Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 5, Purity of Intention

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Purity of Intention

First Meditation - Its Necessity in Works of Zeal

I. There is no truly human work that cannot become worthy of God and which God cannot claim for Him­self, provided it keeps within the limits imposed by the divine commandments; even eating, drinking and sleeping.

"In eating, in drinking, in all that you do, do everything as for God's glory." (1 Cor. X, 31)

If such is the injunction concerning any human action, even those on the level of animal life, what will God not expect from me concerning the divine actions of my priesthood: the celebrating of Mass, administering the Sacraments, preaching, worshipping God in spirit and in truth, saving souls redeemed by His Blood?

So, one of two things: either God is kind and benev­olent, to the point of weakness, towards everything human, like a father towards the lispings of his tender child; or else God sees something mysteriously precious in our free wills, which gives immense value to the slightest act issuing from them. The mysterious tree of the knowledge of good and evil!

II. To eat or drink from a motive that is not virtuous, is unreasonable, or which does not enter into the super­ natural order, would be something unworthy of the Christian. Yes, even in matters like these, which pertain to the animal and inferior part of our being.

To practise the smallest work of virtue just because we take the notion, without any reference to God, would be unpleasing to Him and of no value.

Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded? humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? - Behold, in the day of your fast your own will is found. . . .(Is. lviii, 3)

But what if we announce the word of God merely for the stipend or human applause? What if we consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ exclusively for the sake of the five or ten shilling offering? What if I do any­thing in the line of priestly functions because it may figure on my record sheet and tell in my favour when there is the possibility of some paltry promotion? Puny heart! Wretched little mind! For so little would you barter away your God and your glorious, eternal destiny?

III. With the light of faith and reason I shall enter resol­utely into the murky chasms of my intentions, and I shall try to discover at least the measure and quality of these intentions as they inform each one of my priestly actions. No doubt I shall find, with no small shock to my pride, that there has been such a swarm of vile little passions and worldly interests, each clamouring for and obtaining with no great difficulty its own particular share of satisfaction, in all my ministerial duties, that God, the only rightful Claimant, has been left empty-handed or with only a meagre portion, and a portion certainly not the most presentable.

If this be so, I shall have to confess I have wasted my time, and that I can hope for no further reward. Amen dico vobis, recepistis mercedem vestram. (Matt. vi, 16.)

If my wretchedness and unspiritual frame of mind is such that I do not succeed in making entirely Thine the fruits of my priesthood by means of an all-pure inten­tion, I resolve in future, Lord, at least not to carry out any priestly work wherein Thou hast not the primary and principal share.
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!

Thoughts and Counsels - August 4

If you would know whether you have made a good confession, ask yourself if you have resolved to abandon your sins.

-St. Bernard
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for August 4, Memorial: St John Vianney, Priest

Saturday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 14:1-12

The Death of John the Baptist

[1] At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; [2] and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him." [3] For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; [4] because John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." [5] And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. [6] But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, [7] so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. [8] Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." [9] And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; [10] he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, [11] and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. [12] And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.


1. Herod the tetrarch, Herod Antipas (see the note on Mt 2:1), is the same Herod as appears later in the account of the Passion (cf. Lk 23:7ff). A son of Herod the Great, Antipas governed Galilee and Perea in the name of the Roman emperor; according to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian ("Jewish Antiquities", XVIII, 5, 4), he was married to a daughter of an Arabian king, but in spite of this he lived in concubinage with Herodias, his brother's wife. St. John the Baptist, and Jesus himself, often criticized the tetrarch's immoral life, which was in conflict with the sexual morality laid down in the Law (Lev 18:16;20:21) and was a cause of scandal.

3-12. Towards the end of the first century Flavius Josephus wrote of these same events. He gives additional information--specifying that it was in the fortress of Makeronte that John was imprisoned (this fortress was on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea, and was the scene of the banquet in question) and that Herodias' daughter was called Salome.

9. St Augustine comments: "Amid the excesses and sensuality of the guests, oaths are rashly made, which then are unjustly kept" ("Sermon 10").

It is a sin against the second commandment of God's Law to make an oath to do something unjust; any such oath has no binding force. In fact, if one keeps it--as Herod did--one commits an additional sin. The Catechism also teaches that one offends against this precept if one swears something untrue, or swears needlessly (cf. "St Pius V Catechism", III, 3, 24). Cf. note on Mt 5:33-37.
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, August 03, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 4, Purity of Intention

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Purity of Intention

First Meditation - Its Importance

I. Good works, by themselves, are valueless in the eyes of God. What imparts real value to them, supernatural value, is our right intention informed by divine grace. Therefore, the soul of every virtue is the intention. The divinest act with a perfect intention will be most pure; with an indifferent intention, indifferent; with a wicked intention, abominable.

For example, a kiss imprinted on Christ's brow. When the lips were those of His Mother Mary, burning with motherly and divine love, it was the sublimest act of religion and devotion, the blending and fusing of all the highests acts of human love into the aaoration of the Son of God; when the kiss came from the lips of some woman in the Nazareth neighbourhood who, not know­ing who Jesus was, kissed Him simply because He was a comely and winsome child, the act was morally an indifferent one; from the lips of Judas in the Garden, it was the most monstrous crime that ever defiled the race of Adam.

Yet in all three kisses only one thing changed: the intention.

This doctrine is applicable to every free-willed act of my life. Scrutinising my deepest intention, God judges me accordingly.

II. Let us meditate on the profound utterance of our Lord when He compares our inward intention to our bodily eyesight:

"Thy body has the eye for its lamp; and if thy eye is clear, the whole of thy body will be lit up; when it is diseased, the whole of thy body will be in darkness."

"Take good care, then, that this principle of light which is in thee is light, not darkness; then, if thy whole body is in the light, with no part of it darkness, it will all be lit up as if by a bright lamp enlightening thee." (Luke xi, 34-36)

The lamp which lights up your good works, rendering them visible and either acceptable or displeasing to God, is your intention; so, if your intention is resplendent with clarity, rectitude, and holiness, all your works bask in splendour; if your intention is crooked, obscure, and evil, your works are darkness itself, because the very principle of light, your good intention, is extinguished.

III.By my priestly office I am obliged to perform, during the greater part of my life, works that are not merely good but eminently holy and divine; and yet, have I not miserably forfeited the merit attaching to most of them because they lacked that very simple and practical quality, right intention?

Either I try to please people for the sake of pleasing them, or I perform my duties for the stipend, just to avoid comment, to satisfy my own vanity, or simply to indulge my natural impulse for an active occupation. How often, dear Lord, have I ful­filled my duties for Thee alone? How often to win eternal life myself and to save the souls of others?

What a tremendous pity! After death, when I shall have left everything behind me, including the idols before whose altar I sacrificed so many of my illustrious actions, I shall be taken before that inexorable Court of Justice from which there is no appeal; I shall have no other credit or defence than the good works which were holy in appearance but which, when lit up by Jesus Christ in the light of eternity, will stand revealed in all their hollowness, like artificial fruit models; or else they will exhibit an inner core of corruption: white sepulchres concealing the carrion flesh of puny abortive creatures that were delivered stillborn within the pan­theon of my heart.

The natural products of my actions: human prestige, emoluments, and so forth, are not the fruit, specifically, of any intention or thought of mine; in other words, I shall get the same stipend for a sermon or a Mass whether I think of the stipend or not. On the other hand, there is another kind of fruit, the most valuable kind; namely, grace and eternal life; and this I obtain only through my purity of intention. Therefore, I am not going to be so stupid as to worry about what comes to me independently of any intention of mine, and at the same time pay little or no heed to the one thing that demands it.

I shall henceforth purify my intention, offering all my works to God each morning; and I shall ratify my in­tention every time I am prompted to seek in my actions interests that are unworthy of a priest or fall short of priestly perfection.
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!

Seminarians bring Church’s teaching on contraception, sexuality to YouTube

Saginaw, Aug 2, 2007 / 09:59 am (CNA).- A group of seminarians has joined the YouTube phenomenon and posted three one-minute videos on the Church’s teachings about contraception.

The videos, entitled "NFP vs. Contraception", are a take on the popular Mac-PC commercials.
Pretty cool...

To see the YouTube videos:

Priest's suicide linked to abuse scandal (from Matt Abbott)

The following is an edited version of a paper reportedly sent to certain priests in the Altoona-Johnstown, Pa., Catholic diocese regarding Father William Rosensteel, who committed suicide in late June 2007 after an allegation of sexual misconduct became public. The paper, provided to me by a source in the diocese, was written by a supporter of Father Rosensteel.

Chronicle of Father William Rosensteel's Last Months
March, 2007- June 24, 2007

A billboard in Dallas

It on I-35...... watch it change every 2 or 3 seconds .

CRCOA to Demonstrate at Knights of Columbus Meeting in Nashville

"Kick out Your Pro-Homosexual, Pro-Abortion Politician Members," Concerned Roman Catholics Will Urge Knights of Columbus

Group to Tell Knights' Leader, "Act Now or Resign. End These Shocking Scandals."

Contact: Kenneth M. Fisher, Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc. (CRCOA), 714-491-2284, 714-260-3821 cell,

ANAHEIM, Aug. 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- "As the Knights of Columbus hold their annual convention in Nashville, August 7-9, we fellow Catholics are demanding they end their hypocrisy," said Kenneth M. Fisher, founder and chairman of Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc. (CRCOA). "We call upon the Knights, especially Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, to practice the Catholic principles they brag about upholding and kick out all the pro-'gay,' pro-abortion politicians they've welcomed into their ranks."

"It's long past time," Fisher continued, "for the Knights to end the scandal of embracing pro-homosexual, pro-abortion politicians who trample on the Catholic moral teachings the organization says it stands for.

To purge itself of committed liars and unrepentant hypocrites requires a courage which seems to be in short supply these days. To whom can the Knights look for an example of such courage and backbone? The USCCB? Hardly! Will the Knights do anything to clear the poison from its ranks? If not, it will suffer the consequences of such a failure. It's interesting to note that several years after it approved a resolution banning pro-abortion politicians from its membership, facilities and functions, it has yet to enforce it.

"Shamefully," Fisher commented, "in recent decades the Knights' leaders have fallen short of Fr. McGivney's ideals.

"Anderson has been in charge for more than six years now. He should do his duty before God and expel the pro-'gay,' pro-abortion politicians--or head for the door himself."
How many of today's Knights even know what it means to be a Knight, much less to know what it means to be Catholic? How many would expose their families and friends to danger or death by opening the doors of their home to poisonous scorpions, snakes, rabid vermin and other such things? It makes no sense.

More here.

St. Thomas More Society of San Diego rescinds invitation to “womanpriest”

Good News!

Just days before her scheduled appearance before the St. Thomas More Society of San Diego, the group’s board of directors has voted to disinvite “womanpriest” Jane Via.

At a hastily called special meeting on July 30, the society’s board of directors voted to cancel Via’s speaking engagement. She was scheduled to speak today.

Sources on the board told California Catholic Daily that some members had threatened to resign from the society if Via’s speech went forward. They said that the invitation was taken on the initiative of one member of the group, without authorization from the board or the knowledge of other members of the society.
Source: California Catholic Daily

Thoughts and Counsels - August 3

Take this to heart:
Owe no man anything.
So shalt thou secure a peaceful sleep, an easy conscience, a life without inequitude, and a death without alarm.

-Ven. Louis de Granada
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Friday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:54-58

No One is a Prophet in His Own Country

[54] And coming to His (Jesus') own country He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? [55] Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all this?" [57] And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." [58] And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.


53-58. The Nazarenes' surprise is partly due to people's difficulty in recognizing anything exceptional and supernatural in those with whom they have been on familiar terms. Hence the saying, "No one is a prophet in his own country." These old neighbors were also jealous of Jesus. Where did He acquire this wisdom? Why Him rather than us? They were unaware of the mystery of Jesus' conception; surprise and jealousy cause them to be shocked, to look down on Jesus and not to believe in Him: "He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not" (John 1:11).

"The carpenter's son": this is the only reference in the Gospel to St. Joseph's occupation (in Mark 6:3 Jesus Himself is described as a "carpenter"). Probably in a town like Nazareth the carpenter was a general tradesman who could turn his hand to jobs ranging from metalwork to making furniture or agricultural implements.

For an explanation of Jesus' "brethren", see the note on Matthew 12:46-47.

[The note of Matthew 12:46-47 states:
46-47. "Brethren": ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages had no special words for different degrees of relationship, such as are found in more modern languages. In general, all those belonging to the same family, clan and even tribe were "brethren".

In the particular case we have here, we should bear in mind that Jesus had different kinds of relatives, in two groups--some on His mother's side, others on St. Joseph's. Matthew 13:55-56 mentions, as living in Nazareth, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas ("His brethren") and elsewhere there is reference to Jesus' "sisters" (cf. Matthew 6:3). But in Matthew 27:56 we are told that James and Joseph were sons of a Mary distinct from the Blessed Virgin, and that Simon and Judas were not brothers of James and Joseph, but seemingly children of a brother of St. Joseph.

Jesus, on the other hand, was known to everyone as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3) or "the carpenter's son" (Matthew 13:55).

The Church has always maintained as absolutely certain that Jesus had no brothers or sisters in the full meaning of the term: it is a dogma that Mary was ever-Virgin (cf. note on Matthew 1:25).]
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, August 02, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 3, Obedience

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues


Second Meditation - Practice of Obedience

I. The exercise of this costly virtue must be ennobled and transformed into the virtue of religion; it must become as much an exercise of religion and piety as any act of worship.

To obey because you hope thereby to reap some per­sonal profit, or because you will thus win the sympathy of the Prelate for the furtherance of your own selfish interests, would be vile adulation.

To obey because of the courtesy and kindly manner with which you are given orders, because you have taken a liking to the Superior, or on account of the rectitude and prudence you recognise in him, are so many tides for serving only the Superior. And this will enable you to live a life of submission and earn the reputation of being easy to handle; you will bring to a successful issue works of considerable renown and self-sacrifice; but when you come to ask your Divine Lord to reward you, He will say: "You worked for your Superior, it is for him to pay you."

And meanwhile you will have lived in sub­jection to a man like yourself, to a man with no other claims to your submission (as far as you are concerned) than those human and fallible claims which you your­self have endowed him with; he is a man you hope to get something from, he is pleasant and courteous, he is superior to you in knowledge and prudence.

Slavery would seem your birthright; you are no better off than any slave of an old Roman patrician.

II. There is no creature, human or angelic, who deserves that I should dedicate to him the humblest act of my free will. My "commanded" or "elicited" acts, when informed by God's grace and a right intention, no matter how insignificant they may appear, such as eating, sleep­ing, etc., are worthy of eternal life; this alone is their adequate recompense.

Am I going to forfeit so great a reward for the sake of some temporal advantage or con­venience?

But for an act of obedience to yield its perfect fruit, God must be its "ratio formalis": God's Authority delegated to my Superior. You see now how an act of submission can be transformed into something religious and devotional?

There is no other means of ennobling our subjection to man.

Has your obedience ever reached that perfection? Have you instructed the faithful in this truth of our holy religion, which would so ennoble and lighten the yoke of obedience in those who obey, and render the exercise of authority so considerate in those who com­mand?

If you accord to the person-in-charge, not only external submission, but also inward honour and respect, to which he is entitled, you will soon experience for yourself obedience's ennobling influence: "Pay every man his due. . . respect and honour. . . ." (Rom. xiii, 7).

How reluctantly and how badly one obeys when the person in authority has become an object of contempt!

And perhaps nothing lowers him more in the eyes of his subjects than a continual criticism of his actions: it poisons good will, alienates affection; and those under him, when obliged to obey, are like a wheel that creaks through lack of lubricating oil. And while supposing that calumny and detraction play no part, what do we stand to gain by our carping criticism, except to lower the whole tone of the moral body of which we are members, which in this case is the Church Herself?

That there are stains on those of us who are, so to speak, the Church's feet and the hem of Her garment, is bad enough; but it certainly does us no honour to be constantly harping upon and pointing out those stains when they mar the Church's very countenance. Oh, what great scorn has been poured upon the ministers of the altar by those murmurings and malicious, gossip­ing tongues! How often these have caused many of the faithful to waver and weaken in their Catholic belief!

1. I shall obey all my Superiors as I would God Himself, readily, joyfully, without discussing their orders.

2. On every occasion, in their presence or other­wise, I shall not refuse them the tribute of respect and veneration to which they are entitled as representatives of Jesus Christ; and if they have their faults I shall not allow these to prejudice me, but shall do my best to draw a veil over them.

3. From now on I forbid myself all murmuring against them; and when others indulge in it in my hearing and I cannot suitably stand up for their defence, I shall observe a discreet silence, not showing any sign of assent.

These standards required of me are all the more reasonable the more strongly I myself insist, and always will insist, on their observance by my own subjects in their relations towards me.
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!

Faux Prayers of the Faithful

Exceprts from an article by George Weigel:
Lord, please don’t hear this prayer: a reprise

A while back, I noted with a touch of asperity that the “Prayer of the Faithful” too frequently deteriorates into serial sermonettes, an AmChurch innovation without foundation in the Church’s liturgical tradition. I was particularly scornful of petitions that politicize the liturgy by promoting, as self-evidently desirable objects of the Lord’s attention, various planks in the Democratic platform.

...[Many of these t]hese petitions are not, in fact, prayers. They may be expressions of conventional liberal pieties. They may be guilt-trips aimed at suburban congregations. They may even be subtle advertisements for the Carter Center. But they’re not prayers of the sort envisioned by the Second Vatican Council when it mandated that, in the reformed liturgy, “intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.” (Which raises another question: When was the last time you heard a petition that used the phrase “holy Church,” or that invoked the divine mercy “for the salvation of the entire world”? Not recently, I bet.)
"Holy Church" or "Holy Mother Church"? There's probably no faster way for a person to get his name placed on a parish's "watch list" than by using such phrases or terms. Many times, those not 'hip' to the 'spirit of Vatican 2' lingo, are considered relics of the past, to be ignored, if not ostracized.

Countless times during the General Intercessions have I refused to pray for those ridiculous petitions invoked at the direction of a looney liturgist or a priest who had lost sight of his authentic ministry, that for which he was ordained.

And, though Weigel doesn't address it, how about the chaos that ensues when Father Fidelity generously opens up the General Intercessions to those in the pews? (Never mind that the rubrics don't allow for this - the rubrics and liturgical laws only impedes the priest's ability to make the celebration 'relevant').

At one time, I had a list of petitions that I kept with me if by chance I happened to be unfortunate enough to find myself within the walls of one of these self-indulgent worship spaces. Whether it was Divine Providence or my own forgetfulness, it seems that I have misplaced it. Chances are, I most likely would never have had the opportunity to embarrass myself and others with my poignant petitions because I probably would have walked out long before then, anyway.

SNAP Complains Again

Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests criticized the St. Louis Archdiocese today because the former president of Vianney High School, the Rev. Robert Osborne, is listed as a visiting priest at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in downtown Kirkwood.

In June, the Marianist province of the United States –- the religioius order to which Osborne belongs -– settled a civil suit with an 18-year-old who had accused the priest of molesting him two years ago when he was a Vianney student.

SNAP official Judy Jones and national director David Clohessy said at a news conference today that Archbishop Raymond Burke violated the church’s national child sex abuse policy by assigning Osborne to St. Peter’s, or allowing him to take part in ministerial duties at the church.
These clowns at SNAP just don't seem to be able to comprehend much of anything - they appear to believe that an accusation - any accusation, even if it's not credible - is sufficient reason to remove a priest from exercising any ministry.

Last year, Robert McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County, concluded that there was no evidence of criminal conduct by Fr. Osborne. And no charges were ever filed against the priest. After being vilified in the press and resigning his position as Vianney, SNAP continues its pursuit of this priest.

These behaviors are 'normal' for those who, like tyrants, see themselves as 'judge, jury, and executioner.'

SNAP continues to display its arrogance and stupidity with its comments and actions.

Today, there is a followup article in the Post-Dispatch, "SNAP, Archdiocese differ on ex-Vianney chief serving as a visiting priest".

Of course, there is a 'difference' - SNAP doesn't believe in the presumption of innocent until proven guilty. It subscribes to the belief that any accusation proves one is guilty and unworthy of any ministry. Perhaps SNAP could have generated more support for its worthy causes of helping those suffering at the hands of criminals and seeking true justice and prevention - goals which all of us support, I'm certain; but, when the organization pursues and harrasses those priests whose cases law enforcement concludes have no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, how can anyone not view those in the group as a bunch of crackpots?

Gallup Diocese Response to Police Report

GALLUP — A news story [link here] about the Gallup Police report on Bishop Donald E. Pelotte's injuries generated a response from the Rev. James E. Walker [the vicar general for the Diocese of Gallup]...

"I ask you to please focus on what we know for certain: Bishop was alone in his home and there were no signs of a struggle, forced entry, presence of another person, or missing items from the bishop's home. Bishop has responded repeatedly, when asked about what happened, merely that he fell. Bishop's injuries, although great, are consistent with injuries sustained by falling down a staircase, landing on a ceramic tile floor and possibly hitting the wall; which is all feasible considering the layout of Bishop's staircase and surrounding area and consistent to the brief explanation Bishop has been able to relate to us thus far."

"When Bishop Pelotte fully recovers I feel certain that he will tell us as much as he can remember of this tragic incident. Until that time, let us all use caution in speculating and/or causing reason to speculate of what might have happened. Our focus and prayers need to be on Bishop's recovery, and quick return to his people."

Conclave: Tradition Makes a Comeback (Chiesa)

Benedict XVI has restored the ancient rule of the two-thirds majority vote, which John Paul II had breached for the first time in centuries. The progressives are applauding. And a great canonist, Ladislas Örsy, explains why.
by Sandro Magister

Thoughts and Counsels - August 2

Prayer teaches us the need of laying before God all of our necessities, of corresponding with His grace, of banishing vice from our heart and of establishing virtue in it.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Thursday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop and
Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, priest
Old Calendar: St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, bishop, confessor and doctor; St. Stephen I, pope & martyr

From: Matthew 13:47-53

The Net

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [47] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; [48] when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. [49] So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, [50] and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

[51] "Have you understood all this?" They said to Him, "Yes." [52] And He said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

[53] And when Jesus had finished these parables He went away from there.


47. "Fish of every kind": almost all the Greek manuscripts and early translations say "All kinds of things". A dragnet is very long and about two meters wide; when it is extended between two boats it forms double or triple mesh with the result that when it is pulled in it collects all sorts of things in addition to fish--algae, weeds, rubbish, etc.

This parable is rather like the parable of the cockle, but in a fishing context: the net is the Church, the sea the world.

We can easily find in this parable the dogmatic truth of the Judgment: at the end of time God will judge men and separate the good from the bad. It is interesting to note our Lord's repeated references to the last things, especially Judgment and Hell: He emphasizes these truths because of man's great tendency to forget them: "All these things are said to make sure that no one can make the excuse that he does not know about them: this excuse would be valid only if eternal punishment were spoken about in ambiguous terms" (St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11).

52. "Scribe": among the Jews a scribe was a religious teacher, a specialist in sacred Scripture and its application to life. Our Lord here uses this word to refer to the Apostles, who will have the role of teachers in His Church. Thus, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, are the "Ecclesia docens", the teaching Church; they have the authority and the mission to teach. The Pope and the Bishops exercise this authority directly and are also helped in this by priests. The other members of the Church form the "Ecclesia discens", the learning Church. However, every disciple of Christ, every Christian who has received Christ's teaching, has a duty to pass this teaching on to others, in language they can understand; therefore, he should make sure he has a good grasp of Christian doctrine. The treasure of Revelation is so rich that it can provide teaching which applies to all times and situations. It is for the word of God to enlighten all ages and situations--not the other way around. Therefore, the Church and its pastors preach, not new things, but a single unchanging truth contained in the treasure of Revelation: for the past two thousand years the Gospel has always been "good news".
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, August 01, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 2, Obedience

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues


First Meditation - Esteem for Obedience

I. The most pernicious temptation against obedience is contempt, sizing it up as something mean and unworthy of a human being, or at least as indecorous for cultured and noble minds.

Submission to obedience, according to this view, requires a servile type of mind - anima dimidiata, as Homer would say, if translated into Latin, a "reduced personality."

The reluctance experienced by Satan in submitting to God, which made him cry out I will not serve!; the self-elation which drove our first parents to gamble away their own and all their posterity's inheritance by an act of rebellion against their Father and Creator; that inward struggle which takes place within the soul of everyone of us when it comes to surrendering our will to the will of another; these things are not trivial­ities; and therefore obedience is not something to be brushed aside with a sneer; because obedience is given only at a very high price, at the cost of breaking in our natural appetites, and going through death-like agony in the process. Call obedience what you will, but deem it not contemptible. It is not a contemptible thing to refrain the human personality from running wild through the fantastic regions of caprice and savage independence.

If you do not love obedience, at least refrain from incurring the insincerity of despising and belittling it; obedience has always been the mother of everything great in the world.

To obey wholeheartedly is noble, most noble; if only because no other virtue taxes us so sorely: neither the repressing of anger, nor the stern bridling of sensuality. Noble, most noble, is that which one obtains only by dint of absolute self-denial and high-mindedness; namely, to deposit into another's keeping not merely external acts of submission - any slave or beast of burden at the crack of the master's whip will do that­ - but also the reins of our internal desire, sacrificing our own wishes for the sake of some great good which sur­passes human fickleness and even human reasoning. Say what you will, then, about obedience, but do not hold it in contempt.

II. Do not despise obedience; obedience is all-powerful, and such power may well be feared and hated, but despised, never.

Where lies the strength of a home, a city, a nation, an army? In their being one. Scattered forces spell weak­ness, dissolution, corruption, death; union is strength­ - a phrase elevated to the rank of universal dictum. And what is union? Not the singular, but the plural, the multiple made one. What is it, finally, that makes the multiple one in human affairs? A uniform and unified leadership: one aim, identical means, unity of plan and execution; in other words: the submission of all to the direction of one, obedience to the person in charge.

No power exists, human or divine, without a definite plan, without order, direction, obedience. Take away from the army its discipline - another name for obed­ience - and however powerful and well-equipped with weapons and men, its striking power is lost.

III. Do not despise obedience, obedience is divine, and the divine is not despicable. Divine, not only because, as St. Paul says, "Authority comes from God only" (Rom. xiii, I), but also because of Christ's example.

The God Who became Man, possessing the human faculties of the mind and the will, was by His very Nature our only Sovereign - This title is written on his cloak, over his thigh: the King of kings, and the Lord of lords (Apoc. xix, 16); He had the eternal and inalien­able right to present Himself to the High Priest in the Holy of Holies and say: "Deliver unto Me the attri­butes of the High-Priesthood, I am the Eternal Priest"; He could have stood before the all-powerful Roman Emperor and said to him: "Yield me that throne, it is Mine, through Me kings reign"; He had a perfect right to exercise dominion over every household in the Name of His Father "from Whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its title" (Eph. iii, 15); He was God, God's Equal; and yet, He forwent the privi­leges due to His Godhead; He hid them away, as though they did not belong to Him; He lived as a man, appeared in most of His manifestations just as a man; He lived as a slave:
"He dispossessed himself, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross." (Philip i, ii, 6-8)

That is the meaning of the Cross of Christ! There we have the great lesson of the crucifix! So before you despise obedience, despise your crucifix, if you dare; tear it from the altar; tear it from your own heart!

My God, crucified through obedience: Thou knowest well how hard it is for me to obey; I instinctively loathe humble submission; but one thing I will never do: I will never say that obedience is something low and mean. Thou wert not low and mean, and Thou wast the great Model of all who obey.

1. Notwithstanding ideas or examples to the con­trary, whatever their source, from today I shall never allow in my facial expression the slightest hint of contempt for obedience to lawful Authority; and, should the need arise, I undertake to defend with knight-errant chivalry that great virtue in whose arms my Redeemer gave Himself up to the death of the Cross.

2. This is the lesson I shall preach by word and example to the faithful under my care, in an effort to quell the upsurge of those barbaric forces of insub­ordination which seem to echo the Biblical cry: "Let us break away from their bondage, let us throw off their yoke!" (Ps. ii, 3)
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!

Disaster in Minneapolis

In Minneapolis, the I-35W bridge has collapsed in the Mississippi River with cars, trucks, tractor trailers with fires burning, smoke rising and at least one school bus - numerous cars.


Prayers needed!

Disgracing St Thomas More...?

This, from California Catholic Daily:
San Diego’s St. Thomas More Society offers forum to woman who claims to be a priest

The St. Thomas More Society of San Diego has invited “womanpriest” Jane Via to speak at a meeting on Friday, Aug. 3, even though Via is under interdict by San Diego Bishop Robert Brom, who last summer forwarded her case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for further action, possibly a formal declaration of excommunication.

The Via invitation has sparked internal discord among members of the St. Thomas More Society of San Diego, with some members objecting that inviting someone in open defiance of ecclesiastical authority is not in keeping with the group’s mission...
Praised be to God that some wiser ones have spoken up. But what if this is a ploy? What if this turns out to be a setup to challenge Via and her delusional thinking that she is a "priestess"? This could very well be an event to see...Insights from someone closer to the Society would certainly be helpful...

What to do about perverts in public office?

This morning, the Thomas More Law Center informs us of this sickening perversion in Montgomery County:

Montgomery County Public Schools Say Yes to Anal Sex, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, and Transvestitism

ANN ARBOR, MI – A public school district’s program promoting anal sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transvestitism as normal sexual variations was recently approved by the Maryland State Board of Education despite strenuous opposition from several pro-family groups. Montgomery County Public School’s controversial sexuality curriculum for eighth and tenth grade students is the result of pressure by homosexual advocacy groups.

In response, the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it will assist the pro-family groups in their appeal of the Education Board’s decision to the Montgomery County Circuit Court. The Law Center will be assisted by Maryland attorney John R. Garza who has been involved in the curriculum fight for several years.
Any board member who would approve of such filth is guilty of malfeasance, at the very least. The promotion of deviant and dangerous sexual acts by these sick perverts is criminal - or it use to be, before society became enlightened with the wonders and beauty of moral depravity.

Are there so few parents to fight these clowns? Do parents no longer care for the emotional, physical, and mental welfare of their children to stop these reprobates? Apparently, this type of "abuse" of children - this full frontal assault on healthy, wholesome, and moralliving, eternal truths of life - is permissible if sanctioned by a renegade, out-of-conrtrol government bureaucracy composed of mental defectives and degenerates.

I'm not certain if it's just me, but it seems that Satan and his accomplices are working overtime these days. How many are familiar with the recent LifeSiteNews article, German Government Publication Promotes Incestuous Pedophilia as Healthy Sex Ed?
BERLIN, July 30, 2007 ( - Booklets from a subsidiary of the German government's Ministry for Family Affairs encourage parents to sexually massage their children as young as 1 to 3 years of age.

Unless this perversion and moral depravity and decay is stopped and society returns to a proper moral order and its Judeo-Christian roots, it is doomed. Perhaps, we need to pray much more and offer reparations for the grotesque evil which is enveloping the world.

TMLC article here.

Investors Jumping Ship When It Comes to ESCR?

From a recent Zenit report, we read encouraging news:
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, JULY 29, 2007 ( A prominent bioethicist says he hopes that the closure of ES Cell International, a leading embryonic stem cell research facility, is a sign of growing realism.

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk commented on the closure of the biotechnology firm in Singapore, telling ZENIT, "We can only hope that a certain realism may finally be sinking in, as Wall Street types recognize that the timeline for clinical therapies is likely to be quite long."

The firm closed when investors concluded that "the likelihood of having products in the clinic in the short term was vanishingly small," Alan Colman, former chief executive of ES Cell International, told Science magazine...

As more and more people begin to realize that their best option is to salvage what little investment they have left (if any) for such horrid scientific research, future funding from investors might be more difficult to obtain, which appears to be why many embryonic stem cell research firms are seeking goverment handouts and free, unlimited feedings at the public trough - yet another taxpayer-funded corporate welfare scheme designed to line the pockets of those engaged in evil and immoral practices.

Father Pacholczyk says, " is clear that some investors are exercising caution about stepping into the midst of what has certainly become an ethical minefield."

Let us hope and pray that this attitude, this reality, becomes more prevalent and that embryonic stem cell research is effectively (and legally) banned as the moral evil it truely is.

Gallup Bishop Insists that He Wasn't Assaulted...

...He fell down the steps....

GALLUP — A Gallup Police report is raising new questions about how Bishop Donald E. Pelotte of Gallup was injured last week.

Most specifically, the report raises the question if Pelotte, 62, was really injured in a household fall.
. . .
However, as both the police report and Lujan state, Pelotte has insisted that he was not assaulted by anyone and that his injuries are the result of a fall down a home staircase. Pelotte is currently in the intensive care unit at the John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix.

From the description of his wounds, he must have taken a really serious fall...?

The article continues here...the police report is here.

Thoughts and Counsels - August 1

Christ Himself guides the bark of Peter.
For this reason it can not perish, although He sometimes seems to sleep.

-St. Antoninus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for August 1, Memorial: St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop & doctor

Wednesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Peter's Chains (Lammas Day); Holy Machabees, martyrs

From: Matthew 13:44-46

The Hidden Treasure; The Pearl

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [44] "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

[45] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, [46] who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."


44-46. In these two parables Jesus shows the supreme value of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the attitude people need if they are to attain it. The parables are very alike, but it is interesting to note the differences: the treasure means abundance of gifts; the pearl indicates the beauty of the Kingdom. The treasure is something stumbled upon; the pearl, the result of a lengthy search; but in both instances the finder is filled with joy. Faith, vocation, true wisdom, desire for Heaven, are things which sometimes are discovered suddenly and unexpectedly, and sometimes after much searching (cf. St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homilae", 11). However, the man's attitude is the same in both parables and is described in the same terms: "he goes and sells all that he has and buys it": detachment, generosity, is indispensable for obtaining the treasure.

"Anyone who understands the Kingdom which Christ proposes realizes that it is worth staking everything to obtain it [...]. The Kingdom of Heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it, but the humble cry of a repentant man can open wide its doors" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 180).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 1, Ambition

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues


Second Meditation - Inordinate Desire for High Office

I. By ambition is understood an unruly craving for honours and dignities.

This craving may well be the last ditch where the evil spirit takes his stand.

You may have tamed the coarse tendencies of the flesh, dismissed wealth as unworthy of consideration; you may be admired for your austere and pious priestly life; and yet you may still qualify for the indictment worded by St. Cyprian:

"In the bosom of pious priests ambition slumbers; there in the shade it cuddles up, there it artfully hides, as in a nuptial bed "­

and, to be sure, the gentlest stir in the air is enough to awaken it!

While obedient to the hissing of the wily serpent, you will all the time swear to God and to man that your only aim is the salvation of souls, and that only the glory of God could induce you to shoulder such a burden. Or you will argue that justice is fulfilled. With­out suspecting the existence of a capital vice, and borne along, as it were, by the gentle-blowing breeze of your sense of justice, you will eventually find yourself caught up in the tempestuous whirlwind of ambition.

II. Keep a careful watch: latet anguis sub herba, the snake is hiding in the grass. From its place of hiding it watches and waits, that fallen angel of ambition, who one day said: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will be like the Most High. (Is. xiv, 13-14) Knowing, like St. Paul (cfr. 11 Cor. ii, 11), how resourceful this evil spirit is, you also must be on the alert to forestall his tricks and to allow him no advantage over you.

At least have the sense to mind your step and to take a shuddering glance at the abyss of evil to which ambi­tion will thrust you even in this life:

"all those useless and dangerous appetites which sink men into ruin here and perdition hereafter." (1 Tim. vi, 9)

Like the love of money, ambition "is a root from which every kind of evil springs," causing the ambitious to involve themselves in a world of sorrows.

What anguish of mind, contempt, humiliation, hatred, shame, difficulties, blind alleys, there are concealed under the empty pomp of rank and honour! Honours are the harlequin of Italian comedy: boisterous mirth smeared with brightest vermilion, but inwardly a terrible void and the gnawing of relentless pain. How many, like King Saul, would be happier, now and eternally, if they had remained a few rungs lower!

And if to the above we add that the "grace of state" is not forthcoming to the ambitious, because God is not obliged to give it to anyone who has intruded into an office against His Will, it is greatly to be feared that the ministerial duties attached to the office and dignity will be badly performed, and the office-holder will prove more of a hindrance than a help. Is not this the explan­ation of so many high posts unworthily sought and un­worthily held?

III. "It is for thee, servant of God, to shun all this." (1 Tim. vi, 11)

And God grant that fear of the Judgement-to-come may lend wings to your flight! The more you are given, the more you shall be asked for. What, then, will be demanded of the man who proprio marte, by his own devices, worked his way up to positions of eminence to which God had not called him, to heights where he was not endowed by God with sufficient balance to keep him from suffering vertigo?

"Do not be too eager, brethren, to impart instruction to others; be sure that, if we do, we shall be called to account all the more strictly." (James iii, 1)

What account will you render of those heavy burdens if you are bent on assuming and carrying them on your own shoulders without the aid of God's supporting Hand? Yours is a yoke imposed by presumptuous ambi­tion, not Christ's yoke; a crushing burden, not Christ's; for my yoke - says Christ - is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt. xi, 30)

On the Last Day the ambitious priest may well have to fear lest the Finger of God should write on his con­science in burning characters:
Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting. (Dan. v, 27)
Therefore, as a preliminary resolution, I shall read slowly chapter six of the Book of Wisdom, which con­tains the following:

"Listen well, all you that have multitudes at your command. . . . Swift and terrible shall be his coming; strictly his doom falls where heads rise high. . . . For the meanest, there may be pardon; for greatness, greater torment is reserved. . . .

Such is God's schedule - a schedule He adheres to inexorably.

The road to ecclesiastical dignities is not absolutely blocked. After all, I am a priest, and, as such, a poten­tial candidate for Church dignities; and in some places, the Church encourages lawful aspiration by the fact of holding competitive examinations, etc., for the promot­ing of candidates to higher office. Besides, ambition is an ungoverned and disorderly craving; a well-regulated desire is a worthy type of ambition, perhaps one that I should do well to possess and to foster, so long as I observe these three condition's:

1. Never to aspire after any office except for the sole, or at least the principal, purpose for which the office was instituted; e.g., the office of parish priest, for the sake of instructing the faithful, administering the Sacraments, doing conversion work, etc.; in short, to bring souls to God. Is there any dignity in the Church of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of souls, with any other assigned purpose? Would Christ have died in order to provide me with a sinecure and keep me in comfortable idleness here below?

2. Not to entertain the thought of possessing any ecclesiastical dignity whatsoever unless I am personally and properly convinced, or better still, unless others in a position to know me thorougly are convinced, that I have the moral and intellectual qualities which such a dignity requires. Were a doctor to aspire after a medical post for which he knew himself to be unequipped, his ambition would be criminal. And are souls of less account than bodies?

3. In spite of all human injustices and lack of appre­ciation that I may come up against, I will not enter upon any office except through the proper canonical channels, not aliunde - through the back-stage door of wire­pulling, simony, or pharisaic pretensions. Far better to remain a beggar on the door-step of the Lord's House!
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!

CMAA's New Release: Communio: Communion Antiphon with Psalms

Adoremus has an interview with Jeffrey Tucker (managing editor of the journal Sacred Music, published by the Church Music Association of America; director of the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum in Auburn, Alabama; and a member of the board of directors of CMAA), in its most recent edition of the Adoremus Bulletin:

A significant event in the field of sacred music occurred this June, when the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) released a new book that is sure to become an essential part of every parish musician’s working library: Communio: Communion Antiphons with Psalms, edited by Richard Rice.

Adoremus interviewed CMAA’s Jeffrey Tucker, who believes that this book “could change the way a parish experiences the Communion rite”.

“Following the rubrics as the Church has given us”, he says, “could cause our liturgical experience to be much more beautiful, and much more … Catholic”.
Would that this would come to pass!

An excellent interview by Adoremus with great insights by Tucker - this is something which should be sent to every bishop, I would think, and perhaps even to parish priests!

UK Hotels Must Switch to Single Rooms Only or Allow Homosexual Sex on Premises

The UK is committed to becoming another Sodom, and apparently, government officials, hell-bent on the destruction of a good and moral society, dismiss the history of Sodom and Gomorrah as a fable...

LONDON, July 30, 2007 ( - In conflicts over same-sex couples staying in hotels run by religious believers, it is up to the owners to accommodate or close, the government says.
Owners must accomodate moral evil? They must provide rooms and beds for sodomites to engage in their unnatural and deviant acts? Do this or close, they are told! Run your business our way or don't run it at all...This is a government which has run amok - one which soon will be history. Tolerance is a one way street! And tolerance of evil becomes acceptance of evil and a one way street to eternal damnation!

In essence, is not the government demanding the worship of idols, of 'gods' of evil, and the sacrifice of one's own conscience and morality to accomodate the emperor's ignorant and evil mandates? Of course - it's the new, yet old, persecution of the good by the evil! Welcome to the pagan Roman empire of the 21st century where idolatry, perversion, and infanticide are the order of the day...Why are so many countries 'competing' to see which can be worse than ancient pagan Rome?

Soon we will see the confiscation of one's property and imprisonment for those who oppose Satan's chosen emperors, kings, and legislators - and because the nature of evil is so insidious, will it not be long before a so-called 'civilized' society implodes and collapses under the weight of its own sinfulness and iniquity, at which time the righteous, seen by clouded and irrational minds as the cause of collapse, will be charged with capital crimes as enemies of the "State" and deserving of death? All so that 'society' might live in its own filth and decay.

Boy am I optimistic!

Barbara Kralis on the Motu Proprio: Te Deum laudamus

The short article also includes a Q & A with Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, S.T.D., Director of the Rome Office of Human Life International.

But there is something more important in Barbara's column and that is a plan to give the gift of a spiritual bouquet to the Holy Father as an expression of gratitude and love.

This project has the blessing of Monsignor Camille Perl, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei.

A Catholic couple from New York
enlisted the help of an American florist, From You Flowers, who arranged local florists in Italy to deliver our bouquets of flowers and bouquets of prayers to the Holy Father. Individuals and groups from all over the world can take part in this show of gratitude.

To benefit from the special discounts offered by From You Flowers, we can call them at 1-800-838-8853 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. We should ask for ext. 115. If calling outside those hours, we should ask for a supervisor and state we are interested in sending flowers to the Pope. It has been reported to this writer that already many groups and individuals have ordered these bouquets and are now being delivered to his summer residence.

From You Flowers will also attach a Spiritual Bouquet prayer card written in Italian to the flowers. We are to indicate to the operator how many prayers and/or Holy Masses we will offer for the Pope's intention.
This is such a wonderful idea, I hope that many avail themselves of this (or another similar) opportunity to express gratitude, appreciation and fidelity to our Holy Father and, most especially, to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His generous gifts and blessings He bestows on us daily. May we follow Him and His Vicar on earth in joyful obedience.

Sad News-Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem Leaving St. Louis

...or so it appears. For the next year, at least, unless something changes in the meantime, the Prior, the Very Rev. Dom Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer, tells us that they will be absent with the fraters in Rome studying and the Prior in California, teaching.

The latest newsletter (pages below) explain the situation which many had hoped could have been rectified.

This means that the St Louis Archdiocese will now have only one community which celebrates the "extraordinary" form of the Holy Mass and Sacraments for the forseeable future.

Please keep the Canaons and the affected faithful in your prayers that our Almighty Father in Heaven might provide some means for the Canons to remain in or, at least return to, the Archdiocese.

HT to Ken for the updates!

Catholic Agency Will Close Before Giving Children to Homosexual Parents, Bishop States

MOTHERWELL, Scotland, July 30, 2007 ( - The Catholic Bishop of Motherwell, Scotland, Reverend Joseph Devine, stated that a Catholic adoption agency would close rather than comply with the recent UK Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR) and allow children to be adopted by homosexual couples.

"I promise you my obedience, my fidelity, my effort in all that you demand of me"

From Inside the Vatican:
A very special interview with Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein. It contains important reflections on the Pope's 2006 Regensburg talk, on the new motu proprio, and on the Pope's day-to-day private life from the person who is closest to him...

Special Note: The following interview with Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Personal Secretary to Pope Benedict XVI from even before his election to the papacy on April 19, 2005, done by German writer Peter Seewald, appeared last week in the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich). It has now been posted in translation, in Italian as well as English, by various Web sites on the Internet. Here is an English translation by Gerald Augustinus, who posted it on his website at: --The Editor

Thoughts and Counsels - July 31

Put not off till tomorrow what you can do today.

-St. Ignatius
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for July 31, Memorial: St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

Tuesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 13:36-43

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

[36] Then He (Jesus) left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." [37] He answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; [38] the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the Kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, [39] and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. [40] Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. [41] The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and evildoers, [42] and throw them out into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."


36-43. While making its way on earth, the Church is composed of good and bad people, just men and sinners: they are mixed in with one another until the harvest time, the end of the world, when the Son of Man, in His capacity as Judge of the living and the dead, will divide the good from the bad at the Last Judgment--the former going to eternal glory, the inheritance of the saints; the latter, to the eternal fire of Hell. Although the just and the sinners are now side by side, the Church has the right and the duty to exclude those who cause scandal, especially those who attack its doctrine and unity; this is can do through ecclesiastical excommunication and other canonical penalties. However, excommunication has a medicinal and pastoral function--to correct those who are obstinate in error, and to protect others from them.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 31 - St Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius was born at Loyola in Spain, in the year 1491. He served his king as a courtier and a soldier till his thirtieth year. At that age, being laid low by a wound, he received the call of divine grace to leave the world.

He embraced poverty and humiliation, that he might become more like to Christ, and won others to join him in the service of God. Prompted by their love for Jesus Christ, Ignatius and his companions made a vow to go to the Holy Land, but war broke out, and prevented the execution of their project. Then they turned to the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and placed themselves under his obedience.

This was the beginning of the Society of Jesus. Our Lord promised St. Ignatius that the precious heritage of His Passion should never fail his Society, a heritage of contradictions and persecutions.

St. Ignatius was cast into prison at Salamanca, on a suspicion of heresy. To a friend who expressed sympathy with him on ac­count of his imprisonment, he replied, "It is a sign that you have but little love of Christ in your heart, or you would not deem it so hard a fate to be in chains for His sake. I declare to you that all Salamanca does not contain as many fetters, manacles, and chains as I long to wear for the love of Jesus Christ."

St. Ignatius went to his crown on the 31st July, 1556.
From Lives of the Saints, with Reflections
Imprimatur by John Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop of New York
(© 1878, Benziger Brothers)

Catholic Culture has more on St Ignatius here.

The Priest at Prayer for July 31, Ambition

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues


First Meditation - Christ's Example and Precept

I. Christ is our Model, and He was not ambitious. As St. Paul says:
"His nature is, from the first, divine, and yet he did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted."

He did not wish to make His divine dignity over­whelmingly conspicuous at every hour to the minds of the men with whom He conversed. He was not like those kings of old, of whom it was said: They took their crown and sceptre with them when they retired for the night's rest. On the contrary:

"He dispossessed himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting himself to us in human form." (Philip ii, 6-7)

The Archangel Gabriel had foretold that He would be great, with all the greatness of the Son of the Most High God; that to Him would be given the throne of David, His ancestor in the flesh, and that He would reign in the House of Jacob forever. And yet, knowing that the people were looking for Him on a certain occa­sion in order to snatch Him away and make Him King, He mysteriously slipped out of their hands. When sum­moned before Pilate He did not indeed deny His King­ship, but He took pains to explain that His Kingdom was quite different from the kingdoms of this world; it was not based on physical force, pomp and circum­stance. (Cfr. John xviii, 36).

We might be tempted to say that, in becoming man, Christ forgot to bring the crown of His Godhead with Him, and left it behind in Heaven!

What a contrast! God fashioned in the likeness of a slave, and man's ambition to be treated like God!

II. And what were Christ's ideas and teaching on the subject of commanding and bearing rule? On several occasions, particularly at His solemn farewell during the Last Supper, He allows His disciples to bring up the thorny question of precedence, after they had quar­relled among themselves about which of them was to take the first place (Luke xxii, 24); and this is the solu­tion He gave:
"The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who bear rule over them win the name of benefactors.

"With you it is not to be so; no difference is to be made, among you, between the greatest and the youngest of all, between him who commands and him who serves." (25-26.)

Eve thought she was going to be like God; and we, her children, so often cherish in our hearts and even bring to our lips the claim to preferential treatment, that, lest this new doctrine, so opposed to common practice at the time, should sound unduly strange and harsh to His disciples, Christ appeals to His own example:

"Tell me (He continues) which is greater, the man who sits at table, or the man who serves him? Surely the man who sits at table; yet I am here among you as your servant." (27)

Jesus had just got up from washing His disciples' feet; His cheeks were still flushed from the strain and the fatigue.

III. Let me now spend a few moments taking stock of my inmost convictions on this subject:

What do I think of that anxious longing for honour and rank, which St. John lists as one of the three con­cupiscences, one of those three types of gratification which, in their totality and admixture, build up what Christ calls the world, His great enemy; and what the beloved Disciple calls the pride of life, the "empty pomp of living"? (l John ii, 16.)

Do I not consider them very fortunate, those that have obtained and enjoy high honour and dignity? Even though my lips may not betray me, do I not, in my heart, envy them?

Haven't I fostered in my heart the same ambitions, but, as it were, in the disguise of strange "dreamforms," like a snake hiding in the grass? Don't I often feel pangs of grief and sadness when I see how my dreams of office and advancement elude my grasp, like a youngster chasing in vain after butterflies?

And to think that twenty centuries of Christianity have elapsed, during which the ideas of the God-Man have filtered down through so many layers of civilisation, and I, who am not only His disciple but also His priest and imitator by profession, am still so backward that I continue in the worship of those vain idols of power and prestige, as though I were just another of Nero's pretorian guards or centurions!

1. If so far I haven't succeeded in occupying the dignity or place of my ambitions, and if at the same time I see clearly that they are beyond my reach, I shall struggle with my pride until I have come by that peace of mind which follows from a true spirit of resig­nation; so that I can say with Job, and say with all sincerity: in nidulo meo moriar: this is my little nest, and here I'm going to end my days, if God so wills.

And when all is said and done, what do the highest ranks in the Church and the richest of flowing robes mean to the vast unbelieving modern world?

2. If, due to my merits or another's good offices, I happen to have been raised to some degree of hier­archial dignity and have many people at my beck and call, I shall not forget that I am my mother's son, flesh and blood like any other of my subordinates, and that I, the same as they, am among those whom Christ calls servants - "to whom his master will entrust the care of the household, to give them their food at the appointed time." (Matt. xxiv, 45.)

And so, instead of being exces­sively concerned about my dignity in the things which depend upon others: due honour and respect, perhaps to the point of expecting them to cringe before me, as to an infallible and superior sort of being, etc., I shall concentrate on the things that come under my control: the exact discharging of my duties and func­tions, kindly dealings with everyone, trying to dis­simulate any disregard for my personal convenience; because this, too, is included in the command: forgive, and you shall be forgiven. (Luke vi, 37.)
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 Martini Speaks Out Against Latin Mass

No surprise here, is there?

A leading liberal cardinal in the Catholic Church says he will not celebrate mass in Latin, criticising Pope Benedict XVI's decision to allow for greater use of the old Latin mass.

Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who has broken with the Vatican on a number of issues, says he considers it important to have a common language for prayer.
. . .
Cardinal Martini has broken his silence on numerous occasions to counter Vatican positions on social issues including assisted procreation, the use of condoms and euthanasia.
How many people really care what this man has to say? Rather than being part of the sanctification and building up of the Mystical Body of Christ, he seems bent on tearing it down whenever he feels it's appropriate.

Pope Benedict on the Chaos after Vatican II

All Against All: The Postconciliar Period Recounted by Ratzinger, Theologian and Pope

The period following Vatican II reminds Benedict XVI of the "total chaos" after the Council of Nicaea, the first in history. But from that stormy Council emerged the "Credo." And today? Here is the pope’s response to the priests of Belluno, Feltre, and Treviso.
by Sandro Magister
The article has a complete transcript of Pope Benedict XVI’s response on the Council and its aftermath, in which he says, in part:

But why did this happen? I would like to begin with an historical observation. The periods following a council are almost always very difficult. After the great Council of Nicaea – which is, for us, truly the foundation of our faith, in fact we confess the faith as formulated at Nicaea – there was not the birth of a situation of reconciliation and unity, as hoped by Constantine, the promoter of the great Council, but a genuinely chaotic situation of a battle of all against all.
. . .
...we must note that there were two great historic upheavals in the concrete context of the postconciliar period.

The first is the convulsion of 1968, the beginning – or explosion, I dare say – of the great cultural crisis of the West...

One side was of the opinion that this cultural revolution was what the Council had wanted. It identified this new Marxist cultural revolution with the will of the Council. It said: This is the Council; in the letter the texts are still a bit antiquated, but behind the written words is this “spirit,” this is the will of the Council, this is what we must do. And on the other side, naturally, was the reaction: you are destroying the Church. The – let us say – absolute reaction against the Council, anticonciliarity, and – let us say – the timid, humble search to realize the true spirit of the Council...

And then came the second upheaval in 1989, the fall of the communist regimes. But the response was not a return to the faith, as one perhaps might have expected; it was not the rediscovery that the Church, with the authentic Council, had provided the response. The response was, instead, total skepticism, so-called post-modernity. Nothing is true; everyone must decide on his own how to live...

And thus it seems to me that we must rediscover the great heritage of the Council, which is not a “spirit” reconstructed behind the texts, but the great conciliar texts themselves, reread today with the experiences that we have had and that have born fruit in so many movements, in so many new religious communities...

An Interview with Exorcist Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea

In an exclusive interview, theologian and exorcist Father Jose Antonio Fortea speaks of the dangers of the occult arts but also the Harry Potter series of books. He is travelling to the US for a series of conferences in August 2007.

HT to Trish for passing along the link

Greater use of Tridentine Mass may 'promote unity’

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, where the Tridentine Mass is already celebrated at several sites, this letter will not have a huge impact, but it may “erase any suspicion that people may have” about the Tridentine Mass, said Cristina Borges, the development director for the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

“Vatican II never forbade this Mass,” she explained. Borges hopes that more Catholics will explore the Tridentine Mass.

Thoughts and Counsels - July 30

It suffices not to perform good works; we must do them well, in imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it is written, "He does all things well."

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Monday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial, St. Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor
Old Calendar: Saints Abdon and Sennen, martyrs

From: Matthew 13:31-35

The Mustard Seed; The Leaven

[31] Another parable He (Jesus) put before them saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; [32] it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

[33] He told them another parable. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened."

[34] All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed He said nothing to them without a parable. [35] This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world."


31-32. Here, the man is Jesus Christ and the field, the world. The grain of mustard seed is the preaching of the Gospel and the Church, which from very small beginnings will spread throughout the world.

The parable clearly refers to the universal scope and spread of the Kingdom of God: the Church, which embraces all mankind of every kind and condition, in every latitude and in all ages, is forever developing in spite of obstacles, thanks to God's promise and aid.

33. This comparison is taken from everyday experience: just as leaven gradually ferments all the dough, so the Church spreads to convert all nations.

The leaven is also a symbol of the individual Christian. Living in the middle of the world and retaining his Christian quality, he wins souls for Christ by his word and example: "Our calling to be children of God, in the midst of the world, requires us not only to seek our own personal holiness, but also to go out onto all the ways of the earth, to convert them into roadways that will carry souls over all obstacles and lead them to the Lord. As we take part in all temporal activities as ordinary citizens, we are to become leaven acting on the mass" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 120).

34-35. Revelation, God's plans, are hidden (cf. Matthew 11:25) from those who are disposed to accept them. The Evangelist wishes to emphasize the need for simplicity and for docility to the Gospel. By recalling Psalm 78:2, he tells us once more, under divine inspiration, that the Old Testament prophecies find their fulfillment in our Lord's preaching.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for July 30, Envy

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues


Its Malice and Destructiveness

I. "Peace of mind is health of body; more than all else, envy wastes the frame." (Prov. xiv, 30)

There is nothing like envy for spreading sickness of mind and heart throughout the whole body, until it eats into the very marrow of the bones. Envious people, we may say, adapting a quotation from Shakespeare,
. . . like serpents are, who though they feed
On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.

Let us see how this is.

We know, from that very human and consoling Dogma of the Communion of the Saints, that Christian charity, in rejoicing over another's well-being, makes it part of one's own possession. You do a good work, and I, through the medium of my sympathetic rejoicing, convert its supernatural substance into something which belongs to me as well; I appropriate to myself some­thing of its satisfactory and impetratory value, and, in a certain sense, even its personal merit, on account of my noble attitude towards your well-being. You see? It is the bee sucking honey from sweetest flowers; it is health of body from a sound heart and a peaceful mind.

On the other hand, if I envy you for the good you have done, my envy not only misses the opportunity of making that good my own, it is likely to destroy whatever good you possess. Envy would rather your good did not exist, did not give glory to God or service to the neigh­bour; it begrudges you the merit of climbing a step higher up the path of moral goodness and perfection. And yet everyone else rejoices at the good you have done: God, His holy angels, the just, the sound of mind and the upright of heart. Only two beings are sad, only two people fret and consume with anguish - the devil ­and envious me!

What blindness! To perish by what brings health to others! To waste away on the strength of what imparts life and joy! What a dreadful calamity: another's gain, my loss; the good tidings of others, my sentence of doom!

Envy is certainly the dark secret of those
"who though they feed on sweetest flowers, yet poison breed."

The miserable process continues. Because you did well, I am filled with grief; therefore, how I should rejoice if you did wrong, if you were incompetent and wicked and a stumbling-block to others! I rejoice at your misfortune. My joy feeds on what the Vulgate calls putredo ossium, rotten bones; your own undoing.

How very low envy can thrust me! How envy can befoul the heart of man, the heart created to fill with God and to say with Him:
Well done! thou good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of thy Lord!

II. Envy is a fire devouring and destroying every germ of life. Envy, by its very nature, is death and deals death, being born of Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning. (John viii, 44.) It was envy that instigated him to bring about the fall of our first parents, and by the envy of the devil death came into the world. (Wisdom ii, 24.) Envy was the evil genius which inspired the first human murderer to assassinate his own brother, on the noble score that this brother of his was a better man than he. It is envy that has put weapons into the hands of man, and so blinded man as to make him commit the foulest crimes that have ever stained the face of this earth. It was envy which challenged God Himself, persecuted Him, calumniated Him, nailed Him to the wood of the Cross­
For he (Pilate) knew that for envy they had delivered him. (Matt xxvii, 13.)

No other passion could go to such an extreme; only in envy does there remain not a trace of common humanity. Our Lord's enemies saw that He preached better than they, though they were supposedly the sole custodians of the Law; they saw that the people admired and revered Him more highly than them; they could not hope to reproduce, much less surpass, the wonders He wrought, the admirable holiness of life that was His, His greatness of mind; and so they found but one expedient:
to kill Him. Had it been in their power to reduce Him to His lowly station in life as a carpenter, perhaps they would not have thought of crucifying Him.

O the Satanic love of self, self above all else, what power it can command! In order to defend its own interests, envy would sweep everything away, would annihilate even God Himself. No wonder the serpent of envy is lothe to come out in its true colours, but seeks every possible device of camouflage, and hides itself in the grass among the flowers! Thus, for example, the Pharisees donned the mask of zeal for the Law of Moses and the common good of the nation:
This man is not of God who keepeth not the sabbath. (John ix, 16.)

The Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. (John xi, 48.)

If with courage and determination I probe the inner recesses of my own conscience and tear away every mask, I may well discover twisted round many of my ambitions and my bitter disappointments the serpent coils of envy.

III. Envy, as a passion, is a specific form of zeal. To be "jealous" is closely akin to being "zealous", the difference being that jealousy is brought about by vehement self-love, or the love of someone whom I identify with my self-love; whereas zeal is born of my intense love for a fellow-creature or for God.

We are envious or jealous, essentially, because we wrongly feel that the prestige or wealth or welfare which might be ours is enjoyed by another. The effect of envy is an impulse and an endeavour proceeding from the irascible appetite against any person whose possession of some­thing we should like for ourselves seems unjustly to deprive us of it; in short, the effect of envy is an instinctive snatching from another for ourselves, or at least for the satisfaction of seeing the other person without the thing we begrudge him.

If I am envious of another priest, I shall be saddened at his enjoyment of prestige and power: the prestige that comes to him for working harder than myself, for winning more souls to God than I do, for establishing pious and social Associations, for being respected as a holy, humble, and learned priest. All this becomes for
me a source of bitter regret; and, in consequence, my irascible appetite becomes irritated, devises ways and means of bringing all those good things to nought.

And if I should succeed in my aims, I shall take a vile com­placency in seeing my rival priest less virtuous and less highly esteemed; I shall stand by and gloat on the spectacle when that priest's works come crashing down and his power over souls diminishes. My grief will turn to delight - the delight experienced by Satan at the sight of Adam and Eve become enemies of God, the satis­faction that puffed up the perverse heart of Cain when he saw his brother Abel, the preferred of God, dead and bathed in his blood.

And all these horrors, the natural outcome of envy, arise when I am not guided by the prinicples of faith, when I care not a straw for God's glory and the welfare of souls; that is, when I foster but one love, self-love; the cruel idol at whose altar I have slaughtered every other love.

A very sombre picture, but a very true one, of the envious priest; even though he himself may fail to recognise his own resemblance, even though he may cast about for specious motives, religious motives perhaps, in order to disguise his grovelling passion.

IV. Let us probe still deeper. How many works of zeal have miscarried because of envy! How many excellent priests have been scared to undertake these works for fear of dire persecution which envy had plotted against them, or have called off the good begun in view of the fury excited thereby in envious hearts or because of the unjust denunciations - all, of course, under the mask of zeal for the House of the Lord! - in which vile emulation had involved them!

In every age - and there is no reason to exempt our own - envy has proved itself to be a diabolic steriliser of the holiest of priestly endeavours. Satan knows this well, he is the father of envy, and his triumph is secured once he has found a collaborator among our own priestly ranks. It is enough to poison a priest's heart with his own envy, and the corrosive will be a death-blow to the most glorious works of Christ's most saintly ministers.

Can I solemnly swear to Thee, O Jesus, that in the whole course of my ministerial life I have never been chosen by the infernal monster to collaborate in any of his evil designs?

1. The hardest resolve is that of owning up to the fact that we are envious and jealous. We may readily confess to being proud, overbearing, sensual, etc., but who acknowledges himself to be envious? Who is ready to admit that he has been tarred with the black brush of envy? No vice more intent on disguise. How diffi­cult and rare it is to say: "Father, I'm jealous, the good qualities of another fill me with envy; in such-­and-such circumstances I criticised him out of pure jealousy; I bore him ill-will because I envied him."

Lord, I promise Thee that I shall open my heart wide in order to detect any hatred or antipathy that may be nestling inside it, and in order to know exactly which and how many of these sentiments are nothing but the products of envy.

2. I will not speak ill of those against whom this passion blinds me.

3. With my own hands I shall suffocate the first promptings of envy, and, under the guidance of faith­-inspired motives, I shall not withhold my approval and even my active support, if I can be of help, from any priest who is working fruitfully in the Lord's vineyard.
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!