Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mental Prayer, A Monthly Check-Up for September

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

On Spiritual Exercises

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see exactly how successful I've been this summer in leading my life as a faithful Catholic and to continue to make improvements.

Check-Up: Imagine Mary, your Mother, appearing to you. See her so beautiful, clothed in blue and white, just as at Fatima. She speaks to you in a gentle voice:

"My son, have you really tried this summer to become my son, to become more like Christ, by the best means possible: by daily prayer and fulfilling your spiritual duties? Did you say my Rosary every day, trying to make each mystery real and vivid? Did you go to Mass and Communion daily, or at least some time during the week? You know how important I consider the examination of conscience each evening, checking the 'particular examination.' Well, what about them? How faithful have you been?"

"Prayer and penance. Those are the things I asked for at Fatima for world peace. Have you been making your daily 15 minutes of mental prayer. Name some things you have sacrificed, given up in reparation to my Immaculate Heart and my Son's Sacred Heart."

"Have you allowed me to speak to you by making spiritual reading? Have you made use of weekly confession to a regular confessor to stay close to me and Jesus? And finally, what have you done to save and perfect souls during the summer? Can you mention someone who is closer to me because of what you have said and done?"

I Speak to Mary: Mary, I know I have failed at times, but with your help I will do better in the future.

Thought for Today: I will do better.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [14] "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; [15] to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. [16] He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. [17] So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. [18] But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. [19] Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. [20] And he who received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' [21] His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' [22] And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' [23] His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' [24] He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; [25] so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' [26] But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? [27] Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. [28] So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. [29] For to every one 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. [30] And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'"


14-30. A talent was not any kind of coin but a measure of value worth about fifty kilos (one hundred pounds) of silver.

In this parable the main message is the need to respond to grace by making a genuine effort right through one's life. All the gifts of nature and grace which God has given us should yield a profit. It does not matter how many gifts we have received; what matters is our generosity in putting them to good use.

A person's Christian calling should not lie hidden and barren: it should be outgoing, apostolic and self-sacrificial. "Don't lose your effectiveness; instead, trample on your selfishness. You think your life is for yourself? Your life is for God, for the good of all men, though your love for our Lord. Your buried talent, dig it up again! Make it yield" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 47).

An ordinary Christian cannot fail to notice that Jesus chose to outline his teaching on response to grace by using the simile of men at work. Here we have a reminder that the Christian normally lives out his vocation in the context of ordinary, everyday affairs. "There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God. We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things. There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him" ([St] J. Escriva, "Conversations" , 114).
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, September 01, 2006

Mental Prayer, First Saturday of September

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

First Saturday of September
Fifth Glorious Mystery (Mary's Queenship)

The Fatima Story

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Dear Christ, grant me the grace to understand and fulfill your Mother's requests at Fatima.

Mental Picture: Portugal in 1917... a quiet country hill... three young children shepherds kneeling... two little girls (Lucy and Jacinta) and a little boy (Francis)... before them a lovely Lady... clad in snow-white garments... surrounded by heavenly light... a rosary in her hands... her heart pierced by cruel thorns... her eyes sorrowful and loving... her message: prayer and sacrifice for sinners and for world peace.

My Personal Application: Do I know what prac­tices are required by the First Saturday devotions? Confession, Communion, Rosary, 15-minute mental prayer on one or more mysteries of the Rosary - all with the intention of making repara­tion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Do I practice this devotion devoutly and regularly? Do I say my Rosary often for sinners? For world peace? Do I add after each decade the ejacula­tion which Mary taught the children at Fatima? ("O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your Mercy"). Do the thorns wounding Mary's heart suggest to me a few extra aspirations during the day or perhaps the sacrifice of a snack or soda?

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, teach me the impor­tance of your Mother's message in my life. Give me the generous spirit of prayer and sacrifice which she asks of me at Fatima. I want to pray and make sacrifices, to make up for my own and others' sins, and to do my part for world peace.

Thought for Today: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, be my salvation."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)


Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly and offer You the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the earth, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners."

Why Religion?

"A certain man gave a great supper, and he invited many." St. Luke, 14:16.

"I believe in the holy, Catholic Church." The Creed.

A priest in a parlor car was joined by three well-dressed gentlemen. One of them asked the padre: "Do you think a man could get to heaven without joining the Church?"

"I think he could," the priest replied.

They laughed, patted him on the back, and called him broadminded.

"Now let me ask you a question," said the priest, "and I want you to answer me just as quickly as I answered you. Why do you want to go to heaven that way?"

They stared at one another speechless.

"Why don't you ask me another question," suggested the priest. "Why don't you ask me if a man could get to England without going on a boat?"

This time they found words, and blurted out: "Well, what is the answer to that one?"

"I see no reason a man could not get to England without going on a ship," the priest admitted, "provided he was a good swimmer, tied some food between his shoulders to eat on the way, had strength to buffet all the waves, and, provided a shark did not get him or a floating log knock him out. And suppose you did get to England without a ship, do you think you would get there much faster or in a much better condition than the man who did take a boat?"

There is part of your answer to the question we hear so often today: "Why religion? What is the use of religion? Do we really need religion? Religion is all right for those who need it, but not necessary for strong souls who can do without it."

In answer to all this we want to state and prove that religion is necessary for all.

We need to be clear about the meaning of religion. It means the tie or bond or union between God and man. Subjectively, that is, as religion exists in the mind of man, it means the continual disposition to recognize God by faith, hope and charity. Objectively, that is, apart from man's thoughts, religion means the sum of beliefs and practices by which man admits his dependence on God. What is the need for such a disposition? What is the need for such a group of beliefs and practices:

1. Man's happiness demands religion, A watch is made to tell time, a knife is made to cut, a bird is made to fly. Man is made to honor God. The most primitive people admit some sort of Supreme Being. To acknowl­edge Him is religion. Unless man recognizes God, he is like the watch that never tells time, the knife that never cuts, the bird that never flies. Reason tells us that we must live according to our nature. Reason also tells us that there is someone far superior to us whom we must honor. Reason demands religion.

2. Secondly, justice demands religion. Justice demands that we give to everyone what belongs to him. That is a thought at the bottom of every man's thinking. Likewise, at the foundation of every man's thinking is the truth that there is a God. God is superior, supreme. We must honor Him.

3. Thirdly, gratitude demands religion. The same thinking which tells us that we must give every man what is due him, also tells us that we must give every man thanks for favors he has done for us. It is a rock­bottom requirement of reason. Who has done more for us than God? We saw in the beginning of this series that God made all things. He is the Author of all good. Everything we have comes from Him. We must thank Him. Outside religion, where and when do men thank God?

4. Order requires religion. Reason demands order; reason detests dis­order. A disorderly desk, a disorderly workbench, a disorderly grocery store, make us impatient and unhappy. Thought tells us that man is in­ferior to God. We must recognize that rank or arrangement; otherwise we will be unhappy. Being superior, God knows better. Reason tells us to follow the plan of the One who knows better. In our case that is God's plan.

5. Honor demands religion. Honor and respect are due to anyone who is above another in whatever field it may be. The highest political honor in the United States is due to the president. The highest religious honor in the world is due to God. Call it worship, call it adoration, call it religion, we owe God the highest respect.

6. Society demands religion. So far we have spoken only of the individ­ual. Religion is necessary for groups of individuals, for the world, for society. The purpose of society is to protect the rights of man, to secure justice, to promote the happiness of its members, to maintain order. Just as the individual cannot be just, cannot be happy, cannot be orderly, can­not be reasonable unless he practices religion, so the state, which is merely a group of individuals, cannot be just and happy unless it acknowledges God.

A world without religion is a world at war - at war with itself, with its neighbors, and with its God. Look at the nations where religion was sup­pressed and imprisoned in recent wars. What cruelty, what misery, what disaster, what unhappiness! Look at Russia where God not only was given a back seat, but He was shoved out the door. What poverty, what ignorance, what suppression of individual and state freedom!

Religion is as necessary for man as a ship or a plane is for crossing the ocean. You might struggle along without it, but it will be difficult, dangerous, wearisome, and certainly not the best and most reasonable way of getting to heaven.

Today we should renew our commitment to thank God for the one, true religion. We should thank God for inviting us to the great supper. We should thank God that we can thought­fully, whole-heartedly pray: "I believe in the holy, Catholic Church." I believe in religion. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Creed
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1946)

Gospel for Friday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 25:1-13

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Maidens

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. [2] Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. [3] For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; [4] but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. [5] As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. [6] But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' [7] Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. [8] And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' [9] But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' [10] And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. [11] Afterwards the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' [12] But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' [13] Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."


1-46. The whole of chapter 25 is a practical application of the teaching contained in chapter 24. With these parables of the wise and foolish virgins and of the talents, and His teaching on the Last Judgment, our Lord is again emphasizing the need for vigilance (cf. note on Matthew 24:42). In this sense, chapter 25 makes chapter 24 more intelligible.

1-13. The main lesson of this parable has to do with the need to be on the alert: in practice, this means having the light of faith, which is kept alive with the oil of charity. Jewish weddings were held in the house of the bride's father. The virgins are young unmarried girls, bridesmaids who are in the bride's house waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. The parable centers on the attitude one should adopt up to the time when the bridegroom comes. In other words, it is not enough to know that one is "inside" the Kingdom, the Church: one has to be on the watch and be preparing for Christ's coming by doing good works.

This vigilance should be continuous and unflagging, because the devil is forever after us, prowling around "like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). "Watch with the heart, watch with faith, watch with love, watch with charity, watch with good works [...]; make ready the lamps, make sure they do not go out [...], renew them with the inner oil of an upright conscience; then shall the Bridegroom enfold you in the embrace of His love and bring you into His banquet room, where your lamp can never be extinguished" (St. Augustine, "Sermon", 93).
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, August 31, 2006

Romney Warns of 'Orwellian' Stem Cell Research

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, said Thursday his administration's new restrictions on stem cell research are aimed at heading off an "Orwellian" future.

The state's Department of Public Health this week issued regulations banning the creation of embryos for research purposes.
"I believe it crosses a very bright moral line to take sperm and eggs in the laboratory and start creating human life," Romney told reporters. "It is Orwellian in its scope. In laboratories you could have trays of new embryos being created."

Kudos to Mitt Romney on this decision...

It's shameful that Missouri's Republican governor, Matt Blunt, refuses to see the inherent and grotesque evil in embryonic stem cell research. It's equally deplorable that others, such as former Senator Danforth, feel compelled to advocate cloning of human beings for the sole purpose of killing them for experimentation and research. Actually, it's much worse than deplorable, it's demonic.

Many prayers and acts of reparation are needed for the conversion of the hearts of those who are embracing the various anti-family, pro-death agendas we face today.

For First Friday - an Examination of Conscience

"Bring in here the poor, and the crippled and the blind, and the lame." St. Luke, 14:21.

A Catholic missionary in China answered a knock at the door one eve­ning. It was Joseph, one of his catechists or religion teachers. Joseph had a piece of paper with a long list of sins, their kind and their number.

"What is this?" Father asked.

"That's a list of my wife's sins. She doesn't know much about religion, and is afraid she might make a bad confession, so I examine her conscience for her. I write down everyone of her sins. Then she can remember them when she goes to confession.

The priest was edified as well as amused, but he wanted to know how the husband was so sure that the list was correct. The helpful husband explained: "I examine her conscience with her. She cannot tell a lie, because I already know many of her faults. And if I should actually catch her in a lie, I make her kneel in her room before a picture of our Lord."

When Father asked whether she always did as her husband directed, the latter declared: "I should say she does, Father; she would not dare to be disobedient."
I am inclined to think we would all get a much better picture of our sinful state if we too had somebody else to examine our conscience for us. Others see faults which we cannot see. Wouldn't it be wonderful if wives and husbands would examine each other's conscience? To think of your sins is your personal problem and task. Today we would like to help you with it.

Thinking of your sins is the first step in the sacrament of confession. The best way of examining your conscience is to go through all Ten Com­mandments of God, the six principal precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins, and see just how you have offended God in regard to each. This is the best and most thorough method. Another way is to examine yourself on those commandments which you know you generally violate. Still, another method is to think back to your last good confession and immediately your serious sins will stand out in memory.

Whatever way you use, be sure to determine the kind of sin you com­mitted and the number of times. It is not enough to say: "Father, I was bad." That might mean you were unkind or impatient or dishonest or impure. Neither is it enough to say: "I was impure." Was it in thought or word or action? Was it alone or with somebody else? Of course, you are not to mention any names or places or anything that might betray another. But the confessor must know the kind of sin.

He must also know the number of times, at least about how often you have committed each kind of sin. You must confess the kind and number of all mortal sins.

Certain circumstances will change the nature and seriousness of a sin. Simply to confess, for example: "I stole," is not enough. Give the priest some idea of the amount stolen and the person from whom it was taken. There are mortal and venial sins of theft, you know.

Let me repeat: You must tell all your mortal sins, their kind and their number. To omit a mortal sin through careless examination of conscience would make yours a bad confession. If you are not sure whether the sin was mortal or venial, confess it as a doubtful sin. If you have no mortal sins, then mention some serious sin of your past life, or at least one of your more serious venial sins. We will speak of this more fully in the near future.

One class of sin too often overlooked are those of our particular state in life. It is related of the Emperor Charles V of Spain that he once made his confession to a pious and penetrating priest. When His Majesty had completed his confession, the priest reminded him: "Your Majesty has confessed the sins of Charles; now let me hear the sins of the Emperor." As Emperor he had certain responsibilities, the neglecting of which was matter for confession.

Husbands and wives, sons and daughters, employers and employees, superiors and inferiors, professional men like doctors, lawyers and teachers have duties which they must fulfill. That is one of the main reasons religious, priests, bishops and even the Pope go to confession. They have great responsibilities. To neglect them is sinful.

Let me offer some helps in examining your conscience. First, beg the Holy Spirit to help you make a good confession, to help you remember your sins. Second, use a prayerbook or catechism with a list of possible sins. Third, give your examination time and thought, the time and thought you would give to an important business deal. Don't worry about it, but don't be careless either.

The best help in thinking of your sins at the time of confession is the practice of examining your conscience every day. In your night prayers look over the previous twenty-four hours and recall how seriously and how often you have offended God. Tell Him you are sorry.

Still another aid is frequent confession. Put off receiving this sacra­ment, and you make it more difficult each day you delay. Monthly confession should be the minimum for a practical Catholic.

Much as we smile at the story of the Chinese man who wrote down the sins of his wife, it was an effective way for her to remember them, and a big help when it came time to confess them. Do that for yourself. No, don't write down your sins, but be conscientious.

Yes, the great supper is the banquet of the Lord, who invites the spir­itually poor, the spiritually crippled, and the spiritually lame to take part. Whoever commits mortal sin is poor and crippled and blind spiritually. The Divine Physician will cure you in His sacrament of mercy through the hands of His priest. Then you can confidently and lovingly approach the table of the Lord. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Sacraments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne,OFM (© 1947)

Mental Prayer, First Friday of September-The Great Promise

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Heart of Jesus, help me to under­stand how important First Fridays are for me.

The Idea: When He appeared to St. Margaret Mary, our Lord promised "to those who com­municate on the first Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; my Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

And Holy Mother Church exhorts us also to pray hard for the grace to keep our souls in the state of sanctifying grace up to the very hour of death - for the grace of final perseverance - because it is a very special grace. At the moment of death our eternity is determined: heaven or hell.

My Personal Application: I suppose I haven't thought much about dying. But it's the one thing of which I can be certain. Does the thought of death ever occur to me when I'm tempted to offend God? Why should this promise of the Sacred Heart make the thought of death less unpleasant for me?

I Speak to Christ: Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, help me to understand what a tremendous pro­tection you have provided for my soul at the hour of death. I place all my hope for eternal salvation in you, O Jesus. Don't let me ever forget your personal love for me which led you to make this promise. Thank you for promising to me such a wonderful blessing.

Thought for Today: "This day you will be with me in Paradise."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

UN Treaty Rejects New Rights to Abortion, Euthanasia and Homosexuality

Just in from the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute:
After four hard years of negotiation pro-lifers are declaring a victory in the drafting of an international treaty for those with disabilities. Gone from the document are such crazy ideas as the international community guaranteeing the right to "experience one's sexuality" (if you aren't happy in bed the UN will fix it!). In the document are guarantees of food and water for the disabled who are also terminal.
There is much else to be happy about in this negotiation. Congratulations are in order for the intrepid group of pro-life lobbyists who came in from around the world.

Spread the word.
Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)
UN Treaty Rejects New Rights to Abortion, Euthanasia and Homosexuality
By Susan Yoshihara, PhD

(NEW YORK — C-FAM) The just-concluded UN meeting on the rights of persons with disabilities was on balance a success for pro-lifers. Negotiations came down to the wire on the last day of the proceedings, after delegates hammered out the issue of “reproductive health” round the clock for the last two days. The ad hoc committee adopted the full treaty late on Friday night, completing four years of negotiations.

Pro-life nations managed to keep some of the worst language out of the treaty, despite enormous pressure from liberal governments. Any new right for persons to “experience their sexuality” and “have sexual and other intimate relationships” was completely rejected. Also, delegates largely replaced the ambiguous word “gender” with the word “sex”. While UN documents have never defined the term as meaning anything other than “male” and “female,” Muslim countries urged the change to avoid misinterpretation of the word “gender” to advance the growing homosexual agenda at the UN.

Another defeat for the pro-death side was the inclusion of the right of disabled to food and fluid, denying euthanasia proponents legal footing to starve or dehydrate the disabled to death. Coupled with the reinsertion of the word “worth” back into the traditional UN phrase “dignity and worth,” and along with the adoption of a separate article guaranteeing the right to life, the treaty reaffirmed in law the inherent value of human life. These pro-life wins undercut attempts to use the new treaty to justify the “death with dignity” movement and assisted suicide.

Finally, though the term “sexual and reproductive health” made it into the final document, it only came after all sides of the abortion debate reached consensus that the phrase did not include abortion. This echoes the results of the debate a year ago at the Beijing+10 meeting addressing the status of women.

Delegates told the Friday Fax they accepted the term because they were confident it would not be misinterpreted as including abortion. The U.S. sounded a note of warning in its closing statement, saying that the treaty “cannot be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion.” The Holy See went further and objected to the phrase all together, despite the fact that their objection went unrecognized until after the gavel came down. During deliberations, the Holy See consistently argued against putting a legally imprecise and undefined term into binding international law.

Likewise, conservative UN experts remain concerned because the phrase continues to be misinterpreted by some UN agencies, members of human rights compliance committees, as well as radical NGOs.

The treaty will now be drafted and approved in various languages before it goes to the General Assembly for final adoption by member states. The General Assembly convenes on September 12th.
Copyright 2006 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Deluded "Catholics" and "Rent-a-Priests"

The headline reads:
Desperate Catholics find "rent-a-priests" online

But the headline is all wrong. While some might profess to be Catholic, they have abandoned the Church which Christ established in order to concoct something of their own making. Yes, they might have done this in "desperation" but that is likely due to ignorance.

ALBANY, New York (Reuters) - Some are Catholics who see their church as stuck in the past. Others are believers who happen to be divorced, pregnant before marriage or gay. A few just can't find a priest when they need one.

Roman Catholics shunned by the official church are "renting" married priests in times of crisis and celebration.
It borders on the absurd to state that some of these people are "believers", if that means "believers" in the Catholic sense. It's also ludicrous to think that those who are divorced, homosexual, or pregnant outside of marriage are "shunned" by the Church. The Church, in following the example of our Lord, has the utmost empathy for sinners and calls them to repentance and conversion. But the Church, just like Christ, cannot condone sinful behavior as a good, as something which is not sinful.

They turn to, a Web site with 2,500 Catholic priests in a national database known as "God's Yellow Pages." Virtually all the priests in the database have left their official clerical ministries due to the Roman Catholic Church's mandatory celibacy rule, but they continue to conduct weddings, usually for a fee, while performing baptisms, last rites and funerals for free, in keeping with the practice of officially recognized priests.

These "rental priests", having abandoned the Church, have no faculties and are depriving Catholics of licit and valid sacraments.

We are doing Jesus' work and apparently the church isn't," said Louise Haggett, director of Celibacy Is The Issue (CITI) ministries, which runs the site and helped arrange 3,000 weddings last year.

Here we witness more delusional thinking - the bold assertion that they are doing the will of God, that they are doing the "work or our Lord." This is a clear manifestation of the vice of pride. They have decided to make themselves "popes" and to set themselves above Christ and His Church.

Richard Hasselbach, who married after he was a priest for 13 years, defends the organization because many people are turned off by what he calls the inflexibility and rigidity of "the corporate Catholic Church."
. . .
Faith is a relationship with Christ and not about rules and dogma, Hasselbach said. "Once you're a priest, you're always a priest," he said. "If I fail to respond to the call to minister, I do at my own peril."

Vows or solemn promises made before God and the bishops of the Church have, for some, become meaningless.

And again, we see, even from priests, an utter failure to understand (or a complete rejection of) the theological virtue of faith. It is clear that one is not doing God's will when he has rejected the authority of Christ as given to the Apostles and their successors.

It's a shame that so many have rejected the Church yet wish to reshape the Church according to their own wants and desires. Many of these, no doubt, have entered into heresy or schism, while presuming to have been given the knowledge of what is best for the Church and for those who remain within the Church. Some have chosen the wide and comfortable path rather the the narrow and difficult one. Sadly, many of those who were once Catholic have been deceived into thinking that they can still be Catholic, while rejecting that which makes one Catholic.

New Bishop for Sioux Falls

From Catholic World News:
The newly appointed Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has an interesting background. Bishop-elect Paul Swain was raised as a Methodist and trained as a lawyer. He came into the Catholic Church while serving as counsel to the Governor of Wisconsin, then left that job to enter the seminary.

The people of Sioux Falls have been waiting and praying for the appointment of a new bishop for some time.

Whistleblower Priest Leaves Priesthood and Parish

The Rev. Michael Madden, the man who was responsible for hiring the private investigator that revealed financial improprieties by the church’s pastor, the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, announced Tuesday that he is leaving St. John Parish and the priesthood.

Father Madden told the current pastor, the Rev. Frank McGrath, of his decision on Tuesday afternoon of this week. He gave his reasons, including excessive stress and needing time for healing, and some thoughts about the recent events at St. John Parish during several exclusive interviews with The Darien Times.

Father Madden had been a priest for 11 years, and had been with St. John Parish for four years.

The decision was another tough hurdle for the “whistleblower” who called the diocese’s attention to the alleged financial misconduct of former pastor Fay, but Father Madden is hoping it is the last. Father Fay’s misconduct may have resulted in a loss of $1.4 million to the parish, according to an independent audit commissioned by the diocese and conducted by Deloitte Financial Services.

Kansas Bishops: Moral Principles for Catholic Voters


A correct conscience recognizes that there are some choices that always involve doing evil and which can never be done even as a means to a good end. These choices include elective abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, the destruction of embryonic human beings in stem cell research, human cloning, and same-sex “marriage.”

Such acts are judged to be intrinsically evil, that is, evil in and of themselves, regardless of our motives or the circumstances. They constitute an attack against innocent human life, as well as marriage and family. Pope John Paul II warned that concern for the “right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (Christifideles Laici 38).

Other examples of choices that always involve doing evil would be racial discrimination and the production and use of pornography. These actions offend the fundamental dignity of the human person.

Concerning choices that are intrinsically evil, Catholics may not promote or even remain indifferent to them.

In light of the above, it is a correct judgment of conscience that we would commit moral evil if we were to vote for a candidate who takes a permissive stand on those actions that are intrinsically evil when there is a morally-acceptable alternative. (emphasis added)

The full document is available here (PDF format)...

Gospel for Thursday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 24:42-51

Vigilance. The Faithful Servant

(Jesus said to his disciples,) [42] "Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. [43] But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. [44] Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

[45] "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? [46] Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. [47] Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. [48] But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,' [49] and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, [50] the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, [51] and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."


42. Jesus himself draws from this revelation about the future the practical moral that a Christian needs to be on the watch, living each day as if it were his last.

The important thing is not to be speculating about when these events will happen and what form they will take, but to live in such a way that they find us in the state of grace.

51. "And will punish him [or, cut him in pieces]": this can be understood as a metaphor for "will cast him away". "Weeping and gnashing of teeth": the pains of hell.
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, August 30, 2006

Excommunicated - or Not?

LifeSiteNews and others reported that "Cardinal Alfonso Llopez Trujillo announced Tuesday that the Colombian Catholic Church has excommunicated all persons involved in obtaining an abortion for an 11-year-old girl, who became pregnant after she was raped."

This seems to have come from a report in the Manila Bulletin Online.

Yet an AP report on Forbes states:
A news report that a cardinal threatened doctors who performed an abortion with excommunication sparked controversy Wednesday and a denial from the prelate.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo denied saying that the Vatican will excommunicate the doctors who performed Colombia's first legal abortion on an 11-year old girl allegedly raped by her stepfather.

So the question remains - were all, including the judges, politicians and legislators involved in the decision, as well as the doctors, nurses and the girl’s parents excommunicated, or not?

Mental Prayer for August 31- Charity

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Teach me, God, to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: Two persons must have something in common if they are to be in love. A mother and child share the same blood. A husband and wife share each other. Close friends share the same interests. What about myself and God? God could have arranged things so that He and I would never have been friends. He could have arranged things so that He and I would have nothing in common. He would have been the mighty awe-­inspiring God, and I would have had to keep my distance. But God did not do that. Instead He arranged that He and I would share His own life through sanctifying grace. He sent His own Son to be a man to win back that life for me and all men and teach us how much God wants to be friends with each and every human being.

My Personal Application: If God the Father sent His own Son to die for me, what should I do for God? If God wants each and every man to think of Him as a friend, what should be my attitude to my fellowmen? Can I be a real friend of God if I am not a friend of His friends, if I am not friendly to all those with whom He wants to be friends? God wants all men to be His friends. He wants all men to share sanctifying grace on earth and the vision of Himself in heaven. If He thinks that highly of all men, what should I think of them?

I Speak to God: God, help me realize all that lies beneath the simple words "charity to God and men."

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

A Perverted View of Bioethics?

Pro-Euthanasia Attorney with ties to Planned Parenthood to Head ABA's Special Bioethics Committee

I'm beginning to wonder if humanity is not suffering from a moral depravity of epidemic proportions...

Also, if you are so inclined, please consider this Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA) Petition

I/we demand that U.S. Senate Democrats, led by Senators Harry Reid (NV) and Dick Durbin (IL), remove the procedural roadblock they have erected to try to stop passage of the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403). This legislation would prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortions in order to circumvent parental notification laws in 29 states, in violation of parents' rights.

CCPA passed strongly in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 65-34, and the House of Representatives has passed similar legislation four times since 1998, only to have it similarly killed by the Democrat caucus. Americans consistently poll overwhelmingly in favor of parental notification laws.

I/we say, Enough! Let CCPA proceed according to the will of the People and the will of Congress. Who do Senate Democrats represent - American citizens or the abortion industry?
We know well the answer to that question...many of them represent, not only the killers of unborn babies, but the father of lies, as well.

Life Issues Must Be Central to Catholics’ Voting Decisions

Sweep Abortion Supporters out of Office says Rio de Janeiro Bishop
Warns “It is no longer possible to straddle the fence.”
By Hilary White

RIO DE JANEIRO, August 30, 2006 ( – In a lengthy interview, an auxiliary Catholic bishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, told a Rome news service, Zenit, that the life issues must become central to Catholics’ voting decisions.

With general elections looming in Brazil, Bishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, said that abortion and euthanasia are becoming pressing issues for Christians everywhere. “It is no longer possible to straddle the fence.”

Bishop Lara Barbosa had strong words for politicians who have failed to take a strong stand for life or who have used their religious affiliation disingenuously to gain voter support, saying they should be “swept” out of office.

Life issues should be central to all voters' decisions, Catholic or otherwise. It is incoherent for a truly civilized society to allow or promote abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, infanticide, and embryonic stem cell research. A society which permits such evils is committing suicide. In time, that society, after having abandoned the principles of natural law and morality, will be cease to exist or be enslaved by others.

Wal-Mart Partners with Gay/Lesbian Radicals

. . .In an apparent concession to the heat from the radical left, Wal-Mart has entered into a new partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). While the NGLCC professes to promote the "interests of the LGBT business community," this is not all they have done. Recently, they described efforts to defend traditional marriage as an attempt to "write discrimination into the Constitution..." The NGLCC also advocated attaching a pro-homosexual "hate crimes" amendment to legislation intended to protect children from violent sex offenders...'s never too late to express your disappointment with this recent decision by Wal-Mart executives. Please download the flier and deliver it to your local Wal-Mart Customer Service Desk. Doing so will allow you, a patron of their stores, to convey your desire that Wal-Mart stick to business, not politics...
HT to Patte G for the link...

Church Decries Film's about St Teresa of Avila

The Church is facing another onslaught from filmmakers.

After the furore of the controversial account of Jesus in The Da Vinci Code, it is now having to contend with an allegedly blasphemous account of the life of Saint Teresa of Avila.

Saint Teresa was a mystic who said that Christ frequently conversed with her, and four centuries after her death her writings are revered as spiritual masterpieces. But filmmakers do not do spirituality as easily as sexuality and, in exploring the saint's sex life and virginity, they now find themselves being accused of treading sacrilegiously.

The film was denounced on Thursday by Benedicta Ward, a nun and reader in the history of Christian spirituality in the theology faculty at Oxford University, who wrote the introduction to a recent edition of the saint's most celebrated work, Life. On being told about the film's content, she said: "It's just imagination.

"The stress on her virginity and her sexuality are entirely modern interests as if she were living now," she said. "That's not fair.
"She is the greatest of the mystics. She has visions and writes about them and analyses them in an extraordinary way.
"It seems strange if they're treating her as a saint you pray to, but are inventing things about her."

When we read of these things, we should not be surprised. We should recall the words of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel of St. John:

15:19. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

15:20. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

15:21. But all these things they will do to you for my name's sake: because they know not him that sent me.

15:22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin.

15:23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
We can still show our disdain for films such as these by boycotting and/or protesting them.

Preacher Dies Trying to Walk on Water


A PRIEST has died after trying to demonstrate how Jesus walked on water.

Evangelist preacher Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle.

But he drowned after walking out to sea from a beach in the capital Libreville in Gabon, west Africa.

One eyewitness said: "He told churchgoers he'd had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus.

"He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat.

"He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back."

First, the man was not a priest...Second, self-reliance on private revelations is not a good thing - which is why one should seek the counsel of a good confessor or spiritual director. Lastly, how long does it take for one to realize that when the water comes up over one's knees or waist, you aren't going to be walking on water?

While we pray for the repose of this man's soul, let us hope that the faith of the members of the congregation who witnessed this bizarre episode will not lose their faith.

New, stricter Priestly Formation Program issued for U.S. Catholic seminaries

WASHINGTON (CNS) – A new Program of Priestly Formation has been issued for use in all U.S. Catholic seminaries.

It places more emphasis on the human formation of seminarians, and especially on formation for celibacy, than did the fourth edition of the program, which had been in effect since 1992.

The 98-page revised version of the program, the fifth edition, has been posted on the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,

Another "Holy Families" Protest at the Cathedral

Another "Protest Vigil" is planned at the Cathedral in November:

Annual Holy Families Vigil:

“People of Faith for Gay Rights”

Wednesday, November 8th 7:00pm @ The Cathedral 4431 Lindell

Bring a sign, reading or reflection to share.

Why do they protest on the steps of the Cathedral? Is it meant to be symbolic? What purpose does this serve?

(PDF File)

Church Fighting Terrorism by Examining Root Causes

NEW YORK (CNS) – Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Catholic Church has worked steadily to overcome terrorism by examining the root causes behind the phenomenon, said the Vatican's nuncio to the United Nations.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore compared the crashing noise of a falling tree to the quieter sound of a growing forest. "What the Catholic Church has been doing in the aftermath of 9/11 is more in the order of a forest that grows and expands every day without much fanfare," he said.

Will New Stem-Cell Discovery Sidestep Ethical Debate?

A team of scientists from the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center stem-cell biology program, led by Dr. Mariusz Ratajczak, have isolated some tiny cells in mouse bone marrow that act indistinguishably from embryonic cells. They have successfully cultured marrow cells, once thought to be useful only for renewing blood cells, into the major tissue types, including brain, nerve, heart muscle and pancreatic cells.

The results, published in the scientific journal Leukemia in February, raised hopes that similar results can be done with human cells. Successes with human cells are now being reported.

These cells, called Very Small Embryonic Like cells or VSELs, behave exactly like embryonic cells, but, since they do not require the destruction of an embryo, their use is morally acceptable.

Gospel for Wednesday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 23:27-32

Jesus Indicts the Scribes and Pharisees (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees,) [27] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white-washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. [28] So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

[29] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, [30] saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' [31] Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. [32] Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers."


27-28. The Jews used to whitewash tombs annually, shortly before the feast of the Passover. The whitewash made the tombs more visible and helped to avoid people brushing against them, which would have meant incurring legal uncleanness for seven days (Numbers 19:16; Luke 11:44).

In the sunlight, these tombs sparkled radiantly white, but inside they held corruption.

29-32. Our Lord shows them that they are cut off from the same cloth as their ancestors--not because they erect mausoleums in honor of prophets and just men but because they are guilty of the same sin as those who killed the prophets. Hence their hypocrisy, which makes them even worse than their fathers. With pained irony Jesus tells them that they are compounding the sins of their ancestors.

Clearly this is referring to His passion and death: if the ancients killed the prophets, by causing Him to suffer and die our Lord's contemporaries will still be more cruel.
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, August 29, 2006

Mental Prayer for August 30-Hope and the Goal

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: God, give me a clear idea of the virtue of hope and the strength to practice it.

The Idea: A runner in a race has one goal: the finish line. During the race nothing else really matters to him. He doesn't mind the discomfort of his running, for he knows that victory will be worth it all. He concentrates on keeping on the track, for he knows that if he goes off to either side, he might not finish at all.

My Personal Application: The. runner can teach me much about hope. For I too have one goal: heaven. During my journey through life that should be the most important thing I have in view. I shouldn't mind the difficulties, for I know that victory will be worth it all.

But I must concentrate on the right track. If I go off on one side, I will end up in presumption: thinking that even though I am careless about sin, God will see that everything comes out all right. If I go off on the other side, I will end up in despair: thinking that no matter how hard I try to be good, I won't succeed in reaching heaven.

I must stay on the right track: knowing that if I do my part, God will do His. Final perseverance is something to pray for.

I Speak to God: God, I can see how hope is a great help to overcoming difficulties along the way. The runner isn't certain about victory even if he tries hard. But I am absolutely certain of victory if I do my best to follow your instructions.

Thought for Today: Am I on the right track, am I staying the course?
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Do you know that some day we won't have faith and hope any more? When we see God face to face in heaven, we won't need faith. When we possess God, we won't have to hope for Him any more. But charity - love - the greatest of virtues - that will never vanish. We will love God there as we love Him here. But there's a test of our love for God. Saint John says that test is our love -our charity- for our fellow men, our love for them for God's sake. Are we passing that test?

From "Catholic" Action Network: Women Led-Liturgies

Complete with banners, it seems!

Women Led-Liturgies opportunity for Catholic women (especially those called to ordination) to lead prayer.

Saturday, September 30th and Saturday, December 2nd: 9am

Center for Theology and Social Analysis (1077 S. Newstead @ Manchester)

Gatherings for "Women Called"
Do you feel called to ordination?
Discerning how to deal with this call?
Meet and share with other women in a safe environment.
Contact CAN to find out about our “Women Called” group.

This organization is still calling it "Catholic" despite Archbishop Burke's letter from June 2005, in which he stated:

With regard to the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice, I do not believe that it is proper for the Network to use the titled “Catholic.” I have reviewed the materials on the website for the Catholic Action Network, and find several of them to be contrary to Church teaching and discipline. If it is the intention of the Network to remain Catholic, then the mission of the Network must be purified of those elements of dissent from Catholic teaching and practice. (my emphasis)

Over a year has passed, yet CAN continues to misuse the title "Catholic" by advocating positions which are contrary to the Church's teachings. There can be no doubt that CAN has any intention of purifying itself of elemants which are contrary to Catholic teaching...

(PDF File)

Wymyn "Priestesses" Challenge Tradition

Women priests challenge tradition
At 11, Kathleen Stack Kunster felt a strong pull to the priesthood. When the 61-year-old Emeryville woman was finally ordained July 31 in a riverboat ceremony in Pennsylvania she cried for an hour and a half.

How about a little arithmetic and history lesson? This woman is 61 but claims to have been called to the priesthood when she was 11...50 years 1956...Vatican II was not yet on the horizon...Latin Mass, girls wore head coverings at Mass, priestly vocations were thriving, women religious orders seemed to be growing, and we had yet to hear of such a thing as priestesses or women ministers. Yet this this woman claims to have been called to the priestesshood in 1956...The calling, needless to say, was not from God.

Sherry LaVars/Contra Costa Times
Kathleen Strack Kunstler reads along the waterfront in Emeryville.
Kunstler is risking ex-communication from the Cathlolic church
after she became ordained as a priest.

Kunster is part of a ripple of women who have decided to stop waiting for the Vatican to ordain female priests and go it on their own. Twelve women joined the priesthood with her last month. they did not join the priesthood - at least the ordained priesthood of the Catholic Church. Obviously, they joined something, but whatever it was, it was n;t Catholic.

Now, as long as you are sitting, let's read what Rebecca Rosen Lum, the writer of this article, presents to the readers as factual:
The Catholic Church has not permitted women to be ordained since the 13th century. In a 1994 papal letter, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the rule. The church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

Since the 13th century? Really...? Perhaps, the writer has chosen to dispense with fact checking, since she is simply offering as fact, that which was given bto her y the coven of priestesses.

But some scholars say they have found evidence that ordained women routinely performed sacraments up until the 13th century . Those scholars include former priest John Wijngaards, who has dedicated himself to helping women enter the priesthood.

This looks to be a perfect example of the logical fallacy known as the appeal to authority...

Wijngaards, is an Dutch theologian who left the priesthood over his "conflict of conscience with the supreme authority of the Catholic Church in Rome." Yet, he is touted as a scholar who claims to have evidence which refutes the doctrinal teachings of the Church. And it makes no difference that he started the website So who is it who speaks with authority in these matters, we might ask, Winjaards or the Pope? I don't recall our Lord gracing Winjaards with the charism of infallibility.

Some may wonder why the women fight so hard to belong to a church that does not want them in its highest ranks.

"That's an excellent question, and a lot of women waiting have become ordained in other faiths," largely Episcopal, said Sharon Danner, spokeswoman for the Virginia-based Women's Ordination Conference, a support organization. "That's a very common thing. Their faith is so important to them. They won't give up hope."

Faith? Faith in whom? Faith in what? Sadly, they certainly do not have the theological virtue of faith.

[Victoria] Rue said her point is not just to break into the priesthood, but to recraft the church as less hierarchical and more inclusive.

"I do not want to be part of a club that is exclusive," she said. "We are very, very concerned about returning the church to the way it was when Jesus founded it, with all people welcome at the table."
Isn't heaven exclusive? Isn't heaven hierarchical? So much for all of their intense theological training...

Anathema Sit!

A Decalogue for Peace in the Middle East

The Vatican secretariat of state is studying a ten-point plan for a comprehensive agreement in the Holy Land and the surrounding area. The author is an Arab Jesuit [Fr. Samir Khalil Samir] who is a leading scholar of Islam, and greatly admired by the pope.
by Sandro Magister

Archbishop Burke blasts stem cell proposal

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke contended Monday that a ballot proposal to protect some forms of embryonic stem-cell research was really seeking "the legalized destruction of human life."

And he accused supporters of the proposal, on the Nov. 7 ballot as Amendment 2, of spreading "a tremendous amount of misinformation and disinformation" to convince Missouri voters otherwise.

Everyone who knows anything about this proposed constitutional amendment understands that the proponents of the measure are engaged in more than a disinformation campaign - they are engaged in outright deception, a shell game. The proposed amendment is nothing more than a fraud being perpetrated on the citizens of Missouri, duped by slick TV ads promising possible cures when no data supports this. The ad campaign is designed to promote as a good, that which is inherently evil...

The amendment itself is worded in such a way that any attempt to curtail research, cloning, murder of the innocent, funding, etc., would be deemed illegal. Killers of the unborn would have carte-blanche to do as they please, and they would be answerable to no one, except themselves - despite claims to contrary by the coalition spokesmen.

Hotel executive Charles Drury introduced Burke. "This may be the most critical vote of our lifetime . . . so that millions of babies may live that otherwise might not," Drury said.

As the saying goes, 'the devil's in the details' - and with this amendment, it's obvious that this it was born of pure evil, an evil with an enticing appeal, though. I doubt that the evil one himself could have come up with better wording than what is being proposed.

Donn Rubin - chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the group promoting the ballot proposal - condemned the talk, and expressed surprise that Burke would join in.
Surprise? Why the surprise? Does not Archbishop Burke repeatedly speak out against the deliverate killing of innocents? And what irony we see here - Rubin condemning the truth.

In a telephone interview, Rubin contended that it was the opponents who were spreading untruths. Otherwise, he said, the Cures Coalition wouldn't have support from more than 100 groups, including research centers, health care groups and patient groups.

Rubin and friends must live in a dream world - in some inverted reality. He and others cry 'foul' when they and their nefarious agendas are exposed to the light of day...

Evil always revolts against good. Darkness cannot stand the light. The supporters of the "clone and kill" amendment never respond to legitimate questions, they always sidestep the issues, and ignore the realities of what they wish to do. Does Ruben suggest that the Coalition for Killing the Unborn is on the right path merely because others have been duped into believing its lies and deceptions? Ruben and company (including former senator Danforth) have little or no respect for human life. If they have no respect for those who are most vulnerable, the most innocent among us, they cannot have any respect for others.

At the news conference, Keyes asked why there was "such a rush" to get Missourians to approve such an amendment, in the face of numerous medical advances that may not make it necessary to destroy embryos.

Keyes also offered to debate former Sen. John C. Danforth, an Episcopal priest and leader in the pro-Amendment 2 effort.

If Danforth believes in his cause to support Nazi-like experimentation of embryos, then he should welcome the opportunity to 'clear the air' by debating Keyes...Or does Danforth prefer the darkness, is he fearful of the light?

Gospel for Aug 29, Memorial: Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

From: Mark 6:17-29

John the Baptist Beheaded

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


16-29. It is interesting that the extensive account of the death of John the Baptist is inserted here in the Gospel narrative. The reason is St. John the Baptist's special relevance in the history of salvation: he is the Precursor, entrusted with the task of preparing the way for the Messiah. Besides, John the Baptist had a great reputation among the people: they believed him to be a prophet (Mark 11:32); some even thought he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:20); and they flocked to him from many places (Mark 1:5). Jesus Himself said: "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). Later, the Apostle St. John will speak of him in the Gospel: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6); but the sacred text points out that, despite this, he was not the light, but rather the witness to the light (John 1:6-8). More correctly, he was the lamp carrying the light (John 5:35). We are told here that he was a righteous man and preached to everyone what had to be preached: he had a word for people at large, for publicans, for soldiers (Luke 3:10-14); for Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-12); for King Herod himself (Mark 6:18-20). This humble, upright and austere man paid with his life for the witness he bore to Jesus the Messiah (John 1:29 and 36-37).

26. Oaths and promises immoral in content should never be made, and, if made, should never be kept. This is the teaching of the Church, which is summed up in the "St. Pius X Catechism", 383, in the following way: "Are we obliged to keep oaths we have sworn to do unjust and unlawful things? Not only are we not obliged: we sin by making such oaths, for they are prohibited by the Law of God or of the Church."
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Glory to God

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will." St. Luke, 2:14.

It was Christmas eve in the little town of Eldore, England. But there was sadness in the Christmas preparations. Word had been spread that the Puritans, in their fanatical hatred of everything Catholic, were coming to destroy everything that savored of the sacred season.

Children wept at the news: "No Christmas." But one little lad seemed not to have heard or understood. Right after supper he put away his play­things and hurried to the cathedral, where the choir boys were to rehearse for Christmas night. None of the others appeared. Not even the sacristan was there. He waited. Finally he lit the candles and began to sing alone.

Meanwhile the stern and stolid enemies of everything Catholic plodded up the road. The lights of the cathedral stirred them to deeper determina­tion to do away with the old time faith.

"Death to the Papists," they shouted, as they pushed open the cathedral door. They stopped in their tracks. There was no enemy to attack-only a fair-haired boy sweetly singing:
"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will."

They pulled off their hats and fell to their knees. When the singing
was over they silently departed. The lad did not even know they were there, although as he left he wondered why the snow was trampled about the door. Nor did he know that his Christmas carol saved the little, old town of Eldore from a miserable Christmas.

Ever since the Gloria was first sung to the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem, it has been a favorite prayer and hymn of the followers of Christ. And it has always been an especially powerful prayer for the peace which the world always desires, the peace which Christ came to bring, the peace which God's people are continually beseeching of Him.

1. The Gloria is often called the Hymn of the Angels, because the heavenly messengers sang the first words of it on the first Christmas night. The remainder of the hymn was added later.

At first its use was restricted to the expression of Christmas and Easter joy. Up until the eleventh century only the bishop recited the Gloria, and that on feast days and Sundays. From that time the privilege was extended to priests. This hymn is omitted on days and in seasons of mourning and penance.

2. A few significant ceremonies accompany this triumphal chant of redemp­tion. As the priest intones the first words he raises his hands, joins them and, as he sings the word "God," bows to the tabernacle where God is present, the same God who came down to earth as a Babe on the night those words were first sung. The celebrant also bows his head when he says, "we adore Thee," "we thank Thee," and "receive our prayer." At the words "Jesus Christ" he makes a profound bow of the head, including a slight bow of the shoulders (picture him bowing from the waste).

With the concluding words the priest makes the sign of the cross, apparently in tribute to the Holy Trinity whose names he has mentioned. We see another reason: The cross was always present to Christ even from His birth. In Bethlehem He foresaw the passion and death. Furthermore, shortly after birth He had to suffer persecution and flee into Egypt with Mary and Joseph.

3. The Gloria is rich in meaning. The opening words give the theme - ­glory to God. Giving Glory to God is the highest duty and the highest privilege of man. It is the work of the angels in heaven; it is the work of God's children on earth. That is why all of you should unite with the priest and with the choir in offering that prayer of praise.

4. The angels, with authority from God, promise "peace on earth to men of good will." Don't expect peace either in your own heart or in the world, if you do not try to show the love which Christ commanded toward all men.

5. "We praise Thee." God is great and worthy of all praise. There is no limit to His goodness, holiness, justice, power and beauty. These we praise.

6. "We bless Thee." We cannot make God holy, but we can tell the world, as we do in the Gloria, of the limitless holiness of our heavenly Father.

7. "We adore Thee." Adoration is the supreme honor which we can give to God alone. He is above all beings and above all things. We tell Him that in adoration.

8. "We glorify Thee." That is the reason God created us, to exalt and praise Him.

9. "We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory." God is perfect in Himself. We are grateful that we know this, and that we are privileged to sing about it.

10. We go on to sing the praises of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We ask our Redeemer to take away our sins, to receive our prayer, and to have mercy upon us all.

We should try to pray this hymn of the angels with the love and devotion of the angels. Say this prayer at every Mass with attention and meaning. Say it slowly and seriously. Think of its meaning, its beauty, its history. Say it outside of Mass also, as part of your private devotions at home or in church. It gives the two means for peace: giving glory to God; showing love to our fellow man. Do both and you will have peace.

The little lad singing alone in the cathedral did not realize that he was bringing peace to his home and town. Neither do we realize what blessings we bring when we pray the Gloria. But we do know that this is one of the greatest hymns in praise of God; we do know that the angels themselves sang it on the first Christmas night; and we do know that we can perform no higher and greater work than singing: Glory to God.
May the Gloria bring us peace and blessing. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Mass
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1950)

Heretical Hymns?

by George Weigel
Sacred songs that contradict Church teachings — or have congregants take on the voice of Christ — should be laid to rest.

Amen to that - and the sooner, the better!

Most Catholics don't [take their hymns seriously]. Instead, we settle for hymns musically indistinguishable from "Les Mis" and hymns of saccharine textual sentimentality. Moreover, some hymn texts in today's Catholic "worship resources" are, to put it bluntly, heretical. Yet Catholics once knew how to write great hymns; and there are great hymns to be borrowed, with gratitude, from Anglican, Lutheran, and other Christian sources. There being a finite amount of material that can fit into a hymnal, however, the first thing to do is clean the stables of today's hymnals.

Let the purging begin....please!

Thus, with tongue only half in cheek, I propose the Index Canticorum Prohibitorum, the "Index of Forbidden Hymns." Herewith, some examples.

Weigel's examples are at the link below...I immediately thought of the "Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas".

Mental Prayer for August 29-Hope and Happiness

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: God, give me a clear idea of the virtue of hope.

The Idea: A man waits nervously in an outer office. Will his employer give him the raise he wants or not? A young lady waits anxiously beside the telephone. Will she get an invitation to the dance or not? A student eagerly scans the list of names. Did he get that scholarship or not? Life is full of questions, important questions. And very often we are terribly uncertain before­hand of the answer. But the most important question in my life is, "Will I save my soul?" And the answer? The answer is certain. I know it right now. Yes, I will save my soul ­- provided I do my best to follow God's instructions on how to save it. The virtue of hope tells me that I will save my soul if I keep the command­ments. Hope gives me the answer to the most important question in my life.

My Personal Application: Do I ever get upset about saving my soul? Really upset? I should, only if I have a guilty conscience, only if I realize I have not been following God's instructions in a serious matter. Otherwise I should not worry about going to hell. For God Himself assures me that I am on the right track and success is certain.

I Speak to God: God, help me see how a strong virtue of hope can make my life permanently happy.

Thought for Today: "... provided I keep doing my best to follow God's instructions."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Politics and Religion

An excellent essay by a priest from the San Diego diocese:
The United States of America has an election coming up in November. Openly discussed hot topics include rights for women and doctors to kill babies in the womb, laws to silence us who speak against the practice of homogenital sex, teaching perverted sex practices in our schools, rights to marry for those with gender confusion issues, how to defend our nation, how to spend public money, illegal entry into the U.S., as well as a host of other important issues of which we will hear nothing until politicians have already imposed laws upon us that we do not want.

Politicians are men and women who earn their living by making and enforcing laws that tell us what we can and cannot do, whether we like it or not. Politicians base their decisions on the money that they receive from people who hold influence on them, on public opinion, on pressure from various groups, on their desire to stay employed in office, and a very few who actually decide issues from the morality in the Bible and from common sense of the natural law.

The peaceful upright person for the most part doesn’t like contention, arguments, and the nasty rhetoric, deception, and shrewdness of politics wherein special interest groups are trying to impose their way of life which require the rest of us to change our lives to accommodate novelty and evil when it is not in our best interest or our morality to do so.

It is my observation that faithful Catholics work hard, support families, pray, and wish to live in peace and harmony enjoying our leisure without the added work of being vigilant for our safety, our welfare, our future.

This lifestyle of work and leisure is noble and good. Living naively and ignoring vigilance for your family, safety, and future is deadly.

Jesus told us in Matthew 10:16, “Be clever as serpents, but innocent as doves.”

A clever man is one who is informed of the issues, the arguments, the friend and foe, and who is prepared to act, leaving aside work and leisure to protect his family’s safety, welfare, and future.

The innocent man is one who is honest, open, transparent, morally upright as Jesus is forming us to be with His grace.

The naive man is one who, for fear of the work involved or the contentions to come, hides his head in the sand by going on about his work and leisure neither knowing nor wanting to know about issues and the ongoing plans of others which will change his life and make him do things he may not want to do. Jesus never told us to be naive.

While we labor, play, and sleep, special interest groups are working tirelessly with politicians to make you do what you do not want to do as Christians. For them the end justifies the means. They consider you and me to be common, while they are elite. You and I are bigots while they are enlightened. You and I are old fashioned, while their evil novelties are called “liberal” or “progressive”.

Special interest groups are undermining morality under the false pretense of “rights” and “equality” with constant pressure on politicians to support killing children in the womb . People who practice homogenital sex are promoting “marriage” for themselves, passing laws to teach your children in public school how to perform such sex acts on one another telling them that this is normal.

While we labor and leisure naively, special interest groups work tirelessly to influence politicians using money, manipulation, threats, and attacks. Their efforts have given them power to have approval of their agendae from the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Bar Association, the National Education Association, the current platform of the Democrat party, the Academy of Pediatrics, and numerous other organizations even in the Catholic Church.

Jesus tells us through 1 Pet. 5:8-9 “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.”

One of the greatest weapons of those who hate our Catholic faith and its teachings is that of silencing us. Ironically, we actually succumb just as they tell us to do and insist that we cannot talk about political issues while they do so all the time.

We have a saying, “Never mix religion and politics in polite company.” From this, you have been beguiled to think that the Catholic church cannot engage in politics. Believing this is to give your life away to those who wish to control you.

Polite company might be a dinner party where people come together to relax in light conversation. The world in which we live is NOT polite company, and neither is the world of politics. Catholics have a right and an obligation to speak of politics in the church. Some of us do not want to do so because the realities of evil will challenge our long standing affiliation with a politician or a party with whom we have put our faith and trust in previous times. Times, however, have changed.

It is said you cannot negotiate with a terrorist. For us Catholics we cannot negotiate the life of a child in the womb, the foundation of the family as marriage between a man and a woman, or that love is to be expressed only between a man and a woman in marriage. Those who oppose this will stop at nothing to impose their view. We Catholics need to respond in kind by speaking and voting Catholic.

As pastor, I will neither tell you to support a candidate nor a party. I won’t tell you to vote Democrat or Republican. I will, however, present you the truth of the church, the false teachings of special interst groups, a politician’s voting record and his public statements, to engage you in the political process, and tell you to vote Catholic for the sake of the safety, welfare, and future of your family, our country, our faith.

All Catholics should engage in the political process, regardless of their citizenship. Know the bills being proposed. Take action by writing your legislators and executives to make known your will on pending legislation. Let others know as well. Organize to promote your Catholic faith. If you are a U.S. citizen, vote Catholic and encourage other citizens to vote Catholic as well.

Fr. Richard Perozich
St. Mary Catholic Church
1160 South Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025
HT to Darla for the outstanding tip...

Dr Ed Peters Asks: "Take back whose Church?"

A good organization should not let its opposition dictate the agenda, and certainly the Catholic Church has better things to do than to react to every media-hyped manifestation of the latest theological agitprop. But some problems, like "Take Back Our Church" [TBOC], might warrant a closer look.

TBOC's assertions on canon law are frequently flawed. Example: "Canon law endorses a time-honored way for a nation to re-structure its governance. It is called a regional, or national synod." Um, no, it's not. Under current law, "synods" are held at the diocesan, not the national, level (1983 CIC 460-468), unless one is talking about the "Synod of Bishops" which, however, operates at the universal, again not the national, level (1983 CIC 342-348).
I find it amusing that the clowns at TBOC, or indeed, at any other dissident, heterdox, or heretical group invoke Canon Law, when such an invocation appears, at first, to support some wayward thinking or position...Yet, these groups (and those who support them) will be the very first to assert that the Code of Canon Law is merely "man made" law, having no real authority over them - especially when the errors of canonical ignorance or incompetence is laid before them...

Dr Peters asks a very timely and important question, though - one which begs a just and swift response:
...beyond canonical incompetence, there might be more in this case.

1983 CIC 1374 states: "A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict."

Now consider some TBOC assertions: "[W]e do plead guilty in our wish to overturn, at least in the United States, what the last pope called 'the divinely instituted hierarchical constitution of the Church.'" or: "[We Americans] must elect our own bishops. And retain the power to un-elect them if they fail to serve us." and ask:

at what point do expressions of opinion, protected by 1983 CIC 212, become machinations against the Church penalized under Canon 1374? TBOC, it seems, is daring Church leadership to answer that question. Maybe this time it should.

Someone should...these groups and these people inflict considerable damage to the Body of Christ. How many more souls need to be lost because the psychotic ramblings of fools have rarely been condemned and are, too often, allowed to be nurtured by allegedly "Catholic" media?

Read all of Dr. Peter's entry here. As usual, it's great - and, one always gets a much better canonical perspective from his posts!

Holding Hands at the Our Father?

There was an excellent article in the St Louis Review's "Ask Father" section this weekend. All emphasis below is mine...I could not constrain myself!...I think it's great to see a priest mince no words when it comes to liturgical terrorism...

'Dear Father'
Must we be forced to hold hands at the 'Our Father'?

I was recently told by a priest that we were to hold hands during the "Our Father." I can find nowhere in the rubrics about this.

Fr. Matthew Mitas:I’m afraid that this typifies the kind of liturgical stalinism that has barged into the Church in these post-Vatican II years.

Of course you can’t find anything about it in the official instructions to the priest on how to say Mass because it simply isn’t there.

What we have here is a priest, acting on his own initiative and without any authority, making up his own ritual and trying to force it on the laity.

Our beloved Pope John Paul II addressed the matter of priests’ forcing their own interpretations into the Mass in 1985, in a story carried by the Review on Nov. 8 that year. He said, "One observes regrettable failings (in the liturgy) which must be corrected: such as a too-personalized style, omissions and illicit additions, rites invented outside of the established works ... " He added that such abuses "cause a very sad retardation and deviation in the prayer life of the Church." He would reiterate this same point many, many more times throughout the remainder of his long pontificate.

To argue that such practices as holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer are popular or well-received misses the point; no priest has the authority to impose this on his people. To argue that an abuse is common just proves how sad is the state of affairs to which we’ve devolved. There’s an old maxim of the law: "Sine poena, nulla lex (Where there’s no enforcement, there’s no law)." Until the Church gets serious about enforcing liturgical propriety, this sort of thing will continue to occur.

Any priest who looks at the Mass and says to himself, "How can I change this to make it better?" is really saying, "How can I adapt this to suit my own preference?" He should rather be humble enough to make himself a student of the liturgy, immersing himself in the richness of our 2,000 years of liturgical tradition, much of which is the heritage of saints, and subordinating himself to the wisdom of Holy Mother Church as expressed in her proper liturgical forms.
Kudos to Fr. Mitas for telling it like it is...
Father Mitas is pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Union.

A link to the article is here.