxy (small o), which was at the heart of Luther's reformatory teaching and the Lutheran Confessional Writings. They are saying that the Roman Catholic Church is now more hospitable to confessional Lutheran teaching than the church in which they were baptized and confirmed. Can this possibly be true?"
More...from The Layman Online

The Pool of Siloam - Fact or Metaphor?

Raiders of the Lost Pool
New finds bolster the historicity of John's Gospel.
by Gordon Govier
The Pool of Siloam, considered a metaphor in John's Gospel by some New Testament scholars, was in fact a huge basin at the lowest point in the city of Jerusalem. Recent excavations have uncovered two corners and one side of the pool that stretched for half the length of a football field.

"It's very exciting," James Charlesworth, a professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, told CT. "It's very important for the study of the New Testament."

Some Johannine experts have suggested the story in John 9 of the blind man whom Jesus healed and told to wash in the Pool of Siloam wasn't much more than a metaphor.
Full story here.

Christ and Salvation are found at Mass

By Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, D.D., Bishop of Fargo - Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The month of October brings to a close the Year of the Eucharist. The year officially ends with the Mass of the Synod of Bishops in Rome on Oct. 23. We were blessed throughout the year to have monthly articles on the Eucharist in New Earth. Hopefully our knowledge, understanding and love for the Eucharist have grown over the past year.
As we close the year of the Eucharist, my hopes are many. I hope we have discovered more fully the sacrifice we participate in and the gift of salvation offered to us in Jesus Christ. I hope we understand better the real reasons for our participation in the Mass. I hope we understand more clearly the call to conversion truly a life-long process, the call to bring the Gospel into the world, and the call to deeply reverence the Eucharist. I pray, my dearest brothers and sisters, that each of us has come to recognize more fully the depth of the personal love of the Father in the Eucharistic sacrifice his son, Jesus Christ. May we live more completely in that love each day!
Complete Article here.

Gospel for Thursday, 30th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 13:31-35

Jesus' Reply to Herod

[31] At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him (Jesus), "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." [32] And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. [33] Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.'"

Jerusalem Admonished

[34] "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brook under her wings, and you would not! [35] Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"


31-33. This episode apparently took place in the Perea region which, like Galilee, was under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas (cf. Lk 3:1), a son of Herod the Great (cf. note on Mt 2:1). On other occasions St. Luke mentions that Herod was keen to meet Jesus and see him perform a miracle (cf. Lk 9:9; 23:8). These Pharisees may be giving Jesus the warning just to get him to go away. Jesus calls Herod--and indirectly his accomplices--a "fox", once again showing his rejection of duplicity and hypocrisy.

Jesus' answer shows them he is completely in command of his life and death: he is the Son of God and his Father's will is his only governor (cf. Jn 10:18).

34. Jesus here shows the infinite extent of his love. St Augustine explores the meaning of this touching simile: "You see, brethren, how a hen becomes weak with her chickens. No other bird, when it is a mother, shows its maternity so clearly. We see all kinds of sparrows building their nests before our eyes; we see swallows, storks, doves, every day building their nests; but we do not know them to be parents, except when we see them on their nests. But the hen is so enfeebled over her brood that even if the chickens are not following her, even if you do not see the young ones, you still know her at once to be a mother. With her wings drooping, her feathers ruffled, her note hoarse, in all her limbs she becomes so sunken and abject, that, as I have said, even though you cannot see her young, you can see she is a mother. That is the way Jesus feels" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 15, 7).

35. Jesus shows the deep sorrow he feels over Jerusalem's resistance to the love God had so often shown it. Later St Luke will record Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem (cf. Lk 19:41). See also the note on Mt 23:37-39.

[The note on Mt 23:37-39 states:
Jesus' moving remarks seem almost to sum up the entire history of salvation and are a testimony to his divinity. Who if not God was thesource of all these acts of mercy which marks the stages of the history of Israel? The image of being protected by wings, which occurs often in the Old Testament, refers to God's love and protection of his people. It is to be found in the prophets, in the canticles of Moses (cf. Deut 32:11), and in many psalms (cf. 17:8; 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 63:8). "And you
would not": the Kingdom of God has been preached to them unremittingly for centuries by the prophets; in these last few years by Jesus himself, the Word of God made man. But the "Holy City" has resisted all the unique graces offered it. Jerusalem should serve as a warning to every Christian: the freedom God has given us by creating us in his image and likeness means that we have this terrible capacity to reject him. A Christian's life is a continuous series of conversions--repeated instances of repentance, of turning to God, who, loving Father that he is, is every ready to forgive.
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, October 26, 2005

Bishops Marriage Conference Led by Supporter of Cohabitation and Divorce

This just in from Culture & Cosmos:
The US Bishops are preparing a pastoral letter on marriage. A meeting of theologians and social scientists just concluded in Omaha, Nebraska, that is intended to assist in the preparation of this important document. The problem is that this meeting in Omaha was led by a Catholic who dissents from Church teaching on divorce and cohabitation.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse
Bishops Marriage Conference Led by
Supporter of Cohabitation and Divorce

A Catholic theologian who opposes Church teaching on divorce and supports creating a betrothal ceremony for cohabitating couples just led a colloquium to assist US bishops with writing a pastoral letter on marriage.

The colloquium, which ended yesterday, was sponsored by the US Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family and hosted by the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University in Omaha. It featured theologians and social scientist[s] and had as its theme, "Promoting and Sustaining Marriage as a Community of Life and Love." According to a press release, the colloquium was a "major step" toward developing "a pastoral letter on marriage" and was "intended for the current and incoming members and advisors of the Marriage and Family Committee."

The director of Creighton's Center on Marriage and Family, Michael J. Lawler, served as the colloquium's chief facilitator. Lawler is well known for his heterodox views on divorce and cohabitation. A review of Lawler's book, "Marriage and the Catholic Church: Disputed Questions," in the left-of-center Catholic magazine "America", explains Lawler's take on divorce: "The governing agenda is to show how divorce and remarriage can be justified historically, canonically and theologically. Lawler argues that the sacramental character of marriage depends on personal faith. Therefore (contrary to canon law and current official teaching), sacramentality cannot attend the union of two persons, even two baptized persons, who do not intend, or who cease to experience, a mutual love that in faith makes God and Christ present." According to the review, Lawler also "proposes a formal betrothal ceremony to recognize and legitimize [cohabitation] and to provide an opportunity for marriage preparation."

In 2004 the US bishops committed themselves to a multi-year National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage. According to the USCCB's website, the centerpiece of the Initiative will be a pastoral letter. "It will deal with contemporary concerns about marriage from a foundation in Catholic doctrine and pastoral practice. It will draw from the experience and expertise of many, including engaged and married couples, social scientists, theologians, educators, communications experts, and others." Savannah Bishop J. Kevin Boland, chairman of the Marriage and Family Committee, said, "The colloquium will play a key role in our pastoral initiative by bringing together Catholic teaching on marriage with the latest research from the social sciences."

Theologians at the colloquium included Dr. John S. Grabowski, Catholic University; Dr. Julie Hanlon Rubio, St. Louis University; and Dr. Wendy M. Wright, Creighton University. Social scientists included Dr. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, National Marriage Project and Rutgers University; Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values; and School Sister of Notre Dame Barbara Markey, Ph.D., Family Life Office, Archdiocese of Omaha.

Culture of Life Foundation
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Perhaps, some day, we may yet understand why those at the USCCB continue to select dissenters and those with heterdox leanings to lead or participate in its various committees, subcommittess, and conferences. Of course, until there is a thorough cleansing at the USCCB, many will continue to view everything coming from the USCCB with skeptical and discerning eyes.

Vatican Organizing a Congress on Catholic TV

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2005 ( The Holy See is organizing an international congress geared toward those working in the field of Catholic television.

Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, confirmed the news today.

The U.S. prelate said the event will have "much more to do than study the history of the Church's involvement in television, which -- unfortunately -- has been all too limited." No dates have been set for the event.

The congress, he added, will have to answer several questions.

Lincoln diocese boasts highest number of priests to Catholics

Today, Catholic priests are in short supply throughout the entire world.

However, with the nation’s highest ratio of priests to Catholics, the Diocese of Lincoln has managed to avoid this problem.

According to the Official Catholic Directory of 2005, the authoritative guide to the Catholic Church in the U.S., there are 121 active diocesan priests in Lincoln and 89,236 Catholics.
So, in Lincoln, there is a priest for every 737 Catholics.

In Omaha: 1 priest for every 1,755 Catholics.
In El Paso: 1 priest for every 11,927 Catholics.
In Los Angeles, 1 priest for every 12,217 Catholics.
The national average is 1 priest for every 4,723 Catholics.

Many have known for quite some time that the Lincoln Diocese is (and has been) quite blessed to have had the episcopal leadership which is conducive to priestly vocations.
The Lincoln diocese long has been considered one of the most conservative in the country.

Though many dioceses throughout the country have allowed women to become altar servers or administer the sacrament of communion, [Rev. Robert] Matya, [pastor at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church/Newman Center], said the Lincoln diocese continues to prohibit such practices.
“It’s not that we try to be overly conservative,” Matya said. “But as a diocese, we do try to act how God wants us to be, and I think that is very appealing to a lot of these young men.”

The Rev. John Folda, rector for Saint Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, said,
“Ultimately, it is God’s gift to us...I don’t know why He chose to bless us this way, but we’ll continue trying to make the best of it.”

Article here.

Gosple for Wednesday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 13:22-30

The Narrow Gate

[22] He (Jesus) went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. [23] And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, [24] "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. [25] When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, 'I do not know where you are from.' [26] Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' [27] But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!" [28] There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. [29] And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. [30] And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."


23-24. Everyone is called to form part of the Kingdom of God, for he "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4). "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience: those too may achieve eternal salvation. Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life. Whatever good or truth is found among them is considered by the Church to be a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 16).

Certainly, only those who make a serious effort can reach the goal of salvation (cf. Lk 16:16; Mt 11:12). Our Lord tells us so by using the simile of the narrow gate. "A Christian's struggle must be unceasing, for interior life consists in beginning and beginning again. This prevents us from proudly thinking that we are perfect already. It is inevitable that we should meet difficulties on our way. If we did not come up against obstacles, we would not be creatures of flesh and blood. We will always have passions that pull us downwards; we will always have to defend ourselves against more or less self-defeating urges" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 75).

25-28. As at other times, Jesus describes eternal life by using the example of a banquet (cf., e.g., Lk 12:35ff; 14:15). Knowing the Lord and listening to his preaching is not enough for getting to heaven; what God judges is how we respond to the grace he gives us: "Not everyone 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" (Mt 7:21).

29-30. Generally speaking, the Jewish people regarded themselves as the sole beneficiaries of the messianic promises made by the prophets; but Jesus proclaims that salvation is open to everyone. The only condition He lays down is that men freely respond to God's merciful call. When Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn in two (Lk 23:45 and par.), a sign of the end of the distinction between Jews and Gentiles. St Paul teaches: "For he [Christ] is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall [...] that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end" (Eph 2:14-16). Therefore, "all men are called to belong to the new people of God. This people therefore, whilst remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 13).

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, October 25, 2005

Missouri Stem-Cell Initiative Permits All Cloning

By Mary E. Traeger of Concerned Women for America
The new Missouri constitutional proposal coming from pro-cloning advocates is by far the greatest threat to the sanctity of early human life that we have faced in Missouri. The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures has been formed to tie the hands of the citizens and the Missouri Legislature from regulating or banning human cloning or embryonic stem-cell research. The Coalition’s initiative is called the "Missouri Stem-cell Research and Cures Initiative."

The language emanating from this Coalition blurs the facts of when life begins and obscures the meaning of human cloning. This well-financed group of biotech interests and private individuals plans to gather 150,000 signatures on petitions to amend the Missouri Constitution. They mean to place a referendum on the 2006 Missouri ballot to keep all human stem-cell research "permitted by federal law" allowable in Missouri, regardless of the funding source. This is an unprecedented, over-the-top endeavor by the biotech industry to shield itself from moral or legal restrictions and would provide permission to ignore universal ethical codes that protect humans from dangerous experimentation.
SCNT [somatic cell nuclear transfer] is a fancy euphemism designed to fool people. Advocates for cloning realized that people do not like the idea of cloning, so they made up a new name. They vehemently deny that SCNT is cloning, yet the phrase SCNT describes the technique for cloning.
Not just a religious belief or moral conviction – it is a scientific fact that human life begins at fertilization. Currently, Missouri's statute states, "The life of each human being begins at conception." Proponents of this initiative, however, obscure the fact that embryos, even those created through in vitro fertilization and any that might be created through cloning, would have their body parts harvested. Or they would be experimented upon – riddled with disease for scientists to observe the effects or used to test drugs.
With all the promising fanfare, to date, NO therapies have been created using embryonic stem cells by any method. In fact, it has proven so dangerous in animals, causing deadly tumors, that it has not been attempted yet in humans.
The full article is here.

Take action: Missouri citizens: Contact your state legislators and urge them to draft a bill placing a total ban on human cloning.
Refuse to sign any petition that would protect embryonic stem-cell research.
Call CWA of Missouri for a speaker for your church or civic group to present the facts about embryonic stem cells and the exploitive destruction of life through clone and kill research. CWA of Missouri: 417-336-6284.

If you live in another state: Keep on the alert for pro-cloning laws and amendments in your state, and check CWA’s Web site regularly for developments.

If I understand this correctly, there are a number of well-placed and wll-financed individuals behind this effort to feed at the public trough while promoting or engaging in practices which would make Hitler and his group of mad scientists dance with glee. I fear that this is going to be a major battle in the State.

Archbishop Burke's Responses to Catholic Action Network & "Holy Families"

I just discovered these excellent letters written by Archbishop Burke which were posted at the Catholic Action Network site. I highlighted what appear to me to be examples of his extraordinary insights of truth and charity.

June 20, 2005 – Memorial of Anthony Turner, English Martyr

Jane E. Levdansky

Dear Jane,

I have received your letter of June 1 last, with which you enclosed two admissions for the film screening and reception, “In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick’s Journey of Faith.” I could not accept the admissions, or use them, because the work of Sister Jeannine Gramick, with regard to persons who suffer from same-sex attraction, has been judged by the highest authority of the Church to be seriously defective. I enclose for you a copy of the Notification published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis of May 31, 1999.

I invite you to give careful study to the Notification in order to understand why it is not possible for Catholics to promote the work of Sister Jeannine Gramick as it pertains to persons who suffer from same-sex attraction.

With regard to the ministry to persons who suffer from same-sex attraction, the Archdiocese has a strong chapter of COURAGE and ENCOURAGE, by which the Church reaches out to persons who are struggling in any way with the homosexual condition. The ministry is under the direction of Father James Knapp, S.J., and Father Ralph Houlihan, S.J. I am certain that both Father Knapp and Father Houlihan would be very happy to visit with you and to tell you about their ministry, carried out with the full support of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. I enclose for you some information about COURAGE and ENCOURAGE so that you will be able to understand the outreach in which the Archdiocese has been involved for some time.

With regard to the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice and Holy Families, I must point out to you that such work will only be productive to the degree that it is faithful to the teaching of the Church. Our compassion for our brothers and sisters who suffer from same-sex attraction is expressed by our truthfulness and by helping them to understand the doctrine of the faith and, like all of us, to struggle with whatever challenges they may have in living in Christ.

With regard to the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice, I do not believe that it is proper for the Network to use the titled “Catholic.” I have reviewed the materials on the website for the Catholic Action Network, and find several of them to be contrary to Church teaching and discipline. If it is the intention of the Network to remain Catholic, then the mission of the Network must be purified of those elements of dissent from Catholic teaching and practice.

Thank you for enclosing a copy of the letter of Bishop Terry Steib, S.V.D., of Memphis. I will be interested to learn about the ministry which he is establishing in the Diocese of Memphis. I am confident that it will be a ministry which respects fully the truth of the Catholic faith.

Asking God’s blessing upon you, and requesting a remembrance in your prayers, I remain

Yours sincerely in Christ,

(s) + Raymond L. Burke
(Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of Saint Louis


Copy: The Most Reverend Robert J. Hermann, V.G.
The Reverend Monsignor Vernon E. Gardin, V.G.
August 25, 2005 -- Solemnity of Saint Louis, King of France

Sally Master

Dear Mrs. Master,

Thank you for you letter of July 19, 2005, in which you express some of the concerns of a group you call “Holy Families Committee of the Catholic Action Network.”

You make reference to your “Holy Families Scrapbook,” the purpose of which “was to illustrate who Catholic homosexuals and their families and communities are: what they look like, what they feel, how they live, and what they believe.”

I looked through the scrapbook. It represents many admirable human qualities, such as love of adults and children, no matter what their sexual orientation may be.

These virtues are commendable values. We should all share them. The Church must always show pastoral love and care to those who suffer from the homosexual condition.

That is what Bishop Hermann tried to do when he met with some members of your group last August. He listened very carefully to what you had to say. He understood the heartbreak of parents who found out that one of their children had experienced same sex attraction. He was impressed with the struggle of the parents to continue to love their child, even though the child suffered from same-sex attraction.

Bishop Hermann clearly pointed out that while we can have great compassion for those who have same-sex attraction, we can never condone homosexual or lesbian sexual activity. We are always called to love the person, and if we really love the whole person, body, soul and spirit, then we must be concerned with behaviors that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. We must be concerned about the individual’s eternal salvation and therefore we have an obligation to give clear witness to the teachings of Scripture and of the Catholic Church. In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a document entitled: “Declarations on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics.” In it the Church states: “In Sacred Scripture they (homosexual actions) are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God. This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.”

From the above it is clear that the Church has a great love and concern for the person with same-sex attraction, and it wants to help that individual live a chaste life. The Church never condemns the person because of the attraction.

Just as the Church condemns the inordinate use of alcohol, and encourages individuals with a chemical addiction to get help, especially in AA, so the Catholic Church has a great love for people with same-sex attraction and encourages them to join COURAGE, which is made up of individuals who have same-sex attraction but who know that homosexual behavior is seriously sinful, and therefore they open themselves to God’s grace, the Sacraments and the support of the group to get the help and support they need to live chaste lives.

In addition, there is ENCOURAGE a support group for parents and siblings of persons with same-sex attraction. Through ENCOURAGE, family members are helped to be loving toward a member who suffers from same-sex attraction. In St. Louis, we are blessed to have a chapter of both COURAGE and ENCOURAGE.

I commend you for the strong sense of love and support you offer those who suffer same-sex attraction, but it would be wrong not to pray for and encourage such individuals to live chaste lives. If your group can begin to focus on the virtue of chastity and therefore support in prayer those who are struggling with this virtue, then you will truly become the loving community you are called to be. The Church truly loves you and is calling you to open yourselves up to the love of Christ which conquers all things.

If you want to learn more about the Church’s love and compassion for people who experience same-sex attraction, Bishop Hermann would be more than happy to help you. He could even arrange for a priest chaplain of COURAGE and ENCOURAGE to come with him and explain the wonderful support that is available for those who are trying to live a chaste life.

Finally, let me say that you are in my prayers. I know that God loves you and is calling you to a deeper understanding of that love.

Asking a remembrance in your prayers, I remain

Yours sincerely in Christ,

(s) + Raymond L. Burke
(Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of Saint Louis

Only Priests Can Administer Anointing of the Sick?

First, a little background:
Sister Susan Slater, St. Stephen's parish life director, who ministered as a pastoral associate for four years at the parish before being named to her present position last year, said she has been accepted as a pastoral leader by parishioners. When she wore an alb on the altar for the first time at a prayer service, "a lot of women said it was nice to see me up there --- even older women," confided Sister Slater, who feels Catholics can adapt to pastoral leadership changes.
I wonder, then, what Sister Slater means by this?
Working six days a week, and always on Sunday, Sister Slater balances administrative and pastoral duties such as bereavement counseling, marriage preparation and visiting the sick. "I do whatever the pastor would have done," said Sister Slater.
I bet she does! Where is this happening????

Under the awesome leadership of Cardinal Mahony in LA....Source? The Archdiocesan Newspaper, The Tidings.

The Eight Habits of Highly Effective Bishops

Mary Jo Anderson has written an article for Crisis Magazine, titled, The Eight Habits of Highly Effective Bishops. She discussed this article last night on the EWTN Program, The Abundant Life.

Several bishops are listed as examples of those men who possess certain qualities which enable them to be effective bishops. Of course, our own Archbishop Burke is included in this survey as a man of courage and conviction.
Notwithstanding the sex-abuse scandal that has buffeted the Catholic Church in the United States, Catholics genuinely admire bishops whose courage and dedication have made a difference in their dioceses. Adversity tends to sharpen the contrast and clarify the picture of Catholicism in America. And the recent presidential election added another dimension to any reflection on the American Catholic identity, as many of the most crucial issues intersected Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, sex, and marriage.
There were many other examples of this kind of public episcopal leadership. Dorothy Walker, a Florida catechist, cited Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis "for his courage and the extremely well-thought-out defense in his recent pastoral letter that Catholics must vote" for the sake of their contribution to the common good.
Also named was our former Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Michael Sheridan:
Bishop Sheridan also refused to be intimidated by CNN's Anderson Cooper over the matter of the worthiness of pro-abortion politicians to receive the Eucharist. When a hostile Cooper suggested that Bishop Sheridan's stance pushed Catholics away from the Church, the bishop replied, "[A]s a bishop I have the mandate to speak the truth."
A MANDATE to speak the truth! And we have a mandate to accept and adhere to the Truth as given to us by Christ and His Church!

This is an excellent article and well worth the taking the time to read it. We are quite fortunate to have been blessed with some very good bishops in recent years. We should continue to pray for them that our Lord will continue to bless them and give them the courage and faith to proclaim the truth with love and conviction and that He will protect them from the forces of evil!

A link to the article at Catholic Culture is here.

Abp. Burke makes first official visitation to St. Francis de Sales Oratory

On Saturday, October 15th, the faithful of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, of the Institute of Christ the King, were treated to a very special occasion. Not only was the sacrament of Confirmation conferred on 34 candidates, but it was also the occasion of Archbishop Raymond Burke’s first official visit to the Oratory.

More here.

Thanks to Marc P. for the link!

The Synod on the Eucharist, Penultimate Act: The Final Propositions

[Pope] Benedict XVI will decide on the basis of these proposals. But he has already shown the world the main outlines of his approach – and the model is the Masses he has celebrated.

by Sandro Magister
Some short excerpts:
ROMA, October 25, 2005 – The Mass Benedict XVI celebrated in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 23 closed the synod on the Eucharist in an exemplary manner.

It was exemplary because it offered to all a model of the liturgy which also provides guidelines for the faith, according to the ancient patristic saying: “Lex orandi, lex credendi.”

Benedict XVI chanted the Mass in Latin, in his capacity as bishop of Rome.

The Gospel was chanted in Latin, but then also in Greek immediately afterward...
All emphsis above (and below)is mine.

There is also a discussion of some of the various Propositions, some of which are highlighted below. [taken from the October 21, 2005 edition of “The Word from Rome,” the newsletter by the Rome correspondent, John Allen, for the “National Catholic Reporter”]:
Proposition 11, titled "The Scarcity of Priests," treats celibacy.
Proposition 40 treats the divorced and remarried.
Proposition 41, on "The Admission of Non-Catholic Faithful to Communion," affirms existing discipline barring general inter-communion.
Proposition 46 concerns "The Eucharistic Coherence of Catholic Politicians and Legislators."
Proposition 23 warns that the way the Sign of Peace is currently offered sometimes goes on too long, or creates confusion prior to communion, and hence suggests the possibility of putting it somewhere else in the Mass, "taking account of antique and venerable customs." Indirectly, that seems to suggest the idea of moving it to just after the Prayers of the Faithful, before the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Proposition 36 suggests that in international celebrations the Mass be said in Latin, apart from the readings, the homily, and the Prayers of the Faithful, and that priests be trained from the seminary to use Latin prayers as well as Gregorian Chant. It also recommends that the faithful be educated to do so as well.

Gospel for Tuesday, 30th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 13:18-21

Parables of the Grain of Mustard Seed and of the Leaven

[18] He (Jesus) said therefore, "What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? [19] It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."

[20] And again He said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? [21] It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened."


18-21. The grain of mustard and the leaven symbolize the Church, which starts off as a little group of disciples and steadily spreads with the aid of the Holy Spirit until it reaches the ends of the earth. As early as the second century Tertullian claimed: "We are but of yesterday and yet we are everywhere" ("Apologeticum", 37).

Our Lord "with the parable of the mustard seed encourages them to have faith and shows them that the Gospel preaching will spread in spite of everything. The Lord's disciples were the weakest of men, but nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, the Gospel has been spread to every part of the world" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 46). Therefore, a Christian should not be discouraged if his apostolic action seems very limited and insignificant. With God's grace and his own faithfulness it will keep growing like the mustard seed, in spite of difficulties: "In the moments of struggle and opposition, when perhaps `the good' fill your way with obstacles, lift up your apostolic heart: listen to Jesus as He speaks of the grain of mustard seed and of the leaven. And say to Him: `"edissere nobis parabolam": explain the parable to me.' And you will feel the joy of contemplating the victory to come: the birds of the air lodging in the branches of your apostolate, now only in its beginnings, and the whole of the meal leavened" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 695).
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.

Proposition 2 - The Liturgical Reform of Vatican II

The Synodal Assembly recalled with gratitude the beneficial influence that the liturgical reform carried out since the Second Vatican Council has had for the life of the Church. It has highlighted the beauty of the Eucharistic action that shines in the liturgical rite. Abuses were verified in the past; they are not even lacking today, although they have diminished greatly. However, such incidents cannot darken the goodness and validity of the reform, which still has riches that are not totally explored; rather, they call for greater care in regard to the "ars celebrandi," which favors "actuosa participatio."
I could not help but wonder if some bishops are unaware of the great number of liturgical abuses which have arisen since the Second Vatican Council, many of which have gone uncorrected. This is not to say that no abuses existed prior to the Council, but it boggles the mind to think that the abuses have diminished greatly. Perhaps in some places it has. At some local parishes, the problems have gone uncorrected.

Just this past Sunday, for instance, a layman (whose has apparently assumed the job of 'pouring the Precious Blood' into glass wine goblets), was called to the altar before Holy Communion to - as spoken by the priest - "Pour the wine."

What a theological nincompoop! He is the same priest who believes that women will one day be 'priestesses" and that Jesus didn't know He was God till, presumably, after the Resurrection. And one need no longer wonder why so many have such a corrupted understanding of transubstantiation - and the Faith in general! When a priest, AFTER the Consecration, states that the wine is still wine, it is inexcusable. It makes no difference whether it was a deliberate statement or a careless remark - it is, and always will be, inexcusable. Just how many years of theological training does one need to make the distinction:
BEFORE the Consecration, bread and wine; AFTER the Consecration, the BODY and Blood of our Lord?

I can only wonder whether the priest actually believes that Christ is really, truly, and SUBSTANTIALLY present under the appearance of bread and wine? I can only wonder if he (and others like him) actually love the Church which Christ gave to us to help us in our journey?

Further, the Precious Blood is NOT to be poured into other vessels after the Consecration. This was addressed in Redemptionis Sacramentum. But hey, who needs to listen to to Rome these days, anyway. We prefer to do it our own way!

About 3 to 4 years years ago after the edict came from the Vatican and Bishop Gregory published the mandate from the USCCB about the prohibition of lay people 'fractioning' the Precious Blood, I personally handed a copy of the directive to this 'layman'. I had highlighted the most important parts which indicated that he could NOT do what he was doing. I also faxed and hand delivered copies to our priests and deacons. Still today, after repeated notifications of the prohibited practice, I can only surmise that we have flagrantly disobedient priests and others who persist in defying lawful authority and ignoring liturgical directives.

What a nest of disobedience! Perhaps one of these days when I unexpectedly show up for Mass at my registered parish, the Good Lord will have a surprise for me - Perhaps His graces will have touched and converted the hearts of those who play fast and loose with the liturgy and with the faith! Perhaps he will also grant me the patience to pray for them more fervently.

I suppose our Lord sends these people into our lives as tests of our faith, hope and charity?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Vatican: Only a Priest Is Minister of Anointing of the Sick

The Vatican has reiterated that that only a priest -- that is, bishops and presbyters -- may administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

The Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith emphasized that point in a Note published in response to several questions it had received in recent years.

"Neither deacons nor lay persons therefore may exercise such ministry and any action in this connection is a simulation of the sacrament" and would be "invalid," said the dicastery. Canon law provides sanctions for such an action, it added.

The congregation's "Note on the Ministry of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick" was published Friday in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
Article from Zenit here and with more here.
Trent's teachings

The "brief note" is a commentary, also published in the Vatican newspaper, which explains that "in these last decades theological tendencies have been manifested that cast doubt on the Doctrine of the Church, according to which the minister of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick 'est omnis et solus sacerdos,'" in keeping with the formulation of the Council of Trent (1542-1563).

"The topic," it continued, "is addressed with preference from the pastoral point of view, especially taking into account those areas in which the scarcity of priests makes the timely administration of the Sacrament difficult, while such difficulty might be resolved if the Permanent Deacons and also qualified lay persons could be delegated ministers of the Sacrament.

"The Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intends to call attention to these tendencies, to avoid the danger of the existence of attempts to put them into practice, in detriment of the faith and with grave spiritual harm of the sick whom one wants to help."

Pope Benedict's first encyclical due in December

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has written his first encyclical, the highest form of papal writing addressed to all members of the Roman Catholic Church, a Vatican source said on Monday.

It's said to be released on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8.

Cardinals call on Pope to save Latin from last rites

O TEMPORA, o mores! The rolling thunder that is the Latin language is in such trouble, even in its last redoubt, the heirarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, that cardinals and bishops have begged Pope Benedict XVI to put it on a life support machine.
When Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice, opened the synod, he gave his address entirely in Latin, sending many of the 241 participants rushing for headsets to hear a translation. Nothing could have better illustrated the Church’s fading proficiency in its own language.
More here.
The official language of the Church - no longer understood by so many...

Dallas Diocese: Miers Not a Catholic

DALLAS (AP) - The Roman Catholic diocese of Dallas is setting the record straight: Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has never been a Catholic.

A review of records for such sacraments as baptism, first Eucharist and confirmation found no evidence that Miers or anyone in her immediate family was Catholic, Bronson Havard, a spokesman for the diocese, said Friday.

Archbishop John Myers of Newark Appointed to Vatican post

Newark, Oct. 24, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop John Myers of Newark has been appointed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to work with all U.S. bishops and oversee the process by which Anglican/Episcopalian clergy, who wish to convert to Catholicism, can be ordained as Catholic priests.

The archdiocese announced the news in the Oct. 19 edition of The Catholic Advocate. In his new role as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, he will report to Archbishop William Levada, former ordinary of San Francisco, who serves as prefect of the congregation.
More here.

Gospel for Monday, 30th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 13:10-17

Jesus Cures a Woman on the Sabbath

[10] Now He (Jesus) was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. [11] And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. [12] And when Jesus saw her, He called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." [13] And He laid His hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. [14] But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath Day." [15] Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? [16] And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath Day?" [17] As He said this, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by Him.


10-17. As was the custom, our Lord used to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Noticing this poor woman He uses His power and mercy to cure her. The ordinary people are delighted, but the ruler of the synagogue, apparently zealous about fulfilling the Law (cf. Exodus 20:8; 31:14; Leviticus 19:3-30), publicly upbraids our Lord. Jesus energetically censures this warped interpretation of the Law and stresses the need for mercy and understanding, which is what pleases God (cf. Hosea 6:6; James 2:13).

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, October 23, 2005

Archdiocesan agency aids in adoptions by homosexuals

Despite Vatican teachings that allowing homosexuals to adopt children is ''gravely immoral," the social services agency of the Archdiocese of Boston has allowed 13 foster children to be adopted by same-sex couples in the past two decades, saying state regulations prohibit the agency from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

"If we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't," said the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities in Boston. "We have to balance various goods."
Children excluded from this very special balancing act, evidently. Is this really for the sake of retaining a government blessing? One wonders why the term "collateral damage" isn't used.

The Vatican document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons says:
Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.
Surely, the good Fr Hehir can explain all of this away - why this is NOT doing violence to children...Shameful!


Pope Benedict XVI Publishes Synod's Recommendations

Only Available in Non-official Translation
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2005 ( In an unprecedented move, Benedict XVI published the 50 propositions presented by the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

The propositions, which will be the basis for the Pope's postsynodal apostolic exhortation, will only be presented in a non-official Italian translation of the Latin original, in order to preserve some confidentiality, reported the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops on Saturday.

Benedict XVI said today that the postsynodal exhortation will "portray the face of the 'Catholic' community," which finds its strength and unity in the Eucharist.
More here.

It's interesting to note some of the Propositions:
Proposition 11 addresses the challenge of the "scarcity of priests," stating that recourse to the theory of priestly ordination of "viri probati," ordaining married men, "was evaluated as a course not to be followed."

Proposition 40 touches on the topic of divorced a person who have remarried, and reflects the "deeply felt concern expressed by many fathers," and "confirms the importance of a pastoral attitude and action of care and acceptance toward divorced and remarried faithful."

"According to the tradition of the Catholic Church," says the proposition, "they cannot be admitted to holy Communion, being in a condition of objective disagreement with the word of the Lord who has given back to marriage its original value of indissolubility."

Proposition 41 reminds that the "Eucharist is the symbol of full communion with the Church."

Gospel for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 22:34-40

The Greatest Commandment of All

[34] But when the Pharisees heard that He (Jesus) had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. [35] And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, to test Him. [36] "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?" [37] And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."


34-40. In reply to the question, our Lord points out that the whole law can be condensed into two commandments: the first and more important consists in unconditional love of God; the second is a consequence and result of the first, because when man is loved, St. Thomas says, God is loved, for man is the image of God (cf. "Commentary on St. Matthew", 22:4).

A person who genuinely loves God also loves his fellows because he realizes that they are his brothers and sisters, children of the same Father, redeemed by the same blood of our Lord Jesus Christ: "this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God should love his brother also" (1 John 4:21). However, if we love man for man's sake without reference to God, this love will become an obstacle in the way of keeping the first commandment, and then it is no longer genuine love of our neighbor. But love of our neighbor for God's sake is clear proof that we love God: "If anyone says, `I love God', but hates his brother, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself": here our Lord establishes as the guideline for our love of neighbor the love each of us has for himself; both love of others and love of self are based on love of God. Hence, in some cases it can happen that God requires us to put our neighbor's need before our own; in others, not: it depends on what value, in the light of God's love, needs to be put on the spiritual and material factors involved.

Obviously spiritual goods take absolute precedence over material ones, even over life itself. Therefore, spiritual goods, be they our own or our neighbor's, must be the first to be safeguarded. If the spiritual good in question is the supreme one of the salvation of the soul, no one is justified in putting his own soul into certain danger of being condemned in order to save another, because given human freedom we can never be absolutely sure what personal choice another person may make: this is the situation in the parable (cf. Matthew 25:1-13), where the wise virgins refuse to give oil to the foolish ones; similarly St. Paul says that he would wish himself to be rejected if that could save his brothers (cf. Romans 9:3)--an unreal theoretical situation. However, what is quite clear is that we have to do all we can to save our brothers, conscious that, if someone helps to bring a sinner back to the Way, he will save himself from eternal death and cover a multitude of his own sins (James 5:20). From all this we can deduce that self-love of the right kind, based on God's love for man, necessarily involves forgetting oneself in order to love God and our neighbor for God.

37-38. The commandment of love is the most important commandment because by obeying it man attains his own perfection (cf. Colossians 3:14). "The more a soul loves," St. John of the Cross writes, "the more perfect is it in that which it loves; therefore this soul that is now perfect is wholly love, if it may thus be expressed, and all its actions are love and it employs all its faculties and possessions in loving, giving all that it has, like the wise merchant, for this treasure of love which it has found hidden in God [...]. For, even as the bee extracts from all plants the honey that is in them, and has no use for them for aught else save for that purpose, even so the soul with great facility extracts the sweetness of love that is in all the things that pass through it; it loves God in each of them, whether pleasant or unpleasant; and being, as it is, informed and protected by love, it has neither feeling nor taste nor knowledge of such things, for, as we have said, the soul knows naught but love, and its pleasure in all things and occupations is ever, as we have said, the delight of the love of God" ("Spiritual Canticle", Stanza 27, 8).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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