Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 10

The Priestly Ministry

The Second Priestly Duty: The Holy Eucharist

Ninth Meditation
St. John, the Priest's Model in his Dealings with the Holy Eucharist

I. Let us re-read St. John's Gospel and his other writings. So steeped was he in the profound mysteries of his Divine Master's Heart that, when he takes up the pen to relate the Life story of Christ, the very first thing that comes to his mind is Christ's Divinity: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John i, 1)

"With God" - from the Latin apud Deum - seems to have lost the force of the original Greek, where the pre­position pròs before "Theón," means not only "with God" but also "in God," "within God," "towards God."

When St. John deals with the Eucharist, instead of relating Its institution in detail, as the three Synop­tists and St. Paul do, he tells us, in Christ's own words, only the chief fruits of this Sacrament:
If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever;
. . . abideth in me and I in him.
. . . and I will raise him up in the last day. (John vi)

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God! How truly this is fulfilled in the beloved Disciple!

II. We should learn from St. John how to deal with Jesus Christ hidden under the Sacramental Species.

The essential purpose of the priest is to offer sacrifice. There is no priesthood without sacrifice. So the more perfectly we perform this essential duty the better priests we are, and the better priests we are the nearer our approach to the Holiness and Greatness of the Victim we offer and of the Father to Whom It is offered.

For the victims and oblations of old have vanished like shadows before the Light of the New Covenant, which, in abrogating them, substituted in their place the one Clean Oblation prophesied by Malachias (i, 11), Christ our God, the Holy One born of the Virgin Mary, the Divine Victim of our altars.

To offer this Divine Victim is the essential reason for my priesthood, my first ministerial duty, my sublimest occupation, and, I may well add, the primary purpose of my existence on earth.

Is my life adjusted to the requirements of this, my lofty destiny?

III. Why not examine today, at this moment, quite leisurely, the daily treatment which my Lord Jesus Christ, Victim and Sacrament, receives at my hands? Is there nothing on my conscience that puts me to shame? . . .

What was the secret of that poignant sorrow in the Heart of the Saviour at the Last Supper? What dis­turbed Him most? He trembled, perhaps, not so much at the vision of the agony of His impending Passion and death with all the scourgings, crown of thorns, and nailing to a cross, as because He saw, with infinite dread, that from that hour, having instituted for all ages the Sacrament of His love, He had given Himself into the hands of His priests.

From the gentle hands of His Mother, which had fondled Him in infancy and boyhood; from the hands of His Aposdes and Disciples, who with all their uncouthness were funda­mentally good and loved Him sincerely; from those hands He passed into the hands of so many, many priests, some of whom were to imitate the traitor Judas. And alas! He saw Himself surrendered to my hands, these hands of mine, perhaps soiled, maybe even cynical!

Not the least of Thy torments, dear Lord, to which Thy love constrained Thee!

Solicitous and loving concern for everything that relates to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, especially within the church, will henceforth be classed as one of my chief acts of piety, and will receive the same measure of careful attention which I expect from those who look after my personal and priestly belongings.

If I do this, I shall have every right to proclaim before the assembled congregation, when purifying my fingers at the Offertory, the boast of the psalmist: Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae, et locum habitationis gloriae tuae (Ps. xxv, 8): Lord, how well I love thy house in its beauty, the place where thy own glory dwells!

Let the faithful learn from my example that the very first act of Christian piety looks towards Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!
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!

Murderers of Fr. Ragheed & Deacons Demanded Their Conversion to Islam

Mosul (AsiaNews) – Before opening fire on Fr. Raghhed Gani and his three deacons, the killers demanded their conversion to Islam. These emerging details of the murder of the 4 Chaldeans have been posted by the Arab site which in these last few days has been re-creating the ferocious nature of the Mosul attack through eye-witness accounts.

This information confirms the theory of a target murder, well planned and in step with the vast campaign of persecution against Christians currently underway in Iraq. So far there has been no claim of responsibility for the “senseless gesture”, as it was defined by Benedict XVI who today is due to meet president George W. Bush in the Vatican.
Martyred for refusing to convert to the "Religion of Peace"...May they rest in the peace of Jesus' loving embrace! And may God have mercy on those who daily do the work of the evil one...

The Feast of Corpus Christi

Why is this day called Corpus Christi?

Because on this Thursday the Catholic Church celebrates the institution of the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Latin term Corpus Christi signifies in English, Body of Christ.

Who instituted this festival?

Pope Urban IV, who, in the decree concerning it, gives the following explanation of the institution and grandeur of this festival:
"Although we daily, in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass; renew the memory of this holy Sacrament, we believe that we must, besides, solemnly commemorate it every year, to put the unbelievers to shame; and because vie have been informed that God has revealed to some pious persons that this festival should be celebrated in the whole Church, we direct that on the first Thursday after the octave of Pentecost the faithful shall assemble in church, join with the priests in singing the word of God," &c.

Hence this festival was instituted on account of the greatness of the divine mystery; the unbelief of those who denied the truth of this mystery; and the revelation made to some pious persons.

This revelation was made to a nun at Liege, named Juliana, and to her devout friends Eve and Isabella. Juliana, when praying, had frequently a vision in which she saw the bright moon, with one part of it somewhat dark; at her request she received instructions from God that one of the grandest festivals was yet to be instituted the festival of the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

In 1246, she related this vision to Robert, Bishop of Liege, who after having investigated the matter with the aid of several men of learning and devotion, among whom was Jacob Pantaleon, Archdeacon of Liege, afterwards Pope Urban IV made arrangements to introduce this festival m his diocese, but death prevented his intention being put into effect. After the bishop's death the Cardinal Legate Hugh undertook to carry out his directions, and celebrated the festival for the first time in the year 1247, in the Church of St. Martin at Liege.

Several bishops followed this example, and the festival was observed in many dioceses, before Pope Urban IV in 1264 finally ordered its celebration by the whole Church. This order was confirmed by Clement V, at the Council of Vienna in 1311, and the Thursday after the octave of Pentecost appointed for its celebration. In 1317, Pope John XXII instituted the solemn procession.

Why are there such grand processions on this day?

For a public profession of our holy faith that Christ is really, truly and substantially present in this Blessed Sacrament; for a public reparation of all the injuries, irreverence, and offences, which have been and are committed by impious men against Christ in this Blessed Sacrament; for the solemn veneration and adoration due to the Son of God in this Sacrament; in thanksgiving for its institution; and for all the graces and advantages received therefrom; and finally, to draw down the divine blessing upon the people and the country.

Had this procession a prototype in the Old Law?

The procession in which was carried the Ark of the Covenant containing the manna, was a figure of this procession.
From Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels
by Fr. Leonard Goffine (c) 1880

Gospel for Saturday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor
Optional Memorial: Our Lady's Saturday

From: Mark 12:38-44

Jesus Censures the Scribes

[38] And in His (Jesus') teaching He said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places [39] and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, [40] who devour widow's houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

The Widow's Mite

[41] And He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. [42] And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. [43] And He called His disciples to Him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. [44] For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."


38-40. Our Lord reproves disordered desire for human honors: "We should notice that salutations in the marketplace are not forbidden, nor people taking the best seats if that befits their position; rather, the faithful are warned to avoid, as they would evil men, those who set too much store by such honors" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). See also notes on Matthew 23:2-3, 5, 11 and 14.

41-44. Our Lord uses this little event to teach us the importance of things which apparently are insignificant. He puts it somewhat paradoxically; the poor widow has contributed more than all the rich. In God's sight the value of such an action lies more in upright intention and generosity of spirit than in the quantity one gives. "Didn't you see the light in Jesus' eyes as the poor widow left her little alms in the temple? Give Him what you can: the merit is not in whether it is big or small, but in the intention with which you give it" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 829).

By the same token, our actions are pleasing to God even if they are not as perfect as we would like. St. Francis de Sales comments: "Now as among the treasures of the temple, the poor widow's mite was much esteemed, so the least little good works, even though performed somewhat coldly and not according to the whole extent of the charity which is in us, are agreeable to God, and esteemed by Him; so that though of themselves they cannot cause and increase in the existing love [...] yet Divine Providence, counting on them and, out of His goodness, valuing them, forthwith rewards them with increase in charity for the present, and assigns to them a greater Heavenly glory for the future" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 3, Chapter 2).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 9

The Priestly Ministry

The Second Priestly Duty: The Holy Eucharist

Eighth Meditation - Why the Mass was lnstituted

I. Why do I believe? In considering the purposes our Lord had in mind when instituting this wonderful Sacramental Sacrifice I shall discover a further motive of credibility, and not the least of them.

First purpose: To convert every square foot of earth and sea into a Calvary purpled with the steaming Blood of the Lamb. O Lover of this our earthly dwelling, it did not satisfy Thee to shed Thy Blood on one Gol­gotha, it was Thy desire to turn the whole earth into a Golgotha and an altar of Thy Sacrifice.

The very words of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, in their original Greek recording, This is my body which is being delivered unto you, would seem
to indicate an actual mystical Immolation there and then. From that day onwards the Sacrifice of the Cross was to be made a living and actual reality among us every hour of the day and night, in every nation, in every spot on earth; so that we can say of this globe of ours: but a microscopic point lost in the unfathomable abyss of the heavens, and yet Christ has turned it into His most sacred Altar; because everywhere, even in the most hidden and distant corners, the earth is at some time or another being bathed in the Blood of the Victim sacrificed for our sins.

II. Second purpose: To establish the New Covenant: Novum Testamentum.
Drink ye all of this, for this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto the remission of sins. (Matt. xxvi, 28)

In these words of the consecration of the chalice it is evident that Christ alludes to the rites with which Moses ratified the Old Covenant:

And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: this is the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you con­cerning all these words. (Exodus xxiv, 8)

The Old Covenant was made for the observance of the Law - which the Lord hath made with you concern­ing all these words; - the New Covenant was made for the sake of pardoning sins, in virtue of the Redeeming Blood: in remissionem peccatorum.

Moses shed half of the victims' blood upon the ground, and with the other half he sprinkled the heads of the Hebrews. Christ, not satisfied with shedding all His Blood on Mount Calvary, wishes to seal with It every soul that enters into His Fold by Baptism.

Every Communion, dear Jesus, is a seal, a hallmark, an additional witness before heaven and earth, that I am Thine. After so many Communions, what atom remains of my person, body and soul, that does not exhibit Thy mark, that does not evoke the covenant I made with Thee?

III. Third purpose: To erect a monument to the greatest of all achievements: Christ's Passion and Death, the divine work of the Redemption: Hoc facite in meam commemorationem.

For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. (l Cor. xi, 26.)

A monument that will last as long as the human race. It is so natural for the human heart to want to erect lasting monuments! What are those monoliths, menhirs, mausoleums, pyramids, obelisks, and statues in materials like granite, marble, and iron, erected in every age to kings, travellers, pioneers, and inventors, but the un­quenchable human longing to etemalize an achievement, to perpetuate a name?

And what monument will the King of Kings erect to His enterprise, the world's Redemption? What materials will He choose? Marble of Paros? Bronze from the old Colossi? Stones from the eternal wonders of Egypt? . . . No, Christ's monument will be unique: His por­phyry, His diamonds, His bronze, will be but a tiny con­secrated Host - the meager appearances of bread and wine.

And the pyramids will crumble, and the colossi will be thrown to the ground, and the marble statues will turn into dust, and the monoliths will be buried by the sands of the centuries; and even if cataclysms should fail to consume them, there will be the implacable beat of the weather eroding and pulverising them all. But the Monument to the Death of Christ, with all its fragile appearances, remains; with the passing of the years and after every hour It becomes still more gigantic; each Consecration and Communion is a new ashlar that nothing will move.

IV. Fourth purpose: To infuse into my being the germ of a New Life, the life of grace, eternal life, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost - scriptural terms for divine grace.

A divine Germ that is immersed not only in the depths of the soul, sanctifying it and making it a child of God, but also in the flesh, which it saturates, deposit­ing in every molecule of its corruptible nature the seed of immortality and glory. In fact, Christ attributes pre­cisely to this Sacrament the resurrection of our bodies:
He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood . . . has everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. (John vi, 55)

The Father gave to the Son to have Life in Himself and to communicate this Life to us through our contact with His Flesh glorified by Its union with the Word.

1. I shall consider Holy Communion the most vital of all my actions, and therefore, I shall keep my soul and body every day of my existence in the holy dis­positions required for receiving worthily the Life-giving God.

2. I shall ask Christ's forgiveness for the meanness, due to my indolence and lack of faith, with which I have distributed to the faithful the Bread of the children of God - as though the Tabernacle keys were entrusted to me to keep that Bread in cold storage, as it were, instead of giving It out lavishly to all God's good children who ask for It and need It.

Jesus, I promise Thee I shall exhort everyone, in season and out of season, to receive Holy Communion frequendy, just as I myself receive It daily; and each day I shall be less inclined to judge myself a worthier child of God than the rest of the faithful.
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!

Corpus Christi - The Consecration of the Host

"This is my body." St. Matthew, 26 :26.

A man by the name of George Silk was a photographer for LIFE MAGAZINE. He was showing a friend his picture album, his collection of snapshots taken during World War II. One was of particular interest. It showed a group of Australian and American soldiers attending Mass at an outdoor altar near Gona, in jungle territory at the southern end of Africa, near the Cape of Good Hope - the land of the Hottentots. Father Lynch is offering Mass at a crude altar. Around him kneeling in the mud are the boys who will soon be face to face with death. The photographer caught this group at the moment of Consecration. As he showed this picture to his visitor, the non-Catholic bulb-squeezer remarked:

"Look at it! Look at those faces. Look at those bowed heads. Notice those clasped hands. Those blokes are enraptured. They see something, something you can't see in an ordinary church. Gee, you'd almost think they could see God Himself in the jungle."

The visitor, a Catholic, quietly answered:
"Of course, George, that is precisely what they do see. They see God.
They see Christ in the jungle."

Suppose someone were to take a snapshot of you at the moment of consecration in Mass. Would you look as if you were seeing God?
Would your face and features show that you believed you were seeing God when you saw the Sacred Host uplifted?
Would you be enraptured?

We want to think about that sacred moment in order to appreciate it more. We want to study the words which the priest says and the actions he performs. They are few, they are brief, but they are the most powerful words ever spoken. For, what the priest says and does at the altar at this time is a repetition of what Christ did and said at the Last Supper.

That scene has been described by Saints Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and also by St. Paul. They tell it in different words but the facts related are the same. They agree perfectly. Several of the words in the Canon are not found in Sacred Scripture, but the substance of the Scripture story is repeated in the Mass. Tradition hands them down to us from the time of the Apostles, tradition which is unquestionably true and certain.

1. The priest says, "Who, the day before He suffered." He wipes the tips of his thumbs and forefingers lightly on the corporal, to remove any lint or dust that might have been picked up since he washed his hands at the Offertory.

2. As he says the words, "He took bread into His holy and venerable hands," the celebrant takes the host between his thumbs and forefingers and raises it slightly above the corporal.

3. While reciting the words, "with eyes lifted up toward heaven, unto Thee, O God, His almighty Father," this other Christ lifts his eyes to the crucifix - heavenward.

4. He continues in Scriptural language, "giving thanks to Thee," making a bow of his head.

5. As the priest says, "He did bless, break, and give to His disciples, say­ing, 'Take and eat ye all of this,'" he makes the sign of the cross over the host.

6. Then he bends over the corporal. He holds the host as mentioned before and joins the other fingers of both hands so that they touch together at the tips. He then pronounces over the large host and over any small hosts present on the corporal the sacred words of consecration. Distinctly and reverently he says these words:

"This is My body."

The priest holds the Host with thumbs and index fingers, and genu­flects slowly with his right knee to the floor, not inclining his head, but keeping his eyes fixed on the Host. He stands erect, elevates the Host over the corporal and above his head for all to see, constantly keeping his eyes fixed upon It. Gently and reverently he lowers the Host with his right hand alone places It upon the corporal before the chalice. Again he genuflects. The small Hosts are generally in a ciborium. He replaces its cover, and from now until the last ablution the celebrant keeps the thumb and fore­finger of each hand joined except when he touches the Sacred Host.

7. When the priest raises the Host above his head be sure to look up and adore. If you wish to bow your head and strike your breast as the priest
makes each genuflection, well and good, but when he raises Christ on high for you to see, be sure to see Him.

God's Church wants us to look at God. Mother Church grants an indul­gence of seven years and seven quarantines to all the faithful who gaze at the Sacred Host with faith and love at the elevation of Mass, or when the Host is solemnly enthroned in the monstrance, and who say at the same time: "My Lord and My God."

This Big Elevation, as it is sometimes called, is a means to strengthen and renew our faith in the Eucharist, a faith that was first questioned in the 12th century by certain benighted heretics. It was then Mother Church ordered the priest to raise the Host so that all could see and adore. Be sure to do that.

Truly you are seeing God. You are looking at the Body of Christ, the same Body which He gave to His disciples at the Last Supper, the same Body which lay in the crib at Bethlehem, the same Body which hung upon the cross, the same Body which rose glorious from the grave, the same Body which now shines in all the glory of heaven.

Those soldiers attending Mass in that jungle knew this. You and I know it. We want to show the same faith and love and devotion. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Mass
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1950)

Corpus Christi - The Consecration of the Precious Blood

"For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins." St. Matthew, 26:28.

Each of the four Gospel writers mentions a man by the name of Joseph of Arimathea. They tell us that he was a disciple of Jesus and that he asked and obtained permission from Pilate to take the Body of Christ from the cross and give it proper burial.

According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea also secured the chalice which Christ had used at the Last Supper. This legend even maintains that with this precious chalice he caught some of the Precious Blood which flowed from the wound in the side of our Lord.

He carried this sacred cup to Glastonbury, England, where he formed an organization of knights whose work it was to protect the chalice and its precious contents. The chief of these knights was considered a king. At certain times the king unveiled the golden cup. At those moments a glorious and radiant light fell on the faces of all who stood about. It filled them with delight and gave them strength from on high. Only the pure in heart were able to look upon that cup. Only the clean of heart were able to see the wondrous light that streamed from it.

The loss of this cup and the search for it have been the subject of much literature. It is the theme of Tennyson's unforgettable poem, "THE HOLY GRAIL."

Interesting as these stories may be, they pale in the face of the unques­tionable fact that the Precious Blood of Christ is actually, truly and sub­stantially present in every Holy Mass. We do not have to cross continents and oceans in quest of the chalice that contained the Precious Blood, for upon the altar of the Church the Blood of Christ becomes present at the consecration of every Mass. At every Mass the Last Supper and the Crucifixion will be continued on the altars of the Church.

1. After the celebrant has adored the Sacred Host he places his left hand on the foot of the chalice and uncovers it with his right. He places the pall on the veil or against the altar card. He then rubs the thumb and index finger of each hand over the open chalice to remove any small particle of the large Host that may be upon them. While doing this in an erect posture, he says:
"In like manner after he had supped."

2. Then he says, "Taking also this excellent chalice into His holy and venerable hands." Suiting the action to the words, the priest takes the chalice with both hands just under the cup, raises it slightly and briefly, and. replaces it on the corporal.

3. At the words, "also giving thanks to Thee," the priest makes a bow of his head.

4. "He blessed," says the priest, as he keeps his left hand holding the cup, while he makes the sign of the cross over the chalice with his right hand and continues the prayer:
"He gave it to His disciples saying, 'Take and drink ye all of this.'"

5. With both hands he holds the chalice, raises it slightly above the corporal, places the three fingers of his left hand under the foot of the chalice as a sort of support, and with bowed body pronounces attentively, reverently, and secretly the words of consecration:
"For this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament; the mystery of faith, which shall be shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins."

6. After repeating these words, the celebrant places the chalice on the corporal, genuflects slowly, repeating at the same time the words:
"As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of me."

7. He grasps the chalice with his right hand, supports it below with the three fingers of his left hand, and elevates the cup with its Sacred Contents high enough for the people to see and worship. Throughout the elevation the priest keeps his eyes fixed steadily and adoringly on the chalice.
Slowly but without delay he lowers the chalice, places it on the corporal, covers it with the pall, and genuflects.

With the priest you should lift your eyes reverently and lovingly to the chalice. It is our Holy Grail. It is the true Holy Grail. It is the cup of the living, precious, all-purifying Blood of our Savior. Lift up your eyes and your heart and your mind - and adore.

This two-fold consecration of the Sacred Body and the Precious Blood of our Lord is the very heart and core of the Mass. The two-fold consecra­tion is a mystical shedding of blood, the separation of the Body from the Blood. It carries out, it continues before our very eyes "the commemorative representation," as Pope Pius XII calls it, of the death of Christ upon the cross.

What do we mean when we call this a "mystical shedding of Christ's Blood?" We call that mystical which is real, which is true, but which the senses cannot perceive and the mind cannot comprehend. Christ said so. Christ said He would give us His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink. He kept His promise at the Last Supper.

Then He told His apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church, to continue that consecration, to continue changing bread and wine into His adorable Body and Blood. A real change takes place, yet we cannot see that change nor feel it nor understand it. That is what we mean by mystical.

What a blessed moment this is! The Last Supper and Calvary are really re-presented and continued upon the altars of the Catholic Church. Let nothing disturb you at that moment. Let nothing draw your attention away from what is taking place, from what is being said and done here in the sight of God and His angels.

Here is the Holy Grail. Here is the blessed cup. Here is the Precious Blood. Mother Church gives an indulgence for the devout saying of the following words at this time:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction for my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in purgatory, and for the needs of Holy Church."
Whisper those words when you see the real Holy Grail raised above the head of the priest. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Mass
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1950)

And Speaking of Pictures...

The "Rome of the West" blog has some pictures of the Sacristy of St Francis de Sales Oratory - and the beauty of the sacristy is unbelievable...It looks better than many of today's churches...

And not only this, but it seems Mark has a picture of the New Sacred Heart Shrine at the Cathedral Basilica (I thought this was to be kept under wraps until next Sunday) - Beautiful, isn't it?

Feast of Corpus Christi at Old Saint Patrick Oratory

Great pics at Kansas City Catholic of Bishop Finn and others.

On Thursday, June 7, 2007, this year's traditional Feast of Corpus Christi, a High Mass was said by Monsignor Gilles Wach, Superior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Check it out here.

Tainted Imports from China: Why the Surprise?

Trouble Brewing in China
China's Tainted Food Imports Point to Decades of Flawed Policy

By Michael Whitcraft
The recent discovery of the toxic chemical melamine in pet food imported from China is the tip of an iceberg of tainted products. All manner of toxins, bacteria, illegal pesticides, outlawed antibiotics and carcinogens are commonly found in Chinese food imports.

This should hardly be surprising. China’s practices of forced labor and mandatory abortion sufficiently illustrate its disregard for human rights and dignity. The real question is why the United States grants such a nation most favored trade status, while fully conscious that China’s growth is harmful to American domestic and international interests.

Sickening Food Standards
The FDA’s 2007 Import Refusal Reports show China as the number one regulation violator in three of the first four months of this year.1 The report gives a description of each item that was rejected and a tag name designating why. Browsing the document, descriptive tag names such as “Salmonella”, “unsafe col” and “filthy” recur time and again.
This TFP Commentary can be read here.

Papal patience causes chafing among some Vatican bureaucrats, media

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than two years into his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has proven to be a very patient decision-maker -- so patient that even some of his Vatican bureaucrats are chafing a little.

"There are all these decisions that you thought were already made, and then nothing happens," one Roman Curia official said in early June.
. . .
[The word] "soon" has taken on new meaning under Pope Benedict.

Patience, patience...

German Priests Preparing to Emulate Martin Luther?

From Catholic World News we read:
Rottenburg, Jun. 8, 2007 ( - Priests in Rottenburg, Germany have voted to reject the Vatican translation of the phrase pro multis in the Eucharistic liturgy, the news service reports.
Maybe there is reason the place is named "Rotten"burg?

The priests' council of the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese announced that the members had decided by a "democratic vote," to retain the current German translation of pro multis as "for all."
That's nice - they decided to rebel by invoking a "demoncratic" process...

And any first year Latin student knows that "pro-multis" means "for many" - despite the numerous equivocations and rationalizations we've endured for years about how it could be rendered and nuanced as "for all."

The Rottenburg priests argued that the use of "for many" would be confusing to the faith In this day and age." . . .
What's confusing in this day and age is the failure of bishops to take these "children" to the woodshed for a little "re-education."

. . .They added that the original Scriptural text read "for all," citing as their authority a Protestant scholar of the 18th century whose analysis the Catholic Church has rejected.
What does it matter if the Church rejected a Protestant's analysis? After all, aren't these "thinking" priests? Surely, then, they know better than the Church...

Please, Lord, spare us from these rebels and renegades!

CWNews link.

2 New Priests for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will ordain two men to the priesthood for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at 1 p.m. Friday, June 15, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End.

The men to be ordained are Abbe William Avis and Abbe Matthew Talarico.

This is the first ordination in the United States for members of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a society of priests founded in Italy in 1990.

The ordination Mass will be a Pontifical Solemn Mass celebrated in the classical Latin rite, or Tridentine rite Roman Mass, the traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Catholic Church.

St Louisan Is Ordained Priest for Fathers of Mercy

Father William Bellrose, a native of the St. Louis Archdiocese, was ordained a priest for the Fathers of Mercy June 2 at Sacred Heart Church in Russellville, Ky. The ordaining prelate was Bishop David Choby of the Diocese of Nashville, Tenn.

Virtual Tour-Abp. Burke and Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine

You are invited to join us on a virtual pilgrimage to Mexico City, led by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, to visit the holy places associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe and her apparitions to Saint Juan Diego in 1531. Archbishop Burke has long revered Our Lady of Guadalupe, known as the Patroness of the Americas and Star of the New Evangelization, and has led several pilgrimages there.
Click here for more.

Politicians and Excommunication - A Brief History Lesson

It's does well to recall "Catholic" politicians' arguments this past century in the US - arguments which were used to oppose the Church. Today's excuses and arguments sound no different than those of yesteryear...all are foundationally baseless.

A Liberal Mix of Religion and Politics
When Catholic politicians face excommunication.

In March 1962, Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans announced that all Catholic schools in the archdiocese would be integrated starting that fall. At the time, eight years after Brown v. Board of Education, public and private schools throughout Louisiana were segregated. Rummel, who condemned racial segregation as a sin in 1956, found that his plan met organized resistance among Catholic parents. The opposition was led by Leander Perez, the president of the Plaquemines Parish council and one of the most powerful political bosses in the state; Jackson Ricau, the executive director of the South Louisiana Citizens Council, which opposed all integration efforts; and B.J. "Una" Gaillot, the president of Save Our Nation, an organization that asserted that the Bible mandated racial segregation.
On March 31, 1962, the archbishop sent letters to Messrs. Perez and Ricau and Mrs. Gaillot warning that if they continued to oppose his efforts "through word or deed," he would excommunicate them. Mrs. Gaillot made the ailing 85-year-old prelate's letter public. On April 16, Rummel carried out his threat and announced the excommunication of all three.

They objected, of course--making arguments that seem familiar today. [edited for "clarity"]

Mr. Perez invoked democratic principles, stating that "the vast majority of [Catholic] parents" supported racial segregation. He also saw Rummel's action exclusively in political terms, saying "we cannot recognize any threat of excommunication by any temporary officers of the church on matters especially which have nothing to do with religion, but which are used as threats to impose forced racial integration or communistic regimentation of our children."

Mr. Ricau insisted he was simply following his conscience. "I have done nothing but fight for racial integrity, as is my prerogative under the Constitution," he said, "and to tell the truth about the controversial compulsory integration movement."

Finally, Mrs. Gaillot argued that the excommunication was unjustified because Rummel never "refuted that God demands segregation of the races in His Scriptures."

Have we not heard it all before?...This is a good article by Dimitri Cavalli. I wonder if we would still be witnessing the daily flagrant and scandalous pro-death legislation, rebellion, and disobedience IF the bishops would speak with one voice or if more bishops would follow the example of Bishop Rummel?

Just how much public defiance, scandal, and rebellion does it take before the spoiled child is sent to the corner with a sore bottom?

Gospel for Friday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 12:35-37

Christ the Son and Lord of David

[35] And as Jesus taught in the temple, He said, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? [36] David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, `The Lord said to the Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I put Thy enemies under Thy feet'. [37] David himself calls Him Lord; so how is He his son?" And the throng heard Him gladly.


35-37. Jesus here bears witness, with His special authority, to the fact that Scripture is divinely inspired, when He says that David was inspired by the Holy Spirit when writing Psalm 110. We can see from here that Jews found it difficult to interpret the beginning of the Psalm. Jesus shows the messianic sense of the words "The Lord said to my Lord": the second "Lord" is the Messiah, with whom Jesus implicitly identifies Himself. The mysteriously transcendental character of the Messiah is indicated by the paradox of His being the son, the descendant, of David, and yet David calls Him his Lord. Cf. note on Matthew 22:41-46.

[Note on Matthew 22:41-46 states:
41-46. God promised King David that one of his descendants would reign forever (2 Samuel 7:12ff); this was obviously a reference to the Messiah, and was interpreted as such by all Jewish tradition, which gave the Messiah the title of "Son of David". In Jesus' time this messianic title was understood in a very nationalistic sense: the Jews were expecting an earthly king, a descendant of David, who would free them from Roman rule. In this passage Jesus shows the Pharisees that the Messiah has a higher origin: He is not only "Son of David"; His nature is more exalted than that, for He is the Son of God and transcends the purely earthly level. The reference to Psalm 110:1 which Jesus uses in His argument explains that the Messiah is God: which is why David calls Him Lord--and why He is seated at the right hand of God, His equal in power, majesty and glory (cf. Acts of the Apostles 33-36; 1 Corinthians 6:25).]
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, June 07, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 8

The Priestly Ministry

The Second Priestly Duty: The Holy Eucharist

Seventh Meditation - Belief in the Real Presence

I. Today I am going to give myself a reasoned answer to the question: how is it that this Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, one of the most baffling, one to which the human mind offers toughest resistance when left to its natural weakness, is nevertheless become for me one of the easiest and most soul-satisfying to believe?

I believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, God and Man, in the most Blessed Sacrament; present in every Catholic Church where a priest, no matter how obscure he may be, has pronounced the formula of Consecration; present here beside me in the lowly taber­nacle of my church.

Why do I believe it? Because Christ has guaranteed it to me - wimess the four Gospels and one of St. Paul's Epistles - in terse and peremptory sentences that slam the door on all subterfuge or merely symbolical inter­pretation.

This is my body.
This is my blood.

These words, of themselves and in their context, admit of no other than the proper and natural meaning which the Church has ever given them from the very beginning, in Her inspired Scriptures, Her various litur­gies, Her Ecumenica1 Councils; in the exegetical homilies of the Fathers, and in the robust faith of Catholic peoples.

I believe, Lord, with a firm and gratifying faith that even when these words of Consecration may have sprung from my unworthy lips, like lilies from the mire, in obedience to them Thou were really and substantially present beneath the forms and appearances of bread and wine. I believe it because Thou, the Absolute Truth; Thou, the Essential and Unfailing Light; didst never deceive, art not one to deceive, much less the immense flock of little ones who adore Thee, seek Thee and receive Thee as being truly present; because Thou hast said it. Lord, I believe in Thy creative word.

II. Why do I believe? Because Christ, the sole Author of the Sacraments, is all-powerful.

He summons the bodies of the dead, and they return to life from the corruption of the grave. He utters a word of command to the most rebellious diseases, either in the sick person's presence or several miles away, and those diseases leave not a trace behind. He reproves the boisterous winds and waves, and they sing down calm and silent, like a class of prankish school-boys at the shout of a feared master. He treads the sea, and it sus­tains Him with rocklike solidity. Over a few loaves and fishes He bestows a single word of blessing, and they multiply indefinitely.

Not once did Christ give a command - and He gave many - to any element of the material world, that He was not obeyed without the slightest resistance or hesitation. In other words, He ever showed Himself absolute - we might even say tyrannical - Master over matter, doing with it and in it whatever He willed; for the simple reason that it was He who had brought it into existence out of nothing, endowing it with the capacities He pleased. Will He not, therefore, be able to do with it more, infinitely more, than anything my blunt mind can possibly cope with?

Lord, I believe. For Thou canst annihilate the whole world, if it should please Thee; Thou canst transform it to Thy liking; Thou canst change the substance of bread and wine into Thy own Body and Blood, and thus multiply Thy Presence beyond all human scope and measure.

What was possible for Thee became an actual fact, for Thou didst say but the word, and never was it necessary for Thee to voice Thy commands to inert matter twice over.
Ipse dixit, et facta sunt. (Ps. xxxii, 9)

III. Again, why do I believe? Because the whole Church believes. No, I am not alone; I share this belief with millions and millions of human beings from every nation, race, and climate; with all the centuries of Christian history, with people of every age and condition and temperament; with souls joyful and sorrowful, with souls raised aloft in the auroral splendours of grace, or sunk in the night of sin; with the little children who seal the first dawning of reason with an act of faith in Christ's Eucharistic Presence and their first Holy Communion, as with a morning star; with all who close their length of days with the heavenly clasp of Holy Viaticum.

I believe with the Church, whose faith in the Eucharist is Her very life. Wrench from Her this belief, and you will have destroyed Her entire liturgy, demol­ished Her cathedrals and churches, killed Her priest­hood, effaced from Her history the most brilliant and holy pages written with Her blood and tears. It was for Thee, O Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, that She allowed Herself to be persecuted and bled, and rem­nants of Her vesture and entrails to cleave to the claws of tyrants!

Today, the same as in the catacombs, the same as in the Middle Ages, and in the century that witnessed tbe institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi; today, as truly as then, and perhaps even more so, this belief in the Eucharist urges the faithful on to the sublimest acts of adoration ever recorded in history. We have seen the Eucharistic Congress of Madrid, Rome, Chicago, Dublin, Buenos Aires, etc.; vast throngs of men, women, and children from every nation and class and walk of life kneeling and singing round the small white Host in the sumptuous boulevards and thoroughfares of our modem cities.

No, I am not alone. I believe, Lord, as all of these believe; and from the depths of my nothingness I adore Thee, my God, Whom love for me has brought to such depths of condescension!

IV. Finally, why do I believe? Because this dogma har­monizes so perfectly with the nature of God and the nature of man.

God, Who must needs be intimately and perpetually united to the least atom of His creation by the same Love that moved Him to give it existence; God, present everywhere in every creature, became Man: the Man humanizing, so to speak, the Attributes of the God­head; the God "divinizing," as it were, all the qualities of manhood; Flesh wherein God took up abode; God to Whom our flesh adhered. . . what wonder if this God-Man, feeling in the flesh the tendencies of His Divine Immensity, should decide to render effectual, even as Man, the Divine Attribute of being all in all and present in every part of the ransomed world!

Even this puny human heart of ours feels the urge to be at one and the same time in every place where there is something to see, something to hear, something to admire and love! The colossal strides of modern science, inventions already perfected and those still in the realm of dreams, what do they all seek to express?

They but express those secret forces of matter and spirit which man is gradually mastering and harnessing and enlisting in the service of that restless human longing to multiply his presence and action simultaneously: to see everything and hear everything at the same time; hence, our railways, steamers, cars, airplanes, telephones, radio and television sets. Man yearns to multiply his being indefinitely in time and space; he strives to imitate the Immensity of God Himself, of the God Who made man to His own image and likeness.

V. Christ, with His God-Man's love and His Omnipo­tence, solved the problem - a problem which has always been a blind-spot keeping the human race in continual restlessness - in three short sentences:
This is my body.
This is my blood.
Do this in remembrance of me.

Words of greater power than the first Fiat of creation!

With those three short sentences, pronounced by Jesus in the Upper Room at Jerusalem, all obstacles of time and place vanish. His love throws off all fetters. He will be with us until the end of time, at any point of our planet where there is a priest and a soul yearn­ing for Christ. Fulfilment will be given even literally to the promise with which He closed the cycle of His teachings:

Behold I am with you all days, even to the con­summation of the world. (Matt. xxviii, 20)
Praise to Thee, O Lord, Who, because Thou art true God, dost reach the remotest confines with Thy Wisdom and Strength; because Thou art true Man, art inflamed with the human longing to embrace and unite Thyself to all Thy redeemed; for Thou in Thy skill supreme hast effected with three short sentences what we mortals have been dreaming of and toiling for since the world began!

1. I will make more frequent acts of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ upon our altars. I shall try to drink in and saturate my mind with this most true, divinely-infallible, and divinely-human idea: that throughout the whole world there is nothing more ador­able than a Consecrated Host. Oh, if only that radiant thought would one day become the very life of my mind and the fire of my will!

2. And this I will also teach the faithful time and time again, until they of their own accord go eagerly in quest of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, loving Him and adoring Him in this Sacrament before everything and everyone else, preferring His Presence to every picture or statue or shrine, however devotional or mirac­ulous; giving Him precedence over every popular Saint, over the most Holy Mother of God Herself, over His most cherished and venerated images.
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!

Cardinal Pell: Human life is the issue at hand

It's all about human life: the real message in the stem cell debate

Cardinal George Pell ... "serious anti-lifers and publicity seekers have been trying to shoot the messenger".
Photo: Rob Homer

MPs may have voted for stem cell research, but it is unethical and a scientific dead end, writes Cardinal George Pell.

IS ALL human life equally precious? We should not be distracted from the elephant in the corner of the room. A huge diversionary tactic has been mounted to focus attention on hypothetical punishments for Catholic politicians by authoritarian bishops, and away from the destruction of human life.

Human life is the issue at hand. Serious anti-lifers and publicity seekers have been trying to shoot the messenger, while they work to bury the message.
. . .
After more than 25 years of experiments with embryonic stem cells in animal models, researchers have yet to develop one successful treatment in mice for any disease that could be used as a model to undertake the first steps for a clinical trial with human patients.
. . .
Certainly a Catholic church without sinners would be like a hospital without patients. That is why the blunt instrument of excommunication has hardly ever been used in Australia, as we are a church of the imperfect, not a sect for the elite. [my emphasis]

But all of us who wish to remain Catholics have to be measured against Catholic teaching.

To be a disciple of Christ means accepting discipline because the Catholic church has never followed today's fashionable notion of the primacy of conscience, which is, of course secular relativism with a religious face. [my emphasis]

Will Cardinal Pell impose interdict on those Catholic politicians who publicly repudiated the the teachings of the Church, the bishops, and of course, Christ?

"Safe Environment" Programs Get Mixed Reviews

Assessing Parish Safety
Evidence for Abuse Prevention Programs Is Mixed

June 10-16, 2007 Issue | Posted 6/5/07 at 8:00 AM

WASHINGTON — On the surface, a new report sent to the U.S. bishops in April looks like a prelude to controversy.

Put out by a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops committee, the new report said abuse-prevention programs, which dioceses have set up for children across the nation, are “a major accomplishment and one that must continually be maintained and reinforced.”

Further, the Safe Environment Work Group that produced the report concluded, “there is evidence [that] safe environment programs for children have a positive effect on children, are consistent with the science of child development and are in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

This conclusion directly contradicts a 90-page Catholic Medical Association (CMA) critique of these programs released last fall. Titled To Protect and To Prevent, the critique argued that such programs were ineffective, potentially damaging to children and families, and “inconsistent with the Church’s teaching on the education of children in matters pertaining to formation in sexual morality.”

Noting that parents are the “primary educators and protectors of their children,” the CMA task force called for “current resources [to] be re-directed to programs that educate and support parents on how better to fulfill this vocation.”

In a Church battered and bruised by sex scandal, this latest debate could be divisive news — if this were the whole story.

Fortunately, it’s not. In the bishops’ new report, sociologist David Finkelhor states two points on which both sides agree: 1) The evidence for these programs is “far from conclusive,” and 2) “There is a desperate need for additional research on what works.”

Further, both Finkelhor and the Catholic Medical Association also agree on a third point: No one knows what effects these programs have on children younger than ten.
The Register article is continued here.

An "Executive Summary" (PDF) of the report by the Catholic Medical Association can be read here. Thankfully, though, :
...Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Ore., the Catholic Medical Association’s episcopal adviser, is working with the association and others to create an adult-focused program that will strengthen families and give parents the support and understanding they need to teach their children themselves. In the works are plans for a six-hour video series, tentatively titled “Strong Families: Safer Children.”
At least this new program will be, shall we say, Catholic...


Catholic Australian Politician Would Rather Go to Hell Than Back Down on Embryonic Stem-cell Research

SYDNEY, Australia, June 6, 2007 ( – A Catholic politician in New South Wales has told the Archbishop of Sydney he would rather go to Hell than oppose legislation legalizing human cloning for embryonic stem-cell research. Several other politicians are persisting in publicly defying Australia's Cardinal Pell, who condemned embryonic stem-cell research and the decisions of those who support such research in unequivocal terms.

“Maybe I'll go to Hell, but if I go to Hell I'm going to do so by saving a lot of lives, because that's what this bill is about," said Tony Stewart. "We don't need a religious leader telling members of parliament what should be done."
Saving lives? What intellectual dishonesty...

These defiant, so-called "Catholics" are instigating grave scandals and deserve to be admonished for the harm that they cause...Is it not well past the time to do something about these professed Catholics who have chosen to reject Church teaching?

Archbishop's Words on Cloning Prompt Government Probe

Perth, Jun. 7, 2007 ( - An Australian lawmaker has called for a parliamentary investigation of a Catholic archbishop who warned politicians against voting to support therapeutic cloning.

Fred Riebeling, the speaker of the legislative assembly of West Australian, said that he wanted to question Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth. The archbishop had said that Catholic legislators should not receive Communion if they voted for the cloning bill.

Riebeling said that the archbishop's public statement was a threat against members of parliament. "He has said he didn't make a threat," the assembly speaker said. "I think he's the only person in Australia that doesn't think that."

Cardinal Mahony Must Testify

Is it normal for a person to feel sick when writing or saying the words "Cardinal Mahony."

A judge Wednesday ordered Cardinal Roger M. Mahony to testify in a lawsuit alleging that he failed to protect parishioners from a pedophile teacher, but then granted the Los Angeles cleric's request for a trial delay.

The lawsuit had been scheduled for trial Monday; Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholtz agreed to a two-month delay.
* * *
The case involves Paul Kreutzer, a former Catholic teacher who is serving a prison sentence for molesting students. One person who was repeatedly sexually abused at a church in the San Fernando Valley alleged that church officials knew of Kreutzer's behavior but failed to act.

Gospel for Thursday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

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.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, June 7

Second Part
The Priestly Ministry

The Second Priestly Duty: The Holy Eucharist

Sixth Meditation - The Sacrilegious Mass: A Criminal Parody

I. Perhaps the most effective deterrent from celebrating unworthily would be from time to time, with greater or lesser frequency according as unruly passion and the risk of falling into grave sin intensify, to open the Missal and to reflect on the outrageous paradox that every word and rite of the Holy Sacrifice becomes when pronounced by a priest estranged from the Redeemer and dispossessed of that most sacred and indispensable of ornaments, divine grace.

I should try to make these reflections; the sight of a priest profaning the Divine Victim will appear each time more tragic and diabolical; the horror of it will put me in mind of something akin to the "Black Mass" of magic lore in the Middle Ages.

Let me take a few samples for practice.

II. With mortal sin on my soul I enter the sacristy and say while washing my hands:

Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendum omnem maculam, ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire. Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, to cleanse away every stain, so that I may be worthy to serve Thee free from stain of mind and body. - A cynical lie! Pilate was less of a hypocrite when he washed his.

Dealba me, Domine, . . . ut in sanguine Agni deal­batus, gaudiis perfruar sempiternis. Make me white, O Lord, . . . so that being made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may deserve an eternal reward. - My heart belies my lips. Was it not my evil passions that tore to tatters the snow-white garment of grace and flung it at the feet of Satan, like a filthy rag?

Praecinge me, Domine, cingulum puritatis. . . . ut maneat in me virtus continentiae et castitatis. Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity. . . so that the virtue of continence and chastity may always abide in me. - Hoots of derision from the demon of lust who keeps my heart bound with Venus's iron cincture!

Domine, qui dixisti : Jugum suave est. . . . fac ut istud portare sic valeam, quod consequar tuam gratiam. Lord, who hast said: My yoke is sweet. . . grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace. - Well may the Lord, whom my deceitful lips have invoked as many as seven times before mounting the altar steps, answer me with pent-up rage: A saeculo confregisti jugum! Thou hast thrown off my yoke and broken asunder every bond, and said: "I will not serve!"

III. I reach the altar, and, after the prescribed reverential gestures, I begin: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. Introibo ad altare Dei.

What a mockery! Not even the executioners on Cal­vary ever thought of such a thing. To begin the blackest crime of my life in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost! When Christ said: The hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God (John xvi, 2), must I include Christ Himself among the victims? And when the catechism taught me to begin good works with the Sign of the Cross, surely it did not mean a sacrilegious Mass!

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam. . . .­Did anyone ever curse himself more savagely? Judica me, Deus! Judge me, O God! . . . Lord, close Thine ears; listen not to this madman who in the presence of the whole Church beseeches Thee to condemn him and cast him into the unquenchable fire.

Munda cor meum ac labia mea, Omnipotens Deus. . . Dominus sit in corde mea et in labiis meis . . .

What do these words mean in my mouth? To ask God to dwell in a heart enslaved by evil:
"Never yet did Wisdom find her way into the schemer's heart, never yet made her home in a life mortgaged to sin." (Wisdom i, 4)

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas . . .
Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae. . . .
Ne perdas cum impiis animam meam . . .

"With the pure in heart I will wash my hands clean. . . . How well, Lord, I love thy house in its beauty. . . Lord, never count this soul for lost with the wicked." . . .

How many detestable lies in such brief words! From the first word of the psalm to the last I am spitting out poison.

Orate, fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat . . . Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours be acceptable to God. Yes, in itself the Sacrifice is most acceptable, but in my sinful hands, abominable.

Sursum corda. Habemus ad Dominum. My heart lifted up to the Lord? No, He is captive of my own lusts that master and enslave me.

Cum angelis et archangelis hymnum gloriae tuae canimus. What a discord, what disharmony my sinful life introduces into the music of visible and invisible creation! Far better to hold my tongue.

Hoc est enim corpus meum. Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei . . . in remissionem peccatorum. But of my sins a seal and confirmation.

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen. The Body of Christ my soul's safeguard unto everylasting life? Why, I have just been guilty of the Body, and Blood of Christ; I have eaten and drunk, my own condemnation.

Sanguis quem potavi adhaereat visceribus meis . . . Thy Blood which I have just drunk cleave to my inmost being. . .

The Chosen Race, deicide and accursed, never made such a request. His Blood be upon us! they said, but I, in pouring It sacrilegiously into my stomach, pray for It to become one thing with my inmost soul and body; I ask It to share my own moral corruption; I pray that its healing power be annulled. . . .

Thus, every word spells a horrible blasphemy, compared with which a trooper's profanity sounds more like a maiden's prayer.

So what am I to do? What am I to say? Can I change the liturgical prayers and substitute others of my own more in keeping with my dreadful state of soul? Of course not. What I can do, what I must do, until I get out of mortal sin, is not to approach the altar to say Mass, to deprive myself of It because I am unworthy; unless I wish to be caught up in a tornado of Divine Anger at every rubric and liturgical phrase, which were certainly not meant for sullied lips and putrid hearts.

Once a month, at least, I shall meditate on each phrase and rite and ceremony of the Mass in this manner, until I am absolutely convinced of the diabolical paradox incurred by the priest who celebrates in mortal sin.

A meditation of this sort will deter me most effect­ively from ever saying Mass without the essential dispositions; otherwise I may consider I have lost my faith in the Presence of the Son of God upon the Altar; and then, not only my Mass but all my other ministerial duties, my clerical garb, and the very name of priest, will be no other than a parody, a clownish farce unbecoming any right-minded man; and I should be doing far less harm if I looked around for some other occupation in life: anything at all would tally better with fundamental decency.
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!

No one left to cry - or contribute?

Abortion Group "Emily's List" Experiencing Fund-Raising Problems

So we read from

The group raised $46 million for candidates in 2006 but during the first four months of the year it [raised] a total of $285,000 for four campaigns. During the same time period in 2005, also a non-election year, Emily's List took in $510,000 for three campaigns.

When a society continues to kill off its children - its progeny - its future, then soon that society will be either overrun or dead or both...Surely the same thing can happen to groups within a society.

Pundits, however, will attribute this to something else - naturally.

Cardinal Rigali Urges Congress to Reject Cloning and ESCR

From the USCCB:
WASHINGTON— (June 6, 2007) As the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on the federal funding of stem cell research on Thursday (S. 5) and the DeGette bill on Wednesday (H.R. 2560), Cardinal Justin Rigali urged Representatives to reject legislation which would promote the destruction of human embryos. “I urge you to vote against S. 5, and against the DeGette bill allowing cloning for research purposes – on behalf of taxpayers who should not be forced to help destroy innocent life, and on behalf of genuine progress for suffering patients,” the Cardinal said.

Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, is Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
More here.

The full text of the Cardinal’s letter will be available at:

Revolting But Is It Really Unexpected?

LifeSite News posted an editorial which details facts that would naturally, it seems to me, be sickening for any person concerned with the sanctity of human life:

'Unprecedented' Letter from 7 Bishops Conferences to G8 Leaders Fails to Mention Abortion, Family Life

The G8 countries, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are known for being the eight leading industrialized countries. They are also all known for permitting the slaughter of innocent unborn children - abortion. All but one of those same countries are also on the road to legalizing homosexual 'marriage' and thus trashing the traditional family and religious freedom in the process.

As the G8 leaders meet this week we learn that "In an unprecedented action, the Presidents of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of seven countries have written to the leaders of the Group of 8 Countries to urge bold action..."

Bold action on what? Abortion? Destructive research on human embryos? The need to protect the traditional family? Religious freedom?

Prepare yourselves - one would hope that as "shepherds" these bishops would exhibit courage, fortitude, and zeal in their duties...but alas, it appears that many of the shepherds have been replaced by hirelings - no doubt, illegals and imposters working for less than minimum wage.

As John-Henry Westen rightly concludes:

When people speak out on the environment, poverty, health care, peace and security they are applauded and highly regarded. Raise the spectre of rights of the unborn and protection for the traditional family and you are regarded as a pariah and a simpleton.

The cross is an uncomfortable place, but the first bishops of the church joined their Lord on it because they understood that is where salvation and true witness to Christ are found. Embracing the cross is said to be the most fruitful imitation of the Master, who did not tell people what they wanted to hear, but instead what they needed to hear in order to be saved.
Kudos to Westen for this insightful exposure - it demonstrates rather clearly the uselessness of some aspects of episcopal conferences.

Chaldean priest kidnapped in Baghdad

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Another Chaldean priest was abducted in Baghdad today. Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, in his early 30s, was taken in a north-eastern section of the capital called Suleikh along with five boys who were going with him to visit the city’s minor seminar.

The incident has plunged the Christian community in a state of gloom. Some faithful have reacted to terrible news saying that they have “the impression that they are all alone, like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he felt abandoned by the Father.”

Excuse me, are you Jesus?

Received via email and adapted slightly...
What would you have done in this case?

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago.

They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere.

Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did. The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Excuse me, are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul:

"Are you Jesus?"

Do people mistake you for Jesus?

That's our destiny, is it not - to become more like Him, to be one with Him? to be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact in a world that is blind to His love, His life and His grace?

If we claim to know Him, shouldn't we live and act as He would?

And knowing Him, are we not compelled to love Him?. . .And in loving Him, do we not feel driven to serve Him and follow Him? Do we not want to share His Love for us with others?

Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture verses and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

We, too, have been bruised - bruised and damaged by our sins. But Our Lord will heal us, if we only ask Him.

If people don't mistake you for Jesus, do they, at least, know that you are one of His disciples?

Corpus Christi Processions in St Louis, June 10

Archbishop Raymond Burke will be the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue, and will lead a procession around the block following Mass.

Other Catholic parishes and institutions in the St. Louis Archdiocese also will hold Corpus Christi processions. Among the June 10 processions are:

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish,
921 Smith Ave. in Ferguson, after 11 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 210-9233.

Sacred Heart Parish,
751 N. Jefferson St., Florissant, after 9 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 868-0730.

St. Agatha Parish,
3239 S. Ninth St., following 10 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 772-1603.

St. Ambrose Parish,
5130 Wilson Ave., gather at 6 p.m., procession begins at 6:30 p.m. Call (314) 771-1228.

St. Anthony of Padua Parish,
3140 Meramec St., after 9 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 353-7470.

St. Clement of Rome Parish,
1510 Bopp Road in Des Peres, after 11 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 965-0709.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish,
4556 Telegraph Road in Oakville, after 7 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 892-2020.

St. John the Baptist Parish,
4200 Delor St. in South St. Louis, after 9 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 353-1255.

St. Peter Parish,
243 W. Argonne Dr. in Kirkwood, after 11 a.m. Mass. Call (314) 966-8600.

The St. Charles Deanery will join in the Corpus Christi observance with a procession at 6 p.m. June 10 at three sites in St. Charles. In past years, the event included about 1,000 participants.

The first Benediction will take place at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 601 N. Fourth St. The second will follow at the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, 619 N. Second St. The third will be at St. Peter Church, 324 S. Third St. Refreshments will be served afterward at St. Peter Parish. For more information, call (636) 946-6170.

Additional information available from the St Louis Review website, here.

Man Tries To Jump Into Pope's Vehicle

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN (BosNewsLife)-- A man was held Wednesday, June 6, by Vatican police after he tried to jump into Benedict XVI's Popemobile during the general audience held in St Peter's Square at the Vatican.

The man was wrestled to the ground by security officers, who have been on edge ever since May 13, 1981 when the previous pontiff, John Paul II, was shot and critically wounded by a Turkish gunman as he entered the same to address the faithful.
Saw a video this morning, and the Holy Father did not seem to even notice this - as it occurred behind him. Security was on this guy quickly...More news later on this, I hope. And in the meantime, let us keep Pope Benedict in our prayers.

More news and video here

"Mohammed": Top British Boys' Name by Year-end?

Mohammed will likely become the most popular name for baby boys in Britain by the end of the year, The Times reported on Wednesday, citing government data.
. . .
In total, 5,991 baby boys were given some version of the name Mohammed, with 6,928 baby boys named Jack.
. . .
According to The Times, if the growth of the name Mohammed continues -- it rose by 12 percent last year -- the name will take the top spot by the end of this year.
What a proud day it will be for England. Such are the fruits of de-Christianization, contraception and abortion...

Lightning zaps Giuliani's remarks on abortion

Manchester, New Hampshire - Was it a sign from above?

Lightning zapped remarks by Republican presidential contender and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani during a debate Tuesday night, just as he began defending his pro-choice stand on abortion rights against criticism by a Roman Catholic bishop.

Those remarks by Bishop Tobin can be read here.

'I guess I'm here by myself,' Giuliani quipped after a loud buzz momentarily interrupted the sound system. He turned around, then looked skyward as the audience broke out laughing.

'For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now,' he said.
It should be frightening - at least, for one who professes to be Catholic...

As Bishop Tobin says:
Rudy’s public proclamations on abortion are pathetic and confusing. Even worse, they’re hypocritical.
As a matter of fact, Rudy's position is indefensible - for him to claim otherwise, demonstrates just how shallow his integrity really is. In essense, he lacks the qualities necessary to be a leader of a free and just society.