Saturday, November 19, 2005

Gospel for Saturday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 20:27-40

The Resurrection of the Dead

[27] There came to Him (Jesus) some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, [28] and they asked Him a question saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. [29] Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; [30] and the second [31] and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. [32] Afterward the woman also died. [33] In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."

[34] And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; [35] but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, [36] for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. [37] But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. [38] Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him." [39] And some of scribes answered, "Teacher, You have spoken well." [40] For they no longer dared to ask Him any question.


27-40. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the body or the immortality of the soul. They came along to ask Jesus a question which is apparently unanswerable. According to the Levirate law (cf. Deuteronomy 25:5ff), if a man died without issue, his brother was duty bound to marry his widow to provide his brother with descendants. The consequences of this law would seem to give rise to a ridiculous situation at the resurrection of the dead.

Our Lord replies by reaffirming that there will be a resurrection; and by explaining the properties of those who have risen again, the Sadducees' argument simply evaporates. In this world people marry in order to continue the species: that is the primary aim of marriage. After the resurrection there will be no more marriage because people will not die anymore.

Quoting Sacred Scripture (Exodus 3:2, 6) our Lord shows the grave mistake the Sadducees make, and He argues: God is not the God of the dead but of the living, that is to say, there exists a permanent relationship between God and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who have been dead for years. Therefore, although these just men have died as far as their bodies are concerned, they are alive, truly alive, in God--their souls are immortal--and they are awaiting the resurrection of their bodies.

See also the notes on Matthew 22:23-33 and Mark 12:18-27.

[The note on Matthew 22:23-33 states:
23-33. The Sadducees argue against belief in the resurrection of the dead on the basis of the Levirate law, a Jewish law which laid down that when a married man died without issue, one of his brothers, according to a fixed order, should marry his widow and the first son of that union be given the dead man's name. By outlining an extreme cases the Sadducees make the law and belief in resurrection look ridiculous. In His reply, Jesus shows up the frivolity of their objections and asserts the truth of the resurrection of the dead.]

[The note on Mark 12:18-27 states:
18-27. Before answering the difficulty proposed by the Sadducees, Jesus wants to identify the source of the problem--man's tendency to confine the greatness of God inside a human framework through excessivereliance on reason, not giving due weight to divine Revelation and the power of God. A person can have difficulty with the truths of faith; this is not surprising, for these truths are above human reason. But it is ridiculous to try to find contradictions in the revealed word of God; this only leads away from any solution of difficulty and may make it impossible to find one's way back to God. We need to approach Sacred Scripture, and, in general, the things of God, with the humility which faith demands. In the passage about the burning bush, which Jesus quotes to the Sadducees, God says this to Moses: "Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).]

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 18, 2005

Sacramento Cathedral to Reopen after Restoration Project

...for more than two years,...the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was closed for major repairs and a seismic retrofit. On Sunday, the 116-year-old cathedral reopens after a $34 million restoration project that includes elaborate murals and refurbished glasswork and statues.

"The cathedral is a symbol in modern life of the sacred, a symbol of the transcendent," said its rector, the Rev. James Murphy. "It's a reminder to people that there's more to life than money and stress."

The New York firm [of Beyer Blinder Belle] was selected in part because of its experience restoring cathedrals, as well as renovations of Grand Central Station and Ellis Island in New York.

"The word `modernization' is anathema to them," Murphy said. "They want to preserve the original intent of the building."
[Emphasis added]

Pictures would be nice when they are available...

Article here

New USCCB Document on Death Penalty "Giving Cover to Pro-Abortion Politicians"?

Isn't that one of the reasons why the USCCB exists?

Frankly, if there is no "capital" punishment, is there any reason to enumerate "capital" crimes?

Conservative Catholics Ready to Rumble with Dissenters over Homosexual Priest Ban

VATICAN, November 18, 2005 ( - Less than two weeks away from the widely rumoured November 29 publication date of a new Vatican document dealing with homosexuality and the priesthood, dissenters from the church's stand against ordaining homosexuals - among them priests and bishops - have taken their claims public. As reported, Rochester, NY Bishop Matthew Clark, and a former international leader of the Dominican Order have publicly endorsed ordaining homosexuals despite long-standing Catholic discipline against the move. (see coverage: )

More than coming out publicly, some homosexual priests have threatened to, according to the Guardian newspaper, stay away from their pulpits to protest. Others have said they will reveal their homosexuality to their congregations and still others have threatened to 'out' homosexual bishops.

Barring homosexuals from priesthood not discrimination, say Italian bishops

The headline from the Bishops' own Catholic News Service was corrected to remove the word 'gay' and replace it with the appropriate word, "homosexual"...Seems someone at CNS needs a bit of an education.
ASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Deciding not to accept as candidates for the priesthood men with "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" would not be an act of discrimination, said the general secretary of the Italian bishops' conference.

The bishops, meeting in Assisi, approved new norms for seminary admittance and the formation of priests, including the rejection of mandatory psychological testing of candidates.
. . .
"The concept of discrimination can be used in reference to a right, but a vocation is not a right; it is a gift. And this frames the question in a totally different way," said [Bishop Giuseppe Betori, conference general secretary].

Who Are The American Bishops?

From our friends at Catholic Culture, we received this article this morning. Definately worth a read!
Our bishops have just finished their November meeting, and their activities suggest a deep identity crisis. One might almost conclude that they think they are laymen.

That's the subject of my latest Highlights column at See what I mean at News from the U. S. Bishops, Whoever They Are.

Jeff Mirus
Trinity Communications
Some excerpts:
Three controversial issues surfaced at the U.S. Bishops’ November meeting in Washington: the death penalty, the rejection of Church teaching by Catholic politicians, and liturgical translations.
. . .
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn gave the game away after the vote when he stated in a press conference that while abortion and euthanasia can never be justified because they are “intrinsically evil”, Catholics may disagree with the bishops’ position on capital punishment without separating themselves from the Church. This is exactly true, and it immediately shows why the bishops should not be issuing statements on this topic. It is a usurpation of a role proper to the laity to proclaim this position and launch this campaign. And quite apart from the ecclesiological impropriety, what in actual practice have the bishops managed so well lately that we would want them to take over American politics?
[Emphasis mine]
Read the rest of the article here.

AFRICA: Center for Reproductive Rights Wants Your Unborn Children

Received the following via email from The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute:

Newly Ratified African Protocol Hailed by Radical Pro-Abort Group

Radical lawyers at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) are celebrating a recently ratified protocol for women's rights in Africa as being "the first human rights instrument to expressly articulate a woman's right to abortion in specified circumstances."

On October 26 Togo became the 15th African country to ratify the Protocol which brings the Protocol into force and is now binding on the countries that ratify it. The document can also now be used by CRR to force other countries to comply. The Protocol supplements the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. In a briefing paper on the protocol CRR outlines how African women can "use the protocol to exercise their reproductive rights" and suggests the "paper can also be useful to advocates outside Africa who are seeking to establish similar guarantees."

While the Protocol contains elements that will likely receive unanimous praise such as prohibitions against genital mutilation and sexual abuse, its most prominent language is of concern for pro-lifers. The Protocol requires states to take "all appropriate measures to: c) protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus." The mental health exemption is especially worrying because its ambiguity may be used to permit abortions in almost any instance.

The Protocol also calls for states to "ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health, is respected and promoted" and defines reproductive health to include "the right to choose any method of contraception."

The CRR briefing paper says the Protocol may be an important tool in the fight to expand the abortion license to the international level. "The significance and potential of the protocol go well beyond Africa. The treaty affirms reproductive choice and autonomy as a key human right and contains a number of global firsts. For example, it represents the first time that an international human rights instrument has explicitly articulated a woman’s right to abortion when pregnancy results from sexual assault, rape, or incest."

The documents acknowledges that the enforcement mechanisms for the Protocol may not be strong enough currently. It notes that the "African Court, however, will have the authority to issue legally binding and enforceable decisions" and it calls for the African Court to be given a stronger role in overseeing social policy. The briefing paper calls on "Advocates seeking to ensure that the protocol is adequately implemented" to "pressure governments to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter Establishing an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and to make declarations accepting the jurisdiction of the African Court over cases brought by individuals and NGOs."

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

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948
Fax: (212) 754-9291

The Italians Pass, the Austrians Flunk, the Brazilians... The Bishops under Examination

And the pope is grading each of them. He urged the bishops of Austria to “change course.” But he gave an extra chance to the bishops of Brazil: he will come in person to encourage them – at the sanctuary of the Aparecida.

by Sandro Magister
ROMA, November 18, 2005 – The bishops have come to realize that every time they meet Benedict XVI, alone or as a group, they must be ready for anything: accolades, rebukes, surprises.
“As you well know, the confession of the faith is one of the bishop’s primary duties. ‘I did not draw back’, St. Paul says in Miletus to the pastors of the Church of Ephesus, ‘from the task of proclaiming to you the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27).

“It is true that we bishops must act with discretion. Nevertheless, this prudence must not prevent us from presenting the Word of God in all its clarity, including those things that are heard less willingly or that consistently provoke reactions of protest and derision.

“You, dear brothers in the episcopacy, know this well: there are some topics relating to the truth of the faith, and above all to moral doctrine, which are not present in the catechesis and preaching of your dioceses to a sufficient extent, and which sometimes, for example in pastoral outreach to youth in the parishes or groups, are either not confronted at all or are not addressed in the clear sense understood by the Church.

“Thanks be to God, it is not like this everywhere.

“Perhaps those who are responsible for the proclamation [of the Gospel] are afraid that people may draw back if they speak too clearly.

“However, experience in general demonstrates that it is precisely the opposite that happens. Don’t deceive yourselves!

“Catholic teaching offered in an incomplete manner is a contradiction of itself and cannot be fruitful in the long term.

“The proclamation of the Kingdom of God goes hand in hand with the demand for conversion and with the love that encourages, that knows the way, that teaches that with the grace of God even that which seemed impossible becomes possible.

“Think of how, little by little, religious instruction, catechesis on various levels, and preaching can be improved, deepened, and, so to speak, completed!

“Please, make zealous use of the ‘Compendium’ and the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’!

“Have the priests and catechists adopt these tools, have them explained in the parishes, have them used in families as important reading material!

“Amid the uncertainty of this period of history and this society, offer to men the certainty of the fullness of the Church‘s faith!

“The clarity and the beauty of the Catholic faith are what make man’s life shine, even today!

“This is especially the case when it is presented by enthusiastic and exciting witnesses.”

Pope Beneddict XVI

Jesuits to host forum about "gay" Catholics

A Jesuit retreat house in Manhasset is hosting a workshop about gay Catholics and the church that had been barred from diocesan property last year by Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

State Supreme Court tells Cardinal Mahony to turn over files

The state Supreme Court declined to overturn an appeals court ruling that forces Cardinal Roger Mahony to turn over the private personnel files of two former priests accused of sexual molestation.

The ruling this week is the latest development in a battle between the Los Angeles County district attorney, who subpoenaed the files three years ago, and the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese.
More here.

Gospel for Friday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 19:45-48

Jesus in the Temple

[45] And He (Jesus) entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, [46] saying to them, "It is written, `My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers."

[47] And He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy Him; [48] but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon His words.


45-48. Jesus' indignation shows His zeal for the glory of His Father, to be recognized at this time in the temple itself. He inveighs against the traders for engaging in business which has nothing to do with divine worship (cf. Matthew 21:12; Mark 11-15). Even the priests allowed some of these abuses to go on--perhaps because they benefited from them in the form of taxes. The traders did perform services necessary for divine worship but this was vitiated by their excessive desire for gain, turning the temple into a marketplace.

"My house shall be a house of prayer": Jesus uses these words from Isaiah (56:7; cf. Jeremiah 7:11) to underline the purpose of the temple. Jesus' behavior shows the respect the Temple of Jerusalem deserved; how much more reverence should be shown our churches, where Jesus Himself is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. (cf. notes on Matthew 21:12-13; and Mark 11:15-18).

[The notes on Matthew 21:12-13 states:
12-13. Although God is present everywhere and cannot be confined within the walls of temples built by man (Acts 17:24-25), God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle where He would dwell among the Israelites (Exodus 25:40). Once the Jewish people were established in Palestine, King Solomon, also in obedience to a divine instruction, built the temple of Jerusalem (1 Kings 6-8), where people went to render public worship to God (Deuteronomy 12).

Exodus (23:15) commanded the Israelites not to enter the temple empty-handed, but to bring some victim to be sacrificed. To make this easier for people who had to travel a certain distance, a veritable market developed in the temple courtyards with animals being bought and sold for sacrificial purposes. Originally this may have made sense, but seemingly as time went on commercial gain became the dominant purpose of this buying and selling of victims; probably the priests themselves and temple servants benefited from this trade or even operated it. The net result was that the temple looked more like a livestock mart than a place for meeting God.

Moved by zeal for His Father's house (John 2:17), Jesus cannot tolerate this deplorable abuse and in holy anger He ejects everyone--to show people the respect and reverence due to the temple as a holy place. We should show much greater respect in the Christian temple--the Christian churches--where the eucharistic sacrifice is celebrated and where Jesus Christ, God and Man, is really and truly present, reserved in the tabernacle. For a Christian, proper dress, liturgical gestures and postures, genuflections and reverence to the tabernacle, etc. are expressions of the respect due to the Lord in His temple.

[The notes on Mark 11:15-18 states:
15-18. Our Lord does not abide lack of faith or piety in things to do with the worship of God. If He acts so vigorously to defend the temple of the Old Law, it indicates how we should truly conduct ourselves in the Christian temple, where He is really and truly present in the Blessed Eucharist. "Piety has its own good manners. Learn them. It's a shame to see those `pious' people who don't know how to attend Mass--even though they go daily,--nor how to bless themselves (they throw their hands about in the weirdest fashion), nor how to bend the knee before the Tabernacle (their ridiculous genuflections seem a mockery), nor how to bow their heads reverently before a picture of our Lady" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 541).]

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 17, 2005

The Slippery Slope is Real Whether One Believes It or Not

From LifeSiteNews comes this...And we knew sooner or later it would come to this:

First Comes Gay Marriage then Comes Bestiality in Massachusetts
BOSTON, November 17, 2005 ( - Four legislators in Massachusetts are quickly following up on their success at legalizing homosexual unions by pushing for softening laws against other forms of sexual deviance. They have introduced a bill that proposes to reduce the penalties associated with the state’s criminal prohibition on sex acts with animals.

The four Democrat legislators, Cynthia S. Creem, Robert A. O'Leary, Michael E. Festa, David P. Linsky, are all vocal supporters of abortion, homosexual unions, and are all endorsed by all three of Massachusetts’ gay lobby groups.
. . .
By calling the bill, “An Act Relative to Archaic Crimes,” its sponsors have revealed their bias which assumes that traditional sexual morality is “archaic” and no longer relevant to modern society, an allegation that many family groups and legislators oppose.
Ah yes...the devil is happy!

Pontiff Points to Christ as Model for New Humanism

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2005 ( Amid the prevailing individualism and relativism, Christians have the mission to present Christ as model for a new humanism, says Benedict XVI.

"Modern culture," he said, "so deeply marked by a subjectivism which leads not infrequently to extreme individualism or to relativism, drives people to consider man as the only measure by which to judge themselves, losing sight of other objectives not centered on the self, which has become the only criterion for evaluating reality and their own choices."

"In this way," the Holy Father continued, "man tends to fall back ever more onto himself, to close himself in an airless existential microcosm, where there is no longer any space for great ideals open to transcendence, to God.

"On the other hand, man who overcomes himself and does not allow himself to be closed in the narrow confines of his own egoism is capable of an authentic contemplation of others and of creation."
More from Zenit here.

Target Getting the Message - Stock Drops 7%

"There is an anti-Christian bias in this country, and it is more on display at Christmas season than any other time."Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel – (Speaking about the decision of Target and other stores to ban the use of "Merry Christmas" in their stores and advertising.)

On October 7 we brought to your attention that Target was banning the Salvation Army's kettles from the front of their stores. Now we've learned Target is also banning the use of "Merry Christmas" from their in-store promotions and from their advertising in papers, TV, etc.

Your efforts are having an impact. USA Today (11/16/05) announced that "Target alarmed investors by saying projected sales at stores open a year in November would miss the estimated 4% to 6% growth. Shares of Target fell $4.13 to $54.30." (A 7% drop.)

Target's ban of the Salvation Army and "Merry Christmas" expresses the same attitude toward Christianity as that held by Michael Newdow, who wants to ban "In God We Trust" from our currency and "under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance.

AFA is asking individuals to boycott Target during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend—the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Please share this request to boycott Target on that weekend with friends, family and members of your church and Sunday school class.

Please sign the petition to Target. This petition will also be sent to other major chains banning the use of "Merry Christmas" including Costco, BJ's, Wal-Mart, Sears/K-Mart and Kohl's. It is basically too late to change their policies this year, but we can change it for next year. Last year we called for a boycott of Federated Stores because they banned "Merry Christmas." This year they are using "Merry Christmas!"

A successful boycott of Target will send a message to every company!

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard. Please act today and then forward this to friends and family.

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association
This came via e-mail and I thought I would pass it on...It's unfortunate that many large chains are choosing to ignore the real reason for the Christmas season, choosing instead a method of politically correct appeasement, which, while it might bring joy to a small minority of people, alienates a larger segment of the population.

Trail of Abuse Leads to Seminary

St. John's in Camarillo fielded a disproportionate number of alleged molesters, records show, in some cases up to a third of the graduating class.

Any examination of the sexual abuse crisis afflicting the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles leads inevitably to a bell-towered campus in the rolling hills of Camarillo: St. John's Seminary.

The 66-year-old institution has trained hundreds of clerics for the archdiocese and smaller jurisdictions across Southern California and beyond. It is the alma mater of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod Brown and other prominent prelates. Former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada, now the Vatican's chief enforcer of doctrine, taught at the school.

But St. John's, the only seminary operated by the archdiocese, also has produced a disproportionate number of alleged sexual abusers as it prepared men for a life of ministry and celibacy, records show.
This is an appalling story, even if only part of it is accurate. An outright rejection of Christ and the faith appears to be part of this whole sordid affair.

Article here.

Save the Planet, Join the "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement"

Is having a child -- even one -- environmentally destructive?
"We can't be breeding right now," says Les Knight. "It's obvious that the intentional creation of another [human being] by anyone anywhere can't be justified today."

Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, an informal network of people dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth. . .

"As long as there's one breeding couple," he says cheerfully, "we're in danger of being right back here again. Wherever humans live, not much else lives. It isn't that we're evil and want to kill everything -- it's just how we live."
. . .
"It's not too likely that the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is going to succeed," he told me. "I don't think any of us are so naive as to think that 6.5 billion people are going to say, 'Yeah, let's stop breeding, this is great.' But it's still the right thing to do."
Will he begin by being one of the first volunteers to show his commitment to his 'project'?

Anyway with the widespread use of contraception and abortion, it seems that many have unwittingly already joined this 'movement'...From the land of fruits and nuts...

Unbelief is the greatest of sins

St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor, 1225-74) – "Summa Theologica" (Part 2-2, q.10, a.3):

"Every [mortal] sin consists formally in aversion from God..... Hence the more
a sin severs man from God, the graver it is. Now man is more than ever
separated from God by unbelief, because he has not even true knowledge of God: and by false knowledge of God, man does not approach Him, but is severed from Him.

"Nor is it possible for one who has a false opinion of God, to know Him in any
way at all, because the object of his opinion is not God.

"Therefore it is clear that the sin of unbelief is greater than any sin that
occurs in the perversion of morals. ... Therefore unbelief is the greatest of

"... he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God
abideth on him." - John 3:36

Clinton Hailed to Become "Something Like a President of the World"

May God have mercy on us all! Protect us from this evil!
NEW YORK, November 16, 2005 ( - Disgraced former U.S. President Bill Clinton has been hailed as "The Most Influential Man in the World," by Esquire magazine. In the December issue of the magazine set to hit newsstands Thursday, Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger says Clinton is poised to become "something like a president of the world or at least a president of the world's non-governmental organizations."

Clinton, who Father Richard Neuhaus called "The Abortion President", has attracted the exaltation of the many crowds he has addressed...

Gospel for Nov 17, Memorial: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

From: Luke 19:41-44

Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem

[41] And when He (Jesus) drew near and saw the city He wept over it, [42] saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. [43] For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, [44] and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation."


41-44. When the procession reaches a place where there is a good view of the city, they are disconcerted by Jesus' unexpected weeping. Our Lord explains why He is weeping, by prophesying the destruction of the city which He loved so much: not one stone will remain on another, and its inhabitants will be massacred--a prophecy which was fulfilled in the year 70, when Titus razed the city and the temple was destroyed. These historical events will be a punishment for Jerusalem failing to recognize the time of its visitation, that is, for closing its gates to the salvific coming of the Redeemer. Jesus loved the Jews with a very special love: they were the first to whom the Gospel was preached (cf. Matthew 10:5-6); to them He directed His ministry (cf. Matthew 15:24); He showed His word and by His miracles that He was the Son of God and the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures. But the Jews for the most part failed to appreciate the grace the Lord was offering them; their leaders led them to the extreme of calling for Jesus to be crucified.

Jesus visits every one of us; He comes as our Savior; He teaches us through the preaching of the Church; He gives us forgiveness and grace through the sacraments. We should not reject our Lord, we should not remain indifferent to His visit.

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Most have heard the term "MetroSexual", but what about "MetroSpiritual"?

Gwyneth Paltrow is one. So are Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio. Chances are your bikram yoga teacher has the major characteristics and so does the guy who makes your fruit smoothie at Jamba Juice. Donna Karan is totally in on it. The salesperson who helps you find the right Botanical Kinetics moisturizer at Aveda is probably one, along with your eco-tourism guide at Costa Rican surf camp. Richard Gere may be the proto-one and Uma Thurman was pretty much born into it. What is influencing Hollywood stars and Wal-Mart shoppers, fashionistas and Filene’s basement-dwellers alike? It’s called metrospirituality, and chances are you already know or even lead the life of a metrospiritual.

Take the "Are You a Metrospiritual?" test here...

Read the article here, but only after you take the test.

Pro-life Medical Doctor Takes the Helm at President's Bioethics Council

Received via e-mail from the Culture of Life Foundation:

A Catholic medical doctor and bioethicists who enjoys the respect of his peers across the ideological spectrum is the new chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics. Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino will begin leading the prestigious council when they next meet on December 8 and 9.

Pellegrino takes over the chairmanship from Leon Kass under whose leadership the Council published some of the most remarkable reports ever produced by a governmental body. Kass came under sustained attack from the left for his strong views on bioethical issues. Pro-lifers expect Pelligrino will also be a friend to their concerns.

Bioethicists Wesley J. Smith said Pellegrino was likely tapped for the chairmanship because "he is considered the dean of the bioethics corps and particularly because he is a bioethicists who maintains a belief system in the equality and sanctity of human life. In other words he has not fallen down that utilitarian slope that so many bioethicists have."

Smith said that Pellegrino has earned the respect of his peers because of the way he conducts his work. "You have here a very venerable and almost universally respected pioneer in bioethics and I think that's the main reason he was asked to be chairman," he said. "Everybody likes Edmund Pellegrino even people who disagree with him. He is a gentleman. I've never heard of him criticizing anybody on a personal basis. . . . He is certainly solid on the issues from my perspective but he's not provocative in the methods by which he goes about that work."

But Smith notes that the prominence that accompanies the chairmanship sometimes comes with increased scrutiny and increased criticism. "Of course before Leo Kass took over my understanding is that everyone liked him too, so we will see if this era of good feeling continues once Pellegrino begins his work," he said referring to the numerous attacks lobbed at Kass that painted him as an unserious lackey of the right.

Pellegrino is professor emeritus of medicine and medical ethics and adjunct professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. Along with extensive credentials in bioethics and philosophy Pellegrino brings a substantial background in medicine and medical practice. He served as president and founding director of the Health Sciences Center of the State University of New York in Stony Brook, where he oversaw six schools of health sciences and the hospital. "His work speaks for itself," Smith said. "He's been very involved in improving patient and physician communication and supporting improved medical practice. He's not really a lightening rod for controversy partially because of the way he approaches his work."

Since being named chairman, Pellegrino has turned down numerous requests for interviews including such a request by Culture and Cosmos. According to the Council's communications director Pellegrino wants to wait until the first meeting under his leadership before publicly discussing his appointment.

Culture of Life Foundation
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500
Fax: (202) 289-2502

What do they mean by "Gay"?

It seems a new group of priests (nameless, of course) has form called "Catholics Affirming Homosexual Leadership"...They say:
We are a group of ordained Catholic priests, both diocesan and religious, who have come together to affirm the value of our gay/lesbian clergy and religious in the face of apparent bigotry and growing intolerance. We seek a dialogue between Church leadership and gay/lesbian ordained and professed clergy and religious for the purpose of mutual understanding and respect and the furtherance of ministry to all members of the Church.
They say more than this, of course, but that's probably sufficient to get the drift...

Now let's see what some of the Saints and others say:

Tertullian, Catholic apologist in the second century (before his defection), writes: “All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish … from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (Tertullian, De pudicitia, IV, in J. McNeil, op. cit., p. 89)

St. Basil of Caesarea, the fourth century Church Father who wrote the principal rule of the monks of the East, establishes this: “The cleric or monk who molests youths or boys or is caught kissing or committing some turpitude, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his crown [tonsure] and, after having his head shaved, let his face be covered with spittle; and [let him be] bound in iron chains, condemned to six months in prison, reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After these six months living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder with great spiritual experience, let him be subjected to prayers, vigils and manual work, always under the guard of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship … with young people.” (St. Basil of Caesarea, in St. Peter Damien, Liber Gomorrhianus, op. cit. cols. 174f.)

St. Augustine is categorical in the combat against sodomy and similar vices. The great Bishop of Hippo writes: “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.”
Further on he reiterates: “Your punishments are for sins which men commit against themselves, because, although they sin against You, they do wrong in their own souls and their malice is self-betrayed. They corrupt and pervert their own nature, which You made and for which You shaped the rules, either by making wrong use of the things which You allow, or by becoming inflamed with passion to make unnatural use of things which You do not allow” (Rom. 1:26). (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)

St. John Chrysostom denounces homosexual acts as being contrary to nature. Commenting on the Epistle to the Romans (1: 26-27), he says that the pleasures of sodomy are an unpardonable offense to nature and are doubly destructive, since they threaten the species by deviating the sexual organs away from their primary procreative end and they sow disharmony between men and women, who no longer are inclined by physical desire to live together in peace.

The brilliant Patriarch of Constantinople employs most severe words for the vice we are analyzing. Saint John Chrysostom makes this strong argument: “All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men…. The sins against nature are more difficult and less rewarding, since true pleasure is only the one according to nature. But when God abandons a man, everything is turned upside down! Therefore, not only are their passions [of the homosexuals] satanic, but their lives are diabolic….. So I say to you that these are even worse than murderers, and that it would be better to die than to live in such dishonor. A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV, in J. McNeill, op. cit., pp. 89-90)

St. Gregory the Great delves deeper into the symbolism of the fire and brimstone that God used to punish the sodomites: “Brimstone calls to mind the foul odors of the flesh, as Sacred Scripture itself confirms when it speaks of the rain of fire and brimstone poured by the Lord upon Sodom. He had decided to punish in it the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment emphasized the shame of that crime, since brimstone exhales stench and fire burns. It was, therefore, just that the sodomites, burning with perverse desires that originated from the foul odor of flesh, should perish at the same time by fire and brimstone so that through this just chastisement they might realize the evil perpetrated under the impulse of a perverse desire.” (St. Gregory the Great, Commento morale a Giobbe, XIV, 23, vol. II, p. 371, Ibid., p. 7)

St. Peter Damien’s Liber Gomorrhianus [Book of Gomorrha], addressed to Pope Leo IX in the year 1051, is considered the principal work against homosexuality. It reads: “Just as Saint Basil establishes that those who incur sins [against nature] … should be subjected not only to a hard penance but a public one, and Pope Siricius prohibits penitents from entering clerical orders, one can clearly deduce that he who corrupts himself with a man through the ignominious squalor of a filthy union does not deserve to exercise ecclesiastical functions, since those who were formerly given to vices … become unfit to administer the Sacraments.” (St. Peter Damien, op. cit., cols. 174f)

St. Albert the Great gives four reasons why he considers homosexual acts as the most detestable ones: They are born from an ardent frenzy; they are disgustingly foul; those who become addicted to them are seldom freed from that vice; they are as contagious as disease, passing quickly from one person to another. (St. Albert the Great, In Evangelium Lucae XVII, 29, in J. McNeill, op. cit., p. 95)

Saint Thomas Aquinas, writing about sins against nature, explains: “However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistulas Sancti Pauli Ad Romanum I, 26, pp. 27f)

St. Bonaventure, speaking in a sermon at the church of Saint Mary of Portiuncula about the miracles that took place simultaneously with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, narrates this: “Seventh prodigy: All sodomites—men and women—died all over the earth, as Saint Jerome said in his commentary on the psalm ‘The light was born for the just.’ This made it clear that He was born to reform nature and promote chastity.” (St. Bonaventure, Sermon XXI—In Nativitate Domini, in Catolicismo (Campos/Sao Paulo), December 1987, p. 3; F. Bernardei, op. cit., p. 11)

St. Catherine of Siena, a religious mystic of the 14th century, relays words of Our Lord Jesus Christ about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy in her time. Referring to sacred ministers, He says: “They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] … but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid, having dimmed the light of their understanding, they do not recognize the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…. It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.” (St. Catherine of Siena, El diálogo, in Obras de Santa Catarina de Siena (Madrid: BAC, 1991), p. 292)

_______________________Credit for quotes to TLDM

And we have not even looked yet to St. Paul's admonitions in the New Testament nor to the condemnations recorded in the Old Testament. It doesn't seem too difficult to see the problems with this new group of priests. Please remember them in your prayers.

Am I having a nightmare or am I in the Twilight Zone?

The Disney movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," based on the classic by C.S. Lewis, will be out Dec. 9, but some are arguing that schoolchildren should not be encouraged to read the book.
Who could possibly be advocating that students NOT read The Chronicles of Narnia?
Robert Boston, assistant director of communications for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), said students should not be encouraged to read a Christian book....AU has promised litigation if its demands aren't met...
This looks to be a form of 'extortion' and 'censorship', an 'intellectual book burning', so to speak. It seems like shades of fascism are all around. Things are getting nuttier everyday it seems...I'm thinking that maybe I'll awake from this nightmare soon and all these boogeymen will have vanished - and with them, all their vices, perversions and abominations.

Or maybe I've accidently passed through some vortex and I'm witnessing some alternate dimension, like the Twilight Zone? All I know for certain is this stuff is truly bizarre!

Link here.

Pro-abortion group objects to pharmacists having 'right of conscience'

The Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) is encouraging its constituents to complain to Target about a policy that allows pharmacists to conscientiously opt out of dispensing controversial emergency contraception and to refer customers elsewhere.

Some drugs such as "Plan B" have the potential to cause an early abortion, and many pharmacists object to dispensing it.

Karen Pearl, interim president at PPFA, said Target gets a "thumbs down" from her group for allowing pharmacists to have a choice.

"Women should never be denied legal medications by pharmacists who decide to impose their own personal bias on others," she said. "Target's refuse-and-refer policy is unacceptable. Our patients should be able to get prescriptions filled in any store, without discrimination or delay."
It really should come as no surprise. Those who want a "choice" to murder unborn children don't believe that anyone else should have a "choice" to follow his conscience on moral matters, unless his conscience is malformed, of course.

More here.

If you appreciate Target's policy that allows pharmacists to act on conscience, you may use the company's online form or call 1-800-440-0680.

The Mass Isn't Entertainment, Says Cardinal Arinze

In Interview, He Gives His Perspective on the Liturgy

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2005 ( The Mass is a moment of reflection and encounter with God, rather than a form of entertainment, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.

In an interview with Inside the Vatican magazine, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments made a comprehensive assessment of the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and of developments in liturgical practice 40 years after the Second Vatican Council.

Regarding "music in the liturgy, we should start by saying that Gregorian music is the Church's precious heritage," he said. "It should stay. It should not be banished. If therefore in a particular diocese or country, no one hears Gregorian music anymore, then somebody has made a mistake somewhere."
If one mentions Gregorian Chant at my registered parish, I can only surmise that the response would be, "Gregory who???"

Instead we are "entertained" by such things as the following: For All Saints Day, the Entrance Hymn (or in progressive parishes, the "Gathering Song") was a medley of some obscure song which I had never heard before (probably composed by the liturgy 'director'), plus "When the Saints go Marching In", plus "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". And this was for starters!...What an evening! Sad fact is that it only got worse from there...Right before the homily the 'music director, composer, liturgy director, etc' called eight preselected children from the assembly to the "stage" in front of the altar and 'interviewed' each one about a particular saint, much like Art Linkletter would have done, I suppose. Trouble is, this skit or act should have been done after Mass and not during the time reserved for the homily.

I seriously considered leaving and heading over to St. Joseph's but I was afraid I'd miss fulfilling the Holy Day of Obligation. And this puzzles me, why isn't this Holy Day moved like Ascension Thursday? Is it less of a mortal sin to miss this Mass on this day than Ascension Thursday...Doesn't the USCCB have any compassion for the working man or woman?
What should not be the case, insists the Nigerian cardinal, is "individuals just composing anything and singing it in church. This is not right at all -- no matter how talented the individual is. That brings us to the question of the instruments to be used.
Curious...I guess my parish never got the word - or - they don't care about directives from Rome.
"I will not now pronounce and say never guitar; that would be rather severe," Cardinal Arinze added. "But much of guitar music may not be suitable at all for the Mass. Yet, it is possible to think of some guitar music that would be suitable, not as the ordinary one we get every time, [but with] the visit of a special group, etc."
We got geetarz and drums and bongos and a piano but we got no organ! We don't need no steeenkin' organ!!! That's basically what the thinking is many places, including here, I guess...Organ music may inspire some to want to sing holy hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God, rather than the feel-good guitar and piano lounge music we are forced to endure.
"People don't come to Mass in order to be entertained. They come to Mass to adore God, to thank him, to ask pardon for sins, and to ask for other things that they need."
Hmmm...That's right - we don't want to be entertained! But it seems like a sizeable number of guitar strumming, bongo beating "American Idol" wannabees do come to entertain the faithful at Mass...But then, I'm probably a bit biased since I think for the most part that guitars at Mass should be verboten.
"When they want entertainment, they know where to go -- parish hall, theater, presuming that their entertainment is acceptable from a moral theological point of view," added the cardinal...
I guess I need to fax this article to the parish...I think someone might find this article interesting - probably about as interesting as Redemptionis Sacramentum (which has been completely ignored).

The complete Zenit article is here.

Is a priest guilty until proven innocent?

Apparently, he is if he's charged by the St. Louis circuit attorney's office and there is no evidence!
Merely the word of an accuser — without any physical evidence — recently was sufficient for a jury to find a Catholic priest guilty of sodomizing a minor.

It happened to Father Thomas J. Graham, a highly-respected priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese — and the same could happen to any clergyman in this era of suspicion against Catholic priests.

The St. Louis circuit attorney's case against him rested solely on the shaky and inconsistent testimony of an accuser who could not keep his "story" straight.
A "Must Read" Editorial by Kevin Madden, in Today's Post-Dispatch.

*** Updated ***

I have include the entire editorial here for fear it may disappear:
Merely the word of an accuser — without any physical evidence — recently was sufficient for a jury to find a Catholic priest guilty of sodomizing a minor.

It happened to Father Thomas J. Graham, a highly-respected priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese — and the same could happen to any clergyman in this era of suspicion against Catholic priests.

The St. Louis circuit attorney's case against him rested solely on the shaky and inconsistent testimony of an accuser who could not keep his "story" straight.

Observers of the four-day trial — including several attorneys, retired lawmen and a veteran court deputy — walked away shaking their heads in disbelief that the 30-year-old case had been brought to trial and that the jury could have found the accuser credible.

A steady flow of Father Graham's supporters, lifelong friends and former parishioners attended the trial as observers or witnesses. All were stunned by the verdict.

The jury found Father Graham on Aug. 31 guilty of one count of sodomy and recommended 20 years in prison — in essence a life sentence for the 72-year-old priest.

Father Graham is free on bond and the case is being appealed. A sentencing date was scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17.

Since the accuser, now 43, made his allegations 11 years ago, Father Graham has adamantly protested his innocence. The St. Louis Archdiocese conducted an investigation "based on available information (and) did not find (the charge) to be substantial."

Father Graham had been a priest for six years when he was transferred to the now-defunct St. Mary's parish in Bridgeton in 1966. He became close friends with a black woman parishioner who had an adopted son, Larry Woolworth (not his real name), born Jan. 12, 1962.

At the trial, Woolworth testified Father Graham occasionally took him on car rides to a farm where the priest boarded a horse. Woolworth alleged he sat on Father Graham's lap while the priest simultaneously fondled him and drove the car on busy Lindbergh Boulevard.

Woolworth also said that during Father Graham's assignment at the Old Cathedral in 1975-80, the priest performed oral sex on him as many as 20 times.

Father Graham said of Woolworth's allegations: "He's lying." The priest categorically denied under oath any abuse or inappropriate conduct whatsoever. He testified the two eventually had a falling out because of Woolworth's homosexuality.

Then in July 1994, Woolworth and a homosexual boyfriend confronted Father Graham with Woolworth's allegations of abuse. Soon afterward, Woolworth approached the archdiocese for a cash settlement. Father Graham flatly denied the allegations and the archdiocese turned down Woolworth's request.

Woolworth pursued the matter by filing lawsuits in 1996 and 1999 — in both cases asking for at least $25,000 — but subsequently had the lawsuits dismissed.

He again approached the archdiocese in a 1998 letter, asking for $30,000. He wrote in the letter: "If we can come to terms with this, no lawyers involved, I am willing to drop my case in it's (sic) entirety, and sign an affidavit stating that you will not here (sic) from (Woolworth) again concerning this matter with Fr. Graham."

After the national clergy sex-abuse scandal began in 2002, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce publicly asked anyone with a molestation complaint against a priest to come forward. Woolworth, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), responded.

It was unusual, a police detective testified at the trial, that the case was initiated by Circuit Attorney Joyce's office rather than by the Police Department.

And it was interesting that the defense attorney voiced concern to the judge that Joyce – who assigned an assistant to prosecute the case – was scheduled to speak at a SNAP meeting during the trial. And toward the end of the trial, she met in the courtroom gallery with SNAP Director David Clohessy.

Also interesting: Much of Woolworth's sworn testimony during the trial directly conflicted with what he previously had alleged.

Consider the question of Woolworth's age when the alleged molestation began: A transcript of the trial shows Christian Goeke, Father Graham's attorney, noted that Woolworth told the police it started in 1969 or 1970; he filed a lawsuit alleging it began in 1972 or 1973; he filed another suit saying it began in 1974 and he testified in court it began in 1974.

Goeke: OK, so now we've got four different dates that you identified as being when this alleged molestation began, correct?

Woolworth: Yes.

The contradictions and flip-flops in Woolworth's "story" continued to pile up the longer he testified:

• He told police that Father Graham did not molest him during the first car trips to the horse farm. But he alleged under oath that the molestation began on the very first ride.

• Woolworth told police that during the car rides, Father Graham fondled him above his clothing. But on the witness stand, he alleged the priest fondled him beneath his clothing.

• He said in a deposition that he joined SNAP in 1989. Under oath at the trial, he testified he joined SNAP in the early 1990s and was a member before he confronted Father Graham with his abuse allegations in July 1994. But he told police he joined SNAP after the confrontation.

• Woolworth testified he had not told his stepmother about his allegations until after he confronted Father Graham. But under questioning on the witness stand, he changed his mind — saying he "got confused" — and said he had told her before the confrontation.

After hearing such discrepancies in Woolworth's testimony, how could members of the jury believe he was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth? With no real evidence to consider, how could the jury find Father Graham guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

To seal Father Graham's fate, prosecutor Ed Postawko "played the race card" before the mostly-black jury. Although no testimony had been introduced during the trial concerning race, Postawko waited until his closing statements to portray Woolworth as a black victim of the white priest.

During the sentencing phase of the trial, the defense brought forward a sampling of character witnesses: Active and retired lawmen, an attorney, a travel agent and Father Edward Rice, pastor of St. John the Baptist parish in South St. Louis, who said Father Graham inspired him to become a priest while he and his brothers worked with Father Graham at the Old Cathedral in the 1970s — during the time of the alleged abuse. Each testified as to Father Graham's impeccable character, rock-solid integrity and unshakable moral values.

There has been a dark cloud hanging over Father Graham for more than a decade. He has been dragged in and out of court repeatedly for two civil lawsuits and a criminal trial — despite his consistent and adamant denials that he committed any crime or harmed Woolworth in any way.

Father Graham has undergone a public smearing of his reputation and his vocation as a priest has been paralyzed.

The real challenge for his defense team and the archdiocese is to find a way to totally exonerate him and to clear the record permanently of a scurrilous charge of sodomy.

After the trial, Father Graham received a letter from an old friend, Jerome O'Keefe, a 35-year police veteran and retired Kirkwood chief of detectives. "I couldn't believe how weak the evidence (or lack of evidence) was that convicted my lifelong friend," O'Keefe wrote. "If this is justice, God save us all."

Kevin Madden, a Dogtown journalist, is a veteran of the old St. Louis Globe-Democrat who covered police and court stories. He attended the trial and read the transcript.

Sudden departure of noted priest at cusp of seminary review surprises faculty and students

A well-regarded priest who oversaw the seminary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre for five years announced in a prayer service Friday that he was stepping down immediately, stunning faculty and students.

Msgr. Francis Schneider, 49, told those gathered in the chapel of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington that he was resigning for personal reasons, citing stress. He said Msgr. Robert Emmet Fagan would become interim rector.

Preserving Marriage: The Union of One Man and One Woman

This Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Maryland says that a deliberate campaign by homosexual activists, left-leaning judges and the American Civil Liberties Union has been undertaken to corrode the family and its stabilizing influence in society. The bishops identify the underlying cause of the homosexual political revolution as the same one that created the acceptance of abortion and euthanasia. “An exaggerated emphasis on individual preferences and conveniences…to the detriment of society, have elevated these personal preferences to the level of rights and entitlements.”
Article at CatholicCulture.

'Safe Environment' Programs Began As Pro-Homosexual Propaganda

The recent national mandate to “all bishops” from Teresa Kettelkamp, director of the USCCB’s Office of Child and Youth Protection, has rekindled the controversy over the “safe environment” programs mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the bishops in 2002.

As The Wanderer reported two weeks ago, a forceful response to Kettelkamp’s directive came from Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker, Ore. Bishop Vasa published a column in the diocesan newspaper entitled, We Need Answers.” The bishop said that, until he had those answers, he would be inclined to ignore Kettelkamp’s mandates.

Justices won't review ‘In God We Trust’ dispute

Washington DC, Nov. 15, 2005 (CNA) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeals court decision, which states that the inscription "In God We Trust" on a government building in North Carolina does not violate church-state separation.
. . .
The appeals court said Congress first authorized the phrase "In God We Trust" on coins in 1865, and Congress made it the national motto in 1956.

Gospel for Wednesday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 19:11-28

Parable of the Pounds

[11] As they heard these things, He (Jesus) proceeded to tell a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the Kingdom of God was to appear immediately. [12] He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive kingly power and then return. [13] Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, `Trade with these till I come.' [14] But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him saying, `We do not want this man to reign over us.' [15] When he returned, having received the kingly power, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. [16] The first came before him, saying, `Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.' [17] And he said to him, `Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.' [18] And the second came, saying, `Lord, your pound has made five pounds.' [19] And he said to him, `And you are to be over five cities.' [20] Then another came, saying, `Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; [21] for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.' [22] He said to him, `I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? [23] Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?' [24] And he said to those who stood by, `Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.' [25] (And they said to him, `Lord, he has ten pounds!') [26] `I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [27] But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'"

The Messiah Enters the Holy City

[28] And when He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.


11. The disciples had a wrong concept of the Kingdom of Heaven: they thought it was about to happen and they saw it in earthly terms: they envisaged Jesus conquering the Roman tyrant and immediately establishing the Kingdom in the holy city of Jerusalem, and that when that happened they would hold privileged positions in the Kingdom. There is always a danger of Christians failing to grasp the transcendent, supernatural character of the Kingdom of God in this world, that is, the Church, which "has but one sole purpose--that the Kingdom of God may come and the salvation of the human race may be accomplished." (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 45).

Through this parable our Lord teaches us that, although His reign has begun, it will only be fully manifested later on. In the time left to us we should use all the resources and graces God gives us, in order to merit the reward.

13. The "mina", here translated as "pound", was worth about 35 grammes of gold. This parable is very like the parable of the talents reported in St. Matthew (cf. 25:14-30).

14. The last part of this verse, although it has a very specific context, reflects the attitude of many people who do not want to bear the sweet yoke of our Lord and who reject Him as king. "There are millions of people in the world who reject Jesus Christ in this way; or rather they reject His shadow, for they do not know Christ. They have not seen the beauty of His face; they do not realize how wonderful His teaching is. This sad state of affairs makes me want to atone to our Lord. When I hear that endless clamor--expressed more in ignoble actions than in words--I feel the need to cry out, `He must reign!' (1 Corinthians 15:25)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 179).

17. God counts on our fidelity in little things, and the greater our effort in this regard the greater the reward we will receive: "Because you have been `in pauca fidelis', faithful in small things, come and join in your Master's happiness. The words are Christ's. `In pauca fidelis!... Now will you neglect little things, if Heaven itself is promised to those who mind them?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 819).

24-26. God expects us to strive to put to good use the gifts we have received--and He lavishly rewards those who respond to His grace. The king in the parable is shown to be very generous towards his servants--and generous in rewarding those who managed to increase the money they were given. But he is very severe towards the lazy servant who was also the recipient of a gift from his Lord, who did not let it erode but guarded it carefully--and for this his king criticizes him: he failed to fulfill the just command the king gave him when he gave him the money: "Trade till I come." If we appreciate the treasures the Lord has given us--life, the gift of faith, grace--we will make a special effort to make them bear fruit--by fulfilling our duties, working hard and doing apostolate. "Don't let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love. With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 1).

28. Normally in the Gospels when there is mention of going to the Holy City it is in terms of "going up" to Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 20:18; John 7:8), probably because geographically the city is located on Mount Zion. Besides, since the temple was the religious and political center, going up to Jerusalem had also a sacred meaning of ascending to the holy place, where sacrifices were offered to God.

Particularly in the Gospel of St. Luke, our Lord's whole life is seen in terms of a continuous ascent towards Jerusalem, where His self-surrender reaches its high point in the redemptive sacrifice of the Cross. Here Jesus is on the point of entering the city, conscious of the fact that His passion and death are imminent.

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 15, 2005

Cardinal McCarrick's "Task Force" to Seek Advice from Catholic Democrats, Republicans

On the question of Catholic politicians, an international synod of bishops at the Vatican last month declared they have a grave responsibility to uphold church teachings. However, it set no strict rules on admitting them to Communion, saying bishops should exercise ``firmness and prudence'' in their local situations.

A bishops' task force led by Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick plans to seek advice on this at meetings with Catholic Democrats and Republicans who were recommended by their local bishops. The bishops' headquarters declined to provide further details.
Perhaps, the "Task Force" under the direction of Cardinal McCarrick can find out what "firmness and prudence" mean? Maybe from Kerry, Kennedy, Harkin, Durbin, Dodd, or any number of the American Life League's Deadly Dozen? This appears to be another in a long series of capitulations. It is precisely the Bishops who should be teaching and presenting the Truth to the politicians - not vice versa. One wonders what purpose it serves to "dialogue" with those who openly defy the Church all while scandalizing others by proudly receiving Holy Communion. Many have confirmed the fact that they oppose the Church in matters of faith and morals.

May God spare us from 'shepherds' who fail to protect their flocks!


Vatican Cardinal Compares Abortion to Killing Politicians - "Pro-Choice" and Communion

In an interview published Saturday by Inside the Vatican, the Cardinal [Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments], somewhat exasperatedly, responded once again to the question. In the interview he compared the situation to a person in favour of killing politicians and asked rhetorically if such a person should be denied communion. He said: Suppose somebody voted for the killing of all the members of the House of Representatives, 'for all of you being killed. I call that pro-choice. Moreover, I am going to receive Holy Communion next Sunday.' Then you ask me, should he be given communion. My reply, 'Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that question?' Can a child having made his First Communion not answer that question? Is it really so complicated? The child will give the correct answer immediately, unless he is conditioned by political correctness. It is a pity, cardinals have to be asked such questions."
Your Emminence, it is asked only because so many bishops and priests don't seem to know the answer!

Cardinal Arinze continued:
If a person has a way of life which is against the major Commandments, and makes a boast of it, then the person is in a state which is publicly sinful. It is he who has disqualified himself, not the priest or the bishop. He should not go to communion, until his life should be in line with the Gospel.

More here.

Catholic Schism Being Revealed as Homosexual Priest Document Readies for Release

VATICAN, November 14, 2005 ( - As the publication of the new Vatican document on homosexuality and the Catholic priesthood is about to be published at the end of the month, several Catholic leaders including an American bishop have publicly stated their views against the long-standing Vatican position against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations to the priesthood. Rochester, NY, Bishop Matthew H. Clark, was the latest to come out in favour of homosexual priests in a column in his diocesan paper Saturday.

U.S. Catholic Bishops to Set Guidelines for More Than 30,000 Lay Workers

WASHINGTON -- Faced with a serious and continuing decline in the number of Roman Catholic priests, the nation's bishops are acting on new guidelines for more than 30,000 lay employees who help fill the gap.

These workers are known as "lay ecclesial ministers," though some bishops worry that this undercuts the ministry of ordained priests. The guidelines distinguish lay workers from the bishops and priests who supervise church work.

In a last-minute change before Tuesday's action, the drafting committee dropped a statement that the shrinking ranks of U.S. priests make "lay ministers even more needed today."
Actually, the shrinking ranks of priests in the US is probably due a denial of the faith by a significant number of professed Catholics - the embracing of contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and radical whacked-out ideologies completely incompatible with the faith. Combined with the observation that parishes or dioceses which water down the faith seem to generate few, if any, vocations to the priesthood, I can only conclude that much more work needs to be done to teach and affirm the Faith as handed on to us from the Church at the direction of our Lord.

People deperately need to understand that to be Catholic, one needs to "believe" what the Church "believes".


U.S. bishops disagree over changes in liturgy

WASHINGTON -- At a meeting where the sexual abuse scandal was not on their public agenda, the U.S. Catholic bishops repeatedly raised the topic in matters ranging from their budget to an acrimonious discussion about proposed changes to the English liturgy.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago noted that a long-standing division between bishops who prefer standard American English and those who want a literal rending of Latin has become more complex. Some bishops on both sides have realized that the current English text is more familiar and meaningful to many Catholics than the centuries-old Latin text once was, he said.

"There are those who have been quite critical of the present translation, but who are now saying that we don't want to disturb the people, especially in the situation of weakened episcopal authority we have now," he said, referring to distrust of bishops who failed to remove child molesters from the priesthood.
Can any of these men do what the Vatican has instructed them to do? I'm certain there are, but they seem to be so few in number.
Some bishops, including Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Liturgy, believe the changes are clunky and obscure.
Well, is anyone surprised by this? Not with Bishop Trautman at the helm of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.

Anyway, some proposed great changes:
In the Nicene Creed, "one in being with the Father" would be replaced with "consubstantial with the Father."

The prayer "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed" would be changed to the proper text of "Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

Following the priest's blessing of "the Lord be with you," the response would change from "and also with you" to "And with your spirit."

The article is here. Be prepared to practice some patience as Bishop Trautman is quoted at length...I kept a bucket next to me so I could hurl and not make too much of a mess. Sometimes I wonder if the USCCB and some of these 'shepherds' are not a means of testing the faith and resolve of the those who are faithful to Christ and His Church?

Catholic priest's faith nearly dead

Father James Haley of Arlington, Va., had the following (edited) quasi-response to a Nov. 14 Washington Post story:

"Amazingly, after four years, I have still not heard anything significant about my 'trial.' In fact, from what I understand, my case has still not been received by the Vatican, where it may sit for many more years. And again, this is a trial about my behavior, not the bishop's, nor the chancellor's, nor the behavior of so many homosexual priests.
. . .
"So it looks like the evil men have won. A priest for ever — utter nonsense! A Church that teaches the fullness of truth in faith and morals — total baloney! And the good people in the pews? Simple, blind, stupid sheep who are still totally culpable every time they pay a dime to the Church without first insisting on the fullness of truth about this horrendous moral tragedy. A brief 'instruction' from the Vatican will do nothing to solve this outrageous moral dilemma, nor prevent the infiltration of future homosexual men; in fact, it will probably encourage even more to join.

"Am I angry? Not anymore. Just completely and utterly disgusted. Living in poverty in a 30 ft. trailer has completely killed my spirit and robbed me of any 'happy' life. Unlike most people, I have no companionship, no support, no happy memories, no busting photo albums, and no real purpose for continued life. Ultimately, I blame God for it all.
A very sad situation - after reading the article, it appears that Fr. Haley is in despair. He needs prayers. We should not forget those martyrs and others who suffered worse conditions than his. While his punishment and treatment for speaking out about the poison in the priesthood seem quite despicable, it looks as if he has forgotten those others who have gone before and who were wrongly persecuted. This is very sad, indeed.


Gospel for Tuesday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 19:1-10

The Conversion of Zacchaeus

[1] He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through. [2] And there was a rich man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. [3] And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. [4] So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was to pass that way. [5] And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today." [6] So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." [8] And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." [9] And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. [10] For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."


1-10. Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind; He has healed many sick people, has raised the dead to life and, particularly, has brought forgiveness of sin and the gift of grace to those who approach Him in faith. As in the case of the sinful woman (cf. Luke 7:36-50), here He brings salvation to Zacchaeus, for the mission of the Son of Man is to save that which was lost.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector and, as such, was hated by the people, because the tax collectors were collaborators of the Roman authorities and were often guilty of abuses. The Gospel implies that this man also had things to seek forgiveness for (cf. verses 7-10). Certainly he was very keen to see Jesus (no doubt moved by grace) and he did everything he could to do so. Jesus rewards his efforts by staying as a guest in his house. Moved by our Lord's presence Zacchaeus begins to lead a new life.

The crowd begin to grumble against Jesus for showing affection to a man they consider to be an evildoer. Our Lord makes no excuses for his behavior: He explains that this is exactly why He has come--to seek out sinners. He is putting into practice the parable of the lost sheep (cf. Luke 15:4-7), which was already prophesied in Ezekiel: "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak" (34:16).

4. Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus, and to do so he has to go out and mix with the crowd. Like the blind man of Jericho he has to shed any kind of human respect. In our own search for God we should not let false shame or fear of ridicule prevent us from using the resources available to us to meet our Lord. "Convince yourself that there is no such thing as ridicule for whoever is doing what is best" ([Blessed] J. Escriva, "The Way", 392).

5-6. This is a very good example of the way God acts to save men. Jesus calls Zacchaeus personally, using his name, suggesting he invite Him home. The Gospel states that Zacchaeus does so promptly and joyfully. This is how we should respond when God calls us by means of grace.

8. Responding immediately to grace, Zacchaeus makes it known that he will restore fourfold anything he obtained unjustly--thereby going beyond what is laid down in the Law of Moses (cf. Exodus 21:37f). And in generous compensation he gives half his wealth to the poor. "Let the rich learn", St. Ambrose comments, "that evil does not consist in having wealth, but in not putting it to good use; for just as riches are an obstacle to evil people, they are also a means of virtue for good people" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc."). Cf. note on Luke 16:9-11).

10. Jesus' ardent desire to seek out a sinner to save him fills us with hope of attaining eternal salvation. "He chooses a chief tax collector: who can despair when such a man obtains grace?" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.").
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 14, 2005

Why Does Dante Consider Sodomy Worse Than Homicide & Suicide?

Dante's Divine Comedy, the most sublime religious poem the Christian West has produced in two thousand years, provides us to this day with profound insights into human nature. In the Inferno Dante provides us with a vivid, unforgettable image of what Christians have always believed about sodomites. He places them in the seventh circle of Hell, the fiery circle of the violent, far below the lustful heterosexuals of the second circle. Why this big separation? The answer is extremely important and revealing. Dante wants us to understand that homosexuals do not suffer in life from a deficiency of the will, as lustful heterosexuals do in failing to control their natural urges. Rather, they engage in a willful defiance of Nature. Indeed, Dante presents them as violent against Nature.
From New Oxford Review

Out Of Touch, Or, Out Of Mind?

Bishop William Skylstad, president of the USCCB, has used his newspaper column in the Spokane Inland Register to deliver an endorsement of “gay” clerics.

After a few general remarks about the synod in Rome, the bishop writes:
“Finally, I want to make a comment on the hysteria created about a rumored statement on homosexuality among seminarians and priests. The rumors have generated a tremendous amount of press, much of it quite negative. There probably will be a statement forthcoming, but from recent reports that appear to be accurate, the statement will be nuanced and balanced. There are many wonderful and excellent priests in the Church who have a gay orientation, are chaste and celibate, and are very effective ministers of the Gospel. Witch-hunts and gay bashing have no place in the Church.”
What is this "gay" orientation of which the bishop speaks? We know what a homosexual orientation is and that all of us are called to a life of chasitity, but the word "gay" denotes one who lives the homosexual lifestyle. One would think that the good bishop would know that...
In an article in Ethics and Medics, published by the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Dr. John Haas, a moral theologian, once observed that “the Church teaches that if a homosexual has not chosen his orientation he is not culpable for it. However, he is always responsible for his deliberate actions even if they are influenced by that orientation.”

The “gay,” as opposed to the man afflicted with a same-sex orientation, celebrates the culture surrounding indulgence in homosexual activity, culminating in promiscuous sodomy.
Article from The Wanderer

Catholic Bishops Gather for D.C. Meeting

WASHINGTON - The nation's Roman Catholic bishops are convening a meeting that has an unusually light agenda — in public, that is.

Sessions are to be open to the news media and observers from Monday through midday Tuesday. But after that, the bishops will continue to discuss church business behind closed doors for another day or two — perhaps treating delicate topics such as Catholic politicians, the sex-abuse crisis or the ongoing review of seminaries.
Continued here...

Letters of Credence of the New U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

VATICAN CITY, NOV 12, 2005 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, Francis Rooney.

In his address, the Pope asked the diplomat to assure U.S. President George W. Bush "in a particular way of my prayerful solidarity with all those affected by the recent storms in the southern part of your country, as well as the support of my prayers for those engaged in the massive work of relief and rebuilding."

Benedict XVI then went on to mention John Paul II's Message for the 2005 World Day of Peace, where the late Pontiff "called attention to the intrinsic ethical dimension of every political decision, and observed that the disturbing spread of social disorder, war, injustice and violence in our world can ultimately be countered only by renewed appreciation and respect for the universal moral law whose principles derive from the Creator Himself.

Gospel for Monday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 18:35-43

The Cure of the Blind Man of Jericho

[35] As He (Jesus) drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; [36] and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. [37] They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." [38] And he cried, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" [39] And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" [40] And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to Him; and when he came near, He asked him, [41] "What do you want Me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me receive my sight." [42] And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." [43] And immediately he received his sight and followed Him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


35-43. The blind man of Jericho is quick to use the opportunity presented by Christ's presence. We should not neglect the Lord's graces, for we do not know whether He will offer us them again. St. Augustine described very succinctly the urgency with which we should respond to God's gift, to His passing us on the road: "`Timeo Jesum praetereuntem et non redeuntem': I fear Jesus may pass by and not come back." For, at least on some occasion, in some way, Jesus passes close to everyone.

The blind man of Jericho acclaims Jesus as the Messiah--he gives Him the messianic title of Son of David--and asks Him to meet his need, to make him see. His is an active faith; he shouts out, he persists, despite the people getting in his way. And he manages to get Jesus to hear him and call him. God wanted this episode to be recorded in the Gospel, to teach us how we should believe and how we should pray--with conviction, with urgency, with constancy, in spite of the obstacles, with simplicity, until we manage to get Jesus to listen to us.

"Lord, let me receive my sight": this simple ejaculatory prayer should be often on our lips, flowing from the depths of our heart. It is a very good prayer to use in moments of doubt and vacillation, when we cannot understand the reason behind God's plans, when the horizon of our commitment becomes clouded. It is even a good prayer for people who are sincerely trying to find God but who do not yet have the great gift of faith.
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 13, 2005

Inside the Vatican's Newsflash: Interview with Cardinal Arinze

By Andrew Rabel

VATICAN CITY, November 12, 2005 -- Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship spoke today to Inside the Vatican about the recent Synod of the Eucharist and related issues. In the final question, he addresses the reasons pro-choice politicians should not present themselves to receive communion.

What do you think were the positive results of the Synod?

CARDINAL FRANCIS ARINZE: Many. Strengthening our faith in the Holy Eucharist.

No new doctrine, but freshness of _expression of our Eucharistic faith. Encouragement in the celebration in the sense of good attention; a celebration which shows faith.

Gospel for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [14] "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; [15] to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. [16] He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. [17] So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. [18] But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. [19] Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. [20] And he who received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' [21] His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' [22] And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' [23] His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' [24] He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; [25] so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' [26] But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? [27] Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. [28] So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. [29] For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [30] And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'"


14-30. A talent was not any kind of coin but a measure of value worth about fifty kilos (one hundred pounds) of silver.

In this parable the main message is the need to respond to grace by making a genuine effort right through one's life. All the gifts of nature and grace which God has given us should yield a profit. It does not matter how many gifts we have received; what matters is our generosity in putting them to good use.

A person's Christian calling should not lie hidden and barren: it should be outgoing, apostolic and self-sacrificial. "Don't lose your effectiveness; instead, trample on your selfishness. You think your life is for yourself? Your life is for God, for the good of all men, though your love for our Lord. Your buried talent, dig it up again! Make it yield" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 47).

An ordinary Christian cannot fail to notice that Jesus chose to outline his teaching on response to grace by using the simile of men at work. Here we have a reminder that the Christian normally lives out his vocation in the context of ordinary, everyday affairs. "There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God. We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things. There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him" ([St] J. Escriva, "Conversations", 114).
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.