Saturday, May 20, 2006

USCCB's End Run Around Liturgiam Authenticum Fails

With Bishop Trautman at the helm of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and with attempts to neuter the requirements of Liturgiam Authenticum in translating texts for the liturgy, certain proposed translations are unlikely to receive the Holy See's recognitio...

Diogenes has posted a letter from Cardinal Arinze to Bishop Skylstad stating, in part:
This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is therefore not competent to grant the recognitio for translations that do not conform to the directives of Liturgiam authenticam. If, however, there are difficulties regarding the translation of a particular part of a text, then this Congregation is always open to dialogue in view of some mutually agreeable solution, still keeping in mind, however, that Liturgiam authenticam remains the guiding norm... is not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation for the past thirty or forty years, and therefore that it is pastorally advisable to make no changes.
During the past 30-40 years, the faithful have become accustomed to, among other things, the "let your conscience be your guide" mentality, disregarding the teachings of the Church, and a catastrophic failure in catechesis. Thirty to 40 years of dumbing-down the faithful by the use of poor and/or questionable translations appears to be coming to an end. Deo Gratias!

July 14-16, Latin Liturgy Association Convention

A Convention Registration Form can be obtained here. [Please note that the April 15th deadline has been waived, although it does not say that on the registration form.]

Call Chapter president Regina Morris at 314-647-0475 for more information.

The agenda is below:

FRIDAY, 14 July 2006

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Registration open at courtesy room in hotel

Pre-convention Historic Church Tour (Separate registration required):
Bus depart Drury Inn-Union Station 9:00 a.m.
Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral) 9:15 a.m.—9:45 a.m.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (New Cathedral) 10:00 a.m. —11:15 a.m.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church: 11:30 a.m.—12:00 noon
Holy Family (Log) Church [includes lunch] 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.
Our Lady of the Holy Cross Church 2:00 p.m.—2:30 p.m.
St. Joseph Shrine 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Return to Drury Inn-Union Station 4:00 p.m.

4:30 -7:00 p.m. National Council Meeting (at hotel, in courtesy room)

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Supper Break

8:00 p.m. Social Hour (ALL WELCOME…at hotel, in courtesy room)

9:00 p.m. Group recitation of the Rosary in Latin (in courtesy room)

SATURDAY, 15 July 2006

7:00 -9:30 a.m. Registration (Courtesy room at hotel)

Vendor room (at St. Francis de Sales gym) opens for set-up

8:00 9:30 a.m. Mass in Latin (1970 Missal) at St. John the Evangelist Church
Celebrant: Father Edward Richard, M. S., Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
Choir: Seminary Choir, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

9:30-9:45 a.m. Shuttle buses to St. Francis de Sales Oratory from hotel

Registration Desk moves to St. Francis de Sales Oratory basement hall

Vendor room is open to conventioneers until 5:00 p.m.

9:45-10:00 a.m. Welcome by President Jim Pauer; Local Chairman Regina Morris
Welcome by Father Karl Lenhardt, I.C.R., Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Memorial to Robert Edgeworth (Scott Calta)

10:00-11:00 a.m. “Monsignor Martin B. Hellriegel—Historical Example of Appropriate Liturgical Renewal”

Father C. Frank Phillips, C. R., Pastor of St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, IL

11:00-12:00 noon “The Place of Latin in the Current Liturgical Renewal”
Dr. James Hitchcock, Founding Chairman of Latin Liturgy Association

12:00-1:00 p.m. Buffet lunch

1:00-2:00 p.m. “Educating Children and the Faithful in Gregorian Chant: A Method from the Past, and a Plan for the Future”
Father Samuel Weber, O.S.B., Wake Forest University

2:00-2:10 p.m. Break

2:10-3:10 p.m. “The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest—Harmony of Liturgy and Life in the Modern World”
Msgr. Michael Schmitz, I.C.R. Provincial Superior (United States)

3:10-3:20 p.m. Break

3:20-4:20 p.m. “Adoremus and Liturgical Reform”
Helen Hull Hitchcock, Co-founder of the Adoremus Society

4:20-4:45 p.m. Buses to St. Mary of Victories Church

4:45-5:15 p.m. Vespers at St. Mary of Victories Church

5:00 p.m. Vendor Room closes

5:15 p.m. Buses from St. Mary of Victories to hotel

Supper on your own

7:30-9:00 p.m. Workshop on Gregorian Chant (especially Compline)(in hotel courtesy room)
Dr. Richard Haefer, Arizona State University

9:00-9:30 p.m. Compline (in hotel courtesy room)

SUNDAY, 16 JULY 2006

8:00 a.m. Optional Low Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Bus to St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Vendor room open for set-up

8:45-9:30 a.m. “Plus ça change”
Mike Withers, Representative, Association of Latin Liturgy, United Kingdom

Vendor room open (closed during 10:00 a.m. Mass)

10:00 a.m. Pontifical High Mass (1962 Missal) at St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Celebrant: Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis
Choirs: St. Gregory and St. Fidelis Choirs, St. Francis de Sales Oratory

12:30 p.m. Closing Banquet – in basement of St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Speaker: Father William Barnaby Faherty, S.J. on
“Father Pierre-Jean De Smet—Blackrobe to the Native Americans”

Vendor room open until 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. Convention adjourns. Vendor room closes. Bus to hotel
Optional trips recommended (maps and driving instructions available):

[“Old St. Ferdinand Shrine” in Florissant or “Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions” at the St. Louis University Art Museum or “Black Madonna Shrine” in Eureka, MO]

May 21, Saint Andrew Bobola of Poland

As long as Poland has been a nation she has been a Catholic nation, and always she has had to fight and suffer for her Faith. She is called the Outpost of Christianity. She is the arm of Catholic Europe thrust into enemy territory, and she has had to bear the brunt of the fierce hatred that the countries which surround her direct against the Church.

The people of Poland are accustomed to affliction, but they are accustomed also to heroism and to sanctity. And they remember their saints and their heroes, the men and women who have fought in that almost single battle, for the Faith and for Poland. They remember Saint Stanislaus, Bishop of Cracow, who rebuked his King for oppressing the people and was killed by the King while celebrating Mass. They remember the boy, Saint Stanislaus Kostka, taken from the world when he was eighteen, being made perfect in a short space. They remember their patroness, Saint Hedwig, and Blessed Hedwig, the Queen. They remember John Sobieski, the soldier-King, who with 76,000 men routed 300,000 Turks who were about to take Vienna and overrun Europe, and chased the remnants of their army, terrified, back into Turkey. They remember John Casimir, the King who had been a Cardinal, and who placed the country under the patronage of Our Lady of Czenstochowa. They remember Tadeusz Kosciuszko, leading the people of Warsaw, armed with clubs and hammers and scythes, in a desperate and glorious rebellion against their Russian oppressors. And they remember Saint Andrew Bobola.

The story of Saint Andrew Bobola is mainly the story of a martyrdom, a martyrdom called by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which studied his cause for canonization, "the most cruel ever recorded." The martyrdom occurred on the sixteenth of May, 1657, and was accomplished by Russian Cossacks, at the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Andrew Bobola was born in the territory of Little Poland in the year 1591. His family was of the Polish nobility, his father having been cupbearer to three monarchs and his uncle the Royal Chamberlain. When he was twenty years old, Andrew Bobola rejected the life of a Polish nobleman and entered the novitiate of the Jesuit Order in the city of Vilna. His first assignment after his ordination was in the church of Saint Casimir, in that same city. Here, the faith and eloquence of his preaching soon resulted in hundreds of conversions and made him the most sought after preacher in all of Poland. A description of Father Andrew Bobola at this time, found in the Jesuit records, says that he had a fiery temperament, which he controlled with difficulty, great impulsiveness and enthusiasm, and utter impatience toward ideas that disagreed in any way with the Faith. The description also notes that Father Bobola had a completely fascinating and irresistible personality, and was deeply loved by all the faithful.

In 1630, when he was forty years old, Andrew Bobola was appointed rector of one of the Jesuit colleges in Lithuania,. He held this position for five years, and then asked leave to resign in order to become a full-time missionary. The request was granted, and Andrew Bobola began to do the work he had wanted to do from the time he entered the Jesuit Order, the work God had meant him to do, the work at which he would spend the rest of his life.

Andrew Bobola went about his missionary labors with such fervor, and love, and wholehearted dedication that God must have found it impossible not to be delighted with him and to make his work fruitful. Never did Andrew Bobola miss an opportunity to save a soul. He would overtake travelers on the road and walk along with them, in the hope of converting them or strengthening them in their Faith. He would seek out the sick to console them, and the dying to give them the Last Sacraments. Everywhere he would spread especial devotion to Our Lady and to the Holy Eucharist, founding sodalities in Our Lady's honor. His favorite apostolate was to children, still uninfected with heresy and schism, to whom he would teach .the Faith so strongly and lovingly that they would never forget it. The number of his conversions was in the tens of thousands. At times he won from the Russian schism whole dioceses with their bishops. "The hunter of souls," he was called by those who loved him; and by the schismatics, "the robber of souls."

Now, Russia, which bordered Poland to the east, was becoming greatly disturbed at the number of schismatics who, through the efforts of Father Bobola and his fellow Jesuits, were being reunited with the Holy Father. Russia was disturbed partly for a political reason: as the home of the schismatic Orthodox Church, Moscow could demand obedience of all members of that church, regardless of what country they lived in. But Russia was disturbed mainly for a religious reason: there is no hatred of the Catholic Faith so deep, so bitter and abiding as the hatred of the schismatics, who pretend that their belief is the same as that of Catholics, except for rejecting the Pope.

Just when Russia had reached the peak of her disturbance, however, relief came. It was provided by the Cossacks, those savage, mongrel people who inhabited the Ukraine between the Dnieper and Don Rivers, and whom a Polish king once described as "made up of the dregs of humanity, mingled with thieves of every kind." In 1653 the leader of the Cossacks went to Moscow and placed himself and his country under the sovereignty of the Czar. He then swore that he would wage a religious war for the purpose of destroying every Catholic-priest and layman, adult and child-in Poland. Thereupon, the Czar, counseled by the schismatic Patriarch of Moscow, made a league with Mohammedan Turkey, which bordered Poland on the south. Simultaneously, Poland was attacked by Sweden, Brandenburg, and Transylvania, the Protestant Lutheran countries that bordered her on the north. This was too much for the Outpost of Christianity. In 1655, Warsaw and Cracow fell.

Immediately, a council of all Polish Jesuits was called, and the Fathers were dispersed throughout Poland to rouse Catholics to the defense of their Faith and their country. Father Andrew Bobola was sent to Pinsk, in Polesia. This city, though it had many Catholic inhabitants, was regarded by the schismatics as their headquarters. Father Bobola was then sixty-five years old, and he knew this journey to Pinsk would probably be the last long journey he would take. As he was about to leave he wrote to a friend, "I am going forth to meet my martyrdom."

Upon his arrival in Pinsk, Father Bobola was appointed rector of the Jesuit college that had just been built there. The schismatic priests were infuriated at this invasion of their stronghold by the famous and feared "robber of souls." They knew that as long as he was alive, the schism was in danger. They decided he must be killed, but for a number of reasons they hesitated to do the job themselves. And so, in May of 1657, they encouraged an eager band of two thousand Cossack troops to make a raid on Pinsk, with the intention of capturing Father Bobola at his college and killing him.

But in this ambition the Cossacks were disappointed. For Andrew Bobola had not allowed his duties as rector to put an end to his missionary work. Whenever he could leave the college for a few days or weeks, he would go off into the remote villages and byways of the country, taking with him one companion to serve his Mass. Everywhere these missionary labors bore great fruits, and especially at Janow, a town some twelve miles from Pinsk. It was there that Father Bobola had gone a few days before the Cossacks arrived in Pinsk.

Not finding Father Bobola at his college, the Cossacks vented their rage by torturing some of his fellow priests. Then, informed of Father Bobola's whereabouts, they rode madly for Janow. But their fury exceeded all bounds when they found Father Bobola was not there either; for that very morning he had gone to the village of Poredilno, a short distance from Janow, to say Mass and to minister to the small Catholic settlement there. The Cossacks massacred as many Catholics as they quickly could find in Janow; then they rode off again in pursuit of Father Andrew Bobola.

Word that the Cossacks were coming reached Poredilno not long after Father Bobola had finished saying his Mass. Catholics from Janow, who had run all the way, burst into the church where he was still making his thanksgiving and told him the news. Reluctantly, for he had always longed and prayed for the chance to be a martyr, Father Bobola heeded the pleas of his spiritual children that he escape for their sakes. A cart was waiting outside the door, and Father Bobola got into it. The driver took the road to Janow, in the hope of reaching a certain other road, down which they might easily escape, before the Cossacks found them. But they never reached that road. They were only a short distance out of Poredilno when they were met by the Cossacks rushing toward the village. At first sight of these dreaded horsemen, the driver of the cart threw down his reins and fled into the woods; and Father Andrew Bobola was left to face the Cossacks alone.

Calmly, joyfully, Andrew Bobola got down from the cart and knelt on the ground. "Thy will be done, O my God," he prayed. Then the Cossacks, leaping from their horses with shouts of exultation at having found the "robber of souls" at last, pounced upon him. With insults, threats and blasphemies, they tried to make him give up his Catholic Faith and embrace their schismatic religion.

When the Cossacks saw that Andrew Bobola remained firm in his Faith through all their words, they began their torture of him-an agonizing, terrible torture which was to be, deliberately yet mystically, a replica of the Passion of Jesus Christ. First they stripped the upper part of Andrew Bobola's body, tied him to a tree, and scourged him, competing with one another in tearing his flesh. Then they struck his face with their fists, so that they knocked out some of his teeth. Then, taking young oak boughs, they plaited a crown for him to wear, wetting it first in a brook, so that as it dried it contracted, and pressed deeper and deeper into his head.

After this, they tied his hands together, and, fastening him between two horses, they led Andrew Bobola the two miles to Janow. And along the way, whenever he fell, they beat him with their whips and swords till he was on his feet again. Twice with their swords they inflicted deep wounds in his shoulders. As they approached Janow, the Cossacks galloped the horses to which Andrew Bobola was tied, and pointing in triumph to the old man who was their prize, they shouted to their comrades who had remained in the town, "See! the robber of souls! Bobolal Bobola!"

It was about noon of this warm spriog day that Father Andrew Bobola, sixty-six years old, his hair white and his body weary, entered for the last time the village of Janow, dragged behind two horses. Across the great green plain on whose edge the village was set, there could be seen the tall spires of distant churches, forming a backdrop. The bright spring sun made the village, with its myriad ponds and streams, glisten like a jewel. This was the setting God had arranged for the great and awful event about to take place.

Loosening Andrew Bobola from the horses, the Cossacks brought him before their chief, to be questioned by him. "Who are you?" asked the chief, pretending not to know. "And why have you come here? Are you a Latin priest?"

"I am a Latin priest," Father Bobola replied, "and I have come here to preserve the Catholic Faith in this country; to reclaim to the true Church those who have abandoned her."

"Papist dog I I will wrench the Catholic Faith from your heart, or else I will wrench out your heart."

"My Faith is the true Faith; it is the right Faith; it is the Faith that leads to Heaven. I was born in that Faith, and in that Faith I mean to die. I will never renounce my Faith. But you-you be converted and do penance; give up your schism and submit to our Holy Father; or you will never save your soul."

Enraged at this boldness, the Cossack chief lifted his sword to cut off Andrew Bobola's head. Instinctively, Father Bobola put up his arm as a shield; the blow cut off three of his fingers, but missed his head. The Cossack chief struck a second time, but Father Bobola fell to the ground and the blow gashed his foot, again missing his head. Then, as Father Bobola lay patiently at the feet of his tormentors, one of the Cossacks, seeing that he raised his eyes toward Heaven, feared that he might be invoking vengeance upon them, and with the point of his saber he pushed out one of Father Bobola's eyes. At this Father Bobola prayed more earnestly than ever, beseeching Heaven, not for vengeance, but for the grace of final perseverance, that his faith might not falter in the midst of such horrible torments.

Suddenly the Cossacks hit upon a new scheme. Grabbing Andrew Bobola by one leg, they dragged him between two rows of terrified people to the butcher shop at the end of the street. They took him inside, locked the door, and stretched him on the butcher's table. Unknown to the Cossacks, some young boys, part of Father Bobola's flock, had sneaked into the butcher shop ahead of them and had hidden there, in sight and hearing of all that was to take place. It is from their report that we know the details of what happened.

When Andrew Bobola had been stretched on the butcher's table, the Cossacks took flaming brands and charred his breast and sides. "Give up your Faith," they said, holding the flames close to his body, "or you shall suffer more than this." But Andrew Bobola said, "You may put my courage to the test, but if you do you shall see what wonders God will work in my body this day. I believe and I confess that just as there is only one true God, so there is only one true Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and only one true Faith, the Catholic Faith, which Jesus Christ revealed and the Apostles preached. For that Faith I will gladly die, as the Apostles and so many martyrs have died before me."

Hearing this defiance, the Cossacks beat him with blows on the mouth and applied the flames till his flesh fell off in pieces.

And now the Cossacks began the last and the cruelest phase of their tortures. They began to mock Father Bobola's priesthood-a priesthood which they, as Orthodox schismatics, at other times pretended to reverence and to share. Forcing splinters of wood under Father Bobola's fingernails, they said, "With these hands you hold God, but we will treat you better than Jesus was treated." And again, "With these hands you turn over the pages of the Missal, but we will turn over their skin." And they pulled the skin off his hands and scraped away the flesh down to the bone. "Now what have you to say for your Pope?" they asked. Then, with a sharp knife, they drew a circle on the top of his head and pulled off his scalp, saying, "Your tonsure is too small; we will give you a larger one." Next they put him face down upon the table and little by little pulled all the skin off his back, saying, "Now that he is a priest we must give him a chasuble"; and they rubbed straw and chaff into the large wound. Then they cut off his lips and his nose and threw him upon the ground.

All this while Andrew Bobola uttered not one word or murmur of complaint. But constantly he kept repeating the holy names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and urging his torturers to be converted to the one true Church so that they might be saved. The love and zeal of the hunter of souls had not been dimmed even by such tortures, even toward such torturers. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, help me," he kept saying. And to the Cossacks, "My dear children, repent and be converted, or you will surely lose your souls."

The Cossacks feared the tongue of this man. There was a dangerous charity, and sweetness, and persuasiveness in his words. But there was one way to quiet him. Seizing that tongue which had for so long caused them so much trouble, they cut it off at the root and pulled it out through a hole in his neck. Even then Andrew Bobola made one last effort to say the holy name of Jesus.

Thinking now that he was dead, the Cossacks took the body of Andrew Bobola and cast it upon a dunghill near by. But the Cossack chief coming up saw that he still breathed, and taking his saber he ran it through the martyr's side. Suddenly, the whole sky shone with a strange light; the Cossacks fled in terror. Then the Catholics of Janow came out of their hiding places and, taking the body of their saint, carried it off to the church.

Andrew Bobola's Cause for Beatification was introduced soon, after his death, but more than a century later he had still not been beatified. Then, at a time of great crisis in Poland, he appeared to a holy priest and told him that he, Andrew Bobola, would be the protector of his country and would some day be known as its principal patron.

It was then decided to bury Andrew Bobola in a more honored place, and when his tomb was opened, his body was found to be incorrupt. There were no signs of decay; the wounds looked as fresh as though they had just been inflicted, and a sweet odor came from them. This led to Andrew Bobola's beatification, by Pope Pius IX, in 1853, and to his canonization, by Pope Pius XI, on Easter Sunday, 1938 [*]. He was designated as one of Poland's great patron saints, and his feast day is celebrated on May 21, five days after the day on which he died.

It is significant that Russian hatred of Saint Andrew Bobola was so great, that even after they had killed him, the Russians would not leave him undisturbed. When he was beatified, they ripped the pages containing his Office from the Breviaries. And as recently as 1922, Russian Communists, carrying on the tradition of the schismatics, opened the saint's sealed tomb and desecrated his body, then shipped it off to a medical museum in Moscow, to keep the Poles from venerating it.

However, that very year, 1922, a great famine began in Russia; and the following year the Vatican, which had been pouring tons of food into the country, persuaded the Communists to allow the removal of Saint Andrew Bobola's body to Rome. There it remained till his canonization, after which it was returned, finally and in triumph, to Poland. It rests today in the great Jesuit church in Warsaw. And as long as Poland shall be a Catholic nation, the people of Poland will remember Andrew Bobola, the hunter of souls, who, one spring day in the year 1657, proved his love for Jesus Christ.

[* New Advent states that Andrew Bobola was canonized by Pope Pius XII with his encyclical "Invicti Athletae" promulgated on May 16, 1957. However, the Jesuits website agrees with this story from the book.]
From Saints to Know and Love
by The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (© 1954)

End of the Story for the Founder of the Legionaries of Christ

“A reserved life of prayer and penance:” this is the penalty inflicted by Benedict XVI on Marcial Maciel, after “attentive study and investigation.” He and the Legion are obeying...
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Saturday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:18-21

A Hostile World

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [18] "If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. [20] Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. [21] But all this they will do to you on My account, because they do not know Him who sent Me."


18-19. Jesus states that there can be no compromise between Him and the world, the kingdom of sin: anyone who lives in sin abhors the light (cf. John 3:19-20). This is why Christ is persecuted, and why the Apostles will be in their turn. "The hostility of the perverse sounds like praise for our life", St. Gregory says, "because it shows that we have at least some rectitude if we are an annoyance to those who do not love God; no one can be pleasing to God and to God's enemies at the same time. He who seeks to please those who oppose God is no friend of God; and he who submits himself to the truth will fight against those who strive against truth" ("In Ezechielem Homiliae", 9).

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, May 19, 2006

An Interview With Father Gabriele Amorth

The Church's Leading Exorcist

Scenes of Corporal Mortification?

The film contains violence including brutal murders, crude language, irreverent underpinning, rear male nudity, scenes of corporal mortification, a fleeting hint of prostitution, and a glimpse of ritualistic sex.

Does anyone else find it strange that corporal mortification is mixed in with this lot of immoral acts? Perhaps if the corporal mortifications were excessive...and if so, perhaps the review should have stated it as excessive. But, as it is, it sounds as if corporal mortification is a bad thing...Maybe it's just my suspicion of CNS movie reviews.

Renegade priest excommunicated...

No, this is not a rehash of the St Stanislaus/Marek Bozek matter...

May. 19 ( - Catholic bishops in Kenya have announced that a priest who left the Church, married, and set up his own sect has been excommunicated, and can no longer be considered a part of the Catholic Church.

As some, no doubt, will claim, this action was exercised by "authoritarian" bishops who aren't concerned with the pastoral care of the people.

What surprised me is that this action took so long...

Statement by the Legionaries of Christ

Legionaries of Christ release declaration following Vatican statement and renew their commitment to serve the Church

This is what Bishop Bruskewitz, in Dallas in 2002....

....Tried, unsuccessfully, to get the "hapless bench of bishops" of the USCCB to acknowledge.

From LifeSiteNews:
Cardinal Pell on Sexual Abuse Scandal: "Obviously Connected with Problem of Homosexuality"
"As you know most of the abuse, at least in the English speaking world, that is most of the clerical abuse, is not in the strictest terms pedophilia, but what's called ephebophilia, and that is with young fellows as adolescents after puberty. And what is significantly different, which you would also probably be aware, is that 80% of the abuse is with young boys. So I mean it's obviously connected with the problem of homosexuality....I also think it's connected remotely with false views of conscience..."

Dr Edward Peters: Fr. Maciel’s penance

The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has invited Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, to spend his remaining days in "prayer and penance, refraining from all public ministry". Given the enormity of the sexual abuse accusations made against Maciel and the apparent credibility of many of his accusers, this directive (an "invitation" from CDF being essentially indistinguishable from an order), stopping short of a trial and well short of a conviction (or, for that matter, exoneration), will strike some as an inadequate resolution of this case.

St Louis Rosary Crusade

From the St Louis Review:
Archbishop’s rosary crusade draws 400 to Old Cathedral
by Jennifer Brinker, Review Staff Writer

Prayer is our greatest ally in promoting a culture of life.

That’s according to Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, who launched this month a rosary crusade to pray, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for the safeguarding of human embryonic life.

The crusade was developed as a response to a current ballot initiative that seeks to constitutionally protect embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning in Missouri.

Parishes across the archdiocese were to have received this week packets of information on the crusade, which began with a holy hour and rosary May 9 at the Old Cathedral (Basilica of St. Louis King of France). More than 400 people attended the event, according to Respect Life Apostolate director Molly Corcoran Kertz.

In his homily at the event, Archbishop Burke said the initiative "appeals to many, who are captivated by the claim of cures of dread diseases and injuries, without taking account of the destruction of the tiniest of human lives...For us as Catholics, our most basic duty is to defend and foster the inviolable dignity of innocent human life. We must not spare any effort to speak the truth that the human embryo is a human being..."

"Our first and most important armament is prayer," he said. "Through prayer we receive the gift of the invincible love of all our brothers and sisters, without exception or boundary."

People can sign up for the Rosary Crusade at one's parish or via the web at

Master of Deception

The film adaptation of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is scheduled for a May 19 worldwide release; two Catholic authors critique the Church's critic
by John Mallon

FOR CENTURIES whisperings of weird stories, intrigues, legends and secret societies have circulated about the Catholic Church in attempts to put her in a bad light with stories of villainous ecclesiastics doing dirty deeds to protect some unknown interest.

In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis speaks of interest in the occult leading to a kind of 'spiritual lust'. Lewis's notion can easily be extended to include an unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories, intrigues and scandal. Additionally there is, in our time, a great hunger for 'spirituality' without religion, which makes no moral demands on its adherents. The novel, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, capitalizes on these elements. ...

Divided church awaits Pope Benedict in Catholic Poland

Jun 3 - Archbishop to celebrate ‘Humanae Vitae’ Mass

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will celebrate the 38th annual Humanae Vitae Mass, 5 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End.

The Mass, planned by the archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning, marks the anniversary of the papal encyclical "Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life)." A dinner reception will follow in nearby Boland Hall.

Written by Pope Paul VI in 1968, "Humanae Vitae" reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against artificial contraception. The Church’s position has not wavered since the encyclical.

Reservations for the dinner are required by Monday, May 29. Cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-11, with a maximum family charge of $36. Payment is at the door. To register or for more information, call the Office of Natural Family Planning at (314) 997-7576 or Cory and Todd Grizzle at (636) 916-5684.

Saint Mary Magdalen

In order to know what great love is, one should study Saint Mary Magdalen, the beautiful penitent, who washed the feet of Jesus with the water of her tears, and dried them with the towel of her hair.

Saint Mary Magdalen's audacity, her courage, her eagerness, gave Christian love a true impetus in all the saints that followed her. She was the outstanding girl, the love-flamings of whose heart, the love­-anguishings of whose soul, consoled Our Lord when He needed comfort most-when His feet were pierced by nails, His head by thorns, and His heart by man's ingratitude.

God would gladly make the world for the love one girl can give. Our Blessed Lady is God's perfect maiden. But next to Our Lady, Saint Mary Magdalen is the girl in the life of Our Lord whom He most loved. She was His overwhelming favorite, because her love was the kind that never counts the cost. Her bright eyes were always full of tears-for Jesus alive and sitting at a feast, for Jesus dead and laid in the tomb.

How Saint Mary Magdalen first met Jesus, we are told in the Gospel of Saint Luke. Saint Mary Magdalen learned that Jesus was dining, one night, at the house of Simon, a Pharisee, and, without waiting for an invitation or an introduction of any kind, she burst through the guests to get to Him. Her only thought was to show Jesus how thorough her love had made her sorrow and her repent­ance, for Mary Magdalen, the daughter of a rich and noble family, was reputed a great sinner.

Never once did she think of the reproaches and rebukes which the Jews would heap upon her, in the house of a Pharisee. The Pharisees believed that all sinners remained sinners; they believed that all except themselves were sinners. Unmindful of their scorn, Saint Mary Magdalen knelt behind Our Lord while He was seated in this house full of bearded misogynists, and washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. And, kissing His feet, she anointed them with precious ointment.

Tears and kisses, the highest priced oils that money could buy, and hair which was her crown-these were her substitutes for words. And they were a thousand times more eloquent.

When Simon, the Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dinner, com­plained within himself saying: "This man if He were a prophet, would surely know who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, that she is a sinner," Our Lord quickly defended Saint Mary Magdalen.

"Simon," He said, "I have something to say to thee. . . . I entered into thy house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet; but she with tears hath washed My feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed My feet."

And then Our Lord uttered His glorious tribute: "Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much." And turning, Jesus said to Saint Mary Magdalen, "Thy sins are forgiven thee."

Saint Mary Magdalen is the queen of penitents. Her special title is Penitent. That is the way she is referred to in the Church's liturgy, and that is the way we lovingly remember her. And so beautiful is penitence in the eyes of God, that He is willing to have this girl­ who loved Him with every breath of her being, and whom He loved with a most special and tender love-known throughout all the Christian ages by a word which reveals afresh, for every new genera­tion, the story of her sins. Men and women, whose own lives should cause them to hang their heads before the beauty of her love and dedication, know only her shame and the casting out from her of seven devils. And they think her akin to themselves, in some familiar way.

What so few realize is that Saint Mary Magdalen, because her gratitude and humility are equal to her unparalleled love, is de­lighted to bear, through all the long Christian centuries, the title Penitent in order that through her the mercies of her Lord might be made manifest. For actually, in all the days of her life that followed upon her anointing of the feet of Jesus in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, she grew in love and prayer and contemplation to such a height that, except for Our Lady's-whose life transcends in holiness that of the lives of all the saints together-Saint Mary Magdalen's life may be said to be the holiest of all the holy women in the Church.

So complete and whole, so lacking in human respect, were her recognition of Jesus, her instant and overpowering love for Him­ and her sorrow for her sins in the light of that realization and love­ that Jesus took no pains to conceal His joy in her.

She, the sinner, would match her love with His: not in quality, for He is God; but in the utterness of her giving. He would pour Himself out, in love for man. She would pour herself out, in love for God.

After her meeting with Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee, Saint Mary Magdalen gave herself up entirely to the service of her Lord. She became one of the holy women who followed Jesus in His travels in Galilee, and up to Jerusalem. For two years she accom­panied Him, listening to Him preach, drinking in His words of eternal life, and ministering to Him and His Apostles.

Saint Mary Magdalen anointed Our Lord's feet a second time, and in the house of another Simon, this time of Simon the Leper. His house was very near her own, in the little village of Bethany, where she lived with Martha, her sister, and Lazarus, her brother, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. This time, Saint Mary Magdalen's anointing was in order to comfort the body that was soon to be hung on the Cross for the redemption and salvation of the world.

It was six days before the Passion, and it was the sabbath. A dinner had been prepared in the house of Simon to honor Jesus, and Martha was serving. Lazarus was seated among the guests at the table. Mary took the precious ointment which she had brought in an alabaster box, and poured it on the head which was soon to be studded with thorns. She wiped with her hair the dust from the poor feet which were soon to be pierced with nails, and anointing them, she kissed them. And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who was about to betray Jesus, cried out in anger against Saint Mary Magdalen. "Why was not this oint­ment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" he asked. Saint John tells us that Judas said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the purse, he had also the money which the purse contained.

And Jesus knowing this, said to Judas, "Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon Me. For the poor you have always with you: but Me you have not always. For she in pouring this ointment upon My body, hath done it for My burial. Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her."

Saint Mary Magdalen followed Jesus through each step of His cruel Passion. She was at His side at every possible moment on the road to Calvary, and she seemed not even to hear the fierce anger of the Jews as she broke through the guard of the soldiers to minister to Him whenever she could. She would have given her life a hun­dred times over in exchange for His, or even to spare Him one second of torture!

She stood by the Cross of Jesus, with Mary, His Mother, and Mary of Cleophas, and John the Beloved Disciple. She stood for three hours, and His blood fell, drop by drop, on her hair. And His death was her martyrdom.

She followed Him to His grave, and she wept all through Good Friday night and all the next day, because it was the festival of the Pasch and she was forbidden to go out to Him, to stay by His tomb. At sunset on Holy Saturday, when the Pasch was over, she hastened to buy spices with which to anoint His body, and very early on Sunday morning, before it was light, she set out, with the other holy women, for His sepulchre. They reached the tomb of Jesus just as the sun rose.

They had been worried as to how they would take away the heavy stone from before the door of the sepulchre, but to their great as­tonishment, they found it already rolled back. They looked into the tomb, and fear fell upon them, for the body of Jesus was no longer there. Saint Mary Magdalen, beside herself with grief, ran back to tell Peter and John. "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre," she cried, "and we know not where they have laid Him!"

Saint Peter and Saint John set off in great haste to the sepulchre. Saint John, being younger and on fire with his love for Jesus, soon outdistanced Peter. But he waited at the tomb, so that Peter might be the first to enter, because the Apostles were already filled with the consciousness that Peter was their head.

Saint Peter went into the sepulchre, and Saint John after him, and they beheld the linen cloths with which the body of Jesus had been wrapped, lying there, and the napkin which had bound His sacred head, placed apart from the other linens. And they doubted no longer what Saint Mary Magdalen had told them. They returned, wondering greatly, to bring the news to all the Apostles.

But Saint Mary Magdalen would not be drawn away from the sepulchre. If the Resurrection had been delayed thirty years instead of three days, her gold hair would have turned to gray, the ointment bought for the precious body of Jesus would have dried up, and its bearer would have become an old, desiccated lady in place of a bril­liant young girl: but she would have gone on weeping and waiting beside that tomb.

Now, as she stood there weeping for Jesus, she stooped down, and looked once again into the sepulchre. And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. But the brightness of the garments, and the way an angel can illuminate himself in flesh so as to dazzle one's eyes, could not take from Saint Mary Magdalen the remembrance of the poor face of Jesus, covered with spittle and blood. Love has a way of clinging to where it has most given itself. Saint Mary Magdalen had given her love whole and entire to Jesus from the first moment that she saw Him; but on Calvary-when He raised His tired, spent and anguished eyes to Heaven and said to His Father, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit"-the heart of Saint Mary Magdalen broke. And, except that she did not die, she gave up her life; for life could never again have any interest, or any joy, or even any further sorrow, to offer her.

From that moment on Calvary, Saint Mary Magdalen was given to what was beyond the earth, to the Jesus who had gone from her, as she believed, into eternity. She was to be henceforth crucified to the world, in which she must live without Him. And nothing, not even an angel, could distract her from that which she sought, and which was all that was left to her: the bruised, wounded and dead body of her Lord.

"Woman, why weepest thou?" one of the angels asked her. "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him," she answered.

When she had said this, she turned back, and beheld Jesus, stand­ing beside her. But she did not know it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest, thou?" She, thinking that it was the gardener, said to Him: "Sir, if thou hast taken Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away."

It is impossible to utter into the ears of the resurrected Jesus any appeal more touching than that. Jesus could hold out no longer. He spoke to her one word, "Mary!"

And immediately she knew it was He. For all love's signals are simple, and its recognitions instantaneous. Joy, such as she had thought never to experience again on earth, filled her. Happiness flooded her soul. Inexpressibly glad relief revivified her poor, stricken body, and trembled in her voice.

"Master!" she answered Him. And she fell down on her knees before Him.

Saint Mary Magdalen was the morning-star of Christ's Resur­rection.

Saint Mary Magdalen, with the other holy women who had fol­lowed Him during His public life, saw Jesus several times during the forty days He remained on earth after His Resurrection. She was present at His Ascension into Heaven, and accompanied Our Lady when she and the Apostles and disciples "adoring, went back into Jerusalem with great joy" after the Ascension.

Saint Luke tells us that Jesus led His followers, "out as far as Bethany: and lifting up His hands, He blessed them. And it came to pass, whilst He blessed them, He departed from them and was carried up to Heaven." Bethany, the village where Saint Mary Magdalen's family lived, was close to the Mount of Olives, from which Jesus ascended into Heaven. The Doctors of the Church tell us that Jesus led His chosen ones to Bethany so that He might say farewell to Lazarus and his sister, and to bring them with Him to Mount Olivet, in order that they might witness His Ascension, and share in his triumph. The sister which the Doctors mention was, of course, Saint Martha, since Saint Mary Magdalen would have been in Jerusalem with Our Lady and the holy women, as was her wont.

Saint Mary Magdalen was present in the Cenacle, "persevering with one mind in prayer, with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren," for all of the days until Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down upon them all.

We are told that it was Saint Maximin, one of the seventy-two disciples of Our Lord, who baptized Saint Mary Magdalen and her family. This beautiful girl, who had bathed the feet of Jesus with her tears of perfect love and contrition, and to whom Jesus had said, "Thy sins are forgiven thee," had to have water poured on her head, so as to receive the Sacrament of Salvation-as well as the other Sacraments-whose absolute necessity was preached to the world on the day of Pentecost, and all the days following it.

Fourteen years after Our Lord's death, during a persecution of the Christians by the Jews in Palestine, Lazarus, with his sisters, Mary Magdalen and Martha, their serving-maid, Sara, the two Marys-one the mother of James the Less, and the other, Mary Salome, the mother of James the Greater and John the Beloved Dis­ciple-Sidonius, the man blind from birth who had been cured by Our Lord, and Maximin, the disciple, were obliged to flee for their lives in a boat which had no sails and no oars.

Only by the power of God did the boat survive and finally drift to the mouth of the Rhone River, in France, at what is now called les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The two Marys and Sara settled there. Saint Lazarus chose Marseilles for his apostolate, and he became its first Bishop. Those early French Christians were proud indeed to have as their bishop, the holy man whom Our Lord had raised from the dead.

Saint Martha, after having endeared herself to the people of Mar­seilles by her holiness and charity, withdrew to Tarascon, where she founded a convent and lived to a very old age, renowned for her miracles and her great sanctity.

Saint Maximin went to Aix, and became the venerated Bishop of Aix.

And our beautiful Saint Mary Magdalen went apart into a cave, in France, to spend the remaining thirty years of her life in pure contemplation. Every day the angels carried her up into the air, to hear the celestial choirs singing and praising God. A very old recount of her life tells the story thus:
The blessed Marie Magdalene, desirous of sovereign contemplation, sought a right sharp desert, and took a place which was ordained by the angel of God, and abode there by the space of thirty years without knowl­edge of anybody. In which place she had no comfort of running water nor solace of trees nor of herbs. And that was because our Redeemer did to show it openly, that He had ordained for her refection celestial, and no bodily meats. And every day at every hour canonical she was lift up in the air of the angels, and heard the glorious song of the heavenly companies with her bodily ears. Of which she was fed and filled with right sweet meats, and then was brought again by the angels unto her proper place, in such wise as she had no need of corporal nourishing.

And so Our Lord's prophecy concerning Saint Mary Magdalen, made long years before to Saint Martha at their home in Bethany, was fulfilled.
"Martha, Martha," Our Lord had said, "thou art careful and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken from her."

In Heaven, we may be sure, Saint Mary Magdalen is where she most loved to be on earth-at the feet of Jesus. And we can ask her, the dear queen of penitents, to give Him from our possessions what is the equivalent of our tears and kisses and hair, and all the pre­cious ointment of our love. And we can beseech her to implore Him to give to us the best part, and that it may never be taken away from us.
From Saints to Know and Love
by The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (© 1954)

Gospel for Friday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:12-17

The Law of Love

[12] "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. [13] Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [14] You are My friends if you do what I command you. [15] No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. [16] You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. [17] This I command you, to love one another."


12-15. Jesus insists on the "new commandment", which He Himself keeps by giving His life for us. See note on John 13:34-35.

Christ's friendship with the Christian, which our Lord expresses in a very special way in this passage, is something very evident in [St] Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer's preaching: "The life of the Christian who decides to behave in accordance with the greatness of his vocation is so to speak a prolonged echo of those words of our Lord, `No longer do I call you My servants; a servant is one who does not understand what his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that My Father has told Me; and so I have called you My friends' (John 15:15). When we decide to be docile and follow the will of God, hitherto unimagined horizons open up before us.... `There is nothing better than to recognize that Love has made us slaves of God. From the moment we recognize this we cease being slaves and become friends, sons' ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 35).

"Sons of God, FRIENDS OF GOD.... Jesus is truly God and truly Man, He is our Brother and our Friend. If we make the effort to get to know Him well `we will share in the joy of being God's friends' ["ibid.", 300]. If we do all we can to keep Him company, from Bethlehem to Calvary, sharing His joys and sufferings, we will become worthy of entering into loving conversation with Him. As the Liturgy of the Hours sings, "calicem Domini biberunt, et amici Dei facti sunt" (they drank the chalice of the Lord and so became friends of God).

"Being His children and His friends are two inseparable realities for those who love God. We go to Him as children, carrying on a trusting dialogue that should fill the whole of our lives; and we go to Him as friends.... In the same way our divine sonship urges us to translate the overflow of our interior life into apostolic activity, just as our friendship with God leads us to place ourselves at `the service of all men. We are called to use the gifts God has given us as instruments to help others discover Christ' ["ibid.", 258]" (Monsignor A. del Portillo in his preface to [St] J. Escriva's, "Friends of God").

16. There are three ideas contained in these words of our Lord. One, that the calling which the Apostles received and which every Christian also receives does not originate in the individual's good desires but in Christ's free choice. It was not the Apostles who chose the Lord as Master, in the way someone would go about choosing a rabbi; it was Christ who chose them. The second idea is that the Apostles' mission and the mission of every Christian is to follow Christ, to seek holiness and to contribute to the spread of the Gospel. The third teaching refers to the effectiveness of prayer done in the name of Christ; which is why the Church usually ends the prayers of the liturgy with the invocation "Through Jesus Christ our Lord...".

The three ideas are all interconnected: prayer is necessary if the Christian life is to prove fruitful, for it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7); and the obligation to seek holiness and to be apostolic derives from the fact that it is Christ Himself who has given us this mission. "Bear in mind, son, that you are not just a soul who has joined other souls in order to do a good thing.

"That is a lot, but it's still little. You are the Apostle who is carrying out an imperative command from Christ" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 942).
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, May 18, 2006

Best wishes and prayers for Dom and Melanie...

May our Lord continue to bless Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (Editor of Catholic World Reports) and his wife, Melanie, and his newborn daughter, Isabella Marie...

Catholic University Probes Women's Initiation Party That Included Stripper

Fox News
WASHINGTON — Catholic University is investigating its women's lacrosse program after photos were posted on the Internet allegedly showing a male stripper at a freshman initiation party.

Rare Photo of the Opus Dei Albino Monk...


No new statement on condoms likely, Vatican expert says

A Special Advisory from Catholic World News:
May. 18 ( - Despite many published reports to the contrary, the Vatican is not preparing a document on the use of condoms to curb AIDS infection, according to a consultor to the Holy See.

Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a Belgian theologian and consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family, told the I Media news agency that been discussed a statement on the topic, but that statement "never saw the light of day, and I don't think that it will ever appear."

Speculation that a Vatican statement might soon appear is the result of "media intoxication," the Belgian cleric said, in an unusually blunt series of comments on the public controversy.

Media intoxication...and the hopes of those who find both Jesus' and the Church's teachings difficult will not be satisfied. Many pay no heed and ignore the teachings anyway in what is frequently described as "loyal dissent" which, in fact, is an oxymoron for there is no such thing as "loyal dissent" from the Magisterium.

Cardinal Pell: Catholicism in Australia

Some poignant excerpts from this enlightening essay:
The Catholic Church throughout the world today is a bit short on well-known theologians, especially in comparison with the period during and after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

...the secular press took a few of these liberal theologians to their bosom and gave them considerable publicity. One of these was the young Fr Hans Küng, a Swiss theologian, who was later told by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in December 1979 that he could no longer be considered a Catholic theologian.

More than twelve months earlier, Küng and his friends had written to the London Times on the death of Pope Paul VI to describe the Pope they wanted: non-Italian, preferably not from the first world, aware of social issues, an intellectual and theologically-minded. With the election of Pope John Paul II they got exactly what they asked for and the opposite of what they wanted - which was a mandate for further liberalisation.
And the complaints continue to this very day from those who wish to fashion a "church" by reshaping the Church according to their desires, apparently lacking the will to publicly act on what they believe or don't believe.

...many are sustained by an inarticulate conviction that religion belongs to an earlier, more primitive stage of human development; that it is old-fashioned mythology, restrictive on issues of sexuality and life, and that all religions are more or less the same, useless and sometimes dangerous.

...the sociological evidence from Europe, the USA and Australia clearly demonstrates that the more conservative religious groups attract greater numbers of followers.

Generally speaking, liberal Catholicism in Australia has been unable to inspire young people to join it.
. . .
I suspect that a major cause for Catholic disaffiliation and lapsing from regular practice is dissatisfaction with Christian teaching on pre-marital sex, divorce and contraception. There is no easy answer to this challenge, given the pansexualism and hedonism aimed at the young in what Les Murray has called the "Californication" of Australia (Les Murray, The Quality of Sprawl: Thoughts about Australia, 1999, pp 41-42).

...the larger danger for us, especially in Australia - like Scandinavia but unlike most of Europe - is not that people believe without belonging, but that people belong without believing.

[Pope John Paul II insisted] on maintaining worship and prayer, devotion to Christ the Son of God as the primary focus. The substitution into first place of secular alternatives such as social justice or welfare work might keep the Church in public life for a time, but poisons the wells of genuine faith. So too the abandonment of demanding Christian teachings on sexuality, marriage and children might provoke a few favourable editorials, but would gain no converts, and increase the suffering in society.

There is a Catholic revival in the United States...It will touch us, as all things American seem to do.

Be not afraid. The Church will be speaking the basic Christian message to humanity's deepest needs.
(all emphasis above is mine)

A very good article commended for your review.

Vatican restricts ministry of Legionaries priest founder

Move seen as confirmation of sex abuse allegations against Maciel
By John L. Allen, Jr.
NCR Rome correspondent
Capping a decade-long on-again, off-again investigation of accusations of sexual abuse, the Vatican has asked Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, to observe a series of restrictions on his ministry.

In effect, Vatican sources told NCR this week, the action amounts to a finding that at least some of the accusations against the charismatic 86-year-old Mexican priest are well-founded.

"Da Vinci Code" secret is out: Most critics hate it

Roman Catholic Priest Resigns Amid Probe

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest resigned amid suspicions of financial wrongdoing and questions about his ``suitability for priestly ministry,'' church officials said Wednesday.

[The]...announcement came the same day a private investigator gave results of his investigation to Darien police. Investigator Vito Colucci Jr. said he documented at least $200,000 in church money used to pay for [Rev. Michael Jude] Fay's lifestyle with a male companion.

Money was spent on limousine rides, dinners at famous restaurants, cruises and gifts,...airline tickets for Fay and his companion from New York to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a $2,600 ring bought at Cartier in New York.

This is roughly half of what Archbishop Weakland filched from his archdiocese, but then this is a priest and not a bishop. Maybe there is more yet to be discovered?...Will he and his "companion" be indicted and charged with felony theft? Did not Judas also (in contemporary new-speak) "appropriate funds" (or in truthful language - "steal") from the purse?

From Operation Rescue to Operation Convert

...Randall Terry has become Catholic
Between 1987 and 1994, Randall Terry led Operation Rescue, the country’s largest peaceful civil disobedience movement. He now serves as president of the Society for Truth and Justice, and is running for a Florida Senate seat. One of the leading evangelical pro-life leaders in the country, Terry quietly entered the Catholic Church on Holy Thursday with his wife Andrea and three sons. Register senior writer Tim Drake spoke with Terry about his conversion at his home in Florida.
The Interview and more here

Pope Benedict: Rosary Aids Spiritual Growth

More on the Church Occupations in Belgium

... Plus some other "nice" photos...including some of "bread" which looks to be invalid, ot at least illicit, matter.

Click here for the link.

HT to Gillibrand.

Gospel for Thursday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:9-11

The Vine and the Branches (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [9] "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you; abide in My love. [10] If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. [11] These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."


9-11. Christ's love for Christians is a reflection of the love the Three Divine Persons have for one another and for all men: "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

The certainty that God loves us is the source of Christian joy (verse 11), but it is also something which calls for a fruitful response on our part, which should take the form of a fervent desire to do God's will in everything, that is, to keep His commandments, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who did the will of His Father (cf. John 4:34).
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, May 17, 2006

Altar Decorations

"I have loved, O Lord. the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth." Psalm 25:8.

A wealthy Chinese merchant decided to leave his thriving business to one of his three nephews, his only living relatives. He told them: "One of you shall inherit my business. I have a problem. He who solves it best shall be my heir."

He handed each youth a coin, with this direction: "This is a large room. Go buy something that will fill this room as full as possible, but spend no more than the coin I have given you. I shall be waiting for you at sunset."

All day long the trio walked through the market-place. As the shadows lengthened they returned to the house of their uncle, who asked to see what they had purchased.
The first youth dragged a bale of straw into the room, and untied it. The pile hid two walls of the room. The others complimented him. The second brought in two bags of thistledown, which filled half the room. They cheered him. The third was silent a moment before he said: "I gave half my coin to a hungry child. With what was left I bought a flint and this small candle."

He struck the flint and lighted the candle, which filled every corner of the room with its light. The old man blessed him and turned over to him his entire business.

Nobody knows how many candles are being lighted each day on the thousands of Catholic altars throughout the world. Each of those candles is bringing light into the world, yes, into every corner of the world. The candle stands for Christ, the Light of the world. That is why every altar where Mass is said must have candles.

Mother Church has other require­ments for the equipment of the altar. [*]
1. It must be covered with three white linen cloths, blessed by the bishop or a priest who has the power. The practical purpose of these cloths is to absorb the Precious Blood should any of It be spilled. They remind us of the linen towels which shrouded the Body of our Savior in the tomb.

They also represent the three-fold mystical Body of Christ - in heaven, in Purgatory, and on the earth - the Communion of Saints. On Holy Thurs­day they are stripped from the altar to remind us of the shameful stripping of Christ's chaste Body during His sacred passion.

2. On every altar there must be two candles for a Low Mass; four for a High Mass; and six for a Solemn High Mass. In the catacombs these candles served for light. They were even used, by God's order, in the Old Testament.

But the candle is above all a figure of Christ, the Light of our life. The pure wax represents His pure Body. The bright flame represents His divinity shining forth in everything He did and said.

Furthermore, the burning, active flame is a symbol of our active faith, burning itself out for the love of Christ on the altar. It is a symbol of hope and love.

3. The chief requirement of each altar is the crucifix, which reminds priest and people that the Mass is the continuation of the death of Christ on Calvary. To this glorious standard the priest looks repeatedly during Mass. You too should look at the crucifix and remember that you are present at the Holy Sacrifice, just as if you were on Calvary that first Good Fdday.

4. In many churches relics and images of the saints are placed between the candlesticks, and are honored along with the altar. Eloquently they remind us that the Holy Mass was the principal means for making the saints what they were.

5. On the altar must be a Missal or Mass book on a stand. There must be at least one altar card. Usually there are three. These are for the con­venience of the celebrant.

6. Costly carpets and artistic laces are often used. The Old Testament even required precious curtains and tapestries.

7. To decorate the altar with flowers is also an ancient, devout and praise­worthy custom. By their lovely colors and their pleasing fragrance they draw our attention and our hearts to the altar. They show the beauty and glory of God in some small way.

Flowers also speak. They tell us of the graces and virtues which we must bring as we approach the holy of holies. They tell us that virtue blossoms best in the atmosphere of the Eucharistic King. They tell us to make our hearts gardens for the God-man to enter.

The old Chinese uncle of our story turned over his business to the youth who lit a candle and lighted up a large room. God will share His riches with us who not only help to light the candles upon the altar, but who also by our contributions and our efforts in parish affairs, help to decorate the altar of God with linens and Mass book and crucifix and flowers.

During each Mass look up to the altar and remember its beautiful mean­ing and the purpose of its decorations and equipment. Look up at the crucifix and remember that this is the Holy Sacrifice of the cross continued. Look up at the candles and remember that Christ, the true Light, is really and truly present upon the altar.

Look up and notice the linens. They enfold the very Body of Christ present upon that holy table during Mass. Look up at the flowers and remember that you must bring virtues to honor Christ in the Eucharist.
Adapted from Talks on the Mass
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1950)

[*} Some requirements have been revised since the Second Vatican Council.

'Da Vinci Code' draws laughs from journalists at press screening

CANNES, France (CNS) -- Toward the end of the movie "The Da Vinci Code," the main character, Robert Langdon, tells his sleuthing partner, Sophie Neveu: "You are the last living descendent of Jesus Christ." That line, meant to be the dramatic apex of the film, drew laughs from many of the approximately 900 journalists who viewed the film's first press screening May 16 at the Cannes Film Festival.
. . .
While the movie's portrayal of the Catholic Church is distinctly unflattering, its treatment of the Catholic organization Opus Dei is particularly negative.
The movie's portrayal of the Church is what, you say - "unflattering"? What an understatement! And its treatment of Opus Dei is "negative"...? Is not more like slanderous? But then, we must consider the source (CNS).
Early reviews from the Cannes screening gave the movie decidedly low marks. Its biggest sin, according to many critics, was that it was dull.
God, indeed, brings good out of evil...
...several of the actors in the film weighed in on the religious controversies.
Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Teabing, drew a big laugh when he said: "I'm very happy to believe that Jesus was married. And I know the Catholic Church has problems with gay people, and I thought this would be absolute proof that Jesus was not gay."
Let's see...McKellen claims that the Catholic Church has "problems" with homosexuals (which is clearly refuted in the Catechism), and that since this movie portrays Jesus as married and by insinuation, I suppose, not homosexual, the Church has no problem with Jesus - being heterosexual and all. Forget that our Lord is God become man...Let's all celebrate that he not "gay"!!! Alleluia!

But aren't some of us too old for mental gymnastics like these? Aren't some of us tired of and indignant with those who continue to attack the our Lord, our Blessed Mother and our Church - both from without and from within?

The full Catholic News Service article is here.

Can you not watch one hour with Me?

A message from the American TFP.

The Da Vinci Code opens on Friday. Don’t wait. Get involved now!

We have over 1,000 protest organizers holding one or more protests over the weekend and the coming month. Take a look at our map and find the protest closest to you. Call or email the organizer and join us in this historic effort against this blasphemous film. Click here to check our map, or call 866-584-6012.

Immigration is not social justice, no matter what Cardinal Mahony says

New Washington DC Archbishop Favours Intelligent Design in Schools

Queer Monologues Premier at John Carroll

From the mission statement of JCU:
John Carroll University, founded in 1886, is a privately controlled, coeducational, Catholic and Jesuit university...As a university, John Carroll is committed to the transmission and extension of the treasury of human knowledge with the autonomy and freedom appropriate to a university. As a Catholic university, it is further committed to seek and synthesize all knowledge, including the wisdom of Christian revelation.

In the search for this integration of knowledge, the university community is enriched by scholarship representing the pluralistic society in which we live. All can participate freely in the intellectual, moral and spiritual dialog necessary to the search.
I suppose that part of this search for knowledge and Catholic wisdom necessarily includes "The Queer Monologues"...

Last weekend in the Marinello Little Theatre, the JCU Allies presented "The Queer Monologues," an entirely student written, produced and directed theatrical production.

Their message is simple: "It’s okay to be gay. †It’s okay to be straight. †All we ask is that you don’t discriminate!"
We have gone from the V-Monologues to the Queer Monologues and our search, presumably is not yet finished...Can we not anticipate a diversity of other "Monologues" in the future?

The University claims to be "Catholic and Jesuit"...One wonders if it is really either.

Code breakers: Blasphemy or an annoyance?

Renowned church historian the Rev. Michael J. Witt sauntered through the wooden doorway of the church's Father Dowling Hall. He headed for the nearest overhead projector he could see, an Apollo Concept model. Grabbing the sides of the podium before him, the 57-year-old man flicked the projector's power switch and an image appeared on the wall. Witt looked out at his audience and began to list the errors in "The Da Vinci Code."

For more than an hour one evening earlier this month, 75 people drank lemonade, ate cookies and listened as Witt eviscerated Dan Brown's novel. Each person was handed a packet of Witt's page-by-page rebuttal to the book's "facts."

5th Week of Easter - Health of Body

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will teach you all the truth." St. Mark, 16:13.

In March, 1938, I had the unforgettable experience of a visit to the Leper Hospital at Carville, Louisiana. The little, old nun who took Father Kipp, Father Kelly and myself through the buildings and grounds, had been working there for many years.

Before we started she told us not to touch anyone or anything. She opened and closed all doors, meanwhile holding her hands out horizontally before her. The wonderful work of the Sisters of Charity was inspiring, as was the cheerful, respectful greeting of the people they served.

When we returned to the main office, Sister put her hands into a solution, to kill any infection. There was no anxiety or worry in her whole bearing, but there was carefulness and caution.

That nun was keeping two of the main requirements of the Fifth Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." There is much more to this law than the forbidding of murder and suicide. I would like to point out what the Fifth Commandment tells us to do.

1. The Fifth Commandment obliges us to take a reasonable, sensible care of our health. The proper care of the body is the proper care of a gift of God. Life and health are precious gifts. We must preserve them by:
A. Sufficient sleep and rest. Many weaken their health and shorten their lives by too little rest.

B. A balanced diet, consisting of a variety, without too much of any one kind.

C. Proper exercise, especially in the fresh air and sunshine.

2. The Catholic ideal is to take good care of this richest treasure in the world-health. Why?

A. To make the best possible use of your life you must be physically fit. To serve God and our fellowman requires physical fitness.

B. Love of self demands it. We hurt ourselves if we neglect to take care of the body.

C. Many temptations are caused by poor physical condition: bad temper, unkindness, impurity, and neglect of duties in your state of life.

3. We are also bound to respect the health and life of others. Selfishly and cruelly to deny others the means for taking proper care of the health is to violate the Fifth Commandment.

The Sister in my story fulfilled both these obligations. She was very careful about her own health, even though she gave her all to serving the good citizens of Carville. She used sensible precautions against contracting leprosy, even though every day she was exposed to it.

On the other hand she did everything possible to help others regain and retain their health. In fact, she was giving her life to taking care of the sick, just as hundreds of thousands of Catholic nuns have done every day throughout God's world.

To risk one's health or life without a serious reason is a serious sin. Foolhardy feats performed for fame or money or a thrill can be sinful, like dangerous auto racing, dare-devil stunts on the stage or in the circus. Reckless taking of chances is sinful, like trying to beat a train to the crossing, taking risks while swimming or diving or boating or hunting, careless handling of guns, exposing oneself to contagious diseases. Seriously sinful are drunken driving and driving while you are sleepy. You are risking your own life and the life of others. Whatever harms your own health or the health of others; whatever needlessly risks your own life or the life of others is a mortal sin.

For a grave reason certain people are allowed to risk their lives and their health. Doctors, nurses and priests are required to take care of the contagiously sick and diseased, even at the risk of contracting the disease themselves. Priests are even required to risk their lives to bring the Sacraments to one who might be lost if denied them. Policemen, firemen, soldiers, missionaries, especially in foreign lands, often carry their life in their hands. They have a sufficient reason. Women in child-birth also have a reason, the best of reasons for risking health and life.

Even those permitted to risk their health, are bound to take precautions. That was the case with the grandmotherly Sister who took us through the leper asylum. She was exposed to danger, but was not reckless.

A word to the young. By the young I include everyone up to forty. Take care of your health. Youth seems to have a surplus of strength and vitality. It seems exhaustless. Nevertheless, many a person pays dearly in later life for excesses during the teens, twenties and thirties. Far be it from me to curb the enjoyment of those years when health is with you. But any investment you make in health during youth pays rich dividends later on. Don't wait until you are overweight or short of breath or flabby of muscle before you adopt some sensible system of sleep and diet and exercise. Start now, take a reasonable care of your health. Don't be finicky and fussy about it, but be sensible.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will come and teach us all truth. I am sure that the Holy Spirit will be interested in showing you how to preserve your health and your life. Is not your body the temple of the Holy Spirit?Take sensible care of that temple. Respect that temple in others. Then you will be keeping the Fifth Commandment in a positive way. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

Gospel for Wednesday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:1-8

The Vine and the Branches

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. [2] Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit. [3] You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. [4] Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. [5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [6] If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. [7] If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. [8] By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples."


1. This comparison of the chosen people with a vine was used in the Old Testament: Psalm 80 speaks of the uprooting of the vine in Egypt and its re-planting in another land; and in Isaiah's Song of the Vineyard (5:1-7) God complains that despite the care and love He has lavished on it, His vineyard has yielded only wild grapes. Jesus previously used this imagery in His parable about the murderous tenants (Matthew 21:33-43) to signify the Jew's rejection of the Son and the calling of the Gentiles. But here the comparison has a different, more personal meaning: Christ explains that He Himself is the true vine, because the old vine, the original chosen people, has been succeeded by the new vine, the Church, whose head is Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9). To be fruitful one must be joined to the new, true vine, Christ: it is no longer a matter of simply belonging to a community but of living the life of Christ, the life of grace, which is the nourishment which passes life on to the believer and enables him to yield fruits of eternal life. This image of the vine also helps understand the unity of the Church, Christ's mystical body, in which all the members are intimately united with the head and thereby are also united to one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:15-16).

2. Our Lord is describing two situations: that of those who, although they are still joined to the vine externally, yield no fruit; and that of those who do yield fruit but could yield still more. The Epistle of St. James carries the same message when it says that faith alone is not enough (James 2:17). Although it is true that faith is the beginning of salvation and that without faith we cannot please God, it is also true that a living faith must yield fruit in the form of deeds. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6). So, one can say that in order to produce fruit pleasing to God, it is not enough to have received Baptism and to profess the faith externally: a person has to share in Christ's life through grace and has to cooperate with Him in His work of redemption.

Jesus uses the same verb to refer to the pruning of the branches as He uses to refer to the cleanness of the disciples in the next verse: literally the translation should run: "He cleanses him who bears fruit so that he bear more fruit". In other words, He is making it quite clear that God is not content with half-hearted commitment, and therefore He purifies His own by means of contradictions and difficulties, which are a form of pruning, to produce more fruit. In this we can see an explanation of the purpose of suffering: "Have you not heard the Master Himself tell the parable of the vine and the branches? Here we can find consolation. He demands much of you for you are the branch that bears fruit. And He must prune you `ut fructum plus afferas": to make you bear more fruit'.

"Of course: that cutting, that pruning, hurts. But, afterwards, what richness in your fruits, what maturity in your actions" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 701).

3. After washing Peter's feet Jesus had already said that His Apostles were clean, though not all of them (cf. John 13:10). Here, once more, He refers to that inner cleansing which results from accepting His teachings. "For Christ's word in the first place cleanses us from errors, by instructing us (cf. Titus 1:9) [...]; secondly, it purifies our hearts of earthly affections, filling them with desire for Heavenly things [...]; finally, His word purifies us with the strength of faith, for `He cleansed their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:9)" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

4-5. Our Lord draws more conclusions from the image of the vine and the branches. Now He emphasizes that anyone who is separated from Him is good for nothing, like a branch separated from the vine. "You see, the branches are full of fruit, because they share in the sap that comes from the stem. Otherwise, from the tiny buds we knew just a few months back, they could not have produced the sweet ripe fruit that gladdens the eye and make the heart rejoice. Here and there on the ground we may find some dry twigs, lying half-buried in the soil. Once they too were branches of the vine; now they lie there withered and dead, a perfect image of barrenness: `apart from Me, you can do nothing'" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 254).

The life of union with Christ is necessarily something which goes far beyond one's private life: it has to be focused on the good of others; and if this happens, a fruitful apostolate is the result, for "apostolate, of whatever kind it be, must be an overflow of the interior life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 239). The Second Vatican Council, quoting this page from St. John, teaches what a Christian apostolate should be: "Christ, sent by the Father, is the source of the Church's whole apostolate. Clearly then, the fruitfulness of the apostolate of lay people depends on their living union with Christ; as the Lord Himself said: `He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing'. This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is maintained by the spiritual helps common to all the faithful, chiefly by the active participation in the Liturgy. Laymen should make such a use of these helps that, while meeting their human obligations in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate their union with Christ from their ordinary life; but through the very performance of their tasks, which are God's will for them, actually promote the growth of their union with Him" ("Apostolicam Actuositatem", 4).

6. If a person is not united to Christ by means of grace he will ultimately meet the same fate as the dead branches--fire. There is a clear parallelism with other images our Lord uses--the parables of the sound tree and the bad tree (Matthew 7:15-20), the dragnet (Matthew 13:49-50), and the invitation to the wedding (Matthew 22:11-14), etc. Here is how St. Augustine comments on this passage: "The wood of the vine is the more contemptible if it does not abide in the vine, and the more glorious if it does abide....For, being cut off it is profitable neither for the vinedresser nor for the carpenter. For one of these only is it useful--the vine or the fire. If it is not in the vine, it goes to the fire; to avoid going to the fire it must be joined to the vine" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 81, 3).
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, May 16, 2006

Alter Christus - My "Hail Mary"

We recite this prayer so often - but how mechanically, perhaps! The remedy lies in meditating occasionally on its meaning - and its special meaning for priests - so as to make it the sincere expression of our personal attitude towards her who is our Queen and our Mother.


Hail Mary - As the angel saw Mary and greeted her, as Bernadette gazed in rapture at the "beautiful Lady" and conversed with her: so I, too, now. My Mother is here: I see her and salute her... And this, over and over again every day. - Then, is my priestly life a lonely one? Yes, in a way (at least it ought to be : " in the world, but not of the world"); and yet how could it be lonely with the com­panionship of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, with the sweet presence of my Mother remembered every time I say "Hail Mary"?

Full of Grace - Beauty unfathomable! From the very moment of her Immaculate Conception to the last hour of her earthly life, God's gifts of grace were proportioned to her divine Motherhood and incessantly growing by her most perfect co-operation. - The mere remembrance of that incomparable splendour, always an uplift for my soul, renews my confidence in God's graces, proportioned also to my priesthood, and my longing to correspond faithfully, with the help of the "Mater Divinae Gratiae".

The Lord is with Thee - Even before the Incarnation, the all-encompassing love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost for the future Mother of God; then, the Word made flesh in the womb of the Virgin; and, after the Nativity, the ever-growing union of love between Son and Mother! - May the Lord be ever with me too, His unworthy servant, since I must ever give Him to others; may my "Dominus Vobis­cum" be a true communication of what is the very life of my priestly soul... "Dominus sit in corde meo et in labiis meis."

Blessed art Thou amongst Women - How far superior to all her prototypes of the Old Testament through whom salvation had come to God's people: by her vocation, the Mother of God; by her mission, Co-redemptrix of the world; by her gifts and graces, "fecit mihi magna qui potens est". - Ever-abiding joy of her children at those blessings lavished on their Mother, and union of heart with her in the feelings of her "Magnificat"... Nothing can take away that purest, truly filial joy from us, even in this vale of tears.

And Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb Jesus - The chief title of Mary to our gratitude: she has given us Jesus our salvation, sanctification, joy and riches! And she ever goes on giving Jesus to all longing and pure hearts; she has no greater desire than to share "the fruit of her womb" with her other children by helping them to reproduce the virtues of her first-born. - I am to be in spirit and in truth "another Christ": I must never cease imploring Mary to imprint upon my heart the feelings of the Heart of her divine Son.


Holy Mary - What more inspiring words can I use to address her, at this stage of my prayer when I lift up my wistful eyes and suppliant voice to make my petitions to her? It is her holiness that makes her a most perfect model for her children, and all my petitions to Mary are centered round the holiness I want for myself and for all souls entrusted to me. - Let me dwell often and lovingly on the holiness of Mary: for my own inspiration, in prayer and meditation; for the exhortation of others, in catechism and sermons.

Mother of God - Higher still soars my trust and confidence: how could there be any limit to it, when my Mother is the very Mother of God? All the gifts of divine grace merited for me by Christ are at the disposal of His Mother: there is no limit to her power with God as there is none to her love for me. - In her then will I place all my hope, finding strength and joy and sweetness in the remembrance that she is "Mater Dei et Mater mea".

Pray for Us - This urgent, humble, trusting invocation has gone up to heaven unceasingly, for centuries, from every corner of the world; and has ever found an echo in Mary's Heart. She never ceases on high the pleading she began at the foot of the Cross, offering the merits of her Son's immolation for the salvation of the world. - My turn has come: let me eagerly take my place at the feet of Mary, the "Omnipotentia Supplex", and urge the same eagerness upon my Christians, that by our unwearying appeals to her we may secure an ever greater share in her intercession.

Sinners - Sins and sinfulness: man's greatest misery, and therefore his special title to the compassionate love of his Mother. His shame may overwhelm him, his fear tend to despair; but if he goes to Mary he will find a sure haven in that "Refugium peccatorum". - When I recite these words of the "Hail Mary", I will remember the hardened sinners of my flock and commend them to Mary; I will, in all humility, think of my own sins and shortcomings, and turn with filial confidence to the Mother of Mercy. She has suffered so) much for our salvation. . .

Now - Any day, any hour, pressing needs weigh heavy on us in body or soul, on those around us, on holy Church, on the sorely tried world: Mary knows them all, she can remedy all and she will - in answer to our prayers - when and how it is best for us. "In periculis, in angustiis, in rebus dubiis, Mariam cogita, Mariam invoca."

And at the Hour of Our Death - The hour of my supreme need! When eternity is to begin, with the judgment of God at hand. All regret and sorrow, all fear and trembling will vanish, at the remembrance of my life-long appeal to Mary to pray for me at the hour of my death. . .When on my death-bed the rosary beads are entwined round my cold fingers, may this symbolize the loving devotion with which I have recited my Hail Marys every day of my life.

Amen - Yes, every time I recite this prayer, I want to say it with full sincerity and confidence.
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 17.

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