Saturday, March 18, 2006

Remembering Terri

For those who followed this sad period last year, I offer this email I receievd to you as a reminder for us all:
Dear Friends,

One year ago we fought together on behalf of Terri Schiavo at BlogsforTerri as a loose coalition of independent bloggers, commenters and readers. Despite our protests, we watched with sadness and alarm as Terri's food and water were withheld and her life was ended in a cruel exercise of power.

Through it all, the Schindler family's strength and resolve helped us remember the God given intrinsic dignity of human life and the value of each individual regardless of their capabilities.

March 18, 2006, marks the one-year anniversary of the day Terri's feeding tube was removed. We hope you will participate with us at (stop by and leave a comment) and around the Blogosphere as we contemplate the value of human life, pray for the weak and helpless and speak out against their oppressors.

We also hope that you will Take Action by supporting the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation. Terri's brother, Bobby Schindler, recently wrote to us:
We thank you and your readers for your prayers, compassion and support of our family during what was the most difficult of times. Knowing we were not alone in the battle for Terri made all the difference in the world.

As we move forward to confront the culture of death movement in this nation we hope that you will stay with us. We need you now, more than ever, in the battle to aid and defend the needy and advance a Culture of Life through loving action, education and advocacy .

The Schindler's have written a new book called "A Life that Matters", which is unlikely to receive the positive review it deserves in the mainstream media. Purchase a copy and one for a friend, spread the word and remember.

Please, visit and get involved in the Foundation's work. Participate in the Will to Live Project and donate generously to the Foundation's current fundraising efforts. It is your support and involvement that will bring about success in the fight for the disabled and the battle against care rationing, euthanasia and medical killing.

Thank you for speaking out on behalf of the weak and defenseless and changing our nation by promoting a Culture of Life.

--The BlogsforTerri Team

Diocese of Jackson, Miss, Settles with Victims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson agreed Thursday to pay $5.1 million to 19 people who claimed they were molested by priests over the past three decades.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Archbishop’s Action Against Priest . . .

Reverberates Throughout Cyber Universe

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Ash Wednesday, March 1, St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop Harry Flynn asked a popular St. Paul priest, Fr. Robert Altier, an assistant pastor at St. Agnes Church, to remove his homilies from a web site run by parishioners.

The “silencing” has reverberated across the cyber universe, provoking nearly unanimous exasperation because Altier’s only “offense” — in the view of many — was his support for parents who object to the archdiocese’s “safe environment” programs for children.
As Paul Likoudis and others have rightly noted, it seems that those who openly dissent from doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church are rarely, if ever, "silenced" - nor do they ever seem to be admonished. It appears to many that they are permitted to spew forth their poison unabated, not only in the archdiocese os M/SP, but in other dioceses as well. One may wonder whether some in the Church are even concerned about doing what they ought to do rather than what seems to be expedient.
Mary Ann Kreitzer, the Arlington, Va., mother and editor of the lay publication Les Femmes and founder of the Catholic Media Coalition, observed the silencing of Fr. Altier is part of a growing pattern.

“We’ve moved from ‘Goodbye, Good Men’ [a reference to the book by Michael S. Rose] to ‘Shut up and get out, good priests’. . . .

“Consider . . . Fr. Paul Weinberger transferred by Bishop Grahmann from the Dallas parish he resurrected from the dead — initially given sabbatical with no new assignment, then after public pressure exiling him to a small parish in Greenville (Lucky Greenville!); Fr. James Haley, suspended from the Diocese of Arlington under a precept of silence for exposing homosexual priests with large porn collections (one also helped himself to over 100,000 bucks from the collection). After five years Fr. Haley is still suspended while homosexuals in the diocese continue to flourish. Fr. Joseph Clark also suspended by Bishop Loverde for correcting a deacon after Mass over his mishandling of the Precious Blood. (I know it sounds ridiculous but after five months he continues without an assignment). . . .

“I’m the president of the Catholic Media Coalition ( and we have started a fund to defend persecuted priests. We are presently focusing on Fr. Clark’s situation, but I’m also in touch with other orthodox persecuted priests who may need help.
Read more here at The Wanderer

Gospel for Saturday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Luke 15:1-3; 11-32

Parables of God's Mercy

[1] Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him (Jesus). [2] And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

The Prodigal Son

[3] So He told them this parable: [11] "There was a man who had two sons; [12] and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. [13] Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. [14] And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. [15] So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. [16] And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. [17] But when he came to himself he said, `How can many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! [18] I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you; [19] I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.'" [20] And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. [21] And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' [22] But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; [23] and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; [24] for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry.

[25] "Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. [26] And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. [27] And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.' [28] But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, [29] but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. [30] But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!' [31] And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. [32] It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"


1-32. Jesus' actions manifest God's mercy: He receives sinners in order to convert them. The scribes and Pharisees, who despised sinners, just cannot understand why Jesus acts like this; they grumble about Him; and Jesus uses the opportunity to tell these Mercy parables. "The Gospel writer who particularly treats of these themes in Christ's teaching is Luke, whose Gospel has earned the title of `the Gospel of mercy'" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 3).

In this chapter St. Luke reports three of these parables in which Jesus describes the infinite, fatherly mercy of God and His joy at the conversion of the sinner.

The Gospel teaches that no one is excluded from forgiveness and that sinners can become beloved children of God if they repent and are converted. So much does God desire the conversion of sinners that each of these parables ends with a refrain, as it were, telling of the great joy in Heaven over a sinner who repents.

1-2. This is not the first time that publicans and sinners approach Jesus (cf. Matthew 9:10). They are attracted by the directness of the Lord's preaching and by His call to self-giving and love. The Pharisees in general were jealous of His influence over the people (cf. Matthew 26:2-5; John 11:47) a jealousy which can also beset Christians; a severity of outlook which does not accept that, no matter how great his sins may have been, a sinner can change and become a saint; a blindness which prevents a person from recognizing and rejoicing over the good done by others. Our Lord criticized this attitude when He replied to His disciples' complaints about others casting out devils in His name: "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon after to speak evil of Me" (Mark 9:39). And St. Paul rejoiced that others proclaimed Christ and even overlooked the fact they did so out of self-interest, provided Christ was preached (cf. Philippians 1:17-18).

11. This is one of Jesus' most beautiful parables, which teaches us once more that God is a kind and understanding Father (cf. Matthew 6:8; Romans 8:15; 2 Corinthians 1:3). The son who asks for his part of the inheritance is a symbol of the person who cuts himself off from God through sin. "Although the word `mercy' does not appear, this parable nevertheless expresses the essence of the divine mercy in a particularly clear way" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 5).

12. "That son, who receives from the father the portion of the inheritance that is due him and leaves home to squander it in a far country `in loose living', in a certain sense is the man of every period, beginning with the one who was the first to lose the inheritance of grace and original justice. The analogy at this point is very wide-ranging. The parable indirectly touches upon every breach of the covenant of love, every loss of grace, every sin" ("Dives In Misericordia", 5).

14-15. At this point in the parable we are shown the unhappy effects of sin. The young man's hunger evokes the anxiety and emptiness a person feels when he is far from God. The prodigal son's predicament describes the enslavement which sin involves (cf. Romans 1:25; 6:6; Galatians 5:1): by sinning one loses the freedom of the children of God (cf. Romans 8:21; Galatians 4:31; 5:13) and hands oneself over the power of Satan.

17-21. His memory of home and his conviction that his father loves him cause the prodigal son to reflect and to decide to set out on the right road. "Human life is in some way a constant returning to our Father's house. We return through contrition, through the conversion of heart which means a desire to change, a firm decision to improve our life and which, therefore, is expressed in sacrifice and self-giving. We return to our Father's house by means of that sacrament of pardon in which, by confessing our sins, we put on Jesus Christ again and become His brothers, members of God's family" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 64).

20-24. God always hopes for the return of the sinner; He wants him to repent. When the young man arrives home his father does not greet him with reproaches but with immense compassion, which causes him to embrace his son and cover him with kisses.

20. "There is no doubt that in this simple but penetrating analogy the figure of the father reveals to us God as Father. The conduct of the father in the parable and his whole behavior, which manifests his internal attitude, enables us to rediscover the individual threads of the Old Testament vision of mercy in a synthesis which is totally new, full of simplicity and depth. The father of the prodigal son is FAITHFUL TO THIS FATHERHOOD, FAITHFUL TO THE LOVE that he had always lavished on his son. This fidelity is expressed in the parable not only by his immediate readiness to welcome him home when he returns after having squandered his inheritance; it is expressed even more fully by that joy, that merrymaking for the squanderer after his return, merrymaking which is so generous that it provokes the opposition and hatred of the elder brother, who had never gone far away from his father and had never abandoned the home.

"The father's fidelity to himself [...] is at the same time expressed in a manner particularly charged with affection. We read, in fact, that when the father saw the prodigal son returning home `he had COMPASSION, ran to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.' He certainly does this under the influence of a deep affection, and this also explains his generosity towards his son, that generosity which so angers the elder son" ("Dives In Misericordia", 6).

"When God runs towards us, we cannot keep silent, but with St. Paul we exclaim, "ABBA PATER": `Father, my Father!' (Romans 8:15), for, though He is the creator of the universe, He doesn't mind our not using high-sounding titles, nor worry about our not acknowledging His greatness. He wants us to call Him Father; He wants us to savor that word, our souls filling with joy [...].

"God is waiting for us, like the father in the parable, with open arms, even though we don't deserve it. It doesn't matter how great our debt is. Just like the prodigal son, all we have to do is open our heart, to be homesick for our Father's house, to wonder at and rejoice in the gift which God makes us of being able to call ourselves His children, of really being His children, even though our response to Him has been so poor" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64).

25-30. God's mercy is so great that man cannot grasp it: as we can see in the case of the elder son, who thinks his father loves the younger son excessively, his jealousy prevents him from understanding how his father can do so much to celebrate the recovery of the prodigal; it cuts him off from the joy that the whole family feels. "It's true that he was a sinner. But don't pass so final a judgment on him. Have pity in your heart, and don't forget that he may yet be an Augustine, while you remain just another mediocrity" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 675).

We should also consider that if God has compassion towards sinners, He must have much much more towards those who strive to be faithful to Him. St. Therese of Lisieux understood this very well: "What joy to remember that our Lord is just; that He makes allowances for all our shortcomings, and knows full well how weak we are. What have I to fear then? Surely the God of infinite justice who pardons the prodigal son with such mercy will be just with me `who am always with Him'?" ("The Story of a Soul", Chapter 8).

32. "Mercy, as Christ has presented it in the parable of the prodigal son, has THE INTERIOR FORM OF THE LOVE that in the New Testament is called AGAPE. This love is able to reach down to every prodigal son, to every human misery, and above all to every form of moral misery, to sin. When this happens, the person who is the object of mercy does not feel humiliated, but rather found again and `restored to value'. The father first and foremost expresses to him his joy, that he has been `found again' and that he has `returned to life'. This joy indicates a good that has remained intact: even if he is a prodigal, a son does not cease to be truly his father's son; it also indicates a good that has been found again, which in the case of the prodigal son was his return to the truth about himself" ("Dives In Misericordia", 6).
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.

Lenten prayer: Stations of the Cross and the Rosary

The new evangelization, for which our Lenten observance renews and strengthens us, is, first of all, a work of prayer. Prayer draws us to Christ, to His pierced Heart, from which we, in turn, draw the inspiration and courage to live in Christ in a culture which has grown forgetful of Him or has never known Him. Without prayer, our work of the new evangelization will utterly fail, for we cannot bring Christ to others if we are not first in loving communication with Him in prayer and, above all, through participation in the Holy Eucharist. It is through prayer that we, first, draw others to Christ and assist them to know and love Him.
More from Archbishop Burke's column here.

Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

(Jesus told the chief priests and the elders,) [33] "Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. [34] When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; [35] and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. [36] Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. [37] Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.' [38] But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' [39] And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. [40] When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" [41] They said to Him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."

[42] Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes'! [43] Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."
[45] When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking about them. [46] But when they tried to arrest Him, they feared the multitudes, because they held Him to be a prophet.


33-46. This very important parable completes the previous one. The parable of the two sons simply identifies the indocility of Israel; that of the wicked tenants focuses on the punishment to come.

Our Lord compares Israel to a choice vineyard, specially fenced, with a watchtower, where a keeper is on the look-out to protect it from thieves and foxes. God has spared no effort to cultivate and embellish His vineyard. The vineyard is in the charge of tenant farmers; the householder is God, and the vineyard, Israel (Isaiah 5:3-5: Jeremiah 2:21; Joel 1:7).

The tenants to whom God has given the care of His people are the priests, scribes and elders. The owner's absence makes it clear that God really did entrust Israel to its leaders; hence their responsibility and the account He demands of them.

The owner used to send his servants from time to time to collect the fruit; this was the mission of the prophets. The second despatch of servants to claim what is owing to the owner--who meet the same fate as the first--refers to the way God's prophets were ill-treated by the kings and priests of Israel (Matthew 23:37; Acts 7:42; Hebrews 11:36-38). Finally he sent his son to them, thinking that they would have more respect for him; here we can see the difference between Jesus and the prophets, who were servants, not "the Son": the parable indicates singular, transcendental sonship, expressing the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The malicious purpose of the tenants in murdering the son and heir to keep the inheritance for themselves is the madness of the leaders in expecting to become undisputed masters of Israel by putting Christ to death (Matthew 12:14; 26:4). Their ambition blinds them to the punishment that awaits them. Then "they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him": a reference to Christ's crucifixion, which took place outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Jesus prophesies the punishment God will inflict on the evildoers: He will put them to death and rent the vineyard to others. This is a very significant prophecy. St. Peter later repeats to the Sanhedrin: "This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner" (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4). The stone is Jesus of Nazareth, but the architects of Israel, who build up and rule the people, have chosen not use it in the building. Because of their unfaithfulness the Kingdom of God will be turned over to another people, the Gentiles, who WILL give God the fruit He expects His vineyard to yield (cf. Matthew 3:8-10; Galatians 6:16).

For the building to be well-built, it needs to rest on this stone. Woe to him who trips over it! (cf. Matthew 12:30; Luke 2:34), as first Jews and later the enemies of Christ and His Church will discover through bitter experience (cf. Isaiah 8:14-15).

Christians in all ages should see this parable as exhorting them to build faithfully upon Christ and make sure they do not fall into the sin of this Jewish generation. We should also be filled with hope and a sense of security; for, although the building--the Church--at some times seem to be breaking up, its sound construction, with Christ as its cornerstone, is assured.
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, March 16, 2006

Church seeks boy’s full return to Communion

In response to the recent Arizona Republic article, “Church denies communion to autistic boy,” The Catholic Sun presents the following guest editorial from Rosalind Gutierrez, director of the Office of Worship, and Isabella Rice, director of the Office of Disabilities and Pastoral Care Ministries:
Continued here

Gospel for Thursday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Luke 16:19-31

Lazarus and the Rich Man

(Jesus told them this parable:) [19] "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. [20] And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, [21] who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. [22] The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; [23] and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' [25] But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. [26] And besides in all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' [27] And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, [28] for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' [29] But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' [30] And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' [31] He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"


19-31. This parable disposes of two errors--that of those who denied the survival of the soul after death and, therefore, retribution in the next life; and that of those who interpreted material prosperity in this life as a reward for moral rectitude, and adversity as punishment. This parable shows that, immediately after death, the soul is judged by God for all its acts--the "particular judgment"--and is rewarded or punished; and that divine revelation is by itself sufficient for men to be able to believe in the next life.

In another area, the parable teaches the innate dignity of every human person, independently of his social, financial, cultural or religious position. And respect for this dignity implies that we must help those who are experiencing any material or spiritual need: "Wishing to come down to topics that are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, bearing in mind above all his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 27).

Another practical consequence of respect for others is proper distribution of material resources and protection of human life, even unborn life, as Paul VI pleaded with the General Assembly of the United Nations: "Respect for life, even with regard to the great problem of the birth rate, must find here in your assembly its highest affirmation and its most reasoned defense. You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not rather favor an artificial control of birth, which would be irrational, in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life" ("Address to the UN", 4 October 1965).

21. Apparently this reference to the dogs implies not that they alleviated Lazarus' sufferings but increased them, in contrast with the rich man's pleasure: to the Jews dogs were unclean and therefore were not generally used as domestic animals.

22-26. Earthly possession, as also suffering, are ephemeral things: death marks their end, and also the end of our testing-time, our capacity to sin or to merit reward for doing good; and immediately after death we begin to enjoy our reward or to suffer punishment, as the case may be. The Magisterium of the Church has defined that the souls of all who die in the grace of God enter Heaven, immediately after death or after first undergoing a purging, if that is necessary. "We believe in eternal life. We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ--whether they must still make expiation in the fire of Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies they are received by Jesus into Paradise like the Good Thief--go to form that people of God which succeeds death, death which will be totally destroyed on the day of the resurrection when these souls are reunited with their bodies" (Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God", 28).

The _expression of "Abraham's bosom" refers to the place or state "into which the souls of the just, before the coming of Christ the Lord were received, and where, without experiencing any sort of pain, but supported by the blessed hope of redemption, they enjoyed peaceful repose. To liberate these holy souls, who, in the bosom of Abraham were expecting the Savior, Christ the Lord descended into hell" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 3).

22. "Both the rich man and the beggar died and were carried before Abraham, and there judgment was rendered on their conduct. And the Scripture tells us that Lazarus found consolation, but that the rich man found torment. Was the rich man condemned because he had riches, because he abounded in earthly possessions, because he `dressed in purple and linen and feasted sumptuously every day'? No, I would say that it was not for this reason. The rich man was condemned because he did not pay attention to the other man, because he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the person who sat at his door and who longed to eat the scraps from his table. Nowhere does Christ condemn the mere possession of earthly goods as such. Instead, He pronounces very harsh words against those who use their possessions in a selfish way, without paying attention to the needs of others[...]."

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need--openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so [...].

"We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the Twentieth Century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price of the `precious blood of Christ' (1 Peter 1:19)" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Homily in Yankee Stadium", 2 October 1979).

24-31. The dialogue between the rich man and Abraham is a dramatization aimed at helping people remember the message of the parable: strictly speaking, there is no room in Hell for feelings of compassion toward one's neighbor: in Hell hatred presides. "When Abraham said to the rich man `between us and you a great chasm has been fixed...' he showed that after death and resurrection there will be no scope for any kind of penance. The impious will not repent and enter the Kingdom, nor will the just sin and go down into Hell. This is the unbridgeable abyss" (Aphraates, "Demonstratio", 20; "De Sustentatione Egenorum", 12). This helps us to understand what St. John Chrysostom says: "I ask you and I beseech you and, falling at your feet, I beg you: as long as we enjoy the brief respite of life, let us repent, let us be converted, let us become better, so that we will not have to lament uselessly like that rich man when we die and tears can do us no good. For even if you have a father or a son or a friend or anyone else who have influence with God, no one will be able to set you free, for your own deeds condemn you" ("Hom. on 1 Cor.").
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, March 15, 2006

New Catechesis: Relationship between Christ and the Church

VATICAN CITY, MAR 15, 2006 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 30,000 people, Benedict XVI began a new cycle of catechesis dedicated to the mystery of the relationship between Christ and the Church in the light of the experience of the Apostles and the task with which they were entrusted. . .

An Update on the Bishop Braxton Meeting with Priests

The Belleville News Democrat Paper has an article this morning on the meeting which took place yesterday...
BELLEVILLE - While several priests from the Catholic Diocese of Belleville who met for more than two hours Tuesday with Bishop Edward K. Braxton praised the meeting as positive and open, at least one priest was disappointed, saying he felt the bishop did not really hear the group's concerns.
There's always one, it seems, who is never content.

More here.

A Cross Causes Unease in Local Community

Few people seem to want to be reminded of that sign of contradiction, the cross:
...imagine the response in this enclave of million-dollar homes and manicured estates [in Town and Country] when a church proposed building an illuminated cross on its grounds adjacent to Highway 40. And not just any cross. This one would be made of glass and steel, soaring 99 feet into the air - a height equivalent to five streetlights stacked on top of each other.
Others contend the cross simply would be an eyesore in a city known for high-quality developments in harmony with their surroundings. "It's just not congruent with the values of the city," resident Paul Flotken said Tuesday.
Values? Those subjective feelings and emotions which often are renamed as "values"?
Several opponents to the giant cross said they have taken pains not to make the issue a religious one, and many speakers at Monday's meeting led their comments by saying they did not oppose the cross on religious grounds. Even so, some believe the issue could end up in court.
I'll bet they have gone to extremes to avoid this being a religious issue...

Article here.

Gospel for Wednesday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 20:17-28

Third Prophecy of the Passion

[17] And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way He said to them, [18] "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, [19] and deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third day."

The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee Makes Her Request

[20] Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Him, with her sons, and kneeling before Him she asked Him for something. [21] And He said to her, "What do you want?" She said to Him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your Kingdom." [22] But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able." [23] He said to them, "You will drink My cup, but to sit at My right hand and at My left is not Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." [24] And when the ten heard it they were indignant at the two brothers. [25] But Jesus called them to Him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. [26] It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [27] and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; [28] even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."


18-19. Once again our Lord prophesies to His Apostles about His death and resurrection. The prospect of judging the world (cf. Matthew 19:28) might have misled them into thinking in terms of an earthly messianic kingdom, an easy way ahead, leaving no room for the ignominy of the cross.

Christ prepares their minds so that when the testing time comes they will remember that He prophesied His passion and not be totally scandalized by it; He describes His passion in some detail.

Referring to Holy Week, Monsignor Escriva writes: "All the things brought to our mind by the different expressions of piety which characterize these days are of course directed to the Resurrection, which is, as St. Paul says, the basis of our faith (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14). But we should not tread this path too hastily, lest we lose sight of a very simple fact which we might easily overlook. We will not be able to share in our Lord's Resurrection unless we unite ourselves with Him in His Passion and Death. If we are to accompany Christ in His glory at the end of Holy Week, we must first enter into His holocaust and be truly united to Him, as He lies dead on Calvary" ("Christ Is Passing By", 95).

20. The sons of Zebedee are James the Greater and John. Their mother, Salome, thinking that the earthly reign of the Messiah is about to be established, asks that her sons be given the two foremost positions in it. Christ reproaches them for not grasping the true--spiritual-- nature of the Kingdom of Heaven and not realizing that government of the Church He is going to found implies service and martyrdom. "If you are working for Christ and imagine that a position of responsibility is anything but a burden, what disillusionment awaits you!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 950).

22. "Drinking the cup" means suffering persecution and martyrdom for following Christ. "We are able": the sons of Zebedee boldly reply that they can drink the cup; their generous __expression evokes what St. Paul will write years later: "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).

23. "You will drink My cup": James the Greater will die a martyr's death in Jerusalem around the year 44 (cf. Acts 12:2); and John, after suffering imprisonment and the lash in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 4:3; 5:40-41), will spend a long period of exile on the island of Patmos (cf. Revelation 1:9).

From what our Lord says here we can take it that positions of authority in the Church should not be the goal of ambition or the subject of human intrigue, but the outcome of a divine calling. Intent on doing the will of His Heavenly Father, Christ was not going to allocate positions of authority on the basis of human considerations but, rather, in line with God's plans.

26. Vatican II puts a marked emphasis on this "service" which the Church offers to the world and which Christians should show as proof of their Christian identity: "In proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, this sacred Synod offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs. The Church is not motivated by an earthly ambition but is interested in one thing only--to carry on the work of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for He came into the world to bear witness to the truth, to save and not to judge, to serve and not to be served" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 3 cf. "Lumen Gentium", 32: "Ad Gentes", 12; "Unitatis Redintegratio", 7).

27-28. Jesus sets Himself as an example to be imitated by those who hold authority in the Church. He who is God and Judge of all men (cf. Philippians 2:5-11; John 5:22-27; Acts 10:42; Matthew 28:18) does not impose Himself on us: He renders us loving service to the point of giving His life for us (cf. John 15:13); that is His way of being the first. St. Peter understood Him right; he later exhorted priests to tend the flock of God entrusted to them, not domineering over them but being exemplary in their behavior (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-3); and St. Paul also was clear on this "service": though He was "free from all men", He became the servant of all in order to win all (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff; 2 Corinthians 4:5).

Christ's "service" of mankind aims at salvation. The phrase "to give His life as a ransom for many" is in line with the terminology of liturgical sacrificial language. These words were used prophetically in Chapter 53 of Isaiah.

Verse 28 also underlines the fact that Christ is a priest, who offers Himself as priest and victim on the altar of the cross. The __expression "as a ransom for many" should not be interpreted as implying that God does not will the salvation of all men. "Many", here, is used to contrast with "one" rather than "all": there is only one Savior, and salvation is offered to all.

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bishop Braxton meets with priests

Bishop Braxton met today in a 2 hour retreat with about 70 priests, both active and retired. It was said to be an open and frank discussion. Apparently, a woman from a lay group in the Belleville area stated that this meeting was only a form of "damage control" by the Bishop. My guess is that the "lay group" referred to in the report is "FOSIL", the "Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity", a group of dissenting individuals...The priests who were interviewed, however, stated that the retreat was constructive and welcomed...All of which raises the question, why even interview a woman who wasn't even there? Makes for "interesting" reporting, I suppose.

No big loss, here...SF Mayor nixes trip to Rome...

Mayor foregoes Levada installation as Cardinal, says "LGBT" adoption doctrine patently offensive...

San Franciso Mayor Gavin Newsom will not attend Vatican ceremonies creating Archbishop William Levada a Cardinal, Newsom told the Sentinel today, due to "patently offensive" reiteration of Vatican opposition to LGBT adoption.
As a self-appointed "pope", Newsom, a "practicing Catholic", said, "It's divisive. It's wrong-headed. The idea, the principle that two loving parents of the same sex can't be great parents and that this church is now going to start attacking gay adoptions in this country and around the world was really disconcerting."

It's surprising that he (and others) can't see what's wrong with that picture - what kind of sickness is this? Moral bankrupty has caused countless numbers of people to be incapable of any rational thought whatsoever. Minds are clouded, the natural moral law no longer exists in their version of "reality."

What is truly disconcerting is that this man dissents so openly and yet remains a so-called "practicing Catholic." Pathetic, really. People like this need our prayers and we are obliged to make reparations on their behalf.

Article here.

2nd Week of Lent - Trials before Pilate and Herod

"Lord, it is good for us to be here." St. Matthew, 17:4

"He suffered under Pontius Pilate." Creed.

In the Metropolitan Museum of New York City there are several paint­ings by a Hungarian, Michael Munkacsy. Born in 1844, he produced in 1881 his masterpiece, "Christ Before Pilate," which was purchased by John Wanamaker, and exhibited in Europe and America.

One day a veteran missionary was studying this picture as it hung in a New York Church. Three rollicking, tipsy men came up behind him, to see what was going on. They slowly removed their hats, while one re­marked: "I think I'll go up closer and get a better look at that picture."

Half turning, the missionary told him: "Yes, by all means, come closer. The nearer you get to Jesus, the better it will be for you."

"Do you really think so, governor?" asked the interested one.

"I know so," answered the priest.

"But, just how do you know, governor?"

"Well," the priest explained, "I have known Him for over forty years, and He has never let me down. That picture tells just part of what He went through for you and me."

"If you don't mind, would you te1l me something about Him?" begged the now rather sober visitor. Briefly the priest reviewed the story of Jesus before Pilate, and what it meant for all of us. When he concluded he.saw tears in the eyes of his listener, and heard him mutter: "It's a good thing we came in here."

We want to paint that same scene this week, not upon unfeeling canvas, but upon the warm and worshipful walls of our hearts. The nearer we get to Jesus the better it will be for us. When that sobered drunkard declared it was a good thing he had come in to see the picture, he was echoing the words of St. Peter we just quoted: "Lord, it is good for us to be here." Both were near Christ. In the transfiguration Jesus appeared in all His glory; before Pilate He appeared in all His agony. The first makes us happy; the second makes us sad. But both are necessary, the sad and the glad picture of Christ, to make a complete portrait of Him.

About eight o'clock on the morning of the first Good Friday, the soldiers led our Lord to Pilate. They repeated their charges: this man leads the people astray; He forbids to give tribute to Caesar; He calls Himself Christ the King. Pilate questions Christ privately: "Art thou the king of the Jews?"

Jesus answered that He was, but His kingdom was not of this world. When the governor, heard that Jesus was from Galilee he sent Him to Herod, who was pleased; he wanted to meet Christ and see a mira­cle, if possible. To Herod's questions, as to Pilate's questions, Jesus an­swered not a word. He was mocked, dressed in a white garment, the gar­ment of a fool, and sent back to Pilate.

Herod and Pilate, former enemies, were made friends that day; neither wanted to take the responsibility, yet neither wanted to free our Lord.

Pilate declared Christ innocent. To please the Jews he consented to torture Our Lord and release Him. He had an idea. Every year on the pasch the Jews released a criminal. One of the most notorious was Bar­abbas. The Jews could choose: Jesus or Barabbas. Persuaded by their leaders, the people chose Barabbas, and to the governor's query as to what they should do with Christ, the mob cried out: "Let him be cruci­fied." St. Matthew, 27:23.

Seeing that his feeble efforts to release Christ were of no avail, Pilate called for water, washed his hands and exclaimed: "I am innocent of the blood of this just man: see to it yourselves." St. Matthew, 27:24. Pilate permits the cruel scourging and crowning with thorns, the mocking and torture by the soldiers, but still the crowd cries out for a crucifixion.

Again Pilate made an effort to free Christ by asking Him where He came from. When Jesus did not answer Pilate reminded Him that he had power to condemn Him and he had power to release Him. But the eternal Judge simply told His earthly judge that all power was from above. The Jews kept screaming that the governor could not be a friend of Caesar if he set this man free. Worn, weary and wounded, Jesus was brought forth upon the balcony, where Pilate announced to the Jewish mob: "Behold your king." "We have no king but Caesar," they shouted back. The sen­tence was passed.

In this picture of a weak and wavering man who should have stood up for simple justice, we have a picture of ourselves. When Jesus and His principles stand trial, we often act like Pilate. We shift responsibility; we avoid blame; we carry water on both shoulders; we try to be friends and enemies of Christ at the same time; we try to release Him and we also con­demn Him, in the same breath.

When you pray those words of the Apostles' Creed: "He suffered under Pontius Pilate." be sure that you are not another Pilate. Now that you have studied this scene, however briefly, stand with that converted drunk­ard, who resolved to do better when he saw the picture of "Christ Before Pilate." Realize that it is good for us in every way to be present at this scene.
Adapted from Talks on the Creed
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1946

Renato Martino, a Cardinal Out of Control

His statements frequently create difficulties for the Vatican authorities and the pope. The most recent ones involve Cuba and the teaching of the Qur’an in public schools
by Sandro Magister

Dr Edward Peters: Some Updates on Reception of Holy Communion

The main service of Christians is to announce the Gospel

VATICAN CITY, MAR 11, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received participants in an international congress being held to mark the 40th anniversary of the Vatican Council II Decree "Ad gentes." The congress has been organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Urban University.

Benedict XVI affirmed that the approval of this decree, on December 7, 1965 gave "renewed impulse" to the Church's mission, which was recognized as being "a constituent element of her very nature."

"To announce and bear witness to the Gospel," he said, "is the main service Christians can render to individuals and to the entire human race."
Continued here...

Gospel for Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 23:1-12

Vices of the Scribes and Pharisees

[1] Then said Jesus to the crowds and to His disciples, [2] "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; [3] so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. [4] They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. [5] They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, [6] and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, [7] and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. [8] But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. [9] And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven. [10] Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. [11] He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; [12] whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


1-39. Throughout this chapter Jesus severely criticizes the scribes and Pharisees and demonstrates the sorrow and compassion He feels towards the ordinary mass of the people, who have been ill-used, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). His address may be divided into three parts: in the first (verses 1-12) He identifies their principal vices and corrupt practices; in the second (verses 13-36) He confronts them and speaks His famous "woes", which in effect are the reverse of the Beatitudes He preached in Chapter 5: no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven--no one can escape condemnation to the flames--unless he changes his attitude and behavior; in the third part (verses 37-39) He weeps over Jerusalem, so grieved is He by the evils into which the blind pride and hardheartedness of the scribes and Pharisees have misled the people.

2-3. Moses passed on to the people the Law received from God. The scribes, who for the most part sided with the Pharisees, had the function of educating the people in the Law of Moses; that is why they were said to "sit on Moses' seat". Our Lord recognized that the scribes and Pharisees did have authority to teach the Law; but He warns the people and His disciples to be sure to distinguish the Law as read out and taught in the synagogues from the practical interpretations of the Law to be seen in their leaders' lifestyles. Some years later, St. Paul--a Pharisee like his father before him--faced his former colleagues with exactly the same kind of accusations as Jesus makes here: "You then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, `The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you'" (Romans 2:21-24).

5. "Phylacteries": belts or bands carrying quotations from sacred Scripture which the Jews used to wear fastened to their arms or foreheads. To mark themselves out as more religiously observant than others, the Pharisees used to wear broader phylacteries. The fringes were light-blue stripes on the hems of cloaks; the Pharisees ostentatiously wore broader fringes.

8-10. Jesus comes to teach the truth; in fact, He is the Truth (John 14:6). As a teacher, therefore, He is absolutely unique and unparalleled. "The whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: His silences, His miracles, His gestures, His prayer, His love for people, His special affection for the little and the poor, His acceptance of the total sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of the world, and His resurrection are the actualization of His word and the fulfillment of revelation. Hence for Christians the crucifix is one of the most sublime and popular images of Christ the Teacher.

"These considerations are in line with the great traditions of the Church and they all strengthen our fervor with regard to Christ, the Teacher who reveals God to man and man to himself, the Teacher who saves, sanctifies and guides, who lives, who speaks, rouses, moves, redresses, judges, forgives, and goes with us day by day on the path of history, the Teacher who comes and will come in glory" (John Paul II, "Catechesi Tradendae", 9).

11. The Pharisees were greedy for honor and recognition: our Lord insists that every form of authority, particularly in the context of religion, should be exercised as a form of service to others; it must not be used to indulge personal vanity or greed. "He who is the greatest among you shall be your servant".

12. A spirit of pride and ambition is incompatible with being a disciple of Christ. Here our Lord stresses the need for true humility, for anyone who is to follow Him. The verbs "will be humbled", "will be exalted" have "God" as their active agent. Along the same lines, St. James preaches that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). And in the "Magnificat", the Blessed Virgin explains that the Lord "has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree [the humble]" (Luke 1:52).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Widow sues priest, Catholic Church after husband commits suicide

A St. Louis area widow filed a wrongful death suit against a jailed priest and the Catholic Church Monday, claiming the priest’s sexual abuse of her late husband caused him to commit suicide last year.

The man, known in court papers as "John Doe GS," filed his own lawsuit just two months before his death. The suit says Romano Ferraro abused him at St. Joan of Arc parish in south St. Louis multiple times between 1980 and 1983, when the man was between 10 and 11 years old, and says the St. Louis Archdiocese knew or should have known that Ferraro was a danger.

Fr. Ryan Erickson's peers had voiced concerns

In 233 pages of documents released Thursday, the Rev. Phillip Rask, St. Paul Seminary rector, told investigators Erickson was a "below average" student. He said church officials were concerned about Erickson's inability to curb his impulses, including drinking and "promiscuity."

Rask told investigators he was aware of sexual allegations against Erickson prior to his entering the seminary, and that one student filed a complaint after he woke up to discover Erickson in his bed.

No action was taken against Erickson, but Rask said Erickson was told that his "conduct was unbecoming of a priest."
But he was ordained, nonetheless...More here.

Polish National Catholic Church gains small group local of "Catholics"

A small but determined band of Toledo-area Catholics, most of them reeling over Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair's decision to close their parishes last year, is starting a church that belongs to a breakaway Catholic group, the Polish National Catholic Church.
. . .
The purple-robed celebrant, the Rev. Jaroslaw Nowak of Hamtramck, Mich., is interim pastor of the fledgling Toledo parish.
. . .
Fourteen people attended Mass yesterday at Resurrection Polish National Catholic Church, meeting in a stark basement cafeteria at the Common Space Center for Creativity on Reynolds Road near Dorr Street.
. . .
"One reason I got involved is the fact that it is parish-controlled," Mr. [Chris] Cremean said. [He bemonged to one of the parishes which was closed]. "The parish builds it, maintains it, and owns it. You don't have to worry about somebody coming in and telling you that you can't have a parish."
How many disgruntled individuals go about starting their own "church"? How many professed Catholics do this?
"Some people will say we are not Catholic. That is not true," Father Nowak said after the service. "We are independent but Catholic."
A defective understanding of what it means to be Catholic...A defective understanding which has been propagated among the faithful for years by many who have claimed to be Catholic and who have been allowed to spread their poison of dissent and heresy due, in part, to the failure of leadership to discipline those responsible for leading souls away from the Church.

Full story here.

The Catholic Society of Evangelists

The Mission Statement of this group:
Catholics love their faith but many lack confidence and skill in sharing it with others. Our mission is to provide members of the Catholic Society of Evangelists (CSoE) with the basic tools and assistance necessary to succeed in communicating the truths of the Catholic faith. With these tools, we can help active Catholics grow in the faith, bring former Catholics back "home" and give solid information to searching non-Catholics. Together, we are able to purchase these tools in largte quantities, at a discount, making evangelization affordable for all our members.
For more information click here

HT to Patte G

2nd Week of Lent - Preparation and Promise

"His face shone as the sun, and his garments became white as snow." St. Matthew 17:2.

Pope Pius X had a special love for little children. At one of the many audiences he granted them, a tiny girl ran up to the Pope to tell him about her first Holy Communion.

"Whom did you receive?" asked the Holy Father.

"Our Lord, Jesus Christ," she answered.

"Was it our Lord in heaven or our Lord on earth?" questioned the Holy Pontiff.

The little one replied: "Our Lord came down on the altar for me."

But the Pope continued to question: "Then there was Jesus Christ on earth and a Jesus Christ in heaven. Are there two Jesus Christ's?"

For just a moment the child was silent, but she soon gave an answer that delighted the affectionate Pontiff: "No, Holy Father, there is only one Jesus Christ; our Lord in heaven and our Lord in Holy Communion are the same Jesus Christ."

How did that little girl know that the same Jesus Christ is in heaven and in the tabernacle? She knew it, as all Catholics should know it, from the words of Jesus Himself, as another child put it: "Because Jesus said so."

Yes, Jesus did say so. He promised to give us Himself and He kept that promise. In making and keeping that promise there are four steps or stages: The Preparation, the Promise, the Promise Kept, and the Acceptance. First, Jesus prepared his hearers for this tremendous truth. Secondly, he clearly promised to give His flesh and blood. Thirdly, Christ kept His promise at the Last Supper. Fourthly, the Apostles and the early Church accepted Christ's words in their literal meaning.

One year before His death Christ miraculously fed five thousand people with "five barley loaves and two fishes." St. John, 6:9. That same evening Jesus worked another miracle by walking over the water to come to the disciples who were in a boat. (St. John, 6:16)

"The next day" He made His promise. And what a promise! Yesterday He fed five thousand. Today he promises to feed millions. Yesterday He fed five thousand at one time and in one place. Today he promises to feed all men in all places.

When Jesus told His audience: "Do not labor for the food that per­ishes, but for that which endures unto life everlasting" St. John, 6:27, the Jews reminded our Lord that their fathers ate manna in the desert, daily, delicious bread, that was a beautiful figure. of the Eucharist.

Jesus told them: "I am the bread of life." They seemed unable to understand, unwilling to accept. Again Christ told them: "I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert, and have died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that if anyone eat of it he will not die. I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." St. John, 6:48-52.

The Jews argued: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" St. John, 6:53. Did Jesus take back His words or change them by saying: "0h, I did not mean that I would give you my flesh to eat"?

No, Christ repeated and insisted: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. . . This is the bread that has come down from heaven. . ." St. John, 6:54-59.

That His hearers understood Christ to mean His own flesh and blood is clear from verse 62: "This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?". And from verse 67: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him."

When Jesus asked the Apostles if they also would go away, Simon Peter answered for them, as the Pope has always answered for all Catholics: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of everlasting life, and we have come to believe and to know that You are the Christ, the Son of God." St. John, 6:68-70.

In this story of the promise we see why the little girl told Pope Pius X: "No, Holy Father, there is only one Jesus Christ; our Lord in heaven and our Lord in Holy Communion are the same Jesus Christ." Christ promised that very thing. And Christ kept that promise.

That promise Christ keeps this very hour as we repeat His words at the consecration at every Holy Mass, and as we all look to the sacred Host held aloft. We have recently read about the Transfiguration of our Lord. Just as in the Transfiguration He appears this very hour and every hour of every day of every year throughout the world. On every altar, as on the mountain, His face shines as the sun and His garments are white as snow. It is the shining face of Christ in the Eucharist; it is the white garment of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

In the words of St. Peter, "It is good for us to be here." Yes, it is good for us to be here, here where Christ comes down on the altar, here where Christ comes into the hearts of each one of us. Truly - it is good to be here. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Sacraments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1947

More on Evil, Homosexuality, Murder, and the Priesthood

If High Ranking Priests Don't Resign Dirty Laundry will be Publicly Aired During Lent

New Society of Faithful Catholics Forms to Confront Priestly Sexual Abuse
By John-Henry Westen

MINNEAPOLIS, March 9, 2006 ( - It seems like all hell is breaking loose in the archdiocese of St. Paul - Minneapolis. In recent weeks 27 priests signed a petition against Archbishop Harry Flynn's backing for a measure to protect the traditional definition of marriage ( ). The diocese is refusing to release those names and it has not publicly ordered the priests to be silent about their heterodox views, but it has, at the same time, silenced a faithful priest who objected to the graphic sex-ed program advocated by the archdiocese ( ).
. . .
The group [The Dan O'Connor Society] has called on three prominent priests in the diocese to resign, and hoping to avoid unnecessary public scandal, the society has requested they resign voluntarily before they are forced to act. By acting, the society means to publish a white paper which would reveal publicly the details of the misdeeds of the three men named. That white paper is to be revealed, if necessary, near the end of Lent.
. . .
Watch for news from the Dan O'Connor society in the coming weeks, for it'll soon be 'time to roll'.

2nd Week of Lent - Evil

"Arise, and do not be afraid!" St. Matthew 17:7.

You may have heard the story about the wealthy gentleman of many years ago who advertised for a coachman to drive his team and carriage. In the daily paper he put the following ad: WANTED, A COACHMAN WHO KNOWS HIS BUSINESS. NONE BUT THOSE WITH STEADY HANDS AND COOL HEADS NEED APPLY.

Three candidates applied for the position. To each one he put this question: "How near can you drive to the edge of a cliff without throwing the car­riage over?"

"Within a yard," confidently answered the first applicant.

When the same question was put to the second candidate he answered: "I can go within a foot of the edge."

The third man received the same test question. "Well, sir," he slowly answered, "I never tried to see how near I could drive to a dangerous place. I always try to keep as far away as I can."

"You are the man for me," declared the employer, as he took the man into his service.

Getting to heaven is something like scaling a mountain. It is a continual climb. Often the road is littered with the rocks and ruts of temptation. Frequently there are sharp turns and narrow, dangerous spots. We can't always avoid temptation. But we can stay away from evil, the perilous precipice, which brings death to the soul. The trick is not to get as near as we can without taking a tumble. The sensible course is to stay as far away from it as we can. To do this in spiritual life is impossible without the help of God. That is why in the last petition of the Our Father we ask our heavenly Father to "deliver us from evil."

"Deliver" here means to keep all evil away from us as much as possible, and to keep us away from evil, too. It means that, should we fall into it, or come perilously near, we want the Lord to save us from it.

Again we use the word "us," because we want ourselves delivered first but not ourselves alone. We want the Lord to deliver our friends and rela­tives and benefactors from evil also. We ask the Lord to deliver everyone from sorrow and trouble and affliction. It is a prayer of all of God's chil­dren for all of God's children.

By "evil" we mean first of all the devil with all his works and all his boasting. We mean harm of any kind and all kind. Trials and crosses are included in this evil, in so far as they might lead us into sin. Often God permits affliction as a means of merit and reward. In particular, the word "evil" includes evils of the soul and evils of the body:
1. Deliver us from evil of the soul:
A. This means above all from mortal sin, which is the death of the soul, the precipice over which the soul falls when it seriously, knowingly and intentionally offends Almighty God.

B. Loss of grace and hardness of heart are also spiritual evils.

C. Deliver us from religious persecution and from dangers to our faith, so numerous about us, especially in this day when dissent and public repudiation of the Church's teaching are practiced daily.

D. Deliver us from an unprovided death and from the greatest evil­
eternal damnation.
2. Deliver us from evil of the body. This prayer, of course, is conditioned upon the will of God, who sometimes permits physical evils to work a greater spiritual good.
A. There are private evils, like sickness, bad health, poverty, the ill-will of associates, and accidents of all kinds. Do you ever say an Our Father as you start on a trip?

B. We also ask the Lord to spare us from public calamities like famine, revolution, depression and war. These days, when war threatens all around the world, we should ask the Lord to please deliver the world from the evils of war.
It is most natural and necessary that we ask God to spare us suffering and affliction. Yet, many neglect to do this. They pray to God only when human resources fail. All too frequently priests will have people, Catholics and non­Catholics, go to them with some difficulty or problem, some marriage misunderstanding and the like, who, in answer to my question: "I guess you have prayed over it, haven't you?" will answer frankly: "No, Father, I suppose I should."

They neglected the best and often the only means for solving their problem, the only way of delivering themselves and their loved ones from some threatening evil.

They were near the edge of the cliff of spiritual or physical evil, and failed to take the guiding hand of the good Lord.

Say the Our Father from now on with increased understanding and attention, say it often and say it well. Then you will not be afraid, as our Lord today told His Apostles not to be afraid.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1949

Gospel for Monday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Luke 6:23-38

Love of Enemies (Continuation)

(Jesus said to his disciples,) [36] "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
[37] "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; [38] give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."


36. The model of mercy which Christ sets before us is God Himself, of whom St. Paul says, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions" (2 Cor 1:3-4). "The first quality of this virtue", Fray Luis de Granada explains, "is that it makes men like God and like the most glorious thing in Him, His mercy (Lk 6:36). For certainly the greatest perfection a creature can have is to be like his Creator, and the more like Him he is, the more perfect he is. Certainly one of the things which is most appropriate to God is mercy, which is what the Church means when it says that prayer: 'Lord God, to whom it is proper to be merciful and forgiving...'. It says that this is proper to God, because just as a creature, as creature, is characteristically poor and needy (and therefore characteristically receives and does not give), so, on the contrary, since God is infinitely rich and powerful, to Him alone does it belong to give and not to receive, and therefore it is appropriate for Him to be merciful and forgiving" ("Book of Prayer and Meditation", third part, third treatise).

This is the rule a Christian should apply: be compassionate towards other people's afflictions as if they were one's own, and try to remedy them. The Church spells out this rule by giving us a series of corporal works of mercy (visiting and caring for the sick, giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty...) and spiritual works of mercy (teaching the ignorant, correcting the person who has erred, forgiving injuries...): cf. "St Pius X Catechism", 944f.

We should also show understanding towards people who are in error: "Love and courtesy of this kind should not, of course, make us indifferent to truth and goodness. Love, in fact, impels the followers of Christ to proclaim to all men the truth which saves. But we must distinguish between the error (which must always be rejected) and the person in error, who never loses his dignity as a person even though he flounders amid false or inadequate religious ideas. God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts; He forbids us to pass judgment on the inner guilt of others" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 28).

38. We read in Sacred Scripture of the generosity of the widow of Zarephath, whom God asked to give food to Elijah the prophet even though she had very little left; He then rewarded her generosity by constantly renewing her supply of meal and oil (1 kings 17:9ff). The same sort of thing happened when the boy supplied the five loaves and two fish which our Lord multiplied to feed a huge crowd of people (cf. Jn 6:9)--a vivid example of what God does when we give Him whatever we have, even if it does not amount to much.

God does not let Himself be outdone in generosity: "Go, generously and like a child ask Him, 'What can You mean to give me when You ask me for "this"?'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 153). However much we give God in this life, He will give us more in life eternal.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reorganization of the Curia in Rome

Alter Christus - Warring Against Sin

We all must learn to live our Christian and priestly life in union with Mother Church - in the spirit of the liturgical seasons. The liturgical year is a wonderful school; through the variety of its seasons, the Church makes us live the drama of our redemption and teaches us the complete Christian spirit. As regards Lent, we have only to read the missal to realize that it is meant to be a real event in the life of Christians, a kind of annual retreat.

We have gone through so many Lents already: what change did they bring about? Yet, holy Church promises: "Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile, ecce nunc dies salutis!" . . . Lent is to be a time of grace especially because it leads us to amend our lives by expiating our sins in union with Christ's sufferings, thus preparing ourselves for the spiritual renewal of Easter in union with Christ's Resurrection. Let us see how we can sanctify our Lent by making it a time of active warfare against sin - in ourselves - and in our flock.


Too often the priest's efforts in Lent are mostly con­centrated on improving his people: he forgets - at least in practice - that he too has sins to expiate and sinful habits to eradicate. Yet, even the efficacy of his ministry will depend on the degree in which his soul is purified from sin and thus made a fit instrument in the hands of God. Besides, his influence will come more from the example of his life than from his words of exhortation: how can he invite others to a more austere way of life, if they see no change whatever in his own? "Deeds speak louder than words" (Pius' XI ). "Non confundant opera tua sermonem tuum" (St Jerome).

But the desire of our own salvation and sanctification also should spur us on to enter into the spirit of Lent and to wage war against sin! Our whole aim in spiritual life is to come closer and closer to God and to let His love fill our life.
Sin is the great obstacle: mortal sin of course, simply shutting out God; deliberate venial sins, blocking the way to God's choice graces; habitual sloth, apathy and carelessness, leaving us impervious to the wooing of the Bridegroom. . .

Alas! How often we stagnate and live in mediocrity and frustrate the designs of God's love upon our soul, because we do not keep clear of sin and do not free ourselves from the shackles that keep us bound to creatures and the things of this world! We understand so little the necessity of utterly separating ourselves from all that is opposed to God's friendship. How different the attitude of the Saints, who pursued relentlessly all enemies of God in their soul: their past sins were, till the end of their life, a source of compunction and penance; their vigilance was unceasing to detect and combat all sinful tendencies; the slightest infidelities gave them a poignant sense of shame and sorrow. . .
* Let me resolve to enter upon this Lent in a spirit of sincerity. I should feel a hypocrite if I were to say the prayers of the Lenten Masses, and still more if I were to exhort others to penance and mortification, and did not myself fully enter into the spirit of Lent.

I will live a more penitential life, increasing my morti­fications, if prudence and discretion allow of it, at least taking in a true spirit of penance the sacrifices inseparable from my ministry.

I will aim at a deeper realization of the meaning of sin and of its consequences in my life, trying to see sin as God sees it, pondering over what it costs Him: the mangled Body of Christ on the Cross!

Let me examine myself sincerely: Is there not a passion in me that imperatively claims correction and amendment; which are my habitual daily faults that may shock men around me as well as put an obstacle to divine grace; is there not a general slackness and self-indulgence in my life, particularly regarding my spiritual exercises?

I will take practical resolutions, with the echo of holy Church's warning in my ears: "Exhortamur vos ne in vacuum gratiam Dei recipiatis."


The priest's Lent must also be a time of great zeal for the sanctification of his flock. No other time of the year perhaps is more promising of abundant harvest: everything in the iiturgy of the Church, in the special exercises of the ministry, is calculated to dispose souls to repentance and amendment. And in those days that prepare us for the anniversary of the Redemption, the Precious Blood of Christ, surely, comes to us laden with special efficacy and graces.

Our efforts must be directed first and foremost towards heaven, redoubling the fervour and intensity of our inter­cessory prayer: "Inter vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes ministri Domini et dicent: Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo."

We must awaken the faith of our people by a carefully prepared set of instructions, to bring them to real repentance for their neglect of God's service, fill them with confidence in the mercies of the Lord. This mercy must be brought home to them by our own behaviour in the sanctuary, the pulpit, and the confessional: a priest according to the Heart of Jesus does not repel sinners by coldness or harshness, but draws them on by showing in his whole attitude the "viscera misericordiae" of the Divine Master. At the same time let us not be afraid to exhort them to a generous practice of penance, in keeping with their circumstances, for which there are so many occa­sions in the present-day hardships of life. Laymen are not unfrequently an object lesson to their pastor by their readiness to embrace Lenten practices of mortification and self­denial.

* What is my eagerness to rescue souls from sin in this hallowed season? Have I unbounded confidence in Christ's Precious ""Blood? Being resolved at the same time not to be disheartened by difficulties and failures, knowing well that no labour is ever lost in the sight of God and that merits do not depend on success. Am I ready to spend myself without counting the cost? To reinvigorate my generosity I look up to Christ on the Cross who beholds all sinners across the centuries and utters His " Sitio".
"Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut familia tua, quae se, affligendo carnem, ab alimentis abstinet, sectando iustitiam a culpa ieiunet" (Monday after 2nd Sunday of Lent).
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 39.

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

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Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

From: Mark 9:2-10

The Transfiguration

[2] And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them, [3] and His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth bleach them. [4] And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. [5] And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah." [6] For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. [7] And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son; listen to Him." [8] And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only. [9] And as they were coming down the mountain, He charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man should have risen from the dead. [10] So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.


2-10. We contemplate in awe this manifestation of the glory of the Son of God to three of His disciples. Ever since the Incarnation, the divinity of our Lord has usually been hidden behind His humanity. But Christ wishes to show, to these favorite disciples, who will later be pillars of the Church, the splendor of His divine glory, in order to encourage them to follow the difficult way that lies ahead, fixing their gaze on the happy goal which is awaiting them at the end. This is why, as St. Thomas comments (cf. "Summa Theologia", III, q. 45, a. 1), it was appropriate for Him to give them an insight into His glory. The fact that the Transfiguration comes immediately after the first announcement of His passion, and His prophetic words about how His followers would also have to carry His cross, shows us that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

What happened at the Transfiguration? To understand this miraculous event in Christ's life, we must remember that in order to redeem us by His passion and death our Lord freely renounced divine glory and became man, assuming flesh which was capable of suffering and which was not glorious, becoming like us in every way except sin (cf. Hebrew 4:15). In the Transfiguration, Jesus Christ willed that the glory which was His as God and which His soul had from the moment of the Incarnation, should miraculously become present in His body. "We should learn from Jesus' attitude in these trials. During His life on earth He did not even want the glory that belong to Him. Though He had the right to be treated as God, He took the form of a servant, a slave (cf. Philippians 2:6)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 62). Bearing in mind WHO became man (the divinity of the person and the glory of His soul), it was appropriate for His body to be glorious; given the PURPOSE of His Incarnation, it was not appropriate, usually, for His glory to be evident. Christ shows His glory in the Transfiguration in order to move us to desire the divine glory which will be given us so that, having this hope, we too can understand "that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18).

2. According to Deuteronomy (19:15), to bear witness to anything the evidence of two or three much concur. Perhaps this is why Jesus wanted three Apostles to be present. It should be pointed out that these three Apostles were specially loved by Him; they were with Him also at the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and will also be closest to Him during His agony at Gethsemane (Mark 14:33). Cf. note on Matthew 17:1-13.

7. This is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains the meaning of the Transfiguration: "Just as in Baptism, where the mystery of the first regeneration was proclaimed, the operation of the whole Trinity was made manifest, because the Son Incarnate was there, the Holy Spirit appeared under the form of a dove, and the Father made Himself known in the voice; so also in the Transfiguration, which is the sign of the second regeneration [the Resurrection], the whole Trinity appears--the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Spirit in the bright cloud; for just as in Baptism He confers innocence, as signified by the simplicity of the dove, so in the Resurrection will He give His elect the clarity of glory and the refreshment from every form of evil, as signified by the bright cloud" ("Summa Theologiae", III, q. 45, 1.4 ad 2). For, really, the Transfiguration was in some way an anticipation not only of Christ's glorification but also of ours. As St. Paul says, "it is the same Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:16-17).

10. That the dead would rise was already revealed in the Old Testament (cf. Daniel 12:2-3; 2 Maccabees 7:9; 12:43) and was believed by pious Jews (cf. John 11:23-25). However, they were unable to understand the profound truth of the death and Resurrection of the Lord: they expected a glorious and triumphant Messiah, despite the prophecy that He would suffer and die (cf. Isaiah 53). Hence the Apostles' oblique approach; they too do not dare to directly question our Lord about His Resurrection.

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.