Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mental Prayer for Laetare Sunday-Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Passion of Christ-Its Meaning

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, grant me the grace to under­stand more deeply the meaning of the Passion so that I may share your sorrow, appreciate your love, and return it more generously.

The Idea: In the upper room, with the twelve Apostles gathered around Him, Jesus is saying, "Arise, let us go from here." He is going to the Garden of Olives to begin His passion. As I watch Christ deliberately make His way to the Garden, let me consider some facts about the Passion.

Our Lord was God. He had raised the dead to life, silenced the raging sea with a word. No one could make Him do or suffer anything He didn't want to. Anything He would suffer He would do because He willed to suffer it. Again, as God, His every act had infinite value. He could have offered the tiniest act to satisfy fully for all the sins of the world - a drop of blood, a sigh would have been enough and more - infinite, in fact. Yet the Father had willed that He repair for our sins, for my sins, by suffering the Passion. He does this out of obedience to the Father, and out of His excessive love for us - not because He had to, but because He wanted to - for us, for me.

My Personal Application: Compare my generosity and Christ's. Spend some time on this comparison. What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What shall I do for Christ?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, how you loved me! How much I ought to love you in return. I am sorry for having offended you. You have given your all for me - and I, what have I done for you?

Thought for Today: "He loved me, and He delivered Himself up for me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The "Fruits" of RECongress 2007

Bongos, Dancers, and Father-Mother God
Richard Rohr’s Mass at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

At the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress on Saturday evening, March 3, Franciscan Father Richard Rohr celebrated a “general liturgy” in a ballroom at the Anaheim Convention Center. Father Rohr is a founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico and a Congress presenter.

The processional hymn was “Christ Be Our Light,” accompanied by bongo drums. Liturgical dancers carried large, flowing banners down each of the aisles in the ballroom. Reaching the front of the ballroom, the dancers stood along either side of the podium, twirling the giant banners.

Rohr, making no sign of the cross as he began the liturgy, said to the assembly, “as a fellow member of the Body of Christ, I thank you for allowing me to speak in your name. The Eucharist is always set in the form of a dialogue. First of all, I recognize the presence in you, and you return the compliment, and then the body is born.”

Lost and Found - the 4th Sunday of Lent

A Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Lent

The 15th chapter of St. Luke has two beautiful parables before the parable of the Prodigal Son. All three of these parables speak of something that has been lost and found. There was, first of all, a lost sheep that had wandered away from the shepherd, one of a flock of a hundred. Next there was the lost drachma or coin, one of ten, which a woman had herself dropped, or misplaced; which had fallen into some nook or comer and been lost to sight-and that meant, practically, lost to use by her. Finally there is the lost son, one of two brothers, who had left his father's house and gone into a far country and lived wildly. Now, all three were found again; and it is very interesting and enlightening to observe how our Saviour pictures the joy felt in the three various cases when that which had been lost was found again.

The shepherd lays the lost sheep upon his shoulders, rejoicing; and coming home calls together his friends and neigh­bors, saying to them: "Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost!"

Following the very same impulse of joy, the woman who recovered the lost piece of money calls together her friends and neighbors, saying to them: "Rejoice with me, because I have found the coin which I had lost." Finally, when the Prodigal Son returns to his father to seek forgiveness, that loving father does not repulse him, but declares to the angry brother that only merriment and gladness should be felt, "for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again-he was lost and is found!"

Now, the Gospel of this Sunday selects only the third of these parables-although all three of them treat, in various ways, of the loss of something and the joy experienced upon its recovery. Only in the first two cases does our Saviour directly assert the meaning of the parables. The Scribes and Pharisees had murmured because Christ had received sinners and had eaten with them; and He answered them in a most wonderful manner. He does not attempt to soften the charge made against Him on the score that hospitality even to the wretched and the out­cast is a fundamental human virtue; or that we should always try to be gentle and kind to all manner of people; or that it is a sign of magnanimity, of a great character of soul, to condescend to those who are very much beneath us. No, He goes very, very much beyond any of these excuses or explanations. He admits the charge made by His enemies and reinforces it; for not only does He re­ceive sinners who come to Him-as the prodigal son was received by his father-but He even seeks after them, in order that He may receive them and eat with them! Like the shepherd, He does not await the return of the sheep, but leaves the flock in the desert and does not rest until he finds that which was lost; and when He finds it, declares that there is more joy in heaven over that one recovered sheep-that one lost sinner-than upon ninety-nine just. Again, like the woman who has lost a piece of money, our Saviour will go to greatest trouble to recover the coin stamped with God's image; and when He has found it, knows that all of heaven will rejoice with Him.

It was a marvelous answer given by our Lord to His accusers, and one that should greatly encourage us in the work of saving our souls. He is not merely willing to receive us after we have been lost to Him by sin; He Himself is constantly seeking after us ­ why? Are we of any value to Him? He Himself has declared that after we have done all the things we should do in His service, we must still consider ourselves unprofitable servants! Why, then, does He still seek for us, as the shepherd sought the sheep, or the woman the piece of money? Are we indeed of any value in this vast universe?

1. Relative Values.
Christ represents Himself in the character of a shepherd seeking after a lost sheep. Of what value is a sheep? That is a question that might be answered variously. The world has what it styles a "market valuation." But this changes from day to day, and, like nearly all human things, depends on the character of the demand. In a time of famine it is high; in a time of plenty it is low. But many other considerations enter into the decision of such a question, as economists well know. There is, however, another side to the question. The so-called market value may be expressed in terms of money, but scarcely in terms of the shepherd. If he is wealthy, a single sheep is a matter of slight consideration with him. But if he is poor, one sheep may, like the ewe-lamb in the great parable of the prophet Nathan in the Old Testament, be his all, and therefore of greatest value to him.

Now, it is interesting to reflect that our Saviour pictures the shepherd not as the prophet Nathan had pictured the poor man, as the possessor of a single ewe-lamb, but as having in his charge a large flock of one hundred. The owner, then, was not poor; and if one sheep were lost, no great damage would be suffered. In his anxiety to recover the one that was lost, the shepherd nevertheless leaves his flock in the desert - a possible prey to wild animals ­ and goes in search of the lost sheep. A modem painter has attempted ideally to present this thought to us, of the silly, helpless, bewildered animal that wandered off from its fellows in the flock, and has fallen over a steep place. Wounded, bruised, capable of wandering away, but not of retracing its steps, the sheep looks up helplessly at the shepherd who at length has discovered the object of his long search. But how shall even he reach it?

The painter represents him as perilously grasping the branch of a tree which grows out of the steep side of the cliff, while with the disengaged hand he is reaching down and gently folding the lost sheep to his breast. The meaning of the picture is plainly set forth, for the shepherd is none other than our Saviour Himself, represented with the traditional features and dress of the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Our Saviour has indeed a large flock to look after, the billions of human souls that, generation after generation of this world's history, enter into its arena, and then, after a few brief years, silently depart thence for the house of their eternity. And yet the parables remind us of the care and love He has for each one of that innumerable company of human souls!

In the second parable, that of the lost piece of money, we are reminded that the sum lost was in itself inconsiderable - a coin ­ and that after all, small as it was, it was but one of ten. But the woman nevertheless was most diligent in searching after it until she had found it, and then was so rejoiced that she called in the neighbors to share her joy and to utter their congratulations.

Now let us remember that, in these parables, our Saviour is answering the complaints of His enemies, that He received sinners and broke bread with them. He is not pointing out to His accusers the inconsiderable value of the sinner, but rather is He urging the value of that which He seeks after. His Divine argument might be stated in this form. "If a shepherd having as many as one hundred sheep displays so much interest in the recovery of a single one of them; and if a woman, having ten coins, searches so diligently after a single one of them, although in this case the amount is both absolutely and relatively so small, why should not I show equal concern to recover a lost child of Abraham?'' And all this leads up to the parable of the Prodigal Son - not a sheep out of a flock of one hundred, or a coin out of ten, but one of two brothers, and therefore a great loss to a father, both absolutely, as being his son, and relatively, as being one of only two sons.

2. Positive Values
And so our Lord led His hearers on gently to a consideration of the positive value of the human soul, whether that soul be one of two, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, or one of ten, as in that of the Lost Coin; one of a hundred, as in the parable of the Lost Sheep, or one of the innumerable souls of all human history. We must endeavor to understand this better; for indeed it is to us, to each and every one of us, that our Saviour is speaking, as well as to those who accused Him, in those days, of receiving sinners and eating with them.

Doubtless there is a feature of these three parables that must strike all who read them thoughtfully. In each of them our Lord speaks of one thing that was lost, and not of several .or of many things. This is a strange and a striking feature. For His accusers spoke in a plural way, namely, that He had received not one sinner, but sinners; and our Lord continually speaks of one thing that was lost, whether sheep, or coin, or son. Do we not at once get a glimpse of the positive value of the soul?

Our Lord does not perform the wonderful work of our salvation in a universal, or even a general way. His task is, on the contrary, individual and special. True it is that the vast human family comprises a multitude of souls; but not thus does our Lord save them. He died for all on the Cross; but each individual soul was present to His Divine comprehension in those hours of agony, just as the weight of our sins that bent Him to the earth in the Garden of Olives was a weight made up of the sins of each individual soul, and each one of these sins was vividly present in His Divine understanding. Just as He died on the Cross for all, and yet had in His mind each individual comprised in that vast multitude, so are the fruits of His death applied to our souls, not in a general or a universal fashion, but individually and in a very special manner.

Each one of us strays from the flock of Christ in his own way, by his own special choice of evil, by yielding to his own special temptations of dishonesty, of lust, of drunkenness, of anger; by neglecting his own special graces and the Divine warnings imparted to his own individual soul. If, being thus lost to Christ, we are to be found again, it will only be by means of His special and individual search after our soul. Surely, that single individual soul which each one of us possesses must have a great value!

Our Saviour insinuated this great value also on another occasion. In the Sermon on the Mount He called attention to the universal and yet particularized knowledge of the Eternal Father. "Behold," He cried, "the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much more value than they?" And again, on another occasion, He goes further into the question: "Are not two sparrows," He asks, "sold for a farthing? And not one of them shall fall to the ground without the permission of your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, better are you than many sparrows."

Ah, brethren, the love of our heavenly Father is for us a particular love, not a general one. In His Divine knowledge we appear before Him, not as a multitude, but as children appear to their mother, who has for each one of them an individual love. If the very hairs of our heads are numbered, be assured that our soul is an object of very special knowledge to our Father who is in heaven.

What, then, is this positive value which the human soul has in the sight of God? Why should there be such rejoicing in heaven over one soul that does penance, more than upon ninety-and-nine just that need not penance? I will not speak to you of the natural beauty of the soul-of its wondrous faculties of intelligence and of will, of its spiritual nature and of its immortal life. Naturally, it is a masterpiece of the hand of God; and we can understand something, perhaps, of the pleasure an artist receives in contemplating the perfection of his handiwork.

But I will simply recall the amazing words in which the sacred Scripture speaks of the creation of man. After all the other works of creation had appeared good in the sight of their Maker, God said: "Let us make man, to our image and likeness." To God's image and likeness are we made! And this likeness to our Maker resides in the spiritual part of our nature, that is, in our soul. How precious this must be in the sight of God! Is it not wonderful that He should wish to reclaim His own? Upon our souls God reads His own image and inscription. The coin He has lost is of exceeding value in His eyes, and He will search for it, like the woman in the parable, until-He finds it, and will rejoice very greatly at its recovery, and with Him will rejoice the whole court of heaven!

In addition to the value which the soul possesses as being the image and likeness of God, there is the value it has because of His Divine love for it - a love scarcely estimable by us, who are but finite creatures, with limited affections and desires, with a narrow horizon of intelligence, with a contracted human sympathy. Unlike the shepherd of the parable, who merely spent time and effort in the recovery of the lost sheep, our Saviour has pictured Himself to us as the Good Shepherd who in truth laid down His life for His sheep. We are therefore redeemed, as the Apostle reminds us, at a great price, and are of exceeding value in the sight of the Eternal Father.

There is another basis upon which to estimate the value of our souls. It shall be for us this morning the final one. God loves us so much, and we are so precious in His sight, because we are brethren, in the flesh, of His only-begotten Son, and by adoption can claim Him as our Father. Even should we be like the Prodigal Son in the parable, yet will our Father receive us back into His house with greatest joy and forgiveness.

If, then, we be as the lost coin, yet are we of great value, as we bear upon us the image and inscription of our Maker. If we be as the lost sheep, yet are we of great value, as redeemed by the most precious Blood of the Good Shepherd. If we be as a lost child, most precious are we to Him whom, by the spirit of adoption which we have received, we can address as Abba, Father!

3. The Pathway of Penance

In our consideration of the three parables we have learned, first, that God seeks for us with greatest diligence and most loving care; second, that He does this because, unlike the sheep or the coin, we appear to possess for Him a very positive value, and not the relative value of one out of ten pieces of money, or one out of a hundred sheep; nay, not even the relative value of one of two sons. Each one of us has a special and individual value in His Divine sight.

What a comforting thought this must be to each one of us, for we are all sinners, have all gone astray from the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Even in the midst of the greatest degradation into which we may have fallen, we are aware of the Divine Eye that continually is searching us out; of the Divine Love that is unceasingly following after us.

A final aspect of the parables will now challenge our attention. Does it seem significant to you that, in the case of the sheep and the coin, which are not things gifted with reason, the parables represent their recovery as the work of the shepherd and of the woman, while in the case of the Prodigal Son, who was a creature gifted with reason, and therefore responsible for his being lost, the parable represents his recovery as his own work? "I will arise and will go to my father," said the prodigal son. The shepherd searches for the lost sheep, the woman sweeps the whole house in order to find the lost piece of money; but the father of the prodigal son remains quietly at home, while his lost son is spending his inheritance in riotous living.

There is, indeed, a significant distinction drawn by the parables. The lost sheep and the lost coin could not put forth any effort to be restored to their owners. If they were not diligently sought for, there was no hope for their recovery. The son who was lost to the household of his father must himself return to that household - for he is gifted with reason and, therefore, with responsibility.

Nevertheless, it remains true that God does really search for the sinning soul, although that soul must itself co-operate with God. We know that our Saviour did, as a matter of fact, leave His heavenly kingdom to come down upon this earth of ours and to search for that which had been lost. This He did visibly, a Man among men, preaching and teaching with this human tongue of ours, suffering heat and cold and fatigue and anxiety and sorrow in His long journeyings through His mortal life, in order that He might find us, until at last He laid down His life for us on Calvary. He is now at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us, and still, by that endless intercession, searching after the souls that through their own fault have been lost to Him. But He is no longer visible to our human sight.

Here the lesson becomes of greatest importance to us. Christ, our Saviour, is really searching after that which is lost. He is looking for you and for me. But, as we are beings having a reasonable nature, His method of dealing with us is one adapted to our nature. His appeal is to our reason and our heart. Every sting of our conscience, every warning contained in the sermons we hear, in the books we read, in the terrible accidents that mark for others the certainty of death and the uncertainty of its time and manner; every aspiration we have after higher things, every weariness we at length experience in the fruits of our sinning - what are all these things but the continual search made by our Saviour to regain our souls?

The inspirations, the warnings, the hopes and the fears we experience, are to us reminders that He is looking for us, is stimulating our energies to make the effort to return to Him and to our Father's house. And that inestimable love which He has for us, which urges Him to continual search after us, which prompts us to return to Him, and which alone gives us the strength to do so - that Divine love will assuredly receive us upon our return, not with reproaches and punishments, but with an overwhelming gentleness and kindness. The joy filling His Sacred Heart with flow over into all the Kingdom of the blessed; for there is more joy in heaven upon one sinner that does penance than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.

ConclusionThese parables teach us important lessons:
that God does most truly desire our salvation;

that, as we are reasonable creatures, that salvation must be accomplished by cooperation of our wills with the Divine Will;

and that, in every step of that cooperation His grace inspires us, accompanies us, sustains us, rewards us.

We may not sit down idly, waiting, like silly sheep, to be placed on the shoulder of the shepherd, but must say, with the Prodigal Son: "I will arise and will go to my Father."
Adapted from Plain Sermons by Practical Preachers, Vol. II(©1916)
Homily by Rev H. T. Henry, Litt. D.
Nihil Obstat: Remegius Lafort, S.T.D
Imprimatur: John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Gospel for Saturday, 3rd Week of Lent

Luke 18:9-14

Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

[9] He (Jesus) also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: [10] "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank Thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' [13] But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!' [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."


9-14. Our Lord here rounds off His teaching on prayer. In addition to being persevering and full of faith, prayer must flow from a humble heart, a heart that repents of its sins: "Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies" (Psalm 51:19); the Lord, who never despises a contrite and humble heart, resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble (cf. Peter 5:5; James 4:6).

The parable presents two opposite types--the Pharisee, who is so meticulous about external fulfillment of the Law; and the tax collector, who in fact is looked on as a public sinner (cf. Luke 19:7). The Pharisee's prayer is not pleasing to God, because his pride causes him to be self-centered and to despise others. He begins by giving thanks to God, but obviously it is not true gratitude, because he boasts about all the good he has done and he fails to recognize his sins; since he regards himself as righteous, he has no need of pardon, he thinks; and he remains in his sinful state; to him also apply these words spoken by our Lord to a group of Pharisees on another occasion: "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, `We see,' your guilt remains" (John 9:41). The Pharisee went down from the temple, therefore, unjustified.

But the tax collector recognizes his personal unworthiness and is sincerely sorry for his sins: he has the necessary dispositions for God to pardon him. His ejaculatory prayer wins God's forgiveness: "It is not without reason that some have said that prayer justifies; for repentant prayer or supplicant repentance, raising up the soul to God and re-uniting it to His goodness, without doubt obtains pardon in virtue of the holy love which gives it this sacred movement. And therefore we ought all to have very many such ejaculatory prayers, said as an act of loving repentance and with a desire of obtaining reconciliation with God, so that by thus laying our tribulation before our Savior, we may pour out our souls before and within His pitiful heart, which will receive them with mercy" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 2, Chapter 20).
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, March 16, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 17, How the Mystical Christ Lives

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me see what this life of sanctifying grace is, what it should mean for me, and what it can mean for others.

The idea: Picture a world without hope - weary, bogged down... a father laboring day and night - ­for nothing... a mother working for her family all day in the house - for nothing... a teen-ager study­ing, playing - for nothing... people growing up and dragging out their lives without a thrilling purpose to work for.

A life without hope; a life that is dead - that is a world without Christ. Without Christ, Adam's original sin would have condemned us to a life of work and trouble with­out hope, without a purpose for which to strive... and a life that would end in damnation.

But Christ came and poured new life into a dead world: the rich, healthy blood of sanctifying grace. Through sanctifying grace we live with God's own life. Because of our union with Christ we have a right to a glorious destiny: the close friendship and vision of God for all eternity. With sanctifying grace and all that it means, my life has hope, my life becomes alive.

My Personal Application: I can never realize too fully what Christ has done for me by making it possible to share in His own life. I can never thank Him enough for letting me be a member of His Mystical Body. Have I ever realized that millions of people in the world are still separated from that Mystical Body, from that supernatural life that makes the deadening round of everyday life become alive?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, help me to increase this life of sanctifying grace by becoming more closely united to you in your Mystical Body. Help me also to realize how many people there are right now for whom there is no hope because of a lack of sancti­fying grace in their lives.

Thought for Today: I am Christ to the men of my times.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Isn't It about Time for a Public Interdict or Excommunication?

Catholic Colorado Governor Signs Bill Mandating Catholic Hospitals Provide Abortion Drug

Planned Parenthood to Host "Good Friday Solidarity" Event

Good Friday Solidarity Event: April 6th

In just 3 weeks, almost 1,000 protesters will descend upon Planned Parenthood's Highland Park clinic in a day-long effort to intimidate and harass our patients and staff.

It is important to let our patients and the larger community know that there is support for Planned Parenthood and the services we provide.

Sign-Up TODAY to take part in our Good Friday Solidarity event. The purpose of this event is to provide a peaceful, pro-choice presence at our Highland Park facility.

Planned Parenthood has been providing quality, affordable health care services for the men and women of Minnesota for almost 80 years; we have no intention of letting anyone intimidate us or close our doors.

Click Here to learn more about our Good Friday Solidarity Event and to sign-up!

We need all the support we can muster for this very important day!
The demons are active and growing bolder and bolder with each passing day, it seems...I can almost hear their voices crying out as the potential victims are escorted inside, "Crucify them, crucify them all!"

The Mousetrap...

Interesting...this arrive today from a friend:
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?", the mouse wondered.

He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There's a mousetrap in the house! There's a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it's of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There's a mousetrap in the house! There's a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There's a mousetrap in the house! There's a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night, a sound was heard throughout the house, like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, though she did not see it, was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home a bit later but with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well, in fact, despite the doctors' help, she become worse, and later, she died.

So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

And so, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember--when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Mar 17-St Cronan's Parish Hosting Prayer for Women's Ordination?

From the Women's Ordination Conference we read:
Partners - World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination

Contact: Gerry Rauch, or 314 721-297
What: Women-led Prayer
When: Saturday, March 17, 9:00 a.m.
Where: St. Cronan Church, 1203 S. Boyle Avenue, St. Louis, MO

So this is how Fr. Gerry Kleba allows the Catholic Parish entusted to his care to be used? Would their time not be better spent if they prayed for more men to consider the priesthood and more women to consider the religious or consecrated life?

This was first reported on Jan 15 after it was discovered that "Catholic" Action Network had posted a flyer about here.

Begging for Help in Nazi Germany

After first learning of this case of a Nazi-like government kidnapping, we discover that Melissa Busekros, in a secretly passed note, is begging for help to be returned to her family.

John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews has the story:

NUREMBERG, March 15, 2007 ( - In a hand-written letter secretly passed by her to members of the International Human Rights Group (IHRG) in Germany, Melissa Busekros the 15-year-old who was removed from her family by police for having been homeschooled, begged for assistance to return to her parents.

In the letter, dated March 12, 2007, Melissa relates, "I was taken away from my family on the first February 2007 and brought with more than 15 police men to the psychiatry in Nuremberg."

She explains, "There I was 2 weeks, I was brought there because I was homeschooled 2 ½ years. Now I am in a foster-family and I am allowed to see my parents only a week."

This governmental action is unconscionable - we can only wonder at what point do those in this country who seek to overthrow the Constitution and all ethical and moral values begin resorting to similar tactics to ensure that their demented and depraved "values" fill the minds of every child who is permitted to live, spared the horror of the government's love of abortion?

Phoenix diocese to monitor talk about ‘God Mother’

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has informed author-poet Edwina Gateley that they intend to tape her talks during a nuns retreat in June at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Paradise Valley to monitor whether her remarks conform to Catholic teachings.

“We don’t necessarily believe we are obligated to provide forums for people who may use that forum as a license to attack what we stand for,” diocese spokesman Jim Dwyer said. “We aren’t saying she would. We don’t know.”

Gateley, a British-born lay missionary, writes and speaks often of a “God Mother,” and her writings have been critical of church male hierarchy. She points out that St. Augustine pronounced women “not made in the image of God” and that St. Thomas Aquinas said the “woman is an incomplete being, a misbegotten male.”

Gately founded the Volunteer Missionary Movement in 1969 with some 1,500 missionaries across the world. In 1983, she founded Genesis House in Chicago for women involved in prostitution. She tells how she met resistance when she sought permission from the Catholic hierarchy to recruit missionaries from all religions for a God who is “black and white, male and female, gay and straight.” Among Gateley’s 10 books are “A Warm Moist Salty God” and “Growing in God.”

She is also a proponent of "womyn's ordination" and a regular, it seems, at the annual Mahony "Dissent Fest"...

Lent and First Friday devotion

From the column of Archbishop Burke:
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a most fitting way to respond to Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation to center our Lenten observance upon the text from the Gospel according to St. John: "They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced" (John 19:37). Our Holy Father, by inviting us to look upon the pierced side of our Lord Jesus, invites us to contemplate the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, the pre-eminent sign of God’s immeasurable and ever faithful love of us. From the Heart of Jesus flow all graces in the Church. Looking upon Him Whom we have pierced by our sins, we come to understand ever more fully the great mystery of His response of love to our indifference and even our hostility in sinning.

In a particular way, we are drawn to the Heart of Jesus, which is open for us in the Sacrament of Penance to receive the confession of our sins and to pour out upon us the healing grace of forgiveness. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus draws us, above all, to communion with our Lord Jesus in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. From the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus flows the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ for our spiritual nourishment during the days of our earthly pilgrimage home to God the Father.
Continued here...

Gospel for Friday, 3rd Week of Lent

From: Mark 12:28-34

The Greatest Commandment of All

[28] One of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that He (Jesus) answered them well, asked Him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" [29] Jesus answered, "The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; [30] and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' [31] The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." [32] And the scribe said to Him, "You are right, Teacher; You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other than He; [33] and to love with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." [34] And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask Him any question.


28-34. The doctor of the law who asks Jesus this question is obviously an upright man who is sincerely seeking the truth. He was impressed by Jesus' earlier reply (verses 18-27) and he wants to learn more from Him. His question is to the point and Jesus devotes time to instructing him, though he will soon castigate the scribes, of whom this man is one (cf. Mark 12:38ff).

Jesus sees in this man not just a scribe but a person who is looking for the truth. And His teaching finds its way into the man's heart. The scribe repeats what Jesus says, savoring it, and our Lord offers him an affectionate word which encourages his definitive conversion: "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." This encounter reminds us of His meeting with Nicodemus (cf. John 3:1ff). On the doctrinal content of these two commandments cf. note on Matthew 22:34-40.

[Note on Matthew 22:34-40 states:
In reply to the question, our Lord points out that the whole law can be condensed into two commandments: the first and more important consists in unconditional love of God; the second is a consequence and result of the first, because when man is loved, St. Thomas says, God is loved, for man is the image of God (cf. "Commentary on St. Matthew", 22:4).

A person who genuinely loves God also loves his fellows because he realizes that they are his brothers and sisters, children of the same Father, redeemed by the same blood of our Lord Jesus Christ: "This commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God should love his brother also" (1 John 4:21). However, if we love man for man's sake without reference to God, this love will become an obstacle in the way of keeping the first commandment, and then it is no longer genuine love of our neighbor. But love of our neighbor for God's sake is clear proof that we love God: "If anyone says, `I love God', and hates his brother, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself": here our Lord establishes as the guideline for our love of neighbor the love each of us has for himself; both love of others and love of self are based on love of God. Hence, in some cases it can happen that God requires us to put our neighbor's need before our own; in others, not: it depends on what value, in light of God's love, needs to be put on the spiritual and material factors involved.

Obviously spiritual goods take absolute precedence over material ones, even over life itself. Therefore, spiritual goods, be they our own or our neighbor's, must be the first to be safeguarded. If the spiritual good in question is the supreme one for the salvation of the soul, no one is justified in putting his own soul into certain danger of being condemned in order to save another, because given human freedom we can never be absolutely sure what personal choice another person may make: this is the situation in the parable (cf. Matthew 25:1-13), where the wise virgins refuse to give oil to the foolish ones; similarly St. Paul says that he would wish himself to be rejected if that could save his brothers (cf. Romans 9:3)--an unreal theoretical situation. However, what is quite clear is that we have to do all we can to save our brothers, conscious that, if someone helps to bring a sinner back to the way, he will save himself from eternal death and cover a multitude of his own sins (James 5:20). From all this we can deduce that self-love of the right kind, based on God's love for man, necessarily involves forgetting oneself in order to love God and our neighbor for God.]

30. This commandment of the Old Law, ratified by Jesus, shows, above all, God's great desire to engage in intimate conversation with man: "would it not have sufficed to publish a permission giving us leave to love Him? [...]. He makes a stronger declaration of His passionate love for us, and commands us to love Him with all our power, lest the consideration of His majesty and our misery, which make so great a distance and inequality between us, or some other pretext, divert us from His love. In this He well shows that He did not leave in us for nothing the natural inclination to love Him, for to the end that it may not be idle, He urges us by His general commandment to employ it, and that this commandment may be effected, there is no living man He has not furnished him abundantly with all means requisite thereto" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 2, Chapter 8).
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, March 15, 2007

The Church Will Not Be Hannitized

Fr Thomas Euteneuer writes (in part):
To say that I am humbled and awed by the overwhelming response of the faithful to last Friday night’s Hannity interview would be an understatement. To show my gratitude I have celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the literally hundreds of people who wrote emails, sent faxes and made phone calls in support of the Church’s teaching, and for the unique opportunity to offer this witness to millions more. At the writing of this column, HLI has received more than 1250 emails and dozens of other communications which have run clearly 90-10 in favor of the Church’s teaching—this is just incredible! I was aware that there were good Catholics out there who support the Church, but I didn’t realize how many were willing to go to bat for the Truth. This gives me the greatest of hope for the future of the Church!
. . .
Our recent Popes call the “hannitization” phenomenon moral relativism and condemn it in the starkest possible terms as incompatible with the Faith of our Fathers. Pope Benedict has even used the term “dictatorship” to describe the arrogance with which such people tend to treat all who question their private judgments about objective truths.

This whole incredible episode has exposed, in a graphic way, the profound internal crisis of Catholicism in a post-Vatican II world. The battle is not at all between so-called liberals and conservatives. The poster boy for conservative values has just gone on record admitting that he is—obstinately—in denial of a truth of the Faith that must be believed, as the Catechism says, “with divine and catholic faith” (n. 2089)...

This issue is not over, friends, because the battle lines are being drawn between the two worldviews and the stakes are high. Those stakes are the hannitized souls of this and the next generation of youth, and they are worth fighting for...

Now I need to ask you for a quick favor. Starting today there are nine days before our Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation—that day in history when Our Lord took on embryonic form in the womb of His most holy Mother. Pray with me a novena for the conversion of all those who have bought into the lies of the contraceptive culture—including Mr. Hannity. Then pray that he responds to my second request to meet with him privately. Who knows, we may de-hannitize our whole Church through his conversion!
The full article can be read here.

Mar 18-There's a Cultural War Going On

“Deep Down Everyone Knows There is a Cultural War Going on”
By John Horvat

Does everyone know there is a Cultural War going on? What about the teenager down the street? Or the cashier at the supermarket?

Mr. Horvat will look at the profound causes of the Cultural War in America based on the book, Revolution and Counter-revolution by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. He will define basic principles whereby you can see who is on each side. He will outline strategies which you and your family can use to preserve your faith in an increasingly secular world.

A question and answer period will follow the presentation. Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating afternoon of Catholic conviviality, enlightening conversation, and hope for the future.

This talk is to be held at our new location;

St. Agnes Home
10341 Manchester Rd.
Kirkwood, MO

*****Please enter at the North Woodlawn Entrance*****

Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 2:00 PM.

(Modest and informal attire requested)

Click here for a map.

For additional information about this meeting, contact Mark Serafino at (573)459-5531.

Mental Prayer for March 16, Unity of the Mystical Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me to realize that we, as faithful and united Catholics, are Christ to the men of our times.

The Idea: The brothers and sisters of the same family are very close to each other. Why? They have the same blood, the same source of life. They have been brought up in the same home, with the same ideas and the same way of doing things. They have the same mannerisms; some­times they even look alike.

As Catholics we are all united with Christ, the source of our super­natural life of sanctifying grace. And because we are from Christ, because we are members of the Mystical Christ, we are closely united with each other. The girl in the next row at school, the boy halfway down the block, the catechist in India, the parish priest, the little old lady in the front pew in church - all of them are very close to me because they are very close to Christ. Are they as close as brothers and sisters?

They are closer. We are so closely united that we have the same life - not merely the same blood and inherited traits, but the very same life: Christ's life, the supernatural life, sanctifying grace. His life is in us all.

My Personal Application: Do I give strength, sup­port, help to other Catholics linked together with me as members of one Body? Would modern pagans, observing what I do and say concerning my fellow Catholics, say what the ancient pagans used to say? - "See how those Christians love one another!"

I Speak to God: Lord, let me not forget that when men see us Catholics acting, they see the Mystical Christ. We are Christ to the men of our times.

Thought for Today: "See how they love one another!"
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Since when is Rudy Giuliani excommunicated?

Dr Edward Peters explains the difference between being barred from receiving Holy Communion and Excommunication here.

This is My Body, This is My Blood

Eucharistic Miracles

HT to Dennis!

More Translation Problems?

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has located another translation problem from the Latin to the English in the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation.

One wonders if this is just sloppy work or what?

Everyone to Mass on Sunday (Chiesa)

A Christian cannot live without the Eucharist, Benedict XVI writes. In it, “the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom.”With the duty that stems from this, and in the political realm as well: to give “public witness to our faith”.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent

From: Luke 11:14-23

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan

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


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

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

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

18. Christ's argument is very clear. One of the worst evils that can overtake the Church is disunity among Christians, disunity among believers. We must make Jesus' prayer our own: "That they may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me" (John 17:21).
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, March 14, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 15, Showing Forth Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me understand what it means to say "I am Christ to the men of my times."

The Idea: A TV set is supposed to give an accurate picture here and now of something that is going on at a distance. A person far away is made present if the set is working properly. If the set is not working as it should, the picture is distorted and ugly. Perhaps the screen is entirely blank. But if the set is working well, the picture of the person is almost as alive as the person himself.

The better the conditions and the components, the better the picture... We, Catholics, united under Christ's Vicar, the Holy Father, are members of the Mystical Christ. We are Christ to the world that sits and watches us. We can show the world Christ only if we are healthy members of His body. We are not giving a good picture of Christ if we do not live up to our duties as Catholics. The better mem­bers of the Church we are, the closer we are united with Christ, the better the picture of Christ we present to the world.

My Personal Application: I am Christ to the men of my times. Any failure on my part to live my life as a Catholic, any failure to be united as closely as I can to Christ, will result in a weak or wavering or unsteady or distorted picture of Christ to my fellowmen. Any spiritual failure on my part is going to harm not only me but all those for whom I am Christ. Any spiritual advance on my part is going to benefit not only me but all those for whom I am Christ.

I Speak to God: Lord, help me realize that because I am a member of the Catholic Church, a member of the Mystical Christ, I have the duty to show forth Christ to all men.

Thought for Today: I am Christ to the men of my times.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

March 20-Gregorian 1st Vespers, The Passing of Saint Benedict

Br. Cassian reminds us of:
Latin Vespers at Saint Louis Abbey on 3/20. The 1st Vespers of the Passing of Saint Benedict may be a good excuse to visit the Benedictines in town. More info can be found at:
The address of St Louis Abbey is
500 South Mason Road
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Thanks to Br. Cassian for the update...

UVA Launches Priest Training Workshops...

Joint Effort with FSSP to Train Priests to Celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass

Una Voce America is pleased to announce a collaborative program with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) designed to provide training for any priest interested in learning how to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.

"This program may be the most important effort we've undertaken," said UVA director Jason King recently. "We're grateful to the Fraternity for its generous support of this project."

Training will take place in June 2007 at Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Nebraska, which is located in the diocese of Lincoln. The workshop will last for one week and will be repeated three times (the first, second and fourth weeks of June). Each session will begin on a Monday at noon and end Friday at noon of that week. A priest need only attend one of the three sessions, as the same material will be covered in each one.

The FSSP will be responsible for curriculum and instruction, while UVA will assume primary responsibility for funding and promoting the program.

1000+ Rally at State Capitol to Ban Human Cloning

From Missourians Against Human Cloning:

On March 7th, Missourians from across the state gathered in the Rotunda of our State Capitol to rally for a true ban on human cloning. During the "No Human Cloning Rally" at noon, the large crowd filled the first floor of the Rotunda, the Grand Staircase and surrounded the railings overlooking the stage on the second and third floors. This highly successful rally was one of the largest ever held at the Capitol. Featured speakers at the rally were Senator Matt Bartle and Representative Jim Lembke who are the sponsors of SJR 20 and HJR 11 which would place before the voters the opportunity to close the loopholes created by Amendment 2. The other speakers were Dr. David Prentice, Representative Belinda Harris, Archbishop Raymond Burke and Pastor Rick Scarborough.

Before and after the rally, participants lobbied their legislators and leaders in both the House and Senate in support of the joint resolutions. They were also able to express their opposition to legislation that would use proceeds from the sale of a portion of the MOHELA assets to potentially fund embryonic stem cell and human cloning experiments. (see below)

At the rally, Rep. Lembke announced he has initiated a discharge petition to move HJR 11 out of the Health Care Policy Committee where it is stalled. A discharge petition requires 55 signatures. Participants were then able to encourage their representatives to sign the discharge petition in the afternoon.

For those who attended, thank you so much for your time and your enthusiasm. It was a great day. For those of you who were unable to attend, it is my hope to share in this report what an exciting and positive experience this was. If you weren't able to lobby in person it is important for you to contact your legislators and leadership to express your support for SJR 20 and HJR 11. Missourians deserve the opportunity to vote to ban all human cloning and return the regulation and oversight of the biotech industry to our state legislature. Visit our web site for pictures from the rally and a link to look up your legislators.

Remember how the pro-cloners kept telling us that they didn't want any public money? Well, take a good look at the controversy surrounding the sale of MOHELA assets and more importantly the projects slated to be funded by the proceeds from this sale. Proponents claim the current list of projects that would be funded by the sale of MOHELA assets (Senate Bill 389) don't include any funding for embryonic stem cell research BUT :

Under the new plan, the Missouri Technology Corporation would be given $15 million so it could attract and retain high-tech companies that engage in human cloning and embryonic stem cell research that are protected by Amendment 2.

The Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) is chaired by Donn Rubin, who was the official coalition chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures that spent over $30 million to pass constitutional Amendment 2, adopted by Missouri voters in 2006. Many of the board members of the MTC, as well as their affiliated organizations, were heavily involved in support of Amendment 2. Also, the MTC's affiliated organization, the Research Alliance of Missouri (RAM), includes as a member the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, whose founders, James and Virginia Stowers, were major supporters and financiers of Amendment 2. During the campaign on Amendment 2, the Stowers Institute said it would only go forward with its proposed expansion plans in Missouri if Amendment 2 was approved by the voters.

Amendment 2 was purposely written to hide the fact that it is about your money being diverted to fund embryonic stem cell and human cloning experiments. Let YOUR legislators know you won't support this and you are committed to closing the gaping loopholes created by Amendment 2.

Note: At this point any vote on SB 389 has been delayed indefinitely by a committed Democratic filibuster.

Notification Concerning the Works of Fr Jon Sobrino

VATICAN CITY, MAR 14, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a Notification concerning certain works of Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J. According to the note, which has been made public in various languages including English, these works "contain propositions which are either erroneous or dangerous and may cause harm to the faithful."

The Explanatory Note on the Notification on the works of Father Jon Sobrino, S.J. can be read here.

Anti-Catholicism: A Phony Issue?... says Susan Jacoby (and the Washington Post) in todays hit piece on the Catholic Church, the Catholic League, William Donohue and others...and in the comments section, Jacoby has received the praise of none other than priest Thomas Doyle, chaplain of SNAP. Of course, people like Jacoby are incapable of understanding the hypocritical nature of their attacks - all too often, they engage in deceitful, hateful and vehement attacks on the Church and those who are faithful to her doctrines all while claiming that so such attacks take place.

The idea that anti-Catholicism is a significant force in American life today is a complete canard, perpetrated by theologically and politically right-wing Roman Catholics--a minority among the Catholic laity--and aimed at anyone who stands up to the Church's continuing attempts to impose its values on all Americans.

The people who scream "anti-Catholicism" at every opportunity use the same tactics as right-wing Jews who charge that any criticism of Israeli policies is anti-Semitic. And just as the Jewish Right attacks liberal Jews, the Catholic Right attacks liberal Catholics as well as liberal non-Catholics.

The major organization promoting the falsehood that there is significant discrimination against Catholics is the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, whose president, William Donohue, has conned the news media into treating him as a "spokesman" for all American Catholics.

Besides the fact that Donohue and many others have documented instances of anti-Catholic (and anti-Christian) rhetoric and actions, this must not be viewed as relevant, or so Jacoby and others seem to say...

The majority of American Catholics, as demonstrated in repeated public opinion polls, reject the league's arch-conservative views on such matters as the separation of church and state (the league wants as much religious intrusion into government as possible); abortion rights; and stem cell research.

At this point one has to wonder when and where "the league wants as much religious intrusion into government as possible"? If seeking to address and correct the rampant immorality that is being spread across this once great country is viewed as a "religious intrusion" by the blind and the ignorant, then so be it - one must not lose sight that most laws are based on a Judeo-Christian ethic; laws against murder, stealing, perjury, etc.

And the fact that various "polls" indicate that the "majority of American Catholics" seem to have apostacized from the faith is really a matter, not with "the league" but with the Church. That some do not view abortion (or embryonic stem cell research) as murder merely demonstrates and confirms the level of depravity to which some have sunk and the intellectual sophistry in which some must engage. Sometimes I feel as if we're re-living the last days of the Roman Empire before it fell under the weight of its own iniquity and decadence.

It seems, though, that the real reason for Jacoby's tirade has to do with a Catholic League press release, "Good Riddance to Frances Kissling" which she asserts, was issued by "Donohue's mean-spirited Catholic soldiers." In fact, poor Susan doesn't even have this right as the Press Release contains Donohue's words - not those of his "mean-spirited Catholic soldiers."

Be that as it may, we find out that we still haven't come to the real reason for Jacoby's vehement rantings when she says,
What really upsets the Catholic Right is not discrimination but disagreement.

Or, put another way, in its proper perspective, (with a bit of truthful, editorial license):
What really upsets us (ex-Catholics, nominal Catholics, heterdox Catholics, lapsed Catholics, contracepting Catholics, aborting Catholics, unfaithful Catholics), is not discrimination but disagreement with Christ and His Church.

How could we have reached that conclusion? She, like so many others before her, tells us:
Right-wing Catholic leaders would like to turn the clock back to the days when most American Catholics let their priests and bishops do their thinking for them...Those were the bad old days for Catholics who, in spite of the relentless propaganda to which they had been subjected, insisted on thinking for themselves.

As I lived during those days of the 50s and 60s, I don't recall the Church ever indicating that the priests and bishops were charged with "doing our thinking for us." Of course, many recognize this ploy as a preliminary setup to rationalize one's desire to embrace vice rather than virtue.

Today, a majority of lay American Catholics have turned a deaf ear to a number of particularly benighted bishops who have attacked prominent Catholic politicians solely because they support freedom of reproductive choice and embryonic stem cell research.

While Jacoby consistently asserts that a "majority" of American Catholics believe as she does, we can only hope and pray that she is actually referring to a minority of attention-seeking load-mouths whose consciences are conflicted and who are in a constant state of rebellion against God. They are turning, not from certain "benighted bishops", but from our Lord...and those who are screaming the loudest, probably do so from the guilt and pain they are suffering from their own actions.

There are many people who are in need of prayers. There are many lost sheep who believe comfort comes from lying down among and cavorting with ravenous wolves.

Archbishop Flynn: No Mass for New Ways Ministry Symposium

A national symposium to explore the conflict between homosexuality and Catholicism is set to take place in the Twin Cities area this weekend.
The only conflict is that of a group of dissenting "Catholics" are refusing to accept the natural moral law and the teachings of the Church. Were they to abandon their disordered lust and pride, their eyes might be opened and their intellects might be illumined with the light of the truth.

But one thing participants won't be able to do — as they have in every other city where the symposium has taken place since 1977 — is celebrate Mass.

The symposium, "Outward Signs: Lesbian/Gay Catholics in a Sacramental Church," is the sixth such meeting sponsored by New Ways Ministry — an organization dedicated to creating "a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics," according to the organization's literature.

Is it not mind-boggling that this assault has been ongoing for 30 years? No wonder there are so many "confused" and poorly catechized "Catholics"...The cliche "The inmates are running the asylum" comes to mind.

And what exactly is "Justice for lesbian and gay Catholics"? Justice requires truth, not lies. There can be no justice when those who have disordered inclinations are encouraged to rebel against God, against the Church, against the natural order. Promoting a sinful and immoral lifestyle as a good thing is sinful - and, one should not forget, eternal justice will eventully be rendered...It would seem that one who professes to believe in our Lord and His Church might possess, if not a filial fear of the Lord, at least a servile fear in order that one might steer clear of the path of eternal damnation.

Archbishop Harry Flynn, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, sent a candid letter last month to New Ways, stating concern about the symposium's topics and featured speakers "who are known to have publicly contested Church teaching."

Those who are known to have publicly rejected the Church's teaching should be called what they truly are, be it heretics, schismatics, or apostates. It's unfortunate that bishops allow these sick souls to continue to infect others by not publicly excommunicating them.

Flynn prohibited symposium participants from celebrating Holy Eucharist, saying to do so might mislead Archdiocese members into believing the speakers' views had the church's sanction.
I suppose one should be thankful for small favors - at least, it is a step in the right direction.

Dr Edward Peters: Mormon-bashing at The Nation

Dr Peters writes:
Forgive this digression from canonical writing, but The Nation’s snide attack on Kyle Sampson’s Mormon beliefs Forgive this digression from canonical writing, but The Nation’s snide attack on Kyle Sampson’s Mormon beliefs had to be answered. So I did. You can see it here:

Gospel for Wednesday, 3rd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus and His Teaching, the Fulfillment of the Law

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [17] "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. [18] For truly I say to you, till Heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. [19] Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."


17-19. In this passage Jesus stresses the perennial value of the Old
Testament. It is the word of God; because it has a divine authority it
deserves total respect. The Old Law enjoined precepts of a moral,
legal and liturgical type. Its moral precepts still hold good in the
New Testament because they are for the most part specific
divine-positive promulgations of the natural law. However, our Lord
gives them greater weight and meaning. But the legal and liturgical
precepts of the Old Law were laid down by God for a specific stage in
salvation history, that is, up to the coming of Christ; Christians are
not obliged to observe them (cf. "Summa Theologiae", I-II, q. 108, a. 3
ad 3).

The law promulgated through Moses and explained by the prophets was
God's gift to His people, a kind of anticipation of the definitive Law
which the Christ or Messiah would lay down. Thus, as the Council of
Trent defined, Jesus not only "was given to men as a redeemer in whom
they are to trust, but also as a lawgiver whom they are to obey" ("De
Iustificatione", can. 21).

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, March 13, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 14, The Mystical Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me begin to understand what is meant by the "Mystical Christ."

Mental Picture (cf. Acts 9: 1-9): Saul spurring his horse in a furious gallop to Damascus... a flash of light... Saul is struck down. A vision appears before him. "Who are you?" Saul asks. "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting." Paul would remember that answer all his life. In persecuting Christ's followers, Paul had, in some mysterious way, been persecuting Christ Himself.

The Idea: Christ has a real physical body - head, heart, arms, legs. He has a Mystical Body too, a great mystery, but a fact. All men who are joined to Christ through grace and membership in the visible Catholic Church are living parts of that Body: the martyrs of the great persecutions, men and women down through twenty plus centuries, people my age living now, Chinese, German, African, Indian, whom I'll never meet. We are all parts of a Body; we contribute to the life and health of that Body, like the lungs and brains and shoulders of a physical body.

Christ is our Head; from Him grace, like blood, flows through the rest of us. If one oi us gets weak and sick with sin, the rest of the Body suffers; if one of us refuses to lend his strength to the other members, the whole Body pays for it. A difficult idea to grasp. But I should do my best to get it now and in the following mental prayers.

My Personal Application: Have I ever thought of my responsibilities as a Catholic? Am I deter­mined to be a fit, useful part of Christ's Mystical Body? To give my strength and support to the other members? To graft other men and women into the Body of Christ?

I Speak to Christ: Christ, I am a part of your Body. Give me the strength to be a healthy, efficient, cooperative part of you.

Thought for Today: "You are the body of Christ" (St. Paul).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

He needed and wanted his son...

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.

"Your son is here," she said to the old man.

She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he could barely see the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the dimly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, he only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

"Who was that man?" he asked.

The nurse was startled, "He was your father," she answered.

"No, he wasn't," the Marine replied. "I never saw him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"

"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed and wanted his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed."
Source unknown, via email...a valuable lesson, nonetheless.

The 'Thought Police' and Homosexuality

Top general won't apologize for remarks on gays

The top U.S. military officer, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, doesn't plan to apologize for telling a newspaper that homosexuality is immoral.

Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Chicago Tribune on Monday that he supports the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay people from serving in the U.S. armed forces.
. . .
"My upbringing is such that I believe that there are certain things, certain types of conduct that are immoral," Pace told the Tribune. "I believe that military members who sleep with other military members' wives are immoral in their conduct."

Pace also told the paper, "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts.
. . .
Advocacy group: General should apologize
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit group that represents military personnel affected by the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, demanded Tuesday that Pace apologize for his remarks.

"Gen. Pace's comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces," said C. Dixon Osburn, the group's executive director. "Our men and women in uniform make tremendous sacrifices for our country, and deserve Gen. Pace's praise, not his condemnation."

The truth is something which which requires an apology? Soon, some will be calling for the general to enter rehab and sensitivity training. God help us all!

Disciplinary Action Confirmed for Jesuit Priest, Fr. Jon Sobrino

Rome, Mar. 13, 2007 ( - Both the Vatican and the Jesuit order have confirmed that disciplinary measures against Father Jon Sobrino, a leading exponent of liberation theology, will be officially announced on Thursday, March 15.

The disciplinary notice, to be released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will cite Sobrino’s failure to affirm the divinity of Christ. The Congregation has determined, after a long dialogue with the Spanish-born Jesuit, that Sobrino’s published work is incompatible with Church teachings.

Online Confessions for Lazy "Catholics"?

A recent story from Ananova:
A Polish man is in trouble for offering an online confessional for Catholics who can't be bothered with church.

Borys Cezar, 37, set up the website which welcomed visitors with the words: "Welcome to the virtual confessional."
. . .
Cezar is facing a heavy fine or jail for offending religious feelings and his website has been closed down.
The article did not give the website, but there is a "virtual confessional" here which is still operating. Of course, it smacks of sacrilege - simulating a sacrament, and no absolution is possible. This is purely for your reading displeasure.

Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis"

The full text of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI

An excerpt:
[From #62] None of the above observations should cast doubt upon the importance of such large-scale liturgies. I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, (182) that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be [* See note] celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers (183) of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant. (184)

Updated, from rumblings heard elsewhere...

* A mistranslation of the Latin: The phrase more accurately would read:
" is right that such liturgies be celebrated in Latin."

The Latin text is here.

Gospel for Tuesday, 3rd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 18:21-35

Forgiveness of Injuries. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

[21] Then Peter came up and said to Him (Jesus), "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" [22] Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

[23] "Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. [24] When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; [25] and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. [26] So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' [27] And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. [28] But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.' [29] So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' [30] He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay his debt. [31] When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. [32] Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; [33] and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' [34] And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. [35] So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."


21-35. Peter's question and particularly Jesus' reply prescribe the spirit of understanding and mercy which should govern Christians' behavior.

In Hebrew the figure of seventy times seven means the same as "always" (cf. Genesis 4:24): "Therefore, our Lord did not limit forgiveness to a fixed number, but declared that it must be continuous and forever" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 6). Here also we can see the contrast between man's ungenerous, calculating approach to forgiveness, and God's infinite mercy. The parable also clearly shows that we are totally in God's debt. A talent was the equivalent of six thousand denarii, and a denarius a working man's daily wage. Ten thousand talents, an enormous sum, gives us an idea of the immense value attaching to the pardon we receive from God. Overall, the parable teaches that we must always forgive our brothers, and must do so wholeheartedly.

"Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense that you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has pardoned you" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 452).
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, March 12, 2007

A St Patrick's Day Celebration

Join us

Friends of Old St. Ferdinand Shrine invites you to a St. Patrick’s day celebration March 17th 10: AM to 5:00PM

Fr. Faherty will be speaking about the Irish in St. Louis, Irish History & St. Patrick.

Corned Beef and Cabbage will be served and there will be Irish music.

Dedicate your day to St. Patrick.

Bring family and friends.

Old St Ferdinand Shrine
1 Saint Francois St
Florissant, MO 63031-5126

Mental Prayer for March 13, Some Things I Hope to Be

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Christ, to see what my education can mean for you.

The Idea: What sort of person would you like to be in, say, twenty years? For instance, what sort person are you to work with, to mix with socially? Can you take an intelligent part in a conversation? Do you think and talk like a Catholic, an intelligent Catholic? Put yourself in a particular situation, e. g., at a business lunch. The conversation has switched from the Dodgers to a magazine article on evolution, or a mercy-killing case, or French politics. You're the one Catholic at the table. If Christ is going to reach and influence these other men, He must use your brain, voice, and personality. Well, can you talk like an intelligent Catholic on these matters? If so, it's because you know more than a little bit about history, bi­ology, ethics, what Christ teaches in His Church; it's because your thinking on all these different subjects is clear and straight, something like Christ's would be; it's because you can put your ideas across in decent, persuasive English.

My Personal Application: Let me take a good look at that person I want to be. He or she didn't get that way by accident. This was the result of being given the opportunity of a good Catholic education; and putting the "kid stuff" aside and going to work.

I Speak to Christ: Christ, my Leader, I know how important my Catholic education is to the person I want to be, how important to the person you want me to be. Give me the strength I need to work hard at it.

Thought for Today: "Whoever confesses me be­fore men, I will confess him before my Father in heaven."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The Hannity Episode Takes on a New Dimension

And this time it takes the form of another "Open Letter" to Sean Hannity by Fox News analyst Fr. Jonathan Morris, of the Legionaries of Christ, who was critical, not of Hannity's childish tirade but of Fr. Euteneuer's reasonable attempt to correct Hannity's public advocacy of artificial contraception. He says, in part:
...before we clergy members speak out publicly against public offenses, as sometimes we must do, we should ask ourselves and God why we are doing what we are doing, and what the best way to do it is, according to the circumstances, and always with palpable love. The question is not only if what we have to say is correct, but where, when, and how we should say it. I, for one, would have communicated my beliefs in a different way on more than one occasion if I had followed this advice.

Fr Euteneuer responds thus:
Dear Father Jonathan,

Your letter to Sean Hannity indicates that you did not know that I asked to speak to him in private about this matter in 2004 otherwise you may have tempered your remarks about my supposed lack of charity in dealing with a high profile Catholic who dissents from clearly-defined and reiterated Church teachings. [See “Fr. Euteneuer asks to meet with Hannity about birth control” on sidebar.] You also seemed to be unaware of the fact that Sean was the one who invited me on his program and who then promptly “[threw] civility to the wind,” refused to display “cultivated intelligence” on the issues and jeopardized another person’s “reputation and dignity.” May I also point out that you did not employ with me the same standard of “fraternal correction” that you expected me to employ with Mr. Hannity. I at least made the attempt to speak to him about this issue in private without success; you, in contrast, went immediately to the internet to take me to task. I do not intend to understand your motives; I can only evaluate what I see in your actions.

The question that comes to mind is an obvious one: if you are a Fox analyst on Catholic matters, wouldn’t you have been the one to have had those “private conversations” on birth control with Mr. Hannity? How about discussions on his abortion exceptions? When you told Sean “in person” that you “disagreed with him,” was it on the issue of birth control? If you had done that, I applaud you, but your powers of persuasion may need a little honing—Sean has only gotten more vocal on this issue over time. If you did not speak to him about his public dissent, then I ask you, “Why?” While we are on the subject, have you also analyzed and disagreed with Bill O’Reilly’s perfectly horrible disdain for the Holy Father and the Church that you represent?

The church sex abuse scandal was not just about homosexual and predatory priests. It was about clerical negligence and silence on issues that not only affect people’s souls but also ruin people’s lives. It is highly unusual that you or anyone else would want a priest to be silent on issues that affect the salvation of souls. We used to recognize “admonishing the sinner” as one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, and I consider my admonishment of Mr. Hannity to have been done in that spirit. I might also add that in doing so I have fulfilled my duty as a priest which is a requirement for my salvation.

As a seminary rector, I would sincerely hope that you are not teaching by word or example the young men in your charge to be politically correct sissies who are afraid to roll up their sleeves and defend the Church in private and in public. We have tons of those types in the clergy already. I would advise you to drink deeply of the wisdom of the Number Two man at our Headquarters who has in no uncertain terms told all of us that high profile dissenters are a scourge and a danger to souls. [See item: “Bertone: Dissident Catholics More Worrying Than Atheists.”]
I wish you fraternal blessings for your priestly work.
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
Human Life International
After almost 3 years of attempting to "educate' Hannity with the teachings of the Church (which one must accept to be a faithful Catholic), is it not time for those Catholics in the public square to be held to account for their dissenting and heretical views? If more bishops and priests practiced the spiritual works of mercy and expressed concern for the souls of those in jeopardy instead of being obsessed with human respect, we would not now be seeing this stuff.
If you're keeping score with an eye on the Truth, I see it as:
Fr Euteneuer, 2
Hannity, 0
Fr Morris, 0