Saturday, November 12, 2005

Gospel for Nov 12, Memorial: St. Josapath, Bishop & Martyr

From: Luke 18:1-8

Persevering Prayer. Parable of the Unjust Judge

[1] And He (Jesus) told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. [2] He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; [3] and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.' [4] For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man, [5] yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.' [6] And the Lord said, "hear what the unrighteous judge says. [7] And will not God vindicate His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? [8] I tell you, He will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"


1-8. The parable of the unjust judge is a very eloquent lesson about the effectiveness of persevering, confident prayer. It also forms a conclusion to Jesus' teaching about watchfulness, contained in the previous verses (17:23-26). Comparing God with a person like this makes the point even clearer: if even an unjust judge ends up giving justice to the man who keeps on pleading his case, how much more will God, who is infinitely just, and who is our Father, listen to the persevering prayer of His children. God, in other words, gives justice to His elect if they persist in seeking His help.

1. "They ought always to pray and not lose heart." Why must we pray?

"Prayer is in fact the recognition of our limitation and our dependence: we come from God, we belong to God and we return to God! We cannot, therefore, but abandon ourselves to Him, our Creator and Lord, with full and complete confidence [...].

"Prayer, therefore, is first of all an act of intelligence, a feeling of humility and gratitude, an attitude of trust and abandonment to Him who gave us life out of love.

"Prayer is a mysterious but real dialogue with God, a dialogue of confidence and love

"For the Christian, in fact, prayer acquires a particular characteristic, which completely changes its innermost nature and innermost value. The Christian is a disciple of Jesus; he is one who really believes that Jesus is the Word Incarnate, the Son of God who came among us on this earth.

"As a man, the life of Jesus was a continual prayer, a continual act of worship and love of the Father and since the maximum ___expression of prayer is sacrifice, the summit of Jesus' prayer is the Sacrifice of the Cross, anticipated by the Eucharist at the Last Supper and handed down by means of the Holy Mass throughout the centuries.

"Therefore, the Christian knows that his prayer is that of Jesus; every prayer of his starts from Jesus; it is He who prays in us, with us, for us. All those who believe in God, pray; but the Christian prays in Jesus Christ: Christ is our prayer!


"It must be humbly and realistically recognized that we are poor creatures, confused in ideas, tempted by evil, frail and weak, in continual need of inner strength and consolation. Prayer gives the strength for great ideas, to maintain faith, charity, purity and generosity. Prayer gives the courage to emerge from indifference and guilt, if unfortunately one has yielded to temptation and weakness. Prayer gives light to see and consider the events of one's own life and of history in the salvific perspective of God and eternity. Therefore, do not stop praying!

Let not a day pass without your having prayed a little! Prayer is a duty, but it is also a great joy, because it is a dialogue with God through Jesus Christ! Every Sunday, Holy Mass: if it is possible for you, sometimes during the week. Every day, morning and evening prayers, and at the most suitable moments!" (John Paul II, "Audience with Young People", 14 March 1979).
8. Jesus combines His teaching about perseverance in prayer with a serious warning about the need to remain firm in the faith: faith and prayer go hand in hand. St. Augustine comments, "In order to pray, let us believe; and for our faith not to weaken, let us pray. Faith causes prayer to grow, and when prayer grows our faith is strengthened" ("Sermon", 115).

Our Lord has promised His Church that it will remain true to its mission until the end of time (cf. Matthew 28:20); the Church, therefore, cannot go off the path of the true faith. But not everyone will remain faithful: some will turn their backs on the faith of their own accord. This is the mystery which St. Paul describes as "the rebellion" (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and which Jesus Christ announces on other occasions (cf. Matthew 24:12-13). In this way our Lord warns us, to help us stay watchful and persevere in the faith and in prayer even though people around us fall away.
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, November 11, 2005

One of Many Stories to be Shared on Veterans Day

This is only one of many heroic stories of brave and heroic veterans from all of the branches of our Military Service. Date of this story is unknown, I received it via email a couple of years ago.
Piggyback Hero
by Ralph Kinney Bennett

Tomorrow morning they'll lay the remains of Glenn Rojohn to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in the little town of Greenock, Pa., just southeast of Pittsburgh. He was 81, and had been in the air conditioning and plumbing business in nearby McKeesport. If you had seen him on the street he would probably have looked to you like so many other graying, bespectacled old World War II veterans whose names appear so often now on obituary pages.

But like so many of them, though he seldom talked about it, he could have told you one hell of a story. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart all in one fell swoop in the skies over Germany on December 31, 1944.

Fell swoop indeed.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, of the 8th Air Force's 100th Bomb Group, was flying his B-17G Flying Fortress bomber on a raid over Hamburg. His formation had braved heavy flak to drop their bombs, then turned 180 degrees to head out over the North Sea.

They had finally turned northwest, headed back to England, when they were jumped by German fighters at 22,000 feet. The Messerschmitt Me-109s pressed their attack so closely that Capt. Rojohn could see the faces of the German pilots.

He and other pilots fought to remain in formation so they could use each other's guns to defend the group. Rojohn saw a B-17 ahead of him burst into flames and slide sickeningly toward the earth. He gunned his ship forward to fill in the gap.

He felt a huge impact. The big bomber shuddered, felt suddenly very heavy and began losing altitude. Rojohn grasped almost immediately that he had collided with another plane. A B-17 below him, piloted by Lt. William G. McNab, had slammed the top of its fuselage into the bottom of Rojohn's. The top turret gun of McNab's plane was now locked in the belly of Rojohn's plane and the ball turret in the belly of Rojohn's had smashed through the top of McNab's. The two bombers were almost perfectly aligned - the tail of the lower plane was slightly to the left of Rojohn's tailpiece. They were stuck together, as a crewman later recalled, "like mating dragon flies."

No one will ever know exactly how it happened. Perhaps both pilots had moved instinctively to fill the same gap in formation. Perhaps McNab's plane had hit an air pocket.

Three of the engines on the bottom plane were still running, as were all four of Rojohn's. The fourth engine on the lower bomber was on fire and the flames were spreading to the rest of the aircraft. The two were losing altitude quickly. Rojohn tried several times to gun his engines and break free of the other plane. The two were inextricably locked together. Fearing a fire, Rojohn cuts his engines and rang the bailout bell. If his crew had any chance of parachuting, he had to keep the plane under control somehow.

The ball turret, hanging below the belly of the B-17, was considered by many to be a death trap - the worst station on the bomber. In this case, both ball turrets figured in a swift and terrible drama of life and death. Staff Sgt. Edward L. Woodall, Jr., in the ball turret of the lower bomber, had felt the impact of the collision above him and saw shards of metal drop past him. Worse, he realized both electrical and hydraulic power was gone.

Remembering escape drills, he grabbed the handcrank, released the clutch and cranked the turret and its guns until they were straight down, then turned and climbed out the back of the turret up into the fuselage.

Once inside the plane's belly Woodall saw a chilling sight, the ball turret of the other bomber protruding through the top of the fuselage. In that turret, hopelessly trapped, was Staff Sgt. Joseph Russo. Several crewmembers on Rojohn's plane tried frantically to crank Russo's turret around so he could escape. But, jammed into the fuselage of the lower plane, the turret would not budge.

Aware of his plight, but possibly unaware that his voice was going out over the intercom of his plane, Sgt. Russo began reciting his Hail Marys.

Up in the cockpit, Capt. Rojohn and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. William G. Leek, Jr., had propped their feet against the instrument panel so they could pull back on their controls with all their strength, trying to prevent their plane from going into a spinning dive that would prevent the crew from jumping out.

Capt. Rojohn motioned left and the two managed to wheel the grotesque, collision-born hybrid of a plane back toward the German coast. Leek felt like he was intruding on Sgt. Russo as his prayers crackled over the radio, so he pulled off his flying helmet with its earphones.

Rojohn, immediately grasping that crew could not exit from the bottom of his plane, ordered his top turret gunner and his radio operator, Tech Sgts. Orville Elkin and Edward G. Neuhaus, to make their way to the back of the fuselage and out the waist door behind the left wing.

Then he got his navigator, 2nd Lt. Robert Washington, and his bombardier, Sgt. James Shirley to follow them. As Rojohn and Leek somehow held the plane steady, these four men, as well as waist gunner Sgt. Roy Little and tail gunner Staff Sgt. Francis Chase were able to bail out.

Now the plane locked below them was aflame. Fire poured over Rojohn's left wing. He could feel the heat from the plane below and hear the sound of .50 caliber machinegun ammunition "cooking off" in the flames.

Capt. Rojohn ordered Lieut. Leek to bail out. Leek knew that without him helping keep the controls back, the plane would drop in a flaming spiral and the centrifugal force would prevent Rojohn from bailing. He refused the order.

Meanwhile, German soldiers and civilians on the ground that afternoon looked up in wonder. Some of them thought they were seeing a new Allied secret weapon - a strange eight-engined double bomber. But anti-aircraft gunners on the North Sea coastal island of Wangerooge had seen the collision. A German battery captain wrote in his logbook at 12:47 p.m.:
"Two fortresses collided in a formation in the NE. The planes flew hooked together and flew 20 miles south. The two planes were unable to fight anymore. The crash could be awaited so I stopped the firing at these two planes."

Suspended in his parachute in the cold December sky, Bob Washington watched with deadly fascination as the mated bombers, trailing black smoke, fell to earth about three miles away, their downward trip ending in an ugly boiling blossom of fire.

In the cockpit Rojohn and Leek held grimly to the controls trying to ride a falling rock. Leek tersely recalled, "The ground came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed. We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground."

The McNab plane on the bottom exploded, vaulting the other B-17 upward and forward. It hit the ground and slid along until its left wing slammed through a wooden building and the smoldering mass of aluminum came to a stop.

Rojohn and Leek were still seated in their cockpit. The nose of the plane was relatively intact, but everything from the B-17's massive wings back was destroyed. They looked at each other incredulously. Neither was badly injured.

Movies have nothing on reality. Still perhaps in shock, Leek crawled out through a huge hole behind the cockpit, felt for the familiar pack in his uniform pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He placed it in his mouth and was about to light it. Then he noticed a young German soldier pointing a rifle at him. The soldier looked scared and annoyed. He grabbed the cigarette out of Leek's mouth and pointed down to the gasoline pouring out over the wing from a ruptured fuel tank.

Two of the six men who parachuted from Rojohn's plane did not survive the jump. But the other four and, amazingly, four men from the other bomber, including ball turret gunner Woodall, survived. All were taken prisoner. Several of them were interrogated at length by the Germans until they were satisfied that what had crashed was not a new American secret weapon.

Rojohn, typically, didn't talk much about his Distinguished Flying Cross. Of Leek, he said, "In all fairness to my co-pilot, he's the reason I'm alive today."

Like so many veterans, Rojohn got back to life unsentimentally after the war, marrying and raising a son and daughter. For many years, though, he tried to link back up with Leek, going through government records to try to track him down. It took him 40 years, but in 1986, he found the number of Leek's mother, in Washington State.

Yes, her son Bill was visiting from California. Would Rojohn like to speak with him? Two old men on a phone line, trying to pick up some familiar timbre of youth in each other's voice. One can imagine that first conversation between the two men who had shared that wild ride in the cockpit of a B-17.

A year later, the two were re-united at a reunion of the 100th Bomb Group in Long Beach, Calif. Bill Leek died the following year.

Glenn Rojohn was the last survivor of the remarkable piggyback flight. He was like thousands upon thousands of men -- soda jerks and lumberjacks, teachers and dentists, students and lawyers and service station attendants and store clerks and farm boys -- who in the prime of their lives went to war in World War II. They sometimes did incredible things, endured awful things, and for the most part most of them pretty much kept it to themselves and just faded back into the fabric of civilian life.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, AAF, died last Saturday after a long siege of illness. But he apparently faced that final battle with the same grim aplomb he displayed that remarkable day over Germany so long ago. Let us be thankful for such men.

Indeed, let us be thankful on this Veterans Day! And many thanks to the author, Ralph Bennett, for such a wonderful story.

Nov 11 - Veterans Day

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.

A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"

When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea

Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free!

Enjoy Your Freedom & God Bless Our Troops

Caption this picture...

Catholic Action Network has posted some pictures of its "People of Faith for 'Gay' Rights" vigil this past Tuesday evening on the Cathedral steps. In this picture, the man sitting down in the middle doesn't seem to be enjoying the solidarity of this protest..or maybe he has a migraine?

Wal-Mart defends "Happy Holidays" amid Catholic League criticism

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday said it no longer employs a worker who wrote to a shopper that Christmas is a mix of world religions, but that the company does support the generic greeting, "Happy Holidays," as being more inclusive amid year-end celebrations by numerous faiths.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights criticized the world's largest retailer and called for a boycott over Wal-Mart's approach to Christmas.

"We want a) an apology for insulting Christians by effectively banning Christmas and b) a withdrawal of its insane statement regarding the origins of Christmas and c) a revision on its website," Catholic League President Bill Donohue said on the group's Web site.

Pope elevates Denver priest as new bishop in Iowa diocese

A longtime Denver priest was named Thursday as Roman Catholic bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, the first appointment of a U.S. bishop to bear the mark of Pope Benedict XVI and further proof of Denver's status as a training ground for church leaders.

Monsignor R. Walker Nickless, 58, will lead 100,000 Catholics in a 24-county, mostly rural diocese that, like Denver, is coping with the impact of multiple lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests.
More here.

Vatican document restricts homosexuals in priesthood: paper

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A new Vatican document will bar from the priesthood practicing homosexuals, men whose gay tendencies are "deeply rooted," or who openly espouse a gay culture, a leading Italian newspaper reported on Friday.

Il Giornale of Milan printed what it said were excerpts from the eagerly awaited document, expected to be issued at the end of this month.

"The Church cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or those who support the so-called 'gay culture,'" the newspaper quoted the document as saying.
. . .
According to Il Giornale, the document will say that men who have had gay tendencies in what the document calls "part of a transitory problem" can be ordained deacons if they have "clearly overcome" the tendencies for at least three years.
. . .
It says no-one has a "right to receive ordination" and that rectors of seminaries should not allow men to proceed to the priesthood if there was "a serious doubt" about their ability to live by the rules.
. . .
The Vatican has been working on the instruction on homosexual men and the priesthood for years. It will be a reform of a 1961 document which said men with "perverse inclination" to homosexuality should not be ordained.
Article here.

The Church Breaks its Silence over the Islam of the Ayatollahs

The Vatican lodges diplomatic objections. And the international magazine of the patriarchate of Venice, “Oasis,” publishes a report on the repression of Christians in Iran. Here it is.
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, November 11, 2005 – At the very moment when Iran is more at the center of the world’s attention than ever – on account of its nuclear weapons program and its restatement of its desire to eliminate the state of Israel – even the Vatican, which is usually prudent diplomatically, has made a little foray out of its customary silence.

On October 28, a press release from the Holy See press office, which was dictated by the secretariat of state, condemned “some particularly serious and unacceptable declarations denying the state of Israel’s right to exist.”

Gospel for Nov 11. Memorial: St. Martin of Tours, Bishop

From: Luke 17:26-37

The Day of the Son of Man (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [26] "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. [27] They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. [28] Likewise as it was in the days of Lot--they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, [29] but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and brimstone rained from Heaven and destroyed them all--[30] so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. [31] On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. [32] Remember Lot's wife. [33] Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. [34] I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. [35] There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left." [37] And they said to Him, "Where Lord?" He said to them, "Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."



23-36. These words of our Lord are a prophecy about the last coming of the Son of Man. We should remember that prophecy often involves events on different levels, many symbols, a terminology of its own; the "chiaroscuro" which they create gives us insight into future events, but the concrete details only become clear when the events actually occur. Our Lord's last coming will be something sudden and unexpected; it will catch many people unprepared. Jesus illustrates this by giving examples from sacred history: as in the time of Noah (cf. Genesis 6:9-19:7) and that of Lot (cf. Genesis 18:16-19:27) divine judgment will be visited on men without warning.

However, it is useful to recall here that everyone will find himself before the divine Judge immediately when he dies, at the Particular Judgment. Thus Jesus' teaching has also a present urgency about it: HERE AND NOW a disciple should scrutinize his own conduct, for the Lord can call him when he least expects.

33. "Will preserve it": what the Greek word literally means is "will engender (his life)", that is to say, "will give true life to the soul". Thus our Lord seems to mean the following: he who wants to save his life at all costs, making it his basic value, will lose eternal life; whereas he who is ready to lose his earthly life--that is, to resist even to death the enemies of God and of his soul--will obtain eternal happiness through this struggle. In content this passage is almost identical with Luke 9:24.

36. In the Vulgate this verse reads: "Una assumetur, et altera relinquetur. Duo in agro; unus assumetur, et alter relinquetur" ("One will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left"). These words seem to be an addition to Luke, taken from Matthew 24:40; they do not appear in the better Greek manuscripts, which is why the New Vulgate omits them.

37. "Where the body is, there the eagles will gather": the Greek text uses a word which could mean either eagle or vulture. In any event the proverb indicates the speed with which birds of prey swoop down on their victims--apparently referring to the sudden, unexpected way the Second Coming or Last Judgment will happen. Sacred Scripture also deals with this subject in other passages: "But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Once more Jesus is exhorting us to be watchful: we should never neglect the most important thing in life--eternal salvation. "All that, which worries you for the moment, is of relative importance. What is of absolute importance is that you be happy, that you be saved" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 297). So curious are the Pharisees and the disciples about the time and place of the Last Coming that they are distracted from Jesus' main point; the same thing happens to us: for example, we can spend a lot of time pondering the circumstances of the deaths of people we know, and fail to grasp the warning these deaths contain--that this life is going to end one way or another and that after it we too will meet God.
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, November 10, 2005

Talks on the Commandments-Anger, Hatred, Fighting

Yes, the hour is coming for everyone who kiIls you to think he is offering worship to God." St. John, 16:2.

Alexander the Great was by nature passionate and impatient, but for many years he managed to hold the reins on his passions. One sad and tragic day, however, he lost his self-control. At a banquet a singer compared Alexander to the gods. Justly indignant at this was Clitus, a general who had saved Alexander's life. Clitus criticized such lickspittle honors.

Alexander would have run him through with his sword, had not an officer put it aside. The friends of Clitus hurried him away, but the half-drunk officer returned by another door to make little of Alexander. In a fury Alexander snatched a spear and hurled it through the heart of his general, the friend of his childhood, his companion and rescuer.

For several days the world conqueror writhed in remorse and sorrow, calling out the name of his life-long friend. He had conquered the world but he could not conquer himself. He had taken every worthwhile city of the ancient world, but he could not take that most important city - the city of his own spirit.
Here we have a picture of every man who commits the following sins against the Fifth Commandment: anger, hatred, revenge, quarreling, fighting, and inflicting bodily injury.

Very few of us will ever commit murder or suicide. Very few of us will ever directly take the life of another. Nevertheless, many of us have shortened the lives of others by the sharp and deadly weapons of sorrow and grief, anxiety and bitterness. Many a child has put early wrinkles and grey hair on a parent through disobedience, defiance and bad conduct. Many a home is a horrible hell through unfriendly looks, unkind words, lack of affection and even open aversion. What are the causes of all this? Sins against the Fifth Commandment:
1. Anger is the most common sin against the fifth law of God. It is a sudden, violent feeling of the soul, caused by a real or imagined injury, and carrying with it a desire for revenge. What a terrible tyrant anger can be. It drives out every reasonable thought and word and action. It makes us act like angry monkeys. It looks for words that will sting and wound. It reaches for weapons that will injure and hurt. It breaks up the strongest friendships. It makes miserable homes and sours the sweetest family relations.

Anger not only harms the one against whom you are angry, it hurts physically the one who is angry. Certain poisons or humours are created which work harm upon the human system. The white face and the red neck of the extremely angry person show that it is a strain on the human system.

2. Hatred means wishing evil to someone. Every law of God forbids that, but especially, it is against the Fifth Commandment. There is but one step between wishing evil and carrying it out. Hatred is the very opposite of the love which God has commanded for all His children.

3. Envy and revenge are the brothers of hatred. Rooted in the heart, envy flows over into evil actions. It feels sad at the prosperity or good fortune of another. It drove Cain to murder his brother. It drives many to be unkind in every way.

4. Quarreling is also forbidden. It means an angry argument. It means a finding fault and disputing angrily and violently. Usually it is loud and noisy, with a tendency to fighting and hurting others.

Quarreling is all too common among us Christians. We quarrel about money and we quarrel about so-called rights. We quarrel about where we are going, when we are going and how we are going. We dig up and rake up past mistakes and shortcomings.

Today we must realize how harmful, how sinful quarreling is, how it breaks up homes and loves and friendships, how it harms the work of the Church, of the parish, and of the community, how displeasing it must be to an All-loving God who has ordered us to love one another, who has told us:
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." St. Matthew, 5:9.

5. Fighting is likewise forbidden. It means striking or punching another, dealing blows. Often this takes place, God forbid, between those who claim they love one another. It is forbidden to all because it often causes physical harm; it is opposed to the law of Christian charity; it lowers man to the level of angry animals; it tries to settle arguments by might and not by right.

The guilt in dealing physical blows depends on the injury intended, done or risked; it depends upon the office or position of the one attacked, it depends on the amount of malice or deliberation. Those who fight at the drop of a hat are forgetful of the words of Christ: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land."

All these sins against the Fifth Commandment we find in that very spot where we would least expect them - in the home. In that very place where loved ones should be showing the very best in their hearts, we find a display of the worst. That is one of the main reasons it is so important for us today to realize the wickedness of such sins, and to determine with God's grace to avoid them.

We should say a word about strikes. No one, striker or strike-breaker or anybody else has any right to hit or beat or physically manhandle another human being.

Here again we see the wisdom of God's law against anger, hatred, quarreling, fighting and violence. We are intelligent, aren't we? We can discuss and settle our arguments without blows, can we not?

Don't be another Alexander the Great. He conquered all of the known world, but failed to conquer himself.

Some have the false idea that God is on their side, no matter how unjust their stand. Christ speaks of them through the Gospel of St. John above. They think they serve God when they kill the servants of God. We will not make that mistake. We will try with God's help and grace, to keep as completely as we can this fifth law of His. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments by Fr. Arthur Tonne

Why the reluctance of Church authorities to confront dissidents?

Seminarians’ IQs

I would wager that most of my readers have heard complaints about the reluctance of Church authorities to “crack down” on dissident theologians and members of the clergy. We know the lament: “Why do they let them get away with it?” “Why doesn’t someone do something when they go against the pope and the Magisterium?”
Read more here at Catholic Exchange.

An Old Farmer's Advice



An Old Farmer's Advice:

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.



Gospel for Nov 10-Memorial: St. Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church

From: Luke 17:20-25

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

[20] Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God was coming, He (Jesus) answered them, "The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; [21] nor will they say, `Lo, here it is!' or `There!' for behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you."

The Day of the Son of Man

[22] And He said to His disciples, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. [23] And they will say to you, `Lo, there!' or `Lo, here!' Do not go, do not follow them. [24] For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day. [25] But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation."


20-21. Like many Jews of their time, the Pharisees imagined the establishment of the Kingdom of God in terms of external, political authority; whereas Jesus teaches that it is something eminently spiritual, supernatural, which has been happening since Jesus' coming, although its climax will be after His Second Coming or Parousia at the end of the world; its effect is to be seen, above all, in men's hearts, although it is also something visible and external, just as the Church has a visible dimension.

The presence of the Kingdom of God in each soul is something one perceives through the affections and inspirations communicated by the Holy Spirit. St. Therese of Lisieux says this about her own experience: "The Doctor of doctors teaches us without the sound of words. I have never heard Him speak, and yet I know He is within my soul. Every moment He is guiding and inspiring me, and, just at the moment I need them, `lights' till then unseen are granted me. Most often it is not at prayer that they come but while I go about my daily duties" ("The Story of a Soul", Chapter 8).

22. After the Apostles receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost they will devote their whole lives to preaching boldly the message of Jesus Christ, and winning all people over to the Lord. This will lead them to experience many severe contradictions; they will suffer so much that they will yearn to see even "one of the days of the Son of Man", that is, one of the days of the victory of Jesus Christ. But this day will not arrive until the Lord's Second Coming.

23-36. These words of our Lord are a prophecy about the last coming of the Son of Man. We should remember that prophecy often involves events on different levels, many symbols, a terminology of its own; the "chiaroscuro" which they create gives us insight into future events, but the concrete details only become clear when the events actually occur. Our Lord's last coming will be something sudden and unexpected; it will catch many people unprepared. Jesus illustrates this by giving examples from sacred history: as in the time of Noah (cf. Genesis 6:9-19:7) and that of Lot (cf. Genesis 18:16-19:27) divine judgment will be visited on men without warning.

However, it is useful to recall here that everyone will find himself before the divine Judge immediately when he dies, at the Particular Judgment. Thus Jesus' teaching has also a present urgency about it: HERE AND NOW a disciple should scrutinize his own conduct, for the Lord can call him when he least expects.

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.

Reading for Nov 10-Memorial: St. Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church

From: Wisdom 7:22b-8:1

Wisdom, a Reflection of Eternal Light

[22b] For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, [23] beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle. [24] For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. [25] For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. [26] For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. [27] Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets;


7:22—8:1. Somehow, mysteriously, Wisdom is the same thing as the Spirit of God who gives life to and enlightens all other beings and who transcends them. In vv. 22-24 there are so many terms from the language of Greek philosophy (especially Plato and the Stoics) that the author must mean them to be recognized as such. However, even though he borrows this terminology, he clearly maintains his independence; nothing he says undermines his belief in there being only one God. He does attribute to divine Wisdom properties that Greek philosophy conferred on the “soul of the cosmos”, the nous and the logos, but he clearly does not mean to associate himself with that sort of thinking; he is simply using these terms to emphasize the excellence of divine Wisdom.

The sacred writers of the New Testament (St John and St Paul, particularly) have things to say somewhat along the lines of these verses when dealing with the mysteries of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 1:5, 9; 15:26; Col 1:5—6; Heb 1:3; etc.). Sacred texts like these were among the first to be used when, later on, Christian theology about the incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit began to take shape: we can see this from the writings of the Fathers. For example, v. 26 is used in a work attributed to St Augustine dealing with the unity of Father and Son: “A 'reflection', because the pure light of the Father is in the Son; 'a clear mirror', for the Father can be seen in the Son” ("Solutiones diversarum quaestionum", 18).
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.

What's Wrong with Single Issue Politics?

Via E-Mail:
This week's Highlights column at required intensive labor. Having heard prior to election day all the reasons why single issue politics is wrong, I was determined to do a proper analysis of this thorny issue. It took me longer than I care to admit to develop a coherent argument. Unfortunately, election day came and went.

In the end, though, I did manage to write something that still sounded convincing a day later and has won the approval of our house critics. It's longer than my usual columns and it is too late to make a contribution to yesterday's elections, but perhaps it will help in the future. Please let me know if you find it useful:

Single Issue Politics

At this time of year, we also like to remind those who use to consider supporting Trinity Communications with your end-of-year, tax-deductible donations. Contributions can be made through the Donate link on the homepage's horizontal navigation bar. Make sure you log in first, if necessary.

If you are not logged in automatically, you'll see an Account Login link in the upper right corner of the home page. Always log in first so that you receive the correct options when navigating the site.

Thanks for thinking of us!

Jeff Mirus
Trinity Communications

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Talks on the Commandments-Intemperance

"If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him." St. John, 14 :23.

According to an ancient fable, Death, the King of Terrors, decided to choose a Prime Minister, one who would be first in power and influence. He called all his chalk-faced servants, the ghastly train of diseases, and asked each to put forth his claim to the honor of being Death's best worker.

One after another, cancer, heart disease, tuberculosis, arthritis, diabetes, gout, colic and asthma each put in his claim to being the greatest killer.

In the midst of the argument the court was suddenly disturbed with music, dancing and shouting. Into the hall where all the diseases had gathered with Death, came a lady with bold and flirtive air, a flushed face and a canned smile. She was attended by a troupe of cooks and bartenders and a large group of humans, mostly young men and young women. She signaled for silence and addressed the crowd:
"As you all know," she shouted, "my name is Intemperance. Give way, you sickly band of pretenders, make way for Intemperance. How can any of you hope to rival me in killing? Our monarch, Death, knows my merits. He knows that I am the parent of all of you. He knows that you get your power of shortening life principally from me. He knows, you all know, that Intemperance is the beginning and cause of most diseases, the cause in some way or other of most deaths. I claim this office of Prime Minister of Death."

Death grinned a pale smile, raised his bony right hand and declared:
"Intemperance, indeed, is Death's best worker. Intemperance is my favorite. Intemperance shall be my first assistant."

What that fable tells us is actual, awful fact. The greatest killer is intemperance, that is, eating too much, drinking too much, doing anything too much. It ruins health, shortens life and is against the Fifth Commandment.

God gave us an appetite and desire for food and drink. With that strong desire God has given us a reason, the ability to know when we have had enough for our health. God's book makes it clear that drunkenness is against His law:

"Neither fornicators. . . nor adulterers. . . nor drunkards. . . shall possess the kingdom of God." I Cor. 6:9.

Besides harming himself the drunkard also harms his home, his wife, his family. Only the recording angel knows how many lovely homes have been broken up, how many wives have led a hell on earth, how many children were undernourished, underclothed, underloved, because of a drunken father. Quarrels and fighting and cursing and breaking up furniture, not to mention the injuring of loved ones themselves, have resulted from excessive drinking.

The drunkard poisons his own system and often poisons the bodies, or at least weakens the bodies of his children. A child conceived in drunkenness often has poor health and particularly a weakened nervous system.

Should there be here today anyone reading this, husband or wife, any father or mother who drinks to excess, I beg you in the name of all that is holy and sacred and worthwhile, to make up your mind this very day that you will act the part of an intelligent, reasonable human being and not the part of a mere animal.

We admit the social and healthful value of an occasional friendly drink together. Liquor is truly a gift of God, given us to enjoy, but not to abuse. The Catholic Church has sensible views on drinking. She says that liquor is a gift of God, that we are to enjoy it. But with equal force Mother Church insists that to abuse this gift of God is a sin not only against nature, but against the will of the Creator.

In this, as in everything else, she teaches temperance, the moderate and reasonable and healthful use of God's gifts. She goes farther. Realizing that many cannot take one drink without going on to take too many, she begs such weaklings to abstain from liquor altogether. For some of you that is the only remedy. Stay away from liquor altogether. Drink some substitute. It will be better for your pocket-book, your health, your family, your job and above all your immortal soul.

Especially I would urge you young people to stay away from any and every form of intoxicating drink until you are 21 or even 25 years old. Don't think you have to drink to be a sport. You will find that excessive drinkers are often dull and offensive and anything but good sports.

Our Catholic view is practical and effective. We preach temperance as a virtue or power of the soul. We emphasize that excess in eating and especially in drinking is a mortal sin. It is a slow killing of the body.

Intemperance invariably leads to other sins: impurity, fighting, cursing, quarreling and even bodily injury.

The first principle of Alcoholics Anonymous, men who have conquered the excessive drink habit, is this: A man cannot overcome the habit by himself. He needs help. He needs the help of other humans. Above all he needs the help of God. Let me repeat two of their first principles:
"We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

"We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him."

Then they humbly asked God to remove their shortcomings. Let intemperance, the first servant of Death, rule others, if she will. Don't let her rule you. Be led by God and by God's law. Refuse that drink for the love of God. Then, as Jesus tells us, you will love Him and keep His word and the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit will come and abide with you instead of the demon of unreasoning drink. May God help everyone of you to keep His fifth law, especially in this regard. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments by Fr. Arthur Tonne

Schools Dropping Scouting Sponsorships, Fearing Lawsuits

Some of us thought we would be spared the idiocy but it's here on our front doorsteps:
(KSDK) - Threats of litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union is causing trouble for some Boy Scouts in St. Charles County.

Last year the ACLU complained the Boy Scouts were a religious group, because members were compelled to swear an oath of duty to God. When the ACLU began winning court cases, several sponsors pulled out.
more...KSDK Channel 5 Report

Wal-Mart Bans Christmas, Boycott Launched

Dan Fogleman, Senior Manager, Wal_Mart Public Relations, said, in part, the following:

“As a retailer, we recognize some of our customers may be shopping for Chanukah or Kwanza gifts during this time of year and we certainly want these customers in our stores and to feel welcome, just as we do those buying for Christmas. As an employer, we recognize the significance of the Christmas holiday among our family of associates...and close our stores in observance, the only day during the year that we are closed.”

Bill Donohue says: “It’s nice to know that Wal-Mart is closed on a federal holiday. Now here is why I am asking the leaders of 126 religious organizations that span seven religious communities to boycott Wal-Mart. Go to its website and search for Hanukkah and up come 200 items. Click on Kwanzaa and up come 77. Click on Christmas, and here’s what you get: ‘We’ve brought you to our ‘Holiday’ page based on your search.’ In other words, Wal-Mart is practicing discrimination.”

Catholic League: Catholics NOT Turning to Anglican Church

New York, Nov. 09, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic League president Bill Donohue said the assessment made by Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire this past weekend—that many Catholics are turning to the Anglican Church as a result of Pope Benedict’s pontificate and the Church’s stand against homosexuals in the seminary—is wrong.

The Episcopalian bishop “[Gene Robinson is a walking embarrassment to Episcopalians everywhere and] is profoundly ignorant of what has been happening to his own church,” said Donohue...
V. Gene Robinson appears to be "profoundly ignorant" of a great number of matters, particularly those of a moral and theological nature.


Catholic League statement.

Promiscuity Is Alive and Well in St. Louis

St. Louis leads nation in cases of gonorrhea

Fake trees turn Christmas on its head

Maybe that Christmas tree you saw really is upside down. Upside-down trees are, well, turning the upcoming holiday on its head.

Hammacher Schlemmer can't even keep its $599.95 pre-lit model in stock. It's already sold out.
. . .
Sheryl Karas, author of The Solstice Evergreen: The History, Folklore and Origins of the Christmas Tree, isn't quite sure what's going on with the resurgence of upside-down trees, a 12th-century tradition in Central Europe. . .She doesn't want to put a damper on the holidays, but she suspects "there's something sinister, almost bad, about it."

What's next, upside down nativity sets?...No wait, that might mean that Christmas really is about the birth of Jesus Christ...foolish me.

Our Blessed Mother Was Victorious Last Night!

Here is a followup on the Counter Protest/Prayer Vigil of the faithful in opposition to the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice (CAN) Candlelight Vigil on the Cathedral Basilica steps last night which they (CAN) called "People of Faith for Gay Rights". This report has been slightly edited for spelling/grammar and such but remains essentially the same as I received it.

Although I am not what you would call a veteran protest organizer or attendee, there is a certain element of predictability that goes with trying to gather Catholics together to confront an attack on the Church. For example, you can make a pretty good assumption about those who will attend, based on your previous experience. You know that the police will eventually appear at the protest. You can also expect to be surprised by one or more attendees whom you did not even know would know about the event. Tonight's [Evening of Nov 8] circumstances however were completely out of my limited realm to 'predict'.

My last communication with Brandon R. was an email he sent to me on Monday night, saying he and 'some' of his friends would get to the Cathedral a little after 7PM. He asked me if I had any ideas for slogans on signs and wondered if I had any anti-homosexual pamphlets to hand out. (I didn't). When I pulled onto the side street next to the Cathedral at 6:30, Valerie had already arrived. Shortly afterward, Dr. and Mrs. Z. pulled in behind us. As it was early, we sat quietly chatting in our car. Before long, I decided to do a "reconnaissance" mission and Dr. Z. and I walked around the back of the Cathedral to get a view of how the CAN protest was setting up, without the protestors noticing us. I thought it better not to let them know there might be a counter-protest, thinking that even if it were only the four of us, we could make our presence felt if we got a good 'position' in front of the Cathedral.

When we came back to the car, Valerie told us that Donald L. was talking to Mrs. Z. on her cell phone. Donald was standing on a corner across the street from the Cathedral. Now we were five!

Donald called Brandon and left a message on his cell phone. We waited nervously as we watched the CAN crowd of 40-50 people assemble on the Cathedral steps. Before long Brandon called Donald back and said that he and his 'friends' were on their way and would arrive in minutes. Just before hanging up, Donald asked him how many 'friends' he was bringing with him. Brandon's answer was music to our ears, he was bringing twenty five friends.

Just as Donald hung up the phone, Mr. H. and his grandson, Alec, arrived with Mr. and Mrs. P. They (Mr & Mrs P) had come to their first ever meeting on Sunday and were admittedly reluctant to come to the Cathedral to counter-protest. By now, we were nine! All of us were standing on the corner waiting for Brandon's group to arrive.

Soon, Brandon arrived and discreetly called from his car as he drove by; "Reinforcements are on the way!" Soon we could see them, all twenty five off in the distance on the side street from the Cathedral. In the dark shadows there appeared to be men wearing cassocks among the group. Could it be? Clergy? We could also see that they had come prepared with signs - this was getting to be very interesting.

We met midway on the block and Brandon introduced us to Father (I don't remember his name) and a seminarian. We chatted for a moment and then I asked Father what parish he came from, he replied St. Mary's Assumption Church, to which Dr. Z. replied; "Isn't that near the Pius X Chapel?" Father smiled wryly and said, "Yes close, extremely close."

Next Father told us that should some priests from the parish or Chancery appear, he and the seminarian would remove themselves from the crowd - likewise, in the event the media appeared, they would give no interviews. Father stated clearly that he and all of us were there to make reparation for this act, and for ourselves as we are sinners too. He said those other things (media, diocesan clergy) would bring politics into the matter which was definitely not the reason that they had come. He did not want 'politics' to become an issue in this prayerful act of reparation.

Our strategy was simple. Some of the young men from St. Mary's were eager to debate, while most others wanted to keep their heads down and pray. Father was very deferential to me and asked how I thought we should go about our battle plan. We decided that the 'debaters' would freely encounter the protesters and debate at will, the others would form a line and pray the Rosary while walking in front of the Cathedral.

The moment we turned the corner onto Lindell Blvd will long live in my memory.

Father had somehow adopted me as his 'bodyguard' and the two of us took the front of the column. The others fell in behind us in twos and our 'procession' extended quite far behind us. Just as we turned the corner, Father started; "In the Name of the Father...", meanwhile the protesters were giving testimony and sharing thoughts of 'happiness and love' for each other and empty rhetoric against Holy Mother Church.

As we 'marched' towards them loudly praying the Rosary, the speaker was forced to stop, so as to not be drowned out by our prayers. This happened virtually every time we crossed in front of them. At times they would join in on our prayer and on one occasion they began to sing "We Shall Overcome".

Before long however it was evident that we had deflated their 'balloon'. Their protest had lost its gusto. The speakers were limited to choppy, almost incoherent, dissertations. The protesters started to lose interest. Some of them even left early. But still we marched, prayed and sang. We sang Salve Regina and Immaculate Mary, we prayed the Litany to the Blessed Mother, and continued on. Even after they finally disconnected their amplifier and ended their 'vigil'.

The protesters stood somewhat in disbelief and dismay as we continued until we finished the Joyful Mysteries. Lastly, Father asked Brandon and I to assist him in reading the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This we did standing squarely in the middle of the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps to the Cathedral.

In the end, the police had arrived and watched us. Almost looking like they didn't know what to do. The protesters appeared to complain about us, but we were moving along the sidewalk in an orderly manner. Another amazing thing tonight was the absence of media. Not one reporter was there - no Print media or television or radio.

Our Lady won! Against amazing odds, with assistance that was completely unexpected, our Blessed Mother had defeated the Promoters of Homosexuality, the Dissenters of Church teaching and the Natural Law and had thwarted their insipid agenda with the Rosary! It was a privilege for us to be called to this fight tonight. It was a privilege to be Her instruments in defeating the Dark Revolution's latest attempt to destroy the Church.

We are extremely indebted to Mark S. for his excellent report of last night's events. We are also indebted to all of those Catholics who marched in prayer asking for Our Lady's intercession to oppose those who fight and rebel against her Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Church. We are profoundly grateful for the extraordinary intercessions of Our Lady in helping us to combat these attacks. We are humbly indebted to our Lord, Who generously bestowed His graces on those who came to the aid of His Church.

We must continue to pray that He will give us the graces to do His will and to do so with obedience and charity. We must continue to pray that those who oppose our Lord and His Church might someday see the errors of their ways and follow His call for repentance and come back to His fold, His Church.

Thank you, Mark, for your excellent report!

How "Catholic" is this Sunday Bulletin article?

Once again, a bulletin article appeared in St Cronan's Sunday Bulletin (Web version) for November 6th. (PDF Link, page 3)
The Catholic Action Network for Social Justice (CAN) will hold a Candlelight Vigil on the Cathedral Basilica steps entitled "People of Faith for Gay Rights" on Tuesday, November 8th at 7pm.

This vigil, held in collaboration with the national organization Soulforce, will call for an end to the spiritual violence perpetuated against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community by the religious policies, teachings, and anti-gay rhetoric of the Church. There will be time for silence and sharing. Bring a candle, sign, song, or poem to share.
In a recent letter addressed to a member of CAN, Archbishop Burke basically advised the group that it should not use the name "Catholic" since CAN promotes ideas and practices that are diametrically opposed to the the teachings of the Church. It appears that perhaps the same criteria should be used for this "Catholic" parish which continues to promote dissension from Catholic teachings within the community.

Reports from a gentleman who was with an opposing group of faithful Catholics praying the Rosary last night at this "vigil" related that there were some 40-50 protesters on the Cathedral steps relating their "experiences" of "love".

Unfortunately, it is unknown at this time how many of these protesters were from St Cronan "Catholic" Parish.

It is anticipated that a report of this "vigil" will be forthcoming soon.

Pope to Bishops: Don't Water Down Church Teachings

VATICAN CITY, November 8, 2005 ( - In a meeting with Bishops from Austria Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI warned them against the false notion that church teachings should be watered down so as to prevent people from leaving the Church. "At times, those who direct this mission fear that people may move away if they are spoken to clearly," he said. "However," added the Pope, "experience has generally shown that the opposite happens. ... Catholic teaching presented incompletely is self- contradictory and cannot be fruitful in the long term."
. . .
The Pope reminded the Bishops present of St. Paul's words in Ephesus: "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." The Pope said, "It is true that we must act delicately, but this must not prevent us from presenting the divine message clearly, even on those subjects that do not enjoy widespread approval, or that give rise to protest or even derision, especially in the field of the truth of faith and moral teaching."

Planned 'Parenthood' 2005 Holidays Cards

This is sick. The message inside one version of the cards is:
Warmest wishes for a peaceful holiday.

Another version of the cards is called the "Peace Hope Justice Holiday Card"

Satan surely is pleased!

Annulment, dissolution options for some Catholics

Last week's column reported the comments of Monsignor John Shamleffer, judicial vicar of the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese regarding divorce. He said, "Divorce is not in itself morally wrong in the eyes of the Catholic Church."

Where do the renegades get the priests to accommodate their rebellion?

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church
Polka Mass & Fall Festival
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Beginning at 11:00 am


I would think that one of these days, the priests who facilitate and promote this rebellion and schism would be exposed. Assisting these people in opposition the the Archbishop's express directives is a very serious matter.

But then again, pride affects one's spiritual and mental states in strange ways. The announcement makes the following claim:

Tours of the only Polish Roman Catholic Church in St. Louis.

This may come as a shock to those at St Agatha's and to the Archdiocese. Perhaps they did not know?

Nothing unexpected about this....

Fired Loretto teacher files complaints
She says her ouster was discrimination, violating her free-speech rights.

Article here.

Gospel for Nov 9, Feast: Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

From: John 2:13-22

The Cleansing of the Temple

[13] The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [14] In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. [15] And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. [16] And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." [17] His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me." [18] The Jews then said to him, "What signs have you to show us for doing this?" [19] Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." [20] The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" [21] But he spoke of the temple of his body. [22] When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.


13. "The Passover of the Jews": this is the most important religious feast for the people of the Old Testament, the prefiguring of the Christian Easter (cf. note on Mt 26:2). The Jewish Passover was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan and was followed by the festival week of the Azymes (unleavened bread). According to the Law of Moses, on those days every male Israelite had to "appear before the Lord God" (Ex 34:23; Deut 16:16)--hence the pious custom of making a pilgrimage to the temple of Jerusalem for these days, hence the crowd and all the vendors to supply the needs of the pilgrims; this trading gave rise to abuses.

"Jesus went up to Jerusalem": by doing this Jesus publicly shows that he observes the Law of God. But, as we shall soon see, he goes to the temple as the only-begotten Son who must ensure that all due decorum is observed in the House of the Father: "And from thenceforth Jesus, the Anointed of God, always begins by reforming abuses and purifying from sin; both when he visits his Church, and when he visits the Christian soul" (Origen, "Hom. on St John", 1).

14-15. Every Israelite had to offer as a passover sacrifice an ox or a sheep, if he was wealthy; or two turtle-doves or two pigeons if he was not (Lev 5:7). In addition he had to pay a half shekel every year, if he was twenty or over. The half shekel, which was the equivalent of a day's pay of a worker, was a special coin also called temple money (cf. Ex 30:13); other coins in circulation (denarii, drachmas, etc.) were considered impure because they bore the image of pagan rulers. During the Passover, because of the extra crowd, the outer courtyard of the temple, the court of the Gentiles, was full of traders, money-changers etc., and inevitably this meant noise, shouting, bellowing, manure etc. Prophets had already fulminated against these abuses, which grew up with the tacit permission of the temple authorities, who made money by permitting trading. Cf. notes on Mt 21:12-13 and Mk 11:15-18.

16-17. "Zeal for thy house will consume me"--a quotation from Psalm 69:10. Jesus has just made a most significant assertion: "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." By calling God his Father and acting so energetically, he is proclaiming he is the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus' zeal for his Father's glory did not escape the attention of his disciples who realized that what he did fulfilled the words of Psalm 69.

18-22. The temple of Jerusalem, which had replaced the previous sanctuary which the Israelites carried around in the wilderness, was the place selected by God during the Old Covenant to express his presence to the people in a special way. But this was only an imperfect anticipation or prefiguring of the full __expression of his presence among men--the Word of God became man. Jesus, in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Col 2:9), is the full presence of God here on earth and, therefore, the true temple of God. Jesus identifies the temple of Jerusalem with his own body, and by so doing refers to one of the most profound truths about himself--the Incarnation. After the ascension of the Lord into heaven this real and very special presence of God among men is continued in the sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist.

Christ's words and actions as he expels the traders from the temple clearly show that he is the Messiah foretold by the prophets. That is why some Jews approach him and ask him to give a sign of his power (cf. Mt 16:1; Mk 8:11; Lk 11:29). Jesus' reply (v. 20), whose meaning remains obscure until his resurrection, the Jewish authorities try to turn into an attack on the temple--which merits the death penalty (Mt 26:61; Mk 14:58; cf. Jer 26:4ff); later they will taunt him with it when he is suffering on the cross (Mt 27:40; A 15:29) and later still in their case against St Stephen before the Sanhedrin they will claim to have heard him repeat it (Acts 6:14).

There was nothing derogatory in what Jesus said, contrary to what false witnesses made out. The miracle he offers them, which he calls "the Sign of Jonah" (cf. Mt 16:4), will be his own resurrection on the third day. Jesus is using a metaphor, as if to say: Do you see this temple? Well, imagine if it were destroyed, would it not be a great miracle to rebuild it in three days? That is what I will do for you as a sign. For you will destroy my body, which is the true temple, and I will rise again on the third day.

No one understood what he was saying. Jews and disciples alike thought he was speaking about rebuilding the temple which Herod the Great had begun to construct in 19-20 B.C. Later on the disciples grasped what he really meant.

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, November 08, 2005

Talks on the Commandments-The Fifth Commandment

"If you ask the Father anything in my name, he wilI give it to you." St. John, 16:23.

About 160 years ago or so there lived in Suabia, Germany, a splendid young man by the name of Meinrad. He sought quiet for prayer and meditation in the great Benedictine Order, which gave him permission to live alone on a mountain top, first in Germany and then in Switzerland, where he spent many prayerful days, days which were cruelly cut short when two robbers whom he befriended turned on him and put him to death. Instead of money they found only a hairshirt and books.

Although no one had seen the murder, the murderers were soon caught, because two tame crows that St. Meinrad had kept, followed the murderers wherever they went-into the cities, into their homes, into the taverns, everywhere cawing and fluttering, until suspicion was aroused and the two men were arrested and punished.

In memory of this divine punishment of murder, the Abbey of Reichenau, of which St. Meinrad had been a member, placed the figure of two crows on its coat of arms and seal.

Both sacred and human history are filled with such proofs of God's displeasure with those who deal in death. Killing has various forms:
1. Murder, or the deliberate taking of another's life on one's own authority, is a most serious sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. It may be:
A. Planned and intended. as poisoning another to collect insurance.
B. Not planned, but directly done, as when a robber kills a policeman who suddenly appears on the scene.
C. Due to criminal negligence, as when a doctor's neglect causes the death of a patient.
Our daily papers are splattered with the blood of those unjustly put to death through revenge, desire to remove a rival, for money or out of fear. That murder is sinful is clear from Sacred Scripture. "No murderer has eternal life abiding in him." I John, 3:15. "The voice of thy brother's blood cries to Me from the earth." Gen. 9:6.

The murderer takes to himself the right of God over human life. He robs man of his most precious possession-life. He often sends a soul into eternity without any preparation. He disrupts society, causes bitter grief and sets the stage for other murders.

2. Suicide, or taking one's own life, is also a serious sin, never permitted for any reason. It is for God to relieve you of the post of life in His way and in His time. Killing yourself doesn't help anything or anybody. Usually suicide is committed by the insane or those so emotionally unbalanced that they are not responsible. Some of the common causes of suicide are brooding over bad health or bad luck, heavy financial losses, incurable disease, the facing of punishment, or personal and family disgrace. Put your trust in God. He will see you through.

3. Mercy-killing, that is, putting to death one who is dying or suffering from an incurable disease, in order to put him out of his misery, is murder. It is never permitted - even when the patient freely and calmly gives his consent.
4. Lynching is murder, even if the victim is clearly guilty or has already been condemned to death by a court.

5. Willful and direct abortion is also a mortal sin. Doctors, nurses, parents, and all who cooperate to bring about the death of an infant either before or after its birth are guilty of murder.

Are we never allowed to take the life of another?

There are three kinds of justifiable killing, namely: self-defense, capital punishment, and a just war.
1. A man may kill another in self-defense in order to save his own life, the life of another, or to protect property of great value. You are not allowed to kill another just to preserve your reputation or good name, to prevent someone from trespassing on your property, or to protect property of little value.

2. The State has the right to punish with death if the crime is serious and the good of society requires a serious punishment. Such serious crimes are murder, treason, kidnapping. Capital punishment is permitted to prevent the criminal from doing further damage, to prevent others from crime through fear of execution. All the forms of law must be observed and a just and fair trial is absolutely necessary.

3. It is murder to kill if a war is unjust. If the war is just, soldiers are allowed and even obliged to kill in defense of their country, or in righting a wrong to their country. For a war to be just:
A. Every other means of settlement must have been tried first.
B. There must be a just cause in conscience.
C. The cause must be serious, that is, the good resulting from the war must completely outweigh the evils of war. Modern warfare has so many terrible evils, that there seems to be scarcely any evil or evils great enough to justify it.
D. The war must be waged in a just way.
If an individual Catholic knew positively that the war was unjust he could not fight in it. However, that is almost impossible to know. In general the State has the responsibility. We Catholics are loyal; we follow the State; we obey the State.

Today we will ask the heavenly Father, who has given us life, to help us to respect all human life in every way. We will ask the heavenly Father to give all men a respect for the life of others. We will realize, with God's help, the wickedness of all forms of killing. May all men keep this law of God. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments by Fr. Arthur Tonne

December 4-Are We Designs Or Occurrences?

You and your family are cordially invited to a presentation on:

Are We Designs Or Occurrences?

Why Is This Question So Important?

By: Mr. John H. Calvert

To be held at:

St. Francis de Sales Oratory

2653 Ohio Ave

St. Louis, MO 63118

Auditorium in basement beneath Church

Sunday, December 4, 2005 at 1:30 PM.

The speaker, Mr. John Calvert, is a lawyer and the Managing Director of Intelligent Design Network Incorporated.

Mr. Calvert recently defended Intelligent Design before the Kansas State Board of Education, along with over twenty other witnesses. He has traveled across the United States exposing the fallacies of Evolution, by uncovering important truths that are seldom heard.

This talk is one of a series of regularly held talks sponsored by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and its America Needs Fatima campaign. Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating afternoon of Catholic conviviality, enlightening conversation, and hope for the future.

Admission is FREE! Refreshments will be offered. Please bring a guest!

For additional information, contact Mark Serafino (573) 459-5531 or email anfstlouis AT

The American TFP – America Needs Fatima
P.O. Box 341
Hanover, PA 17331
(717) 225-7147


High Stakes in the Evolution Debate

On Friday, July 15th Mr. John H. Calvert, co-founder of Intelligent Design Network, gave an audiovisual presentation to around 30 TFP supporters in Topeka, KS, titled: "Are We Designs Or Occurrences? Why Is This Question So Important?" The event was held at the house of TFP local coordinator Francis Slobodnik.

Mr. Calvert recently defended Intelligent Design before the Kansas State Board of Education, along with over twenty other witnesses. He has traveled across the United States exposing the fallacies of Evolution, by uncovering important truths that are seldom heard. The evidence he presented, clearly implied that the creation of life was not due to random chance, but rather the fruit of an Intelligent Designer.

Mr. Calvert explained the immense complexity of the cell structure of living organisms. This complexity makes it statistically impossible that chance could have caused its development. For example: the statistical possibility of randomly pulling letters out of a bag to spell-out the word DESIGN are 165,765,600 to 1. How much more incomprehensible is the chance altering of complex cells, let alone developing them?

Mr. Calvert recounted horror stories in which members of the scientific community suffer persecution, even for questioning evolution. He spoke of Ph.D. candidates risking their degrees and professors endangering the renewal of their contracts, simply because they question evolution. Nevertheless, evidence of Intelligent Design manages slowly but surely to make it through the politically correct filters in academia.

Perhaps, Mr. Calvert's most important point was that the influence of evolution has reached far beyond the borders of science. It has fashioned government and morality to its own likeness. For Catholics this is especially close to home. The Modernist heresy, condemned by Pope St. Pius X, could be summed up in the belief that dogma evolves.

Mr. Calvert warned that this issue is going to snowball into a monumental national debate. Kansas is currently becoming the center of this debate. Recently, school board members voted to slightly improve the state's science standard. In the next couple of years, four seats on the board will be up for re-election. A lot of money from across the nation is expected to be poured into this normally ignored election.

Indeed, the stakes are high for evolution adherents. As authentic science continues to gather facts that unmistakably point to an intelligent designer, evolutionists see their entire worldview crashing down upon them.

This far-reaching effect of evolution is one of the main reasons that evolutionists fight so tenaciously. Indeed, their whole outlook on life is at stake.

For more information please visit

Gospel for Tuesday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 17:7-10

Humble Service

[7] "Will any of you, who has a servant ploughing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down at table'? [8] Will he not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink'? [9] Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? [10] So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"


7-10. Jesus is not approving this master's abusive and arbitrary behavior: He is using an example very familiar to His audience to show the attitude a person should have towards his Creator: everything, from our very existence to the eternal happiness promised us, is one huge gift from God. Man is always in debt to God; no matter what service he renders Him he can never adequately repay the gifts God has given him. There is no sense in a creature adopting a proud attitude towards God. What Jesus teaches us here we see being put into practice by our Lady, who replied to God's messenger (the Archangel Gabriel), "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Luke 1:38).

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

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

Monday, November 07, 2005

Homosexual Activists Invade Pro-Family Group Headquarters En Route to White House

WASHINGTON, November 7, 2005 ( - Homosexual activists chained themselves to a display in the foyer of the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in the US capitol today in an attempt to disrupt work there.

One can only wonder had the tables been turned, that is, if a pro-family group had disrupted a pro-homosexual group's headquarters or office building, if members of the pro-family group would have been charged with 'hate crimes'?

Pope Benedict XVI: Spread the Catechism

VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Austrian Bishop's Conference who have just concluded their "ad limina" visit. In his address to them in German, the Pope recalled how such five-yearly visits serve "to consolidate the bonds with Peter's Successor," and express "the communion of the Universal Church."
. . .
"Remember that it is the bishop's primary duty to bear witness to the faith. 'I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God,' said the Apostle Paul in Ephesus. It is true that we must act delicately, but this must not prevent us from presenting the divine message clearly, even on those subjects that do not enjoy widespread approval, or that give rise to protest or even derision, especially in the field of the truth of faith and moral teaching."
. . .
Benedict XVI invited Austrian prelates to intensify their pastoral care of youth and, in their catechesis, to use both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the recently published Compendium thereto which, he recommended, should be explained and illustrated in "in all parishes, associations and movements," and become "habitual reading" in families.

Gospel for Monday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 17:1-6

On Leading Others Astray, Fraternal Correction

[1] And He (Jesus) said to His disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! [2] It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. [3] Take heed yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; [4] and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, `I repent,' you must forgive him."

The Power of Faith

[5] The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith! [6] And the Lord said, "If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, `Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea', and it would obey you."


1-3. Our Lord condemns scandal, that is, "any saying, action or omission which constitute for another an occasion of sin" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 417). Jesus is teaching two things here: the first is that scandal will "in fact" happen; the second, that it is a grave sin, as shown by the punishment it earns.

The reason why it is so serious a sin is that it "tends to destroy God's greatest work, that of Redemption, through souls being lost; it kills one's neighbor's soul by taking away the life of grace, which is more precious than the life of the body, and it is the cause of a multitude of sins. This is why God threatens with the most severe punishment those who cause others to stumble" ("ibid"., 418). See [the notes on] Matthew 18:6-7; 18-8; 18:10.

"Take heed to yourselves": a serious warning, meaning that we should not be a cause of scandal to others nor should we be influenced by the bad example others give us.

People who enjoy authority of any kind (parents, teachers, politicians, writers, artists, etc.) can more easily be a cause of scandal. We need to be on the alert in this respect in view of our Lord's warning, "Take heed to yourselves."

2. Millstones were circular in shape with a large hole in the center. Our Lord's description, therefore, was very graphic: it meant that the person's head just fitted through the hole and then he could not get the stone off.

3-4. In order to be a Christian one must always, genuinely, forgive others. Also, one has to correct an erring brother to help him change his behavior. But fraternal correction should always be done in a very refined way, full of charity; otherwise we would humiliate the person who has committed the fault, whereas we should not humiliate him but help him to be better.

Forgiving offenses--which is something we should always do--should not be confused with giving up rights which have been justly violated. One can claim rights without any kind of hatred being implied; and sometimes charity and justice require us to exercise our rights. "Let's not confuse the rights of the office you hold with your rights as a person. The former can never be waived" ([St] . Escriva, "The Way", 407).

Sincere forgiveness leads us to forget the particular offense and to extend the hand of friendship, which in turn helps the offender to repent.

The Christian vocation is a calling to holiness, but one of its essential requirements is that we show apostolic concern for the spiritual welfare of others: Christianity cannot be practiced in an isolated, selfish way. Thus, "if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:20).

5. "Increase our faith!": a good ejaculatory prayer for every Christian. "Omnia possibilia sunt credenti". Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.' The words are Christ's. How is it that you don't say to Him with the Apostles: `"adauge nobis fidem"! increase my faith!'?" ("The Way", 588).

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, November 06, 2005

Popular Sermons on the Catechism-Faith


"He hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

From our consideration on the end of man, which was the theme of our last instruction, we saw that Faith, the Commandments, and the Means of Grace, form the principal subject-matter of the catechism.

We propose in our discourse to-day to take the first of these three divisions, and with the help of the Holy Ghost, to consider it under two heads:
I. The nature of faith.
II. The object of faith.


The catechism seeks to define our conception of faith by asking, "What is faith," and the an­swer runs: "Faith is a theological virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has re­vealed."

Faith, therefore, consists in believing. Every kind of human knowledge rests on a foundation of belief in something, but the question before us is to differentiate between knowledge founded on faith, and every other kind of human knowledge. Around us we see many different classes of ob­jects, animals, plants, minerals. Among animals we distinguish the birds of the air, the fish in the sea, and all those brute beasts which live on land. In speaking thus, we are classifying them according to the regions they inhabit. Again, amongst the stars we have fixed stars, which do not move, planets, which revolve more or less reg­ularly round the sun, and comets, whose orbit seems more uncertain. Now, just as we classify those things which are outside us, so must we deal with the things that are within us. But on what lines is our classification to be made? This I will en­deavor to show. In all knowledge something has to be accepted as true. That belongs to the very nature of knowledge. But for what reason is it accepted as true? If we keep that question well before our mind it will give us the right basis upon which to work.

When Columbus and his companions, after a long voyage at last reached land and disembarked in America for the first time, they at that moment certainly believed in the New World. They be­lieved in it because they had seen it with their eyes and trodden it with their feet. They trusted the evidence of their senses. But Columbus him­self had been already long and firmly convinced of the reality of its existence. What had con­vinced him? Had anyone told him of it? No one. The possibility of such a thing had barely been surmised. Columbus from his own observa­tions had drawn his conclusions. He had seen some strange flotsam brought in by the westerly wind to the shores of Europe, pieces of wood curi­ously carved and of a kind hitherto unknown. The sea could not have produced these, he rea­soned to himself; the unfamiliar wood must be the product of some far-off undiscovered country whose inhabitants have done the carving. In this way, pondering over these pieces of wood, he found evidence to persuade him of the existence of America, just as when we see smoke ascending from a chimney we feel sure there is a fire burn­ing inside, although we have not seen it. But to continue: Columbus with his companions returned to Europe to the court of King Ferdinand, and there, to the amazement of all who heard them, they told of the wonderful country they had dis­covered on the other side of the ocean, and of the strange varieties of plants, animals, and men they had found there. Now, did Ferdinand and his court really credit all this? Certainly they did. On what grounds did they credit it? They had not, like Christopher and his companions, seen it with their own eyes, nor had they proved, as he had done, the likelihood of its existence by their own logical reasoning. Not at all. Then why did they assume that it was all true? Because Columbus, who was an honorable and conscientious man, bore witness to it with his companions. So Columbus, we observe, had be­lieved in America before seeing it because he had found evjdence of its existence; his companions believed because they had beheld it with their own eyes; and Ferdinand and his court believed simply on the testimony of Columbus.

Now I am able to show you exactly in what Faith consists. In a strict and proper sense we have faith only when we accept as true something we have neither seen for ourselves, nor deduced from our own observations; in other words, when we hold something to be true which another per­son has told us, and indeed because he has told us. This kind of knowledge which we get by rely­ing on the word of some one else, figures very largely, more largely indeed than any other, in the sum total of human learning. All that we know of the past, of distant countries and people, rests on faith. How could children be educated unless they accepted as true what their parents tell them? How would pupils ever learn who refused to be­lieve the word of their teacher? How could his­tory be written if we did not admit the credibility of earlier chroniclers? How could a judge come to a decision unless he trusted the testimony given by witnesses under oath?

I am saying, then, that one kind of human knowl­edge consists in believing what trustworthy people have told us. Here we have faith in the secular sense of the word. Faith in the Christian sense consists in our believing what the Lord God has said or revealed to us. And surely if it be in the nature of things to believe what people worthy of confidence tell us, how much more firmly, more uncompromisingly, more unswervingly, may we believe what God tells us. For God knows all things. He is the very truth, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. It is on the eternal truth and infallible veracity of God and on His infinite holiness that we found our faith in all that He tells us. Faith, therefore, "is a theological virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed."


We now go on to ask what are the propositions or truths which we are bound to believe? We are bound to believe everything without exception that God has revealed. But has God addressed each one of us? Has He spoken to you, to me, to them, to all of us? Not to each one of us individually, but to certain special groups of men and through them to all the rest. To whom, then, has God spoken and by whom? Under the Old Law God made His revelations to men through the patri­archs and prophets. The patriarchs, such as Adam and Noah, were the fathers of the human race, or else, like Abraham, the head of one par­ticular people. The prophets were men specially enlightened by God and given by Him a special mission to mankind. Under the New Law God has revealed Himself through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the apostles, who were His first disciples and the earliest teachers of the Church.

And all that God has revealed, whether under the Old, or under the New, Law, has been pre­served, proclaimed, and proposed to us by the Church. Therefore, faith, in the Christian sense, means to believe without doubting the truths that God has revealed, and communicated to us through His Church.

What, then, is the subject-matter of God's rev­elation to us? What does it contain? With what does it deal? Is it with questions of agriculture, or geography, or with the secrets and forces of nature? It is concerned with none of these things, and when mention of them occurs it is merely to illustrate by way of parable or simile some les­son which it is necessary to bring home to us, as, for instance, when our Saviour speaks of the vine­yard, or of the draught of fishes. So, again, we ask, what is the subject-matter of the truths re­vealed to us by God? They contain everything, absolutely everything which we require to know for our eternal salvation. Oh, what a multitude of great and weighty matters God has unfolded to us concerning Himself and the Godhead, His perfections, His works, and the creation of the world - things that the most perfect telescope ever invented by man would fail to bring within the range of human eyes - the origin of our first parents, the beauty of their primary state, their first home in Paradise - their temptation, their sin and misery! Then comes the human race with the history of its many wanderings, enterprises, and retributions, of the chosen people of God, their patriarchs and prophets, kings and judges, and, finally, their rejection and downfall. Above all, we learn of the life, sufferings, and glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man for us, His apostles, His Church, His sacraments - the end of the world, the judgment, and our own eternal destiny - heaven or hell.

Oh, what a multitude of divine truths the rev­elation of God embraces! How it lights up the past and radiates into the future! How much it makes known to us which it would have baffled all the discernment and wit of man to discover! God's knowledge is infinite. He reveals to us many things which we can not and never will understand in this world, and, because His wisdom surpasses ours in such an infinite degree, we must believe all He tells us, and hold it to be true, not because we understand it, but because an all-holy and omniscient God has revealed it to us. This is the foundation on which we Catholics build our faith.

Let us thank the Lord our God, who has called us, as St. Peter says, "out of the darkness into His marvelous light" - out of unbelief, which is truly a groping in darkness. For what does the unbeliever know, either of where he came from, or whither he is going? He is enveloped in a gloom which all the electric light in the world, be it ever so powerful, is unable to dispel; he has no assurance of what awaits him after death, no knowledge of the pitfalls which lurk on the road, no conception of the fearful abyss of hell. He is blind in the light of day.

Let us, indeed, thank God, who has called us out of the darkness into His wonderful light, who not only illumines the way we have to go, but in His merciful love treads it with us. It is that same road on which mankind had traveled since the beginning of the world, and will ever travel, the very ground over which, with its heights and depths, its hills and hollows, its dangers and ulti­mate goal, you yourselves, each one of you, have to make your earthly pilgrimage.

We will say with the Psalmist: "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my paths" (Psalms cxviii. 105). Yes, Lord, faith will be the light to guide my feet on the long, weary, and thorny road that may perhaps still lie before me. Grant that this light may never grow dim in my heart, but let it burn so brightly that I may not only know the way, but may walk in it; may not only see the dangers, but may shun them; that I may not only recognize the goal, but may attain it - life everlasting. Amen.

Adapted from Popular Sermons on the Catechism by Fr. A. Hubert Bamberg, Edited by Fr. Herbert Thurston, S.J. (1914)