Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nov 21-Annual Christ the King Dinner with Bishop Robert Finn

Credo of the Catholic Laity is pleased to co-sponsor with
The Catholic Central Union

The Annual Christ the King Dinner

on Tuesday November 21st, 6:30 p.m.
Our speaker:

The Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, D.D.
Bishop of Kansas City - St. Joseph

will be speaking on:


at The Crowne Plaza Hotel
7750 Carondelet Ave
Clayton, MO

Bishop Finn was born in St. Louis in 1953. He attended All Souls Catholic Elementary School. He studied at the St. Louis Preparatory Seminary North and Cardinal Glennon College. His M.A. in Theology was earned at the Angelicum University at the North American College in Rome.

The bishop was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1979 and served as associate pastor at a number of parishes in the archdiocese. He was named Editor of the St. Louis Review in 1999.

In 2004. he was ordained a bishop and assumed the full responsibilities as head of the Diocese of Kansas City - St Joseph in 2005.

Bishop Finn has earned a reputation as a highly orthodox and fearless Shepherd. He recently incurred the wrath of the National Catholic Reporter when he made a number of changes in his diocese to provide for closer adherence to the Magisterium.

Please join us for a delicious dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 7750 Carondelet Blvd. in Clayton. There is free inside parking at the 7777 Bonhomme Parking garage (Use the Orange Level Bridge to the hotel).

The cost is $20.00 per person, payable to
Credo of the Catholic Laity
C/O Howard Brandt
4386 Honeydew Lane
St. Louis MO. 63128
Phone (314) 894-0357

The Entree is your choice of Sliced Roast Beef Bordelaise or Southwestern Chicken.

Please call Howard for more information at the number above.

Mental Prayer for October 15-God or Creatures?

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me to understand "detachment."

The Idea; A solo pilot named Joe was up in his plane and the motor failed. Joe liked the plane very much, so much that he refused to parachute from it. He refused to free himself from the plane and he almost died in the crash. The doctors said that Joe would have to take undergo much surgery and rehabilitation. Joe, however, didn't want surgery and disliked the medicine; so he refused them. Consequently, Joe died....

All of us naturally like or dislike things (crea­tures). There is nothing wrong with our likes and dislikes as long as we do not allow them to lead us into mortal or venial sin. There was nothing wrong with Joe's liking his airplane and disliking medicine-up to a point. But he let these likes and dislikes lead him into sinful actions: neglect­ing ordinary care for his life. He was too much attached to his likes and dislikes. If he had been detached from them, he might not have died. Being detached does not mean we stop liking or disliking creatures. It means we control our likes and dislikes so that they don't lead us into sin and death.

My Personal Application: What are my usual sins? What are the creature or creatures leading me to commit them? Am I really detached from these creatures or am I attached to them? Do they mean more to me than God? Ask God if they have at times turned me from Him?

I Speak to God: God, what does detachment mean for me? Help me to see what it means and how it can help me. I'll go over this meditation again; help me to understand it more clearly. (If I need help, I will seek guidance from my spiritual director or a good priest).

Thought for Today: Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous; teach me to give you whatever you ask of me.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 11:27-28

Responding to the Word of God

[27] As He (Jesus) said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts that You sucked!" [28] But He said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"


27-28. These words proclaim and praise the Blessed Virgin's basic attitude of soul. As the Second Vatican Council explains: "In the course of her Son's preaching she [Mary] received the words whereby, in extolling a Kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, He declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God (cf. Mark 3:35; Luke 11:27-28) as she was faithfully doing (cf. Luke 2:19_51)" ("Lumen Gentium", 58). Therefore, by replying in this way Jesus is not rejecting the warm praise this good lady renders His Mother; He accepts it and goes further, explaining that Mary is blessed particularly because she has been good and faithful in putting the word of God into practice. "It was a complement to His Mother on her "fiat", `be it done' (Luke 1:38). She lived it sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence, but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silent sacrifice of each day" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 177). See the note on Luke 1:34-38.

[Note on Luke 1:34-38 states:
34-38. Commenting on this passage John Paul II said: "`Virgo fidelis', the faithful Virgin. What does this faithfulness of Mary mean? What are the dimensions of this faithfulness? The first dimension is called search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to seek the deep sense of God's plan in her and for the world. `Quomodo fiet?' How shall this be?, she asked the Angel of the Annunciation [...]."

"The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance. The `quomodo fiet?' is changed, on Mary's lips, to a `fiat': Let it be done, I am ready, I accept. This is the crucial moment of faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never completely understand the `how': that there are in God's plan more areas of mystery than of clarity; that is, however he may try, he will never succeed in understanding it completely [...]."

"The third dimension of faithfulness is consistency to live in accordance with what one believes; to adapt one's own life to the object of one's adherence. To accept misunderstanding, persecutions, rather than a break between what one practises and what one believes: this is consistency [...]."

"But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting test, that of duration. Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole life can be called faithfulness. Mary's `fiat' in the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent `fiat' that she repeats at the foot of the Cross" ("Homily in Mexico City Cathedral", 26 January 1979).]
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, October 13, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 14-Money

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, give me Your view of money.

The Idea: "I am the Lord thy God i thou shalt not have strange gods before me." As the modern American reads this, he thinks that it doesn't apply to him, for he does not worship idols. But he forgets that "idol" includes more than statues. An idol is anything that we value so highly that it takes God's place as the most important thing in our life. For many Americans today that idol is money. They live their whole lives just trying to get money and the things money can buy: a newer car or a better vacation or a more exclusive home or the most fashionable clothes. They do not see that often they are setting up a creature to take God's place as the most important thing in their life.

Money is not bad in itself. It can be the source of much good. Everyone should be concerned about money so that he can learn what he needs and use it wisely. But everyone, especially everyone in modern America, should remember that money and the things money can buy can become a god blocking God from his heart.

My Personal Application: What is the attitude in the back of my mind about money? Do I over­value it, unconsciously making its possession the most important thing in my life? I can serve only one god. Which will it be, the god money or the God Christ? Or do I misuse money by under­valuing it: wasting it, spending it for useless things, forgetting how much good it can do?

I Speak to God: Lord, help me to realize what you meant when you said, "Where thy treaure is, there thy heart is also" (Matt. 6 : 21).

Thought for Today: "No man can serve two masters."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Freedom for Classical Roman rite in 2006?

Great article by Brian Mershon with lots to digest:

The Holy See is preparing to issue a document affirming that the Classical Roman liturgy or Traditional Latin rite, has never been banned, abolished or abrogated, according to numerous news reports and sources close to the Holy See. The exact form of the document and its release date could not be confirmed by publishing deadline, but several sources have indicated that it could be promulgated perhaps as early as November or December 2006. The document will acknowledge what many Catholics held for nearly 40 years — that every Latin-rite priest has the unimpeded right to offer the Classical Latin rite Mass.

The sooner the better, but let us continue to pray that this is true and continue to pray for the Holy Father.

The Wanderer has conducted extensive interviews with several notable Catholics, both priests and laymen, who are involved in both the restoration of the Classical Roman liturgy, and an authentic reform of the current modern liturgy...Mr. Roger McCaffrey, Publisher of Roman Catholic Books and former Publisher of Latin Mass Magazine and Helen Hull Hitchcock of the Adoremus Bulletin, graciously responded to questions about the expected document freeing the Traditional Roman rite.

Question: One of the two preconditions the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X have requested since 2001 was an official Curial recognition affirming what nine curial cardinals told Pope John Paul II in 1986 (subsequently blocked due to concerns from various European bishops), that the Classical Roman liturgy has never been abrogated. Now that this first step has been granted, what do you predict will happen next?

Helen Hull Hitchcock (HHH): If the pre-conciliar rite is restored, the question of whether it was abrogated becomes moot.

Roger McCaffrey (RM): Benedict's document breaks the back of the liturgical revolution, although that will take a generation to become obvious. It promotes use of the only rite that existed — for 99.9 percent of the faithful in the Western Church — and this rite is counter to everything the revolutionaries inserted, sometimes with the help of useful idiots, into the Mass or its rubrics after Vatican II. [my emphasis]

There is no place in the traditional rite for laymen in the sanctuary, communion in the hand, Mass versus populum, guitars accompanied by Pete Seeger-like voices, all the things that are distracting or that undermine a precise understanding of the Faith and undermine piety and reverence for the Eucharist. That this counter-blow is struck by the Pope himself is what makes it so devastating to the other side — which is not reproducing itself anyway. [my emphasis]

In 10 years, the circulation of Latin Mass Magazine will be higher than that of America. If that doesn't illustrate the point, nothing does.

I have no idea how Benedict's new document will be applied, except that you can expect unfairness from many bishops who seem to specialize in that. Luckily, plenty of them are clever enough to catch the papal hint about the Missal of 1962.

And there's much more here...

Can it be that decades of prayer and suffering of the faithful at the whims of liturgists and priests might be nearing an end?

Biology 101: An explanation of stem cells and cloning

The following are commonly asked questions about stem-cell research and human cloning. Answers have been provided by Dr. Richard A. Chole of Washington University School of Medicine and Barbara Quigley, executive director of the St. Louis Center for Bioethics and Culture. Both also serve on the board of directors of Missourians Against Human Cloning.

Why all the fuss about stem cells?

The human body is made of millions of cells. When some cells are injured, missing or not working properly, individuals experience problems or diseases. Scientists have found that one way to treat some diseases is to substitute healthy cells for those that are unable to work properly. Stem cells have the ability to transform into other cells and can sometimes serve as these replacements.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are cells that do not have specific functions but can develop into other cells that have specific roles in the body, that is, any type of body cell. Some stem cells are "totipotent" — they can develop into any type of cell. Other stem cells are "unipotent" or "multipotent" and can develop into only one type of cell or a limited number of other types of cells.

Are all stem cells the same?

No. There are many types of stem cells but they can be classified into two basic groups: "adult" stem cells, also known as "somatic" cells (cells taken from body tissues) and "embryonic" stem cells, which are taken from an embryo.

What is wrong with taking stem cells from an embryo?

In order for stem cells to be harvested from an embryo the embryo is destroyed. A human embryo is the earliest stage of human life.

What is an embryo?

After fertilization of the egg, a zygote is formed. The zygote is the earliest form of the embryo. Over time the zygote grows as it continues to develop by cell division. In about five days the embryo has about 200 cells and is called a blastocyst.

Where do the embryonic stem cells come from?

Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) come from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. These are the cells that will develop into all of the different tissues of the body.

What is so special about embryonic stem cells?

ES cells can develop into any type of cell depending on the conditions in which they are cultivated: nerve cells, muscle cells, etc. Furthermore, when cultivated in the laboratory, they continue to divide and reproduce themselves indefinitely.

Why haven’t embryonic cells been used to treat chronic diseases in people?

The only reported use of human ES cells to treat human disease was an attempt to cure Parkinson’s disease. This study showed some promise but many of the patients developed abnormal movements that could not be controlled with medicines. Some patients actually became worse. These studies were stopped and no further human uses of ES cells have been reported. Although scientists believe that embryonic stem cells may someday be useful in medical treatments, knowledge of the behavior of ES cells is incomplete. When implanted in experimental animals, ES cells continue to replicate and often develop into tumors called teratomas.

Are there ethical concerns in the use of adult (or somatic) stem cells?

No. Somatic stem cells are obtained from body tissues such as bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, fat cells, etc. Adult (somatic) stem cells can be obtained without damaging the donor and they cannot develop into an embryo.

Can adult stem cells be used for treatment of medical diseases?

Yes. Although adult stem cells may not be as flexible as embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells have been used for years to treat and cure human diseases. Every week scientists discover new ways to use adult stem cells to treat chronic diseases. Examples are sickle cell anemia and leukemia. Studies in animals have shown that there are possible cures for diabetes, heart disease and neurological diseases with adult stem cells

What is cloning?

In cloning, an egg (ovum) from a woman is surgically removed from her body and taken to the laboratory where the nucleus is removed. A body cell (somatic cell) is removed from any part of the body, commonly skin cells, and its nucleus is taken to the laboratory where it is inserted into the "empty" egg. The cell that is formed is a cloned zygote which then develops spontaneously into a cloned blastocyst, or cloned embryo.

What is SCNT?

SCNT (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer) is the scientific term for cloning. The term SCNT is sometimes confusing because it sounds like "somatic stem cell," but actually refers to the transfer of the nucleus from the somatic cell to the ovum (egg). SCNT results in a cloned embryo.

Are there concerns about removing eggs from healthy women?

Yes. Even women’s groups that support ES research have concerns about SCNT. Judy Norsigian wrote in the Boston Globe on February 25, 2005: "There is a disturbing lack of attention to the risks to women’s health posed by the advent of embryo cloning ... Omitted from the polarized debate is any discussion of the thousands of women who will need to undergo egg extraction procedures for such embryo cloning. A primary concern is the substantial risks to women’s health posed by the extraction procedure and the inability to obtain true informed consent from egg donors given the current lack of adequate safety data." Since women are paid to donate their eggs, some people believe that this process would exploit poor young women.

Can a cloned embryo continue to develop?

We know that cloned embryos of mice, cats, sheep and cattle have been allowed to develop into adult animals. As far as we know, no human cloned embryo has ever been allowed to develop beyond a blastocyst, but one could assume that what has been successful in other mammals could also work in humans. Further development would require implantation into a uterus and this has never been attempted, as far as we know.

Are cloned embryos genetically identical to the donor of the somatic cell?

Actually, no. While the nucleus of the donor somatic cell contains most of the genes, there are some genes outside the nucleus (mitochondrial genes) which are carried along with the transplanted nucleus (blue dots below). The egg with its nucleus removed also carries some mitochondrial genes (green dots below). The resulting cloned zygote contains nuclear genes from the donor somatic cell and mitochondrial genes from both the donor somatic cell and the egg. This combination of mitochondrial DNA from two individuals does not occur in nature.

Is it appropriate to regulate scientific research in the United States?

Yes. Modern society has appropriately restricted research in many ways. Since the atrocities in Nazi Germany, society has adopted rules about research on humans (the Nuremberg Code). Scientists left to their own discretion have not always done the right thing. In Tuskegee, Ala., black men were infected with syphilis and left untreated to see what happened. In Willowbrook, N.Y., retarded children were infected with hepatitis to see how the disease spread. In Germany, Jews were tortured and killed in medical experiments to test the limits of human physiology. By "dehumanizing" these groups of people (black men, retarded children, Jews) scientists of the time saw no ethical problem in doing these experiments.

Moreover, the promise of future benefit from the research was used to help justify the experiments. If a scientist does not consider the human embryo to be human, destroying it poses no moral or ethical problems. It is the right and responsibility of society to limit or regulate scientific research that is morally or ethically unacceptable.

A quick summary

Stem cells offer the potential for significant medical treatment. The use of adult stem cells has led to many medical breakthroughs and poses no ethical problem. However the production and destruction of human embryos required for embryonic stem cell research is a significant ethical and moral problem. Human beings, even the tiniest developing human beings, should not be used in experiments which result in their death.


The compassion of safeguarding embryonic human life

Excerpts from Archbishop Burke's weekly column:
Opponents of the proposed Amendment 2, which guarantees constitutionally the right to clone human life in order to destroy it at the embryonic stage of development for the harvest of embryonic stem cells, are frequently accused of a lack of compassion. Faithful Catholics, in particular, are accused of adhering rigidly to a religious belief about the beginning of human life, while coldly permitting children and adults with dread diseases or with serious injuries to remain without the cure which supposedly embryonic stem cells would provide for them.

Former Sen. John Danforth, one of the most prominent and active supporters of Amendment 2, referring to the death of his brother Don from Lou Gehrig’s disease, declares:

"No religious doctrine, however earnestly formulated, will ever convince me that cells in a laboratory are so significant that my brother should be denied the benefits of medical research. The very notion goes against both my reason and my deepest feelings" (Faith and Politics, New York: Viking, 2006, p. 94).

A most serious question, however, is raised by Mr. Danforth’s declaration: Does compassion for the suffering of one human life justify the lack of compassion for another human life? To be clear, is it truly compassionate to destroy the tiniest of human lives in order to treat an illness in one of us who has developed to a bigger size? And, if the answer to the question is "Yes," then who judges which human life can be sacrificed for the sake of saving another?

Mr. Danforth, while arguing that the blastocyst is "pre-embryonic" human life, states that maintaining the legal protection of the right to life of the blastocyst is denying hope to "identifiable people" (Faith and Politics, p. 93). But what makes a human life identifiable? Is not the blastocyst, which is a 5- to 7-day-old human embryo, identifiable as human life?

Human compassion, that is, the compassion taught us by the natural moral law and confirmed by the teaching and life of our Lord, does not permit us to make distinctions of persons in what pertains to their fundamental right to life. Compassion as a human and Christian virtue extends to all human life, without borders.Because the blastocyst, which is truly human life, with its full identity, is, in the words of Mr. Danforth, "a pre-embryonic cluster of cells smaller than the period at the end of this sentence," does not take away its dignity and right to life.

The so-called compassion which excludes certain human lives, according to the criteria of size or age or intelligence or any other criterion, is not compassion at all. In fact, it opens the door to the denial of compassion to any class of persons who, according to those in power, are somehow "not human," even though they have a full human identity and are growing and developing, as we all have done and are doing.
The complete article can be read here.

USCCB - Lending Credibility to Papal Critics

Papal critics Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, David O'Brien among 8 featured speakers at US bishops' global poverty conference

Bishop Bruskewitz's words ("hapless bench of bishops") almost always comes to mind when I see or hear "USCCB"...

Oct 21-Fr. Eugene Morris & The Gospel of Life

Father C. Eugene Morris, faculty member of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and director of St. Maximilian Kolbe House, will discuss "Who will speak the truth: a clarion call for the Gospel of Life" on Saturday, Oct. 21, at a "Candlelight Dinner of Hope" sponsored by Our Lady of Guadalupe Cenacle for Life at St. Anselm Parish.

The event will begin with Mass, with the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, at 5 p.m. in St. Louis Abbey Church, 500 S. Mason Road, followed by cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit the new Birthright office at St. Patrick’s Partnership Center. Call (314) 878-2120 for information.

Nov 12 - Archbishop Burke, Polish Independence

On Sunday, Nov. 12, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will celebrate 10 a.m. Mass at St. Agatha Church, 3239 S. Ninth St., to commemorate both Polish Independence Day and the U.S. holiday of Veterans Day. A luncheon will follow immediately featuring Polish and American food.

A Church of the People or a Church of the Elite? Verona’s Dilemma

The transmission of the faith and attention to its “quality” are at the center of a major conference of Italian Catholics. The key point will be an address from the pope. The controversy over “Christian distinctiveness”
by Sandro Magister

What takes place in Verona will determine the direction of the Italian Church in the coming years, but it will also have an effect on the worldwide Church, thanks to Italy’s link with the see of Peter.

Both the title of the meeting – “Witnesses of the Risen Jesus, the hope of the world” – and one of the five topics for discussion have at the center “tradition”: the proclamation, the transmission of the Christian faith to the generations of today and tomorrow.

But, naturally, there is not unanimous agreement in the Italian Church over what to do about “tradition.”

The dominant approach – personified by Benedict XVI, by his predecessor John Paul II, and by their cardinal vicar Camillo Ruini, for many years the leading figure in the bishops’ conference – is opposed by an approach whose leader is cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a Jesuit and the former archbishop of Milan, now in retirement in Jerusalem but not out of the spotlight.

Gospel for Friday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 11:15-26:

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan

(Now Jesus was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the man spoke, and the people marvelled.) [15] But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons"; [16] while others, to test Him, sought from Him a sign from Heaven. [17] But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falls upon house. [18] And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. [19] And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. [20] But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. [21] When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; [22] but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. [23] He who is not with Me is against Me, and He who does not gather with Me scatters."

[24] "When an unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, `I will return to my house from which I came.' [25] And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. [26] Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."


14-23. Jesus' enemies remain obstinate despite the evidence of the miracle. Since they cannot deny that He has done something quite extraordinary, they attribute it to the power of the devil, rather than admit that Jesus is the Messiah. Our Lord answers them with a clinching argument: the fact that He expels demons is proof that He has brought the Kingdom of God. The Second Vatican Council reminds us of this truth: The Lord Jesus inaugurated His Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, promised over the ages in the Scriptures [...]. The miracles of Jesus also demonstrate that the Kingdom has already come on earth: "If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you (Luke 11:20); cf. Matthew 12:28). But principally the Kingdom is revealed in the person of Christ Himself, Son of God and Son of Man, who came `to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many' (Mark 10:45)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 5).

The strong man well armed is the devil, who has enslaved man; but Jesus Christ, one stronger than he, has come and conquered him and is despoiling him. St. Paul will say that Christ "disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them" (Colossians 2:15).

After the victory of Christ the "stronger one", the words of verse 23 are addressed to mankind at large; even if people do not want to recognize it, Jesus Christ has conquered and from now on no one can adopt an attitude of neutrality towards Him: he who is not with Him is against Him.

18. Christ's argument is very clear. One of the worst evils that can overtake the Church is disunity among Christians, disunity among believers. We must make Jesus' prayer our own: "That they may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they may also be one in us, so that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (John 17:21).

24-26. Our Lord shows us that the devil is relentless in his struggle against man; despite man rejecting him with the help of grace, he still lays his traps, still tries to overpower him. Knowing all this, St. Peter advises us to be sober and vigilant, because "your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Jesus also forewarns us about the danger of being once more defeated by Satan--which would leave us worse off than were before. The Latin proverb puts it very well: "corruptio optimi, pessima" (the corruption of the best is the worst.) And St. Peter, in his inspired text, inveighs against corrupt Christians, whom he compares in a graphic and frightening way to "the dog turning back to his own vomit and the sow being washed and then wallowing in the mire" (cf. 2 Peter 2:22).
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, October 12, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 13-Sex and Sex Pleasure

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, give me light to see and understand your view of sex and the strength to live chastely.

The Idea: Anyone who would baptize in mockery of God's sacrament of supernatural life commits a sinful irreverence toward God. Baptism is not to be tampered with: it is God's plan for a man or woman's birth in sanctifying grace. Baptism, belonging to God, is sacred. Baptism means life.

Our sex powers are God's plan for co-creating human natural life. Whoever uses these powers when he has no right to use them is insulting God in a horrible way. Human life and the way it comes about are sacred, because they are such special gifts from God.

My Personal Application: Viewing it in this way, I can easily see how I should use the creature, sex, for the purpose God proposes. When I am married, I should use my sexual gifts chastely and gratefully as a wonderful gift. When I am not married, I should not use them at all or do anything that might lead me into misusing or abusing them. To misuse this gift from God would be to insult God, risk missing my goal in life, and bring unhappiness on myself and others.

I Speak to God: O God, help us to understand chastity and the proper view of sex in our lives.

Thought for Today: I will think often of Mary, who shows how highly God esteems both purity and parenthood.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Missouri Nickname to Change to "The Snow-Me" State?

Credit for this observation goes to Jeff Miller (The Curt Jester) who posted this the other day: Trying to Make It the "Snow Me" State

Such would be one of the results of the proposed Cloning Amendment (Amendment 2) being touted as a panacea by the likes of "Jack" Danforth, the Stowers Institute, and others wishing to have unrestricted access to public funds for diabolic research.

Who can adequately answer Jill Stanek's question?

Why would Show Me State voters – of all voters in the land – agree to drastically alter their own Constitution to ends no one can predict, all to force speculative science experiments on themselves forever? Even without knowing Amendment Two's specifics, doing so would seem schizophrenic.

Well, if one actually looks at Amendment 2, it is "loaded" with language which one would rightly expect from an individual with schizophrenic tendencies. And Jill nails it for what it is:

Amendment Two is full of lies. Here are four whoppers:

1. "No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being."

In actuality, Amendment Two would force cloning on Missourians.

Crafters knew people overwhelmingly oppose cloning. So to authorize cloning while maintaining they were not, they simply changed the definition of cloning to say a clone isn't a clone unless implanted in a mother's uterus.

This is like saying you are not you unless you are in your house...This is like banning the killing of humans but endorsing the killing of Homo sapiens.

So why the push to pass this proposed Amendment? Jill lists three of many - the three most likely to be the real driving force behind this deceitful effort:
Amendment Two paves the way for Missouri public funding of embryonic stem cell/cloning research. This would:

1. Let researchers keep patents for themselves, which they would have to share with private investors;

2. Eliminate the need for results, which private investors demand (and is why they're not investing), and force accountability for wild promises;

3. Let researchers keep any profits for themselves, which they would have to share with private investors.

Amendment Two also forbids legislators from overturning it.
Are we to really believe that those promoting the passage of Amendment 2 are really overcome with such altruism when these facts are staring us in the face? Are we to really believe them when every effort seems to have been made to deceive the voting public of the true facts of this amendment?

We all know that some people will do anything for money, especially if that money can be obtained from the public trough absent any and all oversight and governance.

Hopefully, despite the efforts of Danforth and his cronies, the people of Missouri won't be buying the "snake oil" these people are trying to sell.

Hopefully, Missouri voters will remind us all that we are still from the "Show Me" state, not the "Snow Me" (*) state.

(*) Credit to Jeff Miller for his valuable insight for the "Some Me State" reference.

SNAP Disappointed No Evidence Found Against Priest

A criminal investigation of allegations that the Rev. Robert Osborne, the former president of Vianney High School, molested two students has ended with no criminal charges.

Based on the conviction that priests are guilty until proven innocent, SNAP expresses disappointment that St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch concluded that "there was no evidence at all of criminal conduct [by Fr. Osborne]."

"We are disappointed that no criminal charges are being filed against Osborne now, but hope that others who he manipulated and exploited will come forward soon," said Barbara Dorris, a SNAP member.

Perhaps, SNAP can find someone who can be "manipulated" by an expert at planting "repressed memories"?

[Fr.] Osborne, 73, has always denied the accusations. He remains a defendant in a civil suit filed in February by one of the alleged victims. That case is set for trial in April.
Speaking for Osborne, his attorney, J. Martin Hadican said Wednesday, "Father Osborne is elated with the outcome and grateful for the thorough investigation."
SNAP, unable to deal with facts that support priests and their claims of innocence, has to spin the issue to save face while continuing to blame the priests:
SNAP National Director David Clohessy said prosecutors must meet a high bar to file criminal charges, and added, "It's really tempting but naive and reckless to assume this is an exoneration."

We can be thankful that prosecutors must deal with facts. SNAP, however, is satisfied to condemn and convict others based on unproven allegations. It seems that the qualities of objectivity, fairness and justice are absent in many SNAP members, yet they demand these same qualities from others...

Gospel for Thursday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 11:5-13

Effective Prayer

[5] And He (Jesus) said to them (the disciples), "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; [6] for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; [7] and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'? [8] I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. [9] And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. [10] For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks find, and to him who knocks it will be opened. [11] What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; [12] or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? [13] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"


5-10. One of the essential features of prayer is trusting perseverance. By this simple example and others like it (cf. Luke 18:1-7) our Lord encourages us not to desist in asking God to hear us. "Persevere in prayer. Persevere even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 101).

9-10. Do you see the effectiveness of prayer when it is done properly? Are you not convinced like me that, if we do not obtain what we ask God for, it is because we are not praying with faith, with a heart pure enough, with enough confidence, or that we are not persevering in prayer the way we should? God has never refused nor will ever refuse anything to those who ask for His graces in the way they should. Prayer is the great recourse available to us to get out of sin, to persevere in grace, to move God's heart and to draw upon us all kinds of blessing from Heaven, whether for the soul or to meet our temporal needs" (St. John Mary Vianney, "Selected Sermons", Fifth Sunday after Easter).

11-13. Our Lord uses the example of human parenthood as a comparison to stress again the wonderful fact that God is our Father, for God's fatherhood is the source of parenthood in Heaven and on earth (cf. Ephesians 3:15). "The God of our faith is not a distant Being who contemplates indifferently the fate of men--their desires, their struggles, their sufferings. He is a Father who loves His children so much that He sends the Word, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, so that by taking on the nature of man He may die to redeem us. He is the loving Father who now leads us gently to Himself, through the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", p. 84).

13. The Holy Spirit is God's best gift to us, the great promise Christ gives His disciples (cf. John 5:26), the divine fire which descends on the Apostles at Pentecost, filling them with fortitude and freedom to proclaim Christ's message (Acts 2). "The profound reality which we see in the texts of Holy Scripture is not a remembrance from the past, from some golden age of the Church which has since been buried in history. Despite the weaknesses and the sins of every one of us, it is the reality of today's Church and the Church in all times. 'I will pray to the Father,' our Lord told His disciples, 'and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever.' Jesus has kept His promise. He has risen from the dead and, in union with the eternal Father, He sends us the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and to give us life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 12).
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, October 11, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 12-Drink

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To form an intelligent, Christlike attitude toward drink.

The Idea: No reasonable Catholic would say that alcohol in any beverage form is evil in itself. It is a creature of God and, therefore, good in itself.

But it can be evil when wrongly used. A man or woman who always drinks to the point of intoxi­cation certainly uses alcohol wrongly. One who always drinks moderately certainly uses it cor­rectly.

For instance, a man who knows that even one bottle of beer makes him lose some self-control and therefore avoids even that one beer uses alcohol correctly. Likewise, a man who knows that he can safely drink two highballs or cocktails and stops there uses it correctly also.

My Personal Application: A good, sound idea, worked out by experienced persons, is that young people should avoid alcohol until they are at an age when they can safely and wisely determine how to use this creature. The emotional upsets of the teen years make it impossible for an indi­vidual to face this creature in the right way. Too much group pressure, being one of the "crowd," the advertising of today - these, are just a few of the other obstacles that young people have to overcome in arriving at a correct choice about alcohol.

I Speak to God: Facing this question calmly helps me drive away any fears I may have had about drink. Grant me grace to understand the best use of this creature of yours, Lord. I will use it or bypass it according as I see its usefulness in my life.

Thought for Today: Drink is a creature; use it if it helps, avoid it if it hinders.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Update: Pope will broaden use of Latin Mass

Vatican, Oct. 11 ( - Pope Benedict XVI is preparing to release a motu proprio extending permission for priests to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, Vatican sources have confirmed.

The new papal document-- for which a publication date has not yet been set-- would give all priests permission to celebrate the Mass of St. Pius V. This permission, a "universal indult," would replace the existing indult that dates back to 1988, when Ecclesia Dei authorized use of the Tridentine rite until more restricted conditions, requiring the permission of the local bishop.

Good news, indeed!

How is this for a headline?

From the Times Online:
Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church

The "Latin Mass" divided the Church?

I was actually alive during the Second Vatican Council and I don't seem to recall that the Tridentine Mass was, in any way, the cause for the subsequent turmoil and division in the Church. But why let the facts get in the way of journalism?

The Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult — or permission — for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.

We've heard these rumors before...I'm a bit skeptical since it would appear to me, at least, that a reputable Catholic news organization would have some corroboration of this "rumor".

By bringing back Mass in Latin, Pope Benedict is signalling that his sympathies lie with conservatives in the Catholic Church.

Reading Catholic "news reports" from the secular press is both sad and funny - these folk seem completely unable to understand what they say...Injecting political terms likes "conservative" and "liberal" into the Curch serves no purpose except to foster division. One is either a faithful Catholic or one is not.

The new indult would permit any priest to introduce the Tridentine Mass to his church, anywhere in the world, unless his bishop has explicitly forbidden it in writing.

Then how is this different from the current indult, except in procedure or policy - explicitly forbidding as opposed to explicitly granting?

Hopefully, this universal permission will come to pass.

Gospel for Wednesday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 11:1-4

The Our Father

[1] He (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, and when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught His disciples." [2] And He said to them, "When you pray, say: `Our Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. [3] Give us each day our daily bread; [4] and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.'"


1-4. St. Luke gives us a shorter form of the Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, than St. Matthew (6:9-13). In Matthew there are seven petitions, in Luke only four. Moreover, St. Matthew's version is given in the context of the Sermon on the Mount and specifically as part of Jesus' teaching on how to pray; St. Luke's is set in one of those occasions just after our Lord has been at prayer--two different contexts. There is nothing surprising about our Lord teaching the same thing on different occasions, not always using exactly the same words, not always at the same length, but always stressing the same basic points. Naturally, the Church uses the longer form of the Lord's Prayer, that of St. Matthew.

"When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus, `Teach us to pray', He replied by saying the words of the `Our Father', thereby giving a concrete model which is also a universal model. In fact, everything that can and must be said to the Father is contained in those seven requests which we all know by heart. There is such simplicity in them that even a child can learn them, but at the same time such depth that a whole life can be spent meditating on their meaning. Isn't that so? Does not each of those petitions deal with something essential to our life, directing it totally towards God the Father? Doesn't this prayer speak to us about `our daily bread', `forgiveness of our sins, since we forgive others' and about protecting us from `temptation' and `delivering us from evil?'" ([Pope] John Paul II, "General Audience", 14 March 1979).

The first thing our Lord teaches us to ask for is the glorification of God and the coming of His Kingdom. That is what is really important--the Kingdom of God and His justice (cf. Matthew 6:33). Our Lord also wants us to pray confident that our Father will look after our material needs, for "your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all" (Matthew 6:32). However, the Our Father makes us aspire especially to possess the goods of the Holy Spirit, and invites us to seek forgiveness (and to forgive others) and to avoid the danger of sinning. Finally the Our Father emphasizes the importance of vocal prayer. "`Domine, doce nos orare. Lord teach us to pray!' And our Lord replied: `When you pray say: "Pater noster, qui es in coelis"... Our Father, who art in Heaven...'. What importance we must attach to vocal prayer!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 84).

1. Jesus often went away to pray (cf. Luke 6:12; 22:39ff). This practice of the Master causes His disciples to want to learn how to pray. Jesus teaches them to do what He Himself does. Thus, when our Lord prays, He begins with the Word "Father!": "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46); see also Matthew 11:25; 26:42, 53; Luke 23:34; John 11:41; etc.). His prayer on the Cross, "My God, My God,..." (Matthew 27:46), is not really an exception to this rule, because there He is quoting Psalm 22, the desperate prayer of the persecuted just man.

Therefore, we can say that the first characteristic prayer should have is the simplicity of a son speaking to his Father. "You write: `To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes, failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petition: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself: `to get acquainted!'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 91).

2. "Hallowed be Thy name": in this first petition of the Our Father "we pray that God may be known, loved, honored and served by everyone and by ourselves in particular." This means that we want "unbelievers to come to a knowledge of the true God, heretics to recognize their errors, schismatics to return to the unity of the Church, sinners to be converted and the righteous to persevere in doing good." By this first petition, our Lord is teaching us that `we must desire God's glory more than our own interest and advantage." This hallowing of God's name is attained "by prayer and good example and by directing all our thoughts, affections and actions towards Him" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 290-293).

"Thy Kingdom come": "By the Kingdom of God we understand a triple spiritual kingdom--the Kingdom of God in us, which is grace; the Kingdom of God on earth, which is the Catholic Church; and the Kingdom of God in Heaven, which is eternal bliss [...]. As regards grace, we pray that God reign in us with His sanctifying grace, by which He is pleased to dwell in us as a king in his throne-room, and that He keeps us united to Him by the virtues of faith, hope and charity, by which He reigns in our intellect, in our heart and in our will [...]. As regards the Church, we pray that it extend and spread all over the world for the salvation of men [...]. As regards Heaven, we pray that one day we be admitted to that eternal bliss for which we have been created, where we will be totally happy" ("ibid.", 294-297).

3. The Tradition of the Church usually interprets the "bread" as not only material bread, since "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Here Jesus wants us to ask God for "what we need each day for soul and body [...]. For our soul we ask God to sustain our spiritual life, that is, we beg Him to give us His grace, of which we are continually in need [...]. The life of our soul is sustained mainly by the divine word and by the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar [...]. For our bodies we pray for what is needed to maintain us" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 302-305).

Christian doctrine stresses two ideas in this petition of the Our Father: the first is trust in Divine Providence, which frees us from excessive desire to accumulate possessions to insure us against the future (cf. Luke 12:16-21); the other idea is that we should take a brotherly interest in other people's needs, thereby moderating our selfish tendencies.

4. "So rigorously does God exact from us forgetfulness of injuries and mutual affection and love, that He rejects and despises the gifts and sacrifices of those who are not reconciled to one another" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 14, 16).

"This sisters, is something which we should consider carefully; it is such a serious and important matter that God should pardon us our sins, which have merited eternal fire, that we must pardon all trifling things which have been done to us. As I have so few, Lord, even of these trifling things, to offer Thee, Thy pardoning of me must be a free gift: there is abundant scope here for Thy mercy. Blessed be Thou, who endurest one that is so poor" (St. Teresa of Avila, "Way of Perfection", Chapter 36).

"And lead us not into temptation": it is not a sin to "feel" temptation but to "consent" to temptation. It is also a sin to put oneself voluntarily into a situation which can easily lead one to sin. God allows us to be tempted, in order to test our fidelity, to exercise us in virtue and to increase our merits with the help of grace. In this petition we ask the Lord to give us His grace not to be overcome when put to the test, or to free us from temptation if we cannot cope with it.
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, October 10, 2006

Mental Prayer for October 11-Popularity and Human Respect

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, teach me to see myself as I am, to live my life as Christ lived His: constantly working to do your holy will in everything that I do.

The Idea: A few years ago in a large midwestem high school there was a senior who was the most respected, most well-liked boy in the school, al­though he never knew it. He was one of those rare people that everyone enjoyed being with, one that you never feared would do or say anything the least bit out of place. He was a self-sacrificing and trustworthy individual - a Christlike person.

This senior was popular in the best sense of the term simply because of what he was. He never "ran after" popularity by fawning on other people, by spending a lot of money, by driving the "flash­iest" car. Nor was he ever "wise" or constantly telling off-color stories, etc.

On the contrary, he was a very normal person: he worked hard in school, took part in athletics and other school activities; he enjoyed parties and dances, and freely gave of himself to others and for others.

My Personal Application: What kind of person am I? Am I liked and respected for who I am? Do I help others? Am I trustworthy? Do I work hard at work or in school? Do I take part in activ­ities? Do I show a Christlike personality on every occasion?

I Speak to God: How foolish to seek popularity or human respect. I know it is not important. Places in heaven are not given with preference to popular people. Help me to be an unselfish person, Christlike. If popularity does come my way, I will recognize it as a mere trifle that is easily lost. You too, Jesus, were popular - for a time. Popularity isn't worth worrying over; it comes and goes.

Thought for Today: To live for Christ and to do things for Him and for others, but not to win the applause of others!
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

If Only More People Would Face Reality....

MIT Professor: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Nowhere Close to Helping Patients

Canberra, Australia ( -- An MIT professor says that embryonic stem cell research is nowhere close to helping patients. He said that's because scientists haven't yet figured out how to stop embryonic stem cells from causing tumors when injected into patients.

Professor James Sherley, a stem cell researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was in Australia to talk with lawmakers about why they should resist backing legislation promoting human cloning.

A Real Treat...Women-Led "Liturgies"

There has been some criticism of my position that there is (and has been) a manipulation of our language in such a way so as to remove any reference to male nouns when referring to mankind as a collective of all, both male and female.

By now, after decades of a faulty feminist mentality, we should all understand where this leads. Here is a perfect example of such irrational thinking (and more) gone awry (from the first 'liturgy' of "Catholic" Action Network, Sept 30 ):
Reflection from September 20th CAN Liturgy

In the reading from the first chapter of Genesis in The Holy Bible, recall the following things:
...the creation of "Humankind" in God's image...

The feminine God is relational. She set forth a pattern of life on planet earth as God's hand laid the foundation of the earth. All of our relations were brought together in one universal webb [sic] of life. When my Native American friends pray, the prayer session is often opened and closed with the phrase: ALL MY RELATIONS!

All ----living or deceased----are honored and thanked because our Creator saw that all of Her creation was good.
The wonder of being human is understanding that we are earth......that the breath of the Creator is in us all....that She created us and all Her relations.....that She is the Word......that from the beginnings, the present, and forevermore....She saw that her Creation was and is very good!

Sort of gives you goosebumps all over, doesn't it...? Who's starting to feel pretty "earthy", one with nature...?

The Loss of Sense of Sin. . .

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2006 ( The loss of the sense of sin stems from the loss of the sense of God, says Benedict XVI.

"Where God is excluded from the public forum," the Pope said, "the sense of offense against God -- the true sense of sin -- dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil vanish, along with individual responsibility."
. . .
"This ugly phenomenon, however, can be dispelled," the Pope said. Then, referring to the Gospel parable of the prodigal son, he added: "Following the light of Christ's healing truth is to say with the father: 'My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours' and we must be glad 'because your brother ... who was lost ... is found.'"
We must pray every day for the return of our brothers and sisters who have abandoned Christ and His Church. They are lost - some are even engaged in the work of the evil one.

It is not only up to bishops and priests to speard the Good News...We are also to do our part by our witness, how we live our lives, and by our prayers and reparations for those who are in so much need of conversion.

No More “Saginaw Blessing”

From Adoremus Bulletin:

Saginaw Bishop Robert Carlson included a section suppressing the “Saginaw Blessing” in his directives implementing the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

The “Saginaw Blessing” was originated by Bishop Kenneth Untener shortly after he became bishop of Saginaw in 1980. [Bishop Untener died in March 2004.]

During this “blessing”, everyone in the congregation raises both arms as they recite the verses. The second verse, which uses feminine language for God was Bishop Untener’s innovation.

May the Lord bless and keep you!
May she make her face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
And give you her peace.

This goofiness has been going on for 25+ years? And we wonder why so many Catholics are so confused, have left the Church, or who fell obligated to dissent from the Church's teaching. May God have mercy on Kenneth Untener's soul.

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted Releases Voting Guide

From Bishop Olmsted's homily of October 7:

Today we are hosting a Legislative Issues Seminar, and we are launching a little book with the title: “Catholics in the Public Square.” Why would a bishop write such a book? Because there is a public square, and because Christ expects us to be active there: loving our neighbor, engaging the culture, promoting the common good, and defending the dignity and rights of all. This is part and parcel of being a follower of Christ.
. . .
Not all social issues are of equal importance, either. It is good to recall the words of our late Holy Father John Paul II who wrote, “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, 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 the maximum determination (Christifideles laici, #38).”
. . .

In a similar vein, Pope Benedict, in an address earlier this year to European Politicians, said, “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:
· Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

· Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage.

Some Catholics wish to obfuscate the fact that there are fundamental issues - they try to group all issues as if they are of equal importance, when this is clearly opposed to right reason. As the Church tells us, there are issues which are always and everywhere to be opposed, issues which are truly "non-negotiable"...Anyone who claims otherwise is a deceiver.

Of course, the Arizona Star has a different take, classifying voters' guides as either "conservative" or "liberal" as if the teaching of the Church fits nicely into some political or ideological camp, while it adds to further confusion of some of the Catholic voters who have yet to learn what being Catholic entails.

...the various voting guides represent varying viewpoints, including if issues such as abortion and gay marriage should be of higher importance than other items meaningful to Catholics, such as immigration and war.

One of the more conservative guides, "Catholics in the Public Square," was published by Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. The other conservative guide was published by the California-based Catholic apologists' group Catholic Answers. A third conservative guide was published by the New York-based Priests for Life group.

A more liberal guide, published by the Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, says responsible voting is not best decided with a "litmus test" of selected issues. The guide has been criticized by conservative Catholic groups, which say abortion is always the most important public policy issue for Catholic voters.
The right to life IS the "most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights" despite what some professed Catholics would have us believe.

"Anything that represents itself as the only Catholic point of view, that says for example that abortion is the most important issue, that is not Catholic," said the Rev. Bartholomew Hutcherson, a Dominican priest who is pastor of the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at the University of Arizona.

How despicable is such a statement coming from a Dominican priest? - Or any priest for that matter? He directly opposes Christifideles laici, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II.

"Ultimately, the decision is left up to each person's conscience," [Hutcherson continued.]

As expected, we hear the mantra of "conscience" - without the proper qualifying adjectives of: properly formed, defective, malformed, dead, and so on...But this is to be expected from those who have a flawed understanding ofd their faith.

"I don't think the hierarchy of the church should be involved in politics. They should be ministering to the hungry, to people who have no place to sleep; they should be ministering spiritually," said local Catholic Clementine Caccia-carro, 72. "Personally, abortion has never been an option for me, but I don't think the government has any right putting its nose in it. It is complicated. Faith somewhat forms my conscience, but the older I get, I think I'm getting smarter. I feel I have the right to make those judgments on my own."

God will be happy to hear of her "independence", I'm sure...People with malformed or defective consciences use neither reason nor faith to arrive at the truth. The truth is some arbitrary 'principle' which means, in the final analysis, absolutely nothing for them. Pity them. Pray for them. They have imbibed the poison of relativism and are either dead or dying spiritually.

We have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks leading up to the election. How many more will betray Christ and their fellow men by following the wide path of evil and deceit?

Pray the Rosary daily!

Gospel for Tuesday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 10:38-42

Martha and Mary Welcome Our Lord

[38] Now as they went on their way, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha received Him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching. [40] But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." [41] But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; [42] one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good position, which shall not be taken away from her."


38-42. Our Lord was heading for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) and His journey took Him through Bethany, the village where Lazarus, Martha and Mary lived--a family for whom He had a special affection, as we see in other passages of the Gospel (cf. John 11:1-14; 12:1-9).

St. Augustine comments on this scene as follows: "Martha, who was arranging and preparing the Lord's meal, was busy doing many things, whereas Mary preferred to find her meal in what the Lord was saying. In a way she deserted her sister, who was very busy, and sat herself down at Jesus' feet and just listened to His words. She was faithfully obeying what the Psalm said: `Be still and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10). Martha was getting annoyed, Mary was feasting; the former coping with many things, the latter concentrating on one. Both occupations were good" ("Sermon", 103).

Martha has come to be, as it were, the symbol of the active life, and Mary that of the contemplative life. However, for most Christians, called as they are to sanctify themselves in the middle of the world, action and contemplation cannot be regarded as two opposite ways of practising the Christian faith: an active life forgetful of union withGod is useless and barren; but an apparent life of prayer which shows no concern for apostolate and the sanctification of ordinary things also fails to please God. The key lies in being able to combine these two lives, without either harming the other. Close union between action and contemplation can be achieved in very different ways, depending on the specific vocation each person is given by God.

Far from being an obstacle, work should be a means and an occasion for a close relationship with our Lord, which is the most important thing in our life.

Following this teaching of the Lord, the ordinary Christian should strive to attain an integrated life--an intense life of piety and external activity, orientated towards God, practised out of love for Him and with an upright intention, which expresses itself in apostolate, in everyday work, in doing the duties of one's state in life. "You must understand now more clearly that God is calling you to serve Him IN AND FROM the ordinary, material and secular activities of human life. He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating room, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each of you to discover it [...]. There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him. That is why I can tell you that our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occurrences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them to the service of the Kingdom of God, to spiritualize them, turning them into a means and an occasion for a continuous meeting with Jesus Christ" ([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.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Questions and Answers on Amendment 2- The Human Cloning Amendment

Questions You Should Ask, Answers You Should Know Regarding the Human Cloning Amendment

First Things To Know About Amendment 2:

What is the title of Amendment 2 and when will it be considered by
Amendment 2 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a new section in the Missouri constitution to be known as the “Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.” It will be voted on by voters at the general election on November 7, 2006.

Does the title and ballot summary of Amendment 2 accurately reflect its provisions?
No. The title and the ballot summary are deceptive and are being used as a marketing strategy to win votes.

Doesn’t Amendment 2 involve stem cell research?
Yes, but it involves a lot more. Instead of focusing on morally acceptable and effective research with adult stem cells, the amendment pushes Missouri into embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

The Missouri Catholic Conference has answered numerous questions regarding this amendment.

Mental Prayer for October 10-Companions

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, teach me the value of real friends and show me how my friends can lead me to you.

The Idea: Everyone has to have friends, people who are sincerely interested in him and in whom he is sincerely interested. His friends help him out, give him their time. He does the same for them. The old saying, "Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you what you are," neatly sums up what a person's friends mean to him. Friends help each other in many ways; thus friendship leads them to a good and happy life. In this way they help each other to be good men. By their companionship, their being together, by using their friendship well, they are coming closer to God.

My Personal Application: What type of friends do I have? Are they leading me into trouble? Do they always tell the latest off-color story? Am I bringing this same spirit to them? Briefly, are my friends helping me to God by a good, happy life?

I Speak to Christ: How I envy the men and women who had the luck to meet you, Christ. Let me be able to say at the end of each day, "Those who have come in contact with me today have, perhaps, become better persons by having met me." At least may it be true that "No one who ever comes in contact with me will be worse off for it."

Thought for Today: Be a true friend.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gregorian Chant: The Secret Thoughts of Joseph Ratzinger

They are well explained by Giacomo Baroffio, a great expert in liturgical music, using the device of an imaginary discourse written by the current pope, and a request for forgiveness left in his predecessor’s desk
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, October 9, 2006 – Let’s imagine that the document that follows is the discourse that Benedict XVI has prepared for the upcoming feast of saint Cecilia, patroness of music, which falls each year on November 22.

Gospel for Monday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 10:25-37

Parable of the Good Samaritan

[25] And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him (Jesus) to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" [26] He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" [27] And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind: and your neighbor as yourself." [28] And He said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." [29] But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" [30] Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. [31] Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. [32] So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. [33] But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, [34] and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. [35] And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' [36] Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" [37] He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."


25-28. Our Lord's teaching is that the way to attain eternal life is through faithful fulfillment of the Law of God. The Ten Commandments, which God gave Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17), express the natural law in a clear and concrete way. It is part of Christian teaching that the natural law exists, that it is a participation by rational creatures in the Eternal Law and that it is impressed on the conscience of every man when he is created by God (cf. Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum"). Obviously, therefore, the natural law, expressed in the Ten Commandments, cannot change or become outdated, for it is not dependent on man's will or on changing circumstances.

In this passage, Jesus praises and accepts the summary of the Law given by the Jewish scribe. This reply, taken from Deuteronomy (6:4ff), was a prayer which the Jews used to say frequently. Our Lord gives the very same reply when He is asked which is the principal commandment of the Law and concludes His answer by saying, "On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:40; cf. also Romans 13:8-9; Galatians 5:14).

There is a hierarchy and order in these two commandments constituting the double precept of charity: before everything and above everything comes loving God in Himself; in the second place, and as a consequence of the first commandment, comes loving one's neighbor, for God explicitly requires us to do so (1 John 4:21; cf. notes on Matthew 22:34-40 and 22:37-38).

This passage of the Gospel also included another basic doctrine: the Law of God is not something negative--"Do not do this"--but something completely positive--love. Holiness, to which all baptized people are called, does not consist in not sinning, but in loving, in doing positive things, in bearing fruit in the form of love of God. When our Lord describes for us the Last Judgment He stresses this positive aspect of the Law of God (Matthew 25:31-46). The reward of eternal life will be given to those who do good.

27. "Yes, our only occupation here on earth is that of loving God--that is, to start doing what we will be doing for all eternity. Why must we love God? Well, because our happiness consists in love of God; it can consist in nothing else. So, if we do not love God, we will always be unhappy; and if we wish to enjoy any consolation and relief in our pains, we will attain it only by recourse to love of God. If you want to be convinced of this, go and find the happiest man according to the world; if he does not love God, you will find that in fact he is an unhappy man. And, on the contrary, if you discover the man most unhappy in the eyes of the world, you will see that because he loves God he is happy in every way. Oh my God!, open the eyes of our souls, and we will seek our happiness where we truly can find it" (St. John Mary Vianney, "Selected Sermons", Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost).

29-37. In this moving parable, which only St. Luke gives us, our Lord explains very graphically who our neighbor is and how we should show charity towards him, even if he is our enemy.

Following other Fathers, St. Augustine ("De Verbis Domini Sermones", 37) identifies the Good Samaritan with our Lord, and the waylaid man with Adam, the source and symbol of all fallen mankind. Moved by compassion and piety, He comes down to earth to cure man's wounds, making them His own (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5). In fact, we often see Jesus being moved by man's suffering (cf. Matthew 9:36; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13). And St. John says: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:9-11).

This parable leaves no doubt about who our neighbor is--anyone (without distinction of race or relationship) who needs our help; nor about how we should love him--by taking pity on him, being compassionate towards his spiritual and corporal needs; and it is not just a matter of having the right feelings towards him; we must do something, we must generously serve him.

Christians, who are disciples of Christ, should share His love and compassion, never distancing themselves from others' needs. One way to express love for one's neighbor is perform the "works of mercy", which get their name from the fact that they are not duties in justice. There are fourteen such works, seven spiritual and seven corporal. The spiritual are: To convert the sinner; To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To comfort the sorrowful; To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive injuries; To pray for the living and the dead. The corporal works are: To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To shelter the homeless; To visit the sick; To visit the imprisoned; To bury the dead.

31-32. Very probably one reason why our Lord used this parable was to correct one of the excesses of false piety common among His contemporaries. According to the Law of Moses, contact with dead bodies involved legal impurity, from which one was cleansed by various ablutions (cf. Numbers 19:11-22; Leviticus 21:1-4, 11-12). These regulations were not meant to prevent people from helping the injured; they were designed for reasons of hygiene and respect for the dead. The aberration of the priest and the Levite in this parable consisted in this: they did not know for sure whether the man who had been assaulted was dead or not, and they preferred to apply a wrong interpretation of a secondary, ritualistic precept of the Law rather than obey the more important commandment of loving one's neighbor and giving him whatever help one can.
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, October 08, 2006

Testosterone Free Scriptures

Maybe it's just me, but I cringe and squirm in the pew whenever I hear a neutered or butchered translation of the Readings or the Gospels at Mass...such as we had today:

"Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

For what it is worth, the Latin Vulgate has this for Mark 10:9:
Quod ergo Deus iunxit homo non separet.
...which the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition translates as:
What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.

Few there are that are unfamiliar with the phrase, "let no man put asunder."

Man - that awful word that so offends the sensibilities of radical feminists as well as those of some bishops and priests who act as if they are human geldings

(A horse is usually gelded to make him more placid, making him easier to control. Geldings were once prized by classical steppe warriors for their silence. From

Hmmm...placid, silent, easier to control...sounds familiar.

I have 1 or 2 NAB translations at home - neither of which is used, except on a most rare occasion. I do hear they're handy for self-mortification, though. I have found the RSV-CE, the Douay-Rheims/Challoner, the Confraternity versions to be far better for reading and study.

Interestingly, I prepare for Mass by reading the commentaries for the day with the daily readings, oblivious to any possible "surprises" which might come from the NAB version coming from the lectern. What is really surprising is that "Son of Man" never became "Son of Humanity", except in the twisted words of some priests I have heard.

I must recall that I must be thankful that the butchering of the Scriptures was not completed...and that we have still have translations that have escaped the influence of feminists and modernists.

Mental Prayer for October 9-Studies

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, teach me to understand the place of studies in my life.

The Idea: All of us spend many years in school with English, math, physics, etc. What have these to do with my becoming holy? God has given each one of us a mind, but one which varies with each person. According to his ability the individual must use his mind as a means to find God. His mind is a creature, and the man who correctly uses his education does not work just to be thought smart, to have other people tell him how bright he is, to be able later on to make a lot of money. No, he uses his studies and education to develop his mind so that he will be able to understand the problems of his own life, to find the solution to these problems, to understand the proper values of money, pleasure, honor, etc.

My Personal Application: Am I studying or have I studied just to be thought wise, just to make a name for myself, to make money, or for any other reason like these! If I am, then my actions are not bringing me much closer to God. If I am studying to develop my mind so that I will be a better man, a man seeking God in every aspect of his life, then I am using studies correctly.

I Speak to God: Help me to use my mind as a spring to holiness. My studies can help me to understand people and things so I can know you, can help others. My mind, like all of your creatures, my God, can bring me and others closer to you.

Thought for Today: I will continue to develop and use my mind and intellect to help me to be holy.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Columbus - Courageous Catholic

"And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." St. John, 1:14.

On the last voyage of Columbus to the new world the four vessels in his command were struck by the wildest storm the fearless sailor had ever encountered. The waves ran mountain high; they pounded the boats so violently that the sailors could not control them. To top their danger, Columbus fell dangerously ill. An old wound reopened, and for nine days his life hung in the balance.

During eight of those days the wind and the waves and the rain made toys of their ships. On December 13, 1502, at the height of the confusion, a shriek burst forth from one of the ships, and was echoed by the other three. A typhoon, horror of the deep, a deadly wind whipped into a water-spout - woe to those who meet it on the ocean lanes.

The despairing cry of the crew struck to the very soul of Columbus; he shuddered; he called from his bed below; he groaned, as with super­human effort he rolled out of bed, staggered to his feet, and clutched his way to the deck. A devil's trick, thought he; would that the chaplain, Father Alexander, had not died; the powers of good must overcome this evil of the deep.

He would recite the last Gospel of the Mass. He ordered candles lit and their flag unfurled; he buckled on his sword beneath the cord of St. Francis, which was always a part of his dress. He took the Bible and faced the onrushing monster. In a voice that could be heard above the howling elements, Columbus repeated the beloved Disciple's inspired and inspir­ing words.

At the sentence, "And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us," he drew his sword, stretched soul and body to the full stature of his faith, and made in the air, in the very teeth of the typhoon, the holy sign of the cross. As a tiny wave is broken by the hand of man, so the hand of God turned the towering water-spout from its track, broke and scattered it over the ocean.

Turn back in the discoverer's life to that day of the first departure. We see 120 men paced by Columbus, marching toward the monastary of La Rabida. He was leading the crews of his three sailing vessels to receive Holy Communion from the Franciscan Friar, Father Perez, the former confessor of Queen Isabella of Spain, he who had persuaded the powers that were to outfit the ships and crew who were to set out tomorrow over the trackless Atlantic.

Though wrinkled with worry and disappointment, the leader's face was firm with determination; it was softened with a smile that expected the best in the midst of setbacks and failures. Nothing could dim, much less drown, the flame of his hope and faith. He was convinced. And his conviction was built on a trust in God's protecting hand. He proved that trust by attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion the day before his departure.

Before daybreak on the morning they were to pull up anchor Colum­bus again received Holy Communion from the hands of his Franciscan friend. He wanted the Lord of the deep to be with him on his voyage. This was in line with his practice of not beginning any action of what­ever importance without calling for divine help and offering the work for the glory of God.

A loyal Catholic then, he remained one throughout his life, as we gather from the high motives and intentions he demostrated with regard to his travels.

Notable was his plan to recruit another army, outfit it from the profits of his discoveries, and with this army recover the Holy Land from the Turks. One primary purpose of all his explorations was to spread the gospel to those who knew it not. His first action upon landing was to plant the cross.

In one so Catholic we can expect a tender love of our Blessed Mother. The Star of the Sea shone throughout his life. He found help at the monastary of Our Lady of La Rabida; he called his first ship "Santa Maria"; he and his crew received Communion in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin; and every evening on the voyage the crews of all three ships sang a hymn to Christ's Mother.

Place after place he named after Mary - Our Lady of the Sea, Mary, Star of the Sea, Our Lady of Montserrat, Holy Mary of the Rotunda, Conception, Assumption, Our Lady of the Grotto. While returning to Spain he taught the Indians accompanying him, the Ave Maria or Hail Mary, and other prayers to the Mother of God.

His second voyage was placed under the special protection of the Immaculate Conception. His admiral's ship was called "Gracious Mary." Even in death Mary's mantle was about him for he was buried in a church dedicated to his heavenly Mother.

These are but photographic flashes of Columbus, courageous Catholic. He was a true Franciscan Tertiary; he wore the cord of St. Francis con­stantly; he believed in the power of the cross; he put trust in the words of Scripture; he loved Holy Mass and Communion; he was concerned about the Holy Land. Like St. Francis and seven centuries of his followers, he wanted to win it back for Christian hearts.

How proud we American Catholics should be of Columbus. How doubly proud American Franciscans should be of the discoverer of America.

Columbus Day should have a deep significance for all Catholics and all Franciscans. May I suggest that you keep the day by attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion. May I recommend that you pray your October Rosary with renewed fervor, thinking the while of the fear­less, faithful Columbus who took time out from the cares of leadership to teach the Hail Mary to primitive Indians. May Columbus Day and all it stands for encourace us in the brave, undaunted living of our faith. Amen.
Adapted from Occasional Talks
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)