Saturday, January 14, 2006

Defenders of Archbishop Burke


I received this today, (I just returned from the Marian Conference):
If you have not heard, a group is forming to show especially the media that Archbishop Burke is not universally reviled in our Archdiocese.

The Archbishop will be formally installing the pastor at St. Agatha's this coming Sunday at 10 a.m., and the Mr. McKenzie says the Vicar General, Monsignor Gardin, has encouraged anyone who wants to come and show support for the Archbishop to attend this Mass. I figure the Credo folks will especially want to be there.
And the Message from the Defenders:
I am happy to report that our press release garnered quite a bit of attention Friday, and the attention continues.

Here is what I am aware of that happened in the media today (let me know if I missed anything):
Fox News 2 carried a report this morning that repeated all the points from the press release

I gave an interview to KTRS radio (AM 550) which they used in segments throughout the day during their local news. The ones I heard were balanced.

I gave an interview to "Metro Network News" that supplies news in digest form to approximately 30 St. Louis FM stations. You may be hearing segments in the next few days.

I gave a telephone interview to a reporter for the Post-Dispatch who wants to put an article in Saturday's paper and cover the Mass on Sunday.

I have been contacted by a producer and photographer at KMOV TV who are both interested in arranging an interview.

From now until Sunday I will be promoting the Mass at St. Agatha's to the media. They tell me that they will be there and we will be on the Sunday evening news (and I believe it because traditionally Sunday is a slow news day). Because the cameras will be rolling it is vital that we have visuals for them. This means posters, signs, placards, you name it - anything visual that they can show on the screen while they play their audio. They will show the crowd of course but since each shot only takes a few seconds we need to give them a rich visual environment (colorful clothes anyone?)

The Name of the Game - Signs!

This is the area in which the members of the Defenders can really help our efforts on Sunday. If you are coming to the Mass, and if you have the ability to make a sign please do so. Here are some suggested messages:
We Love Archbishop Burke!
God Bless Archbishop Burke!
We Support Archbishop Burke
St. Stan's Come Back! We Miss You!

If you want to use a different message just make sure it is positive, not critical. It is to our advantage if we have a wide selection of hand-lettered signs (as opposed to duplicate machine-made signs). This gives the camera more visual variety to work with. The Mass on Sunday is beginning to look like a very important event for us. We are going there to support the Archbishop, but the media will use it to introduce our group to their audiences. I hope we impress them favorably.

Remember, some members of the media have accepted the interpretation given out by the St. Stan's board of directors: that Christ was a rebel and so are the people at St. Stanislaus. You know what that makes the Archbishop and those faithful to him don't you? That's right. The Pharisees. We have to counteract that image.

Image is very important when you deal with the media. Our words and image must match. If we say we love the Archbishop and the people of St. Stanislaus we must look like loving people. On TV that means smiles or at least not frowning. If you see me not smiling please kick me. Gradually we will change the perception. We and the Archbishop will no longer be seen as Pharisees but as mild and loving Catholics - which is exactly what we are.

Directions to St. Agatha's Church

The address of St. Agatha's is 3239 S. 9th Street, St. Louis MO 63118. It is just a little south of the brewery. From Highways 40 or 44 get on Broadway and go south to Arsenal Street. Turn right on Arsenal and left on 9th Street. Go two blocks to the Church. From Hwy. 55 get off at Arsenal Street and go east. Turn right on 9th Street. Go two blocks to the Church. There is parking on the lot behind the church and on the street.

I will have a sign saying "Defenders of Archbishop Burke". Please join me, with your sign if you have one (you shy people may want to have a sign just to hide behind). Please be there by 9:00 A.ME. for the convenience of the media. I will send a press release out tomorrow to the media telling them that we will be there early if they would like a statement or some footage.

You do not have to speak to the media if you don't want to. I will be making statements for the group. If they want comments from our members (and they probably will) you are welcome to do so if you wish (comments are like signs - the more signs and comments, the better - and longer - the news report will be) but there is absolutely no obligation to do so. It is also up to you to provide your name to the reporter. If you don't want them to have your name don't give it!

If you decide to make a statement please try to include a sentence about how you pray that the people at St. Stanislaus will realize their mistake and come back to the Church. Tell them we miss them! Tell them we are in a state of mourning over the split! Tell them they will always be welcome in the Church of their forefathers. Tell them you pray for them (if you do). I deeply believe all these things and I hope you do too. Catholics want everyone to be Catholic right? Even the naughty ones.

So to review for the media. We want to keep it simple and focus on:
Our love for Archbishop Burke
Our love for the people of St. Stanislaus
If they try to get you to criticize the board of directors or the people of St. Stanislaus don't take the bait! Just say that deep down they know as Catholics that what they did is wrong and that you want them to come home. I hope we can reach some of the board members' wives through TV. They must be heartbroken at what their husbands have done.

Feel free to attend the Mass. That's what the Archbishop invited us there for. Let's gather again outside after Mass in case there are any tardy members of the media and to become better acquainted with one another. I am looking forward to meeting all of you faithful Catholics!

Remember, producing good newsworthy public events to show our support for the Archbishop is one of the primary reasons Defenders of Archbishop Burke came into existence. A good showing Sunday will go a long way towards meeting that goal. Let's make it count! I keep the media posted about our numbers. If we have, for example 130 members (as we did as of 1-13-06) and only five members show up it won't look so good.

Many of you Defenders are emailing me with information and encouragement. I really appreciate this but it takes me time to ascertain if the email is from a new or existing member. We are already up to 130 members and I cannot remember everyone's name. Therefore please write "I am already a member" on the top of your email if you are already a member. That way I won't waste time signing you up twice and you won't receive duplicate emails. Thanks for your consideration.

If you are a recent member and wonder what our previous messages said you are welcome to email me and request copies. So far we have had:
First Opportunity to help the Archbishop (about the Mass at St. Agatha's)
Pray for those in schism
Press Release: It's Not Too Late For St. Stanislaus!
God bless,
Bill McKenzie
Defenders of Archbishop Burke

Gospel for Saturday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:13-17

The Calling of Matthew

[13] He (Jesus) went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about Him, and He taught them. [14] And as He passed on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him. [15] And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many who followed Him. [16] And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, "Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [17] And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners."


14. St. Mark and St. Luke (5:27-32) both call him "Levi"; the First Gospel, on the other hand, calls him "Matthew" (Matthew 9:9-13); but they are all referring to the same person. All three accounts describe the same event. Later on, St. Mark and St. Luke, when giving the list of Apostles (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16), include Matthew, not Levi. The Fathers identify Matthew with Levi. Besides it was quite common for Jews to have two names: Jacob-Israel, Simon-Peter, Saul-Paul, Joseph-Caiaphas, John-Mark... Frequently, the name and surname were connected with some significant change in the life and mission of the person concerned. Did Jesus' saving intervention in this Apostle's life lead to a change of name? The Gospel does not tell us.

Levi-Matthew, as a publican or tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), was sitting at the `tax office', a special place where one went to pay tribute. Publicans were tax-collectors appointed by the Romans. It was, therefore, an occupation hated and despised by the people; but it was also a much-coveted position because it was an easy way to become prosperous. Matthew leaves everything behind when Jesus calls him. He immediately responds to his vocation, because Jesus gives him the grace to accept his calling.

Jesus is the basis of our confidence in being able to change, provided we cooperate with His grace, no matter how unworthy our previous conduct may have been. And He is also the source of the confidence we need in order to be apostolic--helping others to be converted and seek holiness of life. Because He is the Son of God He is able to raise up children of God even from stones (cf. Matthew 3:9). Cf. note on Matthew 9:9.

17. The scribes and Pharisees reproach the disciples, and Jesus replies with a popular proverb: `Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.' He is the doctor of souls, come to cure sinners of their spiritual ailments.

Our Lord calls everyone, His redemptive mission extends to everyone; He affirms this on other occasions, using parables such as that of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24). How, then, can we explain the restriction He seems to place here by saying that He has not come to call the righteous? It is not really a restriction. Jesus uses the opportunity to reproach the scribes and Pharisees for their pride: they consider themselves just, and their reliance on their apparent virtue prevents them from hearing the call to conversion; they think they can be saved by their own efforts (cf. John 9:41). This explains the proverb Jesus quotes; certainly His preaching makes it quite clear that `no one is good but God alone' (Mark 10:18) and that everyone must have recourse to the mercy and forgiveness of God in order to be saved. In other words, mankind is not divided into two--the just and the unjust. We are all sinners, as St. Paul confirms: `all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). Precisely because of this, Christ came to call all of us; He justifies those who respond to His call.

Our Lord's words should also move us to pray humbly and confidently for people who seem to want to continue living in sin. As St. Teresa beseeched God: "Ah, how hard a thing am I asking of Thee, my true God! I ask Thee to love one who loves Thee not, to open to one who has not called upon Thee, to give health to one who prefers to be sick and who even goes about in search of sickness. Thou sayest, my Lord, that Thou comest to seek sinners; these, Lord, are the true sinners. Look not upon our blindness, my God, but upon all the blood that was shed for us by Thy Son. Let Thy mercy shine out amid such tremendous wickedness. Behold, Lord, we are the works of Thy hands" ("Exclamations of the Soul to God", n. 8).

The Fathers of the Church see this calling by Jesus as an invitation to repentance and penance. St. John Chrysostom ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 30:3), for example, explains the phrase by putting these words in Jesus' mouth: "I am not come that they should continue sinners but that they should change and become better."

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, January 13, 2006

Who's Packing & Moving to Russia? or Canada

Russia May Legalize Polygamy for “10 Million Lonely Women”

Canadian Government Study Suggests Legalizing Polygamy

Why can’t my church be quiet when I want to pray?

Father Matthew Mitas of Immaculate Conception Parish in Union answered this question last month in the local diocesan newspaper. Many Catholics have voiced such concerns in recent years. It a number of churchs, it seems as if many have forgotten why they are there. One thing I have noticed, however, is that those churches which are less "modern" and which have priests who give sound and faithful homiles seem to be less prone to adopting a disrepectful, "party-like" atmosphere. Of course, there are exceptions, but there seems to be a connection. When the sense of the sacred is lost because of the embracing of a secular or banal architecture, the hiding of the tabernacle, or the removal of things such as statues which help us draw our attention to the holy and sacred, one may be deceived into thinking according to his surroundings.

Anyway, some excerpts of his excellent response are: II Catholics don’t pray as much, they don’t pray as often, and they don’t pray as well as did their pre-1962 forebears. Many Catholics don’t know how to pray...if they ever find themselves alone in a church, many don’t know what to do.

First, they simply don’t know how to talk to God (which, after all, is what prayer is), and, second, they have no sense of the sacred. Christ Himself shows us that prayer and the sense of the sacred are inextricably joined.

...the one[indignity] He [Jesus] could not bear was when His Father’s house was profaned. "My house shall be called a house of prayer!"...It was the only time He ever used physical force, driving the miscreants out...

If the Lord was moved to physical force by His revulsion at those who failed to respect His house, how can we tolerate the same outrage in our parish churches? At one time we didn’t. Why do we now?. . .Under no circumstances should we allow the turning of our Father’s house into anything less than what it is: a house of prayer.
What followed from Fr. Mitas' sound and cogent article? It's really hard to determine, but the Review later printed two follow-up "Letters to the Editor" which are below.
Quiet needed

Kudos to Father Matthew Mitas for his Dec. 16 column. I go 30 to 40 minutes before Mass to spend some quiet time with my Lord and to say the rosary.

The loud noise from constant talking in the vestibule is very disturbing and very inconsiderate. I’ve gone to the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday and the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday, and I might as well be in the middle of a Wal-Mart.

Please, people, wait until after Mass to converse with other parishioners or to use the telephone. The Lord and I will appreciate it very much.

Name withheld by request
Joyful Mass time

I strongly disagree with Father Matthew Mitas in his Dear Father column (Dec. 16 ) in the Review. I think that far too often our churches are uninviting and even somewhat dead.

I am glad to see people talking before Mass. A Mass is supposed to be a celebration with our community. It is not a private affair. It should be a happy occasion.

There are some people who I have sat near for years and I don’t even know their names or anything else about them. I think that we should take time before Mass begins to greet each other. At certain times I think we should greet each other and spend a little time praying with each other in a group.

If a person wishes to pray silently and alone there are many occasions when that is possible. Just visit a church some day during the week.

Raymond Stahl
St. Louis
What is truly uninviting, at least to me, is an atmosphere of the everyday life. As we step into a church, are we not supposed to be entering that mysterious realm where heaven and earth meet? Where the eternal and infinite coalesces with that which is of time and space? Where our Lord, truly and substantially present beckons us to follow Him and abide in Him?

How many of us, witnessing the cruel torture and death of our Lord, would be engaged in idle chit-chat? How many of us, witnessing our Lord's resurrection from the dead and His Ascension into Heaven, would ignore Him in order to converse with our neighbor instead?

We can see a marked difference between these two letter writers. One concerned with the spiritual aspect of giving to God that respect, attention and adoration due to Him in His house, and another, apparently more concerned with the temporal matters which are better left before or after Holy Mass. After all, can we not keep watch with Him for one hour in sacred silence or in prayer?

Is the Future of America Worth Two Bits?

Another request for citizens (especially faithful Catholics) to get involved. The is from an email that was forwarded to me this morning:
Call Your Two Senators Today and Ask That They Vote to Confirm Judge Alito

In a few days the U.S. Senate will be voting on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Liberal groups, led by the ACLU, have spent nearly $30,000,000 to defeat his nomination.

Is the future of America and America's children worth two bits? That 25 cents is about what a phone call to your Senators will cost. I urge you to call your two Senators today and ask that they vote to confirm Judge Alito.

The Capital Switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

However, that line could be busy. If you want your call to go directly to your Senator's offices, click here to enter your zip code and obtain the direct number.

Please call today. Those wanting to confirm only liberal activist judges to the courts are calling by the thousands. Please let your voice be heard. And please forward this to friends and family and encourage them to call also.

The future of America, and America's children, is worth the two bits it will cost. Thanks for caring enough to get involved.

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

P.S. Please forward this e-mail message to your family and friends!

The Real Issue Regarding St. Stanislaus

In last weeks's Letters to the Editor Section of the St Louis Review, we find this:
The real issue

In the 1970s, Howard Irving, the brilliant Baptist theologian and head of the theology department at Oral Roberts University, told a group of St. Louis priests and ministers: "Protestantism will never experience unity until it deals with the very principle which is endemic to Protestantism; that is, if you disagree, separate. The Catholic Church is like a wise mother. Whenever a new charism arises within it, it creates a religious order and keeps it within the Church."

The issue with St. Stanislaus Parish is neither monetary, because the money belongs to the parish, nor ethnic, because we have St. Agatha Parish for Polish-speaking Catholics. It is all about dissent. The present hasty marriage between two high-profile personalities cannot last. [emphasis added]

Bishop Robert Hermann
St. Louis
I suppose that now, since Bishop Hermann has re-affirmed the truth of the matter, he will be vilified and condemned by the those who willfully choose to ignore the crux of the matter and distort the facts to fit their own agendas - that of pride, arrogance, and disunity.

Canons establish community of consecrated life in St. Louis

by Jennifer Brinker, St Louis Review Staff Writer
After months of anticipation and hard work, Father Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer finally received a Christmas present he had long been waiting for.

Literally hours before the Christmas Midnight Mass, the founder and prior of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, a diocesan religious institute of consecrated life, put the finishing touches on the congregation’s new chapel at the Priory of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chesterfield.

But just who are the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem? In 2004, the religious congregation arrived here at the invitation of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke.

One of the group’s hallmarks is the use of the 1962 liturgy in celebrating the Mass in its historic Latin form, which is consistent with Pope John Paul II’s 1988 apostolic letter, "Ecclesia Dei Adflicta."

Its members, known as canons, pronounce vows of stability, conversion of life and obedience. They live in community and under the rule of St. Augustine of Hippo, a fourth-century bishop, theologian and one of the doctors of the Latin Church.

A convert to Catholicism in 1977, Father Oppenheimer said he first discovered and embraced traditional Roman Catholic forms of worship as practiced in certain parishes of the Episcopal church, of which he was a member during childhood. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, however, the priest said his former church went through "a serious doctrinal and moral deformation," which ultimately caused his conversion to the Catholicism.

"When I first experienced the historical forms of worship, they had a profound effect on me," said the New York native. "My heart was just seized and taken up in love toward God."

"Historical forms of worship are not merely cultural expressions," said Father Oppenheimer. "They are graced vehicles of historic Christian faith. They led, without doubt, to my embracing true Catholic Christianity. They are, in the words of Pope Pius XII, holy and worthy of all respect."

In 1991, Father Oppenheimer was ordained to the priesthood in Germany, and in 1997, he met Archbishop Raymond Burke in Rome, who offered the priest guidance in establishing a new foundation of religious priests. With the support of the archbishop, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem was juridically erected in 2002 in the archbishop’s former Diocese of La Crosse, Wis.

Archbishop Burke has noted that "the worthy celebration of the Church’s worship of God" is the heart of the congregation’s work.

In a written decree at the time of the congregation’s establishment, the archbishop wrote, "May all members of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem generously respond to the will of God for them, and in accord with the pastoral mission of this particular Church, give glory to God and serve others through the promotion of the worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy."

Father Oppenheimer said the congregation can be further defined as a clerical institute that "lives religious life with a choir orientation."

That means its members are solely focused on the priestly life, with worship to God throughout the day.

Much of the canons’ day is spent in prayer, said the priest. "The members of our community are bound to the choir ... to the solemn celebration of the Church’s full liturgy. This properly takes place in the sanctuary of our church and comprises the heart of the Church’s worship of Christ."

"Our community is a reflection of the most ancient form of clerical life," said Father Oppenheimer. "The tradition of canons regular is rooted in first Christian community as described in the Acts of the Apostles."

As a symbol of their profession to the congregation, canons receive the Rite of Tonsure, a ritual in which the crown of a canon’s head is shaved to symbolize the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head at His crucifixion. The hair is specifically cut in five places to symbolize the five wounds of Christ at the crucifixion, added the priest.

In the fall of 2004, Archbishop Burke invited the community to St. Louis, and its members established themselves in the Chesterfield area. Father Oppenheimer and two seminarians — Fraters Alban and John Berchmans — reside at the the priory, a former convent of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, located next to Linda Vista Catholic School.

Upon their arrival in St. Louis, Father Oppenheimer went to work at converting the monastery’s large garage into a chapel for the community. The project, financed through donations from individuals, took about seven months to complete, he said. The chapel can comfortably hold about 25 guests.

Last fall, after they made their first profession as novices, Fraters Alban and John began their studies at the canons’ newly established Studium Augustinianum, a program of philosophical studies based on pontifical university academic programs in Rome. Formation takes place at the priory.

Father Oppenheimer also has opened the seminary program to interested lay men who are interested in philosophical studies. Lay students must be able to follow the canons’ "wider spiritual regime," he added. Currently, there are two young men who are taking part in the program with the seminarians.

The priest said the order uses the 1962 Latin Mass for several reasons, including its foundations in Scripture, patristics, the teaching and spiritual tradition of the early Church fathers, and the Latin Church’s ascetic tradition of Christian self-denial.

These elements, said Father Oppenheimer, "constitute an irreplaceable source of grace, which is the particular ecclesial patrimony or spiritual inheritance of Western Catholicism."

In formation and pastoral ministry, Father Oppenheimer said, he insists on the importance of a full understanding of the Church’s history and experience and the influence this has on the Catholic faith.

"We are trying to live the way disciplined priests have always lived in the history of the Church," said Father Oppenheimer.

He noted that co-existence of the traditional Latin Mass and today’s post-Second Vatican Council Mass "is living proof that nothing has changed regarding the doctrinal self-understanding of the Catholic Church."

Canons, he added, participate "in the traditional Latin liturgy in a living manner — as active members of the Catholic Church of today.

"Neither the liturgy as we celebrate it, nor ourselves as religious, can be considered museum pieces," he said. "If such were the case, then the Church herself would be pointless."

Father Oppenheimer said he is grateful to Archbishop Burke for inviting the congregation to St. Louis. The priest said he is looking forward to "a fruitful development of our ministry in the archdiocese. The importance of living continuity with the Church’s long history is not merely a matter of intellectual speculation.

"We live the liturgy as received from our Western tradition in the light of its universal practice. The faithful have a deep sense of ‘being home’ when they use the ancient forms we employ. But our life is about faith, not ritual form. We are priests, and as such we must think and act with the Church.

"Our liturgy is a gift from the Church which we give back to the faithful," said Father Oppenheimer. "It is an exquisite offering of deep contemplative value. It speaks to hearts of today, hearts so often alienated by the dryness of rationalism in religion and secularism in all other walks of life.

Canons offer opportunities for prayer, adoration, Mass.

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem offer opportunities for prayer and participation in the Mass throughout the week. Their schedule is:

Daily Mass is offered Monday through Saturday at 7 a.m. in the chapel of the Priory of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1635 Kehrs Mill Road in Chesterfield.

Vespers is celebrated daily at 5:15 p.m., rosary and compline at 7:30 p.m. daily, and eucharistic adoration on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., all in the chapel.

A traditional High Mass is celebrated on Sundays at 9:45 a.m. at the chapel of the Passionist Monastery, 15700 Clayton Road in Ellisville.

The canons can be reached at (636) 536-4082. The congregation’s Web site is

A Bishop's Obligations-Teaching, sanctifying, guiding

Being a shepherd after the Heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd, carrying out the work of the new evangelization, means, first of all, studying deeply the truths of the Catholic faith and faithfully handing on those truths by means of preaching, teaching and the use of the communications media. It means preparing priests to be shepherds of the flock, authentic teachers of the faith. It also means assuring that catechists and Catholic-school teachers, both lay faithful and consecrated persons, are prepared to work with the priests in the teaching of the faith.
. . .
Hand-in-hand with the deeper knowledge of the faith goes the greater love of Christ in the sacraments. The bishop must constantly deepen his participation in the sacramental life so that he can bring the sacraments to all the faithful. He fulfills his responsibility by preparing priests to be true ministers of sacramental grace, above all, through the worthy celebration of the Holy Eucharist and through sacramental absolution given in the Sacrament of Penance. He also prepares permanent deacons for ordination, so that they may assist him and the priests.

Lastly, the bishop must govern the diocese or archdiocese entrusted to his pastoral care, so that in every aspect of the life of the Church, from teaching to administration of temporal goods, Christ may draw us into the unity of love, which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Unity expresses itself in obedience to the will of the Father, for which the Holy Spirit inspires and strengthens us.
From Archbishop Raymond Burke's Jan 13th Column in the St. Louis Review.

January 6 was the 11th anniversary of Archbishop Burke's episcopal ordination. He has a request which all of us can and should fulfill. He asks for prayers for him and for our priests:
My little reflection makes clear the weighty responsibility of the bishop as a true shepherd of the flock. Considering the responsibilities of the bishop, together with his priests, please pray daily for me and our priests, asking that we may be faithful, generous and loving shepherds, after the Heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd.
Please respond graciously to this request for our prayers and let us also give thanks to Almighty God for providing us with a faithful and courageous shepherd.

An MP3 of Marek Bozek's 12/21 Press Conference

An MP3 file of Marek Bozek's December 21, 2005 Press Conference is available for download here. This recording was taken when the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Roman Catholic Church introduced their new "pastor".

The audio was provided courtesy of KTRS (550AM) news reporter, Chris Pilcic.

WARNING - This file is about 35MB...I intend to have a transcription of it within a few days.

Iran and China Also Fall under the Pope’s Judgment

Benedict XVI did not cite them by name in his address to the diplomatic corps. But he clearly stated how he judges them: by the yardstick of truth and freedom. An interview with the bishop of Hong Kong.
by Sandro Magister

A Short Email Reminder on Unity

Disunity Among Christians is Contrary to the Gospel

Jesus says:
"I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) and
"And there are Three Who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one." (1 John 5:7)
St. Cyprian writes:
"The Lord says: 'I and the Father are one.' And again of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit it is written: 'And these three are one.'

"Does anyone believe that this unity which comes from divine strength, which is closely connected with the divine sacraments, can be broken asunder in the Church and be separated by the divisions of colliding wills?

"He who does not hold this unity, does not hold the law of God, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation."
[St. Cyprian (bishop martyr, d.258) - "The Teachings Of The Church Fathers." (Fr. J. Willis, Herder 1966, p.83, n.130)]

Gospel for Friday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:1-12

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And when He (Jesus) returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and He was preaching the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. [4] And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, [7] "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? [9] Which is easier to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk?' [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic-- [11] "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." [12] And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"


4. Many Jewish houses had a terraced roof accessible by steps at the back. The same structure can be found even today.

5. Here Jesus emphasizes the connection between faith and the forgiveness of sins. The boldness of the people who brought in the paralytic shows their faith in Christ, and this faith moves Jesus to forgive the man's sins. We should question how God views our faith: the faith of these people leads to the instantaneous physical and spiritual curing of this man. We should notice also that one person's need can be helped by the merits of another.

In this man's physical paralysis, St. Jerome sees a type or figure of spiritual paralysis: the cripple was unable to return to God by his own efforts. Jesus, God and man, cured him of both kinds of paralysis (cf. "Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). Cf. notes on Matthew 9:2-7.

Jesus' words to the paralytic--"Your sins are forgiven"--reflect the fact that his pardon involves a personal encounter with Christ; the same happens in the Sacrament of Penance: "In faithfully observing the centuries-old practice of the Sacrament of Penance--the practice of individual confession with a personal act of sorrow and an intention to amend and make satisfaction--the Church is defending the human soul's individual right, man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: `Your sins are forgiven'; `Go, and do not sin again' (John 8:11). As is evident, this is also a right on Christ's part with regard to every human being in the soul's life constituted by the moment of conversion and forgiveness" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 20).

7-12. Here we find a number of indicators of Jesus' divinity: He forgives sins, He can read the human heart and has the power to instantly cure physical illnesses. The scribes know that only God can forgive sins. This is why they take issue with Our Lord's statement and call it blasphemous. They require a sign to prove the truth of what He says. And Jesus offers them a sign. Thus just as no one can deny that the paralytic has been cured, so no one can reasonably deny that he has been forgiven his sins. Christ, God and man, exercised power to forgive sins and, in His infinite mercy, He chose to extend this power to His Church. Cf. note on Matthew 9:3-7.

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, January 12, 2006

All Thinkers Concerned About Religion

The most serious thought of the world has been given to religion. The greatest geniuses of all nations have bestowed their best efforts on it. From the time of Jesus Christ to the present day, the literature of the world has given first place to religious topics.

At the very outset I have mentioned Jesus Christ. Do not infer, however, that I take for granted anything about Him. I shall later consider His personality. In fact, Christ is the basis of the Christian religion and every­thing depends on who and what He is. In these preliminary remarks, I speak in the traditional way, putting the subject before you as millions view it.

You, too, no matter how busy you are, nor how great or little you may be, should give religion consideration. Not to do so is to re­ject what has most concerned humanity all the ages. If at present there is a wave of indif­ference abroad, do not be caught in it. Be concerned about what Jesus Christ came from heaven to bring us, what millions of the best men and women have died for, what hundreds of millions are living for, what holds up to mortal men immortality, what places before mankind ideals which are heaven-born and whose adoption will make you a dweller for­ever in heaven. Be not indifferent to such a boon.

If a worldly prospect promises much or its rejection threatens disaster, men are not in­different to it. Religion promises eternity of happiness to those who live by it, and threatens eternity of misery to those who reject it. Can you afford to take a chance when so much is at stake?
From God and Myself, An Inquiry into the True Religion (©1917), Ch 2
by Martin J Scott, S.J.

Man Who Shot John Paul II Is Freed From Prison

Question Remains: Who Ordered the 1981 Attack?

"Da Vinci Code" -- a Blessing for Opus Dei?

Use the Lemon to Make Lemonade, Says Spokesman

No Limit to Planned Parenthood's Blasphemies & Outrages

Perhaps, though, this perverted example by those who are attempting to thwart Judge Alito's confirmation deserves that we set a good example and respond with charity. What better way to do that than to choose this worthy response:
Sign the petition at now! Urge your senators to approve judicial nominee Samuel Alito!

LifeSiteNews has an article on the subject here

A special HatTip to Patte G for the notice!

Vatican moves to clear Judas’ name

Actually, it's not the Vatican but the head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science...And, we can't even be certain if the story is accurately presented.

From Ynetnews:
Proposed ‘rehabilitation’ of the man who was paid 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus to Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, comes on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just ‘fulfilling his part in God’s plan, the London Times reports.

Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars, according to the London Times.
According to the London Times, a campaign led by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, is aimed at persuading believers to look kindly at a man reviled for 2,000 years.

Mgr Brandmuller told fellow scholars it was time for a “re-reading” of the Judas story. He is supported by Vittorio Messori, a prominent Catholic writer close to both Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.

Signor Messori said that the rehabilitation of Judas would “resolve the problem of an apparent lack of mercy by Jesus toward one of his closest collaborators.”

He told La Stampa that there was a Christian tradition that held that Judas was forgiven by Jesus and ordered to purify himself with “spiritual exercises” in the desert.
Seems Judas, while undertaking self mortification with a rope around his neck, slipped accidentally. Evidently it seems, Jesus was probably mistaken when He said it would have better for him had he not been born...

One can only ask, who's next? Frankly, this seems to be an exercise in futility.
Mgr Brandmuller said that he expected “no new historical evidence” from the supposed gospel, which had been excluded from the canon of accepted Scripture.

But it could “serve to reconstruct the events and context of Christ’s teachings as they were seen by the early Christians.” This included that Jesus had always preached “forgiveness for one’s enemies.”
Historical revisionism at its finest...
Some Vatican scholars have expressed concern over the reconsideration of Judas. Monsignor Giovanni D’Ercole, a Vatican theologian, said it was “dangerous to re-evaluate Judas and muddy the Gospel accounts by reference to apocryphal writings. This can only create confusion in believers.”
And we certainly do not need any more confusion!

Hopefully, Monsignor D'Ercole and others will prevail before others succeed in promoting (as Dan Brown and others) more of the gnostic writings and the sainthood of Judas and confusing already confused Christians and others. Any study of this kind would best be done in private, away from the prying eyes of the media.


National Catholic Reporter Comes to the Aid of Belleville Priests

And they do this with an editorial, and an article, "Bishop shuts us out, say priests".
It's difficult to imagine how relieved some of these priests are now that NCR steps in to expose their burdensome "plight" to the world.

Pope to Neocatechumenal Way Families: Spread the Gospel of Life

VATICAN CITY, JAN 12, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a group from the Neocatechumenal Way, including 200 families who will soon depart on evangelizing missions in various countries, especially in Latin America.
. . .
"Your task," said the Pope after greeting the group, "is part of the context of new evangelization, ... because your apostolic activity aims to situate itself within the bosom of the Church, in total harmony with her directives and in communion with the particular Churches where you will go to work, fully evaluating the richness of the charisms that the Lord has generated through the founders of the Way."...

Family advocates to Ford: Stop funding 'gay' agenda

44 pro-family groups ask Ford to honor commitment, stop funding either side in cultural war

(Tupelo, MS) - American Family Association (AFA), along with 43 other pro-family groups, has asked Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford to honor Ford’s commitment to stop supporting homosexual groups. The organizations also requested that Ford stop supporting any group involved in the current cultural war.
Pressured by homosexual activists, Ford caves, thinking apparently that its backing of homosexuality will help keep the Ford Company afloat. Maybe some at Ford think that its future sales will come from all of the children that result from homosexual relationships?

More from AFA here.

Dr. Ed Peters: Why risk so much for so little?

An LA Superior Court judge has ordered a priest to testify about whether he ever heard the confession(s) of an accused clergy child-abuser, saying that the priest-penitent privilege protects the content of confession, but not the fact of confession. It's a narrow distinction that I cannot consider here; let's just say there are plausible points to be made on both sides of that one. What I want to ask is something different, namely: why does the court think it needs to know whether Father A heard Deacon B's confession in the first place?
Continued here...

Our Daily Meditation


A priest is expected to be a man of God and of prayer. If he fails in prayer, what a loss for himself, for the souls entrusted to him, and for the Church!

But are we all not called to a life of holiness? Are not all of us called to be people of God and of prayer? Although these meditations are for priests, can we not also benefit from them?

Our daily medita­tion ought to be a real communion with God. If we realize its importance, if we apply ourselves to it with persevering diligence and enlightened fervour, God will surely communicate Himself to us intimately through it and illumine our life with His light: "Dominus illuminatio mea".


That our daily meditation is of supreme importance in our spiritual life is a trite saying. Ascetical writers never tire of repeating it; Saints have taught it in doctrine and example; it was one of the first principles inculcated to us at the very dawn of seminary life, and a strict rule bound us to meditation every day - an obligation extended to our priestly life by Canon Law. .. To rekindle our esteem for and love of meditation, let us ponder over these lines of Bishop Hedley, on the true meaning of our daily hour of mental prayer:
"It is the hour in which the soul lives: that is, lives its true life and rehearses for that life of eternity, in which prayer in its highest sense will be its rapture. It is the hour of its intensest discipline, when acts are produced which vibrate long afterwards through the hours of the day, through the spaces of life. It is the hour of speaking to God in His Holy of Holies, where the soul finds insight and strength and endurance. It is the hour of calm when the thronging elements of man's personal life are ranged in order and mar­shalled to obedience, so that the will may aim at one thing and one thing alone. It is the hour of the kindling of that precious life - the fire of Divine Love - which must burn through every pulsation of life, or else life's deeds can never be borne to the heavens, but must drop like leaves that wither on earth. It is the hour when the continual presence of the awful Sovereign of the creature is, in a certain sense, made actual and real, when the heart speaks to God, and - what is of infinitely greater moment - when God speaks to the heart."

* In the light of these lofty considerations, what am I to think of my habitual way of looking upon the time of meditation?

Do I hold it sacred and consider it the most valuable time of the day?

Do I not go perfunctorily through it, or find easy pretexts to shorten or omit it?

Do I seek earnestly to overcome the many difficulties of his exercise?


Although meditation holds out such great promises for our spiritual life, must we not confess that we often fail to gather any appreciable fruit from it? ... Many causes may account for this; some of them quite beyond our control, and then - given good will and earnest efforts - the failure is more apparent than real, and God's grace will not be denied us. But often enough the fault is ours and we could improve matters greatly if we were more diligent and sagacious.

Diligent in following a method. There are rules for medita­tion, as for all other arts. Methods differ; all are good. Let us follow one, and not go on at random, leaving our course to chance. Too often the rules we once used to follow are neglected through carelessness and weariness: it would profit us much, to go back, humbly, to the fidelity of our first years.

Diligence also in preparing overnight the subject of our meditation, suiting the points to ourselves, and trying to select those which will help us to find Our Lord in prayer, and to live in Him afterwards during the day's work.

Sagacity will make us proceed along our arduous path with true supernatural wisdom: adapting our mental prayer to the need of our soul and the promptings of divine grace. People differ from one another, and the same man passes through different states and moods; each one will get the best results if he uses that form of mental prayer which most suits him: discursive meditation, affective prayer, or contemplation. The rule is laid down tersely by St Ignatius:
"For every person that form of prayer is best in which God communicates more freely with him."
This last saying sets in relief another point, the most fundamental perhaps, on which the success of our medita­tion depends: the aim we must have in it, which is to bring us into intimate contact with God. Everything else, forms and methods, reasonings and reflections, are only helps to prepare the soul for God's Light and Love; they are means, not ends in themselves. And consequently, if we wish to reap the fruit of our meditation, we must make it above all a real exercise of prayer, a familiar intercourse with God.

Yet another weighty consideration follows from this: we must ever keep in mind that the work of our meditation is principally the work of divine grace in us: hence the importance of the preparatory prayers, which make us beg for that grace in humble and ardent supplication. For want of earnestness in this, how many fruitless hours have we spent at our prie-dieu, how many vain and discouraging efforts have we made!

Last but not least: When the 'hour of prayer' is over, prayer must continue; it must pervade the whole day and gradually pass into an habitual union with God; in this, ejaculatory prayers are helpful. - Above all, it must produce a firmer determination to mortify our sensual and selfish passions. Progress in prayer is bound up with progress in self-renunciation and self-surrender: how can a man enjoy conversing with God if his heart is elsewhere? how can he rise up to God if he is held down by earthly desires and attachments?

* Each and everyone of our meditations ought to be a step forward in sanctity. Why are mine not so?

An earnest survey of my habitual practice of meditation...A generous and wise plan of reform with the help of God's grace: "Domine, doce nos orare."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 13.

Gospel for Thursday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:40-45

The Curing of a Leper

[40] And a leper came to Him (Jesus), beseeching Him, and kneeling said to Him, "If You will, You can make me clean." [41] Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." [42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. [43] And He sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, [44] and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." [45] But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to Him from every quarter.


40-44. Leprosy was seen as a punishment from God (cf. Numbers 12:10-15). The disappearance of the disease was regarded as one of the blessings of the messianic times (Isaiah 35:8; cf. Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22). Because leprosy was contagious, the Law declared that lepers were impure and that they transmitted impurity to those who touched them and to places they entered. Therefore, they had to live apart (Numbers 5:2; 12:14ff) and to show that they were lepers by certain external signs. On the rite of purification, see the note on Matthew 8:4.

[The note on Matthew 8:4 states:
4. According to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 14), if a leper is cured of his disease, he should present himself to a priest, who will register the cure and give him a certificate which he needs to be reintegrated into the civil and religious life of Israel. Leviticus also prescribes the purifications and sacrifice he should offer. Jesus' instruction to the leper is, then, in keeping with the normal way of fulfilling what the laws laid down.]

The passage shows us the faithful and confident prayer of a man needing Jesus' help and begging Him for it, confident that, if Our Lord wishes, He can free him from the disease (cf. Matthew 8:2). "This man prostrated himself on the ground, as a sign of humility and shame, to teach each of us to be ashamed of the stains of his life.

But shame should not prevent us from confessing: the leper showed his wound and begged for healing. If You will, he says, You can make me clean; that is, he recognized that the Lord had the power to cure him" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

On the discretion and prudence Jesus required regarding His person, see the note on Mark 1:34 and Matthew 9:30.

[The note on Mark 1:34 states:
34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.]

[The note on Matthew 9:30 states:
30. Why did our Lord not want them to publicize the miracle? Because His plan was to gradually manifest Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. He did not want to anticipate events which would occur in their own good time; nor did He want the crowd to start hailing Him as Messiah King, because their notion of messiah was nationalistic, not a spiritual one. However, the crowd did in fact proclaim Him when he worked the miracles of the loaves and the fish (John 6:14-15): "When the people saw the sign which He had done, they said, `This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!' Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by Himself."]

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, January 11, 2006

New Research Links Abortion With Depression, Other Mental Health Problems

From Austin Ruse of the Culture of Life Foundation:
Dear Colleague,

Another area where "big science" is suspect is the ongoing rejection of any link between abortion and mental health problems. An honest researcher who favors abortion has determined there is such a link.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse
New Research Links Abortion With Depression, Other Mental Health Problems

A New Zealand researcher who identifies himself as "pro-choice," an atheist and a rationalist has published a study linking abortion with an increased risk for mental health problems and he criticized the American Psychological Association for its absolutist stance claiming no link between abortion and mental health.

Dr. David M. Fergusson's study, published in the widely respected Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that compared to women who had never been pregnant and women who had been pregnant but never had an abortion, women who had abortions were at a higher risk for suicide, major depression, anxiety disorder and drug dependence.

In an interview on Australian radio Fergusson said he is pro-abortion but thinks it is important to have as much information about the effects of abortion as possible. "My view is I'm pro-choice, and I believe that women do have the right to have a choice to abortion. So I don't see these results as being against that position, but it does show, as with any surgical procedure, or any procedure of any form, that there are risks and benefits that need to be taken into account and to be weighed up very carefully."

Fergusson said he conducted the research because he did not think there had been enough study on the subject. "The whole topic has been remarkably under-researched . . . there's been a lot of debate about whether abortion does or does not have harmful effects, but the amount of research into the harms of abortion, or its benefits for that matter, has been very limited."

The report examined a group of more than 500 girls who have been studied from birth to age 25. While it has long been acknowledged that women who have had abortions have higher rates of depression and other mental health problems, there has been dispute over whether or not this was because abortion caused mental health problems or because women with mental health problems were more likely to have abortions. By studying such a large cohort of women over such a long period of time, Fergusson said he was able to take into account and eliminate factors like socio-economic background, family life and previous history of mental illness.

Fergusson noted that his findings were at odds with many in the mainstream of psychology who have steadfastly rejected a link between abortion and depression. "In particular, in its 2005 statement on abortion, the American Psychological Association concluded that ‘well designed studies of psychological responses following abortion have consistently shown that risk of psychological harm is low . . . the percentage of women who experience clinically relevant distress is small and appears to be no greater than in general samples of women of reproductive age’ . . . This relatively strong conclusion about the absence of harm from abortion was based on a relatively small number of studies which had one or more of the following limitations: a) absence of comprehensive assessment of mental disorders; b) lack of comparison groups; and c) limited statistical controls. Furthermore, the statement appears to disregard the findings of a number of studies that had claimed to show negative effects for abortion."


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

New Encyclical will be published on January 25

Per BettNet...

Bishop McAuliffe, retired bishop of Jefferson City, dies at 85

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CNS) -- Retired Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe of Jefferson City died in his sleep Jan. 9 in the Jeanne Jugan Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Kansas City. He was 85. His successor, Bishop John R. Gaydos, described Bishop McAuliffe as "a gentle man of God" and said "it was in keeping that he gently slipped the traces of this earthly existence." His funeral Mass was scheduled for Jan. 14 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City, followed by burial in Resurrection Cemetery, also in Jefferson City. A priest of the Diocese of Kansas City, later renamed the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, Bishop McAuliffe headed the Jefferson City Diocese from 1969 until his retirement in 1997. Although he headed a relatively small diocese, with about 90,000 Catholics, Bishop McAuliffe became nationally known when he chaired the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Women in Church and Society from 1974 to 1982.

German bishop withdraws priest's license to teach theology

COLOGNE, Germany (CNS) -- A German priest suspended for celebrating a high-profile Mass where he invited non-Catholics to partake of the Eucharist has had his right to teach theology withdrawn by his bishop. Father Gotthold Hasenhuttl released a letter dated Jan. 2 from Bishop Reinhard Marx of Trier, who said that Father Hasenhuttl's recent writings "have made it clear that you are not prepared to give way, that you consider your view to be correct and that you see no reason to bow to the ecclesiatical [sic] discipline on the issue which led to your suspension." Father Hasenhuttl, who was a professor of systematic theology at the University of the Saarland until his retirement in 2002 and who still teaches there occasionally, was suspended from the priesthood in 2003 after he invited the participation of non-Catholics in a Mass he celebrated on the fringes of an official ecumenical church day in Berlin.

Fidelis launches animated ad for Alito hearings

Washington DC, Jan. 10, 2006 (CNA) - A Catholic advocacy group, called Fidelis, launched an Internet-based animated advertising campaign Jan. 9 to coincide with the confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel Alito.

The ad is a parody of The Sound of Music's "The Lonely Goatherd" by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

To see the ad, go to:
Worth watching!

Vatican clamps down on Polish clergy

The Vatican has issued a document imposing discipline upon the clergy in Poland. Their public activity, outside the church but engaging its authority, now requires a written permission of the bishops.
. . .
A spokesman of the Polish Episcopate, father Jozef Kloch says the document touches upon some worrying developments in the catholic church in Poland and aims at introducing discipline.

Bishop Gumbleton Says Priest Abused Him as Teenager

Breaking ranks with his peers, a Roman Catholic bishop called yesterday for state legislatures to temporarily remove the time limits that have prevented many victims of sex abuse from suing the church.

In making that extraordinary appeal, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit also unburdened himself of a secret. As a teenager 60 years ago, he said, he was "inappropriately touched" by a priest.

Gospel for Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:29-39

The Curing of Peter's Mother-In-Law

[29] And immediately He (Jesus) left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her. [31] And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.

Jesus Cures Many Sick People

[32] That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. [33] And the whole city was gathered together about the door. [34] And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Jesus Goes To a Lonely Place To Pray

[35] And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. [36] And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him, [37] and they found Him and said to Him, "Everyone is searching for you." [38] And He said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." [39] And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.


34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But Our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark 1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.

Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.

35. Many passages of the New Testament make reference to Jesus praying. The evangelists point to Him praying only on specially important occasions during His public ministry: Baptism (Luke 3:1), the choosing of the Twelve (Luke 6:12), the first multiplication of the loaves (Mark 6:46), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29), in the garden of Gethsemane prior to His passion (Matthew 26:39) etc. Mark for his part, refers to Jesus' prayer at three solemn moments: at the beginning of His public ministry (1:35), in the middle of it (6:46), and at the end, in Gethsemane (14:32).

Jesus' prayer is prayer of perfect praise to the Father; it is prayer of petition for Himself and for us; and it also a model for His disciples. It is a prayer of perfect praise and thanksgiving because He is God's beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased (cf. Mark 1:11). It is a prayer of petition because the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as Father is to ask Him for things. Jesus' prayer, as we see in very many passages (e.g. John 17:9ff) was a continuous petition to the Father for the work of redemption which He, Jesus, had to achieve through prayer and sacrifice.

Our Lord wants to give us an example of the kind of attitude a Christian should have; he should make a habit of addressing God as son to Father in the midst of and through his everyday activities--work, family life, personal relationships, apostolate--so as to give his life a genuinely Christian meaning, for, as Jesus will point out later on, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"You write: `To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself: `to get acquainted!'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way").

38. Jesus tells us here that His mission is to preach, to spread the Good News. He was sent for this purpose (Luke 4:43). The Apostles, in turn, were chosen by Jesus to be preachers (Mark 3:14; 16:15). Preaching is the method selected by God to effect salvation: "it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). This is why St. Paul says to Timothy: "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Faith comes from hearing, we are told in Romans 10:17, where St. Paul enthusiastically quotes Isaiah: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7).

The Church identifies preaching the Gospel as one of the main tasks of bishops and priests. St. Pius X went so far as saying that "for a priest there is no duty more grave or obligation more binding (to dispel ignorance)" ("Acerbo Nimis"). In this connection Vatican II states: "The people of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (cf. 1 Peter 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouths of priests (2 Corinthians 11:7).

For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mark 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Corinthians 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command `Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark 16:15) (cf. Malachi 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:11-13; etc.) and thus set up and increase the people of God" ("Presbyterorum Ordinis").

Jesus' preaching is not just limited to words: He backs up His teaching with His authority and with deeds. The Church also has been sent to preach salvation and to effect the work of salvation which it proclaims--a work done through the Sacraments and especially through the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass (Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 6).

In the Church of God all of us should listen devoutly to the preaching of the Gospel and we all should feel a responsibility to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to teach the Gospel authentically--on the authority 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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Friar Assails "Lies" Against Franciscans of Assisi

In Wake of Pope's Program to Organize City's Holy Sites

ROME, JAN. 10, 2006 ( The head of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual lamented what he said are lies against the Franciscans of Assisi, following papal measures to organize the city's holy sites.

Minister General Friar Joachim Giermek's response to media reports appeared in an editorial of the international news bulletin of the Conventual Franciscans, Fraternus Nuntius. The order's General Curia publishes the bulletin.

Assisi has attracted media attention since Nov. 9, when Benedict XVI published a letter entrusting the pastoral activity of the city's basilicas to the bishop of the local diocese.

Church still reeling from Bozek's move

Departure left void in diocese, many say.
Linda Leicht

At midnight Christmas Eve, the sanctuary at St. Agnes Cathedral was filled with worshippers celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ as the media swirled with the news of a priest who had walked away from his job at St. Agnes to step into a conflict between a parish and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Bishop John Leibrecht's sermon at St. Agnes spoke of broken relationships.

"You could hear a pin drop," said the Rev. Mike McDevitt, pastor at St. Agnes.

The contrast between interest in the drama of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Marek Bozek and Archbishop Raymond Burke and the day-to-day needs of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and St. Agnes Parish is not lost on the 61-year-old priest.

"We pray for the best for Father Marek, but we need to be present to the people's needs," he said.
He does need prayers, especially for his conversion and repentance.
Bozek left his job as associate pastor at St. Agnes on Dec. 2. Since then, McDevitt has been handling the extra duties left by Bozek, helping his congregation deal with the situation and coping with his own ordeal.
Poor Fr. McDevitt - what a betrayal this had to be for him as well. He, no doubt, needs our prayers and support, as well.
The Springfield diocese has also been struggling to serve the more than 64,000 Catholics within its 25,719 square miles.

And the Catholics in the diocese have been trying to understand why one of their priests would leave to enter into a controversy in St. Louis, and why the archbishop and St. Stanislaus cannot come to an agreement.

"This is still a really heartfelt and sensitive subject to me," said Cynthia Ruzicka, a lifelong Catholic and a member of St. Agnes. She supports Bozek's decision to help St. Stanislaus, but she also sees the impact of his leaving on her own church and diocese.
It's unfortunate that some lend credence to and support for such schismatic actions because they "feel" rather than "think" the matter through clearly. But such is a fact of our culture today where far too many can't seem to understand the gravity and sinfulness of causing division in Christ's Church and among His people.
"My heart goes out to Father Mike with the extra duties that he has," she said. "I think Father Mike has a great burden right now ... and he will do it."

It is that support that brings tears to McDevitt's eyes as he talks about his congregation.

"We're going through healing," he said. "I think the story is that the people are still faithful."


Bishop Leibrecht has consistently said that Bozek is welcome and encouraged to return to the Springfield diocese. But to return, Bozek would have to apologize to the approximately 60 priests in the diocese.

Those priests, said Leibrecht, are an "unusually tight-knit, fraternal group" who have been hurt by Bozek's actions.

"Many of them are disappointed in Marek," he said. "Some of them have used the phrase ... 'He has betrayed us.'"
A sad commentary, the same was said of Judas, no doubt...
The bishop said his goal now is to help his priests "process their feelings about what it meant to them that one of their own was willing to depart."

Leibrecht, who is 75 years old and slated to retire this year, is responsible for matching the right priest with the right assignment — in parishes and other diocesan jobs. The assignments are announced each August. Bozek's leaving has already forced the bishop to change some of those plans. Two new priests scheduled to be ordained this summer will relieve some of that strain, but there are also some priests who are considering retirement, Leibrecht said.

"The departure of one man affects the assignments of other priests," he said. "Some of what I had hoped to do I will not be able to do."
But are we supposed to believe and understand that the "Holy Spirit" was calling Bozek to rebel and commit schism? Surely not! It may have been a "spirit" but it was not of God!...Maybe the 30 pieces of silver was just too much to resist?
The diocese has experienced growth, especially with an influx of Spanish-speaking Catholics. Each priest in the diocese is learning to speak Spanish to respond to that need. Bozek was already leading Spanish Masses in Springfield and in Branson.

"While we will keep going, and the guys will do their ministry, it will take a while for them to get over their feelings," Leibrecht said.


The Rev. Dave Hulshof has known Bozek since he came to Springfield from Poland in 2000. Hulshof is director of vocations for the parish. He works closely with men who are in discernment and through their seminary training and ordination. He also pastors two parishes, Holy Trinity in Aurora and Sacred Heart in Verona.

As Bozek's vocations director and housemate at the St. Agnes rectory, Hulshof had many conversations with the young priest.
Did Father did not see a problem with Bozek or his inclination toward disobedience?
Bozek, in a telephone interview, said he has been welcomed by many of the priests in the St. Louis archdiocese. "But I do miss terribly the companionship of St. Agnes," he said. "I love them dearly."
Easy, empty words, one would think...For if he truly loved them, he would not have treated them in the manner he did by his betrayal. One wonders, as well, what faithful Catholic priests would welcome him? Surely one would know that by "welcoming" him, one also welcomes his rebellion, disobedience and schism. Another sad commentary if this is, in fact, true. But seeing how this is a Bozek quote, it unclear how much weight can be given to the statement.
"It was a good rapport," Hulshof said of the relationship. But he is disappointed that Bozek never opened up about his decision to go to St. Stanislaus.
Or his inclination to reject lawful Church authority - apparently a number of times. Maybe it's the money?
"You were not open with us on this journey you were on," Hulshof said, as if Bozek were in the room.
Perhaps due to Pride? Arrogance? Greed? An inability to be truthful? A lack of affective maturity?
Hulshof said he had heard rumors that Bozek was planning to go to St. Louis as early as August, but whenever he confronted Bozek, the priest would deny it.
Pathological, no doubt...If he couldn't tell the truth then, why would one believe him now?
"Then he simply said, 'I changed my mind,'" said Hulshof.
Cafeteria style...
Despite the frustration and hurt, Hulshof is convinced the diocese will move on.

"We don't want to be seen as victims," he said.
Good attitude - It's time to move on...Judas has run off, he has taken enough rope to hang himself!
The diocese has a good reputation and has attracted potential priests from around the country and the world, he said. But Hulshof is quick to note that three of the next four expected to be ordained are "natives" of the diocese.


Harriet Pacyniak is a member of the parish council at St. Agnes, and she sees the struggle the parish faces there and across the diocese.

"There are not enough priests," she said. "And all the other priests in the diocese have to really, really work hard and help each other."

Bozek not only led many of the Masses, he had been assigned to head the youth ministry, a position that will now be filled by a lay person. Another paid position will also strain the parish's limited resources, she said.

Mike Finch, another council member, said that Bozek's disconnection from the youth has left a void.
A void? When now one can ensure the the fullness of truth shines forth? Certainly they are better off without him if his pastoral "assistance" would lead them astray. What would he have taught these young people? The Truth? As Pilate said, "Truth? What is Truth?"
"I personally thought Father Marek was going to fill that role very well," he said. "We need to find somebody who can make the connection. That's a hard role to fill."
Certainly there are faithful Catholics who can fill this void...a void that would probably have existed even if this man were still there. One must have concern for the kids immortal souls - that comes first!
Finch's two teenage daughters attend Springfield Catholic High School where Bozek would say Mass. The situation has opened an opportunity to talk with the girls about what the priest did and the consequences of his actions.

"It was a good learning point for them," he said.

The situation has also been a "learning point" for Finch, who said he has followed the news coverage closely and has learned a lot about church law.

But law is not at the heart of the matter for Finch or many others.

"I worry about the divisiveness," he said. "There will be hard feelings by folks who don't understand why Archbishop Burke and Bishop John did what they did. They don't understand the rules of the church."

For Ruzicka, understanding how Bozek came to his decision makes it easier.

"I know he was called to do this," she said. "My daily prayer for him is that this will get easier."
We can be certain that he was not called by God to do this...

Minnesota Priest Criticizes Bishops' Stance on Marriage Amendment

History reveals unsavory mix of religion, constitutional law
Michael V. Tegeder

The author of the Opinion piece in the St. Paul Pioneer Press is the Pastor of the Church of St Edward in Bloomington, a suburb of the Minneapolis- St. Paul.

7 Hour Deposition for Archbishop Levada

SAN FRANCISCO — A high-ranking Vatican official was deposed for seven hours Monday about how the Portland diocese handled priest sex abuse allegations during his tenure there.
. . .
Plaintiffs' attorney Kelly Clark described Levada as articulate and intelligent and said it "was a productive day." Clark was prevented by a court order from discussing any specifics of the deposition, but said it was "a remarkably uncontentious deposition."
Continued here.

Marian Conference Schedule

Below is the schedule for this weekend's Seventh Annual Marian Conference:


3:00 Divine Mercy Chaplet
3:15 Rosary
3:40 Fr. Joe Fessio, SJ
4:30 Mass – Archbishop Burke
5:30 Break
6:45 Adoration Chapel opens/Confessions
7:00 Msgr. Michael Schmitz
8:00 Fr. Don Calloway
9:00 Fr. Bill Casey
10:00 Veneration of Holy Cross


6:30 Mass – Fr. Wade Menezes homilist
7:50 Rosary
8:15 Fr. Don Calloway
9:15 Fr. Pablo Straub
10:15 Break
10:30 Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza
12:00 Angelus/lunch
1:15 Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ
2:15 Msgr. Michael Schmitz
3:15 Break
3:30 Fr. Eugene Morris
4:30 Fr. Andre Mhanna
5:30 Dinner Break
7:00 Fr. Wade Menezes
8:00 Mass/Blessed Sacrament Procession


8:00 Rosary
8:30 Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ
9:30 Fr. Wade Menezes
10:30 Break
10:45 Fr. Pablo Straub
11:45 Fr. Bill Casey
1:00 Mass

HT to Marc P. for providing the update.

L.A. Cathedral Disinvites Christian Unity Event

Pastor decides not to allow conference after realizing the role of a self-proclaimed mystic.
By Larry B. Stammer, Times Staff Writer

The Roman Catholic cathedral of Los Angeles on Monday rescinded its invitation to hold a Christian unity conference later this month after concluding that the principal speaker was to be a controversial self-proclaimed mystic who claimed to speak directly with God, Jesus and Mary.

In a letter to the sponsors, Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, said that what had been represented by sponsors as a Christian unity conference had turned out to be largely a forum for Vassula Ryden, a Greek Orthodox laywoman who has attracted worldwide attention with her reports of sacred conversations.

At the same time, a leading Greek Orthodox priest said Monday he previously had also pulled out of the Jan. 28 conference. "Everything is very suspect. That's all I'm going to say," said the Very Rev. John Bakas, dean of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles.
. . .
1995 and 1996 Vatican statements cautioning Catholics against following Ryden remain "in full force."

"The 1995 statement cautioned Catholics that Ms. Ryden's 'revelations' were merely the result of private meditations and contained doctrinal errors. It also advised bishops not to provide any opportunity in their dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas," Kostelnik wrote.
More here.

Finally, the Truth. What the Pope Said to the Diplomatic Corps

In his first address to the ambassadors to the Holy See, Benedict XVI recalled where true peace comes from: “To all those responsible of Nations I wish to state: if you do not fear truth, you need not fear freedom!”

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, January 10, 2006 – Speaking yesterday in the Sala Regia of the Vatican palace to the representatives of the 174 states that have diplomatic ties with the Vatican, Benedict XVI repeated the key points of the previous geopolitical message he wrote, for the new year of 2006, the World Day for Peace.

The truth was at the center of this message, beginning with the title: “In Truth, Peace.”

And again, pope Joseph Ratzinger pegged to the truth his speech to the diplomatic corps at the beginning of the year.

Justice, freedom, forgiveness – the three elements that embody peace among men and nations – all derive from what Benedict XVI called “the commitment to truth.”

Gospel for Tuesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 1:14-28

Jesus Begins to Preach and Calls His First Disciples

[14] Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel."

[16] And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. [17] And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." [18] And immediately they left their nets and followed him. [19] And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. [20] And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum

[21] And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. [22] And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. [23] And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; [24] and he cried out, "What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God." [25] But Jesus rebuked him saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" [26] And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. [27] And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." [28] And at once His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.


14-15. "The gospel of God": this _expression is found in St Paul (Rom 1:1; 2 Cor 11:7; etc.) where it means the same as "the gospel of Jesus Christ" (2 Thess 1:8; etc.), thereby implying the divinity of Jesus Christ. The imminence of the Kingdom requires a genuine conversion of man to God (Mt 4:17; Mk 6: 12; etc.). The prophets had already spoken of the need for conversion and for Israel to abandon its evil ways (Jer 3:22; Is 30:15; Hos 14:2; etc.).

Both John the Baptist and Jesus and his Apostles insist on the need for conversion, the need to change one's attitude and conduct as a prerequisite for receiving the Kingdom of God. John Paul II underlines the importance of conversion for entry into the Kingdom of God: "Therefore, the Church professes and proclaims conversion. Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind (cf. 1 Cor 13:4) as only the Creator and Father can be; the love to which the 'God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ' (2 Cor 1:3) is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of his covenant with man: even to the Cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son. Conversion to God is always the fruit of the 'rediscovery' of this Father, who is rich in mercy.

"Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, as a state of mind. Those who come to know God in this way, who 'see' him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to him. They live, therefore, "in statu conversionis" and it is this state of conversion which marks out the most profound element of the pilgrimage of every man and woman on earth "in statu viatoris" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 13).

16-20. In these verses the evangelist describes how Jesus called some of those who would later form part of the Apostolic College (3:16ff). From the start of his public ministry in Galilee the Messiah seeks co-workers to help him in his mission as Savior and Redeemer. He looks for them among people used to hard work, people for whom life is a struggle and whose life-style is plain. In human terms they are obviously at a disadvantage vis-a-vis many of those to whom they will preach; but this in no way prevents their self-surrender from being generous and free. The light lit in their hearts was enough to lead them to give up everything. A simple invitation to follow the Master was enough for them to put themselves completely at his disposal.

It is Jesus who chooses them: he interfered in the lives of the Apostles just as he interferes in ours, without seeking our permission: he is our Lord. Cf. note on Mt 4:18-22.

21. "Synagogue" means meeting, assembly, community. It was--and is--used by the Jews to describe the place where they met to hear the Scriptures read, and to pray. Synagogues seem to have originated in the social gatherings of the Jews during their exile in Babylon, but this phenomenon did not spread until much later. In our Lord's time there were synagogues, in Palestine, in every city and town of any importance; and, outside Palestine, wherever the Jewish community was large enough. The synagogue consisted mainly of a rectangular room built in such a way that those attending were facing Jerusalem when seated. There was a rostrum or pulpit from which Sacred Scripture was read and explained.

22. Here we can see how Jesus showed His authority to teach. Even when He took Scripture as His basis--as in the Sermon on the Mount--He was different from other teachers, for He spoke in His own name: "But I say to you" (Matthew 7:28-29). Our Lord speaks about the mysteries of God, and about human relationships; He teaches in a simple and authoritative way because He speaks of what He knows and testifies to what He has seen (John 3:11). The scribes also taught the people, St. Bede comments, about what is written in Moses and the prophets; but Jesus preached to them as God and Lord of Moses himself (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio"). Moreover, first He does and then He preaches (Acts 1:1)--not like the scribes who teach and do not do (Matthew 23:1-5).

23-26. The Gospels give us many accounts of miraculous cures, among the most outstanding of which are those of people possessed by the devil. Victory over the unclean spirit, as the devil is usually described, is a clear sign that God's salvation has come: by overcoming the Evil One, Jesus shows that He is the Messiah, the Savior, more powerful than the demons: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). Throughout the Gospel we see many accounts of this continuous and successful struggle of our Lord against the devil.

As time goes on the devil's opposition to Jesus becomes ever clearer; in the wilderness it is hidden and subtle; it is noticeable and violent in the case of possessed people; and radical and total during the Passion, the devil's "hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53). And Jesus' victory also becomes ever clearer, until He triumphs completely by rising from the dead.

The devil is called unclean, St. John Chrysostom says, because of his impiety and withdrawal from God. In some ways he does recognize Christ's holiness, but this knowledge is not accompanied by charity. In addition to the historical fact of this cure, we can also see, in this possessed man, those sinners who must be converted to God and freed from the slavery to sin and the devil. They may have to struggle for a long time but victory will come: the Evil One is powerless against Christ (cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24).

27. The same authority that Jesus showed in His teaching (1:22) is now to be seen in His actions. His will is His command: He has no need of long prayers or incantations. Jesus' words and actions already have a divine power which provokes wonder and fear in those who hear and see Him.

Jesus continues to impress people in this way (Mark 2:12; 5:20-42; 7:37; 15:39; Luke 19:48; John 7:46). Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Savior. He knows this Himself and He lets it be known by His actions and by His words; according to the gospel accounts (Mark 1:38-39; 2:10-11; 4:39) there is complete continuity and consistency between what He says and He does. As Vatican II teaches ("Dei Verbum", 2) Revelation is realized by deeds and words intimately connected with each other: the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them; the deeds confirm the teaching. In this way Jesus progressively reveals the mystery of His Person: first the people sense His exceptional authority; later on, the Apostles, enlightened by God's grace, recognize the deepest source of this authority: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).

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

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

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ontario Bishops Conference Tells Catholic Voters to Learn Candidates' Stands on Life and Family

TORONTO, January 9, 2006 ( - A message from the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB) sent to all dioceses in the province with instructions to be used prior to the federal election notes a list of "issues pertaining to human life that should be addressed during the federal election campaign."
. . .
The issues of importance and their explanations as outlined by the OCCB statement are:

Artificial Reproductive Technologies
Embryonic Stem-cell Research
Human Cloning
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide