Saturday, November 11, 2006

Flawed and biased documents form basis of USCCB discussions

Flawed and biased documents to form the basis of USCCB discussions of homosexuality next week: Commentary by Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg outlines solutions
By Dr. Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D


Analysis of the Proposed Guidelines for Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, by the Committee on Doctrine of the USCCB, November 2006

Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg Ph.D.

These Proposed Guidelines will first impress as being solidly "orthodox." They reiterate Church moral doctrine on sexuality and homosexuality, underline the "necessity for training in virtue," especially chastity (for "every person," it is said with emphasis, including the homosexually inclined; p. 26)[1]. A good start for a Catholic document. According to it, ministry to homosexual people comes down to teaching and training the virtues, chastity in the first place. Now the reader is curious about what practical advice is given on how to do that.

What practical advice is given?

Some such advice is indeed contained or implicit in the subsequent sections, but in a very general way. It is too vague to offer more than any reader can deduce by himself: Don't engage in homosexual behavior[2], receive the sacraments. Absolutely correct and laudable Catholic advice. But this, plus a few other suggestions, are all in the way of concrete counsel that can be found in this official document purportedly on ministry to homosexuals. It is a repetition of the theoretical teachings of the CCC, but there is virtually nothing specific on how homosexuals may be helped to bridle their "passions," or to train the virtues that are most important or useful to them. Thus the document more or less stops at the point one would expect real guidelines to begin, remaining" a kind of sketchy introduction to the question of ministering to homosexuals.

Dramatization of the homosexual

But it is a flawed sketch. About half of the statements do not concern the homosexual person himself but rather others in his environment, that is the average faithful or citizen. These must "prayerfully examine their own hearts in order to discern any thoughts or feelings that might stand in need of purification" (p. 20) of the sins of unjust discrimination, lack of respect, etc. For "we recognize that [homosexuals] have been, and often continue to be, objects of scorn, hatred, and even violence..." (20) and "Unfortunately, it remains true that some homosexual persons continue to be victims of violence, while others live in fear of violence" (32).

All of this is well-known gay propaganda sloganeering. Homosexuals have always been persecuted, are victims of all kinds of violence (and therefore have a right to special respect and privileges, to special protection by hate-crime and other laws). It is however a gross dramatization, historically incorrect and certainly untrue today. Objective, not pro-gay biased, studies do not show that practicing homosexuals are more often than heterosexuals victims of violence, but that most violence they suffer results from their promiscuous lifestyle and sexual relationships. Proposed Guidelines reinforces a myth and points a moralistic finger at the Christian who perhaps feels aversion to homosexual behavior, irritation with or disapproval of certain aspects of unmasculine (unfeminine), or narcissistic or exhibitionistic etc. demeanor: You must "purify" yourself of such feelings and thoughts! In other words, our society and Church must be purified of "homophobia."

Another analysis of the proposed USCCB document.

Mental Prayer for November 12, Temptations Against Faith

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Christ, source of truth, teach me how to handle temptations against faith.

The Idea: How can God be present in a tiny host? How can Christ be man and God? How can any­one be sure that Mary was taken into heaven, body and soul? These things are important; my life depends upon them! But I can't under­stand them! Do we expect God's infinite truth to be so small that our tiny minds can fully grasp it? If we could completely understand, where would be our faith? Even the Pope will never know the full meaning of what God knows and does. We believe "Because thou hast revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived."

My Personal Application: Truths like Christ under the appearance of bread, Christ being man and God, are real. I must ponder them. Every effort I make to understand will bring a little deeper knowledge and love for God's things. But I can never know them completely. His truths are more mysterious, yet no less real, than His vast solar system and the billions of stars in His universe. But I will never be able to solve com­pletely these truths of faith.

I may be tempted to deny your teachings, Lord, and those of your Church. But you are worthy of belief. For you proved you are God by your life and miracles. Help me to keep the" Act of Faith" prayer in memory and to use it when needed.

I Speak to God: My God, I shall believe whatever you say in Scripture and through your Church. I know that you are all-wise, and that your mysteries and marvelous ways are often hidden from my weak human mind. But I believe, because you can neither be deceived nor ever deceive me.

Thought for Today: Lord, increase my faith!
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Remembering Veteran's Day

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has protected our freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has protected our freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has protected our freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has protected our freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has protected our right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has protected our right to vote.

It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag,

It is the VETERAN, who serves under the Flag.

May God bless and protect those who have served or continue to serve out country.

Gospel for Nov 11, Memorial: St Martin of Tours, Bishop

From: Luke 16:9-15

The Unjust Steward (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [9] "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

[10] "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. [11] If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? [12] And if you had not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? [13] No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

[14] The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at Him. [15] But He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."


9-11. "Unrighteous mammon" means temporal good which have been obtained in some unjust, unrighteous way. However, God is very merciful: even this unjust wealth can enable a person to practice virtue by making restitution, by paying for the damage done and then by striving to help his neighbor by giving alms, by creating work opportunities, etc. This was the case with Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, who undertook to restore fourfold anything he had unjustly taken, and also to give half his wealth to the poor. On hearing that, our Lord specifically declared that salvation had that day come to that house (cf. Luke 19:1-10).

Our Lord speaks out about faithfulness in very little things, referring to riches--which really are insignificant compared with spiritual wealth. If a person is faithful and generous and is detached in the use he makes of these temporal riches, he will, at the end of his life, receive the rewards of eternal life, which is the greatest treasure of all, and a permanent one. Besides, by its very nature human life is a fabric of little things: anyone who fails to give them their importance will never be able to achieve great things. "Everything in which we poor men have a part--even holiness--is a fabric of small trifles which, depending upon one's intention, can form a magnificent tapestry of heroism or of degradation, of virtues or of sins.

"The epic legends always relate extraordinary adventures, but never fail to mix them with homely details about the hero. May you always attach great importance to the little things. This is the way!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 826).

The parable of the unjust steward is a symbol of man's life. Everything we have is a gift from God, and we are His stewards or managers, who sooner or later will have to render an account to Him.

12. "That which is another's" refers to temporal things, which are essentially impermanent. "That which is your own" refers to goods of the spirit, values which endure, which are things we really do possess because they will go with us into eternal life. In other words: how can we be given Heaven if we have proved unfaithful, irresponsible, during our life on earth?

13-14. In the culture of that time "service" involved such commitment to one's master that a servant could not take on any other work or serve any other master.

Our service to God, our sanctification, requires us to direct all our actions towards Him. A Christian does not divide up his time, allocating some of it to God and some of it to worldly affairs: everything he does should become a type of service to God and neighbor--by doing things with upright motivation, and being just and charitable.

The Pharisees jeered at what Jesus was saying, in order to justify their own attachment to material things; sometimes people make fun of total commitment to God and detachment from material things because they themselves are not ready to practice virtue; they cannot even imagine other people really having this generosity: they think they must have ulterior motives. See also the note on Matthew 6:24.

[The note on Matthew 6:24 states:
24. Man's ultimate goal is God; to attain this goal he should commit himself entirely. But in fact some people do not have God as their ultimate goal, and instead choose wealth of some kind--in which case wealth becomes their god. Man cannot have two absolute and contrary goals.]

15. "Abomination": the original Greek work means worship of idols, and, by derivation, the horror this provoked in a true worshipper of God. So the __expression conveys God's disgust with the attitude of the Pharisees who, by wanting to be exalted, are putting themselves, like idols, in the place of God.
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, November 10, 2006

New prior touting Dominicans’ presence in St Louis

With the start of the academic year, the number of Dominican priests teaching at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury has doubled.

The Dominicans have been in St. Louis for more than 25 years, have seen a time of growth and are establishing their roots even deeper in the archdiocese, according to their new local religious superior.

Dominican Father Michael Monshau came to St. Louis this fall as prior, or religious superior, of St. Dominic Priory and is an adjunct professor of homiletics at the archdiocesan seminary. He joins Dominican Father Thomas McDermott, who teaches spiritual theology at the seminary.

Father McDermott is the subprior, or assistant superior, of St. Dominic Priory. Formerly serving 18 years as a missionary and provincial in Nigeria, he has a master’s degree from the Dominicans’ Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis in 1983 and a doctorate from the Angelicum in Rome.

Father Monshau was prior of the priory in Oakland, Calif., and professor of homiletics and liturgical studies at the Dominican’s School at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., before coming to St. Louis. He had previously taught at a diocesan seminary in Michigan. He attended the seminary at Aquinas and doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The first Catholic priest in the country to receive "a PhD in homiletics," he has written books on preaching and spirituality. Two books were published this year, "Preaching at the Double Feast: Homiletics for Eucharistic Worship" and "The Grace and Task of Preaching."

Of his role in the diocese, he said, "Any religious order would want to do whatever it can to help the local ordinary and serve the local Church. We’re pleased to be at the service of the archbishop."

Having two priests available to help the diocese is "very satisfying," he added.

He noted that Vatican II affected a liturgical renewal that emphasized preaching. It also invited religious orders to reclaim the primary charism of their founder. The Dominicans, or the Order of Preachers, "have been given a uniquely pressing mandate to assist the Church in her preaching renewal since preaching is so integral to our identity," Father Monshau said.

Aquinas is the only Catholic doctor of ministry program in the country, he noted. The Dominicans’ school at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley is "the only Catholic faculty where one can work toward a PhD in homiletics," he said.

The Dominican Priory is on two floors of Jesuit Hall at St. Louis University. "We realize we’re at a point where we need to start thinking about our own priory building to better establish our identity in the fabric of the archdiocese and demonstrate that we’re a permanent fixture in St. Louis," he said.

Today is "a very good time for the Dominicans in St. Louis," he said.

Aquinas Institute recently moved to its own building in Midtown St. Louis adjoining St. Louis University.

Twenty-five Dominican men live at St. Dominic Priory, and 15 of them are seminarians attending Aquinas.

Another five seminarians are on pastoral assignments at different parishes throughout the Province of St. Albert the Great, based in Chicago.

One of the priests, Father David Delich, works full time with Food for the Poor, a Catholic agency that sends priests across the country to seek donations to programs helping people in Third World countries. Two other priests assist with that ministry on a part-time basis.

Another priest, Father Benjamin Russell, is the archivist for the province. That office recently was moved to St. Louis.

Some of the priests serve at parishes on weekends as emergency substitutes or regularly fill in at parishes.

The seminarians do their internships in parishes across the archdiocese.

Dominican vocations are strong in the United States. Father Monshau sees the age of seminarians lowering again, though many are coming to the order after being in the military, in business or college. One of the novices this year is a former member of the University of Notre Dame’s boxing club.

"I see a new vitality in the commitment to a vibrant community life," Father Monshau said.

Many of those entering the Dominicans value the traditions of the order such as wearing the habit and chanting the Divine Office, he said, "and I see that as a strength."

"We have a well placed hope in our future," he added. "As a religious order, one of the oldest in the Church, having been founded in 1215, it pleases us that people recognize we’re here in great numbers and here to stay."
by Joseph Kenny, Review Staff Writer
Fr. Monshau will be one of the guest homilists as the upcoming Novena to the Immaculate Conception (details here)

Mental Prayer for November 11, Temptations Against Purity

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, help me to be shrewd in handling temptations against purity.

The Idea: Robert E. Lee won many battles during the Civil War even though his Confederate soldiers were frequently outnumbered. He is acknow­ledged as one of the outstanding modem military strategists because he knew how to accomplish the most with the few troops and supplies the South possessed. Unpredictable, he recognized when to retreat, when to lead daring raids, when to avoid contact by bypassing the enemy.

Temptations against purity can come frequently. It is important to know how to handle them. What is my general strategy? Without pre-planning, a sudden attack will defeat me. If the temptation is from the devil, I am pitted against an intellectual giant and practically outnumbered. What to do: retreat? attack?

My Personal Application: Let me inspect my general training program in preparation for such attacks. There's frequent Holy Communion, prayers to Mary. Then there is avoidance of occasions that usually involve impurity. And I have access to frequebt Confession, and expert consulta­tion from my confessor.
At the moment of temptation I must rely upon the resources at hand. Not frontal attack, not retreat, but bypassing the temptations is normally the best plan. I can quietly distract my mind by thinking of something else. Do I use the devices of talking with someone or busying myself?

I Speak to God: O my God and my Lady, assist me in all my temptations, especially those against purity. Help me to be alert to find and use the best means to succeed when tempted.

Thought for Today: Strategy: bypass temptations to impurity!
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Last Chance for Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality

Essential Classics: Last Chance Reminder

Just a last minute reminder for you from the folks at ProLife Search. . .

If you haven't already signed up for the Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality pre-notification list, there's only a few hours left until the launch.

And the Essential Classics collection will only be available to people on this list. . . you won't be able to get a hold of it any other way.

Here's the link. Get on the list right now before you miss your chance:

Here's what Fr Trigilio has to say:

"I want to highly recommend the Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality. These pearls of wisdom come from the great doctors of the Church, like Saint Therese of Lisieux, and from spiritual geniuses like Saint Francis de Sales.

"The inspired, revealed and inerrant written Word of God (Sacred Scripture) and the equally revealed unwritten Word of Sacred Tradition, make up the deposit of faith. Popes and Saints alike, however, have urged and recommended through the ages that the faithful not only know and be familiar with the Bible and the Catechism, but also to acquaint themselves with the writings of the spiritual classics. These masterpieces help put the revealed truths of our holy religion into practical living.

"Spiritual reading is meant to inspire others to aspire to holiness. Sanctity can only survive in a spiritually healthy climate. Knowing the faith (doctrine), living the faith (works of mercy) and celebrating the faith (prayer, liturgy, sacraments) are only enhanced and sustained when there is authentic Christian spirituality and Catholic piety. The works contained in Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality give you the advice, counsel, encouragement and direction a believer needs to continue on their pilgrimage from this world to the next. Since many parishioners find it difficult to find a priest who has time to give solid spiritual direction, why not take advantage of the insights these holy men and women provide in this works, now all translated into our own native tongue. Once you feed on this good food for mind and soul, you will never want to go back to the garbage found in many secular books, magazines, newspapers, and web sites.

"Take my word for it, the value of the spiritual classics is beyond price. Get yours TODAY."

-- Father John Trigilio, Jr.

Starting November 29, Novena to the Immaculate Conception

Mark your calendars! Novena to be held at:

St. Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63118

Homilists include the Most Reverend Raymond L Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis, Fr. Eugene Morris, Fr. Edward Richard, Msgr. Henry Breier, Fr. Thomas Keller, Fr. Jacques Fournier, Fr. Edward Rice, Msgr. Joseph Pins, and Fr. Michael Monshau.
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Every year the Prior General and the Superiors of the Institute's Apostolates renew this act of dedication.

As the Immaculate Conception is also the Patroness of the United States of America it is most appropriate to prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception through a Novena.

This is even more necessary and urgent as our country is in desperate need of this help and intercession. The most recent vote on the constitutional amendment 2 has shown how dangerous the deceptions of the evil one are.

The Immaculate Conception of our Lady is the mani­festation of God's will to reestablish his order and to redeem us from sin, death and the devil through his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

On each day of this Novena a Votive Mass of the titles of our Lady will be celebrated in form of a Low Mass with organ. This Mass will be followed by the special Novena Prayer.

We are very honored by the pres­ence of so many guest preachers and by the fact that our beloved Archbishop will close this Novena the evening before the feast.

Every one is invited to join us in this special Novena to obtain the most urgently necessary graces for our country, for our Institute and in the challenges of the daily life of every one of us.

Votive Mass to
Our Lady, Mother of Divine Providence
Sermon: Rev. Fr. Ed Richard, M.S.,
Professor of Moral Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Votive Mass to
Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles
Sermon: Rev. Msgr. Henry Breier,
Personal Secretary and Master of Ceremonies to
the Most Reverend Archbishop of St. Louis.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2006, 7 P.M.
First Friday, Commemoration of
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Sermon: Rev. Fr. Michael Monshau O.P.,,
Prior of St Dominic's Priory,
Professor for Homiletics at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

First Saturday
Immaculate Heart
Sermon: Rev. Fr. Jacques Fournier

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2006, 10 A.M.
First Sunday of Advent
Sermon: Rev. Fr. Eugene C. Morris, E.V.,
Director of Kolbe House,
Professor for Sacramental Theol­ogy
at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2006, 7 P.M.
Votive Mass to
Our Lady, the Mother of Fair Love
Sermon: Rev. Fr. Thomas Keller,
Co-Director of the Office of Worship,
Associate Pastor and Mas­ter of Ceremonies
at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Votive Mass to
Our Lady, Mother of Perpetual Help
Sermon: Very Rev. Fr. Edward Rice, V.R.,
Dean of the South City Deanery,
Pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish

Votive Mass of
Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners
Sermon: Rev. Msgr. Joseph Pins, E.V.,
Rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Vigil of the Immaculate Conception
Last day of the Novena
Celebrant and Homilist:
His Grace, the Most Rev­erend Raymond. L. Burke,
Archbishop of St. Louis

Feast of the Immaculate Conception ­
Patron of the United States of America

Holy Day of Obligation
Masses: 8 a.m. 12.10 p.m.
7 p.m. Solemn High Mass with Candle Light Pro­cession and Dedication to the Immaculate Con­ception, followed by Solemn Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until Midnight on the Occa­sion of the National Prayer Night for Life.

Confessions before and during all above masses!

HT to Marc P for the updates!

Grave Public Scandal by "Catholics" for Amendment 2

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Respect for the souls of others: scandal
2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."[85] Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.[86]

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."[87] This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,[88] or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.
2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!"[89]

Shouldn't those professed Catholics who took a public position to support the cloning and deliberate killing of human life - human persons in their earliest stages of development - publicly recant their positions?

Did they not commit grave public scandal by deed since others were deliberately led into a grave offense by voting for the passage of Amendment 2?

Did they not commit grave public scandal by manipulating public opinion causing others to turn away from basic moral values?

Did they not commit grave public scandal by using the power and influence at their disposal in such a way that it lead others to vote for laws contrary to the natural law and the teachings of the Church?

The Catholic Church condemns abortion,[ii] euthanasia,[iii] sodomy,[iv] cloning,[v] embryonic stem cell research,[vi] as well as other attacks against the sanctity of life and the family. It is the obligation of the bishop to follow canon law. Canon Law n.915 mandates the denial of Communion to all “manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners,” including but not exclusive to politicians. [vii]

Canon 915 not only protects the Eucharist from sacrilegious reception, but also prevents the faithful from sorrowful scandal.

It’s important to understand what ‘manifest, obstinate, persistent’ means. Many wrongly think it applies only to politicians. [viii] This is not so.

If a Catholic is a ‘manifest’ sinner, that means he is ‘known,’ or ‘public.’ This must be differentiated from the Catholics who are in the state of ‘private’ grave sin, to whom their sin is known only to themselves and God. The private grave sinner cannot be denied the Eucharist because their sin is unknown to the bishop, to his priests, and his ministers of the Eucharist.

If a Catholic is gravely ‘manifest’ and ‘obstinate’ in his sin, that means he pigheadedly continues to ‘persist’ or ‘stand firm’ in grave sin that is ‘public’ in nature and causes scandal to others. This is quite different from those who persist in ‘private’ sin.
Excerpted and adapted from Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist.

We have witnessed, in the passage of Amendment 2, a concerted effort by most Catholics and many of our separated brothers and sisters in Christ, to stand firm for the defense of the unborn and against the deliberate cloning and killing of human life in its embryonic stage of development. May God be praised that so many chose to graciously accept His graces and abide in His Truth.

Yet, we have also been subjected to and scandalized by the perverse ramblings and rhetoric of professed Catholics who openly supported passege of the Amendment. The public was fed poisonous and wicked advice to support a grossly immoral law, a law which violates the very life and dignity of the innocent. These "Catholics" publicly support the creation of a class of human beings who are to be slaves to serve their own personal whims and desires, and who, after having served that purpose, are to be summarily executed.

How is it even possible for these people, unless completely ignorant of objective truth and their obligation to act based upon that truth, to claim to be Christians? Do not their actions remind of us pagans, or worse?

How can these people, after having committed such grave scandal, be permitted to partake of the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord, when they are clearly and publicly not in communion with Him or His Church?

Lord, help me to pray for them, and have mercy on me for my anger. Help me to practice the virtue of charity when it comes to those who would have been happy to see you killed by researchers or aborted by doctors or drugs when you were but a tiny embryo in the womb of your Mother.

Universal Indult by Christmas?

From the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales:

The Road to Restoration
Writing from Rome, Mgr Ignacio Barreiro updates us on recent developments in the struggle for Tradition. Based on impeccable sources he predicts that the long-prayed for universal indult will be promulgated before Christmas. Is Pope Benedict about to put his stamp on the Church once and for all?

In these last months we can see a growing series of events that indicate that the Holy See is moving on a clear route of doctrinal and liturgical restoration. Without discussing the recent leadership changes in some of the main offices of the Holy See, nor the important process of doctrinal clarification that continues to move ahead, I limit myself in this article to analysing some of the events that mark the trend towards liturgical restoration.

Some GREAT News!!!!

U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception

There is no time like now for this to be done. More than ever, we need the special intercession of our Blessed Mother.

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) – The United States consecration to the protection of its patroness, the Immaculate Conception, will be renewed at liturgical ceremonies at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception here.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Holy See nuncio to the United States, will officiate at the Nov. 11 renewal of the country’s consecration, at which bishops from around the country will participate. The Mass is scheduled for 12 p.m.

This consecration of the nation adds the special mention of the immaculate and sorrowful heart of Mary, the mission of the World Apostolate of Fatima. The prayer for the consecration used for the Nov. 11 event is the same one that was composed by the U.S. bishops in 1959 for the dedication ceremony of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the consecration of the United States to the Immaculate Conception.
. . .
The following is the prayer for renewal of consecration of the United States to its patroness, the Immaculate Conception:

“Most holy trinity: Our father in heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the son, who chose Mary as your mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.

“Most holy trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners – on all who are in need.

“Mary, immaculate virgin, our mother, patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give our country and ourselves to your sorrowful and immaculate heart. O’ sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesized by Simeon save us from degeneration, disaster and war. Protect us from all harm. O’ sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary, you who bore the sufferings of your son in the depths of your heart be our advocate. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the will of your divine son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.”

Here's one from our friends in Wisconsin

Now in power, Dem launches effort to undo marriage amendment
By Wheeler News Service

A Wisconsin Democrat wants to trump the state's new constitutional ban on gay marriage with an amendment of his own.

Madison Democrat, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, Middleton, says the measure passed by voters this week amounts to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

So now, he and some other Democrats hope to negate the new amendment with another one, aimed at prohibiting such discrimination.

The amendment passed by voters this week defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

It also bans civil unions, which critics say will result in unmarried couples losing fringe benefits for domestic partners.

With Democrats in charge of the Senate and Republicans having a much smaller majority in the Assembly Erpenbach says his new measure might have a shot when he introduces it in January.

It would have to pass in two straight Legislative sessions, and then by the voters in a statewide referendum. 59-percent of Wisconsin voters approved the ban on gay marriage and civil unions on Tuesday.
What a bunch of freaks - they're drunk with power!

HT to Darla M for the link!

How do we express our love for our deceased brothers and sisters?

During the month of November, especially, we should remember those who who have died and we should, as Archbishop Burke reminds us in today's column, "cultivate, with particular attention, our relationship with our brothers and sisters in purgatory." He reminds us that if we love them, we should "understand their condition."

We are reminded, with clarity, of the existence of Purgatory and that there is "temporal punishment due to sin."

[This] temporal punishment due to our sins is not imposed by God in anger at us. Rather, it is the consequence of our sins, namely, a wrong attraction or attachment which must be purified with the spiritual tools of prayer and penance so that we can enjoy full communion with our Lord and all the saints.

Let us not forget that, as St John tells us, "nothing unclean" can enter heaven. (Apoc 21:27)
Only when we have undergone the purification of our sinful attractions and attachments, connected with both mortal and venial sin in our lives, will we be ready to meet our Lord and enjoy His company forever. When we reflect on the conversion of mind and heart to our Lord, which we all desire and seek through prayer and penance, then we realize how immensely good God is in providing purgatory, a state in which, after death, we undergo the purification which was lacking during our days on earth (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 1472-1473).

How do express our love for the dead?
...[W]e want to assist our deceased brothers and sisters to satisfy the temporal punishment due to their sins, so that they may enter the eternal joy of heaven. our love for them by offering prayers and sacrifices for the remission of the temporal punishment due to their sins.

If we love those who have died, we will have Masses offered, and will pray and do penance for their eternal rest.

Archbishop Burke reminds us that we do a great disservice to our deceased brothers and sisters when we presume that they are already in heaven. How many of us have heard homilies at funerals where a priest has already canonized the deceased member of the Church family? While we certainly hope and pray that the dead are in the glory of the Almighty God, such a presumption ignores reality. It tends to minimize or eliminate our need to offer our prayers and sacrifices for our loved one. Let us not fall prey to a certain naivete that tends to diminish God's mercy and justice. Few there are who are free of all attachment to sin.

None of us knows the temptations and trials which another, even a person of great holiness, has undergone in life. We know that the great saints often expressed sorrow at their imperfect love of God and neighbor.

As member of the Church Militant, we have an obligation, in authentic charity, to pray for those who have gone before us, the Church Suffering.

The souls in purgatory depend upon us, upon our loving prayers and acts of penance, so that the purification of sin may be complete in them.
Archbishop's Burke's article is here.

Happy Birthday, United States Marine Corps!

And may God bless the Marines and all of those who serve this country in the military!

Author critiques bishops' proposal, blasts San Francisco archdiocese

The following is an edited news release from Randy Engel, author of The Rite of Sodomy — Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church:

"Gay" ministries such as the NACDLGM (National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries), New Ways Ministry, Dignity, and non-medically-based AIDS ministries have been operational at the national and diocesan levels of the American church for several decades now, with uniformly disastrous results:

"Gay" ministries transform parishes into political and propaganda cells for "gay" activism.

"Gay" ministries discourage the individual homosexual from breaking with the Homosexual Collective that frowns upon "defectors."

"Gay" ministries recruit — like the Army — especially among vulnerable youth.

"Gay" ministries plunder parish resources — financial and otherwise.

"Gay" ministries undermine authentic Church teachings on Faith and morals.

"Gay" ministries systematically strip parishioners of every vestige of natural revulsion that the normal person experiences when initially confronted by sexual perversion.

The bishops should be discussing ways to eliminate these "gay" ministries, not perpetuate them.
. . .
Guidelines are Fundamentally Dishonest and Pander to the Forces of Organized Perversion

Despite a veneer of God-language, "Gayspeak" is the language of the Guidelines.

. . .
The Guidelines are replete with "gay" myths of "victim hood" and "injustice" and "hatred."

. . .
Guidelines Hurt Homosexual Trying to Live a Chaste Life

This critique confirms Mary Jo Anderson's column from yesterday. There is a major problem here.

The story which follows about Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco is utterly disgusting. It is a sickening example of depravity, perversion and corruption in the Church, promoted and abetted by priests and bishops acting as accomplices of evil. May God have mercy on us!

The Safest Method of Killing Babies?

In regard to safety, one of the key questions from Chief Justice Roberts was that if, as the abortionists claim, partial-birth abortion is safer because it requires fewer insertions of instruments into the woman's body, why would it not then also follow that the safest method is live birth altogether, with the killing of the child outside the womb?

The pro-abortion side did not have an answer to that specific question...
This is precisely what some Anti-life activists, such as Peter Singer, envision:
From his book "Practical Ethics", we read
"Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons." But animals are self-aware, and therefore, "the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee." Source.
Pray that the Supreme Court uses its God-given intellect and reason to see that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban is, in fact, constitutional.

Gospel for Nov 10, Memorial: St Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor

From: Luke 16:1-8

The Unjust Steward

[1] He (Jesus) also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. [2] And he called him and said to him, 'What is this that I hear from you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' [3] And the steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. [4] I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.' [5] So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' [6] He said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' [7] Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' He said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.' [8] The master commended the dishonest steward for his prudence; for the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation that the sons of light.


1-8. The unfaithful steward manages to avoid falling on hard times. Of course, our Lord presumes that we realize the immorality of the man's behavior. What he emphasizes and praises, however, is his shrewdness and effort: he tries to derive maximum material advantages from his former position as steward. In saving our soul and spreading the Kingdom of God, our Lord wants us to apply at least the same ingenuity and effort as people put into their worldly affairs or their attempts to attain some human ideal. The fact that we can count on God's grace does not in any way exempt us from the need to employ all available legitimate human resources even if that means strenuous effort and heroic sacrifice.

"What zeal people put into their earthly affairs: dreaming of honors, striving for riches, bent on sensuality. Men and women, rich and poor, old and middle-aged and young and even children: all of them the same. When you and I put the same zeal into the affairs of our souls, we will have a living and operative faith: and there will be no obstacle that we cannot overcome in our apostolic undertakings" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 317).
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, November 09, 2006

Mental Prayer for November 10, Confidence in God's Help

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, that I may have deep confidence in your powerful assistance.

The Idea: During World War II in the Pacific area many of our planes were shot down, but the pilots managed to stay alive on their life rafts. Our government kept many men, ships, and planes busy in rescuing these brave fighters. No expense was too great to save even one life. But those to be rescued did their part too. The con­fidence they had in their ultimate rescue spurred them on to stay afloat.

The all-powerful God who made us is more interested in us than we are in ourselves. We are never tempted unless He permits it. He is most anxious to rescue us in order to show His love and mercy. But He waits. He wants our co­operation. He wants us to use the right means to avoid occasions of sin and temptations. He wants us to pray. Above all, He wants us to trust Him completely.

My Personal Application: Do my thoughts turn to God when I am tempted? Or do I like to live dangerously? How strong am I? Without God's continual presence I couldn't even exist. I can't hope to conquer temptations without Him. But more important let me convince myself of this: that with His help I can conquer all things. And this help He never refuses to one who co­operates.

I Speak to God: I place my complete trust in you. With your grace and aid I can do all things. Grant that I may always turn to you in all my trials and temptations. I know you will never fail me.

Thought for Today: Heart of Jesus, I trust in thee!
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Finally! A "Politically Correct" Bible ....(barf alert)

Nov. 09 (CNA/ - A group of 52 biblical “specialists” have released a new version of the Bible in which inclusive language and “political correctness” have replaced some “divisive” teachings of Christianity in order to present a “more just language” for groups such as feminists and homosexuals.

...Entitled, The Bible in a More Just Language, the translation has Jesus no longer referring to God as “Father,” but as “our Mother and Father who are in heaven.”

Catholic bishops' 'gay' guidelines 'gravely flawed'

A "gravely flawed" document coming from the Bishops' Conference? I shudder at the thought!

Gravely flawed" – that's the dire warning of medical experts who have seen copies of the proposed guidelines for "Ministry to Persons with Homosexual Inclinations," to be released by the Catholic Bishops of the United States at their annual conference in Baltimore next week.

Catholic psychiatrists and physicians have quietly sent selected bishops detailed memos outlining their objections to the document in advance of the November 13-16 meeting.

Among the chief objections to the document, the critique notes, is that a truly charitable ministry includes "the truths that medical/psychological science has discovered about homosexuality … In particular, the health risks inherent in the lifestyle and the real grounds for hope of recovery and healing are never mentioned in the [proposed] document."

The memo summarizes key points from medical and psychological literature on homosexuality that these experts had hoped the bishops would acknowledge...

Like the fact that "no genetic basis [for same-sex attraction] was found in last year's [human]genome study ..."

The withholding of such a factual statement will allow people to continue claim they they were "born" with homosexual tendencies...But then, is the bishops' document really concerned about facts which are necessary to help others?

Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D., a contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's statement on "Homosexuality and Hope," was explicit: "Persons with SSA (Same-Sex Attraction) suffer real physical and emotional physical illness in this lifestyle. There is no mention [in the document] of the deleterious effects of homosexual behavior on the person; the abuse, the diseases and the psychological pain that accompanies that lifestyle." [my emphasis]

Some have stated that the bishops have little understanding of the disorder. Others might say that there are a number of bishops who are quite familiar with it...

...the document casts those with same-sex attraction as victims of the culture, of "scorn, hated and even violence in some sectors of our society."

Truth or propaganda? Fact or opinion?

As one Catholic high school volunteer responded to that charge: "That's a fabrication..."

My thinking exactly - but then, let's not forget that this is a document coming from the USCCB...a document, perhaps by committee, maybe light on facts and heavier on feelings or "politcal correctness".

"...The greater danger from violence to any gay person is from his or her partner." FBI statistics bear out the charge.

"Violent crimes against gays by heterosexuals are just .0001 percent of cases. As for homosexual abuse of other homosexuals, Fitzgibbons cites a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health that reports, "39 percent of males with same-sex attraction have been abused by other males with same-sex attraction."

Having not read the document, I must rely on others' observations.

Because the document fails to address real medical and psychosocial aspects of same-sex attraction and the homosexual lifestyle, some have questioned the document's real purpose.

Some might think that it's almost standard operating procedure, based on past history, to question everything coming from the USCCB. Given its track record, a healthy skepticism is probably quite prudent.

Observers have expressed serious concern that while this new document is cloaked in snippets of official Church teaching, it is functionally a rebuke aimed at those within the Church who supposedly harbor "disguised forms of hatred" toward persons of homosexual inclinations.

So, much like playing the "race" card to evoke emotional rather than intellectual responses, it appears the authors of this document are playing the "gay" card - perhaps in an effort to appeal, not to the rational mind, but to irrational emotions.

Should we be prepared for "Always our Children - Part II"?

Wal-Mart Contributes 5% Of Online Sales To Homosexual Group

In a show of support to help homosexuals legalize same-sex marriage, Wal-Mart has agreed to automatically donate 5% of online sales directly to the Washington DC Community Center for Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender People. The cash donation will come from ALL online purchases made at Wal-Mart through the homosexual group's Web site. This move follows Wal-Mart's joining the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and agreeing to give generous financial help to that group.

Every purchase made online for books, music, videos, clothing and accessories, children's clothing and toys, and electronics at the site will automatically send 5% of the sales to the homosexual group.

From the American Family Association.

Manchester Diocese Creates Own 'Safe Environment Program'

The Diocese of Manchester, N.H., was uneasy about the “safe-environment” programs available to prevent sexual abuse. So it created its own.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Diocese of Manchester, N.H., needed to find a curriculum that satisfied the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ requirement that every diocese have a program to prevent sex abuse. None that they looked at seemed appropriate.

Now there's a newsflash...Bishop Vasa recently spoke to us about these "programs". They tend to place the responsibility on the child, who is, because of age, unable to handle such a burden...That and the fact that many times, explicit sexual content is taught which is inappropriate for children.

Fr. Frank Pavone: Reflections on the Results of Elections 2006

Time for Democrats to Prove our Point

Pendulums swing, and political experts point out that the results of yesterday’s elections are not unusual for the sixth year of a two-term President. I will leave to them the detailed political commentary about the dynamics of this election. Let me share with you, however, some key points for us to keep in mind as a pro-life movement, and as we continue with renewed zeal to press forward with our goals.

Fr. Pavone's Columns are Podcast here.

Catholic Culture: What Does This Election Mean?

From Jeff Mirus, President, Trinity Communications
After considerable reflection, I've ventured into the murky waters of political analysis and provided my own view of the 2006 election results. I believe that there are several lessons in this election, not all of them negative. See my latest Highlights column on
The Lessons of the 2006 Elections

Gospel for Nov 9, Feast: Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

From: John 2:13-22

The Cleansing of the Temple

[13] The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [14] In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. [15] And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. [16] And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." [17] His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me." [18] The Jews then said to him, "What signs have you to show us for doing this?" [19] Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." [20] The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" [21] But he spoke of the temple of his body. [22] When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.


13. "The Passover of the Jews": this is the most important religious feast for the people of the Old Testament, the prefiguring of the Christian Easter (cf. note on Mt 26:2). The Jewish Passover was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan and was followed by the festival week of the Azymes (unleavened bread). According to the Law of Moses, on those days every male Israelite had to "appear before the Lord God" (Ex 34:23; Deut 16:16)--hence the pious custom of making a pilgrimage to the temple of Jerusalem for these days, hence the crowd and all the vendors to supply the needs of the pilgrims; this trading gave rise to abuses.

"Jesus went up to Jerusalem": by doing this Jesus publicly shows that he observes the Law of God. But, as we shall soon see, he goes to the temple as the only-begotten Son who must ensure that all due decorum is observed in the House of the Father: "And from thenceforth Jesus, the Anointed of God, always begins by reforming abuses and purifying from sin; both when he visits his Church, and when he visits the Christian soul" (Origen, "Hom. on St John", 1).

14-15. Every Israelite had to offer as a passover sacrifice an ox or a sheep, if he was wealthy; or two turtle-doves or two pigeons if he was not (Lev 5:7). In addition he had to pay a half shekel every year, if he was twenty or over. The half shekel, which was the equivalent of a day's pay of a worker, was a special coin also called temple money (cf. Ex 30:13); other coins in circulation (denarii, drachmas, etc.) were considered impure because they bore the image of pagan rulers. During the Passover, because of the extra crowd, the outer courtyard of the temple, the court of the Gentiles, was full of traders, money-changers etc., and inevitably this meant noise, shouting, bellowing, manure etc. Prophets had already fulminated against these abuses, which grew up with the tacit permission of the temple authorities, who made money by permitting trading. Cf. notes on Mt 21:12-13 and Mk 11:15-18.

16-17. "Zeal for thy house will consume me"--a quotation from Psalm 69:10. Jesus has just made a most significant assertion: "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." By calling God his Father and acting so energetically, he is proclaiming he is the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus' zeal for his Father's glory did not escape the attention of his disciples who realized that what he did fulfilled the words of Psalm 69.

18-22. The temple of Jerusalem, which had replaced the previous sanctuary which the Israelites carried around in the wilderness, was the place selected by God during the Old Covenant to express his presence to the people in a special way. But this was only an imperfect anticipation or prefiguring of the full __expression of his presence among men--the Word of God became man. Jesus, in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Col 2:9), is the full presence of God here on earth and, therefore, the true temple of God. Jesus identifies the temple of Jerusalem with his own body, and by so doing refers to one of the most profound truths about himself--the Incarnation. After the ascension of the Lord into heaven this real and very special presence of God among men is continued in the sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist.

Christ's words and actions as he expels the traders from the temple clearly show that he is the Messiah foretold by the prophets. That is why some Jews approach him and ask him to give a sign of his power (cf. Mt 16:1; Mk 8:11; Lk 11:29). Jesus' reply (v. 20), whose meaning remains obscure until his resurrection, the Jewish authorities try to turn into an attack on the temple--which merits the death penalty (Mt 26:61; Mk 14:58; cf. Jer 26:4ff); later they will taunt him with it when he is suffering on the cross (Mt 27:40; A 15:29) and later still in their case against St Stephen before the Sanhedrin they will claim to have heard him repeat it (Acts 6:14).

There was nothing derogatory in what Jesus said, contrary to what false witnesses made out. The miracle he offers them, which he calls "the Sign of Jonah" (cf. Mt 16:4), will be his own resurrection on the third day. Jesus is using a metaphor, as if to say: Do you see this temple? Well, imagine if it were destroyed, would it not be a great miracle to rebuild it in three days? That is what I will do for you as a sign. For you will destroy my body, which is the true temple, and I will rise again on the third day.

No one understood what he was saying. Jews and disciples alike thought he was speaking about rebuilding the temple which Herod the Great had begun to construct in 19-20 B.C. Later on the disciples grasped what he really meant.
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, November 08, 2006

Catholics for Amendment 2...

I was curious about the so-called "Catholics" for Amendment 2.
Here is the list. Forwarded to the Chancery.

Steering Committee:
Senator Tom Eagleton, Co-Chair
Dr. Virginia Weldon, Co-Chair

Rodger A. & Leann Brand
Don Clayton
Dr. John F. DiPersio
Bob & Becky Duepner
Mark D. Eagleton III
Lee Fetter
Patrick & JoAnn Fisher
Otto C. & Dorothy M. Hoelscher
E. Michael Houlihan
Chris Hrdina
Cynthia J. Hrdina
Ben Johnson
Michael Kelley
Robert Kelley
Robert Klein
Philippe de Laperouse
Jack Martorelli
Tara Parkhurst
William D. & Megan S. Rowe
Linda Short
Rose Windmiller
Will & Laura Winter
Anita Yeckel

Alter Christus - Patience and Fortitude in Zeal

Patience is a necessary condition for success in any enter­prise, and when that enterprise is one of great and never­ ending difficulties, fortitude must be added to patience, so that our energies may not be broken by the obstacles, nor our courage falter and give way. Of such a nature, un­doubtedly, is the work of the ministry - for the zealous priest, at any rate. Did not the Cure d'Ars, for all his hero­ism, exclaim one day: "Ah, if I had known what it is to be a priest, instead of going to the seminary, I should very quickly have made my escape to La Trappe"? Of course, he ever carried on with unabating courage, as Saints will. But for average, unheroic priests great is the danger lest contact with the hard realities of the apostolate cause them to give up their once cherished ideal of self-sacrificing and conquering zeal and, for lack of patience and fortitude, to settle down, instead, to an easy-going, unzealous performance of the daily round of unavoidable duties. . .


The apostolic life is necessarily one of trials and suffer­ings. Our work is the continuation of Christ's work: He brought salvation to men by dying for them on the Cross, and so anyone who would work with Christ at the salvation of souls must be ready to suffer with Christ. Our Lord warned us, on the eve of His redeeming Passion: "The servant is not greater than his Lord, neither is the apostle greater than He that sent him." We must be ready then to pay the price He paid, to walk the way He walked. It is the condition of fruitfulness in our life: the more we are "conformed" to our crucified Master, the more we shall be pleasing unto God and fit instruments of His glory.

What is the history of all the Saints whom God has raised to do great things for Him but an unbroken chain of suffer­ings, contradictions, persecutions and humiliations? To all of them might be applied what Our Lord said to St Paul: "I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. . ." Does it not apply also to all priests who want to be faithful to their vocation and mission? They too are "vessels of election" destined to carry the name of Jesus to their fellow men: so theirs too must be the programme of St Paul: "I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus."

* What is my ideal of the apostolate now? I certainly began my priestly life with a great readiness to sacrifice myself for the salvation of souls: have I persevered in those disposi­tions? If not, let me pray for a renewal of that grace of God which was in me by the imposition of hands. .. Do I seek to grow in those generous aspirations and that spirit of sacrifice, morning after morning, when I offer up the Divine Victim, mindful of holy Church's exhortation to me at the dawn of my priesthood: "Imitamini quod tractatis"?


If suffering is inseparable from the apostolic life, the necessary condition for persevering zeal is constancy in bearing those sufferings courageously. A difficult virtue, when trials come every day and from every quarter, as happens so often in a zealous priest's life; in fact the greater his zeal, the greater his trials. He finds little response to his pressing exhortations, no co-operation with his parish works; devotedness is often repaid by ingratitude; his best intentions may be misunderstood and maligned; he is not always supported by those he most relied upon, and often thwarted openly by those for whom he spends himself: and of course he will find the devil and the world and the enemies of the faith leagued against all his endeavours to extend the reign of Christ. Or perhaps he may find in himself the trial that calls for patience and fortitude: troublesome passions, defects of temperament, weak health.

True zeal steels the heart of the generous apostle against all these sources of discouragement. It gives him strength and courage to bear all sufferings with indomitable patience, to carry on bravely in spite of disappointments, to begin again after every failure, to keep serene and optimistic instead of nursing his grievances or sorrows, to forget his troubles in the preoccupation of saving souls and making Christ reign.

* Let me scrutinize my life: What steadfastness is there in my zeal, with what firmness do I react to daily troubles and vexations? . . . Do I seek for strength in the grace of God, with unbounded confidence, knowing that "I can do all things in him", and at the same time, in true humility, "glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me"?


The vision of the reward should strengthen our patience and fortitude. The feast of all Saints opens out a vista on the joys and the glory of Christ's apostles: "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves." . . . Our turn will come, our place is already marked among them. "Therefore, we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head. . . let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us, looking on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Faith; who having joy set before Him endured the Cross.". . . And let us "exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation", for "the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us . . . ".

* We may read 1 Peter 5:1-4, which summarizes these last two meditations: "To the priests that are among you I give this charge - I, their fellow-priest and witness of Christ's sufferings, yea, and fellow-sharer in the glory that is one day to be revealed -: Be shepherds to the flock God has given you; cordially, not like drudges; generously, not for the sake of sordid gain; nor yet lording it over your charges, but becoming an example to the flock. So, when the Prince of shepherds will be manifested, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." (Epistle of the Commune SS. Pontificum)
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 23

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

Mental Prayer for November 9, Why Does It Happen to Me?

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: O my God, help me to see your divine wisdom in allowing temptations.

The Idea: A soldier that soldiers themselves ad­mire the most is not one who has had soft duty behind the lines, but one who has been in the very thick of battle. They respect the soldier who has fought hard with the enemy, been wounded and battered and remains unconquered. He has been tested and has proven himself, not by loud boast­ing in the barracks, but by sweating it out under fire of the enemy and by accomplishing his mission.

God has called everyone to His service. And in that service He certainly wants each of us to be a hero. He desires to give us eternal life with Him in heaven. But we have to pass many tests of courage and endurance; these are temptations. Every day we all must fight against the temptations that come from the devil, from ourselves, and from all the circumstances of the pagan world in which we live.

My Personal Application: Do I accept temptations as a normal part of life? Or do I complain to God that He asks too much? Isn't it true that the more combat duty I have in His service, the greater His help, the greater the rewards? Do I surren­der easily? Or do I really put up resistance? Call upon our Lord now for help; explain to Him how I want Him nearby when temptations come.

I Speak to God: "Our Father... lead us not into temptation"... but when I am tempted help me to fight courageously, to skirt the enemy, or to retire safely, but never to surrender. You know how weak I am, but if you allow this temptation, I know you will also make it possible for me to win.

Thought for Today: "My grace is sufficient for thee."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Archbishop Burke on the Passage of Amendment 2

November 8, 2006
For Immediate Release

Statement of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke on the Occasion of the Passage of Amendment 2

ST. LOUIS — Over the last several months the Catholic Church has had the privilege of praying and working with many individuals and groups of faith and good will to speak the truth about the intrinsic evils of human cloning and the destruction of human embryos for research enshrined in Amendment 2.

We made great progress in helping the citizens of Missouri realize the confusion and deception of the language of Amendment 2. We have failed, however, to overcome the formidable resources of its proponents. In Missouri, we have lost a significant battle for the protection of human life. The citizens of Missouri have succumbed to a false hope created by a campaign which has played on the desire of us all to help those suffering from deadly diseases and serious injuries.

Missouri’s Amendment 2 will come to be regarded as the bellwether of human cloning, and will sadly divert attention and public funds from successful and completely ethical umbilical cord blood and adult stem-cell research. It will further erode respect for all human life and for procreation as the way new human life is to come into the world. Moreover, the provisions of the Amendment will make available to certain biotech companies the money of the taxpayers of Missouri for intrinsically immoral research, whether or not the research ever brings about the promised life- saving cures.

The election campaign for the passage of Amendment 2 has shown us all how deeply rooted the culture of death is in our society. The experience of the campaign is a clarion call to all Catholics and other men and women of good will to rededicate ourselves to prayer and work, in order that we restore, in our state and nation, the respect for the integrity of human procreation and for the inviolable dignity of every human life, from the first moment of its existence. The Catholic Church will continue to teach the moral law written upon every human heart, which teaches us that nothing can ever justify the artificial generation of human life and that nothing can ever justify the killing of innocent and defenseless human life.

With regard to stem-cell research, the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis stands by its unparalleled tradition of compassionate health care and pledges continued support of ethical stem-cell research.
# # #
Source (PDF).

Missouri Voters, Deceived by Ballot Language, Approve Human Cloning

FRONT ROYAL, Va., Nov. 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International (HLI)—the world’s largest pro-life, pro-family human rights organization, with over 90 affiliates in 75 countries around the world—has issued the following statement regarding the passage of Missouri’s constitutional amendment 2 that legalizes human cloning:

“We are saddened by the passage of Amendment 2 and recognize that it only passed because this proposal was carefully crafted by the powerful bio-tech lobby’s lawyers to purposely be misleading and confusing.

“Jim Stowers personally poured millions of dollars into this effort to abuse the good will of Missouri voters who were told a vote for this amendment would’ve actually banned cloning. Stowers’ motives were pursuit of power, profit and a blatant disregard for the life, health and well-being of women. This is absolutely disgraceful.

“This amendment is inherently deceptive, exploitative and misleading and the people of Missouri deserve better. Women and their fertility will now be treated like a commodity that can be bought and sold on a whim, while subjecting women to a dangerous procedure that can cause irreparable harm and even death.

“Human life is a sacred gift that must always be respected no matter its stage of development. I have no doubt that the people of Missouri understand this and scores of Missourians rallied to expose the truth of the underhanded effort. But, what was truly missing was the support of key national leaders, like George W. Bush, who failed to address the importance of defeating this initiative even though they campaigned in the state.”


It is almost certain that plans will begin to have this dreadful amendment repealed - especially after voters discover that they have been used to further the profits of others at taxpayer expense, let alone the fact that have ratified human cloning.

Time to Pray and Get to Work

It looks as if some in the majority of voters who chose to grant immunity and a windfall to the embryonic stem cell researchers have yet to learn the truth. As will become obvious in the coming weeks and months, there should be a shift back towards an actual cloning ban rather than an "implantation" ban.

While it would be easy to lament the apparent defeats we have witnessed and suffered, much more is now required of us. Many eyes which have been closed will be opened and more light will shine on the truth, which for a great number, has been hidden.

This is not the time to quit praying, it is a time to pray even more fervently, and ask that this period of chastisement and punishment be of short duration. We must continue to work for the protection of those who are least able to defend themselves.

Our work lies ahead of us. Our Lord wishes us to be His instruments in bringing others to Him...Faith, Hope and Charity are the virtues by which we are to be reinvigorated. The evil one has placed obstacles before us. Our Lord beckons us to follow Him. Our Lady will guide us to her Son, through the traps sets before us.

So, rather than feeling down and despondent, we should rejoice that we have lived to see another day knowing that from these trials and tribulations, good will triumph and we will receive all the grace necessary to persevere.

Another Reason to Withhold Contributions to the CCHD

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development - a social welfare agency of the USCCB appears again to have been less than prudential about those to whom it grants welfare. It may not be too far off track to assume that one's contributions to the CCHD will be wasted on leftist or socialist causes - something most people would rather avoid.

We will be asked to donate to this fund in the next couple of weeks. There are far better charities needing contributions...

Priest's Conviction Overturned

In the midst of the election yesterday, there did come some good news, at least. A priest who was convicted based upon the confused and sometimes contradictory testimony of the alleged victim, had his conviction overturned by the State Supreme Court.
The Missouri Supreme Court overturned the sodomy conviction of a St. Louis priest Tuesday, reversing what prosecutors had seen as a landmark victory for bringing charges on sex crime accusations from years, even decades, before.

The Rev. Thomas Graham always maintained his innocence. But in the end, the deciding issue was the same one that frustrated prosecutors from the start: a deadline on filing criminal charges, called a statute of limitations.

It's unknown how much of the taxpayers' money the St Louis City Prosecutor wasted in obtaining a conviction:
St. Louis prosecutors and law students had pored over old laws seeking a way around it, knowing there was no limit on bringing charges that are punishable by death or life in prison. They found an old sodomy law for which the punishment was not less than two years in prison. That meant, they reasoned, that the maximum could be life, and thus without a deadline.

They searched high and low for a way around the statute of limitations.

Graham has been free on $500,000 bond put up by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and lives in a treatment facility in Franklin County. He is on the sex offender registry, but Goeke said he will be removed from that.

Archdiocese spokesman Tony Huenneke said no decision has been made about reassigning Graham.

Missouri Becomes the "Snow Me" State and Elects a Pro-Abort Catholic

It is 12:55am and it looks like Claire McCaskill becomes the new Senator from Missouri, the state which appears to have chosen to allow the cloners free reign at the public feeding trough.

Prepare for the freak show in Washington to begin...

It's time to say more prayers and go to bed.

And may God have mercy on our state and this country.

Gospel for Wednesday, 31st Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 14:25-33

Conditions For Following Jesus

[25] Now great multitudes accompanied Him (Jesus); and He turned and said to them, [26] "If any one comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. [27] Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. [28] For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? [29] Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, [30] saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' [31] Or what king, going to encounter another king in a war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? [32] And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. [33] So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple."


26. These words of our Lord should not disconcert us. Love for God and for Jesus should have pride of place in our lives and we should keep away from anything which obstructs this love: "In this world let us love everyone," St. Gregory the Great comments, "even though he be our enemy; but let us hate him who opposes us on our way to God, though he be our relative [...]. We should then, love, our neighbor; we should have charity towards all--towards relative and towards strangers--but without separating ourselves from the love of God out of love for them" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 37, 3). In the last analysis, it is a matter of keeping the proper hierarchy of charity: God must take priority over everything.

This verse must be understood, therefore, in the context of all of our Lord's teachings (cf. Luke 6:27-35). These are "hard words. True, `hate' does not exactly express what Jesus meant. Yet He did put it very strongly, because He doesn't just mean `love less,' as some people interpret it in an attempt to tone down the sentence. The force behind these vigorous words does not lie in their implying a negative or pitiless attitude, for the Jesus who is speaking here is none other than that Jesus who commands us to love others as we love ourselves and who gives up His life for mankind. These words indicate simply that we cannot be half-hearted when it comes to loving God. Christ's words could be translated as `love more, love better', in the sense that a selfish or partial love is not enough: we have to love others with the love of God" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 97). See the notes on Matthew 10:34-37; Luke 2:49.

As the Second Vatican Council explains, Christians "strive to please God rather than men, always ready to abandon everything for Christ" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem, 4).

27. Christ "by suffering for us not only gave us an example so that we might follow in His footsteps, but He also opened up a way. If we follow that way, life and death becomes holy and acquire a new meaning" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 22).

The way the Christian follows is that of imitating Christ. We can follow Him only if we help Him bear His cross. We all have experience of suffering, and suffering leads to unhappiness unless it is accepted with a Christian outlook. The Cross is not a tragedy: it is God's way of teaching us that through sin we can be sanctified, becoming one with Christ and winning Heaven as a reward. This is why it is so Christian to love pain: "Let us bless pain. Love pain. Sanctify pain....Glorify pain!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 208).

28-35. Our Lord uses different examples to show that if mere human prudence means that a person should try to work out in advance the risks he may run, with all the more reason should a Christian embrace the cross voluntarily and generously, because there is no other way he can follow Jesus Christ. "`Quia hic homo coepit aedificare et non potuit consummare! He started to build and was unable to finish!' A sad commentary which, if you don't want, need be made about you: for you possess everything necessary to crown the edifice of your sanctification--the grace of God and your own will." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 324).

33. Earlier our Lord spoke about "hating" one's parents and one's very life; now He equally vigorously requires us to be completely detached from possessions. This verse is a direct application of the two foregoing parables: just as a king is imprudent if he goes to war with an inadequate army, so anyone is foolish who thinks he can follow our Lord without renouncing all his possessions. This renunciation should really bite: our heart has to be unencumbered by anything material if we are able to follow in our Lord's footsteps. The reason is, as He tells us later on, that it is impossible to "serve God and Mammon" (Luke 16:13). Not infrequently our Lord asks a person to practice total, voluntary poverty; and He asks everyone to practice genuine detachment and generosity in the use of material things. If a Christian has to be ready to give up even life itself, with all the more reason should he renounce possessions: If you are a man of God, you will seek to despise riches as intensely as men of the world seek to possess them" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 633). See the note on Luke 12:33-34.

Besides, for a soul to become filled with God it must first be emptied of everything that could be an obstacle to God's indwelling: "The doctrine that the Son of God came to teach was contempt for all things in order to receive as a reward the Spirit of God in himself. For, as long as the soul does not reject all things, it has no capacity to receive the Spirit of God in pure transformation" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", Book 1, Chapter 5, 2).
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, November 07, 2006

Mental Prayer for November 8, Occasions of Sin for Me-Reading

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: O my God, cleanse my soul of the dangerous attitude that "I can read anything."

The Idea: As a friend of mine looked in the drugstore window, he noticed me studying the magazine display. As I glanced up, his eye met mine and I blushed. Before me were spread out cover pictures of violence, horror, lust. Article titles emblazoned every sin and crime, pleasure and secret, that could be enticing to a strong, young imagination.

Freedom of the press can't give anyone a right to read everything in print. In fact, if I selected one of those magazines knowing full well that it has resulted in sinful thoughts or desires just about every time I have looked at it or read the short stories in it, I could be sinning even before I read it. Why? Because I would be deliberately choosing what I know is a proximate occasion of sin for me.

My Personal Application: Isn't the application obvious? Have I read things which I wouldn't dare read to Christ or His Mother if they were with me? Let me convince myself that when I read trash, I degrade my soul and become like what I read. Do I make any effort to read good literature? Catholic literature?

I Speak to God: Almighty God, help me to realize that I cannot read a steady diet of sensual romance, of the glories of wealth, of the cult of the beautiful body without beginning to think about and want what I read about. Give me the courage and common sense to read only what can ennoble my soul and be profitable.

Thought for Today: "Lead me not into temptation," Lord and don't let me lead myself into it.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Are We Living in "Bizarro World" or What?

New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice

Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.

“Surgery versus nonsurgery can be arbitrary,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner. “Somebody with a beard may have had breast-implant surgery. It’s the permanence of the transition that matters most.”

Oh, really? Can you imagine the dialogue going on in the mind of a gender conflicted human? One who is trying to determine what the "gender du jour" is going to be?

May God spare us from this insanity!

Sharing a Story

Every society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate amongst them.

Via email, I received the following anecdote:

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay!"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, good over evil, authentic love, and so on, many people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our daily life, in our schools and in our workplaces.

The person who sent this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have so many opportunities every single day to realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we share a little spark of love and kindness with others or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?