Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, May 13

The Priest and the Eternal Truths

The Priest's Particular Judgement

First Meditation - The Stark Reality

I. The fruit of all bad government, and even its efficient cause, is impunity: allowing the delinquent to go un­punished.

We have seen it these days in several countries: systematic robbery, assassinations, criminal gangs stalk­ing through the busy thoroughfares of big cities in broad daylight.

Why? The governing authority was afraid of the criminal, who had become lord and master of judges and tribunals; the executive power was intimidated, its sanctions were inadequate or were not put into force.

Now, if God really exists; if it is true, according to the Book of Wisdom, that "Thy Providence, O Father, governeth" (xiv, 3); if God wields effective dominion over His free-willed creatures; then He cannot consent to impunity without being a bad ruler.

So I must make no mistake about it: in God there is Justice; in His Judgements there is righteousness; and one day He will call everyone of us to account.

II. A lively faith in the Divine Judgement is an absolute necessity for persevering in good or for rising up from evil. To doubt God's Judgement or to deny its existence is a carte-blanche for every misdemeanour and disorder.

Early in the path of his straying the sinner stumbles against the temptation, against a kind of psychological need, to deny roundly or to call in question or to ignore the Divine Judgement.

How frequent and significant the texts of Holy Scrip­ture recording this temptation!
And they said: How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High? (Ps. lxxii, 11)

And you say: What does God know? And He judges as it were through a mist. The clouds are His covert, and He does not consider our things; and He walks about the poles of heaven. (Job xxii, 13-14)

And they have said: The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob understand.­ (Ps. xciii, 7)
And these cries of a bad conscience have resounded in the hearts of unbelievers throughout the ages. Have they ever been heard in mine?

III. Is a temptation of this nature unlikely in a priest? If he should surrender to the tyranny of concupiscence he would feel it sooner than anyone else, for the simple reason that he has to struggle against a better-enlightened conscience and against a more continual reminder of God's Judgement; therefore, either the fear of God will win him over to the bridling of his passions, or, if he continues to sin, he will end up by silencing all fear of the Judgement, smothering it or denying its very existence.

And they perverted their own mind and turned away their eyes that they might not look unto heaven nor remember just judgements. (Dan. xiii, 9)

Do not these words apply to the bad priest?

On the other hand, a lively faith in this great truth would leave in us the same impression that was left in St. Augustine, who tells us:
"Nothing called me back from the deep abyss of carnal pleasures except the fear of death and of Thy Judgements, which never wholly departed from my breast." (Confessions vi, 16)

1. I shall dread sin, especially sins of the flesh which, according to St. Thomas, cause faith to grow cold or to be lost.

2. I shall repeat acts of faith in the dogma of the Judgements to come, particularly when I fall into griev­ous sin.

3. I shall meditate frequendy and deeply on this Last Thing, keeping in mind the fact that it is coming to me: instat dies Domini.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

Fr. Thomas Doyle Attacks the American TFP's Defense of the Church

Father Thomas Doyle lashes out against the American TFP’s defense of the Church regarding the issue of the statutes of limitations in Delaware.

On April 4, 2007, Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle testified [before the Delaware Senate] for the retroactive lifting of the statute of limitations and delivered a scathing broadside against the TFP statements which he claims are filled with unspecified “half-truths,” “falsehoods,” and “empty assumptions.” Predictably, his attacks centered mainly on the TFP as an organization rather than seriously entering into the merits of the arguments.

It is hardly surprising that Father Doyle would be appearing before the Delaware Senate. He has been heavily involved with dissident groups seeking radical changes inside the Church after the sexual abuse scandals.

However, it is ironic that Father Doyle would gratuitously accuse the TFP of having an “erroneous understanding of the meaning and mission of the Catholic Church” and holding positions “contrary to the contemporary (sic) official teaching of the Catholic Church.”

Click here for more.

May 14, Blue Mass in Wentzvtille

WENTZVILLE — The Knights of Columbus will sponsor a Blue Mass and breakfast reception Monday, May 14, to honor active police officers, firefighters and EMT personnel. The event is in conjunction with National Law Enforcment Week.

Mass begins at 9 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 701 South Church Street, in Wentzville.

The breakfast will include an awards ceremony to honor first responders who have performed outstanding service to the community.

The public is invited to attend.

Gospel for Saturday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:18-21

A Hostile World

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [18] "If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. [20] Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. [21] But all this they will do to you on My account, because they do not know Him who sent Me."


18-19. Jesus states that there can be no compromise between Him and the world, the kingdom of sin: anyone who lives in sin abhors the light (cf. John 3:19-20). This is why Christ is persecuted, and why the Apostles will be in their turn. "The hostility of the perverse sounds like praise for our life", St. Gregory says, "because it shows that we have at least some rectitude if we are an annoyance to those who do not love God; no one can be pleasing to God and to God's enemies at the same time. He who seeks to please those who oppose God is no friend of God; and he who submits himself to the truth will fight against those who strive against truth" ("In Ezechielem Homiliae", 9).

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, May 11, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, May 12

The Priest and the Eternal Truths


Third Meditation - Preparing for Death

I. Of all beings that live and die only man is capable of looking death in the face and of preparing to receive it long before it comes. He thinks of it; he knows for a certainty that it will come; he expects it, although usually as an unwelcome guest; he passes in review, perhaps, each of the painful impressions which its cold grip will imprint on his spirit and his flesh; he can even foretaste and relish it, with the deliberateness and courage of a long-suffering invalid relishing a bitter medicinal draught.

Has God given us us faculty of foresight merely to torment us and embitter our existence? By no means. Then let us receive it as a useful gift from God, as a stimulant to keep us ever on the watch, ready to accord our Judge a fitting welcome.

II. In the exercise of your ministry take note; you will observe that the general rule is for people to die as they have lived. There is a terrifying exactitude in the phrase attributed to St. Jerome: "Qualis vita, finis ita." In other words: few equip themselves for the final hour by a special and immediate preparation.

There are some who die a sudden death: the bait is swallowed when least feared; and, according to the daily witness of experience, it is not the priestly cate­gory that contributes the smallest of quotas to these sad statistics. Others, the majority, die unexpectedly, because no one warns them of the danger, or rather, because people are all for hiding the danger from them: a dia­bolical conspiracy hatched round the dying to cast them defenseless and prematurely at the feet of Divine Justice.

And there are souls with such an iron grasp on the things of earth that even if the Prophet Isaias were to come himself and warn them in the Lord's Name­ - thou shalt die and shalt not live (Is. xxxviii, 1) - they would disbelieve him and continue to stake their all on the slenderest hope of a fictitious recovery.

Lord, everything indeed conspires to underline the truth of Thy words:
At what hour you know not, the Son of Man will come.

To which of these three classes of people do I belong? Which is my preference? My God, I prefer to take orders from Thee: Be ready.

III. Listen to St. Paul:
"The Son who sanctifies and the sons who are sanctified have a common origin, all of them; He is not ashamed, then, to own them as His brethren. . . .

And since these children have a common inheri­tance of flesh and blood, He, too, shared that in­heritance with them.

By His death He would depose the prince of death, that is, the devil; He would deliver those multitudes who lived all the while as slaves, made over to the fear of death." (Hebrews ii, 11-15)

The devil was the prince of death, because by sin and death mankind had fallen under his dominion and into his possession; until Christ, by the merits of His own death, destroyed the devil's title of dominion and possession, and brought deliverance.

Before the death of Christ, to die was seemingly to fall into nothingness, or, at least, to lose the body for ever, the spirit to grope its way through shadows of the unknown. Christ expelled those shadows with His light, and because good Christians now belong to Christ, not to the devil, they are Christ's to live and to die with Him; and therefore, death opens up to them on their departure from this life prospects of unalloyed happi­ness.

Lord, let me not live like the heathen, a slave to death. Allow me to pluck from the Tree of Thy Cross this luscious fruit: joyful confidence and constant readiness in preparation for my death.

I am going to apply to myself the fruits of the Redemption continually, by faith, love, and flight from sin; and should I fall at any time, I shall rise immedi­ately with an act of contrition and the reception of the Sacrament of Penance. Thus, through Christ's death, I shall live, live all my days not a slave to the fear of ending them badly, but free and assured of my eternal salvation.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

Dr Ed Peters: A primer for those who prefer knowing to opining

In the vortex swirling around the pope's comments on the canonical consequences for supporting pro-abortion legislation (including what the pope said, or meant to say, or should have said), it might be good to set out calmly and simply some canons that directly impact on this situation. Strictly speaking, there are only two, but in light of comments I've heard or read, we apparently need to explicitate a third canon even though it only repeats sound personal moral theology and does not direct ecclesiastical responses to certain kinds of behavior.
For the rest, see:

Bishop Trautman Speaks on the Translations

We received an email from our dear friend Joe, who said, in part:

Trautman is the only name that comes to mind of a bishop who has the guts to tell his fellow bishops that the Vatican has been interfering in this liturgical translation process since even before the end of the Second Vatican Council. I tip my hat to Trautman.


I'm hoping against hope that our bishops, clergy, and laity will refuse to use the liturgical translations allegedly "approved" by the U.S. bishops in Los Angeles. This sad event was the formal culmination of a 40-year hijacking effort by Rome. As far as I'm concerned, any bishop who goes along with the new translations is abdicating his authority and kowtowing to the curia. It's been said we have a lack of leadership among the bishops. Regrettably, too many of these guys have been "sucking up" to the Vatican. A friend of mine calls these guys "careerists." For sure, bishops they're not! What a bunch of wimps!

Why is he so ecstatic? Because the good bishop, Donald Trautman (Traut"person" for the inclusive language crowd) is denigrating the Catholic faithful, perceived as bumbling morons, who have no comprehension of the English language, nor the ability to expand their vocabularies beyond the words they hear on TV...

He also expresses again his well known criticisms of Liturgiam Authenticam, preferring to keep the masses, (John and Mary Catholic) as dumbed-down as possible, removed from the richness of that special language we should use in public worship (the Holy Mass and sacraments) to communicate with the Almighty. Yet, he claims that this deprivation would be the truly pastoral approach, when in fact, it is an arrogant, elitist attitude.

We have witnessed where this "outcome based faith" has led us...and some are quite tired of banal, mundane, heterodox, and generally dull and ordinary drivel masquerading as "pastoral translations" when we know there is so much more and that our hearts can be raised in prayer when the language is there to assist us.

How Accessible Are the New Mass Translations?
By Donald W. Trautman

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) proposes the following translated text:

Accept, O Lord, these gifts,
and by your power change them
into the sacrament of salvation,
in which the prefiguring sacrifices of the Fathers have an end
and the true Lamb is offered,
he who was born ineffably of the inviolate Virgin.
—Prayer over the gifts,
Season of Advent

Can We Participate?

The above citation is a proclaimed prayer. What will the person in the pew hear and comprehend? Will the words "prefiguring sacrifices of the Fathers" and "born ineffably of the inviolate Virgin," for example, resonate with John and Mary Catholic? Is this prayer intelligible, proclaimable, reflective of a vocabulary and linguistic style from the contemporary mainstream of U.S. Catholics? Is the liturgical language accessible to the average Catholic and our youth? Does this translated text lead to full, conscious and active participation? I think not.
I think the pastoral thing would be if Bishop Trautman resigned and went off in seclusion somewhere so we could be free of his dissenting voice. It's so unbecoming and obnoxious, but then, that is something at which "experts" excel.

He goes on:

Will they understand these words from the various new Collects: "sullied," "unfeigned," "ineffable," "gibbet," "wrought," "thwart"? Will the assembly understand the fourth paragraph of the Blessing of Baptismal Water, which has 56 words (in 11 lines) in one sentence? In the preface of the chrism Mass, one sentence runs on for 10 lines. How pastoral are the new collects, when they all consist of a single sentence, containing a jumble of subordinate clauses and commas?

Will the priest and people understand the words of Eucharistic Prayer 2: "Make holy these gifts, we pray, by the dew of your Spirit"? This translation was among the top 10 texts that the U.S. bishops in their consultation considered most problematic, but still ICEL did not change it.

In the new missal you will hear awkward phrases like "We pray you bid." This is not American English. Ponder these concrete examples and judge for yourself.

I judge them to be most excellent! And apparently, so does ICEL and Vox Clara.

The council fathers of Vatican II had a pastoral sense and focused on John and Mary Catholic. Why have the new translations become so problematic, so non-pastoral? What is the basic difficulty?

His excellency refuses to acknowledge that we have had to endure the worst of translations for years - poorly translated, or even made-up texts...Give us back the sacred texts of previous generations!

If the language of the liturgy is inaccessible, how can liturgy catechize and convey the reality of the living, risen Son of God in the Eucharist? If the language of the liturgy is a stumbling block to intelligibility and proclaimability, then the principle lex orandi, lex credendi is severely compromised. If the language of the liturgy does not communicate, how can people fall in love with the greatest gift of God, the Eucharist?

Church of God, judge for yourselves. Speak up, speak up!

Well, OK! Allow me to speak up! Your Excellency, please sit down and close your mouth! You're making a fool of yourself, yet again! Permit us to help you save yourself from yourself.

Thanks Joe for sharing this... I know you think Bishop Trautman is courageous, but then, some think the same about Custer. It'll be a blessing to see him, and others like him, retire.

BTW, translations of the Mass texts (The Gray Book) can be seen here.

Aug 3-5, Queen of the Americas Guild Conference w/Abp Burke

Queen of the Americas Guild
3rd Annual Conference
at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
La Crosse, Wisconsin
August 3 - 5, 2007

"Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Mercy "

The Annual Conference for the Queen of the Americas Guild is open to all those who wish to share an experience that combines the spiritual talks of a retreat with the beauty of joining in group prayer with other attendees in a most prayerful environment. Join us to enhance your faith and learn more about the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Shrine, and the Queen of the Americas Guild.

Special guests will include keynote speaker Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri. Archbishop Burke is the Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a member of the Guild Board of Directors.

Others on the panel of presenters at this year's conference include the Most Reverend Joseph Madera, retired Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services; Mr. Benedict Nguyen, Chancellor of the Diocese of La Crosse; Father Richard Simon of Illinois, noted guest on Relevant Radio; Monsignor George Hastrich, Guild founding member; and Grammy nominated singer / songwriter Marty Rotella.

Friday evening will include a gourmet dinner (included in conference fee) with honored guests Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and Bishop Joseph J. Madera.

More Information.

July 16-19, 2007 Confraternity of Catholic Clergy Convocation

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

St Louis, MO

Keynote Speaker:
Archbishop Raymond Burke
Bishop of St. Louis

Crowne Plaza St. Louis - Clayton
7750 Carondelet Avenue
Clayton (St. Louis), Missouri 63105
ph: (314) 726-5400 fax: (314) 719-1127

Reservations: 888 - 303 - 1746

just 6.5 miles (12 min.) away by hotel shuttle bus


Msgr. Kevin McMahon, STD
Episcopal Vicar for Morality & Biotechnology, Archdiocese of St. Louis;

John Cardinal Krol, Chair of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Father Fred Miller, STD
Asst. Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD

Dr. James Hitchcock
Professor of History, St. Louis University

Helen Hull Hitchcock
Editor, Adoremus Bulletin

Philosophy Instruction Returns to Seminary

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has announced the initiation of a new philosophy program for Cardinal Glennon College and pre-theology seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury.

Under the new program, college seminarians will continue to take their general curriculum classes in liberal arts at St. Louis University for the first two years. Pre-theology and college seminarians will then take two years of core classes in philosophy at the seminary, rather than at SLU, as they had for 20 years.

Archbishop Burke made the announcement on the program change at an assembly last week for seminarians and faculty at the seminary.

The new program is a systematic study of philosophy, according to the archbishop, with an emphasis on the works of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. About 20 seminarians — half Cardinal Glennon College juniors and half in the first year of the pre-theology program — are expected to enroll in philosophy courses at the seminary this fall.

The study of philosophy "is essential to the intellectual formation of priests; for the priest, above all, must understand as deeply as possible what we believe and practice," said Archbishop Burke. A philosophy program, he added, is necessary to prepare seminarians for later studies in theology as part of their overall priestly formation.

Another bit of great news concerning the formation of men for the priesthood.

Chicago Sun-Times Enters Ring on Mexican Pro-Abort Politicians

The headline of the article:
Vatican fights dirty
Threat against pro-choice politicians in Mexico amounts to bullying

One should know from this what is coming, but let's play along anyway:

The Catholic Church is the bully in eyeglasses.

At least sometimes.

Pushing people around on the playground, picking on the smaller kids -- kids who are not Catholic, I should point out -- and when somebody stands up and challenges him, he cringes, raising an arm, saying, "You wouldn't hit a man in glasses, would you?"
So the Catholic politicians who voted for the murder of the innocent unborn are compared to the "smaller kids" being hassled by the Vatican, the "playground bully." Imaginative!

The church, both fists bared, wades into the political arena. The pope announces that politicians working to relax South America's cruel abortion laws, laws that put women in prison in some countries, might get hurled out of the faith.

"Legislative action in favor of abortion is incompatible with participation in the Eucharist," read a Vatican statement.

Yet should anybody -- such as me -- react to this, why, we're not criticizing an international political powerhouse, but venting hatred on a religion. It isn't right. It isn't fair.

By focusing on leaders, the Vatican corrupts the whole idea of religion. Is not the point of religion that the great and the humble, the powerful and the weak, all stand as equals in God's eyes?

It's strange that Steinberg would express concern for the weak as he does here - unless "the weak" excludes the unborn...

And he misses the obvious that it is not only the Vatican, but all of society, which demands more of "leaders" - are they not to "lead"? Are they not to inspire and motivate others - those who are to "follow"? Should "leaders" not have the will and courage to do that which is morally and ethically necessary for the good of the society? Are not the "leaders" held to a higher level of accountability because they are leading others?

If the church is threatening politicians who advocate liberal abortion policies with excommunication, it should excommunicate the women who have the abortions, plus the husbands and boyfriends who support them.

But it doesn't.

This is where Steinberg completely leaves the rails...There are a number of points here where he shows he is completely ignorant of the facts.

First, he provides cover for pro-abortion politicians by saying that they "advocate liberal abortion policies". This is akin to saying that the genocidal Nazi leaders "advocated liberal eugenic policies," in a effort to mask the truth.

Second, as Dr Edward Peters pointed out earlier, it is not excommunication but denial of Holy Communion, which is different. And lest we forget, this is required, not only by Canon Law, but also by right reason.

Third, those who do procure (or assist in procuring) a direct abortion willingly do incur the canonical penalty of excommunication - something which quick research would have demonstrated. But it seems, Steinberg's too sure of himself to bothered with facts.

The church says that the women "excommunicate themselves," then immediately invites them in for forgiveness, without the humiliation being dangled over politicians.

The Church invites all to repentance in order to be forgiven - and these women are not "public figures" as are politicians, nor do they make laws which are intended to affect society...

Otherwise, they'd be chucking out the faithful by the millions, and that isn't good business. So instead they blackmail and bully political leaders by publically questioning a private matter -- their supposed salvation.

The Church doesn't "chuck out" the faithful, but acknowledges that the non-faithful leave of their own free wills, preferring to wallow in their sins rather than to follow Christ. And this is indeed, "good business" for Christ's enemies...

And again, we see the depth of Steinberg's "misunderstandings" - there is no blackmailing or bullying by the Church. She merely asks that those who claim to be Catholic, live and practice the Faith that they claim to believe. If they publicly choose to violate the most fundamental right of the human person - the right to life - then they freely and publicly are choosing to renounce essential elements of that faith.

Freedom of religion is a beautiful thing. But it stops at the church door, and when you press non-believers to obey the dictates of your faith by pressing on government officials, that's politics, glasses or no.

Remember this next time you leave Holy Mass - Steinberg wants all that is good and decent, all virtue, all holiness, all morality, in effect all the good - to be left inside the Church. It's not welcomed outside! That's his "freedom of religion", or more aptly "freedom from religion", freedom from morality and ethic. He tells us that there is no room for religion in the public square!

And lastly, maybe he can cite examples of the Church "pressing non-believers to obey the dictates" of the faith. Then again, that would require research - something which he seems unable to do. But, pray for him - there's still hope.

"Venerable" Pope Pius XII?

That's the recommendation from the congregation charged with investigating the cases for sainthood:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Members of the Congregation for Saints' Causes met May 8 to consider the cause of Pope Pius XII and apparently voted to recommend that Pope Benedict XVI formally declare him venerable.

Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the congregation had met, but since the result of the vote still had to be presented to the pope he would not say May 9 what the result was.
. . .
The May 8 vote of the congregation members was based on a review of a six-volume, 3,000-page "positio" or position paper prepared by the promoters of Pope Pius' sainthood cause. The report, given to the Vatican in 2004, included sworn testimony from witnesses, historical documents and a review of literature -- both neutral and negative -- pertaining to the Vatican's actions during World War II.

Gospel for Friday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:12-17

The Law of Love

[12] "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. [13] Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [14] You are My friends if you do what I command you. [15] No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. [16] You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. [17] This I command you, to love one another."


12-15. Jesus insists on the "new commandment", which He Himself keeps by giving His life for us. See note on John 13:34-35.

Christ's friendship with the Christian, which our Lord expresses in a very special way in this passage, is something very evident in [St] Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer's preaching: "The life of the Christian who decides to behave in accordance with the greatness of his vocation is so to speak a prolonged echo of those words of our Lord, `No longer do I call you My servants; a servant is one who does not understand what his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that My Father has told Me; and so I have called you My friends' (John 15:15). When we decide to be docile and follow the will of God, hitherto unimagined horizons open up before us.... `There is nothing better than to recognize that Love has made us slaves of God. From the moment we recognize this we cease being slaves and become friends, sons' ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 35).

"Sons of God, FRIENDS OF GOD.... Jesus is truly God and truly Man, He is our Brother and our Friend. If we make the effort to get to know Him well `we will share in the joy of being God's friends' ["ibid.", 300]. If we do all we can to keep Him company, from Bethlehem to Calvary, sharing His joys and sufferings, we will become worthy of entering into loving conversation with Him. As the Liturgy of the Hours sings, "calicem Domini biberunt, et amici Dei facti sunt" (they drank the chalice of the Lord and so became friends of God).

"Being His children and His friends are two inseparable realities for those who love God. We go to Him as children, carrying on a trusting dialogue that should fill the whole of our lives; and we go to Him as friends.... In the same way our divine sonship urges us to translate the overflow of our interior life into apostolic activity, just as our friendship with God leads us to place ourselves at `the service of all men. We are called to use the gifts God has given us as instruments to help others discover Christ' ["ibid.", 258]" (Monsignor A. del Portillo in his preface to [St] J. Escriva's, "Friends of God").

16. There are three ideas contained in these words of our Lord. One, that the calling which the Apostles received and which every Christian also receives does not originate in the individual's good desires but in Christ's free choice. It was not the Apostles who chose the Lord as Master, in the way someone would go about choosing a rabbi; it was Christ who chose them. The second idea is that the Apostles' mission and the mission of every Christian is to follow Christ, to seek holiness and to contribute to the spread of the Gospel. The third teaching refers to the effectiveness of prayer done in the name of Christ; which is why the Church usually ends the prayers of the liturgy with the invocation "Through Jesus Christ our Lord...".

The three ideas are all interconnected: prayer is necessary if the Christian life is to prove fruitful, for it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7); and the obligation to seek holiness and to be apostolic derives from the fact that it is Christ Himself who has given us this mission. "Bear in mind, son, that you are not just a soul who has joined other souls in order to do a good thing.

"That is a lot, but it's still little. You are the Apostle who is carrying out an imperative command from Christ" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 942).
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, May 10, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, May 11

The Priest and the Eternal Truths


Second Meditation - Its Uncertainties

I. What thoughts have you at the back of your mind concerning your death? If you voiced them honestly perhaps you would say something like this:
"Yes, of course, I'll die one day, but I'm no less convinced that I have many a long and happy year before me yet. A ripe old age already? I'll get riper still. All aches and pains? Oh, I'll get better or at least some relief; if not, I'll jog along somehow. Other men younger and healthier than myself may die soon and perhaps go off in a flash? Now, why should that bother me and rob me of my sleep? I feel so sure of myself that I might even say with the rich hoarder of the Gospel: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thy rest: eat; drink, make good cheer. (Luke xii, 19) Moreover, when at long last my hour does come I shall have time enough and to spare for preparing myself; I shall sight death approaching from afar; its coming will be that of a placid summer evening, not like a squall. Yes, 1 shall have ample time to get myself ready to die the death of the just."

Honestly, now, could you swear that your imagin­ation never plays this trick on you? Doesn't it amount to a firm conviction? Or, at least, don't you lead a life that argues this conviction?

II. We base our convictions on reasons, and the more solid the reasons the firmer the conviction. So let us see the reasons for this intimate conviction as to the manner of your death.

Experience? Stretch your imagination, muster around you all those acquaintances of yours who have died: parents, brothers and sisters, relations, classmates. . . . How many came by that distant and tranquil fading out of their earthly existence which you allot yourself so convincingly?

Call to mind your brother priests who have given to Christ an account of their stewardship. How many arrived at that long-delayed and peaceful death which you seem to be so sure of?

Or will you have the exclusive privilege of saying with the evil-doers quoted by Isaias the prophet:
We have entered into a league with death, and we have made a covenant with hell?-(ls. xxviii, 15)

III. Is the Faith your pledge and security? The Faith! Through the mouth of the same prophet God answers you:

And your league with death shall be abolished, and your covenant with hell shall not stand.­(id. 18.)

The Faith! Read the Gospels. In two long chapters - the 24th and 25th according to St. Matthew - our Savior's final preaching is devoted to teaching us by facts, by parables, by concise and shattering phrases, the truth contained in the following words:
You know not at what hour your Lord will come. At what hour you know not the Son of Man will come.

And speaking in particular about His evil ministers who say in their hearts: my Lord is long a coming, and begin to show themselves unmerciful towards their neighbor, and indulge in lustful pleasure, Christ swears by all that He is, on His word of a God, that
The Lord of that servant shall come in a day he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not. Neither the day nor even the hour!

Therefore, your convictions are diametrically opposed to the lessons of experience and - what is still more tragic - the solemn warning of Christ. Who is right?

O my Jesus, how clearly I see that the root and origin of my unpriestly life was that stupid confidence of the wicked servant ! My Lord is long a coming.

1. I shall struggle with myself until I destroy that false sense of security, that conviction of living many a long year and of dying the death of a saint, which has no other support than the tenacious instinct of self-­preservation.

2. I shall often meditate upon the fatal uncertain­ties surrounding my last hour, and I shall implore my Lord Jesus Christ to grant me an intimate conviction of the truth of His teachings on this point. Lord, let my mind and my very heart voice the certitude underlying Thy words: Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Words shall not pass. away! (Matt. xxiv, 25)

3. Convinced that Thou can come any day, at any moment, I shall always be on the alert, my lamp trimmed, lest the Bridegroom of souls should close on me the door of His everlasting dwellings.

Vigilate! Et vos estate parati!
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

Might we see a return to modesty?

Resisting the cultural forces that objectify young girls
An article by Colleen Carroll Campbell:

When Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail last week for violating her probation, the hard-partying heiress won yet another 15 minutes of fame guaranteed to captivate her young admirers. Like her party pals Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie, Paris has parlayed poor judgment and vulgar exhibitionism into idol status among America's teen and pre-teen set.
* * *
Today's pop culture tells women that sexual power is the kind that counts most and that they can achieve it by showing skin. That message has trickled down to girls, forcing them to trade carefree childhood pleasures for sexual competition.

Fr Hardon reminds us that modesty is a "pro-life" matter:
Modesty is a pre-condition for chastity, and chastity is the pre-condition for the culture of life.

...the modesty we are speaking about is Christian modesty. Consequently the norms for practicing modesty by a follower of Christ are as much more deep and demanding as Christian morality is more elevated than what the world identifies as propriety.
* * *
Without modesty there can be no chastity; without chastity there cannot be respect for human life; and without respect for human life there can be no civilization that can survive. This is the verdict of history. The only problem is that so many people ignore this history and condemn themselves to repeat its tragedies.

Let us hope and pray that we see a return to the practice of Christian modesty which will further a restoration of a much-needed Christian culture to our nation and the world.

Archbishop Burke: Standing Firmly for Life

Burke is doing what he is supposed to do: Standing up for life

As a native St. Louisan who, with my late husband, Jim McClellan Sr., was involved in the founding of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, I must speak in support of Archbishop Raymond Burke. The fund-raising board of the hospital voted for the appearance of Sheryl Crow at the fundraising event despite the objections of the board chairman. Its members should have respected the opinion of the archbishop.

Members of the board of an organization should be dedicated to the mission of the organization. In this case, the hospital is dedicated to children, to saving their lives. When it was proposed that a pro-choice activist perform at the hospital fundraiser, the archbishop objected. Some board members overrode the objections of the head of the board. The pop singer, a pro-choice activist, was allowed to perform at the hospital’s benefit.

I recall the hospital’s founding. Dedicated fundraisers exerted all efforts to make the dream of pediatrician Peter Danis come true, that of a second children’s hospital in St. Louis. These strong Catholic families and the large Danis family were leaders of the pro-life movement, and all supported the command “Thou shalt not kill.”

Some members of the board offended St. Louis Catholics. The archbishop acted courageously, as should all cardinals, bishops and priests, in the field of morality. We need to fight together for the culture of life and the reform of the church.

Delphine McClellan
Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.
A great letter...but this fine letter was followed by two letters which should be an embarrassment for the letter writers...

Source: Post Dispatch

Audio of Colleen Carroll Campbell on Archbishop Burke...

and his decision to resign from a Hospital Foundation Board in protest over a fundraising performance by Sheryl Crow last month.

The audio also includes commentary by William Donohue of the Catholic League.

MP3 (15MB)

KFUO Radio Issues Page

HT to Saint Louis Catholic Blog

World Congress of Families Convenes in Poland

(NEW YORK — C-FAM) The largest-ever meeting of pro-life and pro-family leaders convenes in Warsaw this week over protests from homosexual rights activists and left-leaning Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The World Congress of Families IV (WCF) is the largest international gathering of pro-family leaders, activists, scholars and parliamentarians. More than 3,000 delegates from over 60 nations are expected to attend the Congress in Poland.
* * *
In the last month, Poland has come under fire by the European Parliament for proposing legislation that would outlaw the promotion of homosexuality in schools. In a European Parliamentary resolution, Poland was censured for “homophobia” and threatened with legal action for allegedly violating European human rights law.

Preparing for Yet Another Rainbow Pentecost

The Rainbow Sash Movement is reconfiguring itself as a rainbow ribbon revue for this year's Whitsunstunt -- presumably on the grounds that a slenderer middle finger flipped at the Church will make those clergymen who refuse the flippers communion appear the more unreasonable.

Sad, but true...

More here...

Go Check Out This Piece of "Sacred Artwork"

It's made from lego blocks. And yes, that's a lego toy truck on the cross.

Check it out at "The Cafeteria is Closed"

*** Updated ***
Someone mentioned to check another "Cross sans corpus" in the St Louis Archdiocese here:

Help Restore the “Sense of Sacred” in the Mass!

From Catholic Answers:

Dear Friend of Catholic Answers,

When was the last time you went to a Mass that was celebrated with reverence,
devotion, and a true sense of the sacred?

If you say, “Last Sunday!”, you’re lucky. Many Catholics can’t say that
because Masses at their parishes aren’t celebrated correctly.

What they get is noise, distractions, insipid preaching, and maybe even “entertainment.” But they don’t get the Mass as the Church wants them to get it.

*They get popular music rather than sacred music — syrupy folk songs or even drums and electric guitars instead of chant and hymns that normal people can actually sing.

*They get sanctuaries draped with felt banners (talk about shades of the
’70s!) but with no visible tabernacle.

*They get cotton-candy homilies that “affirm” listeners but don’t challenge them to become better Christians by referring to such “outmoded” things as sin.

*They get an atmosphere so lacking in reverence that private prayer before or after Mass is difficult because of all the chattering (by people who enter movie theaters in perfect silence).

*They get extraordinary ministers who are so numerous that one begins to wonder if the word extraordinary has had its meaning reversed by some governmental commission.

Sadly, the list of liturgical and sacramental abuses goes on and on.

The “sense of sacred” and the mystery of the Mass have been tragically lost in many Catholic parishes these days—precisely because the liturgy isn’t being celebrated correctly.

As a result, millions of Catholics — and especially our Catholic children — are
growing up without a proper understanding of the holy sacrifice and what it could and should mean in their daily lives.

There’s an old Latin saying — “Lex orandi, lex credendi” — which, loosely translated, means “the way you pray affects the way you believe.” So if the Mass is celebrated in a casual, lackadaisical, worldly, “people-pleasing” way, it stands to reason that there will be a weaker understanding of what the Mass really is — and thus a weakening of people’s faith, particularly their belief in the Real Presence. (Again, this is especially true for our children.)

But thankfully…

The Pope Wants to FIX All That!

Yes, Pope Benedict XVI is on a mission to restore the sacred to the sacred liturgy — and thus restore the faith of the people.

In his brand-new apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (“The Sacrament of Love”), the Pope lays out his plan to revive the proper celebration of the Eucharist, which, as he points out, is “at the root of every form of holiness” and “the source and summit of the Church’s life.”

In paragraphs 94 and 95, Pope Benedict says:
“How many saints have advanced along the way of perfection thanks to their eucharistic devotion! We too cannot live without partaking of the sacrament of
our salvation.”

Along those lines, the Pope lists everything he wants to see fixed, changed, and improved upon in how the Mass is celebrated in parishes around the world.

Specifically, he deals with:

* Why Catholics should more frequently go to confession in order to receive Holy Communion worthily.

* How the sacrament of holy orders is indispensably linked to the Eucharist.

* Why priestly celibacy is so important as a pure imitation of Christ.

* Why those who are divorced and remarried without an annulment cannot receive the Eucharist, but how they can participate spiritually.

* The proper way to bring the faithful to participate in the liturgy.

* Why vestments, furnishings, art, and liturgical texts — even church architecture — are so important to a proper celebration of the Eucharist.

* Why the music at Mass should never undermine the meaning of the liturgy — and why Gregorian chant should be preferred.

* Why homilies need to be improved and made more catechetical—avoiding the generic and abstract homilies that seem to be so popular today.

* Why the presentation of the gifts and the sign of peace need to be done reverently.

* Why we need to do away with “contrived and inappropriate additions” that have snuck into the celebration of the Mass these days.

* Why non-Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist.

* Why large-scale celebrations of the Mass need to maintain their proper focus.

* Why Latin should be used more frequently in the Mass—especially in the music.

* Why outward signs of reverence for the Eucharist are so important — particularly the gestures of genuflecting and kneeling.

* Why eucharistic adoration should be promoted vigorously.

* Why the location of the tabernacle is so important—and where it really should be.

* Why the Sunday obligation must be reaffirmed.

* How the Eucharist can combat today’s secularization and the marginalization of the Christian faith.

* Why priests should celebrate Mass regularly—even if the faithful aren’t present.

* Why Catholic politicians and leaders must publicly express their faith — especially those beliefs that are not negotiable, including defense of life from conception to natural death, family built around one man and one woman, freedom to educate one’s children, and the promotion of the common good. Moreover, why bishops must strongly reaffirm these values!

All this—and much more—is contained in Pope Benedict’s impressive new apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis.

Unfortunately, it’s lengthy: over 26,000 words — not including the footnotes.

Therefore, we at Catholic Answers have prepared a short answer guide called The
Sacrament of Charity that summarizes and explains this exhortation so priests and laity alike can readily grasp the deep theological teachings contained in it.

And, as we do with so many of our answer guides, we want to send a copy to every parish in America—so that everyone can benefit from the wisdom contained in the Pope’s words.

But, as always, that costs a lot of money.

This is where we need your help.

The only way we’ll be able to send out copies of The Sacrament of Charity to every parish is if we receive a generous, timely donation from you and the rest of our Catholic Answers supporters.

Just click here to make your online donation now.

As you know, we depend solely on your sacrifices to do our work. And this is a case where, if we can help improve the way the Eucharist is being celebrated, your sacrifice will pay off for generations to come.

You will be helping millions of your fellow Catholics experience the sublime beauty and mystery of the Eucharist when it is celebrated with reverence, respect, holiness, and the sense of the sacred.

The Pope’s apostolic exhortation — if heeded — could undo the damage of years of liturgical abuse.

But only if it gets to the people who need it most—our parishes. Your parish. Won’t you please send a gift of $35, $50, perhaps even $100 today by clicking here now, so we can raise the funds needed for this important project?

For your gift, we’ll in turn send you five copies of our answer guide for your own edification—and so you can give copies to your favorite priests and to your parish’s liturgy director.

I firmly believe that Sacramentum Caritatis—combined with our guide that summarizes and explains this great document—can be a turning point in the restoration of authentic Catholic liturgy and, therefore, of authentic Catholic belief.

Won’t you be a part of this?
Sincerely in Christ,
Karl Keating

America Magazine on Gun Control

Typical misinformed drivel...Facts being irrelevant and all.

Don't forget to vote in its "poll":

Do you agree with this editorial?
(38) Yes (20%)
(156) No (80%)
194 Total Votes

One astute priest, Fr. Larry N. Lorenzoni, S.D.B. (San Francisco, CA), comments:
Yes, guns don't kill people. People kill people. But people with guns use guns to kill people.

We, of course can take this to another level by saying that "cars don't kill people. People kill people. But people with cars use cars to kill people."

Do we outlaw cars? After all, there is no Constitutional right to own a car and so many more people die from car accidents than guns...

As Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary recently wrote, discussing the Virgina Tech killings:
Once again we have been subjected to the endless entrenched debate over a citizen's constitutional "right" to bear arms and the need for greater gun control.

Much of this discussion misses the point.

This is not about guns, but about a mentally ill young man and a systemic political, communal and medical failure to meet his needs and provide adequate treatment.
"Much of this discussion misses the point." Just as the America editorial.

Great Coverage of the Pope in Brazil

Over at American Papist

Rudy won't talk of pope, abortion

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Rudolph Giuliani said Wednesday that his differences with the Catholic Church over his support for abortion rights are between him, God and his spiritual adviser, not Pope Benedict XVI -- seeking to avoid a head-on confrontation with the pontiff over the issue that has bedeviled Giuliani's campaign.

Spiritual advisor??? Who might that be? Satan? If Rudy actually has a spiritual advisor who claims to be Catholic - he should level charges of fraud against that advisor...

"I don't get into debates with the pope," Giuliani told reporters.
That's probably a good thing. Rudy would rather not be seen retreating with his "tail between his legs."

"Issues like that for me are between me and my confessor. ... I'm a Catholic and that's the way I resolve those issues, personally and privately," he said. "That's what religion is all about -- it's something that's between you and your conscience and God and then whoever your spiritual advisers are."

His confessor? - if he truly has one - he has failed him miserably. His confessor has left him in drowning in the abyss of sinfulness. And while Rudy claims to be Catholic, is he really, having rejected Christ and His Church...?

And the statement, "Issues like that for me are between me and my confessor...", tells us much. These issues are fundamental to the future of the country. To claim otherwise demonstrates the depths of the moral bankruptcy to which he has fallen.

The only one with whom he has resolved any moral issues seems to be his buddy and confidant, Satan. Some might be led to think maybe that's who his confessor and spiritual advisor is.

Rudy, a typical example of a pathetic, professed Catholic, who has become an apostate or heretic, needs prayers so that he might accept God's graces and have a conversion of heart and mind before he loses that opportunity for all eternity. It seems that he and many others have lost sight of what lies ahead of us after our earthly pilgrimage - a joyful eternity in heaven or the pains and tortures of an everlasting hell.

Mr. and Mr. John Doe

California law would allow “domestic partners” to use mate’s surname

A legal privilege historically accorded to married couples may soon belong to domestic partners in California. If Assembly Bill 102 is approved by the state senate and signed into law by the governor, any member of a homosexual partnership will be able to take on the surname of the other member as part of their domestic partnership contract.

I don't understand why this is so restrictive, that is, limited to "the other partner" - what if there are multiple partners? What about Billy Bob and his favorite goat? Can they not be included in the name of "diversity" and "tolerance"?

The insanity has gone unchecked for so long, it's now viewed as normal...Who could ever have imagined the iniquity, malevolence, and moral decay and destruction that has spread all over the world?

Gospel for Thursday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:9-11

The Vine and the Branches (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [9] "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you; abide in My love. [10] If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. [11] These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."


9-11. Christ's love for Christians is a reflection of the love the Three Divine Persons have for one another and for all men: "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

The certainty that God loves us is the source of Christian joy (verse 11), but it is also something which calls for a fruitful response on our part, which should take the form of a fervent desire to do God's will in everything, that is, to keep His commandments, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who did the will of His Father (cf. John 4:34).
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, May 09, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, May 10

The Priest and the Eternal Truths


First Meditation - Its Certainties

I. A day will arrive - who will dare to doubt it? - when I myself shall be the one who is seriously ill, the one past recovery, the one dying, with people around me beginning to worry about preparations for my burial: the laying out, the coffin, the funeral, obituary cards. . . .

Do you think these details are somewhat ludicrous, unworthy of the seriousness of a meditation? Apply them to yourself, and perhaps they will have the effect of plunging you into deep thought.

If the thought of death does not impress me or deter me from evil, as the Scriptures promise it will, it is because I think of someone else's death, not my own.

My God, frankly, I have never really given a thought to my own death, I have hardly believed in it, despite the fact that I see the face of death so near in my daily ministrations and almost feel its icy breath.

II. When my time comes everything and everywhere around me will echo that "responsum mortis" of which St. Paul speaks. God forbid that I should be the only one deaf to its challenge!

Let us picture the scene. The priest comes to hear your last confession; the tinkling bell heralds your Via­ticum; then follow the Last Anointings [Anointing of the Sick], the prayers for the recommendation of the soul, and the low mumblings, drawn faces, and silent tears of relatives and friends standing round your bed - if indeed there is anyone at all to weep your departure! Your whole body is in a cold sweat, there is a gradual stiffening of your features, a twitching of your rigid fingers as if trying to clutch at something, the cold impression of the crucifix on your livid half-open lips; and the shadows of death crowd upon you thicker and thicker, and your eyes acquire that fixed look as if pursuing sights that vanish from you. . . .

My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who for love of me didst submit to the anguish of dying, do not fail me Thou when everything and everyone else forsakes me!

III. At long last your soul will quit the body, leaving it a
repulsive heap of lifeless matter.

The bells you so often heard toll or had tolled for others will now toll for you. The funeral service that you so often chanted for others is now to be chanted for you. And there will be a burial, your very own; and the officiating priest, while your body sinks into the earth, will seal your disappearance from this world with a last supplication wherein you will lose even your name:
Anima ejus et animae omnium fidelium defunc­torum,
per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.

And then, what will this world have to offer you?

What will become of those material goods that you seemed to have fused with your inmost soul, so deeply had you buried them within your heart's affections? Your name will be struck off all the lists of the living; your benefice, office, money, titles, every one of them will be handed over to another; and people will be quite indifferent and oblivious; they are used to these irrevoc­able resignations!

If you think the consideration of these incidents is of some avail to you for the prudent steering of your life and spirit, turn them over in your mind frequently; if you consider them useless, throw them overboard, bury them fathoms deep: century after century has stood witness to men whose one code is:
Let us eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die. (Is. xxii, 13)

I shall often take as subject of my daily meditation my own death, a future but inescapable fact; and I shall run through, one by one, all the probable circumstances that are apt to impress me the most.

Now I see why the remembrance of the Last Things, of death in particular, has been of such little value to me, in spite of the well-known text:
Remember thy last end and thou shalt never sin.
It is because I have thought of death in the abstract or as applied to someone else. So from now I shall come to grips with the thought of my own death, and I shall take this bitter thought as a leash to my unbridled passions.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

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

Francis Cardinal George, we are outraged...

Catholic Citizens of Illinois Board of Directors

"Francis Cardinal George, we are outraged and dismayed that you would permit the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls to invite Hillary Clinton to speak at their fundraiser"
5/9/2007 8:00:00 PM

May 8, 2007

TO: Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
P. O. Box 1979
Chicago, IL 60690-1979

Dear Cardinal George,

We are outraged and dismayed that you would permit the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls to invite Hillary Clinton to speak at their fundraiser. The newspapers and various internet sites report that you questioned it but were satisfied that it was not be a political event. You can't possibly believe that. We can only hope that your comments were misrepresented by the media.

Hillary Clinton is running for President. Any appearance or speech she gives is a political event. Mrs. Clinton opposes the moral teachings of the Church on abortion, stem cell research, the morality of homosexual acts and the defense of marriage. She has spoken to the Human Rights Campaign, the major homosexual organization in the country and promised that she will advance their agenda "when she becomes president."

Hillary Clinton's appearance at a fundraiser for Mercy Home is a disgrace for the Church and a scandal to the faithful. It is a disheartening affront to the pro-life movement that fights on a daily basis for the lives of the innocent unborn and other vulnerable members of our society. It is in direct opposition to the Bishops statement opposing awards, honors, or platforms for those who oppose the fundamental moral principals of the Church. No wonder Catholics think it is okay to vote for pro-abortion candidates! (my emphasis)

Before long you will be taking the leadership of the USCCB. Is this what we have to look forward to? We have already experienced the weakness and indifference of the USCCB on major moral issues. If only all of the bishops would follow the lead of those courageous ones who are willing to take a public stand against such speakers on Catholic property. Is it too much to ask the leaders of the church Militant to do what they ask us to do - stand firm in defending the faith? Is compromise and accommodation what defines us and if so, is now the time to just submit?

Thomas F. Roeser
Mary Anne Hackett
Cristov Dosev
Susan Jordan
Karl Maurer
M. Kelly Smith

Poor Cardinal George...unable or unwilling to confront evil; unable or unwilling to prevent scandal. All of us are admonished that we are never to cooperate in evil, such as abortion or the support of abortion, nor are we even to give tacit approval to evil, as it appears to have happened in this case.

Who cannot recall what Archbishop Burke stated recently in this regard:
“When there is a significant risk that others could be led to evil, as the one responsible for the spiritual and moral well-being of the faithful entrusted to my pastoral care, I am obliged in justice to act...Life is the most basic human good and the right to life of every innocent human being must be respected. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of civil society and legislation. The Catholic Church consistently teaches that actions that result in the direct killing of the innocent, such as deliberate abortion and destruction of human embryos for research, are grave offenses against the right to life found in the natural law and Divine Revelation. When, for economic gain, a Catholic institution associates itself with such a high profile proponent of the destruction of innocent lives, members of the Church and other people of good will have the right to be confirmed in their commitment to the Gospel of Life.” (my emphasis)

Who cannot understand why there are committed and faithful Catholics of Illionois who feel they have been betrayed by their shepherd for failing to confront the Clinton fiasco? A perfect teaching and leadership opportunity was lost, cast aside for some reason which escapes Catholics on the front lines of the battle. Whatever the "secret" reason for failing to act with zeal, courage, and determination to stop the Clinton affair happened to be, it remains at odds with what is expected of Catholics, especially of a bishop.

The worse scandal is not that Clinton was part of this fundraiser, but that a Catholic cardinal was remiss in fulfilling his obligation to Christ, the Church and those under his charge. A good shepherd does not let his flock wander about aimlessly - he gives his life (or self-esteem, human respect, etc) for his flock as did our Lord.

Our bishops and our priests need our prayers. The evil one is engaged in a relentless assault against them. We must help in supporting them with our prayers and sacrifices and reparations - even if, at times, they become frightened like the hired hand, and flee for some imaginary "safety."

Vatican issues excommunication clarification

From Dr Peters:
Exactly along the lines of my blog post earlier today. It is discussed here:
Ahhh, the speed of the internet being used to clarify these matters!

Now let's hope that we see the application of Canon 915!

News I Should Have Known...

Seems that this was missed and only recently discovered:
Archbishop Burke was the recipient of HLI’s Cardinal von Galen Award of February 2007, which is given primarily to Catholic prelates who stand up and defend the innocent and the Church.

I only came to hear of this when I was catching up on some things and read HLI's press release regarding Archbishop Burke's stand in the Cardinal Glennon/Sheryl Crow Fundraising debacle...

Congratulations to Archbishop Burke on this award - I wish that it had been reported in a timely manner.

Dr Ed Peters: Legislating in mid-air? First thoughts: possible, but not likely.

Responding to a reporter's question during his flight to Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI said that he supported the Mexican bishops' threat to take canonical action against the politicians who were involved in the effort to legalize abortion. The English version of his comment reads: "Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by canon law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ."

Now, the very first thing to notice about this quotation is that, as reported, it is susceptible to the chronic confusion that wearies discussions of the ecclesiastical consequences for involvement in abortion: "excommunication" and "denial of the Eucharist" are not, not, not, the same thing. Understanding the difference between the related but quite distinct institutes of "excommunication" and "withholding the Eucharist" is a prerequisite for any productive commentary on the pope's remarks.
Read the rest here...

99 Balloons

"Eliot was born with an undeveloped lung, a heart with a hole in it and DNA that placed faulty information into each and every cell of his body. However, that could not stop the living God from proclaiming Himself through this boy who never uttered a word."

HT to PK for the link...

Pro-abortion politicians excommunicated, Pope says

...the Holy Father was asked whether he supported the Mexican bishops who have announced the excommunication of politicians who voted to approve legalization of abortion in Mexico City. The Pontiff replied that he did.

"They did nothing new, nothing arbitrary or surprising," the Pope said of the Mexican bishops. "They simply announced to the public what is stipulated by the law of the Church."

Later the Vatican press director, Father Federico Lombardi, enlarged on the Pope's remarks during his own conversation with reporters. Father Lombardi pointed out to reporters that the Code of Canon Law provides the penalty of excommunication for anyone directly involved in abortion. That penalty would apply to politicians who support the legalization of abortion, he said. (my emphasis)

The most encouraging, yet sad news of the day - encouraging in that there is a clarification from the Holy Father's remarks that, indeed, those legislators who vote for or support laws permitting abortion excommunicate themselves. But it is also sad that these people, blinded by arrogance or ignorance, choose to ignore the teachings of the Church and further the slaughter of the most innocent...

Stats from Magister's article...

Excerpts from Magister's article:

...three out of four [Latino Catholics] are convinced that God guarantees wealth and health for those who have faith. (the "prosperity gospel"?)

...among Catholic "Latinos" 28 percent describe themselves [as "charismatic"] out of five [Latino emigrants] has changed religion, almost all of them out of the "desire for a more direct and personal experience of God." (So the Holy Mass is not sufficient? Nor the Sacraments, or the Church or living one's faith and vocation?)

... 57 percent [of Latino Catholics] ask that the Church speak out from time to time on social and political questions.

...52 percent of Catholics from Latin America are against homosexual marriage, (So half are not Catholic?)

...54 percent [of Latino Catholics] maintain that abortion should be illegal, (So half are not Catholic?)

...40 percent [of Latino Catholics] oppose the death penalty...

...three times as many Hispanic Catholics identify themselves as Democrats...(The number don't seem to add up here?)

Who needs the magisterium when there are nuns better in touch with the real truth?

There will be no surprises here:
The peace and justice ministry of the Los Angeles archdiocese is promoting a “gathering” that will feature a Dominican sister known as a defender of diversity -- “bio” and sexual.
Ah yes, if the protestant movement within the Church is not enough to whet the appetites of the disgruntled, the maladjusted, the confused, or the curious, one can "gather" in LA (and elsewhere, no doubt) and be treated to all sorts of pagan or heretical ideas and beliefs (often called, "diversity"), and promoted as Catholic...

Heresy abounds and is given "pride of place" in many areas of the Church...Don't forget to thank those responsible! And pray for them!

A glimpse into the future of the Church?

Hispanics are projected to constitute almost half of all U.S. Catholics within 25 years, and 54 percent of them describe themselves as “charismatic” "protestant" (there, fixed it...)

California newspapers are preparing their inevitable retrospectives on the “Summer of Love” of 1967: the beginning of the hippie movement, when marijuana-scented youth flocked to San Francisco “with flowers in their hair.” Yet this timeframe holds another event that has had far stronger repercussions -- the birth of “Spirit-filled” Catholicism.

This summer, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic movement, will be highlighted by plenty of special events. There’s the May 19 Rosary Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the May 25-27 Pentecostal Weekend at the Santa Clara Convention Center. There’s a “Teaching and Healing Seminar” in Santa Barbara and a “Charismatic School for Spiritual Directors” in San Luis Obispo. There are Healing Masses in dozens of California parishes. There’s a big Pentecost Vigil Celebration at Our Lady of Refuge in Long Beach, and a truly huge “Trust in the Lord” Convention coming up on August 31 – September 2 in Anaheim.

Get thee to a "Teaching and Healing Seminar"....If only I could babble even more senselessly - in tongues...

"Immigration is changing the nature of the American Catholic, making worship more lively, more intense," said Monsignor Joseph Malagreca, moderator of the National Hispanic Committee of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. "We are accommodating the desire for a deeper and more personal relationship with God.”
"More lively"??? "More intense"???? "We are accommodating the desire for a deeper and more personal relationship with God.” I'm sure you are padre...except for those who wish to practice the faith as it was practiced for centuries before all of these "novelties" were allowed to enter the Church...But, at least, maybe we'll have dancing in the aisles!!!

Brazilians Welcome Pope but Question His Perspective

Pictured:The Roman Catholic Church has lost ground in Brazil to Pentecostalism in recent years, and Catholic churches across Brazil have incorporated charismatic or Afro-Brazilian rites into their services.

SÃO PAULO, Brazil, May 8 — Pope Benedict XVI arrives here Wednesday for his first foray into Latin America, hoping to stanch the church’s steady loss of followers in the region. But some of the faithful frankly wonder whether an 80-year-old pontiff from Germany can speak to their needs.
* * *
Today only two-thirds of Brazilians consider themselves Catholics, according to a recent church-endorsed survey.

Much of that ground has been lost to surging Pentecostalism in a region that has traditionally been home to nearly half the world’s Catholics.
One never knows what the ill winds will bring when arbitrarily throwing open the windows to let in the "fresh air"...

The challenge from Pentecostalism, say theologians and other religious experts, is likely to be one of the most important challenges of Benedict’s papacy. Philip Jenkins, a professor of religious studies at Penn State University who has written several books about the church in the developing world, called the spread of Pentecostalism in Latin America “the greatest single crisis facing the Catholic Church worldwide.”

Some segments of the Latin American church have responded by emphasizing the theology of liberation, which merges faith and politics. Others have incorporated Afro-Brazilian and indigenous rites into the Mass.

Another increasingly popular response has been the emergence of a charismatic renewal movement, which borrows liberally from the Pentecostal liturgy. Its most visible symbol is a young priest named Marcelo Rossi, a former personal trainer who is a devotee of the Virgin Mary and the rosary.

Blessed with matinee-idol looks and a strong singing voice, he draws thousands to the concrete warehouse where he celebrates his televised Masses. He has sold millions of records and even starred in a movie.

“I come here because the Mass is relaxed and informal, gets me more involved than at my old church and transmits a feeling of happiness,” Edilanis Diniz, a 31-year-old store clerk, said one recent Sunday as Father Rossi sang “God is a 10” to a rock ‘n’ roll beat. “I think this is the right path for the church, especially for young people.”
That's right - the Holy Mass is supposed to be "relaxed and informal"...It should "transmit a feeling of happiness"...As we read in the Gospel accounts of Calvary, that, too, was a happy, relaxed and informal time for all...

But then, I'm not surprised that there exists a warped understanding of the Mass. Numerous others have commented and lamented this fact for the past 40 years.

Catholics in Brazil may be faring no better than other Catholics in the West, having a foundation of Faith built on sand, there will be no surprise when the first storm or tide washes away whatever they have built...

The stories and accounts of the "Catholicism" of Brazil, generally, seem depressing to me.

Pope Benedict XVI Is in Brazil...

Benedict XVI Is in Brazil. But Meanwhile, the "Latinos" Are Invading the North
The United States is now fifth among the nations with the highest Latin American population. A survey by the Pew Forum on an emigration movement that is changing the face of Catholicism in the leading country in the West.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Wednesday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:1-8

The Vine and the Branches

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. [2] Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit. [3] You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. [4] Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. [5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [6] If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. [7] If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. [8] By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples."


1. This comparison of the chosen people with a vine was used in the Old Testament: Psalm 80 speaks of the uprooting of the vine in Egypt and its re-planting in another land; and in Isaiah's Song of the Vineyard (5:1-7) God complains that despite the care and love He has lavished on it, His vineyard has yielded only wild grapes. Jesus previously used this imagery in His parable about the murderous tenants (Matthew 21:33-43) to signify the Jew's rejection of the Son and the calling of the Gentiles. But here the comparison has a different, more personal meaning: Christ explains that He Himself is the true vine, because the old vine, the original chosen people, has been succeeded by the new vine, the Church, whose head is Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9). To be fruitful one must be joined to the new, true vine, Christ: it is no longer a matter of simply belonging to a community but of living the life of Christ, the life of grace, which is the nourishment which passes life on to the believer and enables him to yield fruits of eternal life. This image of the vine also helps understand the unity of the Church, Christ's mystical body, in which all the members are intimately united with the head and thereby are also united to one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:15-16).

2. Our Lord is describing two situations: that of those who, although they are still joined to the vine externally, yield no fruit; and that of those who do yield fruit but could yield still more. The Epistle of St. James carries the same message when it says that faith alone is not enough (James 2:17). Although it is true that faith is the beginning of salvation and that without faith we cannot please God, it is also true that a living faith must yield fruit in the form of deeds. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6). So, one can say that in order to produce fruit pleasing to God, it is not enough to have received Baptism and to profess the faith externally: a person has to share in Christ's life through grace and has to cooperate with Him in His work of redemption.

Jesus uses the same verb to refer to the pruning of the branches as He uses to refer to the cleanness of the disciples in the next verse: literally the translation should run: "He cleanses him who bears fruit so that he bear more fruit". In other words, He is making it quite clear that God is not content with half-hearted commitment, and therefore He purifies His own by means of contradictions and difficulties, which are a form of pruning, to produce more fruit. In this we can see an explanation of the purpose of suffering: "Have you not heard the Master Himself tell the parable of the vine and the branches? Here we can find consolation. He demands much of you for you are the branch that bears fruit. And He must prune you `ut fructum plus afferas": to make you bear more fruit'.

"Of course: that cutting, that pruning, hurts. But, afterwards, what richness in your fruits, what maturity in your actions" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 701).

3. After washing Peter's feet Jesus had already said that His Apostles were clean, though not all of them (cf. John 13:10). Here, once more, He refers to that inner cleansing which results from accepting His teachings. "For Christ's word in the first place cleanses us from errors, by instructing us (cf. Titus 1:9) [...]; secondly, it purifies our hearts of earthly affections, filling them with desire for Heavenly things [...]; finally, His word purifies us with the strength of faith, for `He cleansed their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:9)" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

4-5. Our Lord draws more conclusions from the image of the vine and the branches. Now He emphasizes that anyone who is separated from Him is good for nothing, like a branch separated from the vine. "You see, the branches are full of fruit, because they share in the sap that comes from the stem. Otherwise, from the tiny buds we knew just a few months back, they could not have produced the sweet ripe fruit that gladdens the eye and make the heart rejoice. Here and there on the ground we may find some dry twigs, lying half-buried in the soil. Once they too were branches of the vine; now they lie there withered and dead, a perfect image of barrenness: `apart from Me, you can do nothing'" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 254).

The life of union with Christ is necessarily something which goes far beyond one's private life: it has to be focused on the good of others; and if this happens, a fruitful apostolate is the result, for "apostolate, of whatever kind it be, must be an overflow of the interior life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 239). The Second Vatican Council, quoting this page from St. John, teaches what a Christian apostolate should be: "Christ, sent by the Father, is the source of the Church's whole apostolate. Clearly then, the fruitfulness of the apostolate of lay people depends on their living union with Christ; as the Lord Himself said: `He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing'. This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is maintained by the spiritual helps common to all the faithful, chiefly by the active participation in the Liturgy. Laymen should make such a use of these helps that, while meeting their human obligations in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate their union with Christ from their ordinary life; but through the very performance of their tasks, which are God's will for them, actually promote the growth of their union with Him" ("Apostolicam Actuositatem", 4).

6. If a person is not united to Christ by means of grace he will ultimately meet the same fate as the dead branches--fire. There is a clear parallelism with other images our Lord uses--the parables of the sound tree and the bad tree (Matthew 7:15-20), the dragnet (Matthew 13:49-50), and the invitation to the wedding (Matthew 22:11-14), etc. Here is how St. Augustine comments on this passage: "The wood of the vine is the more contemptible if it does not abide in the vine, and the more glorious if it does abide....For, being cut off it is profitable neither for the vinedresser nor for the carpenter. For one of these only is it useful--the vine or the fire. If it is not in the vine, it goes to the fire; to avoid going to the fire it must be joined to the vine" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 81, 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.