Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pathetic State of American Catholicism on Abortion

It is an area that once saw the great Isaac Jogues sacrifice his life for his Faith based on unselfish service to others and passion to save souls. It is a parish named after the great St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of The Church and student of salvation and truth. Beyond those two icons of Catholic courage and example, however, all that remains of true Catholic courage in the state of New York are the pockets of devoted faithful who know a modern John the Baptist when they see one.

If the primary foe of Catholicism in the days of Jogues in the new world were those pagan Indians who saw his faith as a threat to their beliefs and social order, then its main enemy today is political correctness and betrayal of Catholic beliefs for political expediency. If Aquinas sought to educate and preach about salvation and truth, then this Buffalo parish named after him epitomizes the unnecessary struggle between convenience and courage, heresy and devotion and hypocrisy and truth. I say unnecessary because there would be no struggle if all Catholic leadership and clergy defended and demanded obedience to true Catholic doctrine and teaching. Instead of being soldiers of the Faith, these so-called leaders, models and shepherds fold like cheap suits and wave the white flags of political correctness, modernism and cafeteria Catholicism at the slightest whiff of heat.

If anyone wants to see the sad state of the American Catholic Church on the issue of abortion, let him look to the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in Buffalo, where a courageous deacon named Thomas McDonnell stood up for his faith only to be betrayed by precisely those who were supposed to lead him into battle. Instead of receiving complete support, as he deserved, McDonnell was criticized by both Church leadership and enough clueless congregants to make one wonder just what passes for Catholicism in this country.
. . .
Despite the clear horror of [the] barbaric act [of abortion], the American Catholic Church has failed to stand up and denounce those who dare to call themselves Catholic yet support and defend this wanton murder of innocents. While some courageous clerics do stand up against these Catholic frauds, most provide pathetic lip service, preferring to utter wimpy expressions of "pastoral ministry", "open dialogue" and "proper channels of debate".
. . .
The American Catholic Church is quickly becoming a sea of compromise, appeasement, surrender and even betrayal of core Catholic beliefs and doctrine, like a moral Titanic sinking under the weight of its own ambivalent doctrinal inconsistency and rampant political correctness. It has hit the iceberg of a society's watered-down moral chaos, and is taking on water from all sides.

Even as it sinks further into oblivion, its so-called leaders offer further compromise and appeasement as the lifeboats for its survival. Rather than standing firm against the storm as Christ did, these leaders bow to evil and sin out of political and social practicality, greed, cowardice or even agreement with that evil and sin itself...
. . .
May God Almighty grant us more courageous shepherds like Deacon Thomas McDonnell who dare to walk in the footsteps of Isaac Jogues and Thomas Aquinas as servants of truth, courage and salvation!

This article is too good to pass it in its entirety here.

Pope's Latinist pronounces death of a language

For years it was derided by unwilling schoolboys for being "as dead as dead could be". Now, despite the Vatican's best efforts, the Pope's top adviser on Latin has reluctantly joined them by saying the language of St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas is almost extinct.

"It is dying in the Church. I'm not optimistic about Latin. The young priests and bishops are not studying it," said Fr Reginald Foster, 68, a Carmelite friar who was appointed the Papal Latinist 38 years ago by Pope Paul VI.

He said priests were no longer compelled to study Latin at seminaries, and now found it impossible to read vital theological tracts.

"You cannot understand St Augustine in English. He thought in Latin. It is like listening to Mozart through a jukebox," he told The Sunday Telegraph...
. . .
He said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong - not least because of the Pope's desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose." In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."

Mental Prayer for January 28, The Followers of Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To follow the courageous example of the saints.

The Idea: Has anyone but Christ ever lived such an unselfish life? Yes, millions of Christians have, to one degree or another. Some of these we know by name - we call them saints.

In every saint's life there comes a moment when he has to look at his whole future and make a decision. People all around him are insisting he's a dreamer: "You can't be a saint," they say. "The age of saints is over." They say this in every age, yet every age has its saints.

"You must think of your future," they say. "There's nothing wrong in working for money or fame." In that they are right. "You don't have to spend all your time on other people's problems." That's right too. But the saint, if he's going to become a saint, goes ahead anyway and chooses to do the wonderful unselfish things saints always do. He knows he doesn't have to, that the opposite isn't wrong. But a completely unselfish life of serving God in others seems better to him, more worthy of the God he loves, more like Christ who did so much for him.

And so the saint tends naturally to look for a vocation in which he can do the most unselfish good. Yet, no matter in what line of work or state of life he ends up, he finds plenty of opportunity for unselfishness right there. He soon is doing the ordinary jobs of his life in a special way that is Christ's. He makes these jobs sparkle with un­selfishness and love. He does good work for the sake of God and his neighbor, even when that work is as small as dusting a hallway or whispering a prayer.

My Personal Application: Have I reached the point of big decision in my life yet? Will I work for myself in this world, or for God and my neighbor, letting God take care of myself in the next life?

I Speak to God: I know what I want to do. Please give me the courage to do it.

Thought for Today: "Be perfect as your heaven­ly Father is perfect."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

How the KGB Created the Myth of Pius XII as "Hitler's Pope"

This email came today from an Inside the Vatican Newsflash:
Inside the Vatican has followed the debate over the war-time role of Pope Pius XII with great attention for almost 15 years. Now, the former head of Romania's Foreign Intelligence under the Communists (who later defected to the West) has written an article describing how he duplicitously got access to the Vatican Archives and copied a host of documents (none of which incriminated Pius XII) used by the KGB in the creation of the play The Deputy, published with Rolf Hochhuth as the supposed author. To read this very important article, published on January 25 in the online edition of National Review, please click here.

Here are some critical paragraphs from the National Review Online article:

Moscow's Assault on the Vatican

The KGB made corrupting the Church a priority

By Ion Mihai Pacepa

...In February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev approved a super-secret plan for destroying the Vatican's moral authority in Western Europe...

The Deputy saw the light in 1963 as the work of an unknown West German named Rolf Hochhuth, under the title Der Stellvertreter. Ein christliches Trauerspiel (The Deputy, a Christian Tragedy). Its central thesis was that Pius XII had supported Hitler and encouraged him to go ahead with the Jewish Holocaust...

Before writing The Deputy, Hochhuth, who did not have a high school diploma (Abitur), was working in various inconspicuous capacities for the Bertelsmann publishing house. In interviews he claimed that in 1959 he took a leave of absence from his job and went to Rome, where he spent three months talking to people and then writing the first draft of the play, and where he posed "a series of questions" to one bishop whose name he refused to reveal. Hardly likely! At about that same time I used to visit the Vatican fairly regularly as an accredited messenger from a head of state, and I was never able to get any talkative bishop off into a corner with me -- and it was not for lack of trying...

In 1974 Andropov conceded to us that, had we known then what we know today, we would never have gone after Pope Pius XII. What now made the difference was newly released information showing that Hitler, far from being friendly with Pius XII, had in fact been plotting against him...

Over the past 16 years, the freedom of religion has been restored in Russia, and a new generation has been struggling to develop a new national identity. We can only hope that President Vladimir Putin will see fit to open the KGB archives and set forth on the table, for all to see, how the Communists maligned one of the most important popes of the last century.

-- Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. His book Red Horizons has been republished in 27 countries.


The Dictatorship of Choice - Mandatory "Vaccinations" for Girls

The poisonous and deadly clouds of evil continue to develop and grow ominously on the horizon - and the prevailing winds of apathy and immorality are bringing these clouds closer and closer. Below are excerpts of an article by Fr. Thomas Euteneuer; President, Human Life International:

Merck’s lucrative HPV vaccine is now being proposed as mandatory by twelve states for girls 11 years old and above. Yes, the word is mandatory. Remember that the culture of death is not a benign dictator: it becomes a tyrant as soon as it is able to enforce its will. Cynically, the whole premise of the culture of death is “freedom of choice,” but if Merck and the CDC have their way soon we will be bulldozing chemicals into little girls’ bodies for no other reason than that their parents’ generation has deprived them of a choice. Those who say that they don’t want to force their morality on others are now having others’ immorality forced upon them.

I have written before that this is not an innocuous little program to protect girls from disease. It is the newest program of fear-mongering that manipulates baby-boomer and Gen X mothers to “protect” their pre-adolescent kids from what they themselves know to be the ravages of the culture of sexual promiscuity. It leaves virtually no room for the moral approach of chastity before and during marriage and in fact denigrates that approach as unrealistic. While there are many reasons why this vaccine should be opposed and rejected, I object most strongly to its capacity to degrade human and sexual relations under the guise of real-world protection.
. . .
The culture of death, like every despotic regime, enters into God’s realm with haughty pretense and sullies it. It eventually establishes itself inside the temple as its own authority and mandates a new law contrary to both spirit and nature.
Click here for the complete article by Fr. Euteneuer.

And here is an article from Wisconsin where the government is attempting to make the HPV vaccine mandatory...
Wisconsin / Bipartisan bill calls for cancer vaccine for girls
Sixth-graders would get shot in move to curb HPV; critics site intrusion
Associated Press

A proposal with bipartisan support would require all girls entering sixth grade in Wisconsin to be vaccinated for the human papillomavirus, a move recommended to prevent cervical cancer.

Similar bills have been introduced in at least a dozen other states, but some have met with opposition from groups that say government is reaching too far into families' personal lives.

Supporters of a mandate say it makes sense to provide the vaccine as a way to fight a cancer that kills 3,700 American women every year. But opponents say states should not push a vaccine on the assumption that young girls are or are about to be sexually active...(Continued here)

HT to Darla for the links!

Gospel for Saturday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Mark 4:35-41

The Calming of the Storm
[35] On that day, when evening had come, He (Jesus) said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." [36] And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them just as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him. [37] And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was already filling. [38] But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care if we perish?" [39] And He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. [40] He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" [41] And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?"

35-41. The episode of the calming of the storm, the memory of which must have often helped the Apostles regain their serenity in the midst of struggles and difficulties, also helps us never lose the supernatural way of looking at things: a Christian's life is like a ship: "As a vessel on the sea is exposed to a thousand dangers--pirates, quicksands, hidden rocks, tempests--so man in this life, is encompassed with perils, arising from the temptations of Hell, from the occasions of sin, from the scandals or bad counsels of men, from human respect, and, above all from the passions of corrupt nature [...]. This should not cause him to lose confidence. Rather [...] when you find yourself assaulted by a violent passion [...] take whatever steps you can to avoid the occasions [of sin] and place your reliance on God [...]: when the tempest is violent, the pilot never takes his eyes from the light which guides him to port. In like manner, we should keep our eyes always turned to God, who alone can deliver us from the many dangers to which we are exposed" (St. Augustine, "Sermon 51; for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany).
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, January 26, 2007

Archbishop Burke Warns US: Legal Infanticide, Euthanasia Are Next

WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2007 ( – Archbishop Raymond Burke, archbishop of St. Louis, MO, addressed the annual March for Life’s Rose Dinner and delivered a message of both encouragement and warning for the pro-life population of the United States.
. . .
[Archbishop] Burke began his address reminding his listeners that another crucial front has arisen in the battle against the culture of death. “Given the legalization of procured abortion in our nation, we should really not be surprised that now the agents of the culture of death seek a constitutional guarantee of the right to generate artificially and destroy embryonic human life. A nation that permits abortion at any stage, including the practice of partially delivering a baby into the world in order to destroy it brutally, has so deadened its conscience that it is no longer horrified at the thought of embryonic stem cell research, which has rightly been called Frankensteinien.”
. . .
[He] cautioned that unless there is a re-awakening of the national conscience, the United States will soon see “the move to permit infanticide up to a certain age because the small child has not yet achieved the sufficient ability to relate with others - even as we witness a growing acceptance of euthanasia in the cases of persons who we no longer consider productive and able to relate in society according to whatever standard we conveniently establish.”

He claims that such an awakening will only come with the individual awakening of American citizens because he believes that, given the truth, the American people will not accept the killing of human life. Burke attributed the current cultural situation to “the programmatic lying which is the condition for the existence of the culture of death.”
. . .
[Archbishop] Burke emphasized the importance of returning to an understanding and obedience to the natural moral law which he referred to as the “fundamental truth that we seek to communicate.” He stated that only through heeding the natural moral law will our society “keep our eyes fixed on the moral principles upon which the foundation of our nation rests – those expressed eloquently in the Declaration of Independence – namely, that man is endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights among which the first place is held by the right to life.”

Let us not forget to keep Archbishop Burke and his intentions in our daily prayers...And may God give him and all our bishops and priests the grace, strength, and courage to proclaim the truth, especially in this culture which is so filled with lies and corrupted by self-idolatry.

Mental Prayer for January 27, The Following of Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand and love the unselfish life of Christ our Lord.

Mental Picture: Christ, hanging on the cross... men standing around, shaking their heads... "I told you He'd come to a no-good end."... "He thought God sent Him to save the world... another crazy religious fanatic."... "The most dangerous criminal of our day."... "A sorcerer - sold His soul to the devil, that's what He did." Christ the failure! Three years of teaching, and no disciples left. A life of hard work, and nothing to show for it. Two or three personal friends left... just enough to lay His body in an unmarked grave. Christ the simple fool... who trusted in God... lived only for God and to help others find God... and look at Him now... Christ, showing me how unimportant worldly reputation and the opinions of men really are.

My Personal Application: Christ devoted His whole life to doing good without hoping for or expecting the least reward in this world. He got no riches, He got no honors. And He gave me an example that I can follow if I dare. The more perfectly I do dare, the more good I will be able to do with my life. The self-centered person is never going to be any good for God or for the world, or - in the long run - for himself.

So my teacher or my boss doesn't notice the effort I'm putting in. Or I help someone in secret, and he lets it stay secret. I do some good and I get no thanks, no appreciation, no recognition of any kind! That's as it should be! That's the way to stay clear of the devil's snares. That's the way to work purely for my Father who is in heaven. That's the way Christ's whole life was: completely devoted and yet how little appreciated.

I Speak to Christ: Dear Jesus, you deliberately chose the kind of life you did. And you know what kind of life is really best for us, because you are the God who made us. Give me the courage and strength to live a life like yours.

Thought for Today: "Blessed are you when men curse you and revile you and speak all manner of evil against you for my sake..."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

May God Bless this Courageous Deacon!

BUFFALO, January 25, 2007 ( – A Catholic deacon has been reprimanded for taking a pro-abortion Congressman to task on his voting record during a homily on “Respect Life Sunday.”

Deacon Tom McDonnell pointed out that Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins, in attendance with his family, had voted in favour of legislation allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and suggested that parishioners could talk to him about his vote. The Congressman and his family walked out of the church.

And may we assume that this congressional member of the Party of Death did not commit sacrilege by receiving Holy Communion?

But there is a dark side to the story:
The pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rev. Art Smith, competed with the bishop of Buffalo, Edward U. Kmiec, in the haste and abjectness of the apologies. Fr. Smith said he felt “horrible” that Higgins, with whom he is on a first-name basis, was moved to walk out of the church with his family. He complained that he had been turned away from a reception at Higgins’ house over the incident.
The horror! What humilation this priest must have felt...Had he performed his duties as the spiritual father in trying to save the soul of this lapsed Catholic, he might have spared himself this embarrassment. But not to be outdone in bowing before an active accomplice of the culture of death:
Bishop Kmiec quickly issued a public statement saying, “The pulpit is not the appropriate place for confronting a member of the congregation. It is my belief that in situations like this, we are more effective when we have substantive, one-on-one conversations with individuals outside the context of the Mass.”
Public sins, such as voting for evil, demand public censure, at a minimum.

Kudos to the deacon - may God give us more bishops, priests and deacons who are not afraid to speak the truth, whether in season or out of season.

And kudos to LifeSiteNews for providing such reports of courage!

Archbishop Burke Visits St. Gianna’s Home

From the St. Louis Review:

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke began the new year by making a pilgrimage to Milan, Italy, to venerate the tomb of St. Gianna Beretta Molla.

The archbishop met with the husband and relatives of St. Gianna and visited places of interest where the saint lived and died. Canonized in 2004, St. Gianna was a medical doctor, a faithful wife and a mother who sacrificed her own life that her last child could be born.

Archbishop Burke had three special intentions in his prayers during the pilgrimage. He was praying for a number of couples who are having difficulty conceiving and bringing to birth a child. He also was praying for the new archdiocesan St. Gianna Parish in Lake St. Louis, asking God’s blessing upon the parishioners and their pastor, Father Timothy Elliott. Thirdly, he prayed for St. Gianna’s intervention in the activities of a recently formed national association of Cath-olic physicians under her patronage, in which the archbishop is a collaborator.

The St. Gianna Physicians Guild aims to bring together doctors and others in the medical profession from across the country, united by their faith, to grow in the spiritual life and to voice Catholic positions on moral and ethical issues.

Thomas McKenna, a layman and longtime friend of the archbishop, founded the St. Gianna Physicians Guild in San Diego with Dr. Paul Morrow, professor and chairman of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the University of Southern California. McKenna visited the family of the saint earlier this year and helped with the arrangements of Archbishop Burke’s recent pilgrimage.

The organization will provide spiritual support for physicians and health care workers facing many challenges to their faith. "I have been very encouraged with the formation of the St. Gianna Physicians Guild and am pleased to support the members," said Archbishop Burke. "St. Gianna was a medical doctor, a wife and mother of four children and, above all, an active, practicing Catholic. She will serve as an inspiring example to physicians who want to bring the faith into their practice of medicine," he said.

After arriving in Milan on New Year’s morning, Archbishop Burke met Sister Virginia Beretta, St. Gianna’s sister, at her convent where he celebrated Mass in the community chapel. Following Mass, Archbishop Burke was invited to have tea with Sister Virginia as she recounted stories about the life and activities of the saint.

Sister Virginia later accompanied Archbishop Burke to visit her brother, Father Giuseppe Beretta, a priest of the Diocese of Bergamo. The archbishop was warmly received, and Father Giuseppe showed him many family photos and told stories about his saintly sister.

The archbishop was invited to stay for dinner and enjoyed a meal, listening to stories about St. Gianna’s life from the two family members.

"Throughout her life, my sister strove to bring others closer to God. She was especially connected to mothers. She wanted very much to have children, and she prayed constantly for this intention," Father Giuseppe said.

The next morning, Archbishop Burke traveled to the little town of Mesero to celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. Gianna. There he met Father Tiziano Sangalli, the recently appointed custodian of the Shrine and Family Spiritual Center of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. Mass participants included Laura Molla, one of the daughters of St. Gianna, a niece of St. Gianna, the sister of St. Gianna’s husband, Pietro, and the mayor of Mesero.

The archbishop had the opportunity to pray silently before the tomb. He was then shown a mosaic on the wall behind the altar, which depicts the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. In place of the three shepherd children, contemplating Our Lady are St. Gianna, Mariolina, her deceased daughter, and Teresina, her husband’s deceased sister. Archbishop Burke then celebrated Mass on the altar inside the mausoleum beside the tomb.

After Mass, the archbishop visited Pietro Molla, the 94-year-old husband of St. Gianna, and his daughter, Dr. Gianna Emanuela, the one for whom St. Gianna had sacrificed her life. Archbishop Burke brought Communion to the family since they are unable to leave the house to attend Mass, due to Molla’s feeble health.

After administering the sacrament and giving his blessing, the archbishop showed them a copy of the article published in the Review in 2006 announcing the formation of the new parish named after St. Gianna.

They were pleased and presented the archbishop with a number of books and novena cards in English to be given out at the new parish. Most special of all was a first-class relic they presented to him in a beautiful gold reliquary. Archbishop Burke was thankful and plans to place it in the altar of the new church in the St. Louis Archdiocese.

Following the visit, the archbishop was the guest of honor at a lunch hosted in a nearby restaurant by the Italian pro-life organization, Voglio Vivere (I Want to Live). Members of the Molla family and Father Sangalli, as well as local dignitaries, attended.

That afternoon, Archbishop Burke was led on a tour of the town. The first stop was to see a local church which is undergoing a full restoration to serve as the chapel of the Shrine and Family Spiritual Center. He then visited the Basilica of San Martino, in which St. Gianna was baptized, received her First Communion and was married.

He also visited the house where she died, the small chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel where she attended daily Mass after being married, as well as the high school she attended as a young lady.

Before leaving the next day, Archbishop Burke celebrated Mass in the crypt chapel of the 1,100-year old Cathedral (Duomo) of Milan. After Mass, the archbishop was invited to pray at the tomb of St. Charles Borromeo and was given a tour of the historic cathedral by Msgr. Giordano Ronchi. The visit included the ancient baptistery at which St. Ambrose baptized St. Augustine of Hippo. St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the first saint from Milan to be canonized since St. Charles Borromeo was canonized in 1610.

Regarding the pilgrimage, Archbishop Burke commented, "The two days of pilgrimage to the holy places of St. Gianna were a great blessing for me as archbishop. Having promoted devotion to St. Gianna since her beatification in 1994 and having enjoyed a correspondence with her saintly husband and her daughter, Gianna Emanuela, over the past 10 years, the archbishop found great grace in visiting the family and praying at the places in which St. Gianna lived.

"It pleased me especially to be able to pray, during the pilgrimage, for couples desiring to have a baby, for St. Gianna Parish at Lake St. Louis and for the recently established St. Gianna Physicians Guild," Archbishop Burke said. "I am certain that St. Gianna will intercede powerfully for the couples, parishioners and Catholic physicians who have been placed under her spiritual protection."


Source: St Louis Review (Jan 26, 2007)

A Plea to the Holy Father for Help

From Barbara Kralis...
[Added to] the Pope's suffering there is the gravity of scandal caused by a large majority of U.S. Cardinals and Bishops who aid and abet hundreds of U.S. 'Catholic' politicians, both Democrat and Republican, in their support of abortion while continuing sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion.

Because the Pope has no prisons for disobedient hierarchy, the Catholic faithful have no other recourse than to write en masse to the Pope regarding out-of-control U.S. bishops such as Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.

Do you agree that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. should obediently enforce Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law as the Vatican has explicitly instructed all bishops to do? If you agree, would you be willing to write the Pope a letter, asking him not to appoint activist Archbishop Wuerl to the College of Cardinals? Then, perhaps, Archbishop Wuerl would become obedient to the Pope. Why reward a disobedient Archbishop who gives scandal to millions of faithful?

I will show you at the bottom of this column how there is a way our letters might actually be read by the Pope.
Now is the time to put your word processing program or pen to work...and the sooner, the better!

and get the details here...

Gumbleton Replaced; He Says It’s Retaliation

Who cannot be saddened at this! (cough)

In his last Mass as pastor at the inner-city parish in Detroit where he had served for 23 years, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton told his parishioners that he was forced to step down as pastor because of his lobbying efforts on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, a stance that put him in opposition to his fellow bishops.

Is this man not an exemplary example of a bishop?

Bishop Gumbleton, though he never led a diocese, is known nationally in church circles as a liberal maverick. He co-founded the peace ministry Pax Christi...He broke ranks with church teaching by preaching in favor of acceptance of gay men and lesbians and the ordination of women.

Why was he not excommunicated long ago?...His heretical and cancerous opinions have caused scandal for years, he has misled hundreds, if not thousands.

Yet so many think he is just so wonderful.

"...I don’t regret doing what I did because I still think it was the right thing to do,” [Gumbleton] said [last weekend], as the congregation rose and erupted in applause.
. . .
Mary M. Black, a parishioner at St. Leo’s, said: “Almost universally, everyone in the parish is hurt and angry and upset and bewildered."

Bewildered? I'm certain...

Maybe everyone can raise a hand and say:Buh Bye!

Gospel for Jan 26, Memorial: St Timothy and St Titus, Bishops

From: Mark 4:26-34

Parables of the Seed and of the Mustard Seed
[26] And He (Jesus) said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, [27] and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. [28] The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. [29] But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come." [30] And He said, "With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; [32] yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

The End of the Parables Discourse
[33] With many such parables He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; [34] He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples He explained everything.

26-29. Farmers spare no effort to prepare the ground for the sowing; but once the grain is sown there is nothing more they can do until the harvest; the grain develops by itself. Our Lord uses this comparison to describe the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God on earth to grow up to the day of harvest (cf. Joel 3:13 and Revelation 14:15), that is, the day of the Last Judgment.

Jesus is telling His disciples about the Church: the preaching of the Gospel, the generously sown seed, will unfailingly yield its fruit, independently of who sows or who reaps: it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9). It will all happen "he knows not how", without men being fully aware of it.

The Kingdom of God also refers to the action of grace in each soul: God silently works a transformation in us, whether we sleep or watch, causing resolutions to take shape in our soul--resolutions to be faithful, to surrender ourselves, to respond to grace--until we reach "mature manhood" (cf. Ephesians 4:13). Even though it is necessary for man to make this effort, the real initiative lies with God, "because it is the Holy Spirit who, with His inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It is He who leads us to receive Christ's teaching and to assimilate it in a profound way. It is He who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be found more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. `For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God' (Romans 8:14)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 135).

30-32. The main meaning of this parable has to do with the contrast between the great and the small. The seed of the Kingdom of God on earth is something very tiny to begin with (Luke 12:32; Acts 1:15); but it will grow to be a big tree. Thus we see how the small initial group of disciples grows in the early years of the Church (cf Acts 2:47; 6:7; 12:24), and spreads down the centuries and becomes a great multitude "which no man could number" (Revelation 7:9). This mysterious growth which our Lord refers to also occurs in each soul: "the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you" (Luke 17:21); we can see a prediction of this in the words of Psalm 92:12: "The righteous grow like a cedar in Lebanon." To allow the mercy of God to exalt us, to make us grow, we must make ourselves small, humble (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Luke 18:9-14).
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, January 25, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 26, The Good Life

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : To understand and love the unselfish life of Christ our Lord.

The Idea: Christ did greater works than any other man ever did. He had more power over nature than any scientist, more intelligence than any famous philosopher, more charm of personality than any movie star, general, or politician.

More­ over, Christ used all these talents to their fullest. Yet He never made a profit from any of them. He remained really poor to the end of His days. He seemed not to care about, hardly even to think about, getting money, clothes, etc., for Himself. He could easily have been the richest and most powerful man who ever lived. He chose to live and die poor.

My Personal Application: Does my idea of a good life necessarily contain the idea of a comfortable life? If some accident suddenly made me like millions of other people in the world today­ without enough food or clothes, with no place to live - would I find life unbearable? Can I give up things I like to help others in need? Or doesn't it even bother me that I am comfortable while so many others are suffering through no fault of their own?

Can I do what's right because it's right, without expecting a reward? Suppose the only rewards I see around in the immediate future seem to be for those who are evil or selfish. Will I then do evil?

I Speak to Christ: Dear Christ, I'm afraid my life isn't much to look at in comparison with yours. Teach me the true life of detachment from worldly goods. Let me be a faithful follower of yours under your banner.

Thought for Today: "Blessed are the poor..."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Jan 25, Feast: The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle

From: Mark 16:15-18

The Apostle's Mission
[15] And He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. [16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [17] And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

15. This verse contains what is called the "universal apostolic mandate" (paralleled by Matthew 28:19-20 and Luke 24:46-48). This is an imperative command from Christ to His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. This same apostolic mission applies, especially, to the Apostles' successors, the bishops in communion with Peter's successor, the Pope.

But this mission extends further: the whole "Church was founded to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the Earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all men partakers in redemption and salvation.... Every activity of the Mystical Body with this in view goes by the name of `apostolate'; the Church exercises it through all its members, though in various ways. In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member plays a purely passive part, sharing in the life of the body it shares at the same time in its activity. The same is true for the body of Christ, the Church: `the whole body achieves full growth in dependence on the full functioning of each part' (Ephesians 4:16). Between the members of this body there exists, further, such a unity and solidarity (cf. Ephesians 4:16) that a member who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself.

"In the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the Apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in His name and by His power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 2).

It is true that God acts directly on each person's soul through grace, but it must also be said that it is Christ's will (expressed here and elsewhere) that men should be an instrument or vehicle of salvation for others.

Vatican II also teaches this: "On all Christians, accordingly, rests the noble obligation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation" ("ibid"., 3).

16. This verse teaches that, as a consequence of the proclamation of the Good News, faith and Baptism are indispensable pre-requisites for attaining salvation. Conversion to the faith of Jesus Christ should lead directly to Baptism, which confers on us "the first sanctifying grace, by which original sin is forgiven, and which also forgives any actual sins there may be; it remits all punishment due for these sins; it impresses on the soul the mark of the Christian; it makes us children of God, members of the Church and heirs to Heaven, and enables us to receive the other sacraments" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 553).

Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, as we can see from these words of the Lord. But physical impossibility of receiving the rite of Baptism can be replaced by either martyrdom (called, therefore "baptism of blood") or by a perfect act of love of God and of contrition, together with an at least implicit desire to be baptized: this is called "baptism of desire" (cf. "ibid"., 567-568).

Regarding infant Baptism, St. Augustine taught that "the custom of our Mother the Church of infant Baptism is in no way to be rejected or considered unnecessary; on the contrary, it is to be believed on the ground that it is a tradition from the Apostles" ("De Gen. ad litt"., 10, 23, 39). The new "Code of Canon Law" also stresses the need to baptize infants: "Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepare for it" (Canon 867).

Another consequence of the proclamation of the Gospel, closely linked with the previous one, is that "the Church is necessary", as Vatican II declares: "Christ is the one mediator and way of salvation; He is present to us in His body which is the Church. He Himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse to enter it, or to remain in it" ("Lumen Gentium", 14; cf. "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 4; "Ad Gentes", 1-3; "Dignitatis Humanae", 11).

17-18. In the early days of the Church, public miracles of this kind happened frequently. There are numerous historical records of these events in the New Testament (cf., e.g., Acts 3:1-11; 28:3-6) and in other ancient Christian writings. It was very fitting that this should be so, for it gave visible proof or the truth of Christianity. Miracles of this type still occur, but much more seldom; they are very exceptional. This, too, is fitting because, on the one hand, the truth of Christianity has been attested to enough; and, on the other, it leaves room for us to merit through faith. St. Jerome comments: "Miracles were necessary at the beginning to confirm people in the faith. But, once the faith of the Church is confirmed, miracles are not necessary" ("Comm. in Marcum, in loc."). However, God still works miracles through saints in every generation, including our own.
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, January 24, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 25, God-Centered

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To know and love the true life which Christ teaches me in word and example.

Mental Picture: Christ... sending out His follow­ers... to help men save themselves... outlining a three-step plan... the direct opposite of Satan's:
(1) Teach men to detach themselves from riches: "Blessed are the poor in spirit";
(2) Teach them to stop worrying about what others say and think of them: "Blessed are you when men shall per­secute you and calumniate you and say all manner of evil against you for my name's sake" ;
(3) And so help men to learn to center their lives on God, serving God in their neighbor.
My Personal Application: To forget about worldly possessions, forget about what others say or think of me, and so to climb to the height of perfect selflessness - this is Christ's plan to make me a better Christian in any state of life I choose.

This is hard strategy to live by, but the more I can find the strength to live by it, the more I can confound the devil and make my life more like Christ's. If I can forget about getting things for myself, be ready to put up with being forgotten, even hated or laughed at by the world for Christ's sake, then I will find in myself the strength of character to do some real good for the world.

I Speak to Christ: Dear Christ, you, after spend­ing your whole life for others, ended up without a cent, and died in terrible disgrace. You got no reward on this earth at all. Teach me, whatever work I do in this life, to keep from wasting my effort chasing after these cheap, worldly rewards. I want to be able to live a life like yours - a life completely empty of self-seeking, aimed only at serving God and helping my neighbor for God's sake. Call me to serve in your army, under your banner, the cross.

Thought for Today: "Take up your cross daily and follow me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Cardinal George: We’re back to the Protestant Reformation

There are many good people whose path to holiness is shaped by religious individualism and private interpretation of what God has revealed. They are, however, called Protestants. When an informed and committed group of Catholics, such as the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, comes up with an agenda for discussion that is, historically, Protestant, an important point is being made. Catholics assimilated to American culture, which is historically Protestant, are now living with great tension between how their culture shapes them and what their Catholic faith tells them to hold.

This is not surprising. Many writers who claim to be Catholic make names for themselves by attacking truths basic to our faith. Without the personal integrity that would bring them to admit they have simply lost the faith that comes to us from the Apostles, they reconstruct it on a purely subjective, individualistic basis and call it renewal. The Second Vatican Council wasn’t called to turn Catholics into Protestants. (emphasis added)

Unfortunately, the resulting chaos, confusion, and distortions, whether intentional or not, in the decades following the Council, have contributed to the fact that far too many Catholics do not know their faith and are protestant in their beliefs. Why, we even hear from them on this blog at times when their comments reveal their true identities...

The Catholic Diocese of the One Spirit

Have you ever seen a strange, swollen, cancer-like growth on a limb or branch of a tree? The kind which grotesquely distorts and disfigures the branch? The one which will eventually be pruned and cast into the fire...?

Based out of Clifton, the Catholic Diocese of the One Spirit bills itself as "a return to the first few centuries of Christianity."

"We are a welcoming church; we honor different denominations," explained Jim Burch, coordinating bishop of the diocese. Recently, this inclusive offshoot of the Catholic Church has been looking for a site to create a "spirituality center." The center would be used as a location for weddings, church classes and services for business travelers. mind, body and soul...Warped? Probably... Catholic? Hardly...

Gospel for Jan 24, Memorial: St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor

From: Mark 4:1-20

Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables

[1] Again He (Jesus) began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. [2] And He taught them many things in parables, and in His teachings He said to them: [3] "Listen! A sower went out to sow. [4] And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. [5] Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; [6] and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. [7] Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. [8] And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." [9] And He said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

[10] And when He was alone, those who were about Him with the Twelve asked Him concerning the parables. [11] And He said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; [12] so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven." [13] And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? [14] The sower sows the word. [15] And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. [16] And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; [17] and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. [18] And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, [19] but cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. [20] But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."

1-34. Parables are a special method of preaching used by Jesus. By means of them He gradually unfolds before His listeners the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Cf. note on Matthew 13:3. Chapter 4 of St. Mark, although much shorter, is the equivalent of chapter 13 of St. Matthew and chapter 8:4-18 of St. Luke, which is the shortest synoptic account of the Kingdom parables.

1-9. The ordinary Christian, who seeks holiness in his ordinary work, must be moved to find how often our Lord uses in His parables examples taken from work situations: "In His parables on the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ constantly refers to human work: that of the shepherd (e.g. John 10:1-6), the farmer (cf. Mark 12:1-12), the doctor (cf. Luke 4:32), the sower (cf. Mark 4:1-9), the householder (cf. Matthew 13:52), the servant (cf. Matthew 24:25; Luke 12:42-48), the steward (cf. Luke 16:1-8), the fisherman (cf. Matthew 13:47-50), the merchant (cf. Matthew 13:45-46), the laborer (cf. Matthew 20:1-16). He also speaks of the various forms of women's work (cf. Matthew 13:33; Luke 15:8-9). He compares the apostolate to the manual work of harvesters (cf. Matthew 9:37; John 4:35-38) or fishermen (cf. Matthew 4:19). He refers to the work of scholars too (cf. Matthew 13:52)" (John Paul II, "Laborem Exercens", 26).

3-9. With the parable of the sower Jesus wants to move His listeners to open their hearts generously to the word of God and put it into practice (cf. Luke 11:28). God expects the same docility also fromeach of us: "It is a vivid scene. The Divine Sower is also sowing His seed today. The work of salvation is still going on, and our Lord wants us to share that work. He wants Christians to open to His love all the paths of the earth. He invites us to spread the Divine message, by both teaching and example, to the farthest corners of the earth [...]. If we look around, if we take a look at the world, which we love because it is God's handiwork, we will find that the parable holds true. The word of Jesus Christ is fruitful, it stirs many souls to dedication and fidelity. The life and conduct of those who serve God have changed history. Even many of those who do not know our Lord are motivated, perhaps unconsciously, by ideals which derive from Christianity."

"We can also see that some of the seed falls on barren ground or among thorns and thistles; some hearts close themselves to the light of faith. Ideals of peace, reconciliation and brotherhood are widely accepted and proclaimed, but all too often the facts belie them. Some people are futilely bent on smothering God's voice. To drown it out they use brute force or a method which is more subtle but perhaps more cruel because it drugs the spirit--indifference" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 150). The parable of the sower also shows us the wonderful economy of Divine Providence, which distributes various graces among men but gives each person enough to reach salvation: "There was then in the eternal providence an incomparable privilege for the Queen of Queens, Mother of Fair Love, and most singularly perfect. There were also for certain others some special favors. But after this life the sovereign goodness poured an abundance of graces and benedictions over the whole race of mankind and upon the angels; [...] every one received his portion as of seed which falls not only upon good ground but upon the highway, amongst thorns, and upon rocks, that all might be inexcusable before the Redeemer, if they enjoy not this most abundant redemption for their salvation" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 2, Chapter 7).

11-12. The Kingdom of God is a mystery. If the Twelve know it, it is simply because the mercy of God has revealed it to them, not because they are better able, by themselves, to understand the meaning of the parables.

Jesus' use of parables had many advantages: firstly, because typically the human mind grasps concepts by first working on sense-information: in His teaching Christ often clothes spiritual things in corporal images. Secondly, Sacred Scripture is written for everyone, as St. Paul says: "I am under obligation ...both to the wise and to the foolish" (Romans 1:4): this meant it made sense for him to put forward even the deepest truths by using comparisons--so that people could more easily grasp what he meant (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae I", q. 1, a.9).

The disciples are distinguished here from "those outside" (verse 11)--an _expression which Jews applied to Gentiles, and which Jesus here applies to those Jews who do not want to understand the signs which He performs (cf. Luke 12:41).

Later on, our Lord does give His disciples even more exact instruction about the content of the parables. But, since the Jews do not want to accept the signs He performs, in them are fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah (6:9-10). The parables, which were an _expression of our Lord's mercy, were the occasion for His condemning incredulous Jews, whose sins He cannot forgive because they do not wish to see or listen or be converted.

17. "They fall away": they are "scandalized": the word "scandal" originally refers to a stone or obstacle which could easily cause one to trip. Here, in the language of morality, it is used to refer to anything which leads others to commit sin (cf. note on Matthew 18:1-7). The word is also applied in a broader sense to anything which could be an occasion of sin--e.g. sorrow and tribulation. In this passage, falling away or being scandalized means being demoralized, stumbling, giving in and falling. If a person maliciously professes to be shocked by a good action, he is guilty of "pharisaical" scandal: that is what St. Paul means when he says that the cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to Jews, who refused to grasp that the saving plans of God were to be effected through pain and sacrifice (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23; cf. also Mark 14:27; Matthew 16:23).
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, January 23, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 24, Self-Centered

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : To hate and fear a self-centered life.

Mental Picture: Satan, addressing the hordes of agents: "Go into every human life... lead men to desire money and the things money can buy... to desire the praise and honor of their fellow fools on earth... fill their minds with these things... till they become completely occupied with these selfish interests... and end up completely se1f­centered. Let them think only of their wealth, their honor... forget the needs of others... the honor of God. Let them revel in the goods that are made to nourish, please, and flatter their pampered selves.

"When you get anyone self-centered like that... with his own stupid interests first in his mind and heart... report back to me for your reward... and bring him with you. All self-centered people belong to me."

My Personal Application: My good name and my supply of material things may be necessary and good - but they are self-centered goods. The work I put in to get them, the time I spend think­ing about them, are self-centered work and self-­centered time. Am I working too much for, thinking too much about, self-centered goods?

I Speak to God:Dear God, I know there is no such thing as a self-centered saint. There is not even such a thing as a self-centered real Christian. The devil wants, by the tricky desires of wealth and honor in this world, to lead me more and more to affirm, to assert myself. You said, however, that I must deny myself to follow you.

Make me see how the self-centered person is always off balance because he is resting on a false center of gravity. He can easily fall into the abyss of sin at any time because he is ready to do any­thing to keep self in its usurped place. The self- centered person simply cannot understand the rights and needs of others. Help me so that I avoid the temptations to be self-centered.

Thought for Today: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire; for I was hungry... thirsty...naked... and you thought of no one but yourself."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Ford Helps Sponsor Explicit Homosexual Scene

I received another email from the American Family Association - and it's not good news. It's an update on Ford Motor Company.

While Ford sales continue to slide, the company has no qualms sponsoring explicit deviant behavior.

Rather than backing down from its support of homosexuality, Ford Motor Company has apparently taken a "rub it in your face" attitude.

On the January 16 episode of "Dirt," which airs on the FX channel, Ford helped sponsor one of the most explicit, sickening homosexual scenes ever shown on television.

Because it is so explicit, I could not even include a description of it here. I hope you will simply trust me. However, if you want to read our review of the scene, or to see the video of the scene, click here. Be forewarned, it is extremely graphic.

Ford has made it extremely clear that they have no intentions of ending their support of homosexuality. Among other things, the company reneged on their agreement to remain neutral in the culture wars, increased their support of homosexual publications, sponsored TV programs pushing homosexuality and required employees to attend "diversity" training promoting homosexuality. For more information on Ford's track record, go to

What can a person do?

Send an e-mail to Ford's new CEO Alan R. Mulally, and/or

Forward this e-mail to your local Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda or Ford dealer (all owned by Ford). Find their e-mail address here (click on the auto icon). Ask the dealer to forward it to CEO Mulally, and/or

Print out the Boycott Ford Petition and distribute it at church, and...

Extremely important! Help get the word out about Ford by forwarding this to friends and family! For more information on Ford’s support for the homosexual agenda, click here.

There is a saying that sin makes one stupid. It's remarkable that little is heard from Ford dealers and shareholders about this suicidal position Ford is taking...

Will Catholic Adoption Agencies Close in England?

The homosexual agenda grows day by day...the "new" law of immorality, perversion, and sin is poised to replace the natural moral law - with the Divine law having been rejected long ago. And the intellectual capacity of man to reason has all but vanished, resulting in a darkness which overshadows societies and governments. Sometimes it seems as if Satan and his minions have gained control of nearly the entire world, or at least, of those who possess the power to "govern" others.

British prelates, government clash on same-sex adoptions

Jan. 23, 2007 ( - Top Church leaders in England are warning Prime Minister Tony Blair that Catholic adoption agencies might be closed down if the government implements a new anti-discrimination law requiring equal treatment for same-sex couples seeking to adopt children.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster has written to the prime minister, asking for a provision that would make Church-related agencies exempt from the new law, which is due to take effect in April. Catholic agencies, the cardinal warned, would have “serious difficulty” with the law, and it would be “an unnecessary tragedy if legislation forced the closure of these [Catholic] adoption services.”

Zeus Worshippers Demand Access to Temple

People never cease to amaze me.

For your reading pleasure and entertainment.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - After all these centuries, Zeus may have a few thunderbolts left. A tiny group of worshippers plans a rare ceremony Sunday to honor the ancient Greek gods, at Athens' 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greece's Culture Ministry has declared the central Athens site off-limits, but worshippers say they will defy the decision.

"These are our temples and they should be used by followers of our religion," said Doreta Peppa, head of the Athens-based Ellinais, a group campaigning to revive the ancient religion.

Abp. Wuerl's Homily at Jan. 22 Pro-Life Mass

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, brother priests, deacons, women and men in consecrated life, brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Today all of us here at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, join in solidarity with the Church throughout the United States in proclaiming the dignity and value of human life.

What brings us here is also the recognition that we must share our faith, our conviction – that we must proclaim the gospel of life.

There was a part of the homily which really stood out and which left me wondering if and when Archbishop Wuerl will do something to address the complicity ot those Catholic politicians who persist in their public support for abortion:
Silence is the ally of atrocity. Sometimes the silence of individuals is compounded by the means of social communication. The full horror of what is taking place can be presented in a way that most people remain ignorant of what is really happening. Silence and ignorance are twin allies of atrocities. (emphasis added)

From Chiesa: Who Was Spying on Karol Wojtyla

Exclusive from Poland
Names, reports, and documents from the network of informants who kept watch over the life of the great churchman, before and after his election as pope. From “L’Espresso” no. 3, January 19-25, 2007
by Gigi Riva

Gospel for Tuesday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:31-35

The True Kinsmen of Jesus
[31] And His (Jesus') mother and His brethren came; and standing outside they went to Him and called Him. [32] And a crowd was sitting about Him: and they said to Him, "Your mother and Your brethren are outside, asking for You." [33] And He replied, "Who are My mother and My brethren?" [34] And looking around on those who sat about Him, He said, "Here are My mother and My brethren! [35] Whoever does the will of God is My brother, and sister, and mother."

31-35. In Aramaic, the language used by the Jews, the word "brethren" is a broad term indicating kinship: nephews, first cousins, and relatives in general are called `brethren' (for further explanation cf. note on Mark 6:1-3). "Jesus did not say this to disown His mother, but to show that she is worthy of honor not only account of having given birth to Jesus, but also because she has all the virtues" (Theophylact, "Enarratio In Evangelium Marci, in loc.").

Therefore, the Church reminds us that the Blessed Virgin "in the course of her Son's preaching 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 as she was faithfully doing" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 58).

Our Lord, then, is also telling us that if we follow Him we will share His life more intimately than if we were a member of His family. St. Thomas explains this by saying that Christ "had an eternal generation and a generation in time, and gave preference to the former. Those who do the will of the Father reach Him by Heavenly generation [...]. Everyone who does the will of the Father, that is to say, who obeys Him, is a brother or sister of Christ, because he is like Him who fulfilled the will of His Father. But he who not only obeys but converts others, begets Christ in them, and thus becomes like the Mother of Christ" ("Commentary on St. Matthew", 12, 49-50.)
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, January 22, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 23, As They Really Are

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Light to see the devil's trap; sklll to escape it.

The Idea: Exactly what is Satan's strategy? His strategy, in which all the world tries to help him, is to work along with the tendencies of our nature in order to destroy us. We have a normal, ordinary attraction to riches and honors...? Good. He and his agents will encourage us in that attrac­tion, make those things loom larger and larger in our imagination, lead us to work for them as if they were all that really mattered. They will make them seem necessary where they're really not, make them seem good when they begin to be dangerous.

Why dangerous? First, and obviously, be­cause if all our attention is focused on taking care of our material needs and working for our glory, it won't be, can't be focused at the same time on helping our neighbor and looking after his material needs; it can't be focused at the same time on the greater glory of God.

My Personal Application: It's so easy to get all wrapped up in the good things of this life, even as a very sincere Christian with the highest plans and ideals - so easy to worry about having a good car, clothes, good grades, friends and admirers, human respect and honors; easier than thinking about tomorrow, about God and my neighbor, about saving the world. Yet what will these interests count for in eternity?

I Speak to God: Dear God, help me to see things as they really are, not to get all disturbed because others have more than I have, are more popular than I am, etc. Let me learn to be interested in helping others - the many, many people who have less than I do, who need friends and a friend's encouragement even more than I do. Teach me to work for you instead of for myself.

Thought for Today: "I was hungry and you gave me to eat..." "Whatever you do to one of these, my least brethren, you do to me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Catholic Bashers Celebrate Roe v.Wade Anniversary

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented today on an event that is sure to rile most Catholics:

“Roger Limoges, who works for the notoriously anti-Catholic front group Catholics for a Free Choice, will be speaking this evening at Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island. The event is billed as a party that ‘welcomes Catholics to a free choice celebration marking the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.’ It is strange enough that only Catholics are invited to this event, but what is most disturbing is the fact that the owner of the pub, Joshua Miller, is a state senator. On the Trinity website is a picture of the Last Supper with various American celebrities substituting for Christ and the apostles.

“Anyone who would throw a party celebrating the right to kill babies is bad enough, but when Catholics are invited to attend an event that features a speaker from an anti-Catholic organization, a line of decency has been crossed. That a sitting state senator would host such a party is even sicker.

“It is important that everyone in the Rhode Island legislature learn of State Senator Miller’s idea of a good time, and that is why we are sending them this news release.”

HT to Patte G for the link.

Needed: People who can write 'headlines'

Why, you might ask? Let's look at this one from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Wuerl's stand on lawmakers who back abortion angers some conservative Catholics

Actually, the writer or editor has it all wrong! First, let's dispense with the "conservative" Catholic label since this is primarily used by those who have not a clue that a Catholic is either faithful (orthodox) or unfaithful (heterodox).

Secondly, faithful Catholics are not upset or angry with Archbishop Wuerl's stand - we're annoyed, aggravated and troubled because he refuses to take a stand against public and manifest grave sinners causing scandal in the Church within his see, as required by Canon Law (see C.915).

There may be times when he "talks the talk" but, as numerous articles have confirmed, he's unwilling or incapable of "walking the walk."

Perhaps the headline should have read:
Wuerl refuses to take stand against pro-abort politicians, or

Does Wuerl deny the existence of Canon 915?, or

By example, Wuerl teaches that episcopal cowardice is a virtue...

And I'm certain that there are many others...

And yet, there is a bit more:

He [Wuerl] noted that he sometimes gets letters from Catholics demanding to know what he will do about such situations [Catholic politicians who support abortion, same sex marriage, etc].

His temptation, he said, was to reply with, "What are YOU doing about it? How is your voice heard?"

Sounds as if a sore spot has been touched, eh? Being called out for being a source of scandal cannot be rewarding.

It's a shame, really. He claims to want to teach - yet, by his example he teaches that it is OK to receive Holy Communion while embracing positions supporting intrinsic evils, such as abortion.

How long will we have to wait for shepherds who are willing to follow Christ, for shepherds who want to lead us to heaven by teaching us by word and by example? May God have mercy on us!

Read it and weep!

The Coming Eradication of Another 'Taboo'

Documentary on beastiality (sic) premieres at Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY, Utah -- "Zoo" is a documentary about what director Robinson Devor accurately characterizes as "the last taboo, on the boundary of something comprehensible." But remarkably, an elegant, eerily lyrical film has resulted.

"Zoo," premiering before a rapt audience Saturday night at Sundance, manages to be a poetic film about a forbidden subject, a perfect marriage between a cool and contemplative director (the little-seen "Police Beat") and potentially incendiary subject matter: sex between men and animals. Not graphic in the least, this strange and strangely beautiful film combines audio interviews (two of the three men involved did not want to appear on camera) with elegiac visual re-creations intended to conjure up the mood and spirit of situations. The director himself puts it best: "I aestheticized the sleaze right out of it."

For a minute while I was reading this, I was certain that I was reading a movie review from the USCCB...(remember BB Cowboy?)

Regarding this moral depravity:
"It happens," the filmmaker said, "so it's part of who we are."

Deeper and deeper we sink into the abyss of doubt, in the name of tolerance and diversity...After our children are indoctrinated in the wonderful "freedom" of reproductive "choice", the "glories" of homosexuality, the empty promises of cures from the harvesting of fellow human beings, and the deep "love" expressed by pedophiliacs, they will hear all about the "beauty" of bestiality. After all, "it's part of who we are" - it's what we have become.

Prison chaplain devotes herself to work that 'can't be measured'

Did anyone notice anything wrong with the above headline from an article from Catholic News Service?

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- At first glance, it wouldn't seem like a 64-year-old woman religious would possibly be able to relate to inmates at a women's prison. But that's not the case for Mercy Sister Natalie Rossi, a petite, gray-haired woman who works at the women's prison facility outside Erie, Pa.
. . .
For the past 12 years she has been a full-time chaplain at the State Correctional Institution for Women in Cambridge Springs, Pa., a minimum-security facility primarily for women nearing their prison release. (my emphasis)
While there is no judgment being made regarding the work she does or has done, it is possible to make a judgment on the use of the title of "chaplain", whether assumed by Sister Natalie on her own accord, or conferred upon her by someone else.

The 1997 "Instruction Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest" could not be clearer when it states, in Article 1, § 3:
It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as "pastor", "chaplain", "coordinator", " moderator" or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.

Assuming such a title as "chaplain" blurs the distinction between the ordained and the non-ordained, which this Instruction sought to remedy.

Though being born in very difficult and emergency situations and even initiated by those who sought to be genuinely helpful in the pastoral moment, certain practices have often been developed which have had very serious negative consequences and have caused the correct understanding of true ecclesial communion to be damaged. These practices tend to predominate in certain areas of the world and even within these, a great deal of variation can be found.

I'm not surprised to see this article in Catholic News Service. Numerous dioceses post articles from CNS in the diocesan newspapers or websites, and it seems from experience, that few review the information or stories coming from CNS for problems. This article in particular will reinforce among the faithful who read it, the idea that the non-ordained can indeed be chaplains - that they can assume titles which cause further confusion (much like the recent article of glowing praise for pro-abort Nancy Pelosi).

One would think that all humble, obedient servants of the Lord and His Church would follow the directives of his/her ecclesiastical superiors. After nearly 10 years of the publication of the Instruction, we still witness, in many places, a failure to implement it. One would hope that the failure to implement directives from the Holy See is not due to disobedience and pride. Likewise one would hope that it is not due ignorance. Maybe CNS will run a correction?

Gospel for Monday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:22-30

Allegations of the Scribes
[22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He (Jesus) is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons He casts out the demons." [23] And He called them to Him, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. [26] And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. [27] But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house."

Sins Against the Holy Spirit
[28] "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; [29] but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"--[30] for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."
22-23. Even Jesus' miracles were misunderstood by these scribes, who accuse Him of being a tool of the prince of devils, Beelzebul. This name may be connected with Beelzebub (which spelling is given in some codexes), the name of a god of the Philistine city of Eqron (Accaron), which means "god of the flies." But it is more likely that the prince of devils is called Beelzebul, which means "god of excrement": "excrement" is the word Jews used to describe pagan sacrifices. Whether Beelzebub or Beelzebul, in the last analysis it refers to him to whom these sacrifices were offered, the devil (1 Corinthians 10:20). He is the same mysterious but real person whom Jesus calls Satan, which means "the enemy", whose dominion over the world Christ has come to wrest from him (1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13f) in an unceasing struggle (Matthew 4:1-10; John 16:11). These names show us that the devil really exists: he is a real person who has at his beck and call others of his kind (Mark 5:9).

24-27. Our Lord invites the Pharisees, who are blind and obstinate, to think along these lines: if someone expels the devil this means he is stronger than the devil: once more we are exhorted to recognize in Jesus the God of strength, the God who uses His power to free man from enslavement to the devil. Satan's dominion has come to an end: the prince of this world is about to be cast out. Jesus' victory over the power of darkness, which is completed by His death and resurrection, shows that the light has already entered the world, as our Lord Himself told us: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (John 12:31-32).

28-30. Jesus has just worked a miracle but the scribes refuse to recognize it "for they had said `He has an unclean spirit'" (verse 30). They do not want to admit that God is the author of the miracle. In this attitude lies the special gravity of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--attributing to the prince of evil, to Satan, the good works performed by God Himself. Anyone acting in this way will become like the sick person who has so lost confidence in the doctor that he rejects him as if an enemy and regards as poison the medicine that can save his life. That is why our Lord says that he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not forgiven: not because God cannot forgive all sins, but because that person, in his blindness towards God, rejects Jesus Christ, His teaching and His miracles, and despises the graces of the Holy Spirit as if they were designed to trap him (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 19; St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa theologiae", II-II, q. 14, a. 3).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 22, Fame and Fortune

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Light to see the devil's traps; sklll to avoid them.

The Idea: One strong natural desire is to get things for ourselves; another is to be looked up to by others. All the world helps make these desires grow in us. "Whatever you do," older people say, "get yourself a good job, and make some kind of a name for yourself." Aim at money - and a good reputation.

We hear a man goes out to seek "fame and fortune" - the same two ideals. We call a per­son's vocation his "career" - fame; or we call it "making a living" - money. When men work hard, they expect a reward - if not in money then at least in the praise of their fellow men. And finally whom do we usually call a success? One who has acquired outstanding fame or made an outstanding amount of money.

My Personal Application: Do I think this way too? Do I look up to others or down on others because of their clothes, cars, friends, their position, importance, etc.? Do I like to think of myself as famous, admired? Do I hope to win or make or find a fortune? Do I hate above all ever to be left out of things, looked down on, or laughed at by others - even when I'm doing what is right?

I Speak to God: Dear God, when advertisers and propagandists try to catch people's interest, they appeal to this love of riches and fame. They know how widespread and deep-rooted these human desires are. It's not very likely that the devil, the greatest propagandist of them all, would overlook them.

Still, these things seem so innocent in them­selves, so good. But I wonder... why do they count so little for eternity? And how do they really fit in with your teachings in the Gospel? Are there dangers here? Help me to see them.

Thought for Today: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21


[1]Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, [2]just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, [3]it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, [4]that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.

[14]And Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning Him went out through all the surrounding country. [15]And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Jesus Preaches in Nazareth
[16]And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and He went to the synagogue, as His custom was, on the Sabbath Day. And He stood up to read; [17]and there was given to Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, [18]"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, [19]to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." [20]And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. [21]And He began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
1-4. St. Luke is the only evangelist to give his book a preface or prologue. What is usually described as the "prologue" to St. John is really a summary of what the Gospel contains. St. Luke's prologue, which is very short and very elegantly written, describes why he has written the book--to provide an orderly, documented account of the life of Christ, starting at the beginning.

These verses help us realize that Jesus Christ's message of salvation, the Gospel, was preached before it came to be written down: cf. the quotation from Vatican II's "Dei Verbum", 19 (p. 21 above). God, then, wanted us to have written Gospels as a permanent, divine testimony providing a firm basis for our faith. "He does not tell Theophilus new things, things he did not previously know; he undertakes to tell him the truth concerning the things in which he has already been instructed. This he does so that you can know everything you have been told about the Lord and His doings" (St. Bede, "In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

2. The "eyewitnesses" the evangelist refers to would have been the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles, the holy women and others who shared Jesus' life during His time on earth.

3. "It seemed good to me": "When he says `it seemed good to me' this does not exclude God's action, because it is God who prepares men's will [...]. He dedicates his Gospel to Theophilus, that is, to one whom God loves. But if you love God, it has also been written for you; and if it has been written for you, then accept this present from the evangelist, keep this token of friend- ship very close to your heart" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.").

16-30. For the Jews the Sabbath was a day of rest and prayer, as God commanded (Exodus 20:8-11). On that day they would gather together to be instructed in Sacred Scripture. At the beginning of this meeting they all recited the "Shema", a summary of the precepts of the Lord, and the "eighteen blessings". Then a passage was read from the Book of the Law--the Pentateuch -- and another from the Prophets. The president invited one of those present who was well versed in the Scriptures to address the gathering. Sometimes someone would volunteer and request the honor of being allowed to give this address--as must have happened on this occasion. Jesus avails Himself of this opportunity to instruct the people (cf. Luke 4:16ff), as will His Apostles later on (cf. Acts 13:5, 14, 42, 44; 14:1; etc.). The Sabbath meeting concluded with the priestly blessing, recited by the president or by a priest if there was one present, to which the people answered "Amen" (cf. Numbers 6:22ff).

18-21. Jesus read the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 where the prophet announces the coming of the Lord, who will free His people of their afflictions. In Christ this prophecy finds its fulfillment, for He is the Anointed, the Messiah whom God has sent to His people in their tribulation. Jesus has been anointed by the Holy Spirit for the mission the Father has entrusted to Him. "These phrases, according to Luke (verses 18-19), are His first messianic declaration. They are followed by the actions and words known through the Gospel. By these actions and words Christ makes the Father present among men" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 3).

The promises proclaimed in verses 18 and 19 are the blessings God will send His people through the Messiah. According to Old Testament tradition and Jesus' own preaching (cf. note on Matthew 5:3), "the poor" refers not so much to a particular social condition as to a very religious attitude of indigence and humility towards God, which is to be found in those who, instead of relying on their possessions and merts, trust in God's goodness and mercy. Thus, preaching good news to the poor means bringing them the "good news" that God has taken pity on them. Similarly, the Redemption, the release, which the text mentions, is to be understood mainly in a spiritual, transcendental sense: Christ has come to free us from the blindness and oppression of sin, which, in the last analysis, is slavery imposed on us by the devil. "Captivity can be felt", St. John Chrysostom teaches in a commentary on Psalm 126, "when it proceeds from physical enemies, but the spiritual captivity referred to here is worse; sin exerts a more severe tyranny, evil takes control and blinds those who lend it obedience; from this spiritual prison Jesus Christ rescued us" ("Catena Aurea"). However, this passage is also in line with Jesus' special concern for those most in need. "Similarly, the Church encompasses with her love all those who are afflicted by human misery and she re- cognizes in those who are poor and who suffer the image of her poor and suffering Founder. She does all in her power to relieve their need and in them she strives to serve Christ" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 8).

18-19. The words of Isaiah which Christ read out on this occasion describe very graphically the reason why God has sent His Son into the world -- to re- deem men from sin, to liberate them from slavery to the devil and from eternal death. It is true that in the course of His public ministry Christ, in His mercy, worked many cures, cast out devils, etc. But He did not cure all the sick peo- ple in the world, nor did He eliminate all forms of distress in this life, because pain, which entered the world through sin, has a permanent redemptive value when associated with the sufferings of Christ. Therefore, Christ worked miracles not so much to release the people concerned from suffering, as to demonstrate that He had a God-given mission to bring everyone to eternal salvation.

The Church carries on this mission of Christ: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). These simple and sublime words, which conclude the Gospel of St. Matthew, point out "the obligation to preach the truths of faith, the need for sacramental life, the promise of Christ's continual assistance to His Church. You cannot be faithful to our Lord if you neglect these supernatural demands--to receive instruction in Christian faith and morality and to frequent the sacraments. It is with this mandate that Christ founded His Church [...]. And the Church can bring salvation to souls only if she remains faithful to Christ in her constitution and teaching, both dogmatic and moral.

"Let us reject, therefore, the suggestion that the Church, ignoring the Sermon on the Mount, seeks a purely human happiness on earth, since we know that her only task is to bring men to eternal glory in Heaven. Let us reject any purely naturalistic view that fails to value the supernatural role of divine grace. Let us reject materialistic opinions that exclude spiritual values from human life. Let us equally reject any secularizing theory which attempts to equate the aims of the Church with those of earthly states, distorting its essence, institutions and activities into something similar to those of temporal society" ([St] J. Escriva, "In Love with the Church", 23 and 31).

18. The Fathers of the Church see in this verse a reference to the three per- sons of the Holy Trinity: the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) of the Lord (the Father) is upon Me (the Son); cf. Origen, "Homily 32". The Holy Spirit dwelt in Christ's soul from the very moment of the Incarnation and descended visibly upon Him in the form of a dove when He was baptized by John (cf. Luke 3:21-22).

"Because He has anointed Me": this is a reference to the anointing Jesus received at the moment of His Incarnation, principally through the grace of the hypostatic union. "This anointing of Jesus Christ was not an anointing of the body as in the case of the ancient kings, priests and prophets; rather it was entirely spiritual and divine, because the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him substantially" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 77). From this hypostatic union the fullness of all graces derives. To show this, Jesus Christ is said to have been anointed by the Holy Spirit Himself--not just to have received the graces and gifts of the Spirit, like the saints.

19. "The acceptable year": this is a reference to the jubilee year of the Jews, which the Law of God (Leviticus 25:8) lays down as occurring every fifty years, symbolizing the era of redemption and liberation which the Messiah would usher in. The era inaugurated by Christ, the era of the New Law extending to the end of the world, is "the acceptable year", the time of mercy and redemption, which will be obtained definitively in Heaven.

The Catholic Church's custom of the "Holy Year" is also designed to proclaim and remind people of the redemption brought by Christ, and of the full form it will take in the future life.

20-22. Christ's words in verse 21 show us the authenticity with which He preached and explained the Scriptures: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Jesus teaches that this prophecy, like the other main prophecies in the Old Testament, refers to Him and finds its fulfillment in Him (cf. Luke 24:44ff). Thus, the Old Testament can be rightly understood only in the light of the New--as the risen Christ showed the Apostles when He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (cf. Luke 24:45), an understanding which the Holy Spirit perfected on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:4).
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.