Saturday, February 04, 2006

Some Missouri Public Schools Offer Bible Courses

Special Update: Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment

If you are NOT a PA resident but know someone who is, please send this to them.

Special Update: Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment

Your action and involvement today is vital to protecting marriage in Pennsylvania.


In a great show of support, hundreds turned out for the Stand Up For Marriage Rally last Tuesday at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. Dozens of co-sponsors from the House and Senate attended as well. At current count, there are 89 House co-sponsors and 14 Senate co-sponsors. It was a tremendous kick-off event, but the opposition has swung into action. For example:

Since the Rally:
· Eggs were thrown at the office of one of the co-sponsors.

· Many co-sponsors have been barraged with rude emails and letters that include personal attacks from amendment opponents.

· Activists in support of same-sex marriage have launched a lobbying blitz using untruths and scare tactics to try and weaken support for the Marriage Protection Amendment. They claim their tactics are working.

· Newspaper columnists across the state have been blasting lawmakers who have co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Amendments, and say that those who want to keep marriage as the union of one man and one woman are bigoted hate-mongers.
Now, the Truth:
· Without the Marriage Protection Amendment, Pennsylvania's marriage law could be thrown out in court, and a judge order same-sex marriage legalized in Pennsylvania. It just happened in Maryland last week.

· The Marriage Protection Amendment will prohibit courts from creating counterfeit marriage like "same-sex marriage" or "civil unions" which are marriage in every way - but name. Calling a quartz crystal a diamond may fool some, but it's still not a true diamond.

· The Marriage Protection Amendment won't change anything currently in law in Pennsylvania. Crass opponents are trying to scare senior citizens saying it will take some of their benefits away!?!?! It won't take benefits away from anyone. It just will keep marriage what it has always been, and prevent government (especially judges) from minting counterfeits to marriage in the future.

· If a court legalizes same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania (like one did in Massachusetts) society will undergo a massive restructuring. Terms like father and mother, husband and wife will be stricken from the law (this happened in Ontario, Canada). School curriculum will celebrate same-sex marriages, and describe homosexual relationships in sex education courses (proposed curriculum guidelines in Massachusetts will require 5th graders to be tested on whether they can describe different sexual orientations, and different "types of families. Teaching on these subjects would begin in pre-kindergarten.) Birth certificates will no longer list "mother's name" and "father's name" but instead, "parent A" and "parent B."
Same-sex marriage is about catering to the desires and wants of adults, not the needs or best interest of children.

Marriage as one man and one woman has been the essential foundation of society since the dawn of civilization. Almost every culture, in every part of the world, in every time period from the Stone Age to the present, has recognized this by protecting and honoring the institution of marriage. Marriage is the unique relationship that produces children and provides them with a stable environment of a mom and a dad that will shape and mold the future citizens of every nation. Help protect marriage, children, family and the future of Pennsylvania.

· Contact your State Representative and State Senator TODAY. Ask them to co-sponsor the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment. Thank them if they are co-sponsors. Visit the Citizen Action Center at to get contact information.

· Write letters-to-the-editor. Refute the name calling and intolerant words of columnists and others who misrepresent the actions and motives of those who support the Marriage Protection Amendment. Newspaper contact information is available at the Citizen Action Center.

· Enlist others to the cause. We need every hand on deck for this battle. Download a petition from Distribute it.

· Forward this email to like-minded people. Print this page and distribute it.
Click the link below to log in and send your message:

Thanks to Patte G. for passing this information on to us

Gospel for Saturday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:30-34

The Apostles Return

[30] The Apostles returned to Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught. [31] And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. [32] And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

First Miracles of the Loaves

[33] Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from the towns, and got there ahead of them. [34] As He landed He saw a great throng, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.


30-31. We can see here the intensity of Jesus' public ministry. Such was His dedication to souls that St. Mark twice mentions that the disciples did not even have time to eat (cf. Mark 3:20). A Christian should be ready to sacrifice his time and even his rest in the service of the Gospel. This attitude of availability will lead us to change our plans whenever the good of souls so requires.

But Jesus also teaches us here to have common sense and not to go to such extremes that we physically cannot cope: "The Lord makes His disciples rest, to show those in charge that people who work or preach cannot do so without breaks" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "He who pledges himself to work for Christ should never have a free moment, because to rest is not to do nothing: it is to relax in activities which demand less effort" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 357).

34. Our Lord had planned a period of rest, for Himself and His disciples, from the pressures of the apostolate (Mark 6:31-32). And He has to change His plans because so many people come, eager to hear Him speak. Not only is He not annoyed with them: He feels compassion on seeing their spiritual need. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). They need instruction and our Lord wants to meet this need by preaching to them. "Jesus is moved by hunger and sorrow, but what moves Him most is ignorance" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 109).

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, February 03, 2006

Group goes to defense of Archbishop Burke

They defend their "shepherd" with their presence and prayers.

A small group of local Catholics calling themselves Defenders of Archbishop Burke attended the 7 a.m. Mass he said at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica Jan. 26...The group’s founder, Bill McKenzie, a member of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Brentwood, met the archbishop for the first time after the Mass when he shook his hand in the back of church. He called the archbishop a "holy, courageous, humble man."

McKenzie founded the group a few weeks ago because he said he thought the festering controversy over St. Stanislaus Kostka situation had generated "violent opposition" toward the archbishop.

Archbishop Burke expressed gratitude to McKenzie’s group. "Their love for the Church is most edifying for me," the archbishop said. "Certainly, they encourage me to give the best possible shepherd’s care to the archdiocese. They devote themselves in a special way to clarifying misinformation and dispelling misunderstandings regarding the Church and especially the archbishop".

"They serve the good of the whole Church by being heralds of the truth and of love of Christ. For all of these reasons, I am deeply grateful to the Defenders of the Archbishop," Archbishop Burke said.
Actually, the "violent opposition" began several months ago...the opposition started within a month or two after Archbishop Burke arrived and increased in intensity over the succeeding months.

As always, prayers for Archbishop Burke and his detractors are in order.

More at the St. Louis Review here...

Feb 12-Card. Avery Dulles to Speak at St Louis Priory

Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, long one of the country’s most noted theologians, will be the main speaker at the St. Louis Abbey Golden Jubilee Celebration Lecture Sunday, Feb. 12.

The cardinal will present "John Paul II and Benedict XVI: Continuity and Contrast." The lecture will begin 3 p.m. in the Kevin Kline Theatre at St. Louis Priory School, 500 S. Mason Road in Creve Coeur.

Admission is free. A reception will follow.

For more information, call (314) 434-0031

After Death Do We Part

by Pete Vere, JCL
Like many people, I was disturbed by news of Michael Schiavo’s recent wedding to his fiancée Jody Centonze. As Gudrun Schultz reported on Life Site News, “Michael Schiavo, who had his disabled wife Terri killed last March by refusing her food and water, was re-married last Saturday in the Roman Catholic Church of Espiritu Santo in Florida. Schiavo married Jodi Centonze. He had two children with her during the years he worked towards achieving Terri’s death.”
. . .
Rather than stand for this scandal, Catholics should write Francis Cardinal Arinze at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and ask for an investigation into this matter. Here is His Eminence’s address:
Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments
Palazzo delle Congregazioni
Piazza Pio XII, 10

Full article on Catholic Exchange here.

It seems like a worthwhile endeavor to write Cardinal Arinze. Certainly he has plenty to do, but this national scandal does need to be addressed. I still find it impossible to comprehend or believe that this "marriage" occurred in a Catholic parish. It seems like just another example of patients running the asylum...

Something I need to reflect on, daily!

Beyond Death
The judgement will be dreadful for those who knew the way perfectly well, showed it to others or encouraged them to follow it, but would not go along it themselves.

God will judge and condemn them out of their own mouths.
– St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, #888

Mar 20-St Joseph's Dinner with Bishop Robert Vasa

Credo is pleased to co-sponsor with the Catholic Central Union the
Annual St. Joseph’s Dinner
on Monday, March 20th 6:30 p.m.
at The Crowne Plaza Hotel
7750 Carondelet Ave
Clayton, MO
Our Speaker:
The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa D.D., Bishop of Baker Oregon.

The Topic:
"Evaluating and Questioning Safe Environment Programs for Children"

Bishop Vasa was born in Lincoln Nebraska in 1951. He studied at the St Thomas Seminary in Denver Colorado, the Holy Trinity seminary in Dallas Texas where he earned a Master of Divinity and at the Gregorian University in Rome were he earned his J.C.L. On May 22, 1976 he was ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln Nebraska Glennon P.Flavin.

The bishop has served in a number of positions in The Diocese of Lincoln including Vicar General.

He was named Bishop of Baker in 1999 by John Paul II.

Bishop Vasa is solidly orthodox and particularly noted for his support of parents rights... Could we expect anything less from a bishop who spent his formative years in the diocese of Lincoln Nebraska under the direction of Bishops Flavin and Bruskewitz?

Join us for a delicious dinner and an enlightening talk at the Crowne Plaza on March 20.

Free inside parking at the 7777 Bonhomme Parking garage. (Take the Orange Level Bridge to the hotel.)

Tear off the coupon below and send it with your check for $20.00 per person payable to Credo of the Catholic Laity
C/O Howard Brandt
4386 Honeydew Lane
St. Louis MO. 63128
Phone (314) 894-0357




My Menu selections are:
Sliced Roast Beef Bordelaise #______
Baked White Fish................. #______
These are served with Garden Salad, appropriate vegetables, dinner roll, beverage and dessert.

Enclosed is my check for $_______to cover ________people
for the Annual St Joseph's Dinner/Bishop Vasa Talk.

Cardinal Mahony Petitions SOTUS to Keep Priest Files Private

The petition follows a decision by the California Supreme Court last year that the archdiocese must produce the files, which were subpoenaed three years ago.

"There is no legitimate privilege that shields the evidence we seek," countered Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brent Ferreira. "Our subpoenas are simply seeking evidence of these crimes, no matter who has it or how it was obtained."
. . .

Bishops Bruskewitz & Corrada on the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass

Bishop Fernando Rifan of the Apostolic Administration of St. John Marie Vianney, Campos, Brazil, said there were four U.S. bishops who allowed their diocesan priests full approval to offer the Classical Roman rite of Mass while delivering the keynote address for an Una Voce America Conference held November 18-20 in Providence, R.I.
. . .
Bishop Rifan specifically cited Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis; Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb.; Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill.; and Bishop Álvaro Corrada, SJ, of Tyler, Texas, as having been generous in the Ecclesia Dei indult application, as requested and emphasized repeatedly by the late Pope John Paul II.
. . .
Bishop Bruskewitz:
In the Diocese of Lincoln, the Novus Ordo Mass is done with great care and rubrical exactness. And as a result, we don't have large numbers of people, as they do in some other places, who want to frequent the Tridentine rite. For instance, where I lived in Milwaukee, I think that huge numbers who attend Mass in the Tridentine rite are really refugees from liturgical abuses they have found in other areas.
As are many everywhere, it seems...Some are still praying daily that the various liturgical abuses here are addressed and corrected.
Bishop Bruskewitz(continued)...:
I think where the Novus Ordo is done reverently and correctly, and with the proper amount of devotion, and with proper aesthetics, it can serve a wonderful purpose. I think that especially the way this Holy Father offers Holy Mass provides a lot of wonderful and correct inspiration and example for the whole world. I think he recently spoke to the Sistine choir explaining how the Papal Mass must be exemplary because of television.
. . .
The temptation when the Mass is coram populo is that one thinks the personality of the priest has to come through or that somehow or another, a priest is talking to the people when he's addressing God. It's exacerbated because you have some of the prayers to God and then you are talking to the people: "Let us offer each other the sign of peace."

The people get the impression the priest is somehow entertaining them or addressing them, which is a misunderstanding of what is going on.
More here...

Dr Ed Peters on Reconciling "Traditionalists"

Reports are circulating that Pope Benedict XVI is exploring ways to bring the followers of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre (d. 1991) back into full communion with the Catholic Church; in other words, that the pope is doing one of the main things that popes are supposed to do, trying to heal divisions in the Mystical Body of Christ. But this process and its outcome are not completely under the control of Pope Benedict.
What?, you might be asking? What does he mean? His answer is here.

Missouri Bishops Appeal Stem-cell Title Ruling

From the St. Louis Review...(All emphasis is mine):
JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s Catholic bishops last week appealed a Cole County Circuit Court judge’s ruling over the language that would appear on a proposed ballot issue protecting embryonic stem-cell research, which the Church condemns as immoral.

In their appeal, the bishops stated that the official ballot title "misleads and deceives the voters of the state of Missouri." The bishops added their support to an appeal filed by the plaintiffs, Missourians Against Human Cloning, which filed the suit on which Judge Byron Kinder ruled.

The ballot title, which is the only information on the proposal voters will see in the voting booth, includes a statement that the proposal bans human cloning.

But those opposing the measure have said the full text of the proposal allows a human cloning procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).

Using this procedure scientists would create human embryos only to destroy them for biomedical research purposes. This type of research is commonly referred to as "therapeutic cloning."

In their appeal the bishops state: "Despite the fact that the proposed initiative authorizes cloning for biomedical research, the secretary of state’s official ballot title states that the proposed initiative will ‘ban human cloning.’ Consequently, a Missouri voter who wants to ban human cloning for all purposes will be deceived by the official ballot title, which makes no distinction between cloning for research and cloning for reproduction.

"Catholic Missouri voters could unwittingly vote for a ‘ban on human cloning or attempted cloning’ because such would be entirely consistent with the teachings of their faith. Only later would these voters discover that their votes did not support their respect for the sanctity of human life," according to the bishops’ appeal.

By state law the ballot title must accurately summarize the full proposal and not mislead voters.

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures is backing a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the legislature from banning embryonic stem-cell research and work. They are petitioning to gain enough signatures to place the issue on the Nov. 7 election.

Church leaders have recommended Catholics decline to sign the nominating petition and vote against the measure if it goes to a vote.
Deception by the agents of evil and death...What is "St Jack" Danforth's position on deceiving the public? His blindness and the blindness of others does not permit them to see clearly.

As we can see, the consequence of sin is sin - Sin begets sin...It becomes a vicious cycle of slavery and spiritual and sometimes bodily death. These people deliberately, with full knowledge, attempt to deceive the public to back their nefarious schemes of human experimentation. Moral depravity infects them all. From the abyss of hell, they have summoned their leader to guide them. we must pray for their immortal souls!

We can pray that Judge Kinder's ruling wil be overturned and that Missouri voters will know exactly what they may be voting on.

Local Pharmacist’s Firing Linked to Planned Parenthood Pressure

From the St. Louis Review:
Pharmacist Heather Williams of St. Charles was fired from her job at a Target store after Planned Parenthood threatened to boycott the chain because of her employment, according to Americans United for Life.
"Under the threat of a Planned Parenthood boycott, the chain decided to cease protecting her right of conscience and terminate her employment," Americans United stated in a news release.
Target’s corporate communications department in Minneapolis called the statements made in a news release by Americans United for Life "completely inaccurate and misleading."

Should I recite, or toss, formula prayers?

From time to time we've all received via email or some other method, an invitation to recite or pray a "prayer that never fails"...Sometimes there are items in the vestibule of a church which make similar claims? What do you do with these?

From the "Dear Father" section of the St Louis Review. some sound advice:
Prayer is a good thing, but when you subscribe to these prayers that are guaranteed "to never fail" you are turning prayer into a magical formula bordering on superstition. Such prayers also do not represent the best understanding of just what intercession is all about.

There are two ways we can approach prayer. One is as a communication of love and trust and the other is as a business transaction. If our prayer is authentic, we are opening ourselves to God’s will and trusting Him to answer us. The problem is when we pray these prayers that are guaranteed "never to fail" we are trying to manipulate God.

In that God always answers our prayers in one way or another, there is truth in the claim that authentic prayer is guaranteed "never to fail." God answers all our prayers but sometimes, His answer is "no."

I really question prayers that require publication, strict formulas, mathematics or circulation because it represents an impoverished approach to the spiritual life.

We should never approach prayer as if it is conducting a business transaction with God.

St. Francis de Sales tells us:
"Do not distress yourself about your prayers. It is not always necessary to employ words, even inwardly. It is enough to raise your heart and let it rest in our Lord, to look lovingly upward toward this divine lover of our souls, for between lovers the eyes speak more eloquently than the tongue."

Father Lombardi, a priest of the Missionaries of the Holy Family is associate pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in South St. Louis.

Have a question on matters of faith?

Send it to Dear Father, c/o St. Louis Review, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119, or fax to (314) 792-7534, or e-mail to slreview AT

Feb 14 - Lecture by Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga at SLU

Saint Louis University's Department of Theological Studies presents

11th Annual DeLubac Lecture
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
7:00 pm

Busch Student Center Multipurpose Room 170

Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga

"Challenges of Globalization for the Church in Latin America"

Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, is a Roman Catholic Cardinal and the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He was President of the Latin American Conference of Catholic Bishops (CELAM) from 1995 to 1999. Prior to the April 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI, he was mentioned by some in the Press and Media as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II.

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 1942. As a boy, he had wide interests that included saxophone-playing and aviation. He entered the religious life and joined the Pious Society of St. Francis de Sales (Salesians of Don Bosco) in 1961. He taught at Salesian colleges in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, at the Salesian Theological Institue in Guatemala.

He was ordained a priest in 1970 in Guatemala City, and was named Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa in the same year. He was rector for three years at Guatemala's Francisco Marroquín University from 1975; he became Archibishop of Tegucigalpa in 1978, and in 2001 Pope John Paul II made him a Cardinal--the first from Honduras.

Cardinal Rodriguez's campaign for human rights and the poor have won widespread praise. In this connection, he served as the Vatican's spokesperson to the International Monetary Fund and the the World Bank on the topic of debt in the developing nations. During the G-8 meeting of major world leaders in 1999, Cardinal Rodriguez teamed up with rock star Bono to present a petition, signed by 17 million people, calling for debt relief—an effort that has subsequently borne fruit. He is the founder of of the Catholic University of Honduras and an ecumenist who has encouraged dialogue between Catholics and Pentecostals in Latin America. He has brokered peace accords with rebels and led rebuilding efforts after natural disaster. He was honored by the Parliament of Central America with the Francisco Morazán Medral.

"Shock" Priest Censured by Bishop DiLorenzo

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Rev. Thomas J. Quinlan Jr. famously loves to jar congregations with bluntly worded homilies, but he went too far when he mentioned the Virgin Mary’s birth canal during a Christmas Eve service – a Catholic bishop has banned him from performing any priestly function in public.

“Your shock content was crude, offensive and disturbing,” particularly to families, youth and visitors, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Richmond Diocese told Quinlan in a Jan. 17 letter. The bishop cited a sermon that Quinlan, known as “TQ,” gave at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Virginia Beach.

Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy Revamps Religious Ed

Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy announced a major shakeup of religious education yesterday that reconfigures the program that produced a generation of lay Catholic leaders, as well as many members of Voice of the Faithful, an activist group that has demanded the bishop's resignation.
One reaps what one sows...the failure to promote authentic Catholic teaching produces such dissenting groups as Voice of the Faithful, and others and weeding these types out of parish RCIA, catechetical and religious education programs may take another generation. It's encouraging, if not miraculous, to see this initiative being taken in Rockville Centre.


Vision TV Airs "Secret Files of the Inquisition"

Despite the fact that reputable historians have debunked the myths and lengends of the Inquisition, Vision TV airing of it 4 part Docu-drama miniseries "Secret Files of the Inquisition" perpetuates the "black legends"...It begins thus:
It was a reign of terror that would endure for more than 600 years.

At the dawn of the second millennium, the Roman Catholic Church reigned supreme throughout the kingdoms of Europe. But by the 13th century, emerging Christian sects like the Cathars were challenging the Pope's authority. To counter their influence, the Church unleashed a new weapon: the Inquisition.
We should not be too surprised as a new wave of questions, concerns, antipathy, or attacks are forthcoming...
Some scholars say the Inquisition exists to this day, in the form of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican office that was headed until recently by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI.
What we need today is another like Tomas de Torquemada...

You can read VisionTV's "stuff" here.

UN Supports China's Population Program with $27 Million

Joseph D'Agostino, spokesman for the Population Research Institute - the organization which first exposed the horrors of China's coercive population program - commented, "It really shows that some people don't care about human rights."

Mar 3 & 4-Credo of the Catholic Laity Lenten Retreat

Credo of the Catholic Laity will be holding its Lenten Retreat immediately after Ash Wednesday on Friday and Saturday March 3rd & 4th at St.Francis de Sales Oratory located on Ohio Avenue at Gravois.

Our Friday Retreat Master will be Rev. C. Eugene Morris, S.T.L., Director of Worship and Assistant Professor of Sacramental Theology at Kenrick Glennon Seminary.

Father Morris is an experienced Retreat Master who has conducted many retreats. He is often heard on our local Catholic Radio Station WRYT and KHOJ.

Msgr. Henry J. Breier, Secretary to Archbishop Burke, will be the homilist at the Solemn High Mass on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Rev. Karl Lenhardt, Rector of St Francis de Sales Oratory and Vice Provincial of The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in the United States, will conduct the retreat.

We will close the retreat on Saturday with another Solemn High Mass.

Take advantage of the opportunity to make this Lent one of your most efficacious Lenten seasons.

The full schedule for the Retreat is shown below.

Our charge for the retreat is $15.00 per person to cover expenses. If you are able to send a little more please do so in order to assist those who might need help. If you have a problem covering this charge, especially those with large families do not hesitate to ask for help. We want to make this retreat available to as many people as we can.




Enclosed is my check for $_______to cover ________people
for the retreat.
Forward this coupon along with your check made payable to Credo of the Catholic Laity to:

Howard Brandt, Credo Treasurer
4386 Honeydew Lane
St. Louis MO. 63128
Phone 314-894-0357
e-mail hbrandt AT


2006 Credo of the Catholic Laity Retreat Agenda

Friday, March 3rd - Rev. C. Eugene Morris

2:00 p.m. Opening prayer, "Veni Creator" Conference Downstairs
3:00 p.m. Exposition, Benediction, Rosary, and Confession
4:00 p.m. Light Supper Downstairs
5:00 p.m. Conference Downstairs
6:00 p.m. Stations of the Cross and Confession
7:00 p.m. Solemn High Mass

Msgr. Henry J. Breier, Secretary to Archbishop Burke, will be the homilist at this Mass.

Saturday March 4th - Rev..Karl Lenhardt

9:00 a.m. Confession, Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy
9:45 a.m. Conference Downstairs
11:00 a.m. Litany of All Saints, Benediction and Exposition
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Conference Downstairs
2:30 p.m. Solemn High Mass
4:00 p.m. Close

There will also be the regular 8:00 a.m. Low Mass on Saturday March 4th

The Spirituality of the Soul

Chapter 5

We have seen that there is an in­telligent and personal God who is the Creator and Ruler of the world. Let us now consider man, for religion means the bond between man and God.

Man is a creature, first of all, with under­standing. Mere matter does not understand, so man is more than matter.

Man is also a creature with free will. He can say yes or no, and no one can force him against his will. Mere matter does not de­termine itself, so man is more than matter.

Man is capable of generalizing, or rising in thought above what his senses perceive. For example, he has ideas of the following things which do not exist in themselves: endlessness, nothing, future, abstract. No one ever saw an abstraction, yet man knows the meaning of abstract. No one ever saw nothing or felt it, or realized it by any of the senses, yet the mind knows what nothing means, has an idea of nothing. Matter cannot abstract and generalize and compare, so again man is more than matter.

There is a power in man which commands his body, forces it to do what he wishes, even forces himself to do what he shrinks from. A man may feel tired, his body may be fatigued, his limbs may be sore and injured, but he can compel his tired body to work on. Mere matter cannot command, so man is more than matter.

Man can originate and compose. The poet gives us lofty ideas, the musician creates mar­vellous harmonies and melodies, the workman invents new devices. Mere matter cannot thus soar aloft and penetrate into the realms of possibility.

As you read these lines, you are doing your own thinking, and as a result you may alter your plan of life. Matter cannot estimate and decide, so man is more than matter.

That power in man which is not matter we call spirit. Man is therefore a spiritual being, made up of matter and spirit. Religion means the bringing of our spirit into right relation with the Creator. Religion has no connec­tion with matter or animals because they can­not comprehend. God made them as they are, and they are incapable of doing otherwise than as determined.

Matter is subject to fixed laws which no power on earth can change; animals are subject to fixed laws, called instinct, which nothing can change. You can teach an animal a few tricks by force of training, but this is merely artificial, like painting wood to re­semble oak. But man is independent; he can do as he likes; he comprehends; he is the only creature who can defy law; he can use his liberty even against his own good. A drunkard, a gambler, a libertine, may know that he is bringing disease and death on him­self, but he may go ahead. Man can even defy God himself. And he does. That makes sin, when a man deliberately does what he knows is wrong.

Religion then means bringing man into har­mony with God, bringing him into God's way of living, bringing him back to what is right. Man has a tendency to be a law unto himself, to do as he likes. But God gave man liberty to serve Him, to do His will. He could have made man like the rest of nature. subject to fixed laws, but He did not. He made him free to give him the opportunity of showing loyalty and allegiance to Him who so wonder­fully made him.

God's law obliges man to direct his life to please God and not to suit himself, and yet we see many people living just to suit them­selves. But is God to be trifled with? We must obey the laws of our country. How about God's laws, which are more sacred? Because God is good and patient and does not punish instantly, it does not follow that man can go on sinning.

For after death, the judgment!

We shall next consider the immortality of the soul.
Adapted from God and Myself, An Inquiry into the True Religion (1917)
by Fr. Martin J. Scott, S.J.

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

Feb 3 - St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
From: Mark 6:14-29

Opinions About Jesus

[14] King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the Baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work with Him." [15] But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." [16] But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."

John the Baptist Beheaded

[17] For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her. [18] For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." [19] And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, [20] for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. [21] But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. [22] For when Herodias' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it." [23] And he said to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." [24] And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptizer." [25] And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptizer on a platter." [26] And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oath and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. [27] And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave him orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in prison, [28] and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. [29] When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


14. Following the popular custom, St. Mark called Herod "king", but in strict legal terminology he was only tetrarch, which is the way St. Matthew (14:1) and St. Luke (9:7) describe him, that is, a governor of certain consequence. The Herod referred to here was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great who was king of the Jews at the time of Jesus' birth.

16-29. It is interesting that the extensive account of the death of John the Baptist is inserted here in the Gospel narrative. The reason is St. John the Baptist's special relevance in the history of salvation: he is the Precursor, entrusted with the task of preparing the way for the Messiah. Besides, John the Baptist had a great reputation among the people: they believed him to be a prophet (Mark 11:32); some even thought he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:20); and they flocked to him from many places (Mark 1:5). Jesus Himself said: "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). Later, the Apostle St. John will speak of him in the Gospel: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6); but the sacred text points out that, despite this, he was not the light, but rather the witness to the light (John 5:35). We are told here that he was a righteous man and preached to everyone what had to be preached: he had a word for people at large, for publicans, for soldiers (Luke 3:10-14); for Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-12); for King Herod himself (Mark 6: 18-20). This humble, upright and austere man paid with his life for the witness he bore to Jesus the Messiah (John 1:29 and 36-37).

26. Oaths and promises immoral in content should never be made, and, if made, should never be kept. This is the teaching of the Church, which is summed up in the "St. Pius X Catechism", 383, in the following way: "Are we obliged to keep oaths we have sworn to do unjust and unlawful things? Not only are we not obliged: we sin by making such oaths, for they are prohibited by the Law of God or of the Church.

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, February 02, 2006

Pope hints at change of leader for Jesuits

"St Jack" Danforth and the Bullies in the Pulpit

John Danforth Says It's Time the GOP Center Took On The Christian Right

I think he means he wants everyone to take on Christianity in general...
Danforth is no squalling liberal. He is a lifelong Republican. And his own political history shows he is no milquetoast.
. . .
A man of God and the GOP, he is speaking out for moderation -- in religion, politics, science and government.
Moderation as in spreading his distortions on embryonic stell cell research and cloning? The murder of innocent human life? This is a man of God! Which God is that? Unfortunately, he is more than terribly confused and, worse, he's spreading his diseased and reprehensible "ethics" all over the Missouri landscape.
The combative voice of the Southern Baptist Convention and confidant of White House political guru Karl Rove has little use for Danforth, however grand his religious and political pedigrees. He describes the former senator as "what was wrong with the Republican Party and why they were a minority party."
Perhaps he'd rather see all parties becomes parties of death?
One morning last spring, as he walked with his wife, Sally, in Palm Springs, Calif., where they are building a house, his dismay with the Republican Party turned to dissent.

The trigger was the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead Florida woman whose husband wanted to disconnect her from life support. Schiavo's parents fought to keep her alive, backed by prominent Christian conservatives, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

"If you turned on Fox News, you would hear relentless talking heads talking about, 'They're killing Terri!' and 'This is murder!' " Danforth says, recalling the campaign to remove the case from Florida courts that had ruled she should be allowed to die. "I thought, 'This is not what the Republican Party does. The only explanation for it was an effort to appease the Christian right.' "
Opposing the wilful murder of Terria Schiavo by dehydration and starvation at the behest of her "former husband" was an appeasement to the Christian Right? Not that trying to stop murder is the right and moral thing to do...

I recently heard a priest say that what was criminal a generation ago has now become legal in many areas, though it is still entirely demented and immoral. So many seem to have lost the ability to properly distinguish betwwen right and wrong.
Danforth saw the Schiavo case as meshing with the right's opposition to gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

"I think a marriage is between a man and a woman, but it's beyond me how the whole thing has become so politicized and people have become so energized by it. Because, what difference does it make? How does it constitute a defense of marriage to legislate in this area?"
Is it no wonder his denomination is rotting from within? Having abandoned the moral high ground (if, in fact, he was ever there), he slides into the abyss of darkness and slavery, embracing the culture of death in order to be seen as wise and moderate.
In Missouri, where Danforth won five statewide elections, a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage passed overwhelmingly last year. Yet he believes most people would say no if asked, "Do you believe we should just be nasty and humiliate people and degrade them because of sexual orientation?"
What a politician, twisting facts into lies, virtues into vices, good into evil and vice versa...
"What is the thinking behind saying that we should criminalize research that can prevent Parkinson's or juvenile diabetes?" Danforth asks. "We should criminalize research because we want to save cells in a petri dish that will never be implanted in a uterus and never become people?"
It's criminal because it's immoral - it's wrong...but he just doesn't get it...

I heard a lady on the radio this morning talking about a petition gatherer outside the Wentzville Post Office. He asked the lady to sign a petition to save the lives of the unborn. After she read it, she discovered it was the "Life Saving Cures" stem cell research petition to get it placed on the November ballot. She was livid, having been lied to, as anyone of a sound mind should be.

After the cops arrived, it was discovered that the petition gatherer was an ex felon, brought in from Michigan or some northern state to work for the group seeking to clone and murder persons in the initial stages of development. What a group - and "St. Jack" is the spokesman!

John Danforth and his cronies seeking patents for destroying life are in need of mega-prayers. Needful as well are the people of Missouri! Who, in his right mind, wants the state to permit experimentation that replicates that behavior of the Nazi scientists?

The The Washington Post article is here.

In St Louis, women live contemplative life as Poor Clares

ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- It's hard to imagine young women of today choosing a life of enclosure, silence and prayer. But three happy, healthy young women -- all in their 20s -- are now in formation at the Monastery of St. Clare in St. Louis.
More at CNS

Bad Habits: Can We Correct Liturgical Abuse in Religious Communities?

by The Rev. Vincent Capuano, SJ

I have a dilemma and some questions I wish someone would help me with. This article does not attempt to answer questions so much as to pose them. Nonetheless, I will, toward the end of the article, suggest some tentative solutions. Let me explain the situation that I am in and why I set myself to the task of writing this essay.
Good Article at Adoremus

I guess this means it's official...

Other Pontifical Acts
On this Date
The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., presented by Thomas J. Gumbleton, upon having reached the age limit.
Let's not forget to pray for him in his retirement!

St. Louis, Dallas churches seek dismissal of sex suit

Attorneys for the St. Louis Archdiocese and the Dallas Diocese said Wednesday that their clients could not be held legally responsible for the actions of a priest accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in here in 1984.

Spokane Diocese offers settlement in abuse case

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane has offered a $45.7 million settlement to 75 people who say they were molested by priests.

Bishop William Skylstad publicly apologized Wednesday to the victims "for the terrible wrongs inflicted on you in the past." He urged Catholics to accept the proposed settlement.

Rebellion Brewing in Belleville?

About half the priests of the Catholic diocese of Belleville descended on a little brick parish hall here Wednesday to talk about mutiny.

The meeting, at St. Barbara Parish Center, followed a similar gathering in December at which the clergymen vented their frustrations with Bishop Edward K. Braxton.
More here...

Gospel for Feb 2, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

From: Luke 2:22-40

The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

[22] And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they (Joseph and Mary) brought Him (Jesus) up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord [23] (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") [24] and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons."

Simeon's Prophecy

[25] Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. [26] And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. [27] And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, [28] he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, [29] "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; [30] for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation [31] which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, [32] a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to Thy people Israel."

[33] And His father and His mother marvelled at what was said about Him; [34] and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, "Behold this child is set for the fall the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against [35] (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."

Anna's Prophecy

[36] And there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Ahser; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, [37] and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. [38] And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Childhood of Jesus

[39] And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. [40] And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

22-24. The Holy Family goes up to Jerusalem to fulfill the prescriptions of the Law of Moses--the purification of the mother and the presentation and then redemption or buying back of the first-born. According to Leviticus 12:2-8, a woman who bore a child was unclean. The period of legal impurity ended, in the case of a mother of a male child, after forty days, with a rite of purification. Mary most holy, ever-virgin, was exempt from these precepts of the Law, because she conceived without intercourse, nor did Christ's birth undo the virginal integrity of His Mother. However, she chose to submit herself to the Law, although she was under no obligation to do so.

"Through this example, foolish child, won't you learn to fulfill the holy Law of God, regardless of personal sacrifice?
"Purification! You and I certainly do need purification. Atonement and, more than atonement, Love. Love as a searing iron to cauterize our soul's uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretchedness of our hearts" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", Fourth Joyful Mystery).

Also, in Exodus 13:2, 12-13 it is indicated that every first-born male belongs to God and must be set apart for the Lord, that is, dedicated to the service of God. However, once divine worship was reserved to the tribe of Levi, first-born who did not belong to that tribe were not dedicated to God's service, and to show that they continued to be God's special property, a rite of redemption was performed.

The Law also laid down that the Israelites should offer in sacrifice some lesser victim--for example, a lamb or, if they were poor, a pair of doves or two pigeons. Our Lord, who "though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9), chose to have a poor man's offering made on His behalf.

25-32. Simeon, who is described as a righteous and devout man, obedient to God's will, addresses himself to our Lord as a vassal or loyal servant who, having kept watch all his life in expectation of the coming of his Lord, sees that this moment has "now" come, the moment that explains his whole life. When he takes the Child in his arms, he learns, not through any reasoning process but through a special grace from God, that this Child is the promised Messiah, the Consolation of Israel, the Light of the nations.

Simeon's canticle (verses 29-32) is also a prophecy. It consists of two stanzas: the first (verses 29-30) is an act of thanksgiving to God, filled with profound joy for having seen the Messiah. The second (verses 31-32) is more obviously prophetic and extols the divine blessings which the Messiah is bringing to Israel and to all men. The canticle highlights the fact that Christ brings redemption to all men without exception--something foretold in many Old Testament prophecies (cf. Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 2:6; 42:6; 60:3; Psalm 28:2).

It is easy to realize how extremely happy Simeon was--given that many patriarchs, prophets and kings of Israel had yearned to see the Messiah, yet did not see Him, whereas he now held Him in his arms (cf. Luke 10:24; 1 Peter 1:10).

33. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph marvelled not because they did not know who Christ was; they were in awe at the way God was revealing Him. Once again they teach us to contemplate the mysteries involved in the birth of Christ.

34-35. After Simeon blesses them, the Holy Spirit moves him to further prophecy about the Child's future and His Mother's. His words become clearer in the light of our Lord's life and death.

Jesus came to bring salvation to all men, yet He will be a sign of contradiction because some people will obstinately reject Him--and for this reason He will be their ruin. But for those who accept Him with faith Jesus will be their salvation, freeing them from sin in this life and raising them up to eternal life.

The words Simeon addresses to Mary announce that she will be intimately linked with her Son's redemptive work. The sword indicates that Mary will have a share in her Son's sufferings; hers will be an unspeakable pain which pierces her soul. Our Lord suffered on the cross for our sins, and it is those sins which forge the sword of Mary's pain. Therefore, we have a duty to atone not only to God but also to His Mother, who is our Mother too.

The last words of the prophecy, "that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed", link up with verse 34: uprightness or perversity will be demonstrated by whether one accepts or rejects Christ.

36-38. Anna's testimony is very similar to Simeon's; like him, she too has been awaiting the coming of the Messiah her whole life long, in faithful service of God, and she too is rewarded with the joy of seeing Him. "She spoke of Him," that is, of the Child--praising God in her prayer and exhorting others to believe that this Child is the Messiah.

Thus, the birth of Christ was revealed by three kinds of witnesses in three different ways--first, by the shepherds, after the angel's announcement; second, by the Magi, who were guided by a star; third, by Simeon and Anna, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

All who, like Simeon and Anna, persevere in piety and in the service of God, no matter how insignificant their lives seem in men's eyes, become instruments the Holy Spirit uses to make Christ known to other. In His plan of redemption God avails of these simple souls to do much good to all mankind.

39. Before their return to Nazareth, St. Matthew tells us (2:13-23), the Holy Family fled to Egypt where they stayed for some time.

40. "Our Lord Jesus Christ as a child, that is, as one clothed in the fragility of human nature, had to grow and become stronger but as the eternal Word of God He had no need to become stronger or to grow. Hence He is rightly described as full of wisdom and grace" (St. Bede, "In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

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

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cardinal Newman Society Campaign Against Offensive “Monologues” Achieves Results

MANASSAS, VIRGINIA, United States, February 1, 2006 ( – Five Catholic universities have stated they will not permit the Vagina Monologues to be presented on campus, and four more say the play won’t appear, after a campaign by the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) to stop performances of the offensive production on Catholic campuses.

Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas Day

Tomorrow Evening, 7 p.m. At St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Blessing of the candles, Procession and High Mass.
What is this festival?
T is the festival on which the Church venerates the humility and obedience of Mary who, though not subject to the law of Moses, which required purification and presentation in the temple, yet subjected herself to it. From this comes the name Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. It is also called Candlemas, because before Mass on this day the candles used in divine service are blessed and carried in procession.

Why are the candles blessed on this day and carried in procession?
In remembrance of the presentation of Jesus to His Heavenly Father on this day, when the aged Simeon called Him: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of the people of Israel, (Luke II. 32.) and to remind us that, like the five wise virgins, we should go to meet Christ with the light of faith and good works.

With what intention are candles blessed?
With the intention of obtaining from God by their pious use and the prayers of those who devoutly carry them, health of body and soul; that our hearts, through the doctrine of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Ghost, may be interiorly enlightened; and that the fire of the love of God may be kindled in our hearts, purify them from all remains of sin, and make us partakers in the joyous light of heaven, which will never be extinguished.
From The Church's Year by Rev. Leonard Goffine

*** Special Notice ***
Women for Faith & Family has an excellent page devoted to this special feast (Presentation of the Lord) here.
From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy
120. Until 1969, the ancient feast of the presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and closed the Christmas season, forty days after the Lord's birth. This feast has for long been associated with many popular devotional exercises.

NBC at it again...

SPECIAL ALERT! NBC to mock the Crucifixion of Christ
NBC, fresh from giving us the anti-Christian The Book of Daniel , has decided to hit back at the Christian community by presenting an episode of Will and Grace which mocks the crucifixion of Christ.

On the April 13 edition of NBC's Will and Grace , Britney Spears will appear as a Christian conservative sidekick to Sean Hayes' homosexual character, Jack, who hosts his own talk show.

Jack's fictional network, Out TV, is bought by a Christian TV network, leading to Spears contributing a cooking segment called "Cruci-fixin's." To further denigrate Christianity, NBC chose to air it the night before Good Friday.

Click Here to read the Associated Press article.

NBC does not treat Jews, Muslims or other religions with such disrespect. Yet the network demonstrates a deep of hostility toward followers of Christ.
More Here

Catholic Culture: Liberal Diplomacy and the Church

An excerpt:
Let the diplomacy begin.

The MC [Magisterium of the Church] states its case regarding the dignity of the human person both as an individual and vis-à-vis his participation in human relationships. MC clearly states that its teachings on these matters have been carefully considered, and that on the issues of contraception, abortion, and homosexuality there is no wiggle room, and therefore these issues must be set aside, to be excluded from future debate. ALCM [American Liberal Catholic Movement] makes indignant noise. The presence of the Pope makes them nervous. They want to be unspeakably rude to him, as they are frequently behind his back, but just can’t bring themselves to do it.

USCCB encourages further openness in dialogue, explaining that if everybody doesn’t get to have “their say”, the emotional consequences could be disastrous. The USCCB offers the idea that perhaps pro-abortion politicians might still be permitted to receive communion, thereby allowing the administering official to avoid the embarrassment of denying communion to a pillar of the community. MC says that it remains committed to examining the issue, and that bishops should make responsible decisions on a case-by-case basis. USCCB feels that it has made an incredible triumph in diplomacy. They have already made the decision that public heretics should be allowed to receive communion. MC is feeling that its position at the table has been undercut to a certain extent, and feels that maybe it isn’t getting the support from USCCB that it had expected.
Good read...

Vatican Cardinal: "We are realizing the worst prophecies of aging and demographic implosion"

Looking to move to Washington DC? Pro-life office space available right now....

Are you a conservative political group looking for affordable office space right in the heart of Washington DC? If so, call me; I may have what you are looking for.

The Culture of Life Foundation holds the lease on an entire floor of a small K Street office building (we are only a few blocks from the White House), and we have an immediate opening. One office is available right now and the cost is quite affordable; $750 per month including utilities and high-speed internet access. The office that is opening up is perfect for one person, but can also fit two.

You will join five other like-minded groups that work on a variety of issues but mostly social conservative issues (life and family).

This office is a perfect way for your group to put your toe into the Washington DC policy scene.

If you are interested, please call me at 202-289-2500.

Best regards,
Austin Ruse
Culture of Life Foundation
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
Spreading the word...

Deacon Fournier Disassociates With TCR

Attached is my public statement concerning my decision to disassociate from Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports ( over its decision to call for the impeachment of the President and certain members of his cabinet today.
. . .
Sadly, this recent decision of Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports, without having any discussion with its regular contributors, to endorse the impeachment of the President and his cabinet, has caused me great distress. As of last week, I was still listed as a contributing editor of TCR on the masthead. A decision to disband the group of contributing editors, for various reasons, was made only last weekend. Thus, I understand that you had no strict obligation to consult with me or any other party who formerly held that position. However, in the public eye I am still associated with TCR’s editorial opinions and decisions.
I had quit reading TCR a few years ago...Good for Deacon Fournier.

Congressional Letter Calls on NIH to Address Abortion, Depression Link

There is a dearth of information about the effects of abortion on women. Abortion advocates are against gathering any scientific data that might cast abortion in a negative light. We report today on yet another call in the US House to initiate a longitudinal study that will explore abortion and depression. This is certainly a reasonable proposal.
A recent letter from a House subcommittee to the National Institutes of Health reveals a new strategy in the fight to get the scientific community to address the question of abortion and depression. The letter presents the findings of a recent study out of New Zealand recently reported in Culture & Cosmos that shows a strong link between abortion and poor mental health and asks the director of the NIH to address the study's findings with US research.

2006 Catholic Blog Awards - are now open for nomination!

The Rules
1. All Blogs nominated must be primarily Catholic in nature.
2. Please do not nominate someone repeatedly for the same category.
3. Please also restrict nominations to one person per category.
4. It is possible to vote for a blog in more than one category.
5. For a Blog to be nominated for the "Best New Blog" Category it must have been created since last years' awards.
6. For a blog to be nominated, it must have been active since last year's awards. Blogs that have been active in the past year but have now closed are eligibile to be nominated
7. I have requested that your name and email address be submitted on the form. I will keep this information confidential. If your name or e-mail address is missing, your nomination will not be accepted. Thanks and happy nominating!!!

Nominating will end on Friday, February 3, 2006 at 3:00 PM CST


Kentucky diocese agrees to one of largest settlements in sex abuse cases


A judge approved a settlement of up to $85 million Tuesday between sexual abuse victims and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, one of the largest deals the church has reached with American parishioners who were molested by clergy.

The settlement covers 361 victims who claim they were abused over a period of 50 years by priests in a diocese that once included 57 counties across a large swath of Kentucky. Special Judge John Potter said a desire by the Covington Diocese to make reparations to the victims contributed to the settlement.

"Contrary to what might be the case in other dioceses, the court believes that this professed desire is genuine and played a significant role in the diocese's decision," Potter wrote in his 15-page ruling.

Suspicions confirmed...World not coming to an end...

Each local area Journal has its own editorial staff person(s) to separate the "wheat from the chaff" (so to speak ) with respect to local news items...This gem comes from the Oakville-Mehlville Journal:
Catholics cutting back

ARCHBISHOP BURKE, STICK to religious issues, not finances. Well educated, unbiased parishioners in St. Louis are capable of being good stewards of their own parish assets. Without more laity control and input, we're forced to reduce contributions. Other than paying for specific parish services and making donations to individual charities, we'll not continue to give you the opportunity to spend our cash and you can bank on that.
Sounds like a really proud, congregationalist to me...And I'll bet it's an empty threat as well. It just seems to me that most people who have this kind of attitude probably would not be contributing to the Archdiocese anyway...

But then...further on...:
Judge not…..

I AM AMAZED almost weekly by the Town Talk callers who show their abysmal ignorance about the Catholic church's beliefs, teachings, history and government and offer commentary and advice upon all things Catholic. My suggestion is those sterling Christians consider Matthew 7:1-5 before engaging to correct the presumed shortcomings of others.

Two in One Day?....

...It's more than amazing. I did look outside to see if there were any signs of an alien invasion or the end of the world...
Defending Burke

Archbishop Burke is a courageous shepherd who is challenging St. Louis Catholics to be obedient to the tenets of the Catholic Church. On every important issue, he speaks the truth in humble simplicity. I support him each day with prayers in the hope this St. Stanislaus controversy will be resolved. Listen to him.
Two links from the Post, both of which include favorable comments regarding Archbishop Burke. I'm not certain but this may be a "first"...I wonder if the reason might be that these are from the Chesterfield edition of the Post?

Sometimes a Blind Squirrel Can Find an Acorn

I'm surprised that this even made it into the Post Dispatch.
Rules and traditions

Any good family has rules and traditions. Some rules help the family run smoother. Other rules are for the protection of the children and to help them grow. Some children decide they don't like the rules and aren't going to follow them. Eventually they may even choose to move out rather than comply.

The Catholic Church operates as the family of God. Archbishop Raymond Burke, as the good father, has informed the members of St. Stanislaus over and over again what the rules are. He did not excommunicate the members of St. Stanislaus. They chose to excommunicate themselves. They have chosen on their own to no longer be members of the Roman Catholic Church and start their own church, thus becoming one of the 30,000 Protestant sects.

Archbishop Burke is saddened and so am I to lose these brothers and sisters. It is about obedience, not money, and always has been.

Jean O'Brien
Great letter!

God Called Him to the Priesthood and He Answered

Today in the Post there is a very short article of a priest of 42 years, Fr Ferdinand J. Wesloh, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in House Springs.
"I'm not afraid to walk down the street with my priest's collar on, unlike some people," Wesloh said. "I'm living the life I know I'm supposed to live as a spiritual man."
. . .
Wesloh said he became a priest partly due to the example set by other priests and the encouragement from his parents, but ultimately because he felt a calling from God.
And he responded to God's call by saying yes.

Pray that more men open their hearts and minds to the call of our Lord. And pray for those whom He has chosen and who have responded by dedicating their lives to the service of our Lord and His Church.

Latin returning to Mass

More and more Catholics are longing for Latin, the language of scholars, Gregorian chant and the Mass.

Some say it's all part of the general trend back to the classics of Western civilization. All the Rev. Franklyn McAfee knows is that when he announced earlier this month he was starting up free Latin classes on Saturday mornings at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, more than 70 parishioners packed the first session.

One parishioner, former federal Judge Robert Bork, a recent convert to Catholicism, got there early to ensure himself a seat in front of Marion Smedberg, a Latin instructor from Reston.
. . .
"People want to connect with the richness of the tradition of the church. But many priests are not well-versed enough to celebrate a Mass in Latin, and it takes a lot of work to introduce Latin to people."
Continued here...

Good and Evil

"Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is com­forted, and thou art tormented."-Luke 16:25

The words of my text, brethren, point to a fact which has at all times been a trial and a perplexity to man. For Jesus, in the parable of the Rich Man, tells us how Abraham, speaking to that lost soul, says: "Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and like­wise Lazarus evil things." Now, this is our perplexing trial - those who live in evil, before our eyes, receive the good things of life - the wealth, and comfort, and ease of mind and body; and likewise the good and patient servants of God receive the evil things of life - poverty, sickness, distress.

Malefactors and evildoers still live among us, selfish and hard­handed as of old, and nevertheless clothed in purple and fine linen, feasting sumptuously every day, and at the end borne in splendour to the grave; while Lazarus is still the outcast, despite his long-suffering and resignation to his lot; still refused the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table; still a beggar in life, and laid, at the end, in a pauper's grave. Or rather, as if to perplex us more, there is no such exact division of evil to the good, and good to the evil - this might be its own explanation; but there is what seems an absolute want of all order or rule in the division of goods and ills; those seeking to do good being here in good and there in evil plight, the evil doers being now rewarded and now punished.

It is a confusion that we seek in vain to arrange to our satisfaction. Our temptation is to give up all idea of there being a just Providence at all, and to set down this medley to the haphazard action of fate, or "luck," as we call it. And all the stronger does this temptation grow when in our own lives we see that the same confusion exists - our best and holiest years being often most full of trials, and our unfaithful and ungenerous, and even sinful years being, perhaps, our happiest and most prosperous.

I appeal to you, dear friends, has not this been your own sore trial? Has not the Tempter shown you, at times, the kingdoms of the world, and the lives of men, and the stretch of your own years, and said: "See this confusion of goods and ills; see these wicked lifted up, these holy ones cast down; see your own sinfulness prospering and your justice come to nothing: fall down and adore Fortune, Fate, Luck, or whatever you choose to call me, but cease to believe in a Providence that is nowhere evident on earth, or in a God that gives His good gifts and His punishments without justice, heedless of merit or demerit"?

I say, has not the Tempter sometimes whispered to you thus his horrible interpretation of the difficulty? and ought you not to listen gladly now to God's interpreta­tion, to the answer His Holy Spirit has given to this perplexing question? Let us then, for a few moments, strive to understand the answer of the Scripture, that we may strengthen our faith against all such attacks, and out of the very reasons of the Enemy make firm our loving trust in the Providence of God.

Dear brethren, you may have remarked that there are many things in the material world around us that appear to be in confusion and without any order or arrangement from some points of view, while from other positions they are seen to be symmetrical and even beautiful. You may have been in a forest, perhaps, where, when you are walking in one direction, tho trees are irregular, and planted, it would seem, without any reference to one another; but turn right or left and you will see that they stand in absolutely perfect lines, with long straight alleys between them, down which the eye ranges with delight. Or look at a stained glass window next time your in a church which has one. Seen from outside, what could be more confused, and even unsightly, than the lines upon the glass? But seen from inside all is harmonious in form and colour.

So is it with the confusion we have been wondering at in the moral world - the con­fusion in the distribution of good and evil. Looked at from man's standpoint, there seems no unravel­ing its perplexities, it shows no sign of care or Providence; but seen at the point from which God sees it - seen from the point where His Holy Spirit, not the Tempter, shows it to us, the confusion and perplexity vanish, and all is order and law, and beauty and love. That point, brethren, where out of seeming chance and injustice Providence and justice appear, is the Day of Judgment, when God will justify His ways to man.

Then the good shall be finally separated from the evil, and the sheep from the goats; then all the good shall be re­warded with good unmixed with ill, and the wicked punished with ill unmixed with good; and the confusion and perplexity of this wor1d's fates and fortunes shall then be resolved finally and simply into Heaven and Hell. This is what the Wise Man means when he writes: "God will judge the wicked man and the just man: then will be the time for everything." As much as to say, this is not the time to look at things, nor this the place. Now, and here, everything looks dis­ordered; but wait till the Judgment Day, and then will be the time to see things as God sees them, and as He wishes us to see them for ever: "then," but not until then, "will be the time for everything."

It is a thought familiar to you that this life is but a time of passage, of travelling on, unrestingly, towards a place of final biding. We read of those who in the rigors of northern latitudes are tempted to rest on their way through the snow and frost, although they know that to rest thus is certain death. And we feel, too, the terrible strength of our temptation in the journey of life to sit down and take our ease here, even at the peril of our eternal salvation. Well, now, we see that God has Himself made it hard for us so to rest. Everything around us is most unlike what we should expect in a place of rest. There is con­fusion and disorder, and pain and very great un­certainty. There is on earth no place where the soul can say to itself, Here take thy rest.

For the sunny spots, like the shifting gleams on the mountain side, move away just as we have reached them; and even if we enjoy their brightness and warmth for a moment, we have the sad certainty that the shadow of the cloud must quickly be upon us. I say God has, in allowing this confused and ever-varying distribution of the lights and shadows of life, almost obliged us to look from this to some other state where our longing for order and rest shall be satisfied. He has refused us a resting place, that He may almost force us to push on toward the "lasting city," where we shall rest in peace, or, as the Psalmist puts it, "where the saints shall be joyful in their beds." See, brethren, how the Providence of God appears exactly where we least expected to see it manifest - in that very confusion and disorder of good and evil which was our trial, and which tempted us to disbelieve in any Divine government at all.

We see, now, the hand of God in this economy of confusion, and recognize that the true unriddling of the universe is in the fact that God's day is yet to come, and that we must wait and watch for its coming. For then, and not till then, "His fan shall be in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor, and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire." Then, and not till then, shall He separate both the just from the unjust, and the good things of His bounty from the evil things of His justice; and He shall then say to those on His right hand: Come, you blessed, to the kingdom of joy unmixed with sorrow; and to those upon His left: Depart, you accursed, to the place of unmitigated pain.

Dear brethren, I have said that we are forced, in a way, to look for some such final order and discrimination. What we see around us obliges us to this. Do we not see that this universe, amid apparent confusion, is, even in its minutest action, governed by law and beautified by order? Study it, in any of its parts, and you at once come to law; know it, and you at once come to love it, and this despite much that seems at first dis­ordered and unlovely. Look up to the skies at night, and remember that the confusion of those myriad stars unravels itself to the astronomer, and resolves itself into most perfect law. Look at the tiniest flower of the field. You have, perhaps, seen it a thousand times; but now take it up, examine its little leaves, its exquisite delicacy of form and color, and say do you not now love a beauty that you thought commonplace before?

Listen to that lark singing up there in the sky. You have been hearing that song, perhaps, for hours; but listen to it now. Do you find no joy, unfelt before, in that outpouring melody - some meaning lying beneath what at first seemed mean­ingless? I say that it is impossible to go into any part of nature and not to find law and beauty there waiting for us. And can it be that man, God's most perfect work, is the sole excep­tion? Can it be that in his lot alone there is no revelation of its law, but only final confusion? no unfolding of its beauty, but only utter shapeless­ness? no interpretation of its meaning, but only a riddle to the end?

No, surely not; this would be to put man lower than all creation, whereas he is higher. There is, indeed, no explanation of our chequered lot given to us here; but let us wait­ - we shall know it there. Thus let us answer the Tempter, and turn this vision of confusion against him who forces it upon our sight, by making it a vision of hope, a reminder that, like the seeming medley of the Universe, the disorder of man's lot will disappear before a wider knowledge and a purer love. "I have said in my heart: God will judge the wicked man, and the just man, and then will be the time for everything."

And, dear brethren, how foolish it is for us to think that we can, in our short space of a few years, take in the full measure of God's designs. He dwells in Eternity; He works in Eternity; His designs are from Eternity to Eternity; and man, in his moment of time, thinks he ought to see and understand all! Would even human com­mon sense brook such folly? Would a legislator allow his law code to be judged by one short clause? Would a painter allow his picture to be condemned before it was half completed? Surely, then, it were wise of us to wait until we know God's ordinance as a whole before we presume to criticise it, and until we see the completion of His design before we pronounce upon its proportion or its beauty.

Let us, as St. Augustine says, not narrow God's judgments into the little circuit of our experience, but rather expand ourselves into His eternity, where alone His full justice and beauty can be seen. And let us be further mindful that it is the privilege of the powerful to take their time. Precipitation is a sign of weakness. The weak seize upon the day, the hour, the moment, which is favorable: missing that, they lose their only chance of success. And so, as that precious moment hurries by, they must hurry to catch it. But to the strong man any moment, be it soon or late, is propitious. He can therefore wait, and bide his time in perfect independence. Far more truly, then, can it be said of the Almighty that He need not hurry, that He can afford to wait. His day will come when He chooses: we cannot hurry it by our impatience. And His day will be the day of judgment, the day of justice, of final reward, and of final punishment.

We know, moreover that not only are the goods and ills of life distributed in seemingly haphazard confusion among the faithful and the unfaithful children of men, but they are also mixed in their nature; nothing, save sin, being absolutely ill, and nothing, save the will of God, being abso­lutely good. Sickness, and sorrow, and death may be converted by patience and resignation from evils into blessings; while health, and life, and prosperity may, by an ill use of them, become very real and very terrible evils. But in the end the day will come when good things shall be given to men which no ill use can turn to evil, and woes which no patience can alleviate or turn from being utterly and eternally evil. Of these three states the Psalmist sings: "In the hand of the Lord there is a cup of strong wine, full of mixture; but the dregs thereof are not emptied: all the sinners of the earth shall drink."

Here, in the cup which God pours out to man, the Royal Pro­phet shows us there are three kinds of wine- the pure and strong (merum), the mixed (mixtum), and the dregs (faex). The pure wine is the wine of gladness without sorrow which He will pour out for His Saints in Heaven; the dregs He will give in bitterness unmixed, and all the sinners of the earth shall drink. The mixed - wherein the wine of gladness and the bitter dregs of sorrow are mingled together - is the draught He presents to all, saints and sinners, in this life. Let us, then, when we taste in its sweetness the bitterness of its dregs, remember that the pure wine is yet to be presented to us, if we be faithful, and the dregs, if we be unfaithful. And let us remember, too, that we have no right to expect unmixed joy here; that such belongs to a future day; and, moreover, that no evil is given to us here by God but He has tempered it with good, and given us the power to taste that sweetness even in our bitterest affliction.

Surely, brethren, thoughts such as these should go far towards removing the temptation of the Evil One to doubt of the Providence of God. Surely, from the point to which the Holy Spirit has led us, we can see an order in the disorder of life, and in its confusion the evidence of a great and eternal plan. And, 0 sinner, think not any longer to find a guilty comfort in the fact that your fellow-sinners still go free and walk in pleasant ways. Be rather all the more terrified at this, now that it reminds you of the day to come, the day of final separation, and of justice without mercy.

Now, what is the practical outcome of such thoughts? You know we must not be mere philo­sophers: we must be practical Christians. Philo­sophers speculate and argue and lay down maxims and establish theories; but Christians seek to do, not merely to think, what is right. Philosophers may hold wise opinions, but Christians do wise actions. For it is not men's views that will be judged, but men's works. And so let us come to a practical conclusion. And the first very practical outcome of our contemplation of the Providence of God is this: that we can now afford to despise everything that ends with time, and that we now value only what lasts on into eternity. We have now no real hope or fear, except for what may save or ruin us on the Judgment Day.

For see how lightly we ought to think of those goods of earth, which are of so little value that the wicked share them with the just. Since God gives them indifferently to His friends and to His enemies, surely He can lay little store by them. How rightly indignant, then, He will be if we value them as much as His precious gifts to come, which are reserved for the just alone; if we mis­take, as St. Augustine says, the solace of the cap­tives for the joy of the children. And the same holy doctor reminds us that God has given to the wicked the riches and honors of this life, lest these should be overvalued by the just.

And only think for a moment. Think of the chosen people of God, the cherished people of the Jews. Look at the map of the world: see the little corner of Asia into which they were hemmed; while the Pagan Empires of the East and West held the rest of the known world. See our own poor, faithful land of Ireland: the chosen people of the Christian Church are in a little remote island washed by a lonely sea; their history is one of short glories and long trials; their name is a name of pity to the world. And proud, imperial peoples, whose hands are grasping, whose hearts are corrupt, whose faith is broken, are victorious in every clime, prosperous, educated, wealthy, and in honor. Ah, how empty, then, is all that pros­perity: how little God must value it when it is thus He gives it! How little we shall long for it, or pine over its loss, if only we hold it at the price He has set on it; and surely He knows best.

And you, dear brethren, to whom I love most to speak, you who are the special joy and crown of a Christian priest; you faithful poor, to you this lesson comes home, oh, how touchingly! How sad it were for you to lay great store by riches that you can never possess, or even by the comfort and modest independence that your hard lot prevents many of you from ever hoping to attain. How sad your humble homes would be if you were to think that real happiness dwelt only under lofty roofs, and within shapely walls, but never in the thatched cabins of the poor. Surely for you these are good tidings of great joy, that God, who knows the true value of things, ranks poverty before wealth, and has given, in this life, the lowly lot mostly to those whom He has elected for His own, and the high stations of the world very often to those who are His enemies.

Try, my dear friends, to see life thus, and you will not sadden your already sad estate by fruitless longing for what you will never have - for what, if you had it, would not make you truly happy. In your Father's Kingdom there are many mansions; into those mansions from out your huts of clay you will gladly enter, provided only that you set your hearts there, while you are suffering here. I do not ask you to put from you that longing for riches and rest so natural to the heart of man, and planted there by God. But, with the Apostle, I ask you to turn that longing to true riches, not false ones; to true and lasting homes, not crumbling ones of earth; to a rest that will know no disturb­ance, and not to the troubled and spectre-haunted repose of sinners in this world.

But the lesson is for all - both for the rich and the poor. For the poor, as we have seen, that they should not think too much of the evils that oppress them, or of the goods they are deprived of; for the rich, that, accepting thankfully from God the bounties of His hand, they should not set their hearts upon them, seeing that God gives them to those who are His enemies, and to whom He owes, even now, His direst vengeance. Riches, which make this life seem so happy at times, have their own distress and difficulty. If taken at more than their proper value, if looked at as real goods, as an end in life, as a final and supreme satisfaction, they become the heaviest of God's curses, and the most awful of His punishments here on earth, since they render penance so hard, and shut out with their deceptive veil the terrors of Eternity. Look to the end, then: at the gate of Eternity the rich and the poor, the strong and the ailing, the prosperous and the broken, will shortly (oh, how shortly!) meet.

What the past has been in regard to the goods and ills of life will matter little then and there; but it will be of awful moment what the past has to show of resignation to God's appointments, of conformity with God's will, of longing and striving for this - God's day. "Then will be the time for everything" - for everything that seemed good and pleasant, for everything that seemed evil and grievous. For then God will judge the just and the unjust, not according to their happiness or misery, but according to their works; and many that received good things in this life shall then enter into torments, and many that received evil things in this life shall enter into comfort and rest.
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.

Gospel for Wednesday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:1-6

No Prophet Is Honored In His Own Country

[1] He (Jesus) went away from there and came to His own country; and His disciples followed Him. [2] And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard Him were astonished saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works are wrought by His hands! [3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judah and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him. [4] And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." [5] And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. [6] And He marvelled because of their unbelief.


1-3. Jesus is here described by His occupation and by the fact that He is the son of Mary. Does this indicate that St. Joseph is dead already? We do not know, but it is likely. In any event, the description is worth underlining: in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke we are told of the virginal conception of Jesus. St. Mark's Gospel does not deal with our Lord's infancy, but there may be an allusion here to His virginal conception and birth, in His being described as "the son of Mary."

"Joseph, caring for the Child as he had been commanded, made Jesus a craftsman, transmitting his own professional skill to him. So the neighbors of Nazareth will call Jesus both "faber" and "fabri filius": the craftsman and the son of the craftsman" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 55). This message of the Gospel reminds us that our vocation to work is not marginal to God's plans.

"The truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God Himself, his Creator, was 'given particular prominence by Jesus Christ'--the Jesus at whom many of His first listeners in Nazareth 'were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him?... Is not this the carpenter?'" (Mark 6:23). For Jesus not only proclaimed but first and foremost fulfilled by His deeds the 'Gospel', the word of eternal Wisdom, that had been entrusted to Him. Therefore this was also 'the gospel of work', because 'He who proclaimed it was Himself a man of work', a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth (cf. Matthew 13:55). And if we do not find in His words a special command to work--but rather on one occasion a prohibition against too much anxiety about work and life--(Matthew 6:25-34)--at the same time the eloquence of the life of Christ is unequivocal: He belongs to the `working world', He has appreciation and respect for human work. It can indeed be said the 'He looks with love upon human work' and the different forms that it takes, seeing in each one of these forms a particular facet of man's likeness with God, the Creator and Father" (John Paul II, "Laborem Exercens", 26).

St. Mark mentions by name a number of brothers of Jesus, and refers in general to His sisters. But the word "brother" does not necessarily mean son of the same parents. It can also indicate other degrees of relationship--cousins, nephews, etc. Thus in Genesis 13:8 and 14:14 and 16 Lot is called the brother of Abraham (translated as "kinsman" in RSV), whereas we know that he was Abraham's nephew, the son of Abraham's brother Haran. The same is true of Laban, who is called the brother of Jacob (Genesis 29:15) although he was his mother's brother (Genesis 29:15); there are other instances: cf. 1 Chronicles 23:21-22, etc. This confusion is due to the poverty of Hebrew and Aramaic language: in the absence of distinct terms, the same word, brother, is used to designate different degrees of relationship.

From other Gospel passages we know that James and Joses, who are mentioned here, were sons of Mary of Clophas (John 19:25). We know less about Judas and Simon: it seems that they are the Apostles Simon the Cananaean (Matthew 10:4) and Judas the son of James (Luke 6:16), the author of the Catholic Epistle, in which he describes himself as "brother" of James. In any event, although James, Simon and Judas are referred to as brothers of Jesus, it is nowhere said they were "sons of Mary"--which would have been the natural thing if they had been our Lord's brothers in the strict sense. Jesus always appears as an only son: to the people of Nazareth, He is "the son of Mary" (Matthew 13:55). When He was dying Jesus entrusted His mother to St. John (cf. John 19:26-27), which shows that Mary had no other children. To this is added the constant belief of the Church, which regards Mary as the ever-virgin: "a perfect virgin before, while, and forever after she gave birth" (Paul IV, "Cum Quorumdam").

5-6. Jesus worked no miracles here: not because He was unable to do so, but as punishment for the unbelief of the townspeople. God wants man to use the grace offered him, so that, by cooperating with grace, he become disposed to receive further graces. As St. Augustine neatly puts it, "He who made you without your own self, will not justify you without yourself" ("Sermon" 169).

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.