Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 30 - Everybody's Doing It

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, teach me not to be a fake.

The Idea: A defendant paying a hefty fine for speeding on the highway com­plained to the judge, "Why, almost everyone drives that fast nowadays."

Arguing with her mother about smoking, Carol shouts, "Well, I'm the only senior in the whole school whose parents won't let her smoke."

Answering reporters as to why he took bribes, a college basketball player said bitterly, "Nearly every player takes money some time or other."

A parent protesting his son's expulsion from school for alcohol possession says, "It's only a phase. They all do it"

My Personal Application: What decides my standard of behavior? Am I a sucker for "what everybody's doing"? Should I take a little closer look at some of the things which I think are so "terrific" to see what they are really worth? Is there danger that I use my principles about purity, about honesty, about safety, about any­thing, only part of the time? When I go out to have fun, do I leave my brain at home?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, teach me what is right and give me courage to do it. Teach me to see through false standards. You lived here on earth and know what it's like. Teach me to see through "what everybody's doing." Teach me what you would have me do. Teach me to do your will rather than mine.

Thought for Today: Have I left my brain at home?
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for July 29, Memorial: St. Martha, Disciple of the Lord

From: John 11:19-27

The Raising of Lazarus (Continuation)

[19] And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. [20] When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, while Mary sat in the house. [21] Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. [22] And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You." [23] Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." [24] Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." [25] Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, [26] and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" [27] She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world."


1-45. This chapter deals with one of Jesus' most outstanding miracles. The Fourth Gospel, by including it, demonstrates Jesus' power over death, which the Synoptic Gospels showed by reporting the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Matthew 9:25 and paragraph) and of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:12).

The Evangelist first sets the scene (verses 1-16); then he gives Jesus' conversation with Lazarus' sisters (verses 17-37); finally, he reports the raising of Lazarus four days after his death (verses 38-45). Bethany was only about three kilometers (two miles) from Jerusalem (verse 18). On the days prior to His passion, Jesus often visited this family, to which He was very attached. St. John records Jesus' affection (verses 3, 5, 36) by describing His emotion and sorrow at the death of His friend.

By raising Lazarus our Lord shows His divine power over death and thereby gives proof of His divinity, in order to confirm His disciples' faith and reveal Himself as the Resurrection and the Life. Most Jews, but not the Sadducees, believed in the resurrection of the body. Martha believed in it (cf. verse 24).

Apart from being a real, historical event, Lazarus' return to life is a sign of our future resurrection: we too will return to life. Christ, by His glorious resurrection through He is the "first-born from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5), is also the cause and model of our resurrection. In this His resurrection is different from that of Lazarus, for "Christ being raised from the dead will never die again" (Romans 6:9), whereas Lazarus returned to earthly life, later to die again.

21-22. According to St. Augustine, Martha's request is a good example of confident prayer, a prayer of abandonment into the hands of God, who knows better than we what we need. Therefore, "she did not say, But now I ask You to raise my brother to life again. [...] All she said was, I know that You can do it; if you will, do it; it is for you to judge whether to do it, not for me to presume" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 49, 13). The same can be said of Mary's words, which St. John repeats at verse 32.

24-26. Here we have one of those concise definitions Christ gives of Himself, and which St. John faithfully passes on to us (cf. John 10:9; 14:6; 15:1): Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Resurrection because by His victory over death He is the cause of the resurrection of all men. The miracle He works in raising Lazarus is a sign of Christ's power to give life to people. And so, by faith in Jesus Christ, who arose first from among the dead, the Christian is sure that he too will rise one day, like Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23; Colossians 1;18). Therefore, for the believer death is not the end; it is simply the step to eternal life, a change of dwelling-place, as one of the Roman Missal's Prefaces of Christian Death puts it: "Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in Heaven".

By saying that He is Life, Jesus is referring not only to that life which begins beyond the grave, but also to the supernatural life which grace brings to the soul of man when he is still a wayfarer on this earth.

"This life, which the Father has promised and offered to each man in Jesus Christ, His eternal and only Son, who 'when the time had fully come' (Galatians 4:4), became incarnate and was born of the Virgin Mary, is the final fulfillment of man's vocation. It is in a way the fulfillment of the 'destiny' that God has prepared for him from eternity. This 'divine destiny' is advancing, in spite of all the enigmas, the unsolved riddles, the twists and turns of 'human destiny' in the world of time. Indeed, while all this, in spite of all the riches of life in time, necessarily and inevitably leads to the frontiers of death and the goal of the destruction of the human body, beyond that goal we see Christ. 'I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me...shall never die.' In Jesus Christ, who was crucified and laid in the tomb and then rose again, 'our hope of resurrection dawned...the bright romise of immortality' ("Roman Missal", Preface of Christian Death, I), on the way to which man, through the death of the body, shares with the whole of visible creation the necessity to which matter is subject" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 18).
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, July 28, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 29 - Ask and It Shall Be Given

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Christ grant me complete trust in you.

The Idea: Dr. Steinmetz, General Motors' great scientist, when asked by his colleagues what was the most important line of research to pursue, replied: "Prayer. Find out about prayer!"

Dr. Carrell, world-renowned scientist: "The power of prayer is the greatest power in the world!"

Tennyson: "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of!"

Christ: "Ask and you shall receive!"

I Speak to Christ: Help me to approach you in prayer with the fullest confidence, Lord. Too often I have only halfway trust in your help, or else I turn to you in earnest only when things go wrong. You should see in me a familiar friend when I come to pray, a friend who habitually trusts in you and talks things over and tries to do just what you want. Help me to persevere in prayer, to show you that I don't doubt your love just because I don't get my request right away. Forgive me for complaining when you decide to give me something other than what I asked for. Help me to remember that, whatever happens, you know what is best and have sent me what is for my greatest good. Let me see in failure, hardship, and suffering your loving hand. I know that even these things are your gifts, that ultimately they will be for my good, if I use them rightly. Help me see that overcoming difficulties will mold my character and enable me to grow in virtue, grace, and merit. O Jesus, I do trust in you; forgive me and strengthen me when I am weak and forgetful!

Thought for Today: "The greatest power in the world!"
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

July 29 is the feast of Blessed Urban II...

...In commemoration, TFP is relaunching Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s article “XXI Century Crusade.”

During Blessed Urban II's time, the forces of Islam were threatening all Christendom. He confronted this threat with courage and fortitude. In our times, the Church faces a Revolution that threatens to utterly destroy Catholic culture and Christian civilization. What is needed is a cultural crusade to face this enemy.

Medieval Crusaders shed their blood to free the Sepulcher of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the hands of the infidels and to establish a Christian kingdom in the Holy Land.

Today the blood of Catholics still flows — in Communist China, the Sudan, Cuba, and many other countries where religious persecutions continue to claim the lives of thousands without most of us even being aware of it. In fact, authorities on religious persecutions have proven that the twentieth century claimed more martyrs than all previous nineteen centuries combined.

But for what purpose? The vast majority of these have died under the continuing onslaught of Communism and Islam, both inveterate enemies of our Faith and of Christian civilization. It is to be hoped that this torrent of blood, like that of the early Christian martyrs, will be a seed of even greater numbers of new Catholics and of a restoration of Christendom in all the world.

Those of us who have not been called upon to shed our blood like these martyrs can, and must, pray and act to free the world not only from the errors of Communism and Islam, but also those of the cultural revolution sweeping the West, possibly toward persecution as well. Our constant aim should be to restore the Kingdom of Christ, that His will may be done “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

The principles for the restoration of Christendom are what Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira outlines in the article we present here. First published in January of 1951, his essay still stands as a suitable blueprint for our activities. - Ed.
This is an !excellent! article - Highly recommended!

More Local Coverage of the COURAGE Conference Protests

I looked through three stories and never did see a count of the number of protesters...Ironically, it seems to me, there were more protesters supporting homosexuality than there were supporting the so-called "Catholic teachers' union"...

Members of the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice, an independent local group, protested across Grand Boulevard from St. Francis Xavier (College) Church on Thursday night. Members of that group say Courage hurts gay and lesbian Catholics when the church should be welcoming to all.

"Gay? Fine by me," one sign said. "Love needs no cure," read another.
. . .
"It's a false message [what Courage does] that every scientific, medical and psychological study ever done contradicts," said Sam Cinnet, president of Dignity USA, a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics.

Really, Sam? Every study ever done? Me thinks this is wishful thinking...

"Homosexuality is not a choice," he said. "My homosexuality is just as much a gift from God as anyone's heterosexuality."

Again, more wishful thinking...just as my various inclinations toward certain sins are "gifts" from God?...I suppose that I am to believe that I am free to act on those inclinations (being gifts from God) and I incur no culpability for my sins? How utterly convenient! No more remorse or guilt! No more confession! FREE AT LAST from the shackles of sin!

That is the message of "Dignity" and every other group which claims to speak against the natural moral law. It's a shame that these people were not around to enlighten St Paul with his "thorns in his flesh"...We might well have a different canon of Scripture were that the case.

"This stuff damages people," Cinnet said. "It's spiritual violence (that suggests) either God screwed up or you screwed up."

Yes, my friends, we are to believe that the truth, and the natural moral law, and the teachings of the Church, and God's desire that we refrain from sin - these things - are sources of "spiritual violence". We are to believe that it is not the bondage of sin, the slavery of sin, our unwillingness to do what is right that is the source of our own self-inflicted "spiritual violence". If we accept that premise, then we must believe that God is the source of that "spiritual violence"...And this, because of what we understand about God, is impossible.

"The purpose of Courage is to provide support for men and women with same-sex attractions who want to live a chaste life," [Christine Nair, speaking for Courage,] said. "We're not trying to 'cure' anyone. We provide spiritual support."

As throughout the history of man, some do not want to lead chaste lives. This was made manifest by those in the protest...

Local unrecognized Teachers "Union" at it again...

And Bill McClellan becomes its mouthpiece:

Teachers union plugs away, despite lack of recognition

A small band of protesters was standing on the sidewalk Thursday morning across the street from the archbishop's residence on Lindell Boulevard. I recognized one of the protesters. "Don't tell me you're a teacher now," I said, and he shook his head. He said his wife was a teacher and he had come to the protest to support her. His wife saw us talking and hurried over. "I don't want my name in the paper," she said. "I don't want to lose my job."

So goes life in the labor movement these days.

Actually, these are tough times even for union members who have a union. Things are doubly tough when your union is not recognized by your employer. That's the situation for the members of the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators.
. . .

...the Catholic church has traditionally supported the right of workers to organize. The association affiliated with the Carpenters Union. Nice symbolism there! More important, that affiliation put the local labor movement strongly on the side of the association. How could the church not recognize the new union?

Answer: according to McClellan, it's Archbishop Burke's fault...go figure. Coming from McClellan, this isn't surprising.

“When doubts and errors are spread...”

The sickness is the loss of faith among the people, and the poor instructors are above all the progressive theologians. The accusation comes from the Spanish bishops. In a document coordinated with Rome, as a model for other episcopates

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, July 28, 2006 – The document was written by the Spanish bishops, and focuses on Spanish theology. But its horizon is much broader. It was planned in conjunction with the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when this was headed by cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now pope. And it presents itself as a working model for the bishops of other nations. “L’Osservatore Romano,” the newspaper of the Holy See, is preparing to issue it with a significant publicity effort. In Italy it was published in its entirety in the latest edition of “Il Regno,” the influential magazine of the Sacred Heart Fathers in Bologna.

The document is in the form of a “pastoral instruction,” and is entitled “Theology and secularization in Spain, forty years after the end of Vatican Council II.” It is the outcome of three years of work, and was prepared by the commission for the doctrine of the faith of the Spanish bishops’ conference. But then it was examined by all of the bishops, who in two voting sessions, in November and then in March of this year, approved it by a margin of over two thirds. The bishops most active in promoting the document included the two most “Ratzingerian” cardinals of Spain, Antonio Cañizares Lovera, of Toledo, and Antonio María Rouco Varela, of Madrid, together with one of the latter’s auxiliary bishops, Eugenio Romero Pose, president of the doctrinal commission.
. . .
The sickness is “the secularization within the Church”: a widespread loss of faith caused in part by “theological propositions that have in common a deformed presentation of the mystery of Christ.”

The cure is precisely that of restoring life to the profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), in the four areas where it is most seriously undermined today:

– the interpretation of Scripture,
– Jesus Christ as the only savior of all men,
– the Church as the Body of Christ,
– moral life.

Some excerpts of the document, (and I recommend a thorough reading of the above article) - It's like an updated "Syllabus of Errors":

49. These groups, whose common characteristic is that of dissent, have expressed themselves in public statements in favor of communal absolution and women’s ordination, and have misrepresented the true meaning of marriage by proposing and practicing the “blessing” of unions between homosexual persons. The existence of these groups sows divisions and gravely disorients the faithful, is a cause of suffering for many Christians (priests, religious, and laity), and is an occasion of scandal and of further alienation for non-believers.

50. These demonstrations present a deformed conception of the Church, which imagines a constant and implacable clash between the “hierarchy” and the “people.” The hierarchy, identified with the bishops, is presented with fairly negative traits: it is a source of “imposition,” “condemnation,” and “exclusion.” In comparison, the “people” with which these groups identify is presented with the opposite traits: it is “liberated,” “pluralistic,” and “open.” This way of presenting the Church implies an explicit invitation to break away from the hierarchy and to construct, in practice, a “parallel Church.” For these groups, the Church’s activity does not consist primarily in the proclamation of Jesus Christ and in the communion of men with God, which is realized through conversion of life and faith in the Redeemer, but rather in the liberation from oppressive structures and in the struggle for the integration of marginalized groups, according to a predominately immanentistic perspective.

65. Those who defend their condition as Christians while operating in the political and social order with proposals that expressly contradict the teaching of the Gospel, maintained and transmitted by the Church, are a cause of grave scandal and place themselves outside of ecclesial communion.

The document is rich in its understanding and content... I look forward to its complete publication.

The complete text (Spanish Bishops’ Conference Web Site - in Spanish only) of the instruction is here.

Save a Pew

The Friends of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis have kicked off a fund-raising drive to restore the cathedral basilica’s 262 historic pews. The campaign goal is $375,000.

Donors can "adopt" an entire pew for $1,500 or half a pew for $750. Pope Paul VI called the cathedral basilica "the most beautiful church in the New World."

The Friends organization works to maintain the historic Central West End edifice. To help or for more information, call Ann Richardson at (314) 373-8240.

I was "secretly ordained".... now, I lay claim to be being a "Roman Catholic Priest"... But my false claims to have been ordained are not nearly as preposterous as those of Jean Marie Marchant, who for the last four years has been director of healthcare ministry for the Archdiocese of Boston:

Archdiocesan official quits, saying she was ordained

A department head at the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has resigned her post after revealing that she had secretly participated in a ceremony last year in which she says she was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

"I've always seen my role as to stay within the church and to push the boundaries," Marchant said in an interview. "But I really came to see in the archdiocese that the change was not going to come about because we women were doing a good and worthy job, but that something more dramatic and drastic had to happen. Until we really took a very strong step and defied this very unjust law -- the canon in canon law that restricts ordination to men -- nothing was going to change."

A pseudo-Catholic, an imposter...

A 61-year-old native of Waltham, Marchant now lives in Framingham with her husband of 19 years, Ron Hindelang, a one-time Marist priest who left the priesthood for their relationship.

Newsflash....who woulda thunk it? More rejection of promises and vows...for?...what the University of Massachusetts at Boston she encountered other women being ordained in other denominations. She received a master's degree in divinity from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge...

Was she influeenced by some wayward Jesuits?

Marchant said she had attended the 2001 ordination of Mary Ramerman of Spiritus Christi Church, a breakaway Catholic congregation in Rochester, N.Y., and was moved to think seriously about her own sense of calling.

ME! ME! ME!....It's always about ME!...What an exemplary display of humility and prudence - Of course, we will be told that the unHoly Spirit was helping her to discern her "true" vocation...

"I don't know exactly where this will lead me, but there's such a hunger for the people to be ministered to in an inclusive fashion," she said. "I'm leaving myself open to whatever possibility comes along."

I think that what comes later is called "Hell"...a complete separation from God for all eternity - brought about by rejecting Christ and His Church, due, no doubt, to being overcome by pride...

Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of American Catholics supports the ordination of women, but church officials say their policies are not determined by popular vote.

And most American Catholics support the use of artificial contraception, and most American Catholics have lost a faith in the "Real Presence"...Most American "Catholics" are in dire need of conversion, prayer, and catechesis.

The willingness of some women to be ordained in ceremonies that are not sanctioned by the Catholic hierarchy is radical, but reflects a trend, according to Ann Braude, director of the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.

Radical? I think it's more than radical - it's a public manifestation of defiance and rebellion. It's a complete rejection of Christ and His Church...It's one thing to say that there are not (and never will be) ordained "priestesses", but in truth, can they even be called "Catholic"?

"It seems to me that this is picking up steam, and we're seeing more and more examples of it in a variety of settings, but how far it will go, only time will tell," Braude said.

It's picking up steam far will it go? Straight to hell! These sick and irrational women truly need our prayers. Besides endangering their own immortal souls, they cause serious scandal by which others may be led astray. These stories might be comical if it were not for the fact that these people have separated themselves from God and chosen instead to follow satan...

Giant HT to Darla for the link...

Truth in advertising? Not for the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures...

Unfortunately, and regrettably, this group continues to spread its poisonous message across the airwaves of television, buying 30 minute spots for it's cleverly deceptive ads which encourage the destruction of human life for a false and illusory goal - a promise of cures. In reality, and if we are to believe others who are involved, this is primarily about money - money which can be generated from patenting the technology of as yet unknown and elusive cures, should they ever come to pass. And as we have seen recently, those who want to experiment with and destroy innocent human life are not content with using their own money for "research" - they wish to force taxpayers to shell out tax dollars to support their macabre endeavors.

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the group behind the proposed Nov. 7 vote to amend Missouri’s Constitution to exempt embryonic stem-cell research from state regulation, has begun airing a nine-minute advertisement for the initiative.

It mixes clinical-sounding testimony from doctors and emotional pleas from mothers asking voters to pass the amendment, which would give unprecedented legal protection to a practice the Church considers immoral.

Producers of the advertisement — being shown three straight times in half-hour slots the coalition has bought on commercial television — have not criticized the Church for its opposition. Rather, the voice on the ad blames "politicians in Jefferson City" who it says want to limit Missourians’ access to potential lifesaving cures.

And, the ad’s producers do credit use of adult stem cells — which the Church wholeheartedly endorses — for successful cures. But not enough of them. The ad mentions only bone marrow treatments for leukemia but not the other nearly 70 successful adaptions of adult stem cells in fighting disease.

The ad also fails to mention that embryonic stem-cell research, which it dubs "early stem-cell" research, has yet to produce any cures. All the language encouraging people to vote for the measure is laced with the conditional words "could," "possibly," "potential" and "if."

As has been pointed out in these pages before, the only reason a Catholic needs to vote against the Nov. 7 ballot initiative on embryonic stem cells is that it is immoral for its destruction of human embryos after needed cells are harvested. Nevertheless, Catholics need to continue to inform themselves of the legal pitfalls in giving an unchecked go-ahead to such research.

The ad concludes with emotional pleas from two mothers that would lead people to believe that opposition to the ballot initiative is opposition to scientific progress that could help their children. From the Church’s view, nothing could be further from the truth. The Church has always, and always will, support cures done through moral means, such as through the use of adult stem cells.

Editorial comment from the St Louis Review (Link)

Why did 'obey' get dropped from the marriage vows?

This week in the "Dear Father" section of the St. Louis Review, Fr Morris provides the answer to the question.

How has the language used for the vows in the Rite of Marriage changed since Vatican II?

Like all the rituals since Vatican II, the Rite of Marriage has undergone linguistic and structural changes. Of course, none of these changes has altered the central rite of the Sacrament of Marriage, which is the exchange of consent between two baptized Christians, one male, the other female.

The Church considers the exchange of consent by the couple "to be the indispensable element that makes the marriage." The exchange of consent is commonly referred to as the marriage vows.

The current ritual for the celebration of the Rite of Marriage in both the English translation and the Latin "editio typica" does not use the word "obey" in the consent of the couple. Unfortunately, in modern society, the idea of obedience implies subjugation and submissiveness, which are not operative concepts in marriage.

Mutual obedience is implicit in married life; but the use of that particular word may overshadow the fullest understanding of this great sacrament. Wives and husbands are both required by the re-ciprocal dynamics of marriage to be obedient to each other as they both strive (individually and together) for obedience to the life of Christ and receptivity to the grace he has bestowed upon them in the sacrament of marriage.

Consequently, when the couple exchange their consent they willingly and freely commit themselves to each other as faithful servants, in times of prosperity and adversity, in times of good health and sickness.

Further, they promise to love and honor each other for the rest of their lives. Present in this exchange is obedience, but we encounter a much more expansive and fruitful understanding of obedience that moves beyond merely fulfilling a contractual obligation to a relationship that involves every aspect of their being, a true partnership and covenant for the whole of life.

The current ritual reflects this rich and deep theology of marriage through the structure and the language of the rite without allowing itself to be burdened with the misunderstandings that might be created by the use of one particular word.

Father Morris is episcopal vicar of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate, director of the St. Maximilian Kolbe House of Discernment and an adjunct professor at Kenrick Glennon Seminary.

Send questions on matters of faith to be answered by priests of the St. Louis Archdiocese to Dear Father, c/o St. Louis Review, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119, or fax to (314) 792-7534, or e-mail to


Archbishop Burke: Prayers for Peace, NFP Awareness Week, and Seminarians

I interrupt briefly my reflection upon Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical letter "Deus Caritas Est" to write to you about a number of timely matters. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has asked us to observe a day of prayer and penance for peace in the Middle East. We also are observing Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. Lastly, I want to inform you of the activities of our seminarians during the summer months.
. . .
Please pray for the men who will be entering Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in September as first-year collegians, pre-theologians (men with college degrees or college studies already completed but who need additional courses in philosophy) and first-year theologians. God willing, the archdiocese will admit more than 20 new seminarians in September. Let us show our gratitude to God by praying for them, encouraging them and supporting them.

Gospel for Friday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:18-23

Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [18] "Hear then the parable of the sower. [19] When any one hears the Word of the Kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in hies heart; this is what was sown along the path. [20] As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; [21] yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately he falls away. [22] As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful. [23] As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."


19. He does not understand because he does not love--not because he is not clever enough: lack of love opens the door of the soul to the devil.
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, July 27, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 28 - The World We Live In

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Christ, I want to see life as you see it.

The Idea: Modern man tries to lead a double life: in one part, God counts; in the other part, God neither sees nor cares. Compare some typical modern attitudes with some remarks of Christ.

"The big thing for happiness is a good job with plenty of money."... Christ says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit... Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice and all these things will be added unto you."

"Business is like baseball: nice players always lose."... "Whatever you do to one of these my least brethren you do unto me."...

"If they treat me right, I'll treat them right; if they play dirty, they can expect the same."... "Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you... For if you love them that love you... do not even the publicans do this?"

"Religion is okay, but God doesn't care too much."..."Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."

"Don't repress your sexual desires."... "Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God."

My Personal Application: It is easy for modern paganism to shape my ideas and reactions if I am not alert to the danger and do not pray to see things as Christ sees them. Can I think of some definite situations in which I picked up ideals which are contrary to Christ's?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, you have said, "If you continue steadfast in my word, you will really be my disciples, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Help me be a disciple of yours, so your truth will free me from false values: free me from life by halves so I give my whole life to you.

Thought for Today: The truth shall make you free.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The Catholic Church Is NOT Opposed to Stem Cell Research

DENVER, July 27, 2006 ( – Earlier this week, Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, the director of Education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center and one of the foremost bioethicists of the Catholic Church, reiterated that the Church is an enthusiastic supporter, not an enemy of stem-cell research.
. . .
During his presentation, Fr. Pacholczyk debunked what he described as the “ten media myths about stem cell research and cloning” that have been perpetuated about stem-cells and the Catholic Church.
. . .
Fr. Pacholczyk also noted that the much touted panacea from embryonic stem-cell research is a great myth in itself, and a dangerous one. While media and politicians have been insisting that only stem-cells from destroyed embryos can cure the diseases of over 100 million patients, Fr. Pacholczyk pointed out that not one human being or animal has been cured with such research. In fact, since embryonic stem-cells are designed to work in an embryonic environment, their rapid cellular growth have produced tumors called teratoma, and led to death in test subjects.

Update on the "Protest" Vigil of the COURAGE Conference

I arrived in the vicinity of St Francis Xavier Church at St Louis University about 5:15pm. As I drove past the church on Grand Avenue, I passed those at the "vigil" who were just opposite the church in the same spot where we had a prayer vigil protesting the V-Monolgues. I estimated about 30 people gathered about the area.

I made a left hand turn when the light changed, found a spot a half block away, parked the truck, loaded a camera with film (I had forgotten my digital camera this morning), and walked down to the front of the church.

As mentioned in the "Catholic" Action Network Press Release, Archbishop Burke was to celebrate the conference's opening Mass.

I opted to skip Mass since I was so late (20 minutes by now) and would observe the "vigil" outside for a while. Right away I noticed 3 plains-clothes police officers (all holding walkie-talkies). As I past the front of the church walking south on Grand I took a couple of pictures of the gathering across the street. I proceeded toward one of the officers who was positioned past the church and asked him if he was a cop. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him I was there to take a few pics and see what groups were there. I explained to him who the primary group was and mentioned that the vigil was planned to last until 7:00 pm - he wasn't happy about that...

The officer confided that the scheduled Mass had been changed about an hour or so before. I was told that it was moved to St Raymond's Maronite Cathedral. The group of protesters, concerned that they were not seeing anyone arrive for Mass, were informed that the Mass had been moved but were not told where. It must have been quite disappointing since CAN's Press Release stated, in part:
The vigil is timed to coincide with the Conference’s opening Mass, and hundreds of vigil participants are expected.
And at no time during my time there did I see "hundreds"...In fact, my estimate is that there were, perhaps, 50 at most.

Since my pictures (if they develop OK) won't be posted until tomorrow or tomorrow night, I'll relate some of the signs people were carrying. There were five discernable groups represented (based on signs and/or shirts):
CAN - "Catholic" Action Network,
"Holy" Families,
PFLAG, and
Catholics for Queers.

Some of the signs (most were hand-made) stated such things as:
"Homophobia IS the mental illness, not homosexuality."
"We believe in love and committment."
"Love needs no cure."
"Love makes holy families."

After 6:00pm, seeing no increase in the number of protesters, I decided to leave and took some pictures as I left.

As an aside, the police officer with whom I talked earlier told me that Fr Mhanna (who was with Fr. Biondi in Lebanon) had arrived back in St. Louis yesterday. I have not yet confirmed this, but I hope it is true. He did state that he was not Catholic and I told him, "Well, you could be!"

Anyway, if the pictures turn out OK, I'll post them tomorrow.

*********** UPDATED *******

A couple of pictures added from a nearly disposable 35mm camera...Here is a link to more pictures.

It was only a matter of time...

Human Eggs As Currency?
IVF Clinic Given OK to Accept Eggs as Payment for Fertility Treatments

LONDON, July 27, 2006 ( – A UK fertility clinic has been given the green light by the country’s fertility authority to allow women undergoing in-vitro fertilization to trade costs of the treatment in exchange for any surplus eggs. The eggs are to be fertilized, and the resulting embryonic babies mined for cells to be used in research.

Why can't Liguori Publications be like Ignatius Press?

It has just come to my attention that one of the women to be "ordained" this July 31 in Pittsburgh is Bridget Mary Meehan.

Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31. Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 15 books, including "The Healing Power of Prayer" and "Praying with Visionary Women.". Dr. Meehan can be reached at The website is Roman Catholic Womenpriests. (Source: The case for women priests, Guest Commentary By Bridget Mary Meehan,Global Ministries University)

Liguori Publications currently sells 5 of Bridget Mary Meehan's books on its website. Is it not too much to ask that Liguori pull those books as Ignatius Press pulled the CD's of Charlotte Church?

How can a professed Catholic publisher continue to promote or sell books written by one who so openly defies the Church?

Liguori's Contact page is here. Perhaps we can call and ask?

Tonight - Local "Catholic" Vigil at COURAGE Conference

From the so-called "Catholic" Action Network press release of July 24:


The Catholic Action Network for Social Justice, (CAN) a local Catholic independent group, will host a vigil in peaceful opposition to the Courage Conference on Thursday, July 27th at 5:30pm across the street from St. Francis Xavier College Church.

Courage is a national Roman Catholic organization affiliated with the ex-gay movement that seeks to help gays and lesbians overcome their sexual orientation.

Courage identifies homosexuals as people suffering from “same sex attraction” and promotes the use of reparative therapy to help members overcome this attraction.

The Courage National Conference will be held at St. Louis University (SLU) from Thursday, July 27th until Sunday, July 30th.

Archbishop Raymond Burke will preside at the Conference’s opening Mass, Thursday at 5:00pm at St. Francis Xavier College Church. [my emphasis]

Courage asserts that homosexuality is often caused by childhood abuse, that gay and lesbians are “slaves to their desires” and that homosexuality is a choice and a disorder that can be “treated”. Courage’s understanding of homosexuality directly contradicts statements by major professional mental health and medical associations including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

CAN initiated this vigil in opposition to Courage’s harmful misinformation about homosexuality, and in disappointment at SLU’s decision to rent space to this group.

The vigil is timed to coincide with the Conference’s opening Mass, and hundreds of vigil participants are expected.

The Catholic Action Network for Social Justice is an independent group formed in 2000 to enact the social teachings of the Catholic Church. CAN’s work has included promoting Fair Trade, peaceful alternatives to war, and ordination for women in the Catholic Church. Press contacts are listed above, and an informational factsheet on Courage is attached.

Not surprisingly, a local parish (which has a newly updated website) has posted this notice on its main page:
Vigil with LGBT Catholics & CAN
at the National COURAGE Conference
Corner of Grand & Lindell
Thursday 7/27 5:30-7:00p
I understand that Slatts will be there to take pictures, although I'm certain that CAN will probably be posting pics on its web site soon, as well.

Fr. Altier Fires Back at Archdiocese Spokesman

Silenced priest Father Robert Altier has responded to a recent letter by Dennis McGrath, communications director for the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, regarding Father Altier's status in the archdiocese.

The following is Father Altier's (unedited) response to McGrath:

Dennis McGrath
226 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102-2197

Dear Mr. McGrath,

Praised be Jesus Christ! I am writing to you in response to a letter that you wrote to Mr. Kenneth Fisher on July 17, 2006 and which was, in turn, forwarded to me. In this letter you state, regarding Mr. Fisher, that "his story is replete with errors and major exaggerations. As the communications director for The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, let me strive to correct the record and, hopefully, get your Catholic Newswire to do the same if you're at all concerned about journalistic ethics and truth." Toward the end of the letter you further state "to let Mr. Fisher use your news service as a communications medium to trumpet a campaign based on false and distorted information is almost unimaginable to me, as a trained journalist."

These are rather interesting statements considering that your own letter contains very few pieces of factual data but is, indeed, replete with misinformation and a great deal of false and distorted information of its own (and this is not the first time). This strikes me as being "almost unimaginable" coming from one who claims to be a trained journalist and even more because you represent the Archdiocese and the Archbishop. If this were merely a matter of false and distorted information I would have ignored it and remained silent, as I have in the past. But there is something much more serious contained in your letter which has prompted me to write you. This would fall under your statement about getting the record straight and concern about journalistic ethics and truth.

Continued here...

Fr. Biondi's Evacuation from Lebanon

The Post Dispatch carried a short article about Fr. Lawrence Biondi's experiences in being evacuated from Lebanon:

The Rev. Lawrence Biondi's two-day evacuation from Lebanon was filled with little sleep, violent outbursts and harrowing bombs. The president of St. Louis University described it on Sunday, two days after arriving here safely.

Last Wednesday, the university's general counsel, William Kauffman, called Biondi in his hotel room at 3 a.m. Biondi would be part of a 7 a.m. evacuation. He reported to a nearby marina at 5:40 a.m. He could feel the vibrations of bombs going off while waiting for three hours. Officials searched his bag, checked his passport and made sure he was among the 1,000 people - including nearly 400 children - on the evacuation list.

Attorney Files IRS Complaint against Missouri Catholic Conference

From the Associated Press:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Washington attorney has filed an IRS complaint against the Missouri Catholic Conference, claiming it violated prohibitions on political activity by nonprofit entities by encouraging lawmakers to return contributions from a group favoring stem cell research.

Lawyer Marcus Owens claims the Catholic Conference tried to intimidate lawmakers into rejecting donations from the political action committee Supporters of Health Research and Treatments.

Owens is a former IRS division director and apparently has too much time on his hands. My hunch is that he was notified by one of the recipients of the embryonic stem cell blood money. I suspect that the lawmaker, having been notified of the unethical and immoral positions of the donors who support embryonic stem cell research, took issue with being called upon to return the money. He may also have an issue that his acceptance of such funds may be seen as tacit support of ESCR.

Owens...urged the IRS to launch a tax-status inquiry of the Catholic Conference.

Is it fair to ask if Owens does this with other religious organizations, especially those who turn over their pulpits to various Democratic Party candidates...? Or are those religious groups immune from IRS probes?

The Missouri Catholic Conference intends to report the results of this campaign to encourage lawmakers to return the contributions, including which of these candidates have received but returned such contributions. (Source)

Catholic Academy Coming to BaratHaven

Down the road a few miles in a new and somewhat pricey development will be a private Catholic high school.

Catholic academy coming to BaratHaven


Plans are underway for Barat Academy, a private independent Catholic high school located in the BaratHaven community of Dardenne Prairie.

A public hearing took place at the Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen meeting Wednesday where officials reviewed the plans.

Barat Academy is set to open Sept. 4, 2007, and will offer single-gender classes for boys and girls on a co-educational campus.

It is neither owned nor operated by a religious order or by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Rather, it is managed under a lay board of directors.

Debby Watson, president of Barat Academy, said while the academy is founded in the traditions of the Society of the Sacred Heart education, it is not affiliated with the order.

It is unclear at this time whether this school will participate in some way in the Archdiocesan educational system. I hope it will, and it is especially encouraging to see that it will have an emphasis on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Gospel for Thursday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:10-17

Parable of the Sower (Continuation)

[10] Then the disciples came and said to Him (Jesus), "Why do You speak to them in parables?" [11] And He answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given. [12] For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [13] This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. [14] With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: `You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. [15] For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.'

[16] But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. [17] Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."


10-13. The kind of Kingdom Jesus was going to establish did not suit the Judaism of His time, largely because of the Jew's nationalistic, earthbound idea of the Messiah to come. In His preaching Jesus takes account of the different outlooks of His listeners, as can be seen in the attitudes described in the parable of the sower. If people were well disposed to Him, the enigmatic nature of the parable would stimulate their interest; and Jesus later did give His many disciples a fuller explanation of its meaning; but there was no point in doing this if people were not ready to listen.

Besides, parables--as indeed any type of comparison or analogy--are used to reveal or explain something which is not easy to understand, as was the case with the supernatural things Jesus was explaining. One has to shade one's eyes to see things if the sun is too bright; otherwise, one is blinded and sees nothing. Similarly, parables help to shade supernatural brightness to allow the listener to grasp meaning without being blinded by it.

These verses also raise a very interesting question: how can divine revelation and grace produce such widely differing responses in people? What is at work here is the mystery of divine grace--which is an unmerited gift--and of man's response to this grace. What Jesus says here underlines man's responsibility to be ready to accept God's grace and to respond to it. Jesus' reference to Isaiah (Matthew 13:14-15) is a prophecy of that hardness of heart which is a punishment meted out to those who resist grace.

These verses need to be interpreted in the light of three points: 1) Jesus Christ loved everyone, including people of His own home town: He gave His life in order to save all men; 2) the parable is a literary form designed to get ideas across clearly: its ultimate aim is to teach, not to mislead or obscure; 3) lack of appreciation for divine grace is something blameworthy, which does merit punishment; however, Jesus did not come directly to punish anyone, but rather to save everyone.

12. Jesus is addressing His disciples and explaining to them that, precisely because they have faith in Him and want to have a good grasp of His teaching, they will be given a deeper understanding of divine truths. But those who do not "follow Him" (cf. note on Matthew 4:18-22) will later lose interest in the things of God and will grow ever blinder: it is as if the little they have is being taken away from them.

This verse also helps us understand the meaning of the parable of the sower, a parable which gives a wonderful explanation of the supernatural economy of divine grace: God gives grace, and man freely responds to that grace. The result is that those who respond to grace generously receive additional grace and so grow steadily in grace and holiness; whereas those who reject God's gifts become closed up within themselves; through their selfishness and attachment to sin they eventually lose God's grace entirely. In this verse, then, our Lord gives a clear warning: with the full weight of His divine authority He exhorts us--without taking away our freedom--to act responsibly: the gifts God keeps sending us should yield fruit; we should make good use of the opportunities for Christian sanctification which are offered us in the course of our lives.

14-15. Only well-disposed people grasp the meaning of God's words. It is not enough just to hear them physically. In the course of Jesus' preaching the prophetic words of Isaiah come true once again.

However, we should not think that not wanting to hear or to understand was something exclusive to certain contemporaries of Jesus; each one of us is at times hard of hearing, hard-hearted and dull-minded in the presence of God's grace and saving word. Moreover, it is not enough to be familiar with the teaching of the Church: it is absolutely necessary to put the faith into practice, with all that that implies, morally and ascetically. Jesus was fixed to the wood of the Cross not only by nails and by the sins of certain Jews but also by our sins--sins committed centuries later but which afflicted the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, who bore the burden of our sins. See the note on Mark 4:11-12.

16-17. In contrast with the closed attitude of many Jews who witnessed Jesus' life but did not believe in Him, the disciples are praised by our Lord for their docility to grace, their openness to recognizing Him as the Messiah and to accepting His teaching.

He calls His disciples blessed, happy. As He says, the prophets and just men and women of the Old Testament had for centuries lived in hope of enjoying one day the peace the future Messiah would bring, but they had died without experiencing this good fortune. Simeon, towards the end of his long life, was filled with joy on seeing the infant Jesus when He was presented in the temple: "He took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, `Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation'" (Luke 2:28-30). During our Lord's public life, His disciples were fortunate enough to see and be on close terms with Him; later they would recall that incomparable gift, and one of them would begin his first letter in these words: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life; [...] that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our [or: your] joy may be complete (1 John 1:1-4).

This exceptional good fortune was, obviously, not theirs but of special merit: God planned it; it was He who decided that the time had come for the Old Testament prophecies to be fulfilled. In any event, God gives every soul opportunities to meet Him: each of us has to be sensitive enough to grasp them and not let them pass. There were many men and women in Palestine who saw and heard the incarnate Son of God but did not have the spiritual sensitivity to see in Him what the Apostles and disciples saw.
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, July 26, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 27 - The Salt of the Earth-The Light of the World

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To see where I, as a Catholic, stand and to do something about it.

The Idea: Christ called His Apostles the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Why? Because as instruments of God they were to preserve mankind from sin and show men the road to heaven. For just as food needs salt to preserve it and give it the right taste, and men need light to show them the way, so people need leaders to direct them to God. Because the Apostles were so close to Christ, they had the qualities needed for this work. But immediately after Christ told them of their high office, He warned them: if the salt loses its flavor, it is to be thrown out. The Apostles had a job to do. If they did it well, their reward would be great. If they failed to do what lay in their power, they would be like worthless salt: they would have to be thrown out.

My Personal Application: As a faithful Catholic, I have many opportunities to point out, in my own way, the better thing. I have more knowledge about God's work, so more will be expected of me... to show the better road by my example - perhaps by watching my opportunities to preserve another from actual sin... not preaching, but simply showing the reasonableness of right living.

I Speak to Christ: Help me to realize, Lord, that as a member of Your Mystical Body I have an office in the apostolate... to light the way for my brothers and sisters... quietly, without calling undue attention to my actions... and realizing my responsibility. Give me the strength and inspiration to go into action... for your kingdom.

Thought for Today: I have a great work to do; I cannot cease till it be accomplished.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Speaking of Churches...How's this one...

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, currently under construction, is the vision of His Excellency Raymond Burke, Bishop of LaCrosse. It is meant as a place for the faithful to come on pilgrimage and to foster devotion to the Blessed Virgin under her title of Patroness of the Americas. In the tradition of pilgrimage churches, the shrine is located high upon a hill outside of the city with a campanile and dome which will be visible from afar.

The interior of the Shrine is a cruciform domical church inspired by Italian examples such as the Gesu, San Andrea della Valle, and San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini in Rome. Generous side aisles with shrines flank the nave, and major shrines to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart are placed at the transept. Corinthian pilasters support a full entablature inscribed with names of the Virgin from the litany of Loreto. Images of the four evangelists reside within the pendentives which support the dome with its clear windows and oculus. The vaulted ceiling is punctuated by stained glass windows which follow the life of the Virgin.

This is the shrine which began under the leadership of Archbishop Burke and which was designed by one of today's best architects, Duncan Stroik. Another new, yet beautiful, place of worship. Thanks be to God that there are those who understand the importance of having a place of worship which gives glory to God!

A New Church in WV...And It Looks Like a Church

Larger images are available at the website below.

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Four hundred tons of steel.

Roughly 12 miles of wiring for telephones and computers.

The exterior is strengthened with 350,000 bricks, the roof is covered with 66,000 pieces of slate and there are 100 stained-glass windows.

The altar, fabricated in Italy, is made of Botticino marble and the church is expected to have numerous statues carved by craftsmen in Peru.

If you haven't been able to guess what this new Charles Town landmark is, it is the St. James Catholic Church that now rises predominantly in the western edge of the city's skyline along W.Va. 9.

About two years in the works, the new church - believed to be the biggest Catholic church in West Virginia - was built to give a new home to the church's growing congregation, which stands at about 3,400.

A church which doesn't look like a warehouse, a gymnasium, a theatre, or a barn - what a relief, and what an inspiration...the parishioners of St. James are blessed. Here is a look at the exterior based on an artist's rendering:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 26 - Who Suffer Persecution

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me see how persecution is a part of the everyday lives of many Catholics.

The Idea: In many places in today's world there are people for whom this beatitude is an everpresent reality. For instance, a native priest from North Vietnam was captured by the Communists, who tortured him by driving iron nails into his head, in mockery of our Lord's crown of thorns. The nails pierced his skull with terrible pain, but were not enough to kill him. Somehow, friends managed to get him across the border to a doctor in South Vietnam. When sufficiently recovered, this priest thanked the doctor-and walked right back into North Vietnam. What could make a man act so? His Catholics needed him. "Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

My Personal Application: In the United States there is no such persecution. No priests or Catholic laymen are being tortured. But there are other, less violent forms of persecution. As a Catholic in the United States I may be laughed at for saying that there are moral rules by which men should live. As a Catholic I may be discriminated against in the business or social world. As a Catholic who is eager to do more than the minimum I may be sneered at even by other Catholics. Will I have the courage of the priest of North Vietnam when this happens?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, opposition can often be difficult. But it is a sure test of loyalty to you. Give me the strength to pass this test should it occur. And give me the strength to be happy at being tested.

Thought for Today: Will I have the courage?
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

At Consecration, Kneeling Is Most Appropriate

Vatican official: Kneeling expresses meeting Jesus in the Eucharist
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Kneeling during the consecration at Mass is the most appropriate way to express the fact that in the Eucharist one meets Jesus, who was bowed down by the weight of human sin, said an article by a Vatican official.

"The Lord lowered himself to the point of death on the cross in order to encounter sinful man, freeing him from sin," said the brief article published in "Notitiae," the bulletin of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. . .

Today is the Feast of St. James, apostle

St. James, known as the Greater, in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle St. James, our Lord's cousin, was St. John's brother. With Peter and John he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration, as later he was also of the agony in the garden. He was beheaded in Jerusalem in 42 or 43 on the orders of Herod Agrippa. Since the ninth century Spain has claimed the honour of possessing his relics, though it must be said that actual proof is far less in evidence than the devotion of the faithful. The pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella in the Middle Ages attracted immense crowds; after the pilgrimage to Rome or the Holy Land, it was the most famous and the most frequented pilgrimage in Christendom. The pilgrim paths to Compostella form a network over Europe; they are dotted with pilgrims' hospices and chapels, some of which still exist. St. James is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

EU Approves Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding

Apparently learning nothing from history, or, in a deliberate attempt to ignore the past, the EU Council of Ministers yesterday overwhelmingly approved funding for embryonic stem cell research...

It seems that the German delegates understand the implications of such a proposal and objected to it until a compromise was reached:

Germany, a prime mover behind the anti-research coalition, yesterday approved a compromise position forwarded by Finland, which holds the 25-nation bloc's rotating presidency...The German delegation accepted the final draft where a statement was included stating that the EU will not finance the destruction of human embryos.

How is this funding to work? How is it possible to conduct embryonic experiments as long as the destruction of human embryos does not occur? Do not the experiments, as a necessary part of the research, kill innocent human life? It this not merely another exercise in Clintonian doublespeak? a press conference later, the Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocknik, said that although the EU will not be funding such research itself, the destruction of the embryo was an inevitable phase in the process. It is simply that the EU will not be involved in that phase.

Why, it's so clear now...the EU won't be involved in the morally repugnant killing phase - its financial help only comes after innocent human life has been destroyed. How convenient...they have learned well from their leader who is nothing but a liar - the father of lies - and a murderer from the beginning. Satan must be so pleased with his students.

Asked specifically whether this was not a "fudged" solution, given that such research will ultimately involve the destruction of embryos, the commissioner said smilingly: "I don't know what you want me to say".

"I don't know what you want me to say" - What a liar! And, he smiles as he lies, refusing to be truthful. These people KNOW what they are doing is evil and immoral yet openly refuse to abide by the natural moral law. This is pure and unadulterated evil! May God help them to realize what they are doing.

Communion for Divorced and Remarried Persons?

Open Questions: Communion for Divorced and Remarried Persons
The Theological Faculty of Milan proposes that they be admitted to the Eucharist, without giving up sexual relations. One of its authoritative theologians explains why, and under what conditions. How will Rome react?

by Sandro Magister

"Go and sin no more," Jesus told the adulteress. "Go, and sin some more," some theologians propose...

As difficult as it may seem to be for those in sinful relationships, we are reminded that God never gives one more than he can handle. Perhaps, with a greater adherence to a life of prayer, one's disposition toward difficulties might be changed in manner of offering those trials to our Lord, uniting one's own sufferings with those of Christ.

Perhaps it would be wise to re-read FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO (On the Christian Family in the Modern World), the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II:

84. Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this is an evil that like the others is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay. The synod fathers studied it expressly. The church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.

Pastors must know that for the sake of truth they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is, in fact, a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned and those who, through their own grave fault, have destroyed a canonically valid marriage.

Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children's upbringing and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.
. . .
However, the church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon sacred scripture, of not admitting to eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the church which is signified and effected by the eucharist. Besides this there is another special pastoral reason: If these people were admitted to the eucharist the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of penance, which would open the way to the eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the convenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage.

This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons such as, for example, the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."[180]

Novelties and theological opinions continue to arise, even though they are contrary to what the Church teaches...Nevertheless, some still seek loopholes.

Commission to review alleged apparitions at Medjugorje

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, announced a commission would be formed to review the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje and pastoral provisions for the thousands of pilgrims who visit the town each year.

"The commission members have not been named yet," Cardinal Puljic told Catholic News Service in a July 24 telephone interview. "I am awaiting suggestions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" on theologians to appoint.

Monday, July 24, 2006

USCCB Catechism for Adults Available July 31...

...the question remains, have the documented deficiencies been corrected? Is there still a problem with "inclusive language" texts and such?

Mental Prayer for July 25 - "Blessed Are the Peacemakers"

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

The Idea: Today the whole world longs for teal peace. But how many men take the step from desire to action - by prayers, by efforts for world peace, by trying to be instruments of God's peace by leading God-like lives?

My Personal Application: Do I long for peace without working for peace? At home? At school? At play? In conversation? With my neighbors? With other schools? In my parish?

I Speak to Christ: "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace; were there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life" (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi).

Thought for Today: "Lord, make mean instrument of thy peace."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Descendant of Jesus Traces Lineage in New Book

And, in other breaking news, we have learned that pigs can now fly...

If you're one of the 40 million readers of The Da Vinci Code, get ready to stretch your credulity still further. An author is about to claim that she is the living embodiment of the Holy Grail, a direct descendant of the physical union between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. She's American, she's 43, and she means it - every word.

...Kathleen McGowan, a married mother of three, is about to tell her story in a "partly autobiographical" novel that hopes to trade directly on the vast worldwide audience captured by Dan Brown. It promises to light almost as many fires of controversy as Brown's novel itself.
. . .
Digby Halsby, of Simon & Schuster's UK division, said Ms McGowan had been working on the book since 1989 and thus predated Dan Brown's efforts. When asked how a publisher could authenticate the author's claim about her heritage, he said: "It's impossible to verify. It's all to do with a matter of faith. She makes a very convincing argument."

Unbelievable..."it's impossible to verify" and "she makes a very convincing argument"...But we're going to print the book anyway!...and some are going to be making a sizable amount of money for promoting this false ethics, no decency, no morals, no character...quite sad and pathetic really.

Today is the Optional Memorial of St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhloof, priest

St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life. This optional memorial is new to the USA liturgical calendar and will be inscribed on July 24, 2004.

Joseph Makhlouf was beatified in 1965 (Pope Paul VI) and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1977.

El Paso Native, Fulton Sheen, To Be Considered for Sainthood

PEORIA - Copies of a report on an alleged miracle that took place in 1999 through the intercession of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen were signed and sealed Sunday by Roman Catholic Church officials.
. . .
Sheen, who was born in the Woodford County town of El Paso in 1895 and ordained in the Diocese of Peoria in 1909, went on to become a celebrity through his television programs in the 1950s and 1960s explaining the Catholic faith. He died on Dec. 9, 1979.

One of my favorite shows on EWTN is "Life is Worth Living" with Archbishop Fulton Sheen...

An SOS for Christians in Galilee

Today, in midst of a general conflagration between the resistant movements in Lebanon and the Israeli authorities, Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and all of Galilee launches an SOS to Aid to the Church in Need: “The whole Galilee region is practically paralysed: no jobs, no circulation and people stay at home waiting for deliverance and sometimes receiving a rocket or a cachucha instead. This is the case in the villages: Jish, Buqaia, Fasuta, Tharsheeha, Miilya and also Haifa and Shefa’amr, where people were hit directly or indirectly, some are hospitalised”.

He further explains “most of the Jewish brothers and sisters have shelters against bombs which the Arab villages have not, other escape to Tel Aviv, which is not possible for us Arabs”. Whereas people need support, especially those directly affected with their homes or with their health, Archbishop Chacour asks for help for 30 families. These Arab Christians are denied any compensation from the State of Israel. “I never imagined that a day will come that I have to make an appeal, he writes, a kind of SOS for us Christians in Galilee. We wish to wipe away the tears of the children and parents in these difficult times”. Aid to the Church in Need has promised to send 15.000 Euros for the most needy.

Gospel for Monday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 12:38-42

The Sign of Jonah

[38] Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him (Jesus), "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." [39] But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. [40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. [41] The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. [42] The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here."


39-40. This sign the Jews were asking for would have been a miracle or some other prodigy; they wanted Jesus, incongruously, to confirm his preaching--given with such simplicity--by dramatic signs. Our Lord replies by announcing the mystery of his death and resurrection, using the parallel of the case of Jonah: "No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." Jesus' glorious resurrection is the "sign" "par excellence", the decisive proof of the divine character of his person, of his mission and of his teaching.

When St. Paul (1 Cor 14:3-4) confesses that Jesus Christ "was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures" (words which later found their way into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Creed used in the Mass), he must have had this passage particularly in mind. We can see another allusion to Jonah in the words our Lord spoke shortly before his ascension: "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead" (Lk 24:45-46).

41-42. Nineveh was a city in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) to which the prophet Jonah was sent. The Ninevites did penance (Jn 3:6-9) because they recognized the prophet and accepted his message; whereas Jerusalem does not wish to recognize Jesus, of whom Jonah was merely a figure. The queen of the South was the queen of Sheba in southwestern Arabia, who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10) and was in awe of the wisdom with which God had endowed the King of Israel. Jesus is also prefigured in
Solomon, whom Jewish tradition saw as the epitome of the wise man. Jesus' reproach is accentuated by the example of pagan converts, and gives us a glimpse of the universal scope of Christianity, which will take root among the Gentiles.

There is a certain irony in what Jesus says about "something greater" than Jonah or Solomon having coming: really, he is infinitely greater, but Jesus prefers to tone down the difference between himself and any figure, no matter how important, in the Old Testament.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 24 - "Blessed Are the Pure of Heart"

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To learn what a pure heart is.

The Idea: "... for they shall see God." A sign advertising 100% pure coffee means that nothing has been mixed in; it's all coffee. "Pure" means "unmixed." And "heart" includes, be­sides our feelings, also our desires and will. Combine "pure" with "heart" and you get "de­sires that are not all mixed up."

One whose desires are confused, mixed up, doesn't really know what he wants. There was a high school grad who decided to become an engineer. But in addition to an engineering degree he wanted a full sport's life, a full social life - a full life of just everything! His heart and its desires were mixed up. He failed in engineering school. He had been side-tracked from his main purpose.

The young person with a pure heart is he or she whose whole life is aimed straight at the goal, the main purpose of life: the service and love of God. And the reward: the vision of God!

My Personal Application: Here's a good test for my own purity of heart. How often today did I think about God? How often did I consider what He would think of my actions? If my thoughts, desires, and plans had no relation to God, my main goal in life, then my heart is confused, mixed up. The more I can focus my life on God, the purer will be my heart.

I Speak to Christ: I begin to see the usefulness of the Morning Offering prayer, Lord. I need something like that to keep my heart directed on my goal.

Thought for Today: My prayers, works, joys, and sufferings....
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Storm Update...Still about 250,000 Customers without Power

This is what I have heard on a couple of radio stations. Power has been restored to about half of those who lost power last week. Not surprisingly, ice is a difficult commodity to come by in many places, and generators disappeared from store shelves quickly.

Today after Mass, I headed to the office since our power was restored late last night. I had to start and test servers and computers, remove several hunderd feet of extension cords from 2 days of backup generator power, and so forth...What was really nice was the A/C after spending late last week in the less than optimal conditions and with no A/c, it was a welcomed relief, especially in the computer room which was running at over 90 degrees...Saturday, I fixed the carburetor on my generator so it could be used at the office on Monday, if it came to that. Thankfully, it won't be needed. Please keep in your prayers all those who are still in the dark, suffering from the heat, and loss of food. Many, especially the poor, have probably lost quite a bit in spoiled food.

Gospel for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:30-34

The Apostles Return

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

First Miracles of the Loaves

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


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

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

34. Our Lord had planned a period of rest, for Himself and His disciples, from the pressures of the apostolate (Mark 6:31-32). And He has to change His plans because so many people come, eager to hear Him speak. Not only is He not annoyed with them: He feels compassion on seeing their spiritual need. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). They need instruction and our Lord wants to meet this need by preaching to them. "Jesus is moved by hunger and sorrow, but what moves Him most is ignorance" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 109).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.