Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Special Thanks to "Defenders of Archbishop Burke"

The Polish Apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Louis at St. Agatha's has posted this "Thank You":
We would like to express our appreciation to Mr. Bill McKenzie and "Defenders of Archbishop Burke" for their initiative, courage and presence during Fr. Litak's Installation Mass on Sunday 1/15/06. You are always welcome in our church!

God Bless You!
One of my sons and I were there for Fr. Litak's Installation Mass with Msgr. Gardin. I felt it was a honor and a privilege to be there to pray at Holy Mass with them and to show our support for them and their past struggles and to show support for Archbishop Burke.

As Archbishop Burke requested and as is our obligation, we continue to pray that those in rebellion and disobedience will accept the graces God bestows on them for to help them find the path of repentance and reconciliation.

Americans Dismayed as Pope Remains Catholic

According to a poll just released by Gallup, a growing number of Americans are becoming disenchanted with the Catholic flavor of Pope Benedict the XVI's papacy.

"It seems that America was looking for someone who could bring the church together and move it towards the center on issues like birth control and women in the priesthood," reported Gallup's Howie Niedigger, "but this Pope has continued to defy public opinion and appears to be solidly Catholic.
Good for laughs!

Will this ever end?

Catholic Charities President Resigns

James Stutz resigned as president of Catholic Charities on Jan. 4. Neither Stutz nor Monsignor Vernon Gardin, vicar general for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and vicar for Catholic Charities, could be reached for comment.
Read more here...

Gospel for Jan 21, Memorial: St. Agnes, Virgin & Martyr

From: Mark 3:20-21

His Relatives Are Concerned About Jesus

Then He (Jesus) went home; [20] and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. [21] And when His friends heard it, they went out to seize Him, for they said, "He is beside Himself."


20-21. Some of His relatives, whose outlook was too human, regarded Jesus' total commitment to apostolate as excessive: the only explanation, they thought, was that He was out of His mind. On reading these words of the Gospel, we cannot help being moved, realizing what Jesus did for love of us: people even thought Him mad. Many saints, following Christ's example, have been taken for madmen--but they were mad with love, mad with love for Jesus Christ.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Friday, January 20, 2006

Some Good Pro-Life News

First U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion in Five Years: Partial Victory For Pro-Life
WASHINGTON, United States, January 20, 2006 ( –The Supreme Court’s first abortion ruling in over five years has been claimed as a partial victory by life and family organizations.

Last week the Court ruled in favor of a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification before a minor girl obtains an abortion, but called for further hearings to ensure cases requiring emergency medical treatment are provided for under the law.
Read more here...

Alter Christus - The Priest's Responsibilities

In a biography of a saintly French secular priest, Pere Lamy, there occurs a sentence of his that gives us food for anxious reflection:
"There are many parish priests who will get a drubbing at the hour of death. Many parish priests and many curates too. It is a terrible thing to be in charge of souls. Every soul has cost the blood of her (Our Lady's) Divine Son."
Canonized Saints and Doctors of the Church have spoken in the same strain, and with more frightening severity, of the responsibility of priests and of the judgment that awaits them. Some of the hard sayings of St Chrysostom and of St Alphonsus Liguori, v.g., are well known. We are not obliged to share all their personal views. But it remains that the priest's obligations are awe-inspiring. And it is most salutary for us to ponder seriously at times on the grounds for our priestly responsibility, to examine whether we are not found wanting in our duties, and to renew our determination to be thoroughly faithful.


The obvious reason why priests have such a heavy responsibility is that the salvation of souls and their sanctiication depend so much on the way they fulfil their priestly duties. God uses secondary causes far the achievement of His designs: in a way He puts the fruits of His Redemption in the hands of His priests. They are co-redeemers with Christ: a sublime dignity. A tremendous responsibility too: if they fail in their duties, souls may be lost for all eternity, or they may never reach the degree of perfection God expected from them.

If we remember the value of souls in the eyes of God, the love He bears them, the price Christ has paid for them on the Cross, we must have a holy fear lest they should be lost through our own fault, lest the yearning of God for their eternal happiness be frustrated totally or in part. It must be a constant solicitude of ours never to fail in our duties towards the souls redeemed by the Blood of Christ. Woe to us if anyone loses his soul owing to a neglect of ours: God will require that soul at our hands. Nor shall we escape punishment if we have neglected to lead souls to the degree of perfection God intended for them, and thus diminished their eternal happiness and the degree of glory they will give to God for all eternity.
* Am I sufficiently and habitually aware of the grave responsibility attached to my ministry?

On the day of my ordination my life ceased to be my own: it was then dedicated to the service of holy Church and of souls. Is it really being spent for them, out and out?

Of every soul that is being lost around me, of every sin committed, of every disappoint­ment that saddened the Heart of Jesus in Gethsemane: if faithful to my duty, I must be able to say, "This is not my work ".


Souls may suffer at our hands in many ways. Perhaps the example of our selfish or worldly life may be the frequent cause of tepidity and laxity in those entrusted to us. Far from being encouraged by our fervour and fidelity they find an excuse for their loose ways in their priest's behaviour in the church, at the very altar, at home, in society. . . And this may be the cause also why non-Christians around us will not entertain the thought of embracing the faith. . .

Then, what about the imperfect use we make of the many means of salvation and sanctification which we cons­tantly handle? Our preaching, our words of advice in the confessional, our visits to parishioners, our care of the sick, our ministry with the dying: all these ought to be abundant sources of divine grace for souls. Alas, how often they produce but scanty results, owing to the careless and per­functory way in which we handle the treasures of God's mercy and love! . . .

And what of the priest who entirely neglects the opportunities he could have or create to bring souls to Christ? He makes no efforts at converting non-Christians, does not try to reclaim sinners, shows no anxiety and takes no trouble to improve the spiritual life of his people. His chief pre­occupation is to carry on the routine of his daily life with as little inconvenience to himself as possible, more solicitous of his own good than of his flock. .. "Vae pastoribus qui pascebant semetipsos" . . .
* Let me scrutinize my priestly life and see if I do not find some of those shortcomings in it.

Am I not inclined to minimize my obligations and to cut out for myself an easy­going, self-indulgent and comfortable life?

I can easily forget or neglect my obligations now, but what a rude awakening I prepare for myself on my death-bed and when face to face with my judge: "Redde rationem villicationis tuae" . . .


To renew our fervour and our generosity, let us call to mind and contemplate three scenes:
(1) The mangled Body of Christ dying on the Cross and shedding the last drop of His Blood for the Redemption of each individual soul I come in contact with... "Sic Deus dilexit..." How do I prove my love for them?...

(2) My ordination to the priesthood, when I rose an "alter Christus", longing to spend my life as He did His, "ut vitam habeant et abun­dantius habeant"...So I felt then. And now?...

(3) My meeting with the Divine Saviour, at the close of my earthly life, when He will ask an account of the innumerable graces He put in my hands for the salvation of souls, all through my sacerdotal career. Will the outcome be "euge, serve bone et fidelis"?...

* "0 Jesus, give me the grace to be true to my holy vocation, and, after Thy example, to be the good shepherd who knows and loves his sheep, lives for them, nay, is ready to lay down his life for them."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 61.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Priest found guilty of heresy

INLAND DIOCESE: The verdict comes after what may have been the first trial of its kind in the U.S.
The Diocese of San Bernardino has declared an Inland priest guilty of heresy, after what experts say may have been one of the first trials of its kind in U.S. history. As a result, the Rev. Ned Reidy is formally excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

Reidy said the verdict means little to him, because the religious denomination he joined in 2000 after resigning from his Roman Catholic order does not recognize the Vatican's authority.
He was a priest for 19 years before he discovered his true 'calling', it seems. He was also found guilty of schism. It appears that he was ordained about 1980 or so.
"I have no thoughts on it because I'm so far beyond this," said Reidy, co-pastor of Pathfinder Community of the Risen Christ in Bermuda Dunes, which is near his old Roman Catholic parish in Palm Desert. "I'm now involved in the life of the people here. I've gotten on with my life."
But what about "eternal life"?
Marc Balestrieri, a canon lawyer and president of De Fide, a Santa Monica-based group that advocates filing heresy denunciations against those who violate fundamental church teachings, praised the verdict.

"The gravity of the errors which he is professing, coupled with the group's targeting of Roman Catholic faithful in the bishop's diocese, all pose a real danger of inducing the flock under his care into grave sin," Balestrieri said. "Let us not forget, we're dealing here with the risk of eternal damnation."

Balestrieri drew national attention in 2004 for filing a heresy denunciation against former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts because of Kerry's support of abortion rights.
Read more here

The World Manifests a Creator and a Ruler

In order to lay a solid foundation for our inquiry into the true religion, we shall
begin with the existence of God.

By the word God we mean the First Cause of all things. Nothing happens of itself. Everything is caused by something preceding it. But we cannot go back forever, - we must stop somewhere. When we get back to the stopping-point we meet the Cause of all. This we call the First Cause. Since it causes everything else and itself was not caused, it has in itself its own existence neces­sarily. Now we shall show that this First Cause is personal, an infinitely intelligent and powerful Being.

If we look at a watch and observe its wonder­ful mechanism and unity of design, we say that its maker is a person of intelligence and skill. Now if we can point to something that shows infinite power and intelligence, we may say that it calls for an infinitely powerful and intelligent maker. Let us consider the world.

The earth turns upon its axis once in twenty­-four hours. In so doing it shows the expenditure of great energy. The sun, whose seemingly limitless energy confounds calculation, shines in the heavens. Moreover, the earth travels in its orbit, causing the changing seasons, a further demonstration of immeasurable energy. On a starry night the eye searches great distances and beholds the constellations, the planets, and the whole solar system moving around the sun, to say nothing of the mysteries of the infinite beyond. Truly limitless energy with its ef­fects is plainly visible.

Furthermore, note that the great machine of the universe is running on time, even to the second. Our finest watches are but a feeble imitation of the world clock. We regu­late our watches by the world clock.

What is the best human timepiece com­pared with the wonderful mechanism of the universe, so infallible, so reliable throughout the years, in fact throughout all the centuries? Here we have infinite energy with unvarying precision plainly visible. Now let us analyze this. Man has never been able to create a single footpound of force. With coal and water power, steam and electricity, he can transform force, but he cannot make it. The power to make force exists above the possi­bilities of man, - it is a creative act demand­ing infinite power.

There is no bridge between nothing and something; such a chaos is spanned only by infinitude. The First Cause of force in its various manifestations is the Creator. That Creator is not only the Architect of the uni­verse, but He maintains its infinite machinery in marvellous motion and accuracy. The greatest piece of mechanism, the most stu­pendous feat of engineering, the sublime mys­tery of world dynamics, the infinitude of the firmament, demonstrate a Creator and Ruler of the world, an intelligent and personal God.
Adapted from God and Myself, An Inquiry into the True Religion (©1917)
by Martin J Scott, S.J.

Upcoming Special Celebrations at St. Francis de Sales

January 29, Sunday
Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of the Oratory.
10 a.m. Solemn High Mass with Benediction. Faithful may receive plenary indulgence under the ordinary conditions.

After Mass, please join us for lunch in the basement, where Msgr. Michael Schmitz will give a talk on the spirituality of St. Francis De Sales and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

February 2,Thursday
Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas Day
7 p.m. Blessing of the candles, procession and High Mass.

February 3, Friday
First Friday
7 p.m. Solemn High Mass with Benediction in honor of the Sacred Heart. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Robert G. Hermann, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis will be the homilist.

March 1, Wednesday
Ash Wednesday.
Masses at 8 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and High Mass at 7 p.m. Confessions during all Masses.

March 3, Friday
First Friday
7 p.m. Solemn High Mass.
Msgr. Henry Breier, Secretary and Mr. of ceremonies to the Archbishop will be the homilist.

Mar 11-Rosalind Moss of Catholic Answers

Professor Cautions About Misperception of Marriage Tribunals

Day of Study Looks at the Divorced-and-Remarried
The objective of the judicial process "is to prove and declare the truth and not to assess if it would be pastorally suitable for the marriage to be declared invalid, to resolve the problem of non-admission to Eucharistic Communion of remarried divorced persons."

Otherwise, "one would deny that indissolubility is a 'natural' element, desired by God and sanctioned by Christ, so that the human person will be happy on earth and obtains eternal salvation," the monsignor said. [Monsignor Joaquín Llobell, professor of canon law at the School of Canon Law at the University of the Holy Cross.]
Read more at Zenit...

US bishops sought delay on gay-seminarian document

Surprising, is it not?

Bearing Effective Witness to the Gospel

Pope Benedixt XVI stated:
"In order to respond to the expectations of modern society, and to cooperate in the immense evangelical activity that involves all Christians, there is need for well-trained and courageous priests who, without ambition or fear but convinced of gospel truth, make the announcement of Christ their first concern and, in His name, are ready to reach out to human suffering, bringing the comfort of God's love and the warmth of the ecclesial family to everyone, especially the poor and those undergoing difficulties."

The Holy Father then highlighted how this requires, "together with human maturity and close adherence to revealed truth, which the Magisterium of the Church faithfully reflects, a serious commitment to personal sanctity and the exercise of virtue, especially humility and charity. It is also necessary to nurture communion with the various elements of the People of God, so that everyone may have a growing awareness of belonging to the one Body of Christ."

Truth - Foundation of Peace

From Archbishop Burke's weekly column:
"In Truth, Peace" is the theme of this year’s message, the first message of Pope Benedict XVI, for the World Day of Peace.

Truth is a fundamental requirement for the promotion of peace. Lying, the opposite of truth, fosters confusion, disorder, violence and death...Our sins are all, at root, a form of lying, deceiving ourselves and others about what is good and right. We are often most clever at deceiving ourselves, talking ourselves into doing what we know is wrong. We can become so clever that we actually begin to believe our own self-deceptions and the lies we tell to others.

One of the greatest challenges of the new evangelization — of living our Catholic faith with the enthusiasm and energy of the first disciples — is restoring the respect for the truth. Our secularized society teaches us to use language which is pleasing to ourselves and others while covering our eyes from the truth. It teaches us to say whatever will advance our own interests without respect for objective reality.
Some examples of society's deceptions (lies):
1. Abortion (the willful murder of the innocent unborn) = a woman's choice
2. Embryo-destructive stem-cell research = life-saving cures
3. Cloning of of human embryos to destroy for stem cells = somatic nuclear cell transfer
New evangelization and the annual March for Life The annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., which will take place this year on Jan. 23, is an outstanding form of the new evangelization, of giving witness to the truth about the inviolable dignity of innocent human life.
Archbishop Burke's complete article is here.

St. Louis Jesuits liturgical music group back together after 21 years

Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:13-19

Jesus Chooses Twelve Apostles

[13] And He (Jesus) went up into the hills, and called to Him those whom He desired; and they came to Him. [14] And He appointed twelve, to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach [15] and have authority to cast out demons; [16] Simon whom He surnamed Peter; [17] James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom He surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; [18] Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, [19] and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.


13. "He called to Him those whom He desired": God wants to show us that calling, vocation, is an initiative of God. This is particularly true in the case of the Apostles, which is why Jesus could tell them, later on, that "you did not choose Me, but I chose you" (Jn 15:16). Those who will have power and authority in the Church will not obtain this because first they offer their services and then Jesus accepts their offering: on the contrary, "not through their own initiative and preparation, but rather by virtue of divine grace, would they be called to the apostolate" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

14-19. The Twelve chosen by Jesus (cf. 3:14) receive a specific vocation to be "people sent out", which is what the word "apostles" means. Jesus chooses them for a mission which He will give them later (6:6-13) and to enable them to perform this mission He gives them part of His power. The fact that He chooses "twelve" is very significant. This is the same number as the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, and the Apostles represent the new people of God, the Church founded by
Christ. Jesus sought in this way to emphasize the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. The Twelve are the pillars on which Christ builds His Church (cf. Gal 2:9); their mission to make disciples of the Lord (to teach) all nations, sanctifying and governing the believers (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:45-48; Jn 20:21-23).

14. The Second Vatican Council sees in this text the establishment of the College of the Apostles: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mk 3:13-19; Mt 10:1-42). These apostles (cf. Lk 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from amongst them" (cf. Jn 21: 15-17) [...]. "That divine mission, which was committed by Christ to the apostles, is destined to last until the end of the world (cf. Mt 28:20), since the Gospel, which they were charged to hand on, is, for the Church, the principle of all its life for all time. For that very reason the apostles were careful to appoint successors in their hierarchically constituted society." ("Lumen Gentium", 19-20). Therefore, the Pope and the bishops, who succeed to the College of the Twelve, are also called by our Lord to be always with Jesus and to preach the Gospel, aided by priests.

Life in union with Christ and apostolic zeal must be very closely linked together; in other words, effectiveness in apostolate always depends on union with our Lord, on continuous prayer and on sacramental life: "Apostolic zeal is a divine craziness I want you to have. Its symptoms are: hunger to know the Master; constant concern for souls; perseverance that nothing can shake" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 934).

16. At this point, before the word "Simon" the sentence "He formed the group of the twelve" occurs in many manuscripts (it is similar to the phrase "He appointed twelve" in v. 14) but it is not included in the New Vulgate. The repetition of the same _expression and the article in "the twelve" show the importance of the establishment of the Apostolic College.

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 19, 2006

Details of Mr. Keller's Funeral (Fr. Tom Keller's Father)

Keller, Richard G.
Fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006.

He was the loving husband of Evelyn Keller (nee Newmann); dearest father of the Rev. Thomas G. Keller.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Lucille Keller, and his only brother, Walter H. Keller. Dear brother-in-law of Mary Louise Herget, Ralph, Donald, George, Kenneth and the late Roy and Joseph Newmann; most loving uncle, great-uncle, great-great-uncle and friend.

Services:Visitation at KUTIS AFFTON Chapel, 10151 Gravois, Friday, Jan. 20, 3:30 to 8 p.m.


Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica Cathedral of St. Louis (New Cathedral), 4431 Lindell Blvd., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m. Interment Resurrection Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Poor Clare Monastery, 200 Marycrest Drive. St. Louis, MO. 63129, or Friends of the Cathe dral, 4431 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO. 63108, appreciated.

Visitation Friday, 3:30 to 8 p.m.
Please, remember Fr. Keller and his mother in your prayers.

Surprise! Durbin says he will vote against Alito

Missouri Judge clears way for stem cell petition

JEFFERSON CITY – A Cole County judge today rejected arguments that a stem cell ballot initiative is deceptively worded, essentially clearing the way for supporters to gather the signatures needed to put the measure before voters.

A Drive to Clear Judas' Name? Hardly, Says Official

Monsignor Brandmüller Calls Media Reports Baseless

Do I go, or do I stay???

Received in the mail today, my own reminder notice (I'm on the mailing list):

VOTFSL Workshop On Saturday. February 25
At Mercy Center Registration deadline: Feb 10,2006

Fran Ferder FSP A,PhD.,DMin and John Heagel , MA, JCL, LMHC

"Toward a Renewed Theology of Human Sexuality ­Reclaiming a Spirituality of Intimacy and Relationships"

This workshop is an invitation to join in the task of reclaiming our incarnational, communal, and mystical tradition with its radical affirmation of the body and human intimacy.

You may obtain a brochure & reservation form online at or call 314.258.1280 to receive one by mail
What kind of "workshop" is this? Let's see what the flyer says:
There is a profound relationshlp between sex and power, relationships and justice. The clergy sexual abuse scandal has unveiled the structures of power and denial that often cover up personal pathology. But it has also revealed another urgent need in the Catholic Chufth - namely, the challenge of renewing our theology of human sexuality. This workshop is an invitation to join in the task of reclaim­ing our incarnational, communal, and mystical tradition with its radical affirmation of the body and human intimacy. If we are to become authentlc life-glvers and lovers, we must be willing to embrace human passion as a sacred energy that shapes all facets of our lives.
What does all of this mean? Will this "urgent need", the "challenge", be addressed in an authentically Catholic manner? What is meant by "reclaim­ing our incarnational, communal, and mystical tradition"? How does one embrace "human passion" as a "sacred energy"?

Checking Google for some insights, I found this:
The Redemptorist Renewal Center recently hosted a retreat by Ferder and Heagle. Interestingly, one of the topics was
"In the Beginning is Relationship", Human Sexuality as the Call to Love and Give Life.

"It is not good for the earth-creature to live in isolation." (Gn 2:18) "Increase and multiply." (Gn 1:28)
Earth-Creature? Which earth-creature? Dare I say it?.....Man?

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles also hosted them at its 2004 Religious Education Congress

So, who are these "Presenters"? The names may be familiar to some, but let's see what Our Ladys Warriors has to say:
Sr. Fran Ferder
Teaches that the homosexual life style is not a deviance, but a healthy alternative lifestyle. Presents at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Co-director of TARA: Therapy and Renewal Associates. Co-author of the book "Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality" saying that "Whether we are married or single, young or old, divorced or remarried, male or female, gay or straight, celibate by choice or by circumstance, each of us is called to make the long and arduous journey of claiming our sexuality with reverence and integrating it with responsibility" and "Spirituality without sexuality is a phantom."

Fr. John Heagle
Teaches that the homosexual life style is not a deviance, but a healthy alternative lifestyle. Presents at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Co-director of TARA: Therapy and Renewal Associates. Co-author of the book "Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality" saying that "Whether we are married or single, young or old, divorced or remarried, male or female, gay or straight, celibate by choice or by circumstance, each of us is called to make the long and arduous journey of claiming our sexuality with reverence and integrating it with responsibility" and "Spirituality without sexuality is a phantom."

TARA: Therapy and Renewal Associates
Described as an outpatient psychotherapy resource for clergy, members of religious communities, lay ministers, other professional adults, couples and families, and co-directed by dissenters Sr. Fran Ferder and Fr. John Heagle, they counsel that sodomy and a homosexual lifestyle is perfectly acceptable.
These are seriously grave concerns, if the reviews from Our Ladys Warriors are correct...and I have no reason to doubt its integrity.

There will be a conflict on February 25th since Catholic Action Network is hosting its 2006 CONVOCATION at St Stanislaus Church with Call to Action VP, Lena Woltering (and former Coordinator of the Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity (FOSIL) for ten years)...PDF Flyer

What to do, what to do....? Prepare for spring cleaning?

Vatican Storylines: Those Who Are Resisting Benedict XVI

The impudent disobedience of the Neocatechumenals. The black legends of the conclave. The translation boycott. Three different ways of opposing the new pope.
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, January 19, 2006 – The first words of Benedict XVI’s first encyclical letter, almost the motto of his papacy, are “Deus Caritas Est,” God is love.

But not everyone in the upper levels of the Church is full of love and solidarity for this new pope. Resistance to his guidance is tenacious and widespread, and in some places it is on the rise. And almost all the resistance shields itself behind the protection of anonymity.

The only open and avowed resistance is that of the Neocatechumenal Way, which has opposed a papal directive issued last December, which struck at one of the movement’s cornerstones.
. . .

A second form of resistance to Benedict XVI manifests itself in the indiscreet comments on the conclave that elected him (6).
. . .

Then there is also in the Vatican a third and more passive form of resistance to Benedict XVI. During the first months of his pontificate, the pope essentially concentrated upon the liturgical celebrations and upon the bare word: homilies, Angelus messages, catecheses, speeches, and now his encyclical. But in order for these words to be spread all over the world, they at least need to be translated and diffused in the main languages.

Well then, a speech of primary importance like the one Benedict XVI addressed to the Roman curia on December 22, two-thirds of which was dedicated to the interpretation of Vatican Council II and the relationship between the Church and the modern world, was for eight days available on the Vatican website only in its Italian version. It was then accompanied by the French, then a few days later by the Spanish, then the English, then by the German version. So, almost a month after the event, the last of the six versions into which papal documents are normally translated – the Portuguese version – is still missing (8). And the same thing has happened in the case of almost all the other texts...They [the translators] were useless, at least in this matter. Even more than that – they were harmful.

Not even Benedict XVI could refrain from publicly manifesting his disappointment for the bad functioning of the system of translations. On Wednesday, January 18, in announcing to the faithful that his first encyclical would be published on the following January 25, he let slip the word “finally.” And he lamented the fact that “some time has passed before the text was ready and translated.”

Apart from the slowness, it emerges that Benedict XVI was not pleased with some of the translations of the encyclical, which he himself had to correct.
Maybe the Holy Father will need to address the USCCB and its problems with the translations for the Roman Missal?

Fireworks may be forthcoming from Sandro Magister's latest report (in full) here, especially in regard to the Neocatechumenal Way.

The European Union: United We Fall

From CatholicCulture:
The European Union continues to challenge the sovereignty of its "independent" members by attempting to impose a secularist ideology which can only result in the death of Europe. The latest incident is the EU's demand that Spain eliminate its sales tax exemption for the Catholic Church within 60 days. Other interference with national sovereignty has included pressure to liberalize abortion laws in Ireland, meddling with a male monastic preserve on a Greek island, and efforts to force all European doctors to participate in abortion...

Celebration of 500 Years of the Swiss Guard

VATICAN CITY, JAN 19, 2006 (VIS) - In the Sistine Chapel at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday January 22, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano will preside at Mass for the 110 members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard and their families. The ceremony will mark the beginning of commemorative celebrations for the fifth centenary of the world's oldest active military corps.

Continued here.

St Stanislaus Spokesman - Still Clueless

St. Stanislaus spokesman, Richard Bach, debates Edward R. Martin, Jr. (Father McGivney Fellow for Rights of Conscience, Americans United for Life) on KWMU radio.

You can access the recorded debate here. (Warning MP3 is about 22MB)

Having only listened to only a few minutes of the "debate", it's readily apparent that Richard Bach has learned nothing these past few months with respect to truth or reality. It's amazing that anyone with half a brain could find anything he says convincing.

As in the past, he interrupts and states that he needs time to correct points made by others which he says are incorrect. What is "incorrect" to Bach about the truth is that it doesn't fit within the false paradigm he and others at St. Stanislaus have established for themselves. Defiant disobedience results in a darkness in which the light of truth becomes an unwelcomed adversary.

And as is usual, he is wrong again. For instance, when Mr. Martin mentioned that the board and the priest had excomunicated themselves, Bach responds:
"...the Archbishop is the one who is stating that we are not in communion, in fact, he made the declaration of excommunication back at the beginning of December - he actually had a written statement that was a declaration of excommunication. At that time it was stated that it was the six board of directors as well as the priest who was suspended by Archbishop (?) there was a formal statement made...

"We are not the ones separating ourselves from the Roman Catholic Church, we do not feel we are separate from the Roman Catholic Church. In fact there are a number of canon laws that verify that we still are in union with the Roman Catholic faith, with the practice of Roman Catholicism. We as the parishioners of St. Stanislaus... "
The poor man! Complete ignorance about excommunication! Complete ignorance about 'communion with the Church'. Complete ignorance regarding Canon Law! What rationale would there possibly be to choose someone like this to be a spokesman?

Reality must be something completely foreign to him. If the situation were not so serious, Bach's comments would be comical.

I really need to take the 50 minutes to listen to the rest of this - soon.

Prayers Requested for Local Priest

Please remember in your prayers, if possible, the father of one of St. Louis' faithful priests, Fr. Thomas Keller. His father died a couple of days ago. Although I don't have details, I'm certain that prayers for the repose of the soul of his father and prayers for the family for perseverance and understanding would certainly be most welcome at a time of such loss.

Fr. Keller is an associate pastor at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica Parish and Co-Director of the Archdiocesan Commissions for Sacred Liturgy, Sacred Music, and Sacred Art & Architecture and periodically responds to readers' questions in the St. Louis Review column, "Dear Father".

Pope Benedict: I want to explain the concept of love in its various dimensions

Gospel for Thursday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:7-12

Cures Beside the Sea of Galilee

[7] Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea [8] and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing all that He did, came to Him. [9] And He told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him; [10] for He had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon Him to touch Him. [11] And whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." [12] And He strictly ordered them not to make Him known.


10. During our Lord's public life people were constantly crowding round Him to be cured (cf. Luke 6:19; 8:45; etc). As in the case of many other cures, St. Mark gives us a graphic account of what Jesus did to these people (cf. Mark 1:31, 41; 7:31-37; 8:22-26; John 9:1-7, 11, 15). By working these cures our Lord shows that He is both God and man: He cures by virtue of His divine power and using His human nature. In other words, only in the Word of God become man is the work of our Redemption effected, and the instrument God used to save us was the human nature of Jesus--His Body and Soul--in the unity of the person of the Word (cf. Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 5).

This crowding round Jesus is repeated by Christians of all times: the holy human nature of our Lord is our only route to salvation; it is the essential means we must use to unite ourselves to God. Thus, we can today approach our Lord by means of the sacraments, especially and pre-eminently the Eucharist. And through the sacraments there flows to us, from God, through the human nature of the Word, a strength which cures those who receive the sacraments with faith (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa theologiae", III, q. 62, a. 5).

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

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Men of Great Intelligence Differ

The first thing that strikes an in­quirer after religious truth is that there is such a difference of belief in regard to it. Some claim one religion is true, some another; some reject religion altogether. What is one to do?

When Columbus affirmed that the world was round, some said it was impossible, some believed, some wondered. But the world's roundness did not depend on these beliefs. The world's roundness was a fact. Is religion a fact? If so, we must not be surprised that there are differences of opinion about it.

There is hardly a fact in history during the past two thousand years that has not been subject to various and often opposite opinions. Every war is the result of different judgments of a fact. The divergence of religious beliefs shows that religion at all events is a reality. Men do not contend over nothing.

Now this reality, this religion, is it something we can be certain about? May we know its truth, or must we be left groping? Why, if religion is vital, should not God make its truth clear beyond doubt? He has done so. Follow me, and you will see that God has done His part. The rest remains with us. God is the Light amidst darkness. If men will close out the light, He will let them, for He respects our liberty. He wants our free service. He will not force us.

Come with me, then, and see all He has done to establish His religion, to make it evi­dent, to win you and me to loving service here and to eternal enjoyment hereafter. To those who receive Him He gives the power to be­come the children of God!
From God and Myself, An Inquiry into the True Religion (©1917)
by Martin J Scott, S.J.

Mesa, AZ Priest Takes Leave of Absence

Another Catholic priest has resigned abruptly and will take a leave of absence. The Rev. Chris Carpenter told parishioners at Christ the King Church in Mesa of his decision over the weekend.

Carpenter, a leader in the Phoenix Diocese's ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, already had a three-month sabbatical planned for this year. "But I feel the need for a more extended period of time off to try to resolve some health and other concerns," he told parishioners.
. . .
Carpenter was one of nine priests who signed the Phoenix Declaration, a statement affirming gay rights put together by clergy from several Christian denominations. He is the sixth signer to leave his job....Carpenter's departure comes six weeks after a priest at a neighboring parish, Queen of Peace, resigned because of what he called "aggressively anti-gay" positions taken by the Vatican in terms of recruiting priests...Carpenter is the fourth Mesa pastor to leave his job since Olmsted became bishop in late 2002.
Source - the Arizona Republic

Love should not be confused with lust, says Pope

Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, expected in the next few days, warns believers not to confuse love with lust or degrade it "to mere sex".

The encyclical, a papal letter to bishops that sets out Roman Catholic policy, discusses the relationship between "eros", or erotic love, and "agape", a Greek word referring to unconditional, spiritual and selfless love.

"It is not totally negative on eros," a Vatican source said. "It argues that eros under the right circumstances is OK."

But the Pope issues a warning in the document, entitled Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), that eros risks being "degraded to mere sex" if it is not balanced with spiritual or divine love founded on the teachings of Jesus.
More...from the News.Telegraph

Catholic group requests church where all Masses are in Latin

Although the plan would allow Diocese of Buffalo to save a church from closing, the issue is not without controversy...(isn't it always)

But check it this comment from Monsignor Anthony F. Sherman, associate director of the Secretariat for the Liturgy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I'm certain some people here would have an issue with his comments, if they are, in fact, accurate.
A separate congregation presumably would offer baptisms, first Holy Communion and marriage, among other sacraments. But the highest levels of the Vatican bureaucracy have yet to spell out clearly whether sacraments conducted in the old form are valid.

"That's somewhat of a hazy issue right now," said Sherman. [my emphasis]
So he is stating that it's unclear at the present time whether the sacraments under the Tridentine Rite are valid? This would surely be shocking news to those who attend the Latin Mass and receive the Sacraments.

Perhaps the good Monsignor was a bit confused about the question regarding validity? Might we be so bold as to call him and ask what he meant? The USCCB Phone Number is (202) 541-3000.
There is already precedence for a Latin Mass community. In August, Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, established a home for the traditional Mass congregation inside an historic Kansas City church, with a full-time priest from an order dedicated to celebrating the Tridentine Latin Rites.
And here in St. Louis we have, thanks to Archbishop Burke, the Institute of Christ the King and the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem

Do space aliens have souls? Inquiring minds can check Jesuit's book

Through the British-based Catholic Truth Society, U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno has penned his response to what he says are questions he gets from the public "all the time" when he gives talks on his work with the Vatican Observatory.
. . .
If new forms of life were to be discovered or highly advanced beings from outer space were to touch down on planet Earth, it would not mean "everything we believe in is wrong," rather, "we're going to find out that everything is truer in ways we couldn't even yet have imagined," he said...

High Court Upholds Parental Notification But Encourages Loopholes

An Email from Operation Rescue:
Washington, DC — The Supreme Court today validated the constitutionality of laws that require parental notification before minors may receive abortions. In a 10-page ruling authored by retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Court vacated a lower court’s ruling that the New Hampshire law was permanently unconstitutional but said that the lower court could enjoin the state from applying the law to cases where the life and health of the mother is threatened.

O’Connor said, “In the case that is before us … the lower courts need not have invalidated the law wholesale. Only a few applications of New Hampshire’s parental notification statute would prevent a constitutional problem. So long as they are faithful to legislative intent, then, in this case, the lower courts can issue a declaratory judgment and an injunction prohibiting the statute’s unconstitutional application.”

“This ruling is good news and bad news for us,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We are glad that the court has indicated that parental notification laws are indeed Constitutional, but we have found that the ‘life and health’ exceptions to these kinds of laws are loopholes that end up unnecessarily costing the innocent lives of pre-born babies. In that respect we are disappointed that O’Connor has encouraged loopholes that could make a life-saving law that protects parental rights nearly meaningless.”

“This decision emphasized the fact that we need a rapid vote on Judge Samuel Alito. We look forward to the day when both pro-abortion O’Connor and her ‘undue burden’ standard are gone.”

"Catholic" means whatever one wishes it to mean, right?

A story in the Post about a "priest" who is also a cop...
Founded by former Roman Catholic priest the Rev. Carl Swaringim in 2001, ECC is one of a few hundred independent Catholic churches in the U.S. and has no connection to the Roman Catholic Church or the St. Louis Archdiocese.
But it calls itself the "Ecumenical Catholic Church USA" (ECC), nonetheless. Can you say, "truth in advertising"? Sure, I knew you could!
The independent Catholic churches run the spectrum from very conservative to very liberal," said Swaringim, of O'Fallon, Mo., who is diocesan bishop of ECC. "We tend to be in the middle someplace."
In the middle of the bondage of slavery - in Satan's grasp?
The church's belief statements are similar to those of the Roman Catholic Church, with a few differences: celibacy for priests is a personal decision; all holy orders are open to men and women; those who have been divorced and/or remarried are entitled to the sacraments; and contraception is not a sin but a personal decision of a married couple.
Let's a "personal decision" is not sinful if it's a "personal" decision? Right? And unholy orders for all? Gather round! The buffet is open - please select what you like and ignore what you find unpleasant...
"We're similar to other Christian churches that say we're not here to judge. Let God be the judge, not us," Swaringim said. "We're basically here to facilitate the individual person's relationship with God through word and sacrament in the Catholic faith tradition."
"Catholic" faith tradition? The one received from Apostolic times and handed down by the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit? Oh, it's not that Catholic faith tradition but a new, "different" lovely! And Yes - it's all made up as they go along.
Like St. Stanislaus parish, Sts. Peter and Paul is governed by a lay board and the priests are the agents, subject to dismissal, Swaringim said. But the comparison ends there.
Why does the comparison end there? Because Swaringim says so? Actually, the comparison does not end there as can be seen thoughout the entire article.
"He (Archbishop Raymond Burke) really can't excommunicate us, because we don't belong to his church," Catlett said.
The Archbishop's Church? The real question is, "Do they belong to Christ's Church, the one, holy catholic, and apostolic Church?" The answer is "No"...the "church" they have started is certainly not Catholic...and it's a misrepresentation to use the term "Catholic" in this manner. But then, heretics and schismatics have never really been too concerned with truth. But as the self-appointed 'bishop/pope' has stated, they'll let God be the judge...

Article here.

Pope's 1st Encyclical to be Published Jan 25

VATICAN CITY, JAN 18, 2006 (VIS) - During today's general audience, Benedict XVI announced that his first Encyclical, the title of which is "Deus Caritas est," will made public on January 25. The official presentation of the document will take place in the Holy See Press Office at midday on the same day.

Explaining the contents of the document, the Pope said that "love today often appears as something far removed from Church teaching." Yet "It is a single movement that has various dimensions."

"Charity," the Holy Father went on, "is the love that renounces itself in favor of others. 'Eros' becomes 'agape' if one seeks the good of others, it becomes 'caritas' if it opens to one's own family and to the entire human family."

The Pope affirmed that his Encyclical "seeks to show that the very personal act of love must be expressed within the Church also as an organizational act. If it is true that the Church is an expression of God, it must be true that love becomes an ecclesial act."

"I feel it is a sign of Providence that the Encyclical will be published on January 25, the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, when I will go to the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, to pray together with our Protestant and Orthodox brethren."

Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by expressing the hope that the forthcoming document may "illuminate our Christian life."

At D.C. Parish, Revolt Simmers - Race and Obedience?

Race and Catholic Hierarchy Inflame Dispute in D.C. Parish

By Robert E. Pierre
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 18, 2006; Page A01

The order from the archdiocese had been clear: Stop the accusations, the name-calling, the disobedience to the authority of the Catholic Church.
. . .
The story at Our Lady [of Perpetual Help in Anacostia] is one of clashing opinions and, for [parishioner Bill] Alston and his disgruntled brethren, an attempt to regain control of what they view as their church. Their ancestors built it, and generations since have maintained it, tithed to it, sent their children to its school.
. . .
The story at Our Lady is one of clashing opinions and, for Alston and his disgruntled brethren, an attempt to regain control of what they view as their church. Their ancestors built it, and generations since have maintained it, tithed to it, sent their children to its school.

What they have learned is that butting heads with a 2,000-year-old institution is no easy task. People at every level of church hierarchy have told them the same thing: The Catholic Church is no democracy.
. . .
...order has broken down so thoroughly in this case that the auxiliary bishop of Washington, the Rev. Martin Holley, has sent word that the upset group should obey the pastor or find another church.
. . .
Alston, a determined man, is just as adamant. "I'm supposed to sit down and shut up like a child?" he asked. "They think it's their way or the highway, but it's not going to happen like that. We're grown people."
This has a very familiar ring to it, does it not?

Full story here...

Maybe they could contact the versatile strategists at St. Stanislaus about getting help in overcoming the obstacles of obedience and other virtues...?

Mothers Giving First Communion?

Shocked but not surprised...
Q: Sunday last an acquaintance of my wife's remarked, in passing, that it had been a stressful spring, "You know, with first Communion and all." The lady explained that at her parish in Virginia, mothers (as in moms) administer first Eucharist to their children. She was "so nervous [she] almost couldn't say 'the Body of Christ'" and had to be prompted. Have you ever heard of such a thing, and is it not a gross liturgical/sacramental abuse? -- L.L., Washington, D.C.

A: This practice is not only unlawful but is also rather poor pastoral practice. From the legal point of view, an analogous case was dealt with in the instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," No. 94. To wit:
"It is not licit for the faithful 'to take … by themselves and, still less, to hand … from one to another' the sacred host or the sacred chalice. Moreover, in this regard, the abuse is to be set aside whereby spouses administer Holy Communion to each other at a Nuptial Mass."
A mother and child are in a similar relationship to that of spouses with respect to the above norm.

Extraordinary ministers of holy Communion are commissioned by the bishop to respond to concrete pastoral needs. Appointing a parent as ad hoc extraordinary minister can never correspond to such a necessity.

Apart from the legal consideration, one could honestly ask, what kind of message is onveyed by such initiatives.
And the liturgy committee responds: Uh...we're trying to practice and live "pastoral sensitivity"...Why should we have to concern ourselves with outdated theology or repressive liturgical rules? We've progressed beyond that - ...blah, blah, blah!!! Who has the banners?

More at Zenit, here.

Gospel for Wednesday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:1-6

The Curing of the Man with a Withered Hand

[1] Again He (Jesus) entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. [2] And they watched Him, to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. [3] And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." [4] And He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. [5] And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. [6] The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Him, how to destroy Him.


5. The evangelists refer a number of times to the way Jesus looks at people (e.g. at the young man: Mark 10:21; at St. Peter: Luke 22:61, etc). This is the only time we are told He showed indignation--provoked by the hypocrisy shown in verse 2.

6. The Pharisees were the spiritual leaders of Judaism; the Herodians were those who supported the regime of Herod, benefiting politically and financially thereby. The two were completely opposed to one another and avoided each other's company, yet they combined forces against Jesus. The Pharisees wanted to see the last of Him because they considered Him a dangerous innovator. The most recent occasion may have been when He pardoned sins (Mark 2:1ff) and interpreted with full authority the law of the Sabbath (Mark 3:2); they also want to get rid of Him because they consider that He lowered their own prestige in the eyes of the people by the way He cured the man with the withered hand. The Herodians, for their part, despised the supernatural and eschatological tone of Christ's message, since they looked forward to a purely political and temporal Messiah.

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 17, 2006

The Supreme Court today did not uphold assisted suicide

So states Austin Ruse, President of the Culture of Life Foundation:


Release Date: January 17, 2006
Contact: Mark Adams, 202-289-2500; 318-794-1170

WASHINGTON, DC – "The Supreme Court today did not uphold assisted suicide," said Austin Ruse, President of the Culture of Life Foundation. "The Supreme Court's decision today speaks narrowly to an interpretation of federal statutes, specifically whether Oregon may carve out its own exceptions to the Controlled Substances Act. The Supreme Court has never and did not today speak to the merits of assisted suicide. We believe today's ruling was wrong because federally controlled drugs should be used to heal and comfort and never to kill."

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

A Hospital bed with a Beautiful View

From an email I received today:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window .

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

"Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."

A Very Matter-of-Fact True Story about the Supernatural

How Our Lady smuggled Pavel Chichikov out of the U.S.S.R.
The Answer
by Pavel Chichikov, National Catholic Register
This is a very matter-of-fact true story about the supernatural.

Moscow in the year 1991 was a city in which great changes were maturing, and resistance to those changes was assuming malevolent forms. It was a time and place of potentially deadly contradictions.
An interesting story, to say the least.

Democrats Delay Vote on Alito Nomination

A Recent Comment to an Older Post from Last Year

The supporters of St Stanislaus Kostka showed what they felt, when 2,000 to 3,000 showed up for Christmas Eve Mass. A vindictive archbishop helps
by driving St Louis Catholics and supporters to St Stans.

How can St Agathas be the Polish parish when the hearts and souls of >90% of the St Louis Polish community are committed to St Stans? Nie Możliwy!
Norman Pinkowski
(A quick side note: the stories originally ran stating maybe up to 1500 people were there. It has now doubled according to Mr. Pinkowski...This time next year, we will learn that, like the VP Fair, hundreds of thousands were in attendance)

Merely because an estimated 2000-3000 dissenters showed up for an illicit Mass conducted by an excommunicated priest does not mean that what transpired was right. As Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, stated, "Truth is not determined by a majority vote." And we can see that truth is not determined by the number of renegades and rebels showing up to support disobedience and arrogance.

The Polish Parish is now St. Agatha's because Archbishop Burke has designated it to be such. He alone possesses the lawful authority to decide this - not the confused or misled parishioners of the now suppressed non-Catholic church of St. Stanislaus. While they may call it whatever they wish, they can no longer call it "Catholic" for it isn't.

Venting calumnious phrases such as the "vindictive Archbishop", besides being objectively sinful, does nothing to rectify the situation...Mr. Pinkowski might be better served by discussing his frustrations with a legitimate priest in order to reconcile himself with the Church and with Christ.

The board and their hired 'priest' have made the decisions they have with full knowledge of the consequences. It would seem that those who truly love the Church and wish to remain Catholic would either leave ST. Stanislaus or work to restore it to its previous status as an authentic Catholic parish by selecting board members who would, themselves, be faithful and obedient servants of God and the Church. It's perhaps best to close the book on St. Stanislaus unless something remarkable happens in the future. And lest I forget, we should not fail to pray that this schism will be ended, if it be God's will.

The "Right to Life Act"

The Right to Life Act is needed here in the United States. Contact your Congressmen to let them know they should sponsor this legislation. And ask your Senators to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.
Courtesy of Catholics in the Public Square

I love the smell of, uh, "Town Talk" in the morning.

I cannot say whether these excerpts from the Post-Dispatch's (PD) "Town Talk" and "Soundoff" columns are indicative of the general attitude of the people of the area, of the PD readers - or of the selective culling by someone at the Post Dispatch (or as a reader recently opined, the "Pravda-Dispatch").

What can be learned from reading these comments is that there is a great deal of confusion in the area and it seems that little is done to educate the ill-informed, especially by most media outlets.
Graham had his day in court

WHY DOES THE Journal continue week after week to print letters in defense of Father Graham, slamming Jennifer Joyce and accusing SNAP? He has been indicted by the grand jury and found guilty by a trial jury for the crime of sodomy? He should be in prison and not free on a half-million dollar bond.
Because this was a gross miscarriage of justice? And the "conviction" (or in this case, rail-roading) was obtained without any shred of evidence...
Lack of credibility

THE CONVICTION OF Father Thomas Graham for sexually abusing children was the result of outstanding work by Jennifer Joyce's office. It had nothing to do with a dumb jury or SNAP or anything else. It had everything to do with a simple case of an accuser and an accused and, unfortunately, the accused is a Catholic priest who didn't have a leg to stand on. He didn't have anyone in his corner that was believable. The Catholic Church and their priest and bishops have established that they will hide and deceive when it comes to sexual abuses among their priests. Until they are more transparent and spread it all out there and stop listening to double talking lawyers and do what's right, juries will weed through this and presume that once again they're being deceived by Catholic clergy.
Of course, what this comment above must means is that whether sufficient evidence exists should never be a factor in determining guilt or innocence, especially when a mere accusation conjured up from "recalled memories" serves as overwhelming and convincing evidence, regardless of truth, and especially if the accused is a priest.

What if our dreams and nightmares (recalled memories?) really are the "truth"? Is it not possible that these "recovered memories" were nothing more than deviant desires dreamed up by the accuser? Maybe a practitioner of "recalled memory" psycho-quackery can help me sort all of this out.
Where's the justice?

I JUST READ in the Post Dispatch about the priest at Vianney High School who was sexually abusing the boys. How he got moved from different schools to different parishes. And then I read in the paper that Archbishop Burke excommunicated a priest for saying a Mass at a church. I am Catholic, but you tell me where is justice in this situation?
Is there something in the water around here that causes the brain to malfunction? No, it's the result of something else - a steady diet from the Post.
This is what can happen when one relies on the Post for religious news. Perhaps, spending a bit more time reading the St. Louis Review might help?
All about the green

ARCHBISHOP BURKE WAS fast at excommunicating the board members and priest at St. Stanislaus for nothing but monetary matters. I have never read that any of the accused pedophiles were excommunicated. Bishop Burke has his morals on the dollar bill and that's it.

AS A CATHOLIC, I want to make sure that I understand this: If I take Holy Communion from a Catholic priest at St. Stanislaus, who was excommunicated because he said a Mass, it's a moral sin. Yet, I can take Holy Communion from a priest that's a child molester. It makes sense doesn't it?
Yep! It's a moral sin, alright! Rather than be snide (it's extremely difficult for me at times), especially since some may really not know the difference, I'll try to explain:
First, the priest at St. Stan's has NO faculties - he has no permission from the local bishop to engage in any public ministry. The discipline of the Church from its earliest days require that a priest be obedient to his bishop and in union with the Church. Marek Bozek, as a self-appointed pope, has determined that he does not need to abide by any directives of the Church or the local bishop. Since Bozek has excommunicated himself in the process, it is a grave, mortal sin to receive the Holy Eucharist from this man.

Secondly, while we may agree that priests who have been found guilty of violating the innocence and purity of others by their heinous crimes should be justly punished, there is already a process for such punishment. It is certainly possible that such a priest could be excommunicated in addition to being laicized.

Lastly, it seems that it would be quite a feat for the average Catholic to receive Holy Communion from a priest who is a child molester these days. The more likely case would be receiving Holy Communion from a priest with an inclination of homosexuality.

Nevertheless, for all of these, we should continue to pray!
Christmas wish

AN OPEN PLEA to Santa Claus: Please, for all of us who are over-taxed, victimized by those who know they supply the necessities of life, and just want to worship God in peace would you please somehow get rid of Archbishop Burke, Gov. Matt Blunt, Vice President Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush and all others who have forgotten that those in positions of power are there as servants not kings.
Apparently, there was a recent escape from the local asylum.
All of these interesting comments from: Town Talk

#### Sound Off Picks ####

Don't blame Burke

I wish people would understand that Archbishop Burke is just doing his job. If St. Stanislaus can't follow Canon Law, then they cannot be in the Catholic Church. It is that simple.
Wait a second there, bud! You'll confuse some folks with facts if you talk that way!
Who determines sin?

I attended Mass and Communion at St. Stanislaus Church last Sunday. What a peaceful and guilt-free way to commit a mortal sin.
Best thing going today, it seems - Guilt Free Mortal Sin!

Order yours today from St Stanislaus (Get 'em while supply lasts)!

Here is the link for the Soundoff comments.

A Good Post on Religious Orders

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Religious, courtesy of The Curt Jester.

A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

In the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Each day of the Week will have a different theme:

January 18: United through the presence of Christ. "One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism" (Ephesians 4: 5, 6).

January 19: Building Christian unity with Jesus in our midst - daily ecumenism. "You also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13: 14).

January 20: Praying together in Jesus' name. "The Lord waits to be gracious to you" (Isaiah 30: 18).

January 21: From the past to the future - forgiveness and healing of memories. "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven " (Matthew 18: 22).

January 22: God's presence among us: a call to peace. "The Lord is with us" (Psalm 46).

January 23: Mission in Jesus' name. "So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost" (Matthew 18: 14).

January 24: Recognizing and welcoming God's presence in the other in Jesus' name "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me" (Matthew 18: 5).

January 25: One in hope. "On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you" (John 14:20).

Gospel for Jan 17, Memorial: St. Anthony, Abbot

From: Mark 2:23-28

The Law of the Sabbath

[23] One Sabbath He (Jesus) was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way His disciples began to pluck ears of grain. [24] And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" [25] And He said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and hungry, he and those whowere with him: [26] how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" [27] And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; [28] so the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."


24. Cf. note on Matthew 12:2. [Note on Matthew 12:2 states: "The Sabbath": this was the day the Jews set aside for worshipping God. God Himself, the originator of the Sabbath (Genesis 2:3), ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day (Exodus 20:8-11; 21:13; Deuteronomy 5:14) to leave them free to give more time to God. As time went by, the rabbis complicated this Divine precept: by Jesus' time they had extended to 39 the list of kinds of forbidden work.

The Pharisees accuse Jesus' disciples of breaking the Sabbath. In the casuistry of the scribes and the Pharisees, plucking ears of corn was the same as harvesting, and crushing them was the same as milling--types of agricultural work forbidden on the Sabbath.]

26-27. The bread of the Presence consisted of twelve loaves or cakes placed each morning on the table in the sanctuary, as homage to the Lord from the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Leviticus 24:5-9). The loaves withdrawn to make room for the fresh ones were reserved to the priests.

Abiathar's action anticipates what Christ teaches here. Already in the Old Testament God had established a hierarchy in the precepts of the Law so that the lesser ones yielded to the main ones.

This explains why a ceremonial precept (such as the one we are discussing) should yield before a precept of the natural law. Similarly, the commandment to keep the Sabbath does not come before the duty to seek basic subsistence. Vatican II uses this passage of the Gospel to underline the value of the human person over and above economic and social development: "The social order and its development must constantly yield to the good of the person, since the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons and not the other way around, as the Lord suggested when He said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The social order requires constant improvement: it must be founded on truth, built on justice, and enlivened by love" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 26).

Finally in this passage Christ teaches God's purpose in instituting the Sabbath: God established it for man's good, to help him rest and devote himself to Divine worship in joy and peace. The Pharisees, through their interpretation of the Law, had turned this day into a source of anguish and scruple due to all the various prescriptions and prohibitions they introduced.

By proclaiming Himself `Lord of the Sabbath', Jesus affirms His divinity and His universal authority. Because He is Lord He has the power to establish other laws, as Yahweh had in the Old Testament.

28. The Sabbath had been established not only for man's rest but also to give glory to God: that is the correct meaning of the _expression "the Sabbath was made for man." Jesus has every right to say He is Lord of the Sabbath, because He is God. Christ restores to the weekly day of rest its full, religious meaning: it is not just a matter of fulfilling a number of legal precepts or of concern for physical well-being: the Sabbath belongs to God; it is one way, suited to human nature, of rendering glory and honor to the Almighty. The Church, from the time of the Apostles onwards, transferred the observance of this precept to the following day, Sunday--the Lord's Day--in celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

"Son of Man": the origin of the messianic meaning of this _expression is to be found particularly in the prophecy of Daniel 7:13ff, where Daniel, in a prophetic vision, contemplates `one like the Son of Man' coming down on the clouds of Heaven, who even goes right up to God's throne and is given dominion and glory and royal power over all peoples and nations. This _expression appears 69 times in the Synoptic Gospels; Jesus prefers it to other ways of describing the Messiah--such as Son of David, Messiah, etc.--thereby avoiding the nationalistic overtones those expressions had in Jewish minds at the time (cf. "Introduction to the Gospel according to St. Mark", p. 62 above).

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 16, 2006

Judas, again...

A few days ago a story from The Time of London ran a story about the Vatican revisiting Judas (and which was blogged here)...and many were unsure of the reliability of the article. It seems that The Times was inaccurate after all.

Of course this doesn't negate the fact that some were probably ecstatic over the story, especially those here in Linz, Austria.

Cardinal Lopez Trujillo Proclaims the Truth

"For the first time in the history of all cultures, of all religions, of all ethnic groups, what has always been considered valid under every conception of nature, philosophy, and theology, is now compromised: the idea that marriage is a union of one man and one woman."

If that fundamental understanding is broken, the cardinal said, "anything becomes possible: union among many people, union that does not take age limits into account, polygamy, incest."

"We are facing an enormous philosophical, juridical, and theological confusion," the Colombian prelate said. Approving civil unions, he said, would be tantamount to putting "false money into circulation." Some people would profit, by gaining the same rights and privileges as married couples; but the overall effect on society would be harmful.
CWNews Link

Bishop Apologizes for Handling of Priest

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - A Roman Catholic bishop [Bishop Raphael Fliss] apologized Sunday for the way the diocese handled complaints about a late priest who is believed to have later killed two funeral home workers.
. . .
A Wisconsin judge ruled that the Rev. Ryan Erickson almost certainly shot to death funeral home director Dan O'Connell, 39, and employee James Ellison, 22, in 2002.

St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson said evidence suggests O'Connell learned the priest was sexually abusing someone, was providing alcohol to minors, or both. Erickson committed suicide in 2004, just days after police questioned him in the slayings.

New Pastor Installed for Polish Apostolate at St. Agatha's

Polish Apostolate Celebrates Installation of Fr. Czeslaw Litak

WHAT: Installation Mass of the Rev. Czeslaw Litak as pastor of St. Agatha Parish

WHEN: Sunday, January 15, 2006, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church, 3239 S. Ninth Street, St. Louis, Missouri

WHO: Rev. Czeslaw Litak, pastor of St. St. Agatha Parish
Rev. Msgr. Vernon E. Gardin, vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

ST. LOUIS - On Sunday, January 15, 2006, at 10 a.m., the Polish Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis will celebrate the installation of the Rev. Czeslaw Litak, a native of Poland, as pastor of St. Agatha Parish, the personal parish in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for persons of Polish heritage and language. The Rev. Msgr. Vernon E. Gardin, vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, will preside at the installation ceremony.

Although the installation officially inaugurates Fr. Litak’s pastorate, he has been serving in this capacity since his arrival in St. Louis in August 2005. Fr. Litak succeeded the Rev. Adam Hurbanczuk, also a native of Poland, who had served as administrator of the Polish Apostolate during its time at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Parish and following its move to St. Agatha.

Founded in 1871, St. Agatha Catholic Church was formally inaugurated as the personal parish in St. Louis for Catholics of Polish heritage and language during the pastoral visit of the Most Rev. Ryszard Karpiński, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Lublin, Poland, in July 2005. Bishop Karpiński visited St. Louis as part of his duties as the delegate for the pastoral care of Polish migrants, on behalf of the Polish Bishops Conference.

PDF Source.

Letters to the Post - Charitable acts...

Charitable acts

I agree with recent letters that Catholics are to be credited with many successful charitable organizations, many under the guidance of Archbishop Raymond Burke. But another act by Archbishop Burke went unrecognized: The spending of $500,000 of parishioners' Sunday donations to keep the Rev. Thomas Graham, a convicted pedophile, out of jail and under the archbishop's protection.

Anthony Kaminski
St. Peters
Does Mr. Kaminksi even understand what a bond is? Apparently he doesn't seem to care if there was a miscarriage of justice. One would think from his remarks that Mr. Kaminski would prefer that innocent men go to jail while awaiting trial or an appeal.

Does getting to the truth mean anything to Mr. Kaminski? Perhaps the problems comes from living in the shadows for the past two plus years? Why would I say that?

I suspect that the real source of Mr. Kaminski's uncharitable attitude of innuendo stems from the fact that he is a St Stanislaus parisioner, who proclaims the good news of the new savior of St Stanislaus, Marek Bozek, all while arrogantly denying the authority of the Church and the lawful bishop delegated to govern the local church as noted here.
Anthony Kaminski, a St. Stanislaus parishioner, said Bozek's sacrifice was admirable. "He has taken this job to nurture the congregation," Kaminski said. "He deemed that we were ignored and threatened by our bishop, and he came to the rescue. I admire him."
Or here:
Parishioner Anthony Kaminski said, "It makes me quite upset because it leads other people to think we are rebels and non-believers and there's nothing farther from the truth. We've been law-abiding parishioners of the church for all these years and that's not going to change."
The defense rests!

Gospel for Monday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:18-22

A Discussion on Fasting

[18] Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to Him (Jesus): "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" [19] And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. [20] The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. [21] No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. [22] And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins."


18-22. Using a particular case, Christ's reply tells about the connection between the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testamentthe Bridegroom has not yet arrived; in the New Testament He is present, in the person of Christ. With Him began the Messianic Times, a new era distinct from the previous one. The Jewish fasts, therefore, together with their system of religious observances, must be seen as a way of preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah. Christ shows the difference between the spirit He has brought and that of the Judaism of His time.

This new spirit will not be something extra, added on to the old; it will bring to life the perennial teachings contained in the older Revelation. The newness of the Gospel--just like new wine--cannot fit within the molds of the Old Law.

But this passage says more: to receive Christ's new teaching people must inwardly renew themselves and throw off the straight-jacket of old routines.

19-20. Jesus describes Himself as the Bridegroom (cf. also Luke 12:35; Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:29), thereby fulfilling what the Prophets had said about the relationship between God and His people (cf. Hosea 2:18-22; Isaiah 54:5ff). The Apostles are the guests at the wedding, invited to share in the wedding feast with the Bridegroom, in the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Matthew 22:1-14).

In verse 20 Jesus announces that the Bridegroom will be taken away from them: this is the first reference He makes to His passion and death (cf. Mark 8:31; John 2:19; 3:14). The vision of joy and sorrow we see here epitomizes our human condition during our sojourn on earth.

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

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

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Group Defends Archbishop Raymond Burke

By Rebecca Wu

(KSDK) A newly formed group has now jumped into the fray over St. Stanislaus.

The grassroots group calls itself "Defenders of Archbishop Burke." They showed their support at St. Agatha Parish on Sunday. Bill Mckenzie is the group's founder. Mckenzie said, "We are here to defend the Archbishop against attacks from people who are disgruntled."

Earlier this month, parishioners at St. Stanislaus were notified they were no longer part of the Roman Catholic Church since they continue to operate independently as a civil corporation. In December, the church's board of directors and priest were excommunicated by the Archbishop. McKenzie said, "People were calling radio talk shows, calling him Hitler, on-line forums with the newspaper, people calling him idiot, jerk, anti-Christ."

Mckenzie said he is not affiliated with either St. Stanislaus or the Archdiocese. He just wants to help mend the broken fence. Mckenzie said, "We have nothing against the people at St. Stanislaus. We think they are doing the wrong thing but we just want them to come back to the church."

Meanwhile at St. Stanislaus, parishioners said the hate-calling didn't come from their church. Parishioner Bernice Krauze said, "We don't have anything against him, he's still head of our church as far as we're concerned and we pray for him every week in our petitions for prayers."

In fact, Father Mark Bozek agreed with some of what the new group stands for. Father Bozek said, "I could actually become a member of this group because I want to defend his honor. I will defend the honor of every person of you and anybody who listens to us because we all are human beings and we all have our dignity and values as Christians and humans so none of us deserved to offended in any way."

Former members of St. Stanislaus who agree with the Archbishop have moved to St. Agatha. On Sunday, Father Czeslaw Litak, a native of Poland, was installed as their new pastor.

To contact "Defenders of Archbishop Burke:" DEFENDABPBURKE@SBCGLOBAL.NET.

You are the Light of the World

Pope Pius XI always considered his encyclical on the Catholic priesthood (Ad catholici sacerdotii, published in 1935) as the most important of all his manifold teachings, and he wished it to be frequently meditated on by seminarians and priests. A brief analysis of this inspiring document may help us to become more conscious of the dignity and of the exigencies of our priesthood.


In all religions the priest is the exalted mediator between man and God. "Ex hominibus assumptus, pro hominibus constituitur in iis quae sunt ad Deum" (Heb. 5:1).

His sublime function appears fully in Christianity: "the priest is another Christ". He participates in Christ's mediatorship, for "there is but one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). "I am the light of the world" ; "you are the light of the world" (not only illuminating but life-giving). "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (John 20:21). The priest re­presents and continues Christ: he is the "visible Christ", carrying on the action of the Saviour, and sharing in the power of the Incarnate Word.

With a word he works the stupendous miracle of the transubstantiation and offers up Christ's own Sacrifice, drawing upon its infinite value (latreutic, eucharistic, expiatory and impetratory). - He dispenses the mysteries of God to the faithful; he is Christ for them, from their birth, when he makes them children of God and members of Christ, till their death, which thanks to him will be the beginning of eternal life. He feeds them with Christ's own Body; he exercises the formidable and properly divine power (Mark 2:7) of remitting their sins: "Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis". - He is the official dispenser of the divine teaching, chosen to announce the "good tidings", the "unfathomable riches of Christ", and to keep bright the light of conscience which human passions and sophisms tend to obscure: "Euntes docete omnes gentes". - Finally he is the official intercessor before God for the sins and needs of mankind: not only by offering the Sacrifice, but also by his constant prayer, official (breviary) and private.

The enemies of the Church have understood the supreme importance of the Catholic priesthood: their first effort is to paralyse and persecute, to calumniate and dishonour it.


a) In general: the priest must have (or aim at) a sanctity corresponding to his dignity and vocation. "To fulfil the duties of holy Orders, common goodness does not suffice, but eminent goodness is required" (St Thomas, Suppl., 35, 1, ad 3). If faithful imitation of Christ is the law of all Christian life, how much more of priestly life, since the priest continues Christ on earth. True, the essential efficacy of the Sacraments does not depend on the worthiness of the minister. Still, without personal sanctity, the priest is unfit for his sublime task of mediator. How can he sincerely offer to God worship, praise, especially the Eucharistic Sac­rifice ? How can he cultivate in others the life of grace and sanctity if he does not excel in it himself? How can he be a 'witness of the truth' if his life contradicts the truth? Unless he sincerely strives after sanctity, his words will be cold and unconvincing; his example will pull down what his preaching tries to build up. He will be like the hypo­critical Pharisees "qui dicunt et non faciunt" (read Our Lord's terrible indictment of the Pharisees: Matt. 23). ­Hence it would be a disastrous mistake if a priest gave himself up to his ministry so completely as to neglect the care of his personal sanctity.

b) Some particular virtues especially necessary to the priest:
Piety, "solid piety, which is not dependent upon changing mood or feeling, but is based on principles of sound doctrine, ruled by staunch convictions; it should primarily be directed towards God our Father in heaven ".

Chastity, "a most precious treasure of the Catholic priesthood"; it makes him an example in a carnal world, and sets him free for the service of things spiritual and divine.

Detach­ment from worldly goods; woe to the priest who, forgetful of his vocation, should become "greedy of filthy lucre" (Tit. 1:7; he would earn the contempt even of his own people.

Zeal for souls: freed from the bonds of family and self-interest, his heart will more readily bum with the apostolic flame; he will long and labour to bring all men unto Christ; exercising, however, his zeal in a spirit of disci­pline and obedience.

c) Finally the priest requires learning; for he is set up as a 'master in Israel': he must dispel the prevailing religious ignorance, enlighten the minds, clear away prejudices, solve difficulties, inspire confidence and enthusiasm.

"Therefore it is necessary that the priest, even among the absorbing tasks of his charge, should continue his theological studies with unremitting zeal. The knowledge acquired at the semi­nary must be deepened and daily increased. Herein is the secret of effective preaching and of influence over the souls of men.

Yet even more is required: the dignity of the office he holds, and the maintenance of a becoming respect and esteem among the people, which helps so much in the pastoral work, demand more than purely ecclesiastical learning; the priest must be graced by no less knowledge and culture than is usual among well-educated people of this day." (Hence study must find a place in the priest's time and budget; regular and methodical.)

(Since the priest is to be 'sal terrae' {salt of the earth] and 'lux mundi' [light of the world], his training is of supreme importance for the Church and for the world. The Holy Father treats of the necessity of excellent seminaries, of the severity required in the admission of candidates, of the means of fostering vocations.)


As the enemies of the Church make every effort to dis­credit the clergy, so the priests will use every means to live up to their high calling; 'digne ambulate vocatione qua vocati estis.' For this end frequent retreats and monthly recollections are particularly important. God's grace will not be wanting.
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 49.