Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bishop Doran: New instruction really does set limits

Bishop Doran's entire article is reproduced here...I'm not certain that there is an archive available via the web:
The Catholic News Service News Briefs as I write this have the headline, “Bishops Debate Whether Vatican Document is Total Ban On Gays.”

It seems to me that the whole of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has suffered an attack of dyslexia. See what you think.

In an Instruction Concerning The Criteria For The Discernment Of Vocations With Regard To Persons With Homosexual Tendencies In View Of Their Admission To The Seminary And To Holy Orders, issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education on Nov. 4, 2005, having received the approval of our Most Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI on Aug. 31, 2005, states as follows:

From the time of the Second Vatican Council until today, various documents of the Magisterium, and especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have confirmed the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies.

Regarding acts, it teaches that Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstances can they be approved.

Deep-seated homosexual tendencies, which are found in a number of men and women, are also objectively disordered and, for those same people, often constitute a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity.

Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. They are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter.

In the light of such teaching, this dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.

Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem — for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.

My reading of the above material is this. As a bishop of the Church I cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who (a) practice homosexuality, (b) present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or (c) support the so-called gay culture. In this it seems that the Holy See is most wise. A candidate who clearly falls into one or more of those three categories cannot be admitted to the seminary or advanced to the priesthood. In order to make these determinations, those charged with the admission of candidates to the seminary and to holy orders must use all of the resources at their disposal to examine each prospective candidate individually and to make a determination based upon the information legitimately obtained. The Code of Canon Law, can.1052 §3, states that if “the bishop doubts for specific reasons that a candidate is suitable to receive Orders he is not to promote him.”

I take up so much time and space on this issue because all of this has been so horribly mutilated in both the secular and religious press. It is important for each devout Catholic to be sure of what has been required by the Holy See before forming an opinion about it. In our devolving society, evermore dedicated to an oppressive moral relativism, the setting of any limits is regarded as intrinsically unjust.

But this age will pass as other hedonist ages have. What must remain constant is the teaching of the Church which, left in the hands of the apostles and their successors by our Lord himself, has always taken seriously its duty to lay hands not lightly on any man so as to be sure that those called to the priesthood are, insofar as it is possible for humankind to determine, apt for bearing the responsibilities they are asked to discharge. All of these things give us added reason to pray for seminarians and priests; first, so that God will call them in sufficient number to do His work, and then that these candidates may show themselves equal to the high calling to which they aspire.

Above all we should place these causes in the hands of the Blessed Mother whose great feast we have just celebrated that she, as Queen of the Clergy, will guide seminarians and priests to the fulfillment of their duties with that fidelity with which they themselves wish to carry out the sacred offices of the priesthood.

Gospel for Saturday, 2nd Week of Advent

From: Matthew 17:9a, 10-13

The Transfiguration (Continuation)

[9] And as they were coming down the mountains, [10] (And) the disciples asked Him (Jesus), "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come?" [11] He replied, "Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; [12] but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will suffer at their hands." [13] Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them of John the Baptist.


10-13. Malachi 4:5 (3:23 in the Hebrew) speaks of the coming of Elijah the prophet before "the great and terrible day of the Lord", the Judgment Day. When Jesus says that Elijah has already come, He is referring to St. John the Baptist, whose mission it was to prepare the way for the First Coming of the Lord, the same as Elijah will have to do prior to His last coming. The scribes failed to grasp the meaning of the prophecy of Malachi; they thought it referred simply to the coming of the Messiah, the First Coming of Christ.
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, December 09, 2005

First Ever Face Transplant - Face Came from Live Donor

AMIENS, France, December 9, 2005 ( - Much controversy has been made over the first-ever face transplant surgery conducted in France on a 38-year-old woman Isabelle Dinoire who was attacked by a dog. Covered by the media in recent days, the surgery was performed November 26-27 in a hospital in Amiens. The controversy has revolved around two aspects of the operation and totally ignored a third - and the most disturbing of the controversies surrounding the operation.

Ethicists and experts the world over have been discussing the need of the transplant recipient to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life and of the psychological consequences of having a different face. Ignored however has been the fact that the face, in order to be transplanted had to come from a live donor - heart beating and still breathing.
Words cannot express the sickening and repulsive feeling I have from reading about this sordid, morbid, and evil act.

LifeSiteNews story here

Two Thumbs Up for "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"

We saw it this evening and I thought it was very well done...Here is a review which is quite on track with my own thoughts about the movie...

See it if you get the chance!

Holiday Songs....Courtesy of the Catholic League

In keeping with the spirit of political correctness, the Catholic League recommends the adoption of the following songs at Holidaytime:

“I’m Dreaming of a White Holiday”;
“O Holiday Tree”;
“All I Want for The Holiday Is My Two Front Teeth;
“We Wish You a Merry Holiday”;
“The Twelve Days of the Holiday”;
“The Holiday Song”;
“Rockin’ Around The Holiday Tree”;
“You’re All I Want For The Holiday”;
“Baby’s First Holiday”;
“Do They Know It’s The Holiday”;
“Merry Holiday Darling”;
“I’ll Be Home For The Holiday”;
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like The Holiday”;
“Blue Holiday”;
“The Holiday Waltz”;
“Holly Jolly Holiday”;
“So This Is The Holiday”;
“Merry, Merry Holiday Baby”;
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Holiday”;
“Twas the Night Before The Holiday”;
“Holiday Serenade”;
“Feliz Vacaciones.”
Should one who, if in a store, hears a song with the word "Christmas" in it, then complain to management and tell them that one is offended? Perhaps. Certainly it would be difficult trying to select that perfect "holiday" tree and "holiday" lights while being subjected to music that contains that 'awful' word...

Pity those poor people of societies of yesteryear who were not as enlightened as we are today...

Well, I have to go - I'm being called to help with some "holiday" cookies...Merry "Holidays"!!!

Our Blessed Mother Mary Defiled on South Park

From yesterday's Release
Catholic League president Bill Donohue remarked today about last night’s episode of “South Park” (it will run again for the next three nights)...
CAUTION...The program is titled “Bloody Mary."

This is a report of an extremely offensive show...These people chose to insult Our Blessed Mother on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, and on the Holy Day itself.

Link is here

Dr. James Hitchcock: New Instructions from Vatican Are Welcome

Contrasted with the banshee-like cries of some and the wailing and gnashing of teeth of others, there are still many voices of reason and rational thinking:
New instructions from the Holy See concerning homosexuals in the priesthood have been dismissed by some people as irrelevant ("they change nothing") and criticized by others as repressive. I think that, if implemented, they will have a greatly beneficial effect.

The obvious starting point, which many of the critics do not acknowledge, is the simple fact that the Church has always taught that homosexual activity is a sinful disorder and that no one can legitimately engage in it. Many homosexuals openly reject that teaching and live in defiance of it. The only thing they want from the Church is a stamp of approval, a kind of official apology. The dominant homosexual ideology rejects all attempts to distinguish homosexual orientation from homosexual activity, on the grounds that to suppress such activity would be unnatural, perhaps even impossible.

Homosexuals point out that all priests, indeed all unmarried persons, must be celibate, but there is a difference. Heterosexual priests give up something that the Church holds to be a tremendous good — marriage — in order to live entirely for the kingdom of heaven, whereas homosexuals give up something intrinsically disordered. Priests can be granted permission to marry, but no one can be granted permission to live an active homosexual life.

Homosexuals do have gifts to bring to the priesthood, but their sexual orientation is not one of them and is in fact an obstacle to overcome, as all of us have to fight against our temptations. It would be quite bizarre if an avaricious priest boasted that his greed was a "gift" that he brought to his ministry. Homosexuality is perhaps the only sin whose practitioners are organized and boast publicly of their activity. Imagine, for example, a group demanding moral acceptance for adulterers or embezzlers.
It's probably coming sooner than we expect...

Anyway continued here.

Voice of the UNFaithful to Protest Vatican Instruction on Homosexual

So, you might ask, what else is new?...But I must ask, why do all those who wish to be diobedient insist on always having "candlelight vigils"? I recall that the St. Stanislaus dissidents had one in the middle of the day, and the "Holy Families" group from "Catholic Action Network" periodically protests at the Cathedral...It's enough to make me want to stay away from "candlelight vigils" since it seems that every dissident, rebellious, disobedient "Catholic" group in existence must have one at some time or another.
An organization of lay Catholics will hold a candlelight vigil Sunday at Bishop George W. Coleman's office to protest the Vatican's near-ban on homosexual seminarians.

The local Voice of the Faithful group, which has been prohibited from meeting in Fall River Diocese facilities, expects about 25 people to attend, said George Lee, a parishioner at St. Patrick's in Somerset and a Voice member.

Its participants are not worried about getting in trouble with the Fall River bishop, he said.
More fun here.

Polish Priest’s Action Saddens his Bishop

A priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, in disobedience to his bishop, has been hired by the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in North St. Louis.
. . .
"Father [Marek] Bozek’s action saddens me greatly," Bishop [John] Leibrecht wrote in a letter to parishioners at St. Agnes Cathedral. He noted that Father Bozek has been suspended from priestly ministry.
Archbishop Burke reminds Catholics, especially those considering attending Mass at St. Stanislaus "that to participate knowingly and willingly in the celebration of the Mass by a suspended priest is gravely sinful."
As a suspended priest, Father Bozek’s celebration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist would be considered valid, but also illicit. . .But if a priest acts out of communion with his bishop, that means the sacrament is illicit. The illegal action is considered a mortal sin. . .

Other sacraments, including marriage and reconciliation would be considered invalid. According to canon law, the priest does not have the faculties from his bishop to validly assist at marriages and give absolution in confession.
So what "spiritual" needs does this priest think he is able to provide, besides leading all of them away from Christ and His Church? If particpation in illicit acts are mortal sins and if the "unfaithful" cannot validly marry or receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance, what, exactly, is he to do?

And in an apparent display of utter confusion and a loss of words,
Roger Krasnicki, a board spokesman for St. Stanislaus, declined to comment for this story.
All emphasis above is mine.

From the "Restricted Access" St. Louis Review here.

Wisconsin Elementary School Changes "Silent Night" to "Cold in the Night" While Decorating For A Christmas Witch!

Redefining words, meanings, and symbols at will - this is one of the surest ways to reshape a culture. We now have, not only freedom OF religion, but we are witnessing a deadly trend toward freedom FROM religion - and that religion is, (dare I say it?) Christianity.

It seems that I daily shake my head in disbelief and shock as I read about some of the happenings in various parts of this country - a country which once possessed a strong Christian foundation and ethic.

We are in a war - a culture war - a war for life against those who promote death. And since unborn children are now viewed as legally disposable for whatever specious reason one can imagine, so also it everything good and wholesome. It follows that when the vices take hold of a people, their self-made slavery demands that all virtues and all that is good be aborted as well - never to be born in the hearts and minds of others, especially any children to happen to survive the murderous intents of the wicked and become actual 'persons'.

But I digress...Here is what was in my inbox recently. I am thankful that I am not a parent with children at one of these 'institutions':
In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Ridgeway Elementary School's "winter program" has changed the name of "Silent Night" to "Cold in the Night." Sung to the tune of "Silent Night," the lyrics include: "Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm."

The "winter program" included decorating classrooms with Santa Claus, Kwanza symbols, Menorahs, and Labafana--a Christmas witch!

Also in Wisconsin, the Glendale-River Hills School District has banned every Christmas song which has any Christian "motive or theme." But while banning Christian Christmas songs, the district permits secular holiday songs as well as songs celebrating Hanukkah. In defending this policy, Frances Smith, the district administrator, says that the Hanukkah songs are more cultural than spiritual.

What these schools are doing to our children is not educating, but indoctrinating! And they are using Christmas as an excuse. Following the lead of the National Educational Association, Wisconsin educational leaders preach tolerance and diversity while being highly intolerant! Most of the residents of Wisconsin are tolerant, but not their educational leaders.

Banning nativity scenes. Banning Christmas songs in school. Banning Christmas in advertising. Calling a Christmas tree a "holiday" tree. Calling a Christmas parade a holiday parade. Refusing to mention the Reason for the season. It is time to take a stand for our children, our families, our faith and our freedom!

Educational leaders in your state could be the next officials to join this anti-Christian bigotry parade.

I urge you to email Wisconsin Governor Gov. Jim Doyle and Wisconsin State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster and ask them to stop this intolerant anti-Christian bigotry.

Click Here to Send Your Letter Now!Very important! Please forward this to your family and friends. They need to be aware of this anti-Christian bigotry.

Thanks for caring enough to get involved.

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

C.S. Lewis on ‘Xmas and Christmas’

Archbishop Chaput's latest article:
Some lessons from the barbarian mists of Niatirb

Fifty years ago C.S. Lewis published an ironic little essay called, “Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus.” In it, he reverses the letters of his home country, “Britain.” Then he writes about the strange winter customs of a barbarian nation called Niatirb.

It’s worth reading, as we get deeper into Advent. I’ll share with you just one passage.
“In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound, (the Niatirbians) have a great festival called Exmas, and for 50 days they prepare for it (in the manner which is called,) in their barbarian speech, the Exmas Rush"
Continued here.

Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week of Advent

From: Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus Reproaches People for their Unbelief

(Jesus spoke to the crowds), [16] "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates. [17] `We piped to you, and you did not dance, we wailed and you did not mourn.' [18] For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon'; [19] the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."


16-19. Making reference to a popular song or a child's game of His time, Jesus reproaches those who offer groundless excuses for not recognizing Him. From the beginning of human history the Lord has striven to attract all men to Himself: "What more was there to do for My vineyard, that I have not done in it?" (Isaiah 5:4), and often He has been rejected: "When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?" (Isaiah 5:4).

Our Lord also condemns calumny: some people do try to justify their own behavior by seeing sin where there is only virtue. "When they find something which is quite obviously good," St. Gregory the Great says, "they pry into it to see if there is not also some badness hidden in it" ("Moralia", 6, 22). The Baptist's fasting they interpret as the work of the devil; whereas they accuse Jesus of being a glutton. The evangelist has to report these calumnies and accusations spoken against our Lord; otherwise, we would have no notion of the extent of the malice of those who show such furious opposition to Him who went about doing good (Acts 10:38). On other occasions Jesus warned His disciples that they would be treated the same as He was (cf. John 15:20).

The works of Jesus and John the Baptist, each in their own way, lead to the accomplishment of God's plan for man's salvation: the fact that some people do not recognize Him does not prevent God's plan being carried into effect.

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, December 08, 2005

USCCB President Equates Deep Seated Homosexuality With Heterosexuality

We received this email from Culture and Cosmos:
We report today on reactions of American Bishops to the new Vatican directive on homosexuals in the priesthood. Confusingly, at least one Bishop is comparing homosexuality to heterosexuality.

Spread the word.
Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse

USCCB President Equates
Deep Seated Homosexuality With Heterosexuality

In multiple interviews the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said that "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" are equivalent to "deep-seated heterosexual" tendencies. Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad made the remarks to the Washington Post and the Catholic News Service in discussing the recent Vatican instruction that addresses whether or not homosexual men should be ordained.

The long-awaited and speculated upon document issued November 29 by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education declares that the Church "cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture'." The document has angered many dissenters inside and outside the Church.

The Washington Post paraphrased Bishop Skylstad as saying that the ban on men with deep-seated homosexuality applies to men with deep seated heterosexual impulses. "Absolutely, it cuts both ways. . . . I think if the orientation dominates one's personality, whether that be homosexual or heterosexual," then the candidate cannot be ordained, Bishops Skylstad said. A Catholic New Service story reported Bishops Skylstad as saying that if a seminarian "has a deep-seated heterosexual impediment" he should not be ordained.

Bishop John M. D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese interpreted the document differently. He says it is clear that the homosexual condition poses a unique impediment to ordination that is not found in heterosexuality. "To be happy, a priest must be convinced in his heart that he would be a good father and a good husband. . . . It is a sacrifice. It's supposed to be a sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice in the same way for a person with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. He is not drawn to marriage in the same way," Bishop D'Arcy said in a statement. Bishop D'Arcy also said that a "heterosexual man who enters the seminary does not enter a school with attractive young women. . . The homosexual candidate, however, is forced to live closely with other males. In fact, he will live most of his life with males. This is not fair to him for his own spiritual growth."

In the Washington Post story Bishop D'Arcy said he disagreed with Bishop Skylstad, who said the document still gives room for ordaining homosexual men, saying that interpretation is "simply wrong."

At issue is what is meant by the phrase "deep-seated homosexual tendencies." Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a practicing psychiatrist and expert on homosexuality discussed the question in an interview with the Zenit News Service. "Those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies identify themselves as homosexual persons and are usually unwilling to examine their emotional conflicts that caused this tendency," he said. "Strong physical attraction is present to other men's bodies and to the masculinity of others due to profound weakness in male confidence." In contrast, "Those with mild homosexual tendencies do not identify themselves as homosexuals. Such men are motivated to understand and to overcome their emotional conflicts. They regularly seek psychotherapy and spiritual direction."

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

Gospel for Dec 8, Solemnity: The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

From: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation and Incarnation of the Son of God

[26] In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, [27] to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" [29] But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. [30] And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. [32] He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, [33] and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end." [34] And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" [35] And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. [36] And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. [37] For with God nothing will be impossible." [38] And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

26-38. Here we contemplate our Lady who was "enriched from the first instant of her conception with the splendor of an entirely unique holiness; [...] the virgin of Nazareth is hailed by the heralding angel, by divine command, as `full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28), and to the heavenly messenger she replies, `Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38). Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God, became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly to God's saving will and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with Him, serving the mystery of Redemption, by the grace of Almighty God. Rightly, therefore, the Fathers (of the Church) see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 56).

The annunciation to Mary and incarnation of the Word constitute the deepest mystery of the relationship between God and men and the most important event in the history of mankind: God becomes man, and will remain so forever, such is the extent of His goodness and mercy and love for all of us. And yet on the day when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity assumed frail human nature in the pure womb of the Blessed Virgin, it all happened quietly, without fanfare of any kind.

St. Luke tells the story in a very simple way. We should treasure these words of the Gospel and use them often, for example, practising the Christian custom of saying the Angelus every day and reflecting on the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

27. God chose to be born of a virgin; centuries earlier He disclosed this through the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23). God, "before all ages made choice of, and set in her proper place, a mother for His only-begotten Son from whom He, after being made flesh, should be born in the blessed fullness of time: and He continued His persevering regard for her in preference to all other creatures, to such a degree that for her alone He had singular regard" (Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus," 2). This privilege granted to our Lady of being a virgin and a mother at the same time is a unique gift of God. This was the work of the Holy Spirit "who at the conception and the birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity" ("St. Pius V Catechism," I, 4, 8). Paul VI reminds us of this truth of faith: "We believe that the Blessed Mary, who ever enjoys the dignity of virginity, was the Mother of the incarnate Word, of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" ("Creed of the People of God", 14).

Although many suggestions have been made as to what the name Mary means, most of the best scholars seem to agree that Mary means "lady". However, no single meaning fully conveys the richness of the name.

28. "Hail, full of grace": literally the Greek text reads "Rejoice!", obviously referring to the unique joy over the news which the angel is about to communicate.

"Full of grace": by this unusual form of greeting the archangel reveals Mary's special dignity and honor. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church "taught that this singular, solemn and unheard-of-greeting showed that all the divine graces reposed in the Mother of God and that she was adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit", which meant that she "was never subject to the curse", that is, was preserved from all sin. These words of the archangel in this text constitute one of the sources which reveal the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus"; Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God").

"The Lord is with you!": these words are not simply a greeting ("the Lord be with you") but an affirmation ("the Lord is with you"), and they are closely connected with the Incarnation. St. Augustine comments by putting these words on the archangel's lips: "He is more with you than He is with me: He is in your heart, He takes shape within you, He fills your soul, He is in your womb" ("Sermo De Nativitate Domini", 4).

Some important Greek manuscripts and early translations add at the end of the verse: "Blessed are you among women!", meaning that God will exalt Mary over all women. She is more excellent than Sarah, Hannah, Deborah, Rachel, Judith, etc., for only she has the supreme honor of being chosen to be the Mother of God.

29-30. Our Lady is troubled by the presence of the archangel and by the confusion truly humble people experience when they receive praise.

30. The Annunciation is the moment when our Lady is given to know the vocation which God planned for her from eternity. When the archangel sets her mind at ease by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary," he is helping her to overcome that initial fear which a person normally experiences when God gives him or her a special calling. The fact that Mary felt this fear does not imply the least trace of imperfection in her: hers is a perfectly natural reaction in the face of the supernatural. Imperfection would arise if one did not overcome this fear or rejected the advice of those in a position to help--as St. Gabriel helped Mary.

31-33. The archangel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is to be the Mother of God by reminding her of the words of Isaiah which announced that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, a prophecy which will find its fulfillment in Mary (cf. Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).

He reveals that the Child will be "great": His greatness comes from His being God, a greatness He does not lose when He takes on the lowliness of human nature. He also reveals that Jesus will be the king of the Davidic dynasty sent by God in keeping with His promise of salvation; that His Kingdom will last forever, for His humanity will remain forever joined to His divinity; that "He will be called Son of the Most High", that is that He really will be the Son of the Most High and will be publicly recognized as such, that is, the Child will be the Son of God.

The archangel's announcement evokes the ancient prophecies which foretold these prerogatives. Mary, who was well-versed in Sacred Scripture, clearly realized that she was to be the Mother of God.

34-38. Commenting on this passage John Paul II said: "`Virgo fidelis', the faithful Virgin. What does this faithfulness of Mary mean? What are the dimensions of this faithfulness? The first dimension is called search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to seek the deep sense of God's plan in her and for the world. `Quomodo fiet?' How shall this be?, she asked the Angel of the Annunciation [...]."

"The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance. The `quomodo fiet?' is changed, on Mary's lips, to a `fiat': Let it be done, I am ready, I accept. This is the crucial moment of faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never completely understand the `how': that there are in God's plan more areas of mystery than of clarity; that is, however he may try, he will never succeed in understanding it completely[...]."

"The third dimension of faithfulness is consistency to live in accordance with what one believes; to adapt one's own life to the object of one's adherence. To accept misunderstanding, persecutions, rather than a break between what one practises and what one believes: this is consistency[...]."

"But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting test, that of duration. Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole life can be called faithfulness. Mary's `fiat' in the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent `fiat' that she repeats at the foot of the Cross" ("Homily in Mexico City Cathedral", 26 January 1979).

34. Mary believed in the archangel's words absolutely; she did not doubt as Zechariah had done (cf. 1:18). Her question, "How can this be?", expresses her readiness to obey the will of God even though at first sight it implied a contradiction: on the one hand, she was convinced that God wished her to remain a virgin; on the other, here was God also announcing that she would become a mother. The archangel announces God's mysterious design, and what had seemed impossible, according to the laws of nature, is explained by a unique intervention on the part of God.

Mary's resolution to remain a virgin was certainly something very unusual, not in line with the practice of righteous people under the Old Covenant, for, as St. Augustine explains, "particularly attentive to the propagation and growth of the people of God, through whom the Prince and Savior of the world might be prophesied and be born, the saints were obliged to make use of the good of matrimony" ("De Bono Matrimonii", 9, 9). However, in the Old Testament, there were some who, in keeping with God's plan, did remain celibate--for example, Jeremiah, Elijah, Eliseus and John the Baptist. The Blessed Virgin, who received a very special inspiration of the Holy Spirit to practise virginity, is a first-fruit of the New Testament, which will establish the excellence of virginity over marriage while not taking from the holiness of the married state, which it raises to the level of a sacrament (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 48).

35. The "shadow" is a symbol of the presence of God. When Israel was journeying through the wilderness, the glory of God filled the Tabernacle and a cloud covered the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:34-36). And when God gave Moses the tablets of the Law, a cloud covered Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:15-16); and also, at the transfiguration of Jesus the voice of God the Father was heard coming out of a cloud (Luke 9:35).

At the moment of the Incarnation the power of God envelops our Lady--an expression of God's omnipotence. The Spirit of God--which, according to the account in Genesis (1:2), moved over the face of the waters, bringing things to life--now comes down on Mary. And the fruit of her womb will be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary, who herself was conceived without any stain of sin (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus") becomes, after the Incarnation, a new tabernacle of God. This is the mystery we recall every day when saying the Angelus.

38. Once she learns of God's plan, our Lady yields to God's will with prompt obedience, unreservedly. She realizes the disproportion between what she is going to become--the Mother of God--and what she is--a woman. However, this is what God wants to happen and for Him nothing is impossible; therefore no one should stand in His way. So Mary, combining humility and obedience, responds perfectly to God's call: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done according to your word."

"At the enchantment of this virginal phrase, the Word became flesh" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", first joyful mystery). From the pure body of Mary, God shaped a new body, He created a soul out of nothing, and the Son of God united Himself with this body and soul: prior to this He was only God; now He is still God but also man. Mary is now the Mother of God. This truth is a dogma of faith, first defined by the Council of Ephesus (431). At this point she also begins to be the spiritual Mother of all mankind. What Christ says when He is dying--`Behold, your son..., behold, your mother" (John 19:26-27)--simply promulgates what came about silently at Nazareth. "With her generous `fiat' (Mary) became, through the working of the Spirit, the Mother of God, but also the Mother of the living, and, by receiving into her womb the one Mediator, she became the true Ark of the Covenant and true Temple of God" (Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 6).

The Annunciation shows us the Blessed Virgin as perfect model of "purity" (the RSV "I have no husband" is a euphemism); of "humility" ("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord"); of "candor" and "simplicity" ("How can this be?"); of "obedience" and "lively faith" ("Let it be done to me according to your word"). "Following her example of obedience to God, we can learn to serve delicately without being slavish. In Mary, we don't find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish virgins, who obey, but thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to what God wants, ponders what she doesn't fully understand and asks about what she doesn't know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the divine will: `Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word'. Isn't that marvellous? The Blessed Virgin, our teacher in all we do, shows us here that obedience to God is not servile, does not bypass our conscience. We should be inwardly moved to discover the `freedom of the children of God' (cf. Romans 8:21)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 173).
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, December 07, 2005

This ought to be good...

Dissident "theologian" Fr. Richard McBrien consults for 'The Da Vinci Code' movie.
Theology professor Father Richard McBrien is helping "crack the code" - as promotional ads for "The Da Vinci Code" movie say - as a consultant for the Sony Pictures film based on the widely popular and controversial novel by Dan Brown.

"According to the terms of my contract, I'm not at liberty to discuss my role as a consultant to 'The Da Vinci Code' film, other than to confirm that I am, in fact, a consultant and that I have been in touch with [director] Ron Howard and others involved in the production of the film," McBrien said Tuesday.
More here.

Celibacy Requires That Priests Renounce Marriage...

. . . Something Homosexuals Cannot Do
FRONT ROYAL, VA December 7, 2005 ( - Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, has succinctly explained the concerns of the Catholic Church in relation to homosexual men and the priesthood. Commenting on the new Vatican document on the subject, Fr Euteneuer said, ""Engaging in homosexual acts is a grave, mortal sin that endangers the immortal soul of the practitioner and such a lifestyle compromises a man's ability to competently serve as a priest."
. . .
"The Church does not deny that those with homosexual tendencies cannot be chaste. It just makes a clear distinction between chastity and celibacy. Christians are called to live sexually chaste lives regardless of any personal tendency or disorder. Celibacy however requires that men renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God-- something homosexuals cannot do. The Church is within her rights to ask that her priests make this sacrifice in imitation of Christ" concluded Fr. Euteneuer.
I recall hearing Cardinal Bevilaqua stating much the same thing during an EWTN interview from Dallas, I believe, when the "scandal" was the topic of all.

It's refreshing to see that others realize that a man who wishes to become a priest forsakes one good (marriage) for another good (the priesthood). One cannot legitimately forsake a disordered inclination, something which is not a good (homosexual attractions) for a good (the priesthood). There is something out of balance with this type of thinking. There is no sacrifice involved.

The LifeSiteNews article is here.

The Immaculate Conception - Virtue in Person

"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." St. Luke, 1:28.

One of the most prized awards in the whole scientific, artistic and lit­erary world is the Nobel prize, given by the King of Sweden to men and women who have excelled in science, art or literature. To receive the Nobel prize is a distinct mark of merit. It represents a reward to persons who work for the interest of humanity, established by the will of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who lived from 1836 to 1896, and who left his estate for this purpose.

In 1928 the prize for literature was awarded to Sigrid Undset, a convert to the Catholic Church. On her way to Stockholm where the distinction was to be conferred upon her, she passed through Oslo, Norway.

There a great celebration was arranged in her honor. She received a laurel wreath, token of the Nobel prize. But the very next day, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, she went to the church of St. Dominic and reverently laid the laurel wreath before the statue of our Blessed Mother.

In the same way, on this glorious feast of the Immaculate Conception, we wish to lay at the feet of Mary all the tributes of her sons and daughters throughout the world.

We want to honor her today and every day because God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit honored her. God gave Mary every possible beauty and privilege. Today we honor one of those beauties - her Immaculate Conception.

1. The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the Virgin Birth of our Lord. Neither does it refer to the sinlessness of Jesus. Neither does the Immaculate Conception mean that the conception of Mary was like the conception of Christ in that Christ had no human father.

2. The Immaculate Conception does mean that the Blessed Virgin, from the very first instant that she began to exist in the womb of her own mother, St. Ann, was preserved from all stain of all sin. It especially means that she was preserved from original sin, by a singular privilege and favor of God.

3. Original sin is that moral guilt, that stain of soul, which we inherit from our first parents. In the very origin of the human race Adam and Eve disobeyed God. That sin has been passed on to all their sons and daugh­ters, with one single exception - Mary, the Mother of the God-man, Jesus Christ.

As we know, of course, Christ was also born and conceived sinless, by reason of the fact that He was God as well as man.

4. From the very first instant of her existence Mary was free from all sin and filled with grace, filled with the love and pleasure of God, filled with the life of God Himself. That is why the angel announced: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."

5. The Old Testament foretold this privilege in many ways:
A. Right after the fall of Adam and Eve God promised a Redeemer, and He promised a wonderful woman and mother. God told the serpent: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman. . . she shall crush thy head." Genesis, 3 :15.

B. Again we read of her in Proverbs, 8:22: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways."

C. And the Canticle of Canticles exclaims of her: "Thou art all fair. . . and there is no spot in thee." Canticles, 4:7.
6. This has been the constant teaching and belief of Mother Church. And when the Pope defined this fact as a dogma of faith in 1854, he was indeed exercising his power as supreme teacher, but he was also putting into positive, definite form a belief of the Church from apostolic times.

7. It is well to remember that the Immaculate Conception was a privilege and not a right, as far as Mary was concerned. God chose her as the mother of His Son. Then out of love for His Son's mother, the Almighty gave Mary every possible beauty and grace. Furthermore, Jesus did not want His Mother to be for one second in the power of Satan.

8. Immaculate means without stain, without the least stain of sin. Mary was spotlessly pure in body and soul. That purity gave her a charm and fascination beyond all description. It makes her appealing to all God's children, but especially to us Catholics who have learned to whis­per her sweet name as soon as we learned to say Papa and Mama, who have prayed to her in quiet times and troubled times, who have really and often experienced her sweet help and motherly interest.

9. God gave Mary to us as a Model of every virtue. Keep her in mind through the coming year as we consider obedience to the laws of the Church, as we think about prayer, and especially as we meditate upon the various virtues. She is all of these good things - in person.

Like Sigrid Undset, we want to honor Mary every day, but especially this day when we recall her singular privilege of being kept free from all sin. We know that she is not God. No Catholic ever said she was. But she was the Mother of God. That gives her a special claim on our honor, praise and veneration.

Particularly we Americans, who are dedicated to her under the title of today's feast, Immaculate Conception, wish to show her our love and respect and devotion.

May Mary Immaculate keep America and all Americans! May Mary Immaculate draw all Americans to understand, to respect, and to love her! May Mary Immaculate take us by the hand and guide us gently and surely in the footsteps of her divine Son! Amen.
Adapted from:
Prayers, Precepts and Virtues by Fr. Arthur Tonne (1949)

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this day (December 8) and the ensuing eight days, the Catholic Church celebrates with special solemnity the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What does the Catholic Church understand by the Immaculate Conception?

By the Immaculate Conception she does not understand that great grace by which Mary preserved herself pure from every, even the least, actual sin; for, as concerns this, the Church has long since declared that Mary never sinned: nor does she understand by it her continual virginity, for it has been for a long time a doctrine of faith that both before and after the birth of her divine Son Mary remained a pure virgin; nor yet that she was sanctified before birth; as were the Prophets Jeremias and John the Baptist, who were both conceived in sin, but by a special grace of God were released from it before their birth; neither does she understand by it the conception of Christ from the Holy Ghost, that is, that Mary unstained conceived the Son of God of the Holy Ghost; and without the assistance of man, for this was always the unalterable doctrine of the Church: she does understand by it that exalted favor, that unshared privilege, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moments of her conception, by a special grace and favor on the part of God in reference to the merits of Jesus, our Saviour, was preserved from every stain of original sin.

What has until now been held by the Church in regard to this privilege?

The Catholic Church has always been of the pious opinion that Mary, the blessed Mother of the Redeemer, was conceived immaculate, that her most pure soul had never from the first moment of her existence the least shadow of sin. This doctrine was embraced by all the saints, the most learned and most faithful children of the Church.

We have testimony of this, as far back as the times of the apostles, in a document concerning the sufferings of St. Andrew, in which it is said: "As the first man was created from the spotless earth, so was it necessary that the perfect man (Christ Jesus) should be born of an immaculate virgin."

St. Justin, who died a martyr in the year 167 after Christ, compares the Blessed Virgin to Eve, before she sinned and while she was still a virgin.

St. Amphilochus says: "He who created the first Eve free from shame, created the second without spot or stain."

Origen, one of the Fathers of the Church, writes that she was neither surprised by the personated serpent, nor infected by his poison, and calls her a pure and immaculate mother.

St. Ephrem calls her the undefiled, the strong, the inviolate, the most chaste virgin, far removed from all spot and stain.

The Abbot St. Sabbas says of Mary: "On thee who never took part in any guile, I place my hope. No one but thou, O Lady, is without fault, and besides'thee no one is unsullied and spotless."

St. Ambrose calls Mary a virgin who by the grace of God remained always free from all shadow of sin.

St. Augustine says: "When there is mention made of sin, the Virgin of whom on account of our Lord no question is to be asked, must be excepted."

St. Proclus says, "that the holy Mother of God was made by the purest God free from all stain."

St. Fulgentius says: "The wife of the first man was led astray and her soul soiled toy the malice of sin, but in the mother of the second (Christ) the grace of God preserved the soul as well as the body inviolate."

St. Paschasius Radbertus testifies: "It is certain that Mary was free from original sin."

St. Peter Barman says: "The flesh of the Virgin taken from Adam, would not submit to the stain of Adam,"

The pious Doctor Alcuin wrote of Mary: "Thou art beautiful as the moon and free from all spot and every shadow of changeableness!"

And St. Ildephonsus says: "It is certain that Mary was free from original sin."

An immense number of saintly men and theologians maintained the same. Many of them argued with the greatest keenness and the most indefatigable zeal the part of the Blessed Virgin; the teachers at the universities of Paris, Salamanca, Coimbra, Naples, Cologne, Mayence, Ingolstadt, &c., made it their duty by vows to inculcate this great privilege of the most favored Virgin, and to defend it by speech and by writings. Celebrated orders of monks, especially the orders of St. Benedict, St. Francis and St. Ignatius, made it their duty to advance this pious faith of the Immaculate Conception among the people.

A great number of popes and bishops also honored the Immaculate Conception, and forbade the contrary doctrine to be taught. Even kings, princes and emperors counted it a great honor to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception of the Queen of Heaven. Finally, the Catholic Church gave definite expression to this universal belief, by declaring in the Council of Trent, that in the resolutions relating to original sin, the Virgin Mary was not included, and she confirmed the festival of the Immaculate Conception, introduced in the tenth century by St. Anselm, the worthy son of the great St. Benedict, and since that time observed in all the Churches.

This veneration for the Immaculate Conception, this pious view held by the whole Catholic Church was not yet a matter of faith, that is, the Catholic Church had not yet laid down this great privilege of the Mother of God as a dogma. We were not commanded to believe it, although to preach or teach against it was forbidden. But when, in the course of time, a large number of the faithful, among whom were archbishops, bishops, whole religious orders, as well as great monarchs, besought the pope as head of the Church to pronounce concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, that is, to elevate the belief so widely spread throughout the Catholic Church to a dogma, the pope could no longer hesitate to raise his voice in regard to this most important affair.

What did the supreme pastor of the Church, the pope, then do in regard to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin?

Pope Pius IX who, as he himself testified, had in many ways experienced the assistance of the great Queen of Heaven, was urged by his love and childlike veneration for the Blessed Mother of our Lord, to set the last brilliant diamond in her crown of glory by declaring the Immaculate Conception an article of faith.

Not wishing to be precipitate, he first addressed a circular to all the primates, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, of the whole Catholic world, February 2, 1849, requesting them to send him reports of the devotion of their clergy and the faithful concerning the Immaculate Conception, and the extent of their desire in the matter, that the case might be decided by the Apostolic See; at the same time he urged them to pray with him that God would give him the necessary enlightenment, and to call upon the clergy and the faithful for their prayers.

When this was done, five hundred bishops in different parts of the world declared that they and their flocks firmly believed that Mary, the most favored Virgin, was preserved from every stain of original sin, and that they earnestly desired that the pope might raise this pious opinion to a dogma of the Church.

Then the Holy Father, filled with delight, invited the bishops of the different countries to Rome, to consult with him upon the matter. About one hundred and fifty bishops, and a large number of learned men and superiors of spiritual orders, met at Rome and the whole subject was once more maturely examined; and at last, the 8th of December, 1854, the day on which the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception, was appointed as the day on which the pope, the supreme head of the Church, the mouth of the apostles, should solemnly announce the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

On this day the Holy Father ascended the Apostolic Chair in the splendid Church of St. Peter at Rome, and surrounded by the assembled cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, the clergy and the people he once more invoked the light of the Holy Ghost, and amid the perfect silence which reigned in that immense church, the Holy Father in a loud voice and with the most profound reverence and emotion read the decree by which he solemnly pronounced and established, that:
"It is an article of faith that the Blessed Virgin Mary by a special grace and privilege of God, on account of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, was from the first instant of her conception protected and preserved from every stain of original sin."

Thus has the head of Catholic Christianity drawn aside the veil, which until then obscured the full glory of the Queen of Heaven, which now shines in stainless loveliness radiant over the whole world. The truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate is no longer a pious opinion, but an article of faith which every Catholic who wishes to remain a child of the Church, must profess with heart and with lips.

But, perhaps the decision of the pope concerning the Immaculate Conception is a new doctrine?

By no means; it is an old belief, established upon the holy Scriptures and laid down in the bosom of the Church, but not solemnly pronounced and made public previously. The pope cannot make a new article of faith, but he can and must announce that, as a revealed truth, which is established by the holy Scriptures and has been everywhere and at all times believed as a revealed truth by all true Christians.

But if there is a truth founded on the holy Scriptures and tradition, of which the pope, the representative of Christ on earth, speaks officially, then every Catholic is bound to believe and openly to acknowledge the same. As we have already seen, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has been believed since the time of the apostles, and it is also established by the Scriptures.

In the oldest of the sacred Books, in the Book of Genesis, (iii. 15.) is one of the most weighty passages on this subject which reads: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. After the fall of the first man, God spoke to the serpent, Satan, announcing that a woman would come and crush his head, that is, destroy his power; and all Catholic interpreters and holy Fathers agree that this woman is the Blessed Virgin. Mary is, therefore, placed by God Himself as Satan's enemy, and must have been free from original sin from the first moment of her conception, otherwise she would have been, as St. Paul, the Apostle, says, a child of God's wrath and under the power of Satan.

In the gospel of St. Luke, (i. 28.) it is further said: And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women. The angel, by the direction of God, called Mary full of grace, that is, more than any of the just endowed with God's sanctifying grace, as the holy Fathers agree. But would Mary be full of sanctifying and all other graces, had she for one moment of her life been without grace and burdened with sin?

Would God have permitted the Blessed Mother of His only begotten Son, from whom He received flesh, to be touched by sin, even though for an instant, and be in the power of Satan? No; God's hand preserved her; by His grace and by the infinite merits of her divine Son she remained free from every stain of sin, and the Church most justly applies to her the words of holy Scripture: Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. (Cant. iv. 7.)

What instructive meaning has the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin for every Catholic?

The Immaculate Conception teaches Catholics to know in some measure the infinite sanctity of the Holy Trinity which makes sin so hateful and detestable to Him. The Heavenly Father could not see His beloved daughter for one moment stained by sin. The Divine Son could not wish to choose for His mother a virgin upon whose soul there was a vestige of sin. The Holy Ghost whose most pure bride Mary is, was not willing that her heart, His dwelling-place, should ever be for one instant soiled by sin. Behold how God detests sin!

The Immaculate Conception also teaches us the inestimable treasure of sanctifying grace. Mary received this priceless treasure from God even in the first moment of her conception, without it she would never have become the Mother of the Saviour. Thou, my Christian, hadst not this treasure at thy conception, it is true, but thou didst receive it in holy baptism; there God's hand arrayed thee in the white garment of innocence; there He sanctified thy soul, and the Holy Ghost selected it for His dwelling-place. Mary preserved this inestimable treasure until death, she was always blooming as a pure lily, the breath of sin never soiled her loveliness.

Ask yourself: Do I still possess this treasure, which was given to me in holy baptism; have I preserved my soul's beauty from the poison of sin, have I soiled it, destroyed it, lost it? Oh, if thou hast lost this precious gift, how unhappy art thou! if thou hast had this great misfortune to have stained thy garment of baptismal innocence by sin, Mary, the peerless virgin, has borne for thee the Saviour whose precious blood cleanses from every sin, whose infinite merits will restore to thee sanctifying grace, if thou art contrite and dost confess thy sin. But for the Saviour this treasure would be forever lost to thee, and thy soul forever forfeited.

But for this Saviour Mary would not have been preserved from original sin, would not have received sanctifying grace at her conception. We can here learn the necessity cf salvation through Christ, gratefully thank God who has given it to us, and praise Mary who had the grace to conceive and give birth to Him. In the Immaculate Conception, O Christian, thou canst learn to know something of the priceless value of virginity. Jesus chose a pure and immaculate virgin for His mother, who should be the mirror of all virginal souls, her most pure and immaculate image should be continually presented to the corrupted world to show how virginity is esteemed in the eyes of our Lord.

INTROIT of the Mass
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. (Isaiah 16:10) I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my Enemies to rejoice over me. (Ps 29) Glory etc.

Prayer of the Church - Collect
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as Thou didst through the foreseen death of Thy same Son, preserve her from all stain, so Thou wilt also grant that we may reach Thee cleansed through her intercession. Through the same Jesus etc.

(Prov. 8:22—35.) The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived: neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: he had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present; when, with a certain law and compass, he enclosed the depths; when he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that they should not pass their limits; when he balanced the foundations of the earth. I was with him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times, playing in the world; and my delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my door. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

This lesson is first a panegyric on the divine, uncreated Wisdom, the eternal Son of God, who at all times and before all things was with God and in God, by whom was made everything that was made, ordered and preserved; who rejoices in His works, loves them, and who admonishes man to love and imitate Him, and promises him eternal and temporal happiness. The Church causes this lesson to be read on this day, because the greater part of it can be applied to Mary; for it can truly be said of her, that she, as the most holy and excellent of all creatures, possessed the first place in the heart of God. For this reason the Church applies to her the words of the wise man: I came out of the mouth of the most High, the first-born before all creatures. (Eccl. 25:5)

For, as St. Richard says, she is the most worthy of all; no one has received so full a measure of purity, and of all supernatural gifts; in no creature are the marvels of divine goodness so visible as in her. Admire, devout soul, this master-piece of Almighty God, and make frequent use of the words of St. Chrysostom:
"Hail Mother of God and our Mother! Hail O Heaven in which God Himself dwells! O Throne of grace from which the Lord distributes His graces! Pray always to Jesus for us, that on the Day of Judgment we may receive forgiveness and eternal salvation."
(Luke 1:26—28.) at that time, The angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why is this gospel read today?

Because it has a significant relation to the Immaculate Conception, and proclaims the great honor shown to the Blessed Virgin by these words: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why did the angel call Mary full of grace?

Because Mary was filled with grace, even before she came into this world; because she always increased in grace; because she was to bear the Author of all grace; that we may consider how Mary obtains for us the treasures of divine grace.

Mary was filled with grace even before her birth. As we are all conceived in sin, being children of a sinful ancestor, we are, therefore, burdened by sin before our birth. Mary was free by the privilege of the Immaculate Conception from all sin; her soul, pure and adorned with sanctifying grace, came forth from the hands of the Creator, and without the least prejudice to its purity and sanctity was united to her most pure body, from which the Saviour was to take His humanity. She could not from the first instant of her existence be wanting in that original sanctity and justice, which were the most beautiful adornments of our natural ancestress, Eve.

But Mary from the first moment of her conception was not only in grace but full of grace, because God appointed her for the highest dignity, of being the Mother of His only-begotten Son, and had consequently endowed her with the full measure of corresponding plenitude of graces and gifts of the Holy Ghost; according to the opinion of many learned men, the measure of grace which the Blessed Virgin received at her Immaculate Conception, was greater than that which all the angels and blessed possess now in glory.

Mary ever increased in grace: But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forward and increaseth even to perfect day. (Prov. iv. 18.) These words of the Holy Ghost are verified especially in the life of the Blessed Virgin. What abundance of grace did she not receive, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, and the divine Son, who is Himself the infinite plenitude of grace, was conceived in her most pure body! Above all this, there yet came that rich supply of grace by which her zealous, constant, perfect and faithful cooperation made Mary increase every moment in grace. Thus St. Bonaventure says: "As all the waters meet in the sea, so all the graces were united in Mary."

Why did the angel say to Mary: The Lord is with thee?

Because God is with the Blessed Virgin in an extraordinary manner. It is well to notice particularly, that the archangel Gabriel did not say to Mary as the angel did to Gideon: The Lord be with thee, (Judges vi. 12.) but: The Lord is with thee. These words are not, therefore, the wish that the favor, the blessing, the protection of God may be with Mary, but the positive declaration that the Lord really is with her, not simply because of His omnipotence and omnipresence by which He is with all His creatures, nor merely because of His goodness, love and intimacy by which He is with all the just. He is with her in a peculiar manner, since she by her dignity of being the Mother of God came into such close relationship with the Triune God that our intellect can conceive nothing nearer.

She became the chosen Mother of the Son of God, the dearest, the most favored daughter of the Heavenly Father, and the pure, beloved bride of the Holy Ghost. "God the Father was with her," says St. Bonaventure, "as with His most noble Daughter; God the Son was with her as with His most worthy Mother; God the Holy Ghost was with her as with His most pure Bride."

Why did the angel say to Mary: Blessed art thou amongst women?

Because he desired to honor her as the most blessed of her sex, since she alone was chosen of all the others to be the Mother of God; because the first woman brought the curse, but Mary, the salvation of the world.

Mary, Mother of God! An honor, indeed, which in its exaltation is second only to divinity. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God! Mother and Virgin at the same time, what a wonderful prerogative! Though the greatest and most glorious of all mothers, she is the purest and most spotless of virgins, the queen of virgins.

But not only on account of her double glory as Mother of God and as a Virgin, Mary is the most blessed of her sex, but because it was given to her to mediate for us and for the whole world. She is that woman, promised to our first and sinful parents in Paradise, who would crush the serpent's head; she gave to her Son the body with which He, by His death on the cross, accomplished the great work of salvation.

"Praised and blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!"
From Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels by Fr. Leonard Goffine [(c) 1880]

Why does any bishop need to be told this?

Vatican to Boston Archdiocese: Stop Gay Adoptions
Boston, Dec. 07 ( - The Boston archdiocese has received instructions to stop arranging adoptions for homosexual couples, the Boston Herald reports today.

The Herald, citing an anonymous Church source, said that Archbishop Sean O'Malley has received a letter from the papal nuncio in Washington, Aarchbishop Gabriel Montalvo, saying that Catholic Charities must discontinue its current practice of helping same-sex couples adopt children.

The Boston archdiocese declined to comment on the Herald report, saying that communications between the archbishop and the Pope's representative are confidential. However, a spokesman indicated that the policies of Catholic Charities are under review.

The Boston arm of Catholic Charities came under fire in October when it was revealed that the office was actively helping homosexual couples to adopt children, despite Church teaching that such adoptions are "gravely immoral" and "would actually mean doing violence to those children."

Father J. Bryan Hehir, the head of Catholic Charities in Boston, explained that the Church agency assisted in homosexual adoptions in order to qualify for state funding that underwrites other adoption services. "If we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't," he said; "We have to balance various goods."
We have to balance goods????? So it's money vs. children then?


Weeping or not, Mary is a magnet

Believers see tears of blood in local statue, and even skeptics see the draw.
By Deb Kollars and Ed Fletcher -- Bee Staff Writers
Published 2:15 am PST Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Story appeared on Page A1 of The Bee

Whether a statue of the Virgin Mary is crying or not, there is no denying the star power of the Madonna. The mother of Jesus Christ made the cover of Time magazine earlier this year. Month after month, crowds journey to places around the world where the virgin mother is believed to have appeared.

Over the next few days, Catholics will celebrate two feasts in her honor - the Immaculate Conception on Thursday and Our Lady of Guadalupe on Monday.
. . .
In southeast Sacramento County, an outdoor statue of Mary has become the center of attention at the humble Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church on Jackson Road. Since late November, believers have come to view the statue, which has a red streak running from the corner of her left eye. A priest wiped the streak away Nov. 9, but when it reappeared Nov. 20, many viewed it as tears of blood being shed.

The "weeping Mary" has drawn crowds and national media attention.

No one has actually seen tears flowing. The Diocese of Sacramento has no current plans to investigate. Others consider it a common stain or possible hoax.

And still the people come.
Full article here.

Benedict XVI Is To Reinterpret the Second Vatican Council. This Is the Preface

Forty years after the event, the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historic Sciences, Walter Brandmüller, clears up some historical issues. On December 8th, the Pope will give his assessment

by Sandro Magister
ROMA, December 5 2005 – Benedict XVI’s homily during the December 8th mass in Saint Peter’s, exactly forty years after the end of the Second Vatican Council, is eagerly awaited.

There are conflicting interpretations within the Church of this event and its consequences. One wide-spread idea is that Vatican II marked a “new beginning” in Church history, and that thanks to it – its “spirit” more than the words of its actual texts – the dogmas, laws, structures and traditions of the Church entered a phase of permanent reform. However, Joseph Ratzinger has shown on a number of occasions that he does not share this reading of the facts. And so has – amongst others – his cardinal vicar for the diocese of Rome, Camillo Ruini.

Only last June Ruini declared: “It is time for history to produce a new reconstruction of Vatican II – one that finally tells a true story”.
More here.

Gregorian Chant Is Returning from Exile. Maybe

Valentino Miserachs Grau, president of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, is calling for its revival. Pope Joseph Ratzinger wants it, too. But the path is full of obstacles...
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Dec 7, Memorial: St Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor

From: Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus Thanks His Father (Continuation)

(At that time Jesus declared,) [28] "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."



28-30. Our Lord calls everyone to come to Him. We all find things difficult in one way or another. The history of souls bears out the truth of these words of Jesus. Only the Gospel can fully satisfy the thirst for truth and justice which sincere people feel. Only our Lord, our Master--and those to whom He passes on His power--can soothe the sinner by telling him, "Your sins are forgiven" (Matthew 9:2). In this connection Pope Paul VI teaches: "Jesus says now and always, `Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' His attitude towards us is one of invitation, knowledge and compassion; indeed, it is one of offering, promise, friendship, goodness, remedy of our ailments; He is our comforter; indeed, our nourishment, our bread, giving us energy and life" ("Homily on Corpus Christi", 13 June 1974).

"Come to Me": the Master is addressing the crowds who are following Him, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). The Pharisees weighed them down with an endless series of petty regulations (cf. Acts 15:10), yet they brought no peace to their souls. Jesus tells these people, and us, about the kind of burden He imposes: "Any other burden oppresses and crushes you, but Christ's actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings. If you take a bird's wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies" (St. Augustine, "Sermon" 126).

"All you who go about tormented, afflicted and burdened with the burden of your cares and desires, go forth from them, come to Me and I will refresh you and you shall find for your souls the rest which your desires take from you" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", Book 1, Chapter 7, 4).

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

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

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More Reflections for the 2nd Week of Advent

"Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet." St. Matthew, 11:9.

From the last years of Haydn, the matchless Austrian musician, comes an incident of stirring interest. You have all heard, or at least have heard about, Haydn's celebrated oratorio or musical production called "Creation." He tells in thrilling music the story of how God made the world.

In 1808, in the Music Hall of Vienna, this musical masterpiece was rendered by a group of accomplished artists-a skilled orchestra and a well-trained chorus. Haydn himself was there, having been brought into the hall in a wheel-chair.

Each note, each line of the performance raised the audience to new heights of enthusiasm. Finally came the brilliant passage with the words, "And there was light." The chorus and orchestra burst forth in full power. The breathless audience was keyed to the highest pitch by the presence of the author himself. No longer could the people restrain themselves. In the midst of the music the throng jumped to its feet and burst into rap­turous applause. The aged composer struggled to a standing position and motioned for silence. He lifted his shaky hand high up toward the heavens and cried out with all his strength:
"No, no, not from me, but from thence comes all."
Weak and exhausted, he fell back into his chair. He was satisfied, how­ever. He had given the glory and credit to God. He was taken from the hall through lines of moistened eyes and admiring hearts.

"From thence comes all!" Would that everyone of us had the intelli­gence to realize that everything comes from God. Then would we worship God with every power we have. Then would we keep the First Command­ment which requires that we worship the Lord.

We respect everyone who is superior to us in power, experience, knowl­edge or virtue. We reverence kings and presidents; we honor scientists and teachers; we revere the good and virtuous. The greater a man's power and ability, the greater our esteem and reverence for him. God is bound­lessly superior to us in every way. To Him we owe the greatest respect, which we call adoration or worship.

God is all-powerful. He made the world and everything in it. He is all-wise. The leaf of a tree proves that. God is all-kind. He takes care of all who trust in Him. As Jesus tells us today: "The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them." St. Matthew, 11:4-5.

When we consider how good God is in Himself and how good He is tous, we cry out:
"Worthy art thou, 0 Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power;
For thou hast created all things,
and because of thy will they were, and were created."
1. To adore means to admit in our hearts and in our actions that God is supreme. Adoration includes the idea that without God we are miserable and helpless.

2. We adore God interiorly and exteriorly. By faith we accept everything He has made known to us. By hope we expect from Him all good things. By charity we love Him above all things.

3. Exteriorly we adore God by vocal prayer, sacrifice, genuflections, fold­ing of hands, striking the breast and bowing the head. These movements of the body express what is in the soul. You have done these very things this morning. You genuflected, made the sign of the cross, folded your hands, bowed your heads. You know that Almighty God is present here upon the altar. With regard to these ceremonies we must keep a few points in mind:
a. Exterior devotion helps interior devotion. You can pray better with your hands folded and head bowed. Nature demands that we express with our tongue and hands and body the feelings in our souls.

b. On the other hand, merely to kneel and bow the head without having the feelings that should go with these actions, is to perform lifeless and meaningless movements, which are not true adoration.

c. Avoid all exaggeration in your devotions. True adoration is cheerful, sensible, simple, thoughtful.
4. Lastly, we must pay supreme worship to God alone, for He alone is the sovereign, supreme Lord of heaven and earth. "I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me." Of false gods and false wor­ship we shall speak more fully on some other Sunday.

Today we must realize the necessity of worshipping God. Today we must bring home to ourselves that God is supreme and that He requires and demands supreme worship and adoration.

In Holy Mass we are offering the Almighty the most pleasing sacrifice, the most pleasing form of acknowledgment that He is above all men and above all things.

Like the composer Haydn, look up to the heavens every morning, especi­ally with your heart, and cry out:
"From thence comes all!" Yes, from God comes all. And for that reason, to God, back to God, we are going to give the adoration and worship of our hearts and bodies and very lives. Amen.

Adapted from Talks on the Commandments by Fr. Arthur Tonne

Reflections for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

"Behold, I send my messenger before thy face." St. Matthew, 11:10.

One of the mightiest monarchs of the world was the first Napoleon. All of Europe was at his feet. 1804 was the year set for his coronation as emperor, and he invited Pope Pius VII to do him that honor. The Little Corporal tried to persuade the Pontiff to move the papal throne to Paris. With high-sounding language and energetic gestures the conqueror set before the Holy Father the apparent advantages of such a change.

"How well you act comedy," the Pope remarked.

Incensed, Napoleon snatched up a drawing of St. Peter's at Rome, tore it to bits and exclaimed: "This is what I will do to the Church! I will completely crush her."

"Now you act tragedy," the Pope said calmly.

And tragedy it proved to be. Twice Napoleon practically put the Pope into prison. Then he grabbed the states of the Church. Exactly four days after that move, Napoleon suffered his first defeat in battle. And the Pope, a prisoner, old and weak, knew his rights and his duty. He excommunicated the emperor, who cried out in his rage: "Does the Pope think his excommunication will cause the guns of my soldiers to fall out of their hands?"

Yet, that is literally what happened. A few years later, in 1814, when Napoleon attacked Russia, almost all his troops, half a million strong, perished in the wintry weather. The guns actually dropped from the frozen hands of his soldiers. The end came rapidly. Napoleon was taken prisoner, exiled, and given plenty of time to realize the might and power of Him who said: "He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me." St. Luke, 10:16.

History has borne out the right of the Church to govern in all things spiritual. The Church has the power to make and to enforce laws.

1. Reason proves that. Place the Church on the lowest possible footing, look at it merely as some sort of organization, and at once you realize that it has the right to make laws for its members. Where is the club that does not have a head and a set of rules? Show me any organization, and it will have some regulations to guide its members.

2. But the Church is more than a mere club. It is a kingdom, the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is a kingdom that stretches beyond all kingdoms. It reaches up to heaven itself. It reaches into every comer of the earth. It reaches down into the depths of the human heart. It includes men of all regions, classes and colors. Its laws are not man-made but God-made.

3. Christ gave His Church the right to govern: "Amen I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven." St. Matthew, 19:18.

4. The Apostles understood that they had complete spiritual power. They said: "For the Holy Spirit and we have decided to lay no further burden upon you but this indispensable one, that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from immorality." Acts, 15:28-29.

Their precepts came from Christ. (1 Thess., 4:2) St. Paul gave direc­tions regulating marriage between pagans and Christians. The Catholic Church, now with over 1 billion professed members, has a detailed set of regulations called Canon or Church Law. Of these rules six apply especially to all Catholics. They are:
1. To attend Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed by the Church.
3. To confess our sins at least once a year.
4. To receive Holy Communion at least once a year.
5. To contribute to the support of our pastor.
6. To marry according to the rules of the Church.

The Church has the right to make these laws and she has the right to enforce them. If a teacher has the right to impose a task, she has the right to see that the task is performed, even by punishment. The Church pun­ishes disobedient members by denying the sacraments, Holy Mass, and Christian burial. She does not want to hurt the offender, but to convert him.

It is true, the Church has no police force or army to enforce her penalties in a physical way. But nothing is more clear in history than that Christ has backed up, even in a physical, material way, the commands of His Church. Napoleon in the 19th century, Hitler in 20th, bear witness to Christ's hand in His Church.
Pope Pius VII could not fight back; could not call out an army; could not directly punish Napoleon. But God punished the offending emperor in a definite and strikingly appropriate way. Napoleon boasted that the Pope could not take the guns out of his soldier's hands. Those guns dropped out of their frozen hands a few years later in the Russian snows.

You and I must obey the Church's laws and regulations. They were made with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Of the Church we can say what Christ said of St. John in the Gospel: "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face."

The Church goes before us, showing the way, pointing out the right path, telling us what we are to do and what we are to not to do. The Church is God's mes­senger to you. Follow Christ's messenger.
Adapted from Prayer, Precepts, and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne

The Psychology Behind Homosexual Tendencies

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons Makes Distinctions of Same-Sex Attractions

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pennsylvania, DEC. 5, 2005 ( The new Vatican document on the priesthood and homosexual tendencies mentions a range of conditions, from deep-seated homosexual tendencies to transitory same-sex attractions.

To learn more about the nuances of the range of homosexual tendencies and their treatment, ZENIT turned to Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist, author and contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's document "Homosexuality and Hope."
Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 of this 2 part series

Church makes a clear distinction between chastity and celibacy

Church makes a clear distinction between chastity and celibacy, says Priest on recent Vatican Instruction on admittance in Seminaries.
Front Royal, Va, Dec. 06, 2005 (CNA) - "The Church recognizes that people with 'homosexual tendencies' can be good Christians, social workers, and administrators, but being a priest is all of these things and much more,” stated Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.

Brazilian singer blasts Vatican in condom dispute

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury, who was banned from performing in a Vatican Christmas concert, said on Monday she was outraged at a Vatican claim that she had threatened to promote condom use during the show.

Bishop Leibrecht defends suspension of AWOL priest

Springfield, Dec. 06, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop John Leibrecht of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO, is defending his decision to suspend a priest who left his post--despite the bishop’s orders--to serve at a dissident St. Louis parish.

Fr. Marek Bozek, a native Polish priest and associate pastor of St. Agnes Cathedral, decided last week to leave his own diocese to serve at St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish parish in St. Louis.
Link here

In addition, here is some more information regarding Fr. Bozek...Some might see him as "progressive"...others might view his actions as those of a dissident...

Listed in some older bulletins as the Associate Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church, in Seneca, Missouri; as well as Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in Noel, MO. and St Canera Catholic Church in Neosho, MO. (See the bulletins for St. Mary's for more info.)

More recently listed as Associate Pastor for Saint Agnes Cathedral and Parish

A Catholic Perspective on Religious Fundamentalism
Father Marek B. Bozek
Monday, November 28 @ 5pm
PSU 308 A, B and C.
Hosted by: Unity in Alternative Religions on Campus

The Vatican recently released a statement affirming Catholicism’s long standing belief in the validity of evolution. Meanwhile, Protestant groups are making headlines around the country, introducing Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution in science classrooms.

How did these two deeply spiritual, faith based groups develop such different conclusions from the same religious texts? These questions, as well as several other important contemporary issues arise from the way people of faith read their scriptures. Join us to learn various perspectives in interpretation of religious text.

Before receiving his Masters in Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology, Marek Bozek concurrently studied Protestant and Catholic theology at the Christian Theological Academy and the Catholic University in Warsaw, Poland. While in America, he studied Liberation Theology at Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville Kentucky. Marek is fluent in English, Spanish, and Polish.

Unity in Alternative Religions on Campus was created in May of 2000, and is an education based discussion group for religious topics. UnityARC does not endorse any one single worldview or spiritual path. Regular meetings are on Mondays at 5pm in room 314A.


A signatory (and supporter?) of The International Lesbian and Gay Association is a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people everywhere.

Mother Barbara Beam of St. Nicholas, Noel, and Father Marek Bozek of Nativity of Our Lord (Roman Catholic), Noel, and members of those churches, came together for the blessing of the new fire, the lighting of the Paschal Candles, and the chanting of the Exsultet at this year’s Easter Vigil. As a sign of Christian unity, the two congregations also exchanged Paschal Candles, and also participated in an exchange of the peace before members of Nativity processed back to their church. The two churches also sponsored a joint parish retreat during Lent and look forward to other events in their growing friendship.

As printed in the June 2004 issue of the West Missouri Spirit, a newsletter for the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri(PDF Link here)

And some might want to read his homily of November 6 (last month)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pope to Bishops: Make Everyone Understand the "Evil of the Crime of Abortion"

Abortion "is also an act of aggression against society itself"

Addressing concerns such as artificial procreation and embryonic stem cell research, Benedict XVI continued, "Likewise, scientific and technological advances should always be evaluated according to sound ethical criteria, and nothing that threatens the inherent dignity of the human person should ever be tolerated. Only by faithful adherence to these unchanging truths can society create the conditions in which human beings may flourish and prosper."


Canadian Bishop Says Abortion and Traditional Marriage Must be Considered When Voting

ST. CATHERINES, ON, December 5, 2005 ( - In an election many concerns vie for central importance such as economics, health care, and moral considerations. However, some concerns overshadow all others and must be given priority. According to a recent statement of the Catholic Leadership Conference, a meeting comprising over 100 US Catholic groups, "Catholic voters must first make decisions about their votes based on the moral issues that are non-negotiable. First among these are the life issues."[emphasis added]
This sounds like great news coming from Canada!

LifeSiteNews article here.