Saturday, January 28, 2006

Personal Love of God

"And we know that the Son of God is come: And has given us understanding, that we may know the true God, and may be in His true Son. This is the true God, and life eternal. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." St John 5:20,21.

No one can look, dear brother and sisters, into the history of the struggle between the Christian Church and its opponents of past and present times without being struck by the great dis­tinctive feature that marks off that struggle from all others, whether of philosophies, or politics, or races. It is a difference of intensity both in the opposition and in the support which have, in all ages, been given to the Christian idea.

We see this in the generally recognized fact, that no party spirit can run so high that it will not run ten times higher when what is called the religious element is introduced; and the odium theologicum is the great bugbear of those who think that the cold, unimpassioned tone of modern argument, is a note of its truth.

Christianity is, then, more than a philosophy, more than a policy: and while philosophers and politicians wonder why it is so, God in His mercy has shown us Christians the reason. We know that what is our pride and our joy, what is in sorrow our support, in bereavement our surviving friend; what we cling to in life and in death; what we suffer for, and what makes that suffering light; what we are prepared to die for, and what would make our martyrdom easy, is no trust in a theory, no admiration of a fancy, but is something deeper, something holier far: is a love, a tender love; a faith, a loyalty, a devotion, the yielding of our being to One who is in our midst­ a Personal God, with a threefold beauty of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Here is the secret of Chris­tian valor and Christian success; and here, also, is the explanation of anti-Christian ani­mosity towards the Personal God, whom with a triple sin the world rejects as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Christianity had scarcely dawned, Jesus was as yet but a helpless infant, when that great rejection was foretold by Simeon, when he said to Mary His Mother, "Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted."

And that prophecy of contradiction entered into Mary's heart, and found there the strongest love that mother ever bore to son, that creature ever bore to Creator; beginning in that first crushing dolor of our Blessed Lady, the struggle between the love of God and the hatred of God, which can only cease on earth when Christianity passes into a fuller and eternal dispensation.

This, then, is the fundamental truth I would have you reflect on today. That our God is a Personal God, that our religion is summed up in personal love of Him, and that the attacks of the enemies of Christianity have been at all times, and are now, mainly directed against this dogma, as against the embodiment of the Christian Idea.

The Incarnation - that is, the taking of our human nature by a Divine Person - being the central truth of Christianity, and the great reali­zation of the Personality of God, has ever been the object of the enemy's assaults. It is Jesus Christ who is the sign set up to be contradicted; and the principal heresies of the early ages of the Church were aimed at Him and His Divine Person.

While the Arians' denied that He was God at all, the Nestorians said He was a human person as well as a Divine one; and the Euty­chian and Monothelite heresies, in robbing the Divine Person of His human nature and will, sought to divorce Him from that close union which made Him Emmanuel - God with us.

But these false doctrines passed away with those that held them, and then came the great blight of Protestantism. Men were no longer to be so intimate with their God. Expression of personal love, whether in the privacy of devotion or in the splendour of the Church's ritual, all Catholic loyalty and Christian chivalry were things of superstition. They would have a purer, albeit a colder creed. It was an estrangement, it was "following afar off;" and perhaps they thought no more than Peter that it would end in a denial. "You search the Scrip­tures, for you think in them to have eternal life. . . And you will not come to me that you may have life."

It has been left to our days to see the outcome of Protestantism. Our good God has made in these times a special revelation of Himself. The Father has opened to His children the books of science, and taught them the wonders of His creative love. They read the story of the earth and of the rock; they turn from it to the beauties of the vegetable and animal kingdoms; they study the delicate structure of man's organization, and analyse the complex workings of his brain: every­where they see the ordination of aim to end, the shaping of matter by idea, the strange existence of a world-wide type; the mind of their Heavenly Father working, His will directing; the close­ clinging Presence of Him in all creation: they see all nature flooded with His beauty, they look into His face, and do not recognize Him. And why? Because in their hearts they find nothing to correspond with what is shown to them.

The God of their religion had come to be a mere notion, a logical conclusion, an idea of the intellect; but here are facts, soul-stirring facts - movement, life, beauty, a Presence instinct with power that awes them, and wisdom that attracts them. Oh, no! this is not their God; these things are not notions! And so they deify the creature, and our good and loving Father is put out from His own creation. He is the "Unknowable," the "Unthinkable," and so, alas, the "Unlovable."

And as we hear these words, time seems to have turned back to the day when St. Paul stood in the Areopagus - as we might fancy him at a Scientific Convention or Congress now­ and cried out: "You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For passing by and seeing your idols, I found an altar also on which was written: To the unknown God. What, therefore, you worship, without knowing it, that I preach to you."

What St. Paul preached then, my brothers and sisters, God has called us to preach now, and the errors of the Athenian Areopagus are the errors of our own days. We must still preach the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the One Personal God; we must still preach the sign of contradiction, and rally Christians round the person of their Christ.

To the throngs of men full of new notions, to the holders of new and strange philosophies, to the leaders of young sciences, and the rulers of young nations, the Christian tells the self-same word that was heard in the streets of Jerusalem, and by the listeners of Rome and Antioch: love for One whose love is never weary; a single heart, a single aim, devotion to a Personal God, loyalty to Jesus, love of His Sacred Heart. And His was the same word, when through Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, He preached the love of the Father, the promise of the Paraclete, and by His personal presence led men to leave all things and follow Him.

Let us hear some of His words as told in one of the Gospels - that one on which the volleys of modern criticism are directed, perhaps because it is, of all others, the Gospel of love, and written by the disciple whom Jesus loved.

In Our Lord's first discourse, as related by St. John, we read: "For God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him may have everlasting life."

And in the last discourse of Jesus before His Passion, we read: "If you love me keep my command­ments. And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever."

And a few verses further on we read: "If any man love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him. . . . The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things."

And again, in the whole fifteenth chapter, Jesus tells His disciples of the love of tho Father, of the Paraclete, of Jesus Himself, often repeating Himself in His desire to enforce this doctrine of love. And in that touching prayer to His Father, which forms the seventeenth chapter of St. John's Gospel, and in which the whole previous discourse is summed up in one final appeal, Jesus concludes in these words: "Just Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee: and these have known that Thou hast sent me. And I have made known Thy Name to them, and I will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them."

And here the preaching of love by word ceased, and the preaching by deed began; for in the very next verse we read: "When Jesus had said these things, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden." He was about to prove that love of His "greater than which no man has, that he lay down his life for his friend."

And this Christianity, preached as the law of Love, by a Divine Person, founded in the suffer­ings and death of the God-man, Jesus, was spread by the very same preaching of love, and sealed by the blood of innumerable martyrs, who gave their lives for their Friend. And He was ever, by these heroes of His love, giving them that strength and peace of heart amid their sufferings which has been through all times the puzzle of the perse­cutors of Christianity.

How touchingly is the Personal aid of Christ to His first martyr, St. Stephen, told us in the Acts: "But Stephen being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to Heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And He said: Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. . . . And they stoned Stephen, invoking, and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

And we all remember the story of the grand old St. Polycarp, who, when commanded by his persecutors to forswear Christ, answered: "Eighty and six years have I been His servant, and He has never wronged me, but ever has preserved me; and how can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"

Jesus is with His martyrs now, as He was then, and thank God that there are souls as true, and lovers as valiant, as ever faced the terrors of the Amphitheatres of Rome. I quote from a letter from a Catholic Bishop in the southeast of Asia. He writes:
"Fifty-seven Christians had been made prisoners. Before putting them to death, the pa­gans thus addressed them: 'Let those who wish to save their lives rise up,' to testify that they apostatize. One man and four women rose up, and were at once released. The other fifty-two, who continued praying, were brought to the riverbank to be drowned. They were tied together, hands and feet, and cast into the stream. A Christian woman, mother of four little children, told me of her husband's martyrdom. His execu­tioners, angry at his perseverance in prayer, even after he had received the first sabre cut, threw him on his back and cut off his head. He had four companions in his martyrdom - two men, with their young wives, all recently baptized; they all died joyfully."
God will probably not call us to be martyrs, my brothers and sisters, although now days one cannot see what is ahead. But however this may be, we shall have enough to suffer from the enemies of Christ, fight enough to make for Him. The prison and gibbet are perhaps easier to bear than what we may have to take from the world, and to resist in it. Its sarcasms, its railleries, its brilliant show of logic, all that charms in scientific research, in the speciousness of half truths, and in the elegance of refined thought and language - to all this we must oppose the simplicity of our personal love for our God, the faithfulness of our devotion to our King, and the fearless chivalry that is the outcome of that devotion.

And in this, the mode of our opposition to the world of modern days, we do but follow the example of our Mother the Church. See her last two definitions. One was an act of personal homage to the Mother of Jesus, the other was a fearless declaration to an angry world, that he who sits on the Chair of Peter is in his prerogative of Personal Infallibility, the living representative among men of that Di­vine Person, whose mystical body is the Catholic Church. Thus our love for the Pope is but an expression, and a natural one, of our love for Jesus Christ.

The modern devotions of the Church have fol­lowed her dogmatic definitions; and the rapid spread of her rite of Benediction of the most Blessed Sacrament, of the cultus of the Sacred Heart, and of the beautiful devotion to the Holy Spirit, has brought home to men's hearts the full meaning, the full strength, and the great practical bearing of the dogma of the Personality of God.

Our duty then, is plain. That we cannot love what we do not know is an axiom of philosophy. But in the knowledge and love of God, it is also true that we cannot know Him and not love Him.

Let this then be our strength! Let us learn to rest dissatisfied until our knowledge turns to love, and our study to prayer, and our actions to charity.

And we may be as­sured of this, that if we enter into the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by frequent adoration of each Divine Person, by quiet meditation on our relations with each, and by that spirit of unworldliness which will make us clean of heart, and thus fitted to see God, then we shall be drawn by the beauty of that Presence, strengthened by its nearness, taught by its wis­dom, looking forward to the day when the veil shall be rolled back, and we shall see, no longer in enigma, dimly, but face to face, and heart to heart, the glory of the Father, of the Son, and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen!
Adapted from...Sermons 1877-1887
by Fr Arthur Ryan
President of St. Patrick's College
Thurles, Ireland

St. Patrick's College, in 1992, ceased to be a Seminary.

Many More Pics - March for Life

Cardinal George enters hospital for dizziness

Cardinal Francis George was admitted to a suburban Chicago hospital Thursday for medical tests after he reported continuing dizziness...

Gospel for Jan 28, Memorial: St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor of the Church

From: Mark 4:35-41

The Calming of the Storm

[35] On that day, when evening had come, He (Jesus) said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." [36] And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them just as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him. [37] And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was already filling. [38] But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care if we perish?" [39] And He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. [40] He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" [41] And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?"


35-41. The episode of the calming of the storm, the memory of which must have often helped the Apostles regain their serenity in the midst of struggles and difficulties, also helps us never lose the supernatural way of looking at things: a Christian's life is like a ship: "As a vessel on the sea is exposed to a thousand dangers--pirates, quicksands, hidden rocks, tempests--so man in this life, is encompassed with perils, arising from the temptations of Hell, from the occasions of sin, from the scandals or bad counsels of men, from human respect, and, above all from the passions of corrupt nature [...]. This should not cause him to lose confidence. Rather [...] when you find yourself assaulted by a violent passion [...] take whatever steps you can to avoid the occasions [of sin] and place your reliance on God [...]: when the tempest is violent, the pilot never takes his eyes from the light which guides him to port. In like manner, we should keep our eyes always turned to God, who alone can deliver us from the many dangers to which we are exposed" (St. Augustine, "Sermon 51; for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany).

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 27, 2006

Obedience to the Church

Because of the great confusion which still persists in some areas of the beliefs and practices of some Catholics, I offer the following excerpts for reflection - particularly to those who persist in their open defiance of Archbishop Burke and in their rebellion against lawful ecclesiastical authority. It is my hope that this will be a source of greater understanding regarding the importance and necessity of obedience, despite the difficulties one may have encountered in trying to live one's life as a faithful member of Christ's Mystical Body.

All emphasis below is mine. Enjoy!

by John A. Hardon, S.J.

An obvious difference exists between the Catholic and other Christian concepts of ecclesiastical authority. Where the Catholic believes his Church to be invested with divine authority and demanding complete obedience, Protestants and others do not feel themselves so bound. Their implicit idea is that no visible agency, not even the Church, has access to the fullness of truth or its correlative certitude. It cannot, therefore, command absolute submission to its precepts if it does not claim to possess infallible certainty.
. . .
A Catholic, on the other, by the very fact of his religious profession believes that the Church is God's vice-gerent, His visible spokesman to the world and authorized by Him to direct its members on the road to heaven. In the degree to which his faith is strong, he is ready to put aside his own private judgment and prompt to obey in all things what he considers not an authoritarian institution but an extension of Christ Himself. Three levels of obedience are conceivable:
The first and lowest, is the obedience of execution which carries a command into external effect, but without internal submission of mind and will. This scarcely merits the name of obedience.

The second degree, or obedience of the will, is praiseworthy and highly meritorious because it involves the sacrifice of human freedom for the love of God.

At the highest level stands obedience of the intellect which is possible because, except in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the will for its own motives can bend the understanding; it is reasonable because, for the Catholic, nothing could be more intelligent than submission of mind to infinite wisdom; it is also necessary to insure proper subordination in a hierarchical society and protect the subject from internal conflict.

The Christian faith is essentially obscure, i.e., accepted on divine authority and not because intrinsically evident. Its very nature, therefore, places a burden on the intellect that needs to be recognized and properly handled. . .For a Catholic, the fundamental reason is the Church's divine mission, given by Christ, to establish laws and prescribe their observance. . .[This] applies to all the commandments of the Church, and not only the universal precepts but every command, even personal, made by valid ecclesiastical authority.

...The difficulty with obeying ecclesiastical authority may be a persuasion that the command is too hard for me...[This] requires cultivation of the right mental attitude.

Feelings of inadequacy, poor health, the memory of past failures, the dread of being estranged or humiliated, and the fear of all sorts of possibilities, real or imaginary, will conspire to make a precept of obedience seem like a piece of tyranny unless the mind uses a heavy counterpoise to maintain a balanced judgment. The counterpoise, which comes from the depths of one's faith, is a settled conviction that "God does not command the impossible. But when He commands, He warns you to do what you can, and also to pray for what you cannot do, and He helps you so that you can do it. For His commandments are not burdensome; His yoke is sweet and His burden light." This conviction is indispensable. Unless nourished and developed, even the gravest obligations will be disobeyed and their gravity obscured by the pressure of the emotions on the mind.

It may happen that a command seems unreasonable on the score of inefficiency, ineptitude, or any one of a dozen natural causes. Assuming that due representation has been made and there is no suspicion of sin if the order is carried out, the perfectly obedient man will look for reasons to support the precept and instinctively avoid any mental criticism.

The ground for this attitude is once more the faith. From a natural standpoint the order may be a poor decision and scarcely suited to achieve the purpose intended, but supernaturally a Catholic knows that his obedience can never be fruitless. When the apostles cast their nets into the water at the bidding of Christ, they were obedient, as Peter said, only the word of the Master; and the miraculous draught which followed symbolizes this higher than ordinary providence, which disposes all things surely to their appointed end as foreseen and directed by God and beyond the calculations of men. There is no question here of conceiving a deus ex machina or relying on miracles, while admitting their possibility. It is rather a firm belief that a person's submission to the divine will has a guarantee of success that he can always hope for from the One whom he ultimately obeys, because it involves the prevision of myriad hidden forces, which He infallibly foresees, and their infinite combinations, which He infallibly designs.

You may read the entire Chapter on Authority and Obedience here.

Lenten Greetings From Father Corapi

E-Letter received via email:

This year the universal Church begins the season of Lent on March 1st, Ash Wednesday. By the solemn mystery of the forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert. It is the Church's primary and most solemn time of penance, a preparation for the Paschal mystery, the mystery of our salvation.

We recall that Jesus went into the desert as a preparation for the public ministry that He was about to undertake. It was a time of intense prayer and penance. During this time, as Scripture recounts, Jesus encountered the Devil, the Tempter. This is when we often likewise encounter the Enemy: when we are vulnerable from the rigors of life, the stresses of trials and tribulations. This is the time to give glory to God.

We should pray and do some penitential works throughout the forty days of Lent, preparing for the great mystery of our Redemption. The greatest penitential work is to resist sin, especially any sins we are chronically guilty of. Make a firm purpose of amendment, go to Confession, receive the holy Eucharist frequently, do some charitable works. All of this weakens the strangle hold of evil on each one of us personally, as well as our loved ones, friends, and all creation.

Life is dour combat, to use the words of the Catechism, and we should wage war against sin like we intend to win. If we do so, the glory of Easter morning will take on new and higher meaning for us this year.

May God grant you every blessing and grace to fight the good fight and run the race to the finish line.

In Jesus' Love through Mother Mary,
Fr. John Corapi, SOLT


Providentially, I was able to get a couple of tickets to Fr. Corapi's conference in March (10th & 11th) in Kansas City...I'm looking forward to this since he has not been here for a few years, the last time of which I am aware, was in Washington, MO. You can check his schedule at the website above, KC is only about 3.5 hrs from here, and it's possible tickets might still be available...

A Sample Letter to Fr. Biondi re: V-Monologues

A Prayer Vigil is is currently being planned and organized for the opening night of the V-Monologues performance (perhaps from 7-8pm) at St. Louis University, if it is permitted to proceed as planned. This would be similar to last year's prayer vigil (hopefully, with more people.)

Mark Serafino has graciously provided an adapted sample letter (below) which could be used to send to Fr. Biondi. Perhaps, with God's grace and an overwhelming letter-writing campaign, he may see fit to force this play off-campus...Please consider sending a letter or email to Fr. Biondi at your earliest possible convenience. Thank you!

You can send an e-protest from TFP here, as well, but a personalized letter may provide more impact.

------The Sample Letter------

Reverend Lawrence Biondi
St. Louis University
221 N. Grand Ave
St. Louis, MO 63103

Dear Father Biondi,

I understand that St. Louis University is listed by V-Day to host an indecent play called "The V***** Monologues" (Asterisks added for the sake of modesty) on February 10th, 11th and 12th at Tegeler Hall in Carlo Auditorium, sponsored by the St. Louis University School of Social Work.

I urge you to take a firm public stand against "The V***** Monologues" within your institution, whether under official auspices or not. Moral values are most important, especially in the context of a Catholic college or university. In Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II says:
"A Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching, and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes… Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities."
This sinful play tears down social and moral mores. It tramples the 6th Commandment. It degrades women. It promotes lesbian behavior.

Freedom of speech has limits. Please do everything in your power as president of a Catholic institution of higher learning to cancel this immoral play, even if it is not formally approved or funded by your administration. I pray you will take serious measures to uphold morality and ensure that this play does not perform on your campus. Please let me know what course of action you will take.

Thank you for your kind and urgent attention to this matter.

What's Up with This?

Pope’s First Encyclical Will Be Published by USCCB Publishing

“God Is Love” will be available from USCCB Publishing on February 14. USCCB Publishing will be printing the encyclical in English (publication number 5-758) and Spanish (publication number 5-922). The estimated length of the encyclical is 64 pages and it will be priced at $6.95.
Does this mean the Pauline Books and Media (The Daughters of St. Paul) will not publish it? If not, I guess that I'll have to rely on my own printed copy. Can the USCCB translate this from English to AmChurchSpeak in such a short period of time? While on the subject of translations, does anyone know when the "English" version of the Compendium of the Catechism will be available...?

An Update on "Poles Mark Holocaust Memorial Day"

A reader commented on this previous post about something which the article failed to mention, but, nevertheless, it deserves to be expounded so that more people can understand...Thanks to MN-Ray for taking the time to post this!

It is important to remember that there were more than Jews that died in the Holocaust. The war and mass killings were underway for almost two years before the mass killings of the Jews began when Russia was invaded in June of 1941.

"Sarmatian Review XVIII.2:
Polish Losses in World War IIPolish Losses in World War II
compiled by Witold J. Lukaszewski

Auschwitz was built in 1940 for Poles and, in the end, 140,000 of them died
there. Beginning in Spring 1942, Jews followed Poles into Auschwitz and they
eventually became its most numerous victims, with 1.1 million being the
estimated number ("Liczba ofiar," Franciszek Piper and Walcaw Dlugoborski,
Auschwitz 1940-1945, Wydawnictwo Panstwowego Muzeum 1995, 171-8 ).

Poland's population losses during World War II were proportionately by far the
greatest of any nation participating in the war. Of its 35 million people before
the war, Poland lost 6.5 million. An estimated 664,000 were battlefield deaths
(this figure exceeds combined losses of the United States and Great Britain in
WWII), and the remainder, or 90 percent, were civilians of all ages (Norman
Davies, Europe: A History, Oxford 1996, 1328; Richard Lukas, The Forgotten
Holocaust, U. of Kentucky Press 1986, 39; The 1992 Almanac, Houghton Mifflin

The Nazi German death machine in the Nazi-occupied half of Poland killed:
3 million of the 3.3 million Jews who lived in Poland before World War II, or 90
percent of the Jewish population (S.P. Oliner and P.M. Oliner, The Altruistic
Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe, Free Press 1998, 25-29).

More than 2 million Polish Catholics, with special emphasis on eliminating the
national elites (Zbigniew Brzezinski, Out of Control, Scribner's 1993, 7 - 18 ).
One out of four (25 percent) of Catholic clergy (Polish Foreign Minister Wadysaw
Bartoszewski's Speech to the Bundestag in Bonn, Germany, 28 April 1995).
One out of four (25 percent) of all Polish scientists (Bartoszewski, op. cit.).
One out of five (20 percent) of all Polish schoolteachers (Bartoszewski, op.

200,000 Polish children were deported to Germany for purposes of Germanization.
150,000, or 75 percent, never returned to their families in Poland
(Bartoszewski, op. cit.).

The Soviet death machine in the Soviet-occupied half of Poland killed:
21,000 Polish officers murdered by the NKVD in the Katyn Forest and elsewhere
(Brzezinski, op. cit.).

Between 1.6 million and 1.25 million Poles (the lowest estimate) were deported
to Siberia and Kazakhstan between 1939-1941 as a result of Soviet 'ethnic
cleansing' (Jan Tomasz Gross, Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of
Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, Princeton 1988, 194). An
estimated four-fifths died either directly or as a result of privations incurred
during the deportations.

State Security in the Soviet-occupied Poland between 1945-1955 murdered tens of
thousands of political, military and intellectual leaders (Teresa Toranska,
"Them," Harper & Row 1987, 139).

Moscow's policies designed to debilitate the Polish nation included, among
others, the following instruction: "While rebuilding the [Polish] industry and
building new industry, make sure that industrial waste is directed to rivers
which will be used as reservoirs of drinking water." (Arnold Beichman, "Soviet
Directives Sought to Keep Poles from Developing Identity," a syndicated column
published, among others, in The Penticton Press, 24 February 1994; the full text
of the Soviet directives can be found in SR, XIV/1, Jan 1994, 211-213).

In the Polish collective memory of World War II, the Nazi occupation is
organically tied to the Soviet occupation. Soviet genocidal policies directed at
Poland were no less devastating than those of the Nazis. A recent study by
French scientists has shown that 'Those very features of Nazism that we find
most repellent have now been proven endemic to communism from its inception.'
(NYT, 22 December 1997; see also Cardinal Wyszynski's comment on the Nazis'
imitation of the Soviet death machine, as summarized by Szyldkraut and Sluszny,
on page 546 of this issue of SR).

The Soviet occupation of Poland lasted nearly ten times as long as that of the
Nazis. Even more ideologically corrosive than the Nazis, the Soviets devastated
the lives of three generations of Poles, whose living conditions were made
wretched, whose religion and culture were attacked with the full power of the
office of state security. As General Wladyslaw Anders remarked to General George
Patton: 'With the Nazis, we [Poles] lose our lives; with the Soviets, we lose
our souls.... If I found my army between the Nazis and the Soviets, I would
attack in both directions.'

Return to April 1998 Issue
The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 05/1/98"

TFP: Fighting Abortion in a Cultural War

Year after year since the tragic Roe v. Wade decision we come here to protest abortion on the streets of the nation’s capital. Year after year, the devastation caused by abortion becomes more patent, while its harmful consequences accumulate.
Another insightful look at this deadly and devastating culture war in which we are engaged.

Hat tip to Patte G for the update!


Some outlandish comments have arisen over previous St Stanislaus post...I thought I would take the last one made and parse it since it's fairly typical...Of course, it's from "Anonymous", who is, evidently, a friend and supporter of schism, cafeteria "Catholicism", and only God knows what else.
The entire comment reads:
For all those who blindly follow the "law" of A. Burke and say the rest of us twist the facts...I have relatives in Wisconsin now who know Burke's tactics well...they call him "Rev.Slash & Burn"...we can argue pros and cons of the man and his brand of church leadership forever but bottom line he is a Man with "no protection of infallibility". Those who say the board at St. Stan's is disobeying the Holy See....correct me if I'm wrong but I was taught that the Pope is infallible only in matters of faith(the things we must believe to be Catholic).

The Church hierarchy does and has made mistakes in the past-some things MUST be questioned...what if in our Church history no one had spoken out against the "Inquisition"???

Bringing up the sex abuse scandal is not out of line in these comments because it relates to the fact that the Church greatly mishandled the problem and is in financial straits because of lawyer fees,lawsuits,etc. In some cities the archdiocese' are declaring bankruptcy saying that parish assets belong to the archdiocese while others declare that parishes assets are controlled by the parishes themselves...How can Burke excommunicate the board at St. Stan's for disobeying his orders citing Canon Law? Or is this Canon Law in St. Louis ??!!
So, let's break it down and review it:
For all those who blindly follow the "law" of A. Burke....
Archbishop Burke is not acting arbitrarily nor is he "making it up as he goes along". He's certainly not invoking some recently conjured self-made "law" as you persist in saying but he is obligated to follow Canon Law, the codified laws of the Church! And what's wrong with those who "blindly" assent and follow the laws of the Church? Did not Jesus Himself tell us to "Take up your cross and Follow Me."? Did He not also say to His Apostles (including their successors), "He who hears you hears Me, and He who rejects you, reject Me and He Who sent Me." Was He not obedient to Mary and Joseph? Did He not tell the people to listen and obey those who occupied the seat of Moses?....Is that not sufficient for you? Is this truly not enough? Only those who minds have been clouded with pride will insist that following one's bishop is optional and contrary to Christ's commands.

I have relatives in Wisconsin now....
Should we pity the people of the State of Wisconsin? ;-)

who know Burke's tactics well...
This is hearsay, yes?...What do they know and how did they come to this extraodinary knowledge and wisdom? This sounds like an Appeal to Misleading Authority.

they call him [Abp. Burke] "Rev.Slash & Burn"...
RED HERRING ALERT! Anyway, that's awfully "unChristian" of them, isn't it...or are they in schism as well?

bottom line he is a Man with "no protection of infallibility"....
RED HERRING ALERT! No one has ever claimed this in any conversation, despite the fact that you seem to want to beat this dead horse ad infinitum and seem to be unable to grasp this reality.

correct me if I'm wrong but I was taught that the Pope is infallible only in matters of faith....
Consider yourself duly corrected for you are wrong again! Try reading "Pastor Aeternus" from the First Vatican Council, then try the Catechism (Paragraghs 888-892, 2032-2040). Just for further study, AFTER you feel that you have a foundational understanding of the doctrine, read Ad Tuendam Fidem, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio and Cardinal Ratzinger's Commentary and explanation on Ad Tuendam Fidem.

The Church hierarchy does and has made mistakes in the past-some things MUST be questioned...
Of course the hierarchy can and does make mistakes. But what does that have to do with this issue? And, lest you forget, there is a process which allows you to address your concerns. If you do not like a decision made by your priest, take it to the bishop - take it Rome if you wish - Ooops, St. Stanislaus has already done that and lost...Then, perhaps, one should appeal to God while still practicing humility and obedience.

But it seems to me that you think that you are endowed with that power, wisdom and ability to make any determination about what is to be questioned and when it is to be questioned and how it is to be decided. If you will read those documents that I have listed above, perhaps you will be moved to swallow this arrogant and prideful thinking and retract this claim of yours - the position of absolute autonomy in determining and resolving certain ecclesiastical matters outside the realm of your authority.

what if in our Church history no one had spoken out against the "Inquisition"?...
RED HERRING ALERT! An attention deflection attempt! Are you now claiming to be an historian as well as a canon lawyer? What do you really know of the inquisition? How many millions of people did the Church execute? What if the Inquisition had never taken place, where would we be now?

Bringing up the sex abuse scandal is not out of line in these comments because it relates to the fact that the Church greatly mishandled the problem...
RED HERRING ALERT! Irrelevant, not at issue! Your Objection is OVERRULED! This has nothing, nada, to do with the St. Stanislaus issue despite your repeated attempts to show a connection which has never existed here. After all, several of the Ordinaries of the Archdiocese have, through the years, tried to resolve the St. Stan's "problem."

In some cities the archdioceses are declaring bankruptcy...
RED HERRING ALERT! Irrelevant, not at issue! Has nothing to do with the St. Louis Archdiocese or St Stanislaus.

How can Burke excommunicate the board at St. Stan's for disobeying his orders citing Canon Law?....
They excommunicated THEMSELVES!!!! Did you not read Archbishop Burke's explanation in the St Louis Review (Dec 16 column)? Did these people NOT bring in a suspended priest contrary to the ecclesiastical laws of the Church?

Or is this Canon Law in St. Louis ??!!....
Do you mean "Burke's Law", that "man-made" law? OK, OK, I give up! You win! I surrender!!!!

We've all been snookered! I've seen the error of my ways and the facts you have so assiduously and repeatedly presented are now clear to me. You've caught all of us in our deceptions and our spin...

Please Lord, grant me patience!

Put down the missalette!!!

Great advice from Fr. Powell on "Hearing a Homily"

The intrigue of it all....Opus Dei 101

So here I am facing another Minnesota winter, looking to expand my mind. Naturally I turn to "The Winter & Spring 2006 Community Education Catalog" of the Eden Prairie, Minnesota public schools, where I see the very first course offering is:
Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar
Did you find the historical events in the 2003 fictional best-seller interesting but too fantastic to believe? Actually, most of the background items cited in the book were tied to events purportedly recorded in history.
What really made me pause however was this line: "The Priory of Sion actually existed since 1099, and Opus Dei frightfully exists right here in the U.S.A., today!"
Mr. George Tkach is the "teacher" of the "Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar" in Eden Prairie's "Adult Academy." He told Susan Vigilantes, the writer of this article that:
"Some dioceses have outlawed the book, you know. Several bishops have forbidden people to read it."
. . .
He then explained that the crucial point is that Opus Dei is "not a part of the Catholic Church. It's an arm of the pope. They're patterned on the Jesuits. The Jesuits' motto is 'The end justifies any means.'" (That would have to be a somewhat loose translation of "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," more typically rendered as "To the greater glory of God.")
I wonder what St. Jose Maria Escriva has to say about this?

Decree on dispensation for feast of St. Patrick

Each year, the Church sets aside the Season of Lent as a time of personal prayer and penance for the renewal of the Christian life. The Season of Lent begins with the observance of Ash Wednesday which, this year, occurs on March 1.

In order to assist the faithful to participate in this season of strong grace, the Church sets forth certain penitential practices to be observed. The principal practices are the observance of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days of fast and abstinence, and the observance of the Fridays of Lent as days of abstinence.

This year, March 17, the Feast of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, falls on the second Friday of Lent. In light of the time-honored celebration of St. Patrick on his feast day by various parishes and groups within the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I am pleased to dispense, in accord with the norm of canon 87, §1, the just-mentioned parishes and groups, as well as the individual members of the faithful who participate in their celebrations, from the observance of Friday, March 17, 2006, as a day of abstinence from meat.

I encourage the faithful for whom the dispensation applies to choose another weekday of the Second Week of Lent as a day of abstinence from meat, in substitution for the observance on Friday, March 17.

Given at the offices of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, on the 24th day of January, the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church, in the Year of the Lord 2006.

Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of Saint Louis

Poles mark Holocaust Memorial Day

The UN last year passed a landmark resolution to make 27 January an annual day of remembrance for six million Jews killed during World War II.

The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz, southern Poland.

As a mark of respect, the Archbishop of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, has called on Poles to light candles in their windows in remembrance.

Gospel for Friday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 4:26-34

Parables of the Seed and of the Mustard Seed

[26] And He (Jesus) said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, [27] and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. [28] The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. [29] But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come." [30] And He said, "With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; [32] yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

The End of the Parables Discourse

[33] With many such parables He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; [34] He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples He explained everything.


26-29. Farmers spare no effort to prepare the ground for the sowing; but once the grain is sown there is nothing more they can do until the harvest; the grain develops by itself. Our Lord uses this comparison to describe the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God on earth to grow up to the day of harvest (cf. Joel 3:13 and Revelation 14:15), that is, the day of the Last Judgment.

Jesus is telling His disciples about the Church: the preaching of the Gospel, the generously sown seed, will unfailingly yield its fruit, independently of who sows or who reaps: it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9). It will all happen "he knows not how", without men being fully aware of it.

The Kingdom of God also refers to the action of grace in each soul: God silently works a transformation in us, whether we sleep or watch, causing resolutions to take shape in our soul--resolutions to be faithful, to surrender ourselves, to respond to grace--until we reach "mature manhood" (cf. Ephesians 4:13). Even though it is necessary for man to make this effort, the real initiative lies with God, "because it is the Holy Spirit who, with His inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It is He who leads us to receive Christ's teaching and to assimilate it in a profound way. It is He who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be found more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. `For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God' (Romans 8:14)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 135).

30-32. The main meaning of this parable has to do with the contrast between the great and the small. The seed of the Kingdom of God on earth is something very tiny to begin with (Luke 12:32; Acts 1:15); but it will grow to be a big tree. Thus we see how the small initial group of disciples grows in the early years of the Church (cf Acts 2:47; 6:7; 12:24), and spreads down the centuries and becomes a great multitude "which no man could number" (Revelation 7:9). This mysterious growth which our Lord refers to also occurs in each soul: "the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you" (Luke 17:21); we can see a prediction of this in the words of Psalm 92:12: "The righteous grow like a cedar in Lebanon." To allow the mercy of God to exalt us, to make us grow, we must make ourselves small, humble (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Luke 18:9-14).

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 26, 2006

Hans Kueng urges Pope to write liberal encyclical

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Catholic Church's leading dissident theologian praised Pope Benedict for his encyclical on love on Wednesday and asked for a second one showing the same kindness concerning birth control, divorce and other Christians.

Hans Kueng, who was banned from teaching Catholic theology in 1979, hailed his former university colleague for writing a first encyclical that was "solid theological fare" and "not a manifesto of cultural pessimism or restrictive sexual morality."

Missouri pharmacist is fired over Morning After Pill

Pharmacist Heather Williams believes there’s no middle ground when it comes to the so-called “morning-after” pill known as Plan B.

Williams opposes use of that pill, or any other emergency contraception taken after unprotected sex, because they can prevent a fertilized human egg from implanting in the uterus. “For me, life begins with two cells,” Williams said Thursday.

As a part-time pharmacist at a Target store in St. Charles, Williams had refused to fill such prescriptions without incident for the past five years. But she also declined to refer physicians or patients to others who would fill such prescriptions.
This is just down the road a ways from us...Another reason not to shop at Target...

Another article from KSDK Channel 5 News:

St. Charles Pharmacist Fired for Not Dispensing "Morning After Pill"
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A St. Charles pharmacist has filed a federal complaint after being fired from a Target Corporation store for refusing to dispense the so-called "morning-after" birth control pill.

Heather Williams had worked at a Target store in St. Charles for five years before being fired last month. Her attorney says that until recently, the company accommodated her objection to dispensing the morning-after pill.

Her complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. . .
And here is KMOV Channel 4's story:

Mo. pharmacist fired for refusing to dispense morning-after pill
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A suburban St. Louis pharmacist has filed a federal complaint after she was fired from a Target Corp. store for refusing to dispense the so-called "morning-after" birth control pill, an attorney for the pharmacist said Thursday.

Heather Williams had worked at a Target store in St. Charles for five years before being fired last month. Until recently, the company accommodated her objection to dispensing the morning-after pill, her attorney, Ed Martin said.

"In fact, when she was hired, she told them, 'I have this religious belief and conscience concern,"' Martin said. "They said, 'Hey, we have no problem. It's totally OK."' . . .

Pharmacist speaks out after fired for refusing to dispense emergency birth control

Goodbye to Gumbleton

Well, it happened 37 years late, but the Holy See finally appears to have pulled the plug on Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.
. . .
Celebrated as a peace activist, Gumbleton has always been a strangely un-peaceful man himself. The homilies he posts at the NCR -- as a comparison with Mother Teresa's writings will show -- convey less love of the poor than bitterness at their oppressors: militarists, capitalists, ecclesiastics, etc. It's all about class warfare, in his view, and we shouldn't be surprised that his campaign for "peace" takes on that baleful truculence familiar from Marxist rhetoric. In latter years, Gumbleton added gay liberation to his roster of causes, and his recent announcement that, as a lad, he'd been sexually groped by a priest assured that he'd go out in a blaze of publicity.

Certainly the Vatican apparat Gumbleton so disparaged was lavish in its forbearance toward him. Were it half as intolerant as he claimed, he'd have been out selling vinyl siding by 1980. That makes me wonder whether this heartless institution realized that they had damaged goods on their hands, that his need for self-display was merely the surface symptom of a much deeper problem, and that, in charity, the best thing to do was to isolate his tantrums and leave him kicking theological nerf balls in the basement of the NCR. The pastoral approach.
From Uncle Diogenes at Catholic World News

Other News for Jan 26

Inmate is convicted of murdering ex-priest John Geoghan

Cardinal Kasper to Visit Armenia and Georgia

Mel Gibson, Dad Back Church

In Brazil, Signs of Reconversions - Bishop Says Evangelicals Are Returning to Church

Spare us O Lord

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "On Eagle's Wings," the musical reworking of the 91st Psalm by Father Michael Joncas, topped all other songs in an online poll asking which liturgical song most fostered and nourished the respondent's life.

Two songs made popular by the St. Louis Jesuits -- "Here I Am, Lord" and "Be Not Afraid" -- came in second and third, followed by "You Are Mine," by David Haas.
And the theologically problematic "Amazing Grace" was in the top 10...I get ill every time I hear this whether in a Catholic Church or not...
Of the 25 liturgical music songs mentioned most, songs written after the Second Vatican Council took not only the top four positions, but six of the top nine, and 12 of the top 25. The fourth-ranked song, "You Are Mine," received 138 votes, 81 percent more votes than the fifth-ranked song, "How Great Thou Art," which got 76.

Detroit's pacifist bishop resigns

Pope to announce the move today
Last year at this time, Bishop Gumbleton sent his resignation to the Vatican...
Today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to announce the resignation of one of the world's most controversial Catholic leaders, Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.

Bishop Gumbleton's Open Letter to his parishioners

It is unclear whether he will continue as pastor of the parish he is assigned to. He might be able to devote more time writing for the National Catholic Reporter, though...

The Jesuits Come to the Pope’s Defense

Fr. Fessio agrees with his fellow Jesuits Troll and Samir. And he testifies together with them that, for Benedict XVI, Islam is capable of reform and can be harmonized with modernity. But at a steep price...
by Sandro Magister

Alter Christus - Dominus Vobiscum

This is the last meditation for the month of January....

Another year opens out before us, full of uncertainties, perhaps heavily laden with anxious forebodings; we feel con­cerned for ourselves, those dear to us, the world at large. How shall we steady our minds and hearts under these lowering clouds, and cross the threshold of the New Year with peaceful serenity and a calm sense of security for ourselves and for those entrusted to our pastoral care? - Dominus vobiscum - ­If the Lord be with us, all will be well, under any circumstance. Let us then determine to live this year intensely with God, or rather to let God lead us on every moment, in our own personal life and in the work of our ministry.


The practical way to secure that intimate union with God in our daily life is to cultivate a great docility to the Holy Spirit. This will secure for us not only fervour and holiness but also happiness and joy. For the more we are under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit, the more we shall find our soul filled with His gifts; under these direct operations of God, the practice of virtue will become more intense, easier and sweeter; we shall reap in the garden of our soul the fruits and the beatitudes of the Holy Ghost and thus be made to taste "quam suavis est Dominus".

Alas, that we are so little alive to the presence of those hidden springs of holiness and supernatural happiness in our life. If so many souls consecrated to God remain stagnant in their spiritual life and rarely rise above the drab, common­place exercise of very ordinary virtue, is it not because they fail to cultivate that docility to the Boly Spirit? They are not eager enough for His inspirations, not recollected enough to perceive them nor prompt and generous enough to follow them up . .. Yet in the degree in which we are led by that Spirit, in that degree does God enter into our life: "Quicumque spiritu Dei aguntur, ii sunt filii Dei."
* Let us recite meditatively the "Veni, Sancte Spiritus". . . rouse ourselves to eager desires of perfect docility to those transforming operations of the Holy Spirit in us . . . and look forward with unhesitating confidence to the true and solid happiness we are made to pray for: "Et de Ejus semper consolatione gaudere."

We must seek that fidelity to the Holy Spirit, first and foremost, in our own interior life. All our spiritual progress depends upon it. God's grace is for ever working in our soul, and if we are not saints, it is because we do not let God have His way with us. He draws us on to perfection by the ordinary graces which make us understand, relish and adhere to His commandments and counsels, and by the special inspirations which reveal His loving designs for each in­dividual soul.

It must be our constant preoccupation, then, to be truly "docibiles Dei", to keep ourselves ready for divine com­munications and to surrender generously to His impulses and invitations. These we shall find especially in all our hours of prayer, in the reception of the Sacraments, above all of the Eucharist, in a life of union with God and with Christ by habitual recollection and a frequent remembrance of the presence in us of the "Dulcis Hospes animae".
* Let us examine whether indeed our prayer habitually brings us in close contact with God: Do we recite our vocal prayers, especially the liturgical prayers of the Mass and breviary, slowly and devoutly enough to let the words con­vey to us the sublime meaning they contain?

Is our mental prayer always a time of real intimacy with God, "a familiar intercourse" with Him ?

Do we go to the Blessed Sac­rament (visits, Holy Communion, Holy Mass) with an ardent longing that Jesus may communicate to us His life and spirit which is none other than the grace of the Holy Ghost?

In the midst of our occupations do we keep sufficiently re­collected for God to make us feel His divine presence, and do we often raise our mind to Him by ejaculatory prayers, so that we truly spend the day with the Lord: "Dominus vobiscum"?

Docility to the Holy Spirit is also the condition of fruit­fulness in our ministry. It is not our work but God's work we are doing: "Dei adjutores sum us". It is not in our name but with Christ's power that we act: "Pro Christo legatione fungimur". What matters, then, above all, is that we keep ourselves in immediate dependence on the Divine Master. He will use us as channels of His more abundant graces in the degree in which He finds us faithful instruments in His hands.

We must aim at that close dependence on God, first by habitual docility to the Holy Spirit in our own spiritual life; then by seeking God's help and guidance in all our apostolic undertakings so that in the choice and the method of them we may be truly led by the inspirations of the Holy Ghost; and of course we must ever be mindful that the most secure manner to be faithful instruments of God's will is obedience to legitimate authority: "The first inspiration is always obedience" (St Francis de Sales).
* Are we solicitous to secure the blessings of obedience for our ministry?

Keen in seeking the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit in all our pastoral work: v.g. in the pulpit, confessional, direction of souls, conversion of sinners and pagans, etc.?

Do we pray before, that the Lord may be with us and through us radiate His love and His peace: "Et Deus pacis et dilectionis erit vobiscum"?
"O lux beatissima, Reple cordis intima Tuorum fidelium. - Sine tuo numine Nihil est in homine, Nihil est innoxium."

"Dirigat corda nostra, quaesumus, Domine, tuae miserationis operatio: quia tibi sine te placere non possumus. Per C.D.N."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 25.

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

Gospel for Jan 26, Memorial: Sts. Timothy & Titus, Bishops

From: Mark 4:21-25

Parables of the Lamp and the Measure

[21] And He (Jesus) said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? [22] For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. [23] If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." [24] And He said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. [25] For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."


21. A "bushel" was a container used for measuring cereals and vegetables. It held a little over eight liters (two gallons).

22. This parable contains a double teaching. Firstly, it says that Christ's doctrine should not be kept hidden; rather, it must be preached throughout the whole world. We find the same idea elsewhere in the Gospels: "what you hear whispered, proclaim it upon the house-tops" (Matthew 10:27); "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation..." (Mark 16:15). The other teaching is that the Kingdom which Christ proclaims has such ability to penetrate all hearts that, at the end of time, when Jesus comes again, not a single human action, in favor or against Christ, will not become public and manifest.

24-25. Our Lord never gets tired of asking the Apostles, the seed which will produce the Church, to listen carefully to the teaching He is giving: they are receiving a treasure for which they will be held to account. "To him who has will more be given...": he who responds to grace will be given more grace and will yield more and more fruit; but he who does not will become more and more impoverished (cf. Matthew 25:14-30). Therefore, there is no limit to the development of the theological virtues: "If you say `Enough,' you are already dead" (St. Augustine, "Sermon 51").

A soul who wants to make progress in the interior life will pray along these lines: "Lord, may I have due measure in everything, except in Love" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 247).

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 25, 2006

Town Talk Jan 25

St. Stan fan

I HAD THE opportunity to attend 9 o'clock Mass at St. Stanislaus Church this past Sunday. Being a life-long Catholic I never had an experience like I had at this church with this priest and so many different religions in attendance was wonderful. It was a treat of a lifetime for me being Catholic and I intend to go there as many times as I can.
It's a strange phenomenon that a "life-long Catholic" would, in defiance of Archbishop Burke's admonition, attend Mass at St Stanislaus. There is no ambiguity in the words from the Archbishop...:
The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin.

All of the faithful of the archdiocese should guard against any participation in the attempt to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

Also, they should caution visitors and others who are unaware of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, lest they unknowingly participate in the schismatic acts. (emphasis mine)
...What then drives a person to proceed in such a sinful manner?


Other News Today 1/25

Area Schools to Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Parish Undergoes Renovation

CBC-Christian Brothers College High to Implement Mandatory Student Drug Tests

** Monlogues Update: Eight Colleges Off the List, 21 to go. **

Providence College President, Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., Ph.D. prohibits V-Monologues productions on campus!
Doubtless some will reply that this is a violation of artistic freedom. But artistic freedom on a Catholic campus cannot mean the complete license to perform or display any work of art regardless of its intellectual or moral content. Any institution which sanctioned works of art that undermined its deepest values would be inauthentic, irresponsible, and ultimately self-destructive. At Providence College artistic freedom is governed by the values embodied in our mission statement. A Catholic college cannot sanction the performance of works of art that are inimical to the teaching of the Church in an area as important as female sexuality and the dignity of women.
Fr. Shanley's excellent letter is here.

National Catholic Distorter, Sympathetic to Priestesses?

Some women seeking ordination won't wait for church's OK
After 'illicit but valid' ceremony, they find ways to serve...

Valid? Not even close...just another example of denial...Seriously, one has to ask, "Whom do you serve?"

And this is the NCR's Cover Story... your own risk...

Bishop Bruskewitz says... para-council distorted Vatican II

by Brian Mershon
Renew America
Pope Benedict XVI addressed his Roman Curia December 22 with an analysis of the reception of the Second Vatican Council after the past 40 years, and outlined a plan and call for action for the Church to bear fruits. With eager anticipation, many Catholics are now asking, "Could this 40 years of 'wandering in the desert' finally be coming to an end?"
May God permit it to be so!
...Catholics of the "hermeneutics of reform" (orthodox) variety have long viewed Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., as a model father and pastor in the postconciliar era. And Catholics of the "hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture" (dissidents) may rightly identify him as a combatant and as "preconciliar."

Interesting, though, that it was reported widely that Bishop Bruskewitz's diocese is bearing fruits with a large number of priestly vocations, and with almost no homosexual priests violating children scandals.
But to some, facts are to be viewed as irrelevant side issues that impede the progress of subjective and arbitrary relativistic thought.

State Legislative Taskforce Provides Roadmap for Overturning Roe

A new report from a South Dakota legislative taskforce may provide a roadmap for challenging and overturning Roe v. Wade. The taskforce's report enumerates six assumptions of fact made by the Supreme Court in their 1973 decision and concludes that "it is clear that the most essential assumptions made by the Roe Court are incorrect . . ."

NBC cancels 'Book of Daniel'

An Email from the AFA:
NBC's anti-Christian program The Book of Daniel has been cancelled! Your efforts, combined with those of hundreds of thousands of other AFA Online supporters, had an impact.

NBC's decision to pull The Book of Daniel shows the power of the pocketbook. NBC didn't want to eat their economic losses. Had NBC not had to eat millions of dollars each time it aired, NBC would have kept The Book of Daniel on the air. Because of your efforts, the sponsors dropped the program. NBC then decided it didn't want to continue the fight.

Even an impassioned plea by Daniel's producer Jack Kenny could not match your participation. "Ordinarily, I would never ask anyone to do this, but the AFA and bullies like them are hard at work to try and prevent you from seeing these beautiful shows, and that is censorship—pure and simple. And that is both un-Christian and un-American," Kenny wrote. His attitude is typical in today’s society. Non-Christians telling Christians what is Christian.

People like Kenny don't want people like you to have a voice. They want to deny you the right to get involved. You are supposed to sit back and take the trash. And when you do speak up they call you names.

This shows us that we don't have to simply sit back and take the trash, but we can get involved and fight back with our pocketbooks. I want to thank the 678,394 individuals who sent emails to NBC and the thousands who called and emailed their local affiliates.

Thanks for caring enough to get involved!

“Deus Caritas Est”: The Encyclical As Explained by its Author

From www.chiesa:
The preface for the first encyclical of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. “Today the word ‘love’ is so tarnished, so spoiled and so abused. We must take it up again, purify it and give back to it its original splendor...”

Pope Benedict's First Encyclical: Deus Caritas Est

Pope Benedict XVI gestures to the faithful gathered for the weekly general audience in Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Jan. 25, 2006. Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday in his first encyclical that the Roman Catholic Church has no desire to govern states or set public policy, but can't remain silent when its charity is needed to ease suffering around the world. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)


1. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”.


Gospel for Jan 25, Feast: The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle

From: Mark 16:15-18

The Apostle's Mission

[15] And He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. [16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [17] And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."


15. This verse contains what is called the "universal apostolic mandate" (paralleled by Matthew 28:19-20 and Luke 24:46-48). This is an imperative command from Christ to His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. This same apostolic mission applies, especially, to the Apostles' successors, the bishops in communion with Peter's successor, the Pope.

But this mission extends further: the whole "Church was founded to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the Earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all men partakers in redemption and salvation.... Every activity of the Mystical Body with this in view goes by the name of `apostolate'; the Church exercises it through all its members, though in various ways. In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member plays a purely passive part, sharing in the life of the body it shares at the same time in its activity. The same is true for the body of Christ, the Church: `the whole body achieves full growth in dependence on the full functioning of each part' (Ephesians 4:16). Between the members of this body there exists, further, such a unity and solidarity (cf. Ephesians 4:16) that a member who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself.

"In the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the Apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in His name and by His power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 2).

It is true that God acts directly on each person's soul through grace, but it must also be said that it is Christ's will (expressed here and elsewhere) that men should be an instrument or vehicle of salvation for others.

Vatican II also teaches this: "On all Christians, accordingly, rests the noble obligation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation" ("ibid"., 3).

16. This verse teaches that, as a consequence of the proclamation of the Good News, faith and Baptism are indispensable pre-requisites for attaining salvation. Conversion to the faith of Jesus Christ should lead directly to Baptism, which confers on us "the first sanctifying grace, by which original sin is forgiven, and which also forgives any actual sins there may be; it remits all punishment due for these sins; it impresses on the soul the mark of the Christian; it makes us children of God, members of the Church and heirs to Heaven, and enables us to receive the other sacraments" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 553).

Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, as we can see from these words of the Lord. But physical impossibility of receiving the rite of Baptism can be replaced by either martyrdom (called, therefore "baptism of blood") or by a perfect act of love of God and of contrition, together with an at least implicit desire to be baptized: this is called "baptism of desire" (cf. "ibid"., 567-568).

Regarding infant Baptism, St. Augustine taught that "the custom of our Mother the Church of infant Baptism is in no way to be rejected or considered unnecessary; on the contrary, it is to be believed on the ground that it is a tradition from the Apostles" ("De Gen. ad litt"., 10, 23, 39). The new "Code of Canon Law" also stresses the need to baptize infants: "Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepare for it" (Canon 867).

Another consequence of the proclamation of the Gospel, closely linked with the previous one, is that "the Church is necessary", as Vatican II declares: "Christ is the one mediator and way of salvation; He is present to us in His body which is the Church. He Himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse to enter it, or to remain in it" ("Lumen Gentium", 14; cf. "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 4; "Ad Gentes", 1-3; "Dignitatis Humanae", 11).

17-18. In the early days of the Church, public miracles of this kind happened frequently. There are numerous historical records of these events in the New Testament (cf., e.g., Acts 3:1-11; 28:3-6) and in other ancient Christian writings. It was very fitting that this should be so, for it gave visible proof or the truth of Christianity. Miracles of this type still occur, but much more seldom; they are very exceptional. This, too, is fitting because, on the one hand, the truth of Christianity has been attested to enough; and, on the other, it leaves room for us to merit through faith. St. Jerome comments: "Miracles were necessary at the beginning to confirm people in the faith. But, once the faith of the Church is confirmed, miracles are not necessary" ("Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). However, God still works miracles through saints in every generation, including our own.

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 24, 2006

Eminent Theologian Richard McBrien Blasts Cardinal Newman Society

But then, he does this with everyone who rejects his views...Some details on his plagiarism investigation and venomous attack on the Cardinal Newman Society at Bettnet here...

Oh, and I really didn't mean "Eminent" above...I was feeling a little cantankerous.

The St Louis Church Burglar is "Catholic"

Frank Zdanowski Jr. decided to lay low after the TV started calling him the "Church Burglar."

He didn't like the attention, police said he told them while confessing to a string of church break-ins. And he didn't like the nickname. He'd rather be called the "Church Bandit," they said.
Are there other names used for people who get caught?
. . .
Zdanowski, 38, of St. Louis, was charged Tuesday with breaking into three churches in south St. Louis County, beginning Jan. 4. Charges in the city cases were pending.

...he steered clear of Catholic churches, police said. "He didn't want to run into a pastor on the property," said St. Louis County police Detective Ron Keilholz. There could be another reason, police said. Zdanowski told detectives he is a Catholic.
What led police to him?
Investigators said he tried to use a credit card taken Jan. 14 from Bayless Baptist Church at 8512 Morganford Road. Detectives got a surveillance picture from the incident at the Schnucks store at South Grand Boulevard and Gravois Avenue.

Excerpts courtesy of the Post Dispatch

Catholic Claire McCaskill Urges Support for Stem Cell Amendment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill on Tuesday urged Missourians to vote for a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect stem cell research and treatments in the state.
At a news conference near the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, McCaskill said Missourians will have a clear choice between hope for live-saving cures or criminalizing research that could save people's lives.
McCaskill openly disregards the teaching of the Church and chooses instead the cliches of those who would choose to destroy innocent human life. Is it not time for her bishop to have a little "chat" with her before she poisons the minds of more Catholics in open defiance of Church teaching?

How confused is she?
"Life does not begin in a petri dish, it begins in a womb," said McCaskill, who added that most the stem cells used in research are unfertilized and would be thrown away.
Typical...With her attitude on the sanctity of human life, she does not deserve to be a senator for the State of Missouri.
McCaskill, a convert to Catholicism, agreed that her stand put her in opposition to the Missouri Catholic Conference, which strongly opposes the initiative. Opponents say cloning for any purpose is wrong.
Post Article here.

and another here.

The Unbaptized and Salvation

A commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa recently on Zenit regarding Baptism prompted questions about the status of unbaptized children who die. Fr Cantalamessa affirms that unbaptized children will not go to limbo (or some other place) but to heaven. We should avoid what seems to be a dangerous approach to treat of Original Sin so lightly since it is universal as St. Paul reminds us. Every child is defiled at birth with the taint of Adam's disobedience. Scripture tells us that nothing defiled can enter the kingdom of heaven (Apoc 21:27). As Baptism is the normative and essential means for removing Original Sin, such was one of the reasons for the early practice of baptizing infants. Of course, it is certainly not impossible for God to have other ways of dealing with unbaptized infants.

For this reflection then, I have chosen another reading which has a different twist on the subject. Please forgive any typos.

I suppose there is not a father or mother in all Christendom who has not been dis­turbed by the thought of the unbaptized. For parents love the offspring that is yet unborn, and what if the child should not be born alive and receive baptism? Others who are not parents are concerned about the non-baptized in pagan lands, and also at home.

It certainly makes people think seriously, this matter of baptism, and in some cases it keeps peo­ple from being members of the true Church. The thought that God does not give everybody an opportunity in such a vital affair as eternal salva­tion engenders in some the idea of unfairness on God's part; and, since God cannot be unfair, there is the tendency by them not to believe in the Church which holds the doctrine of baptism. So, it is worth while looking into this subject.

God is not unfair. He cannot be unfair. Any religion which makes Him unfair cannot be His. The first thing every creature needs to realize is that the Creator is infinitely good. That comes before all else. His power, His knowledge, His wisdom, are secondary as regards us. The great thing in our regard is that He is goodness itself.

Next we must realize that He has shown His goodness by the best of all ways, by His love for us. That is the test. God so loved the world as to give His only Son. That was the greatest gift possible, His own divine Son. The only Son, Jesus Christ, so loved the world as to give His life for it. No greater proof could be asked or given. God is good and He loves us. That is the A B C of religion. Anything that goes against that you can reject.

God is the maker of man, as He is of all other creatures. He gave to man a body and soul and a destiny. It was a glorious destiny. But God did more for man than that. He did not stop at giving man all that human nature was capable of. In the very beginning He elevated human nature into participation with the divine. He added to man's endowment a quality which was altogether a favor on His part, by which man could share in the divine nature.

This favor or grace of God was a free gift of God to a nature which, even without this grace, would be most richly endowed, in fact as highly endowed as human nature of itself could be.

The grace which God conferred on human na­turc, by which it became a participator of the divine, was a distinct and unmerited favor. It was something our nature did not require for its perfection, something it had no claim to, some­thing entirely a gracious favor conferred by the Creator, by which mankind was made more like unto God and capable of sharing His blessedness. It was a proof of God's unbounded goodness and of His love for man. That fact stands out.

In view of that we must interpret all God's dealings with us. When a child has real proof of its mother's love, it knows how to interpret rightly all that the mother does in its regard. No matter how apparently at odds with affection certain things may seem, the child instinctively knows that they are done in love and for its welfare.

No mother ever gave proof of love for her child so great as God has given for us. Let that be the key to the various dealings of the Creator with mankind. But God, besides being a God of love, is also a God of wisdom and power. He is infinite. That signifies everything. He gave us our mothers and put into their hearts the wondrous love a mother has for her child.

No mother ever loved her child as God loves you and me. That is certain. It admits of no question. In the light, therefore, of God's infinite love and wisdom we can trust Him to do what is right by us. Not only that, but what is most lov­ing and beneficial.

And now to return to the matter we began with. How are we to reconcile a good and loving God with the doctrine which teaches that unbaptized infants shall not enter the kingdom of heaven? How regard that otherwise than as unfair to them? It looks as though God did not give them a chance, and that does not seem fair. So much for the statement of the difficulty. Now for its consideration.

If we could see God's plans as we shall when we are sharers of His divinity in heaven, every­thing would be clear to us at a glance. Not only clear, but we should realize that in everything He showed the most wonderful love and wisdom. Now, however, we see faintly as through a dense medium. In a mist at sea, the skipper sometimes mistakes a ship for an iceberg.

Realizing our limitations, therefore, let us ex­amine the designs of God humbly and reverently. A common soldier is not qualified to pass judg­ment on the measures of his commander-in-chief. We are but as babes before the Almighty. He who gave us our reason and all we have has a right to our submission to his enactments. The man who does not regard God and His ways thus does not rightly know his place. The man who does not trust to God's love and wisdom has not the first qualification for future association with Him.

That is why God Himself says unless you enter the kingdom of heaven as little children you shall not enter. The child trusts and loves its parents. We must trust and love God and be convinced that what He has determined is right and just and best. There is no faith without that.

The objection is made that God is not fair in excluding unbaptized infants from heaven because He gives them no chance. Would you say God was unfair because He made you a man instead of an angel? What is the destiny of the unbap­tized infant? It is the very next thing to that of the angels in heaven.

The angels and saints share the life of God. The unbaptized infants share all of God's enjoy­ments except heaven. They will have for all eternity everything that Adam and Eve would have had in case God had not elevated the nature of our first parents to participation with His own. All the joy and bliss that human nature is capable of by itself will be the inheritance of the unbap­tized infants.

Original sin deprived Adam and Eve of their supernatural or heavenly destiny. The Redemp­tion restored that. Baptism applies the Redemp­tion to the individual, destroys original sin, and restores to man his heavenly title, making him an adopted child of God.

As the unbaptized infants do not receive back their inheritance lost by original sin, they suffer that loss. That is the pain of loss which we call the consequence of original sin.

When we say that this unbaptized infant en­dures a penalty or is punished, we mean it in that sense. No pain is inflicted. The word pain is used to denote the deprivation of an enjoyment that would have been its share if it had received back its inheritance to heaven. But next to heaven, the unbaptized infants have everything that God can bestow on His creatures.

Now suppose Adam and Eve had not been raised to a higher destiny but, being created per­fect man and woman, were placed in the Garden of Paradise to live there, with everything in the world they could desire! Would you say that God was unfair for giving them that? Yet like unto that is the career of the unbaptized infants.

They have everything except heaven. Their life forever will be in a Paradise where they will have all the natural enjoyments our first parents would have had in the Garden of Paradise. There are no joys of earth now comparable to those of that Paradise. And similar to that is the abode of the unbaptized infants. That is their dwelling place, a most perfect Paradise, everything short of heaven itself.

Now we know some people on earth who like it so much that with all its drawbacks they say this life is their heaven. Do they consider God unfair for giving them this heaven on earth? Of course they change their mind when trials come, as come they do to all. Whoever saw an old person who considered earth heaven and would care to live life over again? But in youth, with beauty and love and luxury, this world seems very heavenly. And at that period some people barter heaven for the joys of earth.

Well now, suppose you take the happiest career ever lived on earth, a career full of bliss and health and love and good fortune. If you saw a person who had such a career, would he not say: "Oh, how good God is to me!" That, only much more and better, is the career of the unbaptized infants. They have everything this world at its best can give, and more.

Of course, you may object that heaven is better. So an angel may object that he is not an archangel. A saint may object that he is not a seraph. Every woman may object because she is not the Blessed Virgin. Eight of the nine choirs of angels may object that they are not on top. And so on.

That is not the point. The point is that an angel should be very grateful for being an angel and thank God for His goodness. A man should thank God that he can be a saint, even though man is a little lower than the angels. And next to the blessed in heaven are the unbaptized infants.

Now is God unfair to the unbaptized infants to give them that wonderful blessedness forever? If you say so, you must say that He is unfair to the monkey for not giving him a chance to become a man; unfair to a frog for not making it a bird; unfair to the tree for not making it a deer; unfair to the stone for not making it a bush.

God gives everything to the unbaptized infant that human nature of itself can crave or receive. To the baptized He adds of His own accord some­thing human nature is not entitled to, participation with His own divinity. This adoption is a free gift of God, and in bestowing it on some, He does no injustice to others.

In order that you may know that this is the teaching of the Church, I quote from St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian of Christianity: "The souls of children who die without baptism are not deprived of a natural happiness such as according to its nature is due; but they do lack that supernatural happiness which we have by virtue of faith. The souls of infants, ignorant of the fact that they are deprived of so great a good, feel no pain because of this privation, and possess in peace all that is proper to their nature." (Quaest. Oe Malo, V-a. 3).

God is good, essentially good. If we are good, as we should be, we are sure to know all things some day. In our desire to search the ways of the Almighty, we should not forget, that He is our Judge as well as Creator. His laws are of more concern to us than His unsearchable designs. Some people forget to be good, and worry them­selves about God's goodness. God is able to take care of Himself. In the right time He will justify His ways.

Meanwhile let our first concern be to live as He ordains. For we are adults. God will not treat us as He has the unbaptized infants. On them He conferred immeasurable natural happiness without their doing anything to merit it. It was a free gift on His part. But to those who have at­tained to the use of reason, His dispensation is different.

To all who have reached the years of discretion, He says: "All you who receive me, I give the power to become my children. If you reject me, I will cast you off forever. If you receive me, you must do so not merely by word, but by deed. You must keep my commandments." The com­mandments are God's will expressed to His hu­man creatures. He leaves them free because He made them so. Their salvation depends on their own efforts, aided by His grace. They must do their part.

This brings us to the question of adult salvation. God wishes the salvation of all. Since this is so, He gives to every man the means of salvation. Baptism is the general means appointed by God for admission into His kingdom. There is sacramental baptism and the baptism of desire.

The Church teaches that a man, be he a pagan or a savage, if he follow the dictates of conscience and does good and avoids evil, will receive from God an internal inspiration to do what is neces­sary in order to be saved. A savage in the heart of Africa, if he follow the light of the natu­ral law, will receive from God the grace of salvation.

In just what way this is done in each individual case we do not know. But it is Catholic doctrine that no one is lost except by his own fault. God gives to every man the light necessary to direct him to eternal life, and unless man himself rejects that light and its guidance, he will be saved.

To substantiate this, I give the pronouncement made to the whole world by the saintly Pontiff, Pius IX, in his allocution dated August 10, 1863:
"You know, my most dear children and vener­adle brothers, that those who, being individually ignorant of our holy religion, observe the natural law and precepts that God has engraven on the heart of every man, and who are disposed to obey God and live virtuously and righteously, can by the aid of divine light and grace obtain eternal life; since God, who searches the heart, who sees clearly nnd knows the sentiments, the thoughts, and the dispositions of all, cannot in His supreme mercy and goodness by any means permit that even one soul should be eternally punished that has not separated itself from Him by voluntary mortal sin."

That is Catholic teaching, that is Catholic faith. It tells us that God gives every man not only a chance, but a good chance. It shows us that God is just and good. He is also infinite, and, in con­sequence, mysterious to us finite beings.

Let us not try to understand all His ways. We shall not succeed. If He wanted us to know more, He would have declared it. But He does not. Not yet. Let us who are Catholics, who belong visibly to the living Church of God, be grateful to Him.

The Church is the direct channel of His grace. It is the sure means of salvation. Others grope in uncertainty. We have God's own guidance. We have His sacraments to nourish us, His priests to minister unto us, His voice to direct our every step. We do not have to pray: "Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom," as did the great Newman in search for the truth. The truth is the inheritance of Catholics and the truth will lead us securely to our eternal inheritance.

But we must live the truth. It is not enough to admit it or proclaim it. The majesty of God is infinite. His laws are sacred. He will not al­low His authority to be despised. No matter how good He is, He wants our obedience and rever­ence. The government exists for the defense and welfare of the people, but it will not tolerate the violation of its laws. It must be respected. Almighty God, the Ruler of mankind, although infinitely good, will not tolerate trifling with His mandates.

He gives His light and grace to every man. To every human being, He gives all that is neces­sary to be happy for all eternity. It is each one's duty to cooperate with the grace received and to leave others to God and His justice and mercy. It will little benefit us to be solicitous on God's account if we are neglectful of our own. He will not ask us to stand judgment on His ways, but upon ours.
Adapted from The Hand of God, A Theology for the People (1918)
by Fr. Martin J Scott, S.j. Litt. D.