Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - September 30

We should bear our sufferings in expiation for our sins, to merit heaven, and to please God.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 30, Our Daily Breead

"Let us have a strong general intention of serving God with all our heart and all our life," said St. Francis de Sales. "Outside of that let us not have any concern for the morrow. Let us think only of doing well what we have to do today; for when tomorrow arrives it will be called today, and then we will think of it. It is necessary in this respect to have great confidence, resigning our­selves to the Providence of God. We must gather our provision of Manna for each day and no more. After that, don't doubt God; He will shower some down tomorrow and after tomorrow, all the days of our pilgrimage."

I fret, I torment myself, perhaps in regard to events, or my virtue, or my apostolic labors; 1 so easily confound solicitude with fervor. A prudent foresight is in season, but does it necessitate the loss of my peace?

1 will remain always enveloped by a quiet calm, giving my neigh­bor the impression that I am a peaceable person, but above all giving God the sight of a person at peace within.

Events: God is the master of them. He is all powerful, and fur­thermore I know that He is good. Nothing happens to me which is beyond my strength. I shall always have grace. Trust Him for that. "I do not know what will happen to me tomorrow," said La­cordaire, "but of this I am sure, that before the sun rises Providence will be up."

My virtue: I will work loyally to strengthen it. I will put my faults into the hands of Our Lord and not worry about them any more. I will keep only a genera1 remembrance of them which may be stimulating but not discouraging. I will aim to advance in love. A good quiet act of love is worth more than a thousand anguished regrets.

My apostolate: I will try to foresee and organize what I can foresee and organize. The rest I will abandon to the Lord. Is it not myself rather than Him that I seek, when I fret as I do?

Peace then. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Give us this day our daily bread.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Gospel for Sept 29, Feast: Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels

Old Calendar: Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel

From: John 1:47-51

The Calling of the First Disciples (Continuation)

[47] Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him, and said to him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" [48] Nathaniel said to Him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." [49] Nathaniel answered Him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! [50] Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." [51] And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."


45-51. The Apostle Philip is so moved that he cannot but tell his friend Nathanael (Bartholomew) about his wonderful discovery (verse 45). "Nathanael had heard from Scripture that Jesus must come from Bethlehem, from the people of David. This belief prevailed among the Jews and also the prophet had proclaimed it of old, saying: `But you, O Bethlehem, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel' (Micah 5:2). Therefore, when he heard that He was from Nazareth, he was troubled and in doubt, since he found that the announcement of Philip was not in agreement with the words of the prophecy" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 20, 1).

A Christian may find that, in trying to communicate his faith to others, they raise difficulties. What should he do? What Philip did--not trust his own explanation, but invite them to approach Jesus personally: "Come and see" (verse 46). In other words, a Christian should bring his fellow-men, his brothers into Jesus' presence through the means of grace which He has given them and which the Church ministers--frequent reception of the sacraments, and devout Christian practices.

Nathanael, a sincere person (verse 47), goes along with Philip to see Jesus; he makes personal contact with our Lord (verse 48), and the outcome is that he receives faith (the result of his ready reception of grace, which reaches him through Christ's human nature: verse 49).

As far as we can deduce from the Gospels, Nathanael is the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of faith in Jesus as Messiah and as Son of God. Later on St. Peter, in a more formal way, will recognize our Lord's divinity (cf. Matthew 16:16). Here (verse 51) Jesus evokes a text from Daniel (7:13) to confirm and give deeper meaning to the words spoken by His new disciple.
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, September 28, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - September 29

We meet with contradictions everywhere. If only two persons are together they mutually afford each other opportunities of exercising pa­tience, and even when one is alone there will still be a necessity for this virtue, so true it is that our
miserable life is full of crosses.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 29, Love Is My Name

When Lucifer led on the fallen angels, Michael, with the cry Who is like to God? assembled the faithful angels.

Who is like to God?

How majestic and immense must be the sovereign grandeur of God if the Sanctus of the legions of celestial spirits resounds eter­nally before it.

I will join my voice to theirs. It is so difficult for me to get even a faint idea of the Infinite Power of the Lord Most High. It is one of the limitations of littleness to be incapable of conceiving of grandeur. I will endeavor to celebrate the grandeur of God without ever hoping to understand it: Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus!

There is one side, O my God, on which You are more accessible. Your Sovereignty escapes me and crushes me. But there is in You something that ravishes me, it is Your love, since You have made that love visible in permitting Your Son to become incarnate.

And why should I not profit by that word You addressed to one of Your faithful servants, the venerable Ursuline, Mary of the In­carnation? She was abasing herself before You in profound senti­ments of respect, of abasement and of humility. You said to her with great sweetness:

"You call me your great God, your Master, your Lord, and you say well, because I am. But I am also Charity, Love is My name, and it is thus that I want you to call Me. Men give Me many names, but there is none which pleases Me more and which better expresses what I am than this."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Connecticut Bishops Allow Plan B in Catholic Hospitals for Rape - Catholic Medical Association Opposed

The Vatican stated in 2000 "the absolute unlawfulness of abortifacient procedures also applies to distributing, prescribing and taking the morning-after pill..."

More at LifeSiteNews here

The Show at Ivory Theatre will go on

ST. LOUIS — The controversial show -- "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll" at the Ivory Theatre will go on tonight after the Archbishop reviewed the material in the show.

In a joint statement Friday, Monsignor Vernon Gardin and Pete Rothschild, a theater owner, said today they had agreed that the show would go on tonight as scheduled with no change in its content. The archidiocese had gotten a restraining order yesterday to stop the show.

The decision happened after church officials reviewed the material and determined that it was not objectionable. After that agreement, the temporary restraining order was dropped...

Connecticut Bishops Cave - Allow Plan "B" in Hospitals?

Catholic World News reports:
Hartford, Sep. 28, 2007 ( - After fighting against the passage of a new state law requiring hospitals to provide the "emergency contraceptive" Plan B pill to rape victims, the Catholic bishops of Connecticut have announced that Catholic hospitals will comply with the law when it goes into effect next week...

The bishops now say that ethicists are divided on the moral requirement for [administering an ovulation test first]. In their May letter to Governor Rell, they had argued that the requirement of an ovulation test was based on the "more probable teaching." The bishops now emphasize that the Church has not rendered a definitive judgment on that issue.
Why are some so willing so kill an innocent child? This is a law which should be fought! The shepherds, like the hired hands, have run off in fear!

*** UPDATE ***

In reviewing previous posts on this, I see that in April of this year, the Connecticut Catholic Bishops were already gearing up for this:

The Connecticut Catholic Bishops claim to oppose this law, but stated in a letter that "Catholic hospitals provide emergency contraception to rape victims in the vast majority of cases. In fact, it is an extreme rarity when this medication would not be provided."
And Thomas Peters has much more on this at American Papist here.

Our St Louis Seminarians and Others

Last week, Archbishop Burke reflected on those men from the Archdiocese of St. Louis who are responding to the call to be shepherds of the flock, after the Heart of Jesus, by entering the seminary. Today he talks to us about the other bishops and superiors of religious communities who send seminarians to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and on the importance of having an archdiocesan seminary.

It's interesting to note that of the 113 seminarians receiving priestly formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, 55 are from other dioceses. Archbishop Burke discusses where these men are from and the trust that their bishops and superiors have in the St Louis seminary by sending these men here for their priestly formation.

It's always encouraging to learn more about those who are answering the call to the Holy Priesthood, and of those who dedicate their lives to ensure that these men receive the best in their priestly formation. We are asked to help support these men, the dedicated faculty, and our seminary by our fervent prayers and other means, when possible.

Read more about it here.

Gospel for Friday, 25th Week In Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, martyr; St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, martyrs

From: Luke 9:18-22

Peter's Confession of Faith

[18] Now it happened that as He (Jesus) was praying alone the disciples were with Him; and He asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?" [19] And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen." [20] And He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God."

First Prophecy of the Passion

[21] But He charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, [22] saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."


20. "Christ" means "anointed" and is a name indicating honor and office. In the Old Law "priests" were anointed (Exodus 29:7 and 40:13), as were "kings" (1 Samuel 9:16), because God laid down that they should receiving anointing in view of their position; there was also a custom to anoint "prophets" (1 Samuel 16:13) because they were interpreters and intermediaries of God. "When Jesus Christ our Savior came into the world, He assumed the position and obligations of the three offices of priest, king and prophet and was therefore called Christ" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 3, 7).

22. Jesus prophesied His passion and death in order to help His disciples believe in him. It also showed that He was freely accepting these sufferings He would undergo. "Christ did not seek to be glorified: He chose to come without glory in order to undergo suffering; and you, who have been born without glory, do you wish to be glorified? The route you must take is the one Christ took. This means recognizing Him and it means imitating Him both in His ignominy and in His good repute; thus you will glory in the Cross, which was His path to glory. That was what Paul did, and therefore he glorified in saying, `Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Galatians 6:14)" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.").
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, September 27, 2007

Archdiocese Blocks Performance at Ivory Theatre

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Archdiocese today blocked the opening night of "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll" at the Ivory Theatre after telling a judge the musical revue violated an agreement prohibiting adult entertainment in the former Catholic church.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Philip D. Heagney issued a temporary restraining order today and scheduled a hearing Friday to consider a permanent order. Carondelet theater was previously the St. Boniface Catholic Church before it was closed in 2005 and sold to developers.

"This is just about a sales agreement that was made," said Anne Steffens, an archdiocesan spokeswoman. "We believe this is a violation of the agreement."
This upcoming play was previously reported here.

New Line Theatre said the play includes songs from musicals that deal with sex, drugs and rock music. Although some of the songs contain strong language, Rothschild said there is no nudity. He doesn’t believe the play violates the deed restriction.
That's why it's now in court. Kudos to the Archdiocese for taking this action!

Thoughts and Counsels - September 28

Some are unable to fast or give alms; there are none who can not pray.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 28, The Interior Master

Dom Marmion gives an excellent threefold counsel. Ask your­self, he writes:
1. If you often find yourself united to Our Lord during the day.

2. If you are faithful in forming a very pure intention before each action of any weight or importance.

3. If you habitually follow your first impulses, or if you begin to practice interior mortification in repressing from time to time the vivacity of your character, that Our Lord may become the sole Master of your soul.

Dom Marmion was writing this to a young girl living in the world. How much more does it apply to me as a religious?

Have I the habit of offering to God each of my activities to the extent that He asks me for them throughout the day? Does the thought of God rise from my heart more or less spontaneously, and am I attentive to live in a recollected way? Does caprice rule my actions or rather the sole desire of accomplishing at every moment and in the
best way what God requires?

Summarily, then, it is the whole plan of my life of recollection that needs revising.

I must not grow sad if I do not think of God as often as I should like; it is less my head than my will that God desires. But I should aim at entire renunciation, so that I do nothing except for God. If I wish to glorify Him in all things, then all my activity prays even if my memory is absent. The heart is there, that is the essential thing.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Four Agreements...and Catholic Education

This is for the children, shall we say, so that they may be protected, if God so wills, from questionable teachings and influences. Some however claim that things such as this must be OK because it's being taught in a Catholic school, as we have been reminded over and over again! Though the school might be Catholic, some maintain that the religious curriculum is not.

Taking a look at lessons for Quarter 3, students will be 'exposed' to more gnostic writings.

From the 'Introduction' of the book The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, we read that:

The Four Agreements are a tool for transformation, leading you to stop judging, mainly yourself, and to start practicing another way of life. They lead you to stop the guilt, the shame, and the self-rejection; they help you break the agreements that limit the expression of your creativity, and replace them with new agreements that facilitate the expression of your love.

With The Four Agreements, my intention was to create a messenger that can enter the imagination of readers and change their point of view. If you have practiced these agreements, you already know what they can do. They have the capacity to go directly into your belief system, into those thousands of agreements you made with yourself, and create a doubt. And just like magic, because they are magic, the Four Agreements slowly free the faith that is trapped inside your belief system. Little by little, you recover your integrity, and the real you starts to awaken. [emphasis added]

Quite an amazing proposition for Catholic freshmen who are taking a religion class presumably to strengthen and learn more about their Faith. Surely something which is "magic" (even if it is gnostic and laced with ideas and practises opposed to the faith), helpful in starting a new way of life (the path of Christ apparently being insufficient for this), and "creates doubt" must certainly have the blessing of the Church, yes?

After all, we continue hear the incessant cries of "foul" or "this is an attack on the Archbishop" and other such nonsense. Yet where are the cries of concern about the high school freshmen who are to receive this "religious education"? Is anyone concerned with the spiritual well-being of the those teenagers who are to be exposed to this gnostic poison? Merely because tuition is free doesn't mean the curriculum is good. Nor does a religious curriculum assume magical properties or become a divinely inspired instrument because Archbishop Burke celebrated Mass at the school or because a few of the resource materials may not be problematic. Many would be surprised if a curriculum for freshmen, which included this, the enneagram and other problematic components, would receive the approval of Archbishop Burke who is always speaking to us about the new evangelization and the deepening of our faith.

Let's continue with what the "religious guide" has to say:

If you have a goal and you use the messenger as your guide, you are going to reach your goal. With The Four Agreements, you can learn how to heal your emotional body. You can use it to change your belief system and create a brand new belief system...

Isn't this why we send our children off to Catholic schools - to create
a 'new' belief system?

Thousands of years ago the Toltec created three masteries to guide us out of suffering and return us to our true nature: happiness, freedom, and love...

The first mastery, the Mastery of Awareness, is the first step toward personal freedom, because we cannot be free if we don’t know what we are, where we are, or what kind of freedom we are looking for. In this mastery, we become aware of the fog that is in our mind. We become aware that we are dreaming all the time, and that everybody else is dreaming. The Mastery of Awareness can also be called the Mastery of Truth.

If you thought Jesus was the Truth, then maybe it was a dream, a fog...

The second Toltec mastery, the Mastery of Transformation, shows us how to change the dream of our life. The goal of the second mastery is to put order into the chaos of the mitote – into all of the voices inside our mind – to face our fears, to transform our fears, and to get results. The result we want is the freedom to live our own life instead of the life of the Parasite or the belief system.

One needs freedom from his belief system since it's a "parasite". One wants to be free from the shackles of the oppressive "belief system"...

Students will, as they are told, strengthen interpersonal skills by incorporating the tenants of The Four Agreements. Is this is a religion class or a psychotherapy session?

A number have suggested that this matter be brought to the attention of the Archbishop. I fully support this suggestion.

Archbishop Burke said before that his first responsibility is to teach the faith.
To put it plainly, I depend upon our catechists to teach the faith with integrity and, therefore, I have the responsibility to provide for catechists the ongoing education and formation which will equip them to hand on the deposit of faith to those whom they catechize...

Joy and peace are the fruits of justice, of right relationships with God, with others and with our world...

If we are to honor the truth about ourselves, about God, about others and about our world, we must first know the truth. And how do we know the truth? From the Word of God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — Who is the source of all being. And how do we know God’s Word? From His heralds, those whom He gives the grace to announce and teach His Word to others...Those who have not been taught the truth will never know lasting joy and peace in their lives. The fundamental importance of catechesis is, therefore, clear to us all...

Catechists work with parents in leading their children into all truth. Helping students to know and reflect upon the Word of God, faithfully transmitted to us in the Church’s teaching, is leading them to honor the truth in their thoughts and words and actions, and, therefore, to find abiding joy and peace in their lives, and to bring joy and peace to others...

Below are the phone/fax numbers for Archbishop Burke and Bishop Hermann who is a board member of the Association of the Christian Faithful (ACF), the canonical board which is supposed to "maintain and direct the charism, philosophy, and Catholicity" of the school.

Most Reverend Raymond Leo Burke
PH. 314-633-2222
FAX 314-633-2302

Most Rev. Robert J. Hermann, V.G.

PH. 314-633-2270
FAX 314-633-2305

Related Posts:
Barat Academy's Theology - Good for Students?
Speaking of Education...
Catholic Education - Then and now...
A Followup - Theology Curriculum
Can a Catholic Support the Enneagram?
Archdiocese of St Louis and Religion Curriculum
The Way, the Truth, the Life?

******* Update ******** as of 10/14/07
The Archdiocese was made aware of this issue and some people now realize that the proposed resources "were not fitting choices for the content matter of a Catholic high school religion curriculum."

In addition, it became clear that The 7 Habits, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and Living Buddha, Living Christ "have no place in a religion class."

It is certainly encouraging to note that that "solidly Catholic textbooks" will be used in the future.

Diogenes on "Faking it"

Darling, isn't it? An ex-Jesuit and his ex nun, ex-Catholic wife modeling matching albs and his-'n-her Sandinista stoles. He's got an indelible mark somewhere, and she has a video of herself prostrate on a riverboat deck. The tame journalist plays along to help reinforce the confusion between a valid sacrament illicitly performed and a counterfeit ceremony that is no sacrament at all:

Rev. Juanita Cordero, an ordained Catholic priest, was up on the altar, celebrating the Mass. Cordero, a Los Gatos resident, has been a priest since July. Prior to her ordination she spent 10 years as a Holy Names nun.
Emphasis mine. By silently adopting Cordero's self-description as a priest, the journalist (as we've come to expect) is taking sides in a controversy about which she is supposed to be reporting from neutral ground.
Continued here and, as always, right on target!

Six Nuns in Arkansas Are Excommunicated for Heresy

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Six Catholic nuns have been excommunicated for heresy after refusing to give up membership in a Canadian sect whose founder claims to be possessed by the Virgin Mary, the Diocese of Little Rock announced Wednesday.

The Rev. J. Gaston Hebert, the diocese administrator, said he notified the nuns of the decision Tuesday night after they refused to recant the teachings of the Community of the Lady of All Nations, also known as the Army of Mary.

The Vatican has declared all members of the Army of Mary excommunicated. Hebert said the excommunication was the first in the diocese's 165-year history.
This may be the first time anyone in the Diocese of Little Rock has been formally excommunicated.

The sisters who have been excommunicated are:
Mary Gerard Lalancette, Mary Thomas O'Keefe, Marietta Fecteau, Mary Anne Lalancette, Mary Theresa Dionne and Theresa Marie Lalancette.

Cardinal Mahony Honors Jesuit, Fr. Robert Lawton

From California Catholic Daily, we read:
University president who brought feminist theologians and pro-abortion commencement speakers to Catholic university in LA gets accolade from Cardinal Mahony

Is anyone surprised?

Gospel for Sept 27, Memorial: St Vincent de Paul, Priest

Old Calendar: Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs

From: Luke 9:7-9

Herod's Opinion of Jesus

[7] Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, [8] by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. [9] Herod said, "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he sought to see Him.


7-9. Except for the Sadducees, all Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead, as revealed by God in Sacred Scripture (cf. Ezekiel 37:10; Daniel 12:2 and 2 Maccabees 7:9). It was also commonly believed by Jews at the time that Elijah or some other prophet had to appear again (Deuteronomy 19:15). This may have been why Herod began to think that perhaps John had come back to life (Matthew 14:1-2 and Mark 6:14-16), particularly since Jesus worked miracles and people thought this power was the prerogative of those who had risen from the dead. And yet he was aware that Christ was working miracles even before John died (cf. John 2:23); therefore, at first, he was disconcerted. Later, as the fame of Christ's miracles spread, to have some sort of adequate explanation he decided, as the other Gospels tell us, that John must indeed have risen.
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, September 26, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - September 27

We should not spare expense, fatigue, nor even our life, when there is a question of accomplish­ing the holy will of God.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 27, Well Regulated Charity

Many in their zeal are so concerned with the good of others that they sometimes neglect themselves.

Under pretext of working for others they forget to work enough for self.

Don't reverse right order.

What folly, for example, to take time from prayer to work at class preparation, unless it be a very urgent and necessary case; or to write to someone; or to busy oneself with a task which caprice alone imposes or suggests!

How many examples are there not of these deplorable misplace­ments of value? Examples of it can easily be found. When one should be nourishing himself on God for his own growth, he is trying to nourish others - that is at least the excuse, apostolic reason given.

Aside from exceptional circumstances, which superiors should determine, one must put the interest of his own soul before that of others; but since the relationship with the neighbor cannot be broken, it is to the advantage of a rightly comprehended interest in others that one should first sanctify self.

Well-ordered charity begins at home and includes other - whether one is in the active or contemplative life. Precisely because the salvation of souls is one of the greatest objectives, whether one is vowed to the apostolate of work, of prayer, or of sacrifice, the soul must never forget that in order to do one must be. A soul will do good in the measure that it is an instrument for good. The prob­lem of the betterment of the world lies above all in the betterment of self.

I will order my charity and my apostolic power wisely and ac­cording to God's will. I will be myself the first person to whom I do good.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

The Way, the Truth, the Life?

Back in the 70's, while searching for the "Path," I became aquainted with a book by Carlos Castaneda called The Teachings of don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

So that one might understand where I am headed, here are brief excerpts from Wikipedia:
[Castaneda] wrote a series of books that describe his training in traditional Mesoamerican shamanism, which he referred to as "sorcery" while admitting that this term does not appropriately describe the experience...

He was identified by don Juan Matus to have the energetic configuration of a "nagual", who, if the spirit chose may become a leader of a party of seers. He also used the term "nagual" to signify that part of perception which is in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his party of seers, don Juan was a connection in some way to that unknown...

Castaneda wrote twelve books and several academic articles detailing his experiences with a Yaqui Indian from Central Mexico. His first three books, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan were written while Castaneda was an anthropology student at UCLA. Castaneda wrote these books as if they were his research log describing his apprenticeship with a traditional "Man of Knowledge" identified as don Juan Matus...

In Castaneda's first two books, he describes the Yaqui way of knowledge using for asistance the use of powerful indigenous plants, such as peyote and datura. In his third book, Journey to Ixtlan, he makes clear that the use of psychotropic plants 'power plants' or substances was not necessary to achieve heightened awareness although his teacher advised its use was beneficial in helping to free the stubborn mind of some persons. He states that Don Juan used them on Castaneda to demonstrate that experiences outside those known in day-to-day life are real and tangible...

His fourth book, Tales of Power, ended with Castaneda leaping from a cliff into an abyss, marking his graduation from disciple to man of knowledge.

Mesmerized by the first book, I went on to read others in the series. I suppose I quit because I was unable to achieve the results that Castaneda had aquired. But then, I did not have a nagual to teach and guide me in the Toltec path.

Even chewing peyote 'buttons' and washing the putrid, pasty substance down with swigs of tequila did not allow me to reach the pinnacle of knowledge and understanding I was seeking, although I felt that I was getting closer. At one point, in an apparent period of 'confusion', I even considered trekking to the Sonoran desert to seek out this nagual...Sad, but true.

So where is this leading, one might ask. I was, because of my early 'background' and limited understanding of naguals and the Toltec path, recently surprised to see that a Catholic school would be using a book by one of these "teachers" in a Religion class.

From "The Toltec Nagual," we read about "The Path":

The intent of this website is to offer guidance on the Toltec Path of Direct Knowledge. Carlos Castaneda first brought the Toltec knowledge of nagualism out of secrecy in the late 1960s and '70s. In the past few years, guides such as the nagual don Miguel Ruiz (author of The Four Agreements) and the nagual Theun Mares have brought it further into accessibility.

So accessible as to be a primary "resource" for Catholic freshman? with any spiritual endeavor the only way to make movement on the path is through consistent application of the tools. Because of the prevalence of book learning verses application, there are considerable misperceptions as to what the path is.

I'll say there are! Perhaps students will become intrigued with this "spiritual endeavor"? If so, there are many more resources to point them on a path away from the Church. Let's have a look, shall we?

The website Spirit Dimension offers students and others the following "Directory of Spiritual Development and Art Resources":

Toltec Teachings. Warrior. Carlos Castaneda. Magical Passes. Theun Mares. Karlos Kastaneda. Nagual. Don Juan Matus. Magic. don Miguel Ruiz. Personal growth, consciousness, awareness, awakening, spiritual teachings, book store, music, dvd video store, spiritual gift shop

Apparently, Catholic freshmen must be bereft of truly Catholic materials on spirituality and therefore, must rely on pagan/gnostic spirituality resources. Perhaps we should be thankful that Catholic religion teachers are on top of these problems!

Some, however, will continue to emphasize Christ as our sole mediator between God and man, and expound on the Church's unique role as the Body of Christ.

Lest we forget, All catechesis should be Christocentric:
"At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father. . .who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever." To catechize is "to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God's eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ's actions and words and of the signs worked by him."' Catechesis aims at putting "people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity."

In catechesis "Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God,. . . is taught - everything else is taught with reference to him - and it is Christ alone who teaches - anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ's spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. . . Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.'" [CCC 426-427]
After all, He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life."

And I'm so thankful that during my period of being lost in the darkness, Mary, Most Holy, our Blessed Mother, protected me with her mantle of protection! To this day, I still have a holy card of Our Mother of Perpetual Help which was given to me by a good, holy Catholic woman and mother who saw that I was so lost!

May Mary, our Mother, protect those children who will be subjected to strange teachings
...for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own liking, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. [2 Timothy 4:3,4]
and may our Lord give grace and light to all so that His will may be done!

Archdiocese of St Louis and Religion Curriculum

Not to belabor the point (or points, as the case may be), I though it might be helpful to review the Archdiocesan policy on Religious Education, in light of recent discussions.

Religion Curriculum in Schools and Parish Schools of Religion (PSR)

Religious education is meant to provide a developmentally appropriate, comprehensive and systematic presentation of Catholic beliefs so that students will be knowledgeable about their faith, grow in intimacy with Jesus, and integrate these beliefs and traditions into their personal lives to bring forth the Kingdom of God in the world. Each Catholic elementary and secondary school and Parish School of Religion (PSR) develops its religion curriculum based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the General and National Directories for Catechesis, and the Archdiocesan Religion Curriculum Standards.

These standards provide a benchmark against which the religion curriculum should be compared. They include quality characteristics and goals which specify the desired knowledge, Christian life-skills and values to be achieved. The curriculum standards address the following domains: Triune God, Jesus, Church, Worship and Prayer, Sacraments, Scripture, Doctrine, Morality, Bringing Forth the Kingdom of God, and Evangelization.

Opportunities for celebrating the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist are provided for children/youth as an integral part of their religious education. Parents are also encouraged to bring their family to celebrate the sacraments on a regular basis. The normal time for children to receive the Sacrament of Penance for the first time is the first semester of the second grade. The celebration of First Communion should be in the second semester of second grade. The established time for receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Archdiocese is seventh/eighth grade. Parents, catechists and parish priests all share responsibility for preparing children for reverent and informed participation in the sacraments.

The Religious Education Department also evaluates the many elementary and secondary religion textbooks/series that are published to determine if their content and methodology are complete and age-appropriate. While only those textbooks/series may be used which have been approved by the Archdiocese and found in conformity with The Catechism of the Catholic Church by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, each school or parish must also consider the particular needs of its children/youth and catechists before selecting a specific textbook series.

[emphasis above added]
Source: Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of St Louis

Cardinal Rigali Appointed to Congregation of Bishops

VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A., as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

Gospel for Wednesday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
Old Calendar: Sts. Cyprian and Justina, martyrs; Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf and Companions, Martyrs (USA)

From: Luke 9:1-6

The Mission of the Apostles

[1] And He (Jesus) called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, [2] and He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal. [3] And He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. [4] And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. [5] And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them." [6] And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the Gospel and healing everywhere.


1-4. This is the first mission the Apostles were sent on. Jesus wants them to gain experience which will stand to them in the mission they will have after He ascends into Heaven. He charges them to do what He Himself did--preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. This scene is commented on at greater length in notes on Matthew 10:7-8; 10:9-10; and Mark 6:8-9.

[Notes on Matthew 10:7-8 states:
7-8. Previously, the prophets, when speaking of the messianic times, had used imagery suited to the people's spiritual immaturity. Now, Jesus, in sending His Apostles to proclaim that the promised Kingdom of God is imminent, lays stress on its spiritual dimension. The power mentioned in verse 8 are the very sign of the Kingdom of God or the reign of the Messiah proclaimed by the prophets. At first (chapters 8 and 9) it is Jesus who exercises these messianic powers; now He gives them to His disciples as proof that His mission is divine (Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:9; 52:7; 61:1).]

[Notes on Matthew 10:9-10 states:
9-10. Jesus urges His disciples to set out on their mission without delay. They should not be worried about material or human equip- ment: God will make up any shortfall. This holy audacity in setting about God's work is to be found throughout the history of the Church: if Christians had bided their time, waiting until they had the necessary material resources, many, many souls would never have received the light of Christ. Once a Christian is clear in his mind about what God wants him to do, he should not stay at home checking to see if he has the wherewithal to do it. "In your apostolic undertakings you are right--it's your duty--to consider what means the world can offer you (2 + 2 = 4), but don't forget--ever! --that, fortunately, your calculations must include another term: God + 2 + 2..." ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 471).

However, that being said, we should not try to force God's hand, to have Him do something exceptional, when in fact we can meet needs by our own efforts and work. This means that Christians should gene- rously support those who, because they are totally dedicated to the spiritual welfare of their brethren, have no time left over to provide for themselves: in this connection see Jesus' promise in Matthew 10:40-42.]

[Notes on Mark 6:8-9 states:
8-9. Jesus requires them to be free of any form of attachment if they are to preach the Gospel. A disciple, who has the mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to souls through preaching, should not rely on human resources but on God's Providence. Whatever he does need in order to live with dignity as a herald of the Gospel, he must obtain from those who benefit from his preaching, for the laborer deserves his maintenance (cf. Matthew 10:10).

"The preacher should so trust in God that he is convinced that he will have everything he needs to support life, even if he cannot himself obtain it; for he should not neglect eternal things through worrying about temporal things" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "By these instructions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek to live in any other way than by depending on what was offered them by those to whom they preached the Gospel; otherwise this very Apostle [St. Paul] would have acted contrary to this precept when he earned his living by the labor of his own hands" (St. Augustine, "De Consensu Evangelistarum" , II, 30).]
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, September 25, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - September 26

We should constantly thank the Lord for hav­ing granted us the gift of the true faith, by asso­ciating us with the children of the holy Catholic Church.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 26, Confidence in Prayer

In the Revelations of St. Mechtilde, it is related that Our Lord said one day to the fervent nun: "Here I am, I put Myself in the power of your soul, so that you can tell me to do what you wish; I am at your command." A sublime word and at first thought incom­prehensible! How is it possible? Our Lord puts Himself at the service of His servant!

But then, has He not said before that if the prayer of the least among us be a true prayer it forces the gates of heaven and God does not refuse to hear it. Considering that, is it surprising that Our Lord spoke to a saint as He did?

St. Mechtilde, besides, is not the only one who heard Christ put Himself at her command. It is recounted in The Herald of Divine Love, Book 1, Chapter xvii, that Jesus asked St. Gertrude one day: "Give me your heart," and as the saint was offering it with joy, the Savior said to her: "I will take pleasure from now on in using your heart. It will be the channel through which the over­flowing source of My Sacred Heart will spread abroad divine con­solation upon those who have recourse to you with faith and hu­mility." Several times Our Lord renewed the same promise.

Without doubt these nuns are especially qualified by their holi­ness to receive such a grace. But all things considered, is not any religious by virtue of her title, Spouse of Christ, the depository of the favors of the Spouse? If I were a saint how efficacious would be my prayers for souls! Ask and you will receive is said to all. All can be heard and have God, so to speak, at their command.

Among these All I wish to be so especially attached to Our Lord by my fervor and my fidelity that He will have greater joy in listening to me. I will have faith in prayer, not doubting the Heart of my Good Master, but daring to ask Him for everything.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

October 6 - Extraordinary Form of the Holy Mass


Mark Your Calendar!

St. Joseph Radio and the Friends of Old St. Ferdinand Shrine present

Fr. Gary Carr
Visiting priest at St. Frances de Sales Oratory in St. Louis


Fr. Thomas Keller
Director of Liturgy & Liturgical Formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

• Why the Motu Proprio?
• What is the difference between the Novus Ordo Mass and the Traditional Mass?
• How can I benefit from a Mass said in a language I do not understand?

8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Talk 1: Back to the Future – Fr. Gary Carr
10:15 a.m. Talk 2: The Tridentine Mass Explained – Fr. Thomas Keller
11:30 a.m. Tridentine Latin Mass
Celebrants: Fr. Gary Carr and Fr. Thomas Keller
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. Talk 3: Safe Harbor or Dangerous Iceberg for the Bark of Peter?-Fr. Gary Carr
2:45 p.m. Questions and Answers, Fr. Gary Carr
4:00 p.m. Closing


Freewill Donations Appreciated!
Reservations required for lunch – please call 636-244-0089

Saturday ~ October 6, 2007

Historic Old St. Ferdinand Shrine
1 Rue Saint Francois
Florissant, Missouri

For more information or to schedule a speaker for your parish event or organization, please contact:
St. Joseph Radio
P.O. Box 2983
Orange, California 92859
Phone: 714-744-0336
Fax: 714-744-1998

More on Canon 855 (1917 Code)

Since the attacks against Archbishop Burke are beginning yet again, especially since his article, The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin, do we not benefit by learning what the Church has always held, from the time of St Paul to the present? If so, allow me to share some insights from some commentaries concerning the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Archbishop Burke, in the article above, provides an excellent background on Canon 855 (1917) which has become Canon 915 in the new (1983) Code.

Can.855 §1 . The publicly unworthy, who are the excommunicated, the interdicted and the manifestly infamous, unless their penance and conversion have been established and they will have first made up for the public scandal, are to be excluded from the Eucharist.

§2. The minister is also to refuse occult sinners, if they request secretly and he will not have recognized them as converted; not, however, if they publicly request and he is not able to pass over them without scandal. [62]

From a book by the by Very Rev. H.A.Ayrinhac, S.S., D.D., D.C.L., we read, concerning canon 855, the following:

III. Dispositions for Communion. (Can. 855-858.)

145. I. External Worthiness. 1. Divine and ecclesiastical law command absolute exclusion from the Holy Table of all persons publicly un­worthy of it, unless they have shown signs of conversion and amendment and repaired the scan­dal given to the community.

(a) The unworthiness is legally public when it has been formally confessed in court or pro­nounced by sentence of the judge; it is public in fact when it has become generally known. Some canonists do not consider as absolutely or strictly public the guilt known to the majority of the per­sons present, when, for example, the party who asks for Holy Communion is not known to the community generally. (Cappello, 1. c., n. 74.)

Public here has the sense of notorious in fact. Benedict XIV, who first formulated this law, used the two terms together, public and notorious, to qualify the offence excluding from the sacraments. (Ex omnibus, Oct. 16, 1756.)

The Code names as publicly unworthy the excommunicated, interdicted, or notoriously infamous. Excommunication and personal interdict have that effect only after a condemnatory or declaratory sentence or after general divulga­tion (Can. 2232; Penal Legislation, n. 57); in­famy must be notorious legally or in fact. (Can. 2197, 2293; Penal Legislation, n. 6, 161.) We may consider also as public sinners or publicly unworthy persons commonly known as living in concubinage or married outside of the Church in­validly, or belonging to a forbidden society, or engaged in gravely sinful occupations.

(b) When there is no scandal to repair, the mere fact of going to confession in presence of witnesses will ordinarily suffice as evidence of the necessary amendment, and often also approaching the Holy Table will be interpreted as an indica­tion of conversion.

But when the case calls for the reparation of an injustice or a scandal, or for the removal of a proximate occasion of sin, fulfillment of these con­ditions must precede the administration of the Holy Eucharist.

146. 2. Occult sinners, that is, those whose un­worthiness although real does not come under the provision of the law just considered, may ask for the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist privately or publicly. In the first case the sacred minister should repel them, unless he knows that they have amended; but if they ask publicly and he can not pass them over without scandal he must give them Holy Communion. By acting otherwise he might injure the sinner in his reputation, which he has not yet lost entirely; he might also turn away from the sacraments other people who would fear lest through levity, passion, or mistake the same humiliation should be inflicted on them.

In cases of doubt the exclusion should ordina­rily not be pronounced, nor probably when the unworthiness, although public elsewhere, remains occult in the place and will likely continue so, at least for a good period of time.

Present conditions usually do not permit the same strict enforcement of the law as in times past and demand always great caution in its ap­plication.

147. 2. State of Grace and Previous Reception of Absolution. Holy Communion demands the state of grace regained regularly by absolution if one had lost it by mortal sin. As was said of the minister of the sacrifice, the faithful when conscious of a grievous fault must either go to con­fession and receive absolution or abstain from Holy Communion. Should they find both of these morally impossible they must make an act of perfect contrition, not simply of attrition, and then they may approach the Holy Table. (Cf. Can. 807, supra.)

(a) This impossibility of going to confession exists when access to a confessor offers really serious inconveniences because either of distance, sickness, rules, or other conditions, but this in­convenience should not be intrinsic to confession itself.

(b) It may occur for the faithful also, al­though more rarely than for priests, that they would find it a real hardship to stay away from Holy Communion under certain circumstances. Authors give as an example the case of a person who would remember an unforgiven sin when he is already actually or equivalently at the altar rail. Some accept as a sufficient excuse the neces­sity of fulfilling the precept of paschal Communion, but they do not admit as valid such reas­ons as the embarrassment of a daily communicant who would have to abstain on a day when all the other members of the community approach the Holy Table.

Source: Legislation on the Sacraments in the New Code of Canon Law
by Very Rev. H.A.Ayrinhac, S.S., D.D., D.C.L
Copyright 1928

And from Stanislaus Woywod, O.F.M., LL.B., in his "A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law," we read:


753. Catholics who are publicly known to be unworthy (for example, those who have been excommunicated or interdicted, or who are manifestly of ill repute) must be refused Holy Communion until their repentance and amendment has been established, and satisfaction has been made for the public scandal which they have given. Occult sinners, who secretly ask for Holy Communion, shall be refused by the minister if he knows that they have not amended; if, however, they seek Communion publicly and the priest cannot pass them by without scandal, he shall not refuse them (Canon 855).

These rules are a restatement of the former law. It may be difficult in some cases to judge when a person is to be re­garded as a public sinner. No general rule covering all cases can be given for distinguishing a public sinner from an occult one, and the circumstances of every individual case must be considered. The case of an occult sinner asking for Holy Communion publicly: or secretly, is fully discussed by the moralists.

754. Nobody who is conscious of having a mortal sin on his soul shall go to Holy Communion before making a sacramental confession, no matter how contrite he may believe himself to be. If necessity urges the reception of Holy Communion, and there is no opportunity to go to confession, an act of perfect contrition shall be made before receiving Communion (Canon 856).

This law is taken from the Council of Trent [Sessio. XIII, cap. VII, SS. Euchar.] The Council states that the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, "Let a man prove himself," [1 Cor. xi, 28] are by ecclesiastical usage understood to refer to the confession of mortal sins before receiving Holy Communion (cfr. n. 707).
Source: A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law Volume 1
by Stanislaus Woywod, O.F.M., LL.B.,
Copyright 1925

St.Louis Archbishop expects ministers to be communion cops

So claims Daniel Burke of Religion News Service...

This hit piece on Archbishop Burke comes from the Kansas City Star via St Louis Catholic via Kansas City Catholic:

A hardline U.S. Roman Catholic archbishop is urging ministers to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights, arguing that it’s a “mortal sin” to offer the sacrament to “the unworthy.”

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, a veteran of clashes between Catholic bishops and politicians, has attempted for years to enlist fellow bishops to deny communion to wayward politicians.

Now the conservative cleric is invoking the church’s highest punishment — mortal sin — to convince the lay and ordained Catholics who distribute Communion at Mass to safeguard the sacrament.
Good commentary at both Catholic blogs above. And we should have no doubt that we will be hearing more of this is the not too distant future.

Missouri Abortion Clinic Law Unlikely to Be Ruled Unconstitutional

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In an order issued Monday, a federal judge wrote that Planned Parenthood is not likely to succeed in having a Missouri law that holds abortion clinics to the same safety standards as other medical facilities ruled facially unconstitutional. Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund represent Missouri Director of Health and Senior Services Jane Drummond in a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed against the new state law, which the court has put on hold while both sides negotiate on some specifics as to how the law will apply.

“Abortion clinics should not be exempt from common-sense regulations that protect the health and safety of Missouri patients. We’re pleased that the court agreed with this and said that he did not believe Planned Parenthood would succeed in its arguments that the law is facially unconstitutional,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt...

Interestingly, the State has retained the services of ADF. Apparently, Missouri's Pro-Abort Attorney General Jay Nixon, wasn't up to the job of defending the State against Planned Parenthood.

Gospel for Tuesday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 8:19-21

The True Kinsmen of Jesus

[19] Then His (Jesus') mother and His brethren came to Him, but they could not reach Him for the crowd. [20] And He was told, "Your mother and your brethren are standing outside, desiring to see You." [21] But He said to them, "My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it."


19-21. These words of our Lord show us that fulfillment of the Will of God is more important than kinship and that, therefore, our Lady is more united to her Son by virtue of her perfect fulfillment of what God asked of her, than by the Holy Spirit's using her to make Christ's body (cf. notes on Matthew 12:48-50 and Mark 3:31-35).

[Notes on Matthew 12:48-50 states:
48-50. Jesus obviously loved His Mother and St. Joseph. He uses this episode to teach us that in His Kingdom human ties do not take precedence. In Luke 8:19 the same teaching is to be found. Jesus regards the person who does the will of His Heavenly Father as a member of His own family. Therefore, even though it means going against natural family feelings, a person should do just that when needs be in order to perform the mission the Father has entrusted to him (cf. Luke 2:49).

We can say that Jesus loved Mary more because of the bonds between them created by grace than because He was her son by natural generation: Mary's divine motherhood is the source of all our Lady's other prerogatives; but this very motherhood is, in its turn, the first and greatest of the graces with which Mary was endowed.]

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

Therefore, the Church reminds us that the Blessed Virgin "in the course of her Son's preaching received the words whereby, in extolling a kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, He declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God as she was faithfully doing" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 58).

Our Lord, then, is also telling us that if we follow Him we will share His life more intimately than if were a member of His family. St. Thomas explains this by saying that Christ "had an eternal generation and a generation in time, and gave preference to the former. Those who do the will of the Father reach Him by Heavenly generation [...]. Everyone who does the will of the Father, that is to say, who obeys Him, is a brother or sister of Christ, because he is like Him who fulfilled the will of His Father. But he who not only obeys but converts others, begets Christ in them, and thus becomes like the Mother of Christ" ("Commentary on St. Matthew", 12, 49-50.)
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Can a Catholic Support the Enneagram?

*** Updated to include Pope John Paul II's, Address to the United States Bishops of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska on their “Ad Limina” visit, 28 May 1993.

First, it should be understood that the claim that the enneagram can be used as an index for "self-realization" of one's personality is pure speculation, having no basis in fact as this Homiletic & Pastoral Review article from April, 2001, demonstrates.
The Enneagram and Catholic personalism
Unlike some personality-type indices the Enneagram remains untested by any scientific study
By Christopher Rees

This is a long and detailed article and provides more than the necessary documentation to refute proponents of the enneagram.

But let's not dwell on this when we can go directly to the Church to see what she says on the matter.

In February 2003, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released the document "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age."

This document warned Catholics that caution and discernment were necessary in dealing with the Enneagram and other New Age practices because these activities can be in conflict with Catholic doctrine.

1.4. The New Age and Catholic Faith

Even if it can be admitted that New Age religiosity in some way responds to the legitimate spiritual longing of human nature, it must be acknowledged that its attempts to do so run counter to Christian revelation...

An adequate Christian discernment of New Age thought and practice cannot fail to recognize that, like second and third century gnosticism, it represents something of a compendium of positions that the Church has identified as heterodox.

John Paul II warns with regard to the
“return of ancient gnostic ideas under the guise of the so-called New Age: We cannot delude ourselves that this will lead toward a renewal of religion. It is only a new way of practising gnosticism – that attitude of the spirit that, in the name of a profound knowledge of God, results in distorting His Word and replacing it with purely human words. Gnosticism never completely abandoned the realm of Christianity. Instead, it has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of a philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or a para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian”.

An example of this can be seen in the enneagram, the nine-type tool for character analysis, which when used as a means of spiritual growth introduces an ambiguity in the doctrine and the life of the Christian faith.[emphasis added]

Further, in Section 6.2, Practical Steps, we read in the same document:
It must unfortunately be admitted that there are too many cases where Catholic centres of spirituality are actively involved in diffusing New Age religiosity in the Church. This would of course have to be corrected, not only to stop the spread of confusion and error, but also so that they might be effective in promoting true Christian spirituality.

And Pope John Paul II, in his address to the United States Bishops of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska on their “Ad Limina” visit, 28 May 1993 has stated:

Many of you have written Pastoral Letters on the problems presented by pseudo–religious movements and sects, including the so–called "New Age Movement". New Age ideas sometimes find their way into preaching, catechesis, workshops and retreats, and thus influence even practising Catholics, who perhaps are unaware of the incompatibility of those ideas with the Church’s faith. In their syncretistic and immanent outlook, these parareligious movements pay little heed to Revelation, and instead try to come to God through knowledge and experience based on elements borrowed from Eastern spirituality or from psychological techniques. They tend to relativize religious doctrine, in favor of a vague world–view expressed as a system of myths and symbols dressed in religious language. Moreover, they often propose a pantheistic concept of God which is incompatible with Sacred Scripture and Christian Tradition. They replace personal responsibility to God for our actions with a sense of duty to the cosmos, thus overturning the true concept of sin and the need for redemption through Christ. [emphasis added]

Yet, in the midst of this spiritual confusion, the Church’s Pastors...should insist on the spiritual dimension of the faith, on the perennial freshness of the Gospel message and its capacity to transform and renew those who accept it...

To preach a version of Christianity which benignly ignores, when it does not explicitly deny, that our ultimate hope is the "resurrection of the body and life everlasting" ("Symbolum Apostolorum") runs counter to Revelation and the whole of Catholic tradition. More vigorous preaching and catechesis on eschatological themes is needed in order to eliminate confusion regarding the true nature of Christian life and of the Church’s unfailing hope in her Lord who is "the resurrection and the life" (Jn. 11: 25).

Moral theologian Msgr. William B. Smith has also cautioned Catholics about the dangers of the enneagram. Writing in the March, 1993 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Msgr. Smith said:

"The enneagram is a circular diagram on which nine personality types are systematically represented at nine equidistant points on the circumference. Lines connect various points to each other. It is this diagram itself which is the enneagram, and it is used as a psychological tool of self-discovery. Each of the nine personality types (numbered 1 through 9) is described negatively by some compulsion, fixation, or basic driving force to avoid something unpleasant. This compulsion is seen as one's basic psychological orientation. To discover your number, you have to realize what you seek to avoid, what your compulsion is....

"The basic premise of the enneagram is that there are nine and only nine personality types; this is simply given as true, it is nowhere demonstrated as proven. To my knowledge, there are no scientific studies to determine whether enneagram theory can be integrated with other typologies; but that would not really bother some advocates one way or the other.... The more you read about it, the more it begins to resemble a college-educated horoscope; and that is not compatible with Catholic doctrine or practice....

"As a tool for spiritual direction, it seems to me most deficient, even dangerous. The enneagram is really built on a theology (?)-perhaps ideology-of self-renewal and self- regeneration that is a far cry from (perhaps contradiction of) the Gospel teaching: 'Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit' (John 12:24)....

"Pope John Paul II said on Nov. 1st, 1982:
'Any method of prayer is valid insofar as it is inspired by Christ and leads to Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).'
The enneagram is not the Way, nor is it the Truth, and on those bases not truly compatible with-much less essential to-the Life in Christ."

The source for this excerpt is here.

And from Zenit, we read:
Why New Age Is a Challenge for Christianity
Father Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi Responds
The spread of New Age and its use and abuse of Christian elements make of the movement a challenge for the baptized, says a specialist at the Lateran University.

Father Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi, a professor at the Mater Ecclesiae Higher Institute of Religious Sciences of the Lateran, gave that warning in an interview with ZENIT.
. . .
The 1989 document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on certain aspects of Christian meditation, is a reference text on the attention that must be given to updating the ancient Gnosis, in which salvation takes place through the conscience, [and is] esoteric, for the few.

In regard to New Age — or Gnostic, which is to say more or less the same thing — practices, there are at the basic level, numerous examples.

To mention one: the last Vatican text on New Age refers to the use — expanding alarmingly — of the enneagram: a symbol originally of an initiation character developed in an esoteric context, syncretist, which has subsequently been transformed to a system of classification of the personality of nine psychological types, which serves for the search for self-fulfillment by an esoteric or magical way.

This is pure Gnosis.

Click here for the entire article:

Any yet another article reiterates what was contained in the Vatican document listed above:
Despite its vast popularity in certain sectors, a recent Vatican document on the new age noted the enneagram is a form of Gnosticism, a formally declared heresy, which says Pope John Paul II is in “distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian."

So now, understanding that the enneagram is a New Age tool, having no scientific validity in helping one to discern his behavior patterns coupled with the fact that it's pure gnosis as stated by Father Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi and "is conflict with all that is essentially Christian" as the late Holy Father said, how is it possible for a faithful and devout Catholic to support its inclusion in a high school theology curriculum?

Thoughts and Counsels - September 25

As the branch separated from the roots soon loses all life and verdure, so it is with good works which are not united with charity.

-St. Gregory the Great
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 25, The Will of God

Humanity in its source, that is, in the person of Adam and Eve, did not wish to submit to God. The created being, he who is even by essence an inferior, did not wish to bow before the Divine Sov­ereignty, and incited by the devil's you will be like to God, aspired to treat God as an equal.

To atone for this disobedience He, the Word, most perfect, equal to the Father, came upon our poor earth; He would be inferior and for that reason assumed a created human nature like to ours; thus He would be in a position of inferiority with reference to His Father. . . . The Father is greater than I. Our Lord would be able to atone for our disobedience.

Creatures that we are, we do not wish to obey God.

He who was never obliged to obey came on earth expressly to spend His life in obedience. Christ, says St. Paul, never did His own will; nothing is more certain; He had not come for that, He accomplished it in heaven since it was one with that of His Father. Christ came among us so that He might fulfill, at every instant, in reparation for our disobedience, the Will of His Father. Such was to be His food, the momentum of His life.

If, then, like Jesus, we set ourselves to accomplish completely at each instant what we discover to be the will of God, then have we risen to the full stature of Christ. Jesus in our place would act no differently. Thus we realize our complete Christian vocation.

How simple sanctity is! To grow in Christ to the point of always doing, wherever we may be, what He would do if He were in our place.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Minneapolis Rosary for Truth Special Event and October Schedule

The following announcement via email...Thanks to PCSJ!

Special Event:

Since many members of the Rosary for Truth will be attending the Mass of the Archangels at Saint Michael's Church in Saint Michael, The Rosary for Truth will be meeting at the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel of Saint Michael's Church at 3:30, immediately following the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to leave for the Rosary for Truth Mission at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Minneapolis.

If not attending the Mass of the Archangels at St. Michael's, please feel free to meet up with us at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Minneapolis whenever you can make it.

Sept. 29 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m.
St. Frances Cabrini
Rosary at 4:35 a.m
1500 Franklin Ave SE , Mpls

Rosary for Truth
Schedule for October, 2007

The history of the Rosary shows how this prayer was used . . . at a difficult time for the Church due to the spread of heresy. Today we are facing new challenges. Why should we not once more have recourse to the Rosary?
-John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (2002), 17.

Oct. 6 (Saturday) 4:30 p.m.
St. Thomas the Apostle
Rosary at 4:05 p.m.
2914 West 44th Street, Mpls, 55410

Oct. 13 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m.
Church of Christ the King
Rosary at 4:35 p.m.
5029 Zenith Ave. S, Mpls, 55410

Oct. 20 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m.
St. Frances Cabrini
Rosary at 4:35 a.m
1500 Franklin Ave SE, Mpls

Oct. 27 (Saturday) 4:30 p.m.
St. Thomas the Apostle
Rosary at 4:05 p.m.
2914 West 44th Street, Mpls, 55410

We invite you to pray the Rosary with us for a return to the Orthodox Tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and for the conversion of our brothers and sisters who are involved, whether by intent, deceit or ignorance, in disordered movements contrary to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church and Holy Scripture.

St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesian Church commanded, Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. . . . when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible. (Ephesians 5:11,13) Our struggle is not against our brothers and sisters, but for their conversion in love, For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) Together we can expose the works of darkness by bringing, through this mighty prayer, the light of truth and love in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our intent is to gather over a period of time at various churches in our Archdiocese approximately 25 minutes before Mass, quietly kneel and silently pray the most holy Rosary of the blessed Mother of God.

If you sense the Spirit of God prodding you then please join with us. Please carry your Rosary exposed so we can identify one another and sit together if you wish.

Arrive 30 minutes before Mass is scheduled to begin.

"La Civiltà Cattolica" Now Has an Extra Director – In the Vatican (Chiesa)

It's Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Since he became secretary of state, he has taken much more active control over what is written for the journal. Deleting, modifying, adding. Sometimes commissioning entire articles – like this one, for example, about priests who "desert" and then "come back".
by Sandro Magister

Priest Blasts ‘Usual Suspects’ For Votes Against Pro-Life Policy

(Sept 25.) A Press Release from HLI:

FRONT ROYAL, VA — The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International, (HLI) today blasted a gang of 16 Catholic senators for their votes on an amendment to HR 2764 to overturn the Mexico City Policy instituted by President Reagan to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding overseas abortions.

“For the most part it’s the usual suspects who claim to be Catholic while their consistent pro-abortion votes amount to a betrayal of the Catholic faith. We expect treachery from them,” Fr. Euteneuer said. “But the great disappointment here is Robert Casey, Jr., whose late father courageously stood against the tide for life in his political party. It is disgusting to think that Casey Junior ran as a ‘pro-life’ candidate. He has betrayed those who voted for him on those grounds.”

“At a time when these same politicians bewail America’s standing in the world they vote to export death to nations that don’t want it, in violation of those nations’ religious traditions. They are the new ‘ugly Americans’ practicing imperialism at its worst,” Father Euteneuer said.

The gang of 16 includes: Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Christopher Dodd (CT-D), Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Gospel for Monday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Our Lady of Ransom

From: Luke 8:16-18

Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables (Continuation)

(Jesus told the crowd,) [16] "No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. [17] For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. [18] Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."


[There is no commentary available for Luke 8:16-18. The commentary for the same parable found in Mark 4:21-25 states:]

16-17. This parable contains a double teaching. Firstly, it says that Christ's doctrine should not be kept hidden; rather, it must be preached throughout the whole world. We find the same idea elsewhere in the Gospels: "What you hear whispered, proclaim it upon the housetops" (Mt 10:27); "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation..." (Mk 16:15). The other teaching is that the Kingdom which Christ proclaims has such ability to penetrate all hearts that, at the end of time, when Jesus comes again, not a single human action, in favor or against Christ, will not become public or manifest.

24-25. Our Lord never gets tired of asking the Apostles, the seed which will produce the Church, to listen carefully to the teaching he is giving: they are receiving a treasure for which they will be held to account. "To him who has will more be given...": he who responds to grace will be given more grace and will yield more and more fruit; but he who does not will become more and more impoverished (cf. Mt 25:14-
30). Therefore, there is no limit to the development of the theological virtues: "If you say 'Enough,' you are already dead" (St. Augustine, "Sermon" 51). A soul who wants to make progress in the interior life will pray along these lines: "Lord, may I have due measure in everything, except in Love" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 427).

[The commentary for still another similar parable found in Matthew 13: 12 states:]

12. Jesus is addressing his disciples and explaining to them that, precisely because they have faith in him and want to have a good grasp of his teaching, they will be given a deeper understanding of divine truths. But those who do not "follow him" (cf. note on Mt 4:18-22) will later lose interest in the things of God and will grow even blinder: it is as if the little they have is being taken away from them.

This verse also helps us understand the meaning of the parable of the sower, a parable which gives us a wonderful explanation of the supernatural economy of divine grace: God gives grace, and man freely responds to that grace. The result is that those who respond to grace generously receive additional grace and so grow steadily in grace and holiness; whereas those who reject God's gifts become closed up within themselves; through their selfishness and attachment to sin they eventually lose God's grace entirely. In this verse, then, our Lord gives a clear warning: with the full weight of His divine authority He exhorts us--without taking away our freedom--to act responsibly: the gifts God keeps sending us should yield fruit; we should make good use of the opportunities for Christian sanctification which are offered us in the course of our lives.
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, September 23, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - September 24

Always give the preference to actions which appear to you the most agreeable to God, and most contrary to self-love.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for September 24, Our Lady of Mercy

Mary inspired noble-hearted men of earlier centuries to vow their lives for the ransom of the faithful held as captives of the Saracens.

How many souls are now captives of the devil? They must be saved at any cost. Why not call more often upon the power of Mary for them.

She is the all-powerful suppliant; when she presents to God the blood of her Son and her own tears, can the Most High resist her requests?

Dante puts on the lips of St. Bernard the following prayer ad­dressed to Mary:

"O woman, so noble and so powerful, that whoever seeks a grace
without appealing to you, acts as if he wanted his desire to take flight without wings, your goodness does not only come to the assistance of those who appeal to you, but forestalls wishes with liberality. In thee is mercy, in thee is pity; in thee magnificence; in thee is united all good which can be found in any creature."

I will pray more to Mary for the world, for the conversion of sinners; for all tempted souls in danger of yielding; for all apostles who spend themselves for souls, that I may add my help to their efforts. Wherever there is misery I will beg Mary to suppress it; wherever a wound, to heal it.

Antique pictures portray this story: God prepares to destroy the world, but the Virgin uncovers her breast and with all the power of her love for men and her authority as mother, pleads with Him, causing God to renounce the chastisement He threat­ened. Thus, the Mother of the Savior once more saved the world.

I will direct all my prayer to set into action, as far as possible, all the power of intercession and redemption that Mary possesses, so that she may deliver all captives forever.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)