Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gospel for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is superseded by the Sunday liturgy

From: Luke 17:5-10

The Power of Faith

[5] The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith! [6] And the Lord said, "If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, `Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea', and it would obey you.

Humble Service

[7] "Will any of you, who has a servant ploughing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down at table'? [8] Will he not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink'? [9] Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? [10] So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"


1-3. Our Lord condemns scandal, that is, "any saying, action or omission which constitute for another an occasion of sin" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 417). Jesus is teaching two things here: the first is that scandal will "in fact" happen; the second, that it is a grave sin, as shown by the punishment it earns.

The reason why it is so serious a sin is that it "tends to destroy God's greatest work, that of Redemption, through souls being lost; it kills one's neighbor's soul by taking away the life of grace, which is more precious than the life of the body, and it is the cause of a multitude of sins. This is why God threatens with the most severe punishment those who cause others to stumble" ("ibid"., 418). See [the notes on] Matthew 18:6-7; 18-8; 18:10.

"Take heed to yourselves": a serious warning, meaning that we should not be a cause of scandal to others nor should we be influenced by the bad example others give us.

People who enjoy authority of any kind (parents, teachers, politicians, writers, artists, etc.) can more easily be a cause of scandal. We need to be on the alert in this respect in view of our Lord's warning, "Take heed to yourselves."

2. Millstones were circular in shape with a large hole in the center. Our Lord's description, therefore, was very graphic: it meant that the person's head just fitted through the hole and then he could not get the stone off.

3-4. In order to be a Christian one must always, genuinely, forgive others. Also, one has to correct an erring brother to help him change his behavior. But fraternal correction should always be done in a very refined way, full of charity; otherwise we would humiliate the person who has committed the fault, whereas we should not humiliate him but help him to be better.

Forgiving offenses--which is something we should always do--should not be confused with giving up rights which have been justly violated. One can claim rights without any kind of hatred being implied; and sometimes charity and justice require us to exercise our rights. "Let's not confuse the rights of the office you hold with your rights as a person. The former can never be waived" ([St] . Escriva, "The Way", 407).

Sincere forgiveness leads us to forget the particular offense and to extend the hand of friendship, which in turn helps the offender to repent.

The Christian vocation is a calling to holiness, but one of its essential requirements is that we show apostolic concern for the spiritual welfare of others: Christianity cannot be practiced in an isolated, selfish way. Thus, "if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:20).

5. "Increase our faith!": a good ejaculatory prayer for every Christian. "Omnia possibilia sunt credenti". Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.' The words are Christ's. How is it that you don't say to Him with the Apostles: `"adauge nobis fidem"! increase my faith!'?" ("The Way", 588).

6. "I'm not one for miracles. I have told you that in the Holy Gospel I can find more than enough to confirm my faith. But I can't help pitying those Christians--pious people, `apostles' many of them--who smile at the idea of extraordinary ways, of supernatural events. I feel the urge to tell them: Yes, this is still the age of miracles: we too would work them if we had faith!" ("The Way", 583).

7-10. Jesus is not approving this master's abusive and arbitrary behavior: He is using an example very familiar to His audience to show the attitude a person should have towards his Creator: everything, from our very existence to the eternal happiness promised us, is one huge gift from God. Man is always in debt to God; no matter what service he renders Him he can never adequately repay the gifts God has given him. There is no sense in a creature adopting a proud attitude towards God. What Jesus teaches us here we see being put into practice by our Lady, who replied to God's messenger (the Archangel Gabriel), "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Luke 1:38).
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.

Thoughts and Counsels - October 7

If it was necessary that Christ should suffer and so enter by the cross into the kingdom of His Father, no friend of God should shrink from suffering.

-Ven. John Tauler
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 October 7, The Rosary

What a magnificent compendium of our faith is the rosary!

With Mary I come quite close to Jesus, at the very heart of Christianity; and successively with the Aves, the mysteries unfold; the great scenes of the Gospel appear.

In the Joyful Mysteries I consider the Savior sanctifying souls by His very Presence; in His Conception; in His Birth; in His Presentation in the Temple; and finally as He was found in the Temple at the age of twelve.

In the Sorrowful Mysteries the whole redemption is portrayed before me - the Agony, the Scourging, the Thorns and the Cross of Jesus.

In the Glorious Mysteries I see the great proof of Christ's Di­vinity in His Resurrection, and the hope of heaven shining on the horizon. Then, as the vesper hymns relate, Mary appears to me in the fires of the Holy Ghost, in the majesty and splendor of the Kingdom, Mary the Queen, brilliant with glory.

"I wish, O Blessed Mary, when I say my rosary, to try to participate more intimately in the mystery that each decade commemorates.

If I could only live it as you lived it!

Give me your faith, your love. Enlarge my soul to the dimensions of yours. Grant that with every Ave my lips pronounce, my heart may be reunited to your heart. Mary, O Mary, I greet you, I bless you, I love you. . . Ave. . . Maria."

Above all, from my devotion to the rosary I draw this thought. There is no separation or break between the recitation of the Aves and the passing of the beads; that is symbolical; as my days roll by I want to mingle prayer with them. I do not want a life in two sections; external occupations will not break my life of union cultivated in exercises of piety, properly so called, but only lessen its intensity.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Gospel for Saturday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Bruno, priest;
Bl. Marie Rose Durocher, virgin
Old Calendar: St. Bruno, confessor

From: Luke 10:17-24

The Seventy Return From Their Mission

[17] The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!" [18] And He (Jesus) said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven. [19] Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. [20] Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven."

Jesus Gives Thanks

[21] In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank Thee, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will. [22] All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."

[23] Then turning to the disciples He said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! [24] For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."


20. Our Lord corrects His disciples, making them see that the right reason for rejoicing lies in hope of reaching Heaven, not in the power to do miracles which He gave them for their mission. As He said on another occasion, "On that day many will say to Me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast our demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?' And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers'" (Matthew 7:22-23). In other words, in the eyes of God doing His holy will at all times is more important than working miracles.

21. This passage of the Gospel is usually called our Lord's "hymn of joy" and is also found in St. Matthew (11:25-27). It is one of those moments when Jesus rejoices to see humble people understanding and accepting the word of God.

Our Lord also reveals one of the effects of humility--spiritual childhood. For example, in another passage He says: "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3). But spiritual childhood does not involve weakness, softness or ignorance: "I have often meditated on this life of spiritual childhood, which is not incompatible with fortitude, because it demands a strong will, proven maturity, an open and firm character [...]. To become children we must renounce our pride and self-sufficiency, recognizing that we can do nothing by ourselves. We must realize that we need grace, and the help of God our Father to find our way and keep it. To be little, you have to abandon yourself as children do, believe as children, beg as children beg" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 10 and 143).

22. "This statement is a wonderful help to our faith," St. Ambrose comments, "because when you read `all' you realize that Christ is all-powerful, that He is not inferior to the Father, or less perfect than He; when you read `have been delivered to me', you confess that Christ is the Son, to whom everything belongs by right of being one in substance [with the Father] and not by grace of gift" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.").

Here we see Christ as almighty Lord and God, consubstantial with the Father, and the only one capable of revealing who the Father is. At the same time, we can recognize the divine nature of Jesus only if the Father gives us the grace of faith--as He did to St. Peter (cf. Matthew 16:17).

23-24. Obviously, seeing Jesus with one's own eyes was a wonderful thing for people who believed in him. However, our Lord will say to Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29). St. Peter, for his part, tells us: "Without having seen Him you love Him; though you do not see Him you believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:8-9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Vestments of the Liturgy

Chapter 12

This is a continuation from Chapter 11. Liturgical Use of Color.

Bear in mind that this was composed in 1939, well before the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and some rubrics and requirements may have been modified...Other changes will be noted accordingly. Nevertheless, some may find the history fascinating.
XII - Vestments of the Liturgy

Possibly none of the externals of the Mass are as little understood or cause as much comment among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, as the sacred vestments. Retaining as they do, more or less faithfully, their ancient and archaic forms, they are often looked upon as symbols rather than as garments.

It is true that symbolic meanings have become attached to them, but the vestments have their origin in the ordinary dress of the Romans who lived in the second and third centuries. With the possible exception of the amice, every vestment worn by the priest at the altar represents an article of the Roman costume of that period.

Their history brings us in close and vital contact with the lives of the early Christians, since the style of the very clothes they wore as they followed their every-day occupations or went joyfully to martyrdom, remains in the form of ecclesiastical vesture.

APOSTOLIC PRESCRIPTION AND TRADITION: We read in the Old Testament that God commanded Moses to "make a holy vesture for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. . . in which he being consecrated may minister to Me." (Exodus XXVIII, 2-3). Under the Jewish law every detail of the vestments worn by the high priest in the service of the Temple, was provided for in this divine command.

But with the establishment of the Christian religion, Christ gave no instructions as to the garb which the apostles and their successors should wear in the celebration of the Mass. The matter rested entirely on "apostolic prescription and tradition."

Indeed, it was not until the Middle Ages that liturgical costume became fixed and permanent. The vestments have not increased in number since the time of Pope Innocent III (d. 1216) but many changes have been made in size, form, material, and ornamentation.

With the exception of the "toga," which could be worn only by Roman citizens, the bishops and priests wore the long, flowing, beautiful robes of the time for all religious functions. Since there was no difference in the fashion and cut of the garments used for ordinary dress and those worn at the altar, it was necessary to create some distinction between secular dress and liturgical vesture. This was accomplished by making the latter as rich and beautiful as possible and by using it exclusively for divine services. As soon as these garments were worn at the altar they became "sacred vestments."

SYMBOLIC MEANINGS: While fashions in secular dress gradually changed, the sacred vestments, for the most part, remained unaltered. After a bishop's death, his successor reverently wore his vestments, keeping in mind their hallowed associations. When new ones were required it was only natural that they, too, should follow the old shapes and designs which had already become traditional in the minds of the people as being especially suitable for divine service.

Since for many centuries the Church was spiritualizing and transforming these secular garments into ecclesiastical vestments, it is little wonder that even though they were not chosen for their symbolism, they lend themselves admirably to symbolic interpretations.

Like the language of the liturgical colors, the mystical association of the vestments is just as much a part of them as the embroidery with which they are adorned. Liturgical writers differ more or less in regard to their meanings, but the explanations which we give have been generally accepted ever since the thirteenth century. They refer to the instruments of Christ's passion.

The amice brings to mind the veiling of the Savior's eyes when the Jews called out to Him: "Prophesy unto us, O Christ: who is he that struck Thee?" (Matthew XXVI, 68);

the alb corresponds to the white garment in which Christ was clothed by Herod and his court;

the cincture recalls the cords which bound Him to the pillar for the scourging;

the maniple is a reminder of the fetters with which His hands were tied;

the stole indicates the heavy burden of the cross,

while the chasuble brings to mind the purple robe in which Christ, already crowned with thorns, was reviled and mocked by His tormentors.

The moral symbolism of the vestments, that is, the virtues which the vestments call to mind, is indicated by the prayers which the priest says as he puts them on for the celebration of Mass.

PURPOSE OF THE VESTMENTS: The passage which we have quoted from the Book of Exodus clearly indicates why God commanded that "holy vesture" should be worn in the worship of the Old Law. The dress of the Mosaic cult did not in any way influence the liturgical costume of the Catholic priesthood, but the recollection of the vestments which God Himself designed for the high priest Aaron and his sons, emphasized its use as becoming and in keeping with the dignity and mystery of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The vestments serve to distinguish the clergy from the laity, but their primary purpose is to give honor and glory to God:
(1) by the use of precious materials and rich ornamentation, and
(2) by inspiring reverence for the sacred functions and the ministers who perform them.
The vestments are a reminder to the celebrant at the altar that he is, in a special sense, "another Christ," an "alter Christus." When vested in the sacred robes of his office he is withdrawn temporarily from the world into the sanctuary of God.

BLESSING OF THE VESTMENTS: All the vestments must be blessed before they may be worn during the Mass. The blessing which today is strictly enjoined, may be given by a bishop or by a priest especially empowered to do so. The blessing is imparted by means of prayer, the sign of the cross, and holy water, and is retained as long as the vestments preserve their original shape and are suitable for use.

Worn-out vestments and those which have become too soiled and shabby for further use, should be burned and the ashes thrown into the sacrarium.

Additional spiritual value is given to the vestments by the blessing which the Church imparts to them. On account of this blessing they are not merely liturgical, but they become "sacred vestments." They are dedicated permanently to the service of God and the Church also invokes a blessing upon those who wear them. They are a reminder of the "wedding garment" of sanctifying grace which should clothe the minister as well as the participants in the holy Sacrifice.

ARRANGING THE VESTMENTS FOR MASS: A priest vested for Mass wears an amice, alb, and cincture, all white and made of pure linen (the cincture is sometimes an exception to this rule); also a maniple, stole, and chasuble fashioned of silk or some other appropriate material, and colored according to the office of the day.

When the vestments are laid out for Mass, they are placed on the sacristy table or on the vestment case in the following order:

* The chasuble is adjusted first so that the lower half of the front part will hang down; the lower part of the back is then folded over the upper part of the front half.

* The stole, folded in four parts, is laid across the chasuble and the maniple is placed on the stole.

* The doubled cincture may be arranged on the vestment in the form of the letter M.

* The upper part of the alb is then laid on the other vestments, front down, with the skirt adjusted so that it may be easily thrown over the head.

* The amice, unfolded, with strings neatly disposed, is extended over the alb. The amice is the last vestment laid out, and is, therefore, the first one which the priest puts on.
The cassock and the biretta are not sacred vestments. The former is the ecclesiastical dress of all clerics except those who belong to religious orders or congregations which wear a distinctive religious garb called a habit. The biretta is worn by all the clergy except friars and monks, when entering and leaving the sanctuary, and at certain times during the services. The color of both garments varies with the office of the priest or prelate wearing them.

Why do the vestments cause comment among Catholics and non-Catholics? From what did they originate? What vestment is a possible exception? Why do the vestments remind us of the early Christians?

What command did God give to Moses in regard to vestments? Did Christ give a similar command? How was the matter of vestments determined? When did liturgical costume become fixed? What was the distinction between secular dress and sacred vestments?

How and why were the ancient forms of the vestments retained? Why do the vestments lend themselves to symbolic interpretations? To what is this association compared? What scenes in our Lord's passion do the following vestments recall: Amice? Alb? Cincture? Maniple? Stole? Chasuble?

According to the passage from Exodus, what was God's purpose in commanding the use of vestments? What effect did the recollection of the Jewish vestments have on our own? How is God honored by the wearing of liturgical vestments? How are they a reminder to the celebrant?

What rite must be performed before the vestments may be worn at Mass? How and by whom is this blessing imparted? How long do they retain the blessing? How should soiled and worn-out vestments be disposed of? What are the effects of the blessing which the Church gives the vestments? Of what are they a reminder?

Name the six vestments and the materials of which they are made. How and in what order are the vestments laid out for Mass? What are the cassock and biretta and when and by whom are they worn?
Adapted from Altar and Sanctuary, An Exposition of the Externals of the Mass
by Angela A. Glendenin (© 1939)
Published by the Catholic Action Committee
The Catholic Action Series of Discussion Club Textbooks

Thoughts and Counsels - October 6

When you feel yourself excited, shut your mouth and chain your tongue.

-BL. Henry Suso
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 October 6, Sower of Solitude

Today is the feast of St. Bruno, the founder of Chartreux.

The great author, Claudel, expresses this wish: "O that I might be a sower of solitude!"

He hopes that, by reading his book, the public may be drawn to recollection, interior silence and prayer.

But if such is the wish of the laity, what ought not my desire be? Ought I not desire that my presence and my words might in­cline my neighbors, without their being aware of it, to a more in­tense recollection; to a life more steeped in God?

There are persons of all kinds in Religious Communities. Some individuals radiate God around them scarcely at all, surely not that they are bad, or grossly unfaithful religious, but there is lacking in them a certain something which reveals God and which testifies to a life of assiduous prayer and absolute renunciation.

On the contrary, there are some persons. . . and God grant that they may be many. . . who are so imbued with a spirit of recollection, so magnetic through a certain inner, and sometimes very striking, radiance of character that they issue to others a silent invitation to aspire to holiness, to be no longer souls of earth, but souls whose normal ambition is heaven. Conversatio in coelis est.

I must do nothing for show, of course, or through a desire of artificially impressing my companions; for the sham would soon be exploded. But I will put forth a generous effort to grow more like the religious that I ought to be. Then even without conscious effort I will radiate God. Fill the lamp, God will light it.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Abbot Rooney named to head Tulsa Institute of Sacred Liturgy

Abbot Marcel Rooney, OSB, former pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Brinkley, was recently named president of the new Institute of Sacred Liturgy at the Diocese of Tulsa, Okla.

Before he left Brinkley in July to begin his new position, he sat down with Arkansas Catholic to talk about his time in the small Arkansas parish and his goals for the institute he is developing.

For the past two years, this world-renowned liturgical scholar and former Benedictine liaison to the pope quietly served about 50 Catholic families in Brinkley, located about an hour east of Little Rock. Though he has worked for the Church his whole life, this was only the second time he had done so on the parish level.

The 70-year-old former abbot of Conception Abbey in Missouri, who holds a doctorate in sacred theology, has been a college professor and chancellor in Rome, as well as lecturer, composer, chaplain and advisor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy. From 1996-2000 he served as abbot primate (head) of the worldwide Benedictine Confederation, making him his religious order's liaison to Pope John Paul II...
at the Arkansas Catholic here

Pope Stresses Importance of Natural Moral Law

...[Pope] Benedict XVI indicated that the doctrine on natural law "achieves two essential aims: on the one hand, it makes it clear that the ethical content of Christian faith is not an imposition dictated from outside man's conscience, but a norm that has its basis in human nature itself; and on the other hand, by starting from the basis of natural law - which of itself is accessible to all rational creatures - it lays the foundations for dialogue with all men and women of good will, and with civil society more generally."

The Pope then highlighted the fact that nowadays "the original evidence for the foundations of human beings and of their ethical behavior has been lost, and the doctrine of natural moral law clashes with other concepts which run directly contrary to it. All this has enormous consequences on civil and social order." . . .

"If," he added, "by reason of a tragic clouding of the collective conscience, skepticism and ethical relativism managed to annul the fundamental principles of natural moral law, the very democratic order itself would be profoundly undermined at its foundations. Against such clouding - which is a crisis for human, even more than for Christian, civilization - the consciences of all men and women of good will must be mobilized, both lay people and followers of religions other than Christianity, so that together they may make an effective commitment to creating ... the conditions necessary for a full awareness of the inalienable value of natural moral law."

Timely article: Teaching the faith and the lay faithful

This week Archbishop Burke has a column on both teaching and learning the faith. This article is timely considering the recent discussions here concerning the 'theology' curriculum at Barat Academy. Some were rebuked for questioning problematic elements of the curriculum, but, as we are reminded by Archbishop Burke, the lay faithful have grave responsibilities in this area:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos. 904-907), in treating the responsibility of the lay faithful to teach the faith, quotes another passage from the Council, which reminds us that the laity are not only responsible to give a strong "witness of life," but also, as true apostles, are to be "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers to draw them toward the faith, or to the faithful to instruct them, strengthen them, incite them to a more fervent life" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, decree Apostolicam Actuositatem [On the Apostolate of Lay Faithful], Nov. 18, 1965, n. 6).

When presented with things which could be problematic, the lay faithful have a duty to give strong witness for instructing and strengthening others.

Further we are reminded again, that we have a particular responsibility to assist our children and youth...this was made clear in a recent post discussinng Fr John Hardon's address concerning "Parents' Rights & Responsibilities in Religious Education".

Archbishop Burke continues:

The situation is also complicated by the failure of catechesis, over the past three decades, to provide a sufficiently solid and integral presentation of the doctrine and practice of the Catholic faith. Often enough, members of the faithful in the Archdiocese, who are young adults and older, will observe that the catechesis they received while growing up in the 1970s and 1980s has not prepared them for the difficult challenges in teaching and living the Catholic faith in our time.
And we witness or hear about this sad fact daily.

But there are several means to correct these deficiencies, and the faithful can not only deepen their faith by taking advantage of these tools, but they can more fully engage in their mission of evangelization.

Archbishop Burke comments on four possibilities of which the lay faithful might take advantage:

1. The Paul VI Pontifical Institute of Catechetical and Pastoral Studies
2. The Ave Maria University Institute for Pastoral Studies
3. The Missouri State Council of the Knights of Columbus, correspondence courses, developed by Fr. Oscar Lukefahr, CM.
4. Johnette Benkovic's "Full of Grace" Home Study Guide for women.

St. Paul...reminds us that teaching the faith is a sacred responsibility for which we must give an account to God, "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
The entire article is here.

Plan A: Keep “Plan B” Out of Catholic Hospitals

From the latest Spirit & Life®, Fr Euteneuer writes:

On September 28th the Connecticut bishops issued an unfortunate statement allowing the Plan B abortion-causing drug to be used in cases of rape in Catholic hospitals. I have written respectfully and urgently to the Connecticut Catholic Conference (CCC) and to each bishop individually to ask them to withdraw this potentially precedent-setting statement, and I pray that they do so. I am extremely concerned that this statement will begin to have a domino effect on other Catholic hospitals and healthcare institutions, and I write to you today to ask your ongoing partnership in this concern.

First, let me be clear about our obligations as Catholics. While our bishops operate in union with the Vicar of Christ, no individual bishop or conference of bishops, however wise or holy, has the charism of infallibility. Our respect for our bishops is sometimes exercised in presenting them with the clear facts that their advisors may have missed. It is an expression of our filial cooperation in their ministry. In this case, we have no option but to humbly ask them to reverse their decision due to some extremely egregious errors contained in the statement...

Fr Euteneuer also says:
I envision a day in which Catholic leaders may have to resign from lucrative positions in business and shut down Catholic healthcare institutions rather than cooperate in the arrogant and coercive programs of the culture of death. Actually, I think that day has already arrived.
Many of us do...

Continued here

Gospel for Friday, 26th Week In Ordinary Time

St. Faustina Kowalska, virgin (RM)
Old Calendar: St. Placid and His Companions, martyrs

From: Luke 10:13-16

Jesus Condemns Cities For Their Unbelief

(Jesus said,) [13] "Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. [15] And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to Heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

[16] "He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me."


16. On the evening of the day of His resurrection, our Lord entrusts His Apostles with the mission received from the Father, endowing them with powers similar to His own (John 20:21). Some days later He will confer on Peter the primacy He had already promised him (John 21:15-17). The Pope is the successor of Peter, and the bishops the successor of the Apostles (cf. "Lumen Gentium", 20).

Therefore, "Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth [...]. This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak "ex cathedra" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 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, October 04, 2007

Questions and Answers With Archbishop Burke Regarding His Article in "Periodica De Re Canonica"

Q. Why did you write the article?

During the election campaign of 2004, some bishops found themselves under question regarding the application of canon 915. Canon 915 addresses the responsibility of priests and other Eucharistic ministers when it comes to administering Holy Communion.

I wrote the article for a scholarly international canon law journal published in Rome, Periodica De Re Canonica. You can read the entire article at

The article was published in April of this year, but the secular media has just now started covering it.

Q. What does the article mean to priests and Eucharistic ministers?

The Church teaches us that if a Catholic is in a state of grave sin, he/she should not approach the altar to receive Holy Communion. If he/she persists in a public and serious sin, the priest or other Eucharistic minister is morally obliged to deny him/her Communion, if he/she should approach to receive..

Q. Do all the bishops agree with this?

It is not a question of what number of bishops agree or disagree with the discipline. It is the discipline of the universal Church, which every bishop is required to uphold.

Q. If a politician approaches you to receive Holy Communion, and they have publicly spoken against the teachings of the Catholic Church, how will you handle that?

If I or another pastor of the Church had already spoken with the politician and admonished him/her not to approach to receive Holy Communion, I would not give Holy Communion to the politician. If I had not had a pastoral conversation with the politician and did not know that another pastor had spoken with the politician in the matter, then I would give him/her Holy Communion but ask to meet with the politician privately to admonish him/her not to approach to receive Holy Communion, in the future, for as long as the politician persists in a serious and public sin.

Q. Does that mean that, if I sin, the priest will deny me Holy Communion?

No. We are all sinners. However, when a person persists in committing publicly acts that are seriously sinful, and the person has been admonished not to approach for Holy Communion until he/she stops committing publicly the serious sin, then the priest or other Eucharistic minister should deny Holy Communion.

Q. I am pro-choice. Can a priest deny me Holy Communion?

If a Catholic publicly espouses a pro-choice position, then he/she should be admonished not to approach to receive Holy Communion and, if he/she does approach, then the person should be denied Holy Communion.

Q. What about those politicians who are pro-war or for the death penalty?

First of all, a distinction must be made. On the one hand, war and capital punishment are not intrinsically evil. They can be justified in certain situations. The Church teaches that war and the use of the death penalty can only be morally permitted when certain conditions have been strictly met. On the other hand, abortion, euthanasia, human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research, for example, are intrinsically evil, that is, they can never be justified for any reason. If the politician publicly denies the Church’s teaching on war or on the use of the death penalty, then his/her pastor should speak with the politician, in order to inform his/her conscience correctly. If the politician persists in the public denial of the Church’s teaching, then he/she should not approach to receive Holy Communion.

Q. This sounds like the Church telling me what I should think or how I should vote.

The Church teaches us the truths of the Faith, according to which we are obliged, in conscience, to live. Voting, an important civic act, must also be in accord with the truths of the Faith. In teaching the truths of the Faith, the Church helps us to discipline our thinking correctly, including our thinking about voting. For example, the truth of the Faith, which teaches us the inviolability of innocent human life, requires that our acts of voting safeguard and promote the dignity of every human life, from the moment of its inception to the moment of natural death, especially the life of the innocent and defenseless human being. The moral duty to respect the inviolability of innocent human life cannot be morally relativized with respect to other concerns which we may have in voting.

Source: St Louis Archdiocesan Web Site. Archbishop Burke's article in Periodica De Re Canonica, is also available here.

Thoughts and Counsels - October 5

Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains to us.

-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 October 5, Divine Joy

By constantly hearing of the cross, I almost forget at times the joy of serving God.

Without doubt it is hard, at certain times more so than others.

But more often, infinitely more often, how sweet it is! And with what right I can sing: The yoke of the Lord is light and sweet and again What joy to dwell forever in the house of the Lord!

For in truth, despite the aridities and difficulties that I suffer frequently in prayer, what a tremendously divine joy I experience at knowing that I possess heavenly peace.

Even considering the sacrifices which the common life entails, how splendid is the interior joy of living in harmony of thought, of prayer, of sacrifice, and of work, with beautiful and noble souls. They have their faults, these beautiful and noble souls, but what is that? Don't I have mine? Does that prevent this unanimous concord from rising to great heights? Behold how good, how sweet to live in fraternal unity at the table of the Father of the family.

And so the Cross! Yes, surely the Cross, but also the super­-abounding joy, the happiness which surpasses all happiness, the holy threefold peace of the children of God!

O Jesus, give me a joyous and expansive Christianity, a joyful Christianity which has a horror of somber forms of virtue without necessarily being an unmortified Christian. Have You not Your­self added cheerfulness as an accompaniment to increased renunciation?

I want to inspire myself often with the words of confidence from the Twenty-second Psalm:
"The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall want nothing.
He hath converted my soul.
He hath led me on the paths of justice for his own name's sake.
And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

The St Louis Women's 'Ordination' Post has been updated...

And I'm certain there's even more to come.

Also there is this from the "Catholic Book Publishers Association" - January 2005:
News from Liguori Publications for CBPA Newsletter

Over the last year, there have been changes in the editorial staff at Liguori Publications. Senior Editor Elsie McGrath, retired. Sue Overkamp, editor in the catechetical/pastoral area, left Liguori to pursue her own business. Judy Bauer resigned her position as managing editor, but continues to work for Liguori on a free-lance basis....
Interesting, to say the least....

And no comment from Liguori Publications as of 10/5/07...

Exposing Giuliani Abortion Record

Catholic Group says "Archbishop Burke Right to Deny Communion to Giuliani"

CHICAGO, October 4, 2007 ( - Fidelis, a national Catholic advocacy group, applauded the courageous decision by St. Louis' Archbishop Raymond Burke to deny Holy Communion to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, and all pro-abortion politicians running for president, regardless of their political party...
click here for more.

And the Fidelis site can be reached here:

A Letter to Liguori (and a repeat from last year)

To whom it may concern:

It recently came to my attention that Elsie Hainz McGrath was one of the women allegedly "ordained" a "Roman Catholic deacon" August 12 in Milwaukee.

From the Roman Catholic Women Priests Website (, you can read about this recent "Ordinand":

Elsie Hainz McGrath, MA/Theology, has been in active ministry for over 30 years. Widow of a RC deacon, she and her husband worked as a team, particularly in marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programs. She has been a college campus minister, an editor and writer who is involved in parish ministries, women’s liturgies, small prayer communities, and sacrament preparation. Presently engaged in further studies with an eye toward hospice/geriatric ministry and possibly a D.Min., and anticipating Walking With Women Called as a WOC mentor, she is an active member of Call To Action and Catholic Action Network. She lives in St Louis near many of her 4 children, 11 living grandchildren, and soon-to-be 9

It appears that Liguori sells about 14 titles by Elsie Hainz McGrath on its website:

Would it not be prudent for Liguori to pull these items as Ignatius Press pulled the CD's of Charlotte Church last year and as you pulled Bridget Mary Meehan's materials?

Surely Liguori does not advocate the position taken by women such as McGrath who have chosen such a path? It's difficult to imagine any professed Catholic publisher promoting or selling books or other materials written by one who so openly defies the Church.

As noted above, Liguori had this same problem last year with Bridget Mary Meehan...and you pulled the books from its website. Should you not do the same again? It's been nearly 2 months since the fake ordination and this woman is scheduled to be "ordained" a "priest" in St Louis on Nov 11. (see: )

Perhaps, it's time to take a closer look at everything Liguori markets to Catholics?


Vatican Publishes Book on the Knights Templar

VATICAN CITY, OCT 4, 2007 (VIS) - On October 25 in the Vatican's Old Synod Hall, the presentation will take place of the "Processus contra Templarios," a book published by the Vatican Secret Archives on the subject of the Knights Templar, the medieval military-religious order founded in Jerusalem in 1118 and suppressed by Pope Clement V (1305-1314).

According to a communique made public yesterday afternoon, the new volume is "a previously unpublished and exclusive edition of the complete acts of the original hearing against the Knights Templar." The book, unique of its kind, will have a print run "rigorously limited to 799 copies" and contains the "faithful reproduction of the original parchments conserved in the Vatican Secret Archives."
So how difficult will it be to get one of these?


So Few Seem to Hear or Listen

In reading yet another article about Archbishop Burke and his position of "denying communion" to Guiliani, some seem to miss the salient points made by the archbishop.

From the AP, we read:
Bishop Would Deny Communion to Giuliani

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke, who made headlines last presidential season by saying he'd refuse Holy Communion to John Kerry, has his eye on Rudy Giuliani this year. Giuliani's response: "Archbishops have a right to their opinion."

Burke, the archbishop of St. Louis, was asked if he would deny Communion to Giuliani or any other presidential candidate who supports abortion rights.

"If any politician approached me and he'd been admonished not to present himself, I'd not give it," Burke told The Associated Press Wednesday. "To me, you have to be certain a person realizes he is persisting in a serious public sin."

First, it is the media which began the 'story' that Archbishop Burke "has his eye on Guiliani this year"...this is the media's way of 'generating' a news story where none existed. Archbishop Burke singled out no specific person in particular - the media, however, needs to concoct something 'palatable' for readers and viewers and the more shocking, the better.

Archbishop Burke was very clear and precise when he answered the reporter(s) about denying Holy Communion to Guiliani - he reiterated that:

1. If the person had been admonished not to present himself for Holy Communion, and
2. If that person presented himself despite the admonition, then Holy Communion would be refused.

The archbishop further stated that one must be "certain a person realizes he is persisting in a serious public sin."

With regard to Catholic politicians who support and vote for the murder of the defenseless unborn, it should be crystal clear that they are violating basic principles of the natural moral as well as the teaching of the Church - and this places them in grave sin, objectively speaking, and it is public. The sinful politician may continue to deny that he/she is doing anything wrong, but that denial does not eliminate or diminish the objective reality of such sinful acts.

Any Catholic politician or public figure who claims to be unaware that his dissent and rejection of Chuch teaching and the natural moral law is a grave sin, has no business being in public life. If his blinders are such that reality is hidden from his view, it is impossible for him to represent others, whether in government or elsewhere.

Reporters, many of whom are clueless when it comes to religious matters (or basic moral matters), nevertheless seem obliged to expose their ignorance by delving into the deep:

Asked if the same would apply to politicians who support the death penalty or pre-emptive war, he said, "It's a little more complicated in that case."

Archbishop Burke has a way of handling such amateurish questions. Such sophistry becomes areal test of one's patience and charity.

The AP article is here.

The Newman Guide to Catholic Colleges

Today the Cardinal Newman Society announced the publication of a new comprehensive college guide for students and parents, The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College: What to Look for and Where to Find It. Edited by Joseph A. Esposito, The Newman Guide will be officially published on Nov. 1, 2007.

The culmination of two years of research and interviews, the unique Newman Guide recommends 21 Catholic colleges and universities which most faithfully live their Catholic identity and provide a quality undergraduate education. Each college profile examines the school’s history, governance, Catholic identity, curriculum, student life and community...

The Guide’s editor, Joseph Esposito, said, “These colleges and universities represent a unique perspective on higher education. They are all impressive institutions, offering a wide range of choices from a Great Books curriculum to a degree in motor sports management. But what sets them apart from others is the day-to-day living of their Catholic identity.

“This Guide will provide a valuable tool for parents and high school students seeking direction in the college-selection process,” he added...

In addition to in-depth profiles of the 21 colleges, The Guide includes essays from prominent Catholic leaders. Among the clergymen are Archbishop Elden Curtiss of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb., noted writer and spiritual director Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., and author and evangelist Father C. John McCloskey III.

Prominent lay contributors are philosopher Peter Kreeft, Cardinal Newman Society founder and president Patrick Reilly and Eileen Cubanski, co-founder and executive director of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools.
The schools are listed here in the article. For anyone interested in selecting a Catholic college or university, this publication would be in invaluable resource.

Calif. Catholic Daily: No cross-dresser left behind

Pelosi backtracks after homosexual groups cry foul over exclusion of transsexuals from bill barring employment discrimination

Bishops to Elect Officers, Vote on Faithful Citizenship, Music At Mass

Bishops will meet November 12-15 in Baltimore...

At the assembly the bishops will elect USCCB president, vice-president and committee chairs, and vote on Faithful Citizenship, a statement which the USCCB issues every four years; and Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, a revision of the guidelines for music at Mass.

The bishops also will vote on doctrinal elements for a curriculum for high school catechetical materials...
More here...

Gospel for Oct 1, Memorial: St Francis of Assisi, religious

Old Calendar: St. Francis of Assisi, confessor

From: Luke 10:1-12

The Mission of the Seventy Disciples

[1] After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. [2] And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. [3] Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. [4] Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. [5] Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!' [6] And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. [7] And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. [8] Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; [9] heal the sick in it and say to them, "The Kingdom of God has come near to you.' [10] But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say,[11] `Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near.' [12] I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town."


1-12. Those who followed our Lord and received a calling from Him (cf. Luke 9:57-62) included many other disciples in addition to the Twelve (cf. Mark 2:15). We do not know who most of them were; but undoubtedly some of them were with Him all along, from when Jesus was baptized by John up to the time of His ascension--for example, Joseph called Barrabas, and Matthias (cf. Acts 1:21-26). We can also include Cleopas and his companion, whom the risen Christ appeared to on the road to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:13-35).

From among these disciples, our Lord chooses seventy-two for a special assignment. Of them, as of the Apostles (cf. Luke 9:1-5), He demands total detachment and complete abandonment to divine providence.

From Baptism onwards every Christian is called by Christ to perform a mission. Therefore, the Church, in our Lord's name, "makes to all the laity an earnest appeal in the Lord to give a willing, noble and enthusiastic response to the voice of Christ, who at this hour is summoning them more pressingly, and to the urging of the Holy Spirit.

The younger generation should feel this call to be addressed in a special way to themselves; they should welcome it eagerly and generously. It is the Lord Himself, by this Council, who is once more inviting all the laity to unite themselves to Him ever more intimately, to consider His interests as their own (cf. Philippians 2:5), and to join in His mission as Savior. It is the Lord who is again sending them into every town and every place where He Himself is to come (cf.Luke 10:1). He sends them on the Church's apostolate, an apostolate that is one yet has different forms and methods, an apostolate that must all the time be adapting itself to the needs of the moment; He sends them on an apostolate where they are to show themselves His cooperators, doing their full share continually in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord their labor cannot be lost (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58)" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 33).

3-4. Christ wants to instill apostolic daring into His disciples; this is why He says, "I send you out", which leads St. John Chrysostom to comment: "This suffices to give us encouragement, to give us confidence and to ensure that we are not afraid of our assailants" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 33). The Apostles' and disciples' boldness stemmed from their firm conviction that they were on a God-given mission: they acted, as Peter the Apostle confidently explained to the Sanhedrin, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, "for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

"And the Lord goes on," St. Gregory the Great adds, "Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road.' Such should be the confidence the preacher places in God that even if he is not provided with the necessities of life, he is convinced that they will come his way. This will ensure that worry about providing temporal things for himself does not distract him from providing others with eternal things" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 17). Apostolate calls for generous self-surrender which leads to detachment; therefore, Peter, following our Lord's commandment, when the beggar at the Beautiful Gate asked him for alms (Acts 3:2-3), said, "I have no silver or gold" ("ibid.", 3:6), "not so as to glory in his poverty", St. Ambrose points out, "but to obey the Lord's command. It is as if he were saying, `You see in me a disciple of Christ, and you ask me for gold? He gave us something much more valuable than gold, the power to act in His name. I do not have what Christ did not give me, but I do have what He did give me: In the name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk' (cf. Acts 3:6)" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc".). Apostolate, therefore, demands detachment from material things and it also requires us to be always available, for there is an urgency about apostolic work.

"And salute no one on the road": "How can it be", St. Ambrose asks himself, "that the Lord wishes to get rid of a custom so full of kindness? Notice, however, that He does not just say, `Do not salute anyone', but adds, `on the road.' And there is a reason for this.

"He also commanded Elisha not to salute anyone he met, when He sent him to lay his staff on the body of the dead child (2 Kings 4:29): He gave him this order so as to get him to do this task without delay and effect the raising of the child, and not waste time by stopping to talk to any passer-by he met. Therefore, there is no question of omitting good manners to greet others; it is a matter of removing a possible obstacle in the way of service; when God commands, human considerations should be set aside, at least for the time being. To greet a person is a good thing, but it is better to carry out a divine instruction which could easily be frustrated by a delay ("ibid.").

6. Everyone is "a son of peace" who is disposed to accept the teaching of the Gospel which brings with it God's peace. Our Lord's recommendation to His disciples to proclaim peace should be a constant feature of all the apostolic action of Christians: "Christian apostolate is not a political program or a cultural alternative. It implies the spreading of good, `infecting' others with a desire to love, sowing peace and joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 124).

Feeling peace in our soul and in our surroundings is an unmistakable sign that God is with us, and a fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22): "Get rid of these scruples that deprive you of peace. What takes away your peace of soul cannot come from God. When God comes to you, you will feel the truth of those greetings: My peace I give to you..., peace I leave you..., peace be with you..., and you will feel it even in the midst of troubles" ([ST] J. Escriva, "The Way", 258).

7. Our Lord clearly considered poverty and detachment a key feature in an apostle. But He was aware of His disciples' material needs and therefore stated the principle that apostolic ministry deserves its recompense. Vatican II reminds us that we all have an obligation to contribute to the sustenance of those who generously devote themselves to the service of the Church: "Completely devoted as they are to the service of God in the fulfillment of the office entrusted to them, priests are entitled to receive a just remuneration. For `the laborer deserves his wages' (Luke 10:7), and `the Lord commanded that they who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel' (1 Corinthians 9:14). For this reason, insofar as provision is not made from some other source for the just remuneration of priests, the faithful are bound by a real obligation of seeing to it that the necessary provision for a decent and fitting livelihood for the priests are available" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 20).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - October 4

Prayer consists not in many words, but in the fervor of desire, which raises the soul to God by the knowledge of its own nothingness and the di­vine goodness.

-Bl. Henry Suso
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 October 4, Be Joyful*

St. Francis de Sales used to give this advice: "In your dealings with others be joyful; be convinced that it is by your joy and by your serenity that you will attract others to God."

Joy is a means of apostolic conquest.

Aside from the immense advantages of joy for the soul which develops it, St. Francis stresses here the precious results joy ob­tains in winning other souls to divine truth.

After a four-year sojourn in a house of studies, a young theolo­gian was about to take leave; he had been a conscientious student and a remarkable merrymaker during his stay. The Father Rector sent for him and said, "Thanks to you, thanks to your joy and cheerfulness during recreation and on recreation days, you have contributed powerfully in preserving several vocations." What a beautiful recompense! And what a fruitful apostolate!

If it is true that a weeping willow bears no fruit, one cannot em­phasize the contrary sufficiently, namely, the marvelous fruits pro­duced by a radiant joyful attitude in a religious community. And not only are there vocations preserved, as in the case mentioned, but what enthusiasm, what stimulus does not the cheeriness of several indi­viduals give to those who suffer physically or morally.

Don Bosco used to say that he was full of the old Nick. Happy the temperaments who resemble him! And if I do not possess the gift of joy naturally, I will work to acquire it by forgetfulness of self and thoughtfulness of others.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

* The words used in this meditation have been altered. The title is "Be Gay." Nearly every word 'joy' was used in place of 'gaiety' and 'joyful' was used to replace 'gay'. Considering how some words has morphed into something else, I felt it would be better to modify the reflection to minimize the unnecessary distractions that would arise.

A Response from Miller Brewing

Miller Brewing sent the following reply to those who voiced their opposition of Miller Brewing's involvement in the "fair" as reported by the article last week, Homosexuals Mock 'Last Supper' With Sex-Toys Twist

Thank you for contacting Miller Brewing Company.

While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately.

We regret that our failure to adhere to our own policy led to an inappropriate use of our trademark and apologize to anyone who was offended as a result, particularly members of the Christian community who have contacted us to express their concern.

We are conducting an immediate audit of our procedures for approving local marketing and sales sponsorships to ensure that this does not happen again.

It is important to understand that the Folsom Street Fair does not target the general public in its communications. The fair itself and the organization's website are only intended for the adult alternative lifestyle community.


Miller Brewing Company Consumer Affairs Department
Ref: Case#N200xxxxx

Promoting and supporting immorality is wrong and nothing can justify such behavior and business practice. When one's god is mammon, what can we really expect? Virtue? Decency?

Parents' Rights & Responsibilities in Religious Education

This is another in a series of posts which seem necessary in today's world because of the opinions and beliefs of some parents regarding religious education for their children.

In this talk by the late Fr John Hardon, S.J., he discusses parents' rights and responsibilities, particularly as they apply toward the religious education of children.

It is to be understood that parents, while they are the primary educators of their children, will need help in this regard. Additionally, it is to be understood that these others who provide educational assistance are not fundamental, but secondary - assisting the parents.

Parents can fulfill their obligations - the responsibility - by providing their children with the religious training and formation which God expects of them. And this normally means taking advantage of schools or other means.

Fr Hardon reminds us:

It is also the purpose of Catholic schools, CCD programs and allied agencies for giving the young child, the growing pre-adolescent, the adolescent and maturing adult answers to questions about the meaning of joy and sorrow, of work and prayer, of freedom and grace, of life and death, of time and eternity.

He reminds us that we have Catholic schools and other educational entities and programs precisely
to help parents answer the incessant and insatiable whys of their offspring, from pre-kindergarten days through the university.

In this regard, there can be no questions about the Catholic identity of the school or religious education program. This would be gravely problematic if one is uncertain of the Catholicity of the school or the curriculum.

Fr Hardon says:
These institutions and agencies must – this is a divine imperative – must respond to the Catholic faith of the parents who avail themselves of their services.

There is no alternative. Either the school or program responds to what Catholic parents have a right to expect of it, or it is not serving the purpose of its existence and should be treated accordingly...

Before God, parents have received a sacred trust. No one has a higher trust than they. No one has a higher responsibility.

Some of us may have failed in the past, due to ignorance or indifference. Some of us may regret that we did not pay sufficient attention to what our "Catholic" schools were teaching our children, assuming that they would do what we expected - that they would teach the fullnesss of the truth in all its beauty and wonder - and that this truth is Jesus Christ.

Regrettably today, a parent, when he delegates some of the burden of religious education to others, he must, as is his right and responsibility, ensure that those teaching his child, exercise this sacred trust as God wills and protects his child from those things which would rob him of his faith. Our eternity depends on it.

Fr Hardon's article can be read here.

Martyrdom is so hard and demanding...

American Papist writes: Bishop Lori Issues "Clarification" on Plan B Decision

Diogenes at CWNews views Bishops Lori's statement here.

And we do have a statement from the National Catholic Bioethics Center :

It reads, in part:
In matters that have not yet been decided definitively by the Holy See, The National Catholic Bioethics Center has refrained from adopting one or another position on a disputed question. However, in the matter of protocols for sexual assault, there is virtual unanimity that an ovulation test should be administered before giving an anovulant medication. The protocol the NCBC has supported requires the ovulation test because it provides greater medical and moral certitude that the intervention will have its desired anovulatory effect. The NCBC objects strongly to state mandates, such as those passed by Connecticut and Massachusetts, that do not allow health care professionals and facilities to exercise their best medical judgment and which do not protect the consciences of all parties. We also object to state mandates that do not allow the victim of sexual assault to have all the information necessary for a medical intervention so that she might make an informed judgment. However, the NCBC understands the judgment of the Connecticut bishops that the administration of a contraceptive medication in the absence of an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act. However, it is immoral to violate one’s conscience, including the corporate consciences of health care agencies, and the unwillingness of the state to allow an exemption of conscience makes the law unjust and onerous.

Women's Ordinations Coming to St Louis - Mark Your Calendars!

First, it's great to be back! And I'll try to make my first post after a long hiatus a good one. I'm not certain if news of this upcoming event is known in the St Louis area yet. It was discussed last night and I was given the opportunity to present it today.

The details:
On Sunday, November 11 at 3:00 PM, Rose Marie Dunn Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath are scheduled to be ordained as 'Roman Catholic Women Priests' in the St Louis Archdiocese by "Bishop" Patricia Fresen at the Central Reform Congregation at 5020 Waterman Avenue, in St Louis.

At left in the above photograph are three women who were 'ordained' to the deaconate on August 12 in Minneapolis. From left: Kathy Redig, Elsie Hainz McGrath, and Rose Marie Dunn Hudson. (Photo from the blog, The Wild Reed)

Not only are these pseudo-ordinations invalid but their "transitional diaconate" appears to be a mere three months. It must be special training, yes?

For what it is worth, Liguori Publications sells books and items by "deaconess and soon-to-be-fake-priest," Elsie McGrath. A call to Liguori indicated that they were aware of the problem. This is reminisent of the Bridget Mary Meehan incident last July after she decided that she would fulfill her "vocation" by being "ordained". Will Liguori also drop McGrath's books? We can only hope so. One might also wonder how it is that Liguori selects these people as reputable authors?

It is unclear if Rose Marie Dunn Hudson or Elsie Hainz McGrath reside within the boundaries of the St Louis Archdiocese. It is also unclear why such a spectacle would take place in the archdiocese.

No doubt, there will be more to come later as additional information becomes available.

*** Updated ***
Now that did not take long, did it? Bio info on the "Ordinands" from Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Elsie Hainz McGrath
MA/Theology, has been in active ministry for over 30 years. Widow of a RC deacon, she and her husband worked as a team, particularly in marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programs. She has been a college campus minister, an editor and writer who is involved in parish ministries, women’s liturgies, small prayer communities, and sacrament preparation. Presently engaged in further studies with an eye toward hospice/geriatric ministry and possibly a D.Min., and anticipating Walking With Women Called as a WOC mentor, she is an active member of Call To Action and Catholic Action Network. She lives in St Louis near many of her 4 children, 11 living grandchildren, and soon-to-be 9

Rose Marie (Ree) Hudson
I was called to the ordained ministry at age 14. I have been married for 40 years, have four children and eleven grandchildren. My college and university degrees are in religion and education, the most recent of which was a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola of New Orleans. Presently I am in prison ministry where I have served for 12 years. I am considering further study in the area of homiletics. My home is in Festus, Missouri. Contact me at:

Also, Elsie McGrath was the featured 'homilist' for
Wisdom’s Feast , Women Led Prayer on May 19, 2007 which was sponsored by Justice for Women in the Catholic Church, Catholic Action Network (Link)

Interestingly, there is an Elsie McGrath listed in the St Louis Review (Sept 3, 2004) as the Parish council chairperson and 25-year parishioner of Immaculate Conception/St Henry Parish. The current webpage for Immaculate Conception/St Henry no longer lists McGrath as a member of its staff.

*** Updated again, 10/4 ***
At the "Women lead prayer" for Saturday February 17, 2007 at St. Cronan’s Parish in St Louis, sponsored by Women for Justice in the Catholic Church, a project of CAN, the homily was shared by:....Ree Hudson and Elsie McGrath - and they had not yet even been 'ordained'...

But that's not all. One needs only to look at the "Opening Prayer" to get an idea what goes on at these covens:

Opening prayer
Lead by Karen Flotte

(to each invocation please respond: Come)

With humble heart and body, let us listen to the cries of creation and the cries of the Spirit within it.

Which spirit? Let's see...
Come. (strike bell) The spirit of Hagar, Egyptian, black slave woman exploited and abandoned by Abraham and Sarah, the ancestors of our faith.

Rs. Come
Come. (strike bell) The spirit of Uriah, loyal soldier sent and killed in the battlefield by the great King David out of the King's 'greed for his wife, Bathsheba.
Invoking the spirits of the dead to come to them...but there's more:
Come. (strike bell) The spirit of the Amazon rain forest now being murdered every day.
Rs. Come

Come. (strike bell) The spirit of Earth, Air, and Water, raped, tortured, and exploited by human greed for money.
Rs. Come
And this was going on in a "Catholic" parish. This gets more bizarre every time I look into it.

And a Letter to Liguori is here...

Has someone forwarded this to your Archbishop Burke?

Seminary mag's 'gay' ads cause stir

Matt Abbott has something new to report about the goings-on in the Miami archdiocese:

St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary recently sent out two vocation-recruiting catalogs to prospective seminarians. One version — which contained only articles and no advertisements — targeted straight men. The other version — which did contain advertisements, including the one pictured [left], with two bare-chested men standing next to each other in a hot tub — targeted homosexual men.

I have, in my possession, a copy of the latter. (This is addressed to those who might cast doubt on the authenticity of the "gay-friendly" version, as certain individuals did with regard to the photos in my June 19, 2007 column.)
This depravity is just too much! May God have mercy on us!

Diogenes weighs in on this at Off the Record

In Holland, They're Inventing Their Own Mass – Copyrighted by the Dominicans (Chiesa)

The experimentation is already underway. In place of the priest are men and women selected by the faithful. And all together pronounce the words of consecration, which are varied as desired. In the view of the Dutch Dominicans, this is what Vatican Council II wanted...
by Sandro Magister
An excerpt:

The proposal of the Dominican fathers is that, in the absence of a priest, a person chosen from the community should preside over the celebration of the Mass: "Whether they be men or women, homo or heterosexual, married or unmarried is irrelevant." The person selected and the community are exhorted to pronounce together the words of the institution of the Eucharist: "Pronouncing these words is not thought to be the sole prerogative of the priest. The words constitute a conscious declaration of faith by the whole community."

The booklet opens with the explicit approval of the superiors of the Dutch province of the Order of Preachers, and its first pages are dedicated to a description of what happens on Sundays in the churches of Holland.
Continued here...

** Updated **
It seems that the little booklet promoting several distorted views is available in English here in PDF format. It is sure to please every dissenter who claims to know more than the Church.

Other News - 10/3

Gallup Diocese Speaks Out In Support Of Injured Bishop

A former Cleveland Catholic Diocese accountant was convicted Tuesday of funneling $784,000 in kickbacks to a church official in a scheme to get diocesan contracts for his firm. Link.

Cardinal Arinze: U.S Faithful Want Formation
The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said he noted that priests and laypeople in the United States have a desire for ongoing formation.

“Gays, lesbians rule Democratic Party”

Leading gay newspaper reports homosexuals firmly in control of California’s party leadership

Point Man for Connecticut Bishops on Plan B 'Emergency Contraception' Totally Confused on Issue

HARTFORD, October 2, 2007 ( - Barry Feldman is general counsel for St. Francis Hospital the lead spokesman for the Connecticut Catholic Bishops conference regarding their newly announced permission to administer the morning after pill Plan B to rape victims in Catholic hospitals in the state...

In an interview with Feldman displayed a fundamental error in thinking around Plan B. He suggested that the "morning after pill" which was condemned by the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2000 was entirely different from "emergency contraception" such as Plan B which was now being permitted in Catholic hospitals for rape victims after the administration of a pregnancy test...
Confused? That's putting it mildly...

And the Post Dispatch Doesn't Want to be Left Out...

This presidential campaign, Burke's rebukes snare Giuliani
By Tim Townsend

As the 2008 presidential campaign revs up, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is reprising his role from 2004.

And the blogs are buzzing.

This time, there's a Republican Catholic whose position on abortion rights contradicts church teaching. And Burke is pressing the issue again, saying that anyone — not just a bishop — administering Communion is morally obligated to deny it to wayward Catholic politicians.
And the point has been made numerous times - Canon 915 is perfectly clear in this regard, yet many refuse to accept it.

In an interview earlier this year, Burke said of Giuliani: "I can't imagine that as a Catholic he doesn't know that his stance on the protection of human life is wrong. If someone is publicly sinning, they should not approach to receive Holy Communion"...

A Giuliani campaign spokesman, Elliott Bundy, said in an e-mail: "This is a decision that should be left up to the bishops and the priests of the Church." Giuliani has refused to talk publicly about how he lives his Catholic faith, and Bundy would not answer questions about whether Giuliani regularly receives Communion, saying only, "Those issues are private." Giuliani is expected to be in Clayton on Thursday for a breakfast fundraising event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Advocating the killing of unborn babies makes it "public" - and Rudy should know better - and he does. He publicly dissents from a fundamental Church teaching and consequently can no longer receive Holy Communion until such time as he publicly recants.

What has provoked the chatter on blogs is an article Burke wrote in a prestigious but obscure Catholic legal journal. In the article, Burke says that as long as the politician in question had been cautioned by a church authority not to receive Communion, and has refused to heed those warnings, any Catholics qualified to serve the Eucharist — and who knew of the warning — would be committing a mortal sin if they failed to deny Communion to that politician. That includes lay people, as well as those who are ordained.

"That is the point," Burke said. "That's been, consistently, the church's position."
Consistently - throughout the entire life of the Church. Since discipline has been rejected as too harsh, rational thinking has suffered as well. Such confusion has, in many minds, affected one's ability to clearly distinguish between right and wrong, virtue and vice, good and evil. What has grown out of proportion in this extended period of laxity and self indulgence is the sickness of narcissism and the deadly sin of pride.

The archbishop said he was struck by the public reaction to his comment, and by the fact that so many Catholics didn't understand the issue.
The process of "dumbing-down" the people had no limits, and many, it seems felt secure in confirming others in their ignorance and in their sins. And this even extended to ecclesiastical leaders. It is basically a situation of spiritual neglect and malfeasance.

Last week, Burke said he had written the article simply to clarify traditional church teaching. He said that in denying Communion to wayward politicians, the church was not judging their souls, rather it was protecting them. It also is protecting the sacredness of the Eucharist and the Catholic faithful from scandal, he said.
Let's see how many fail to grasp this simple concept, shall we?

And one may note the the hateful rhetoric has begun in the PD Comment section already. And the ignorant always seem to be walking hand-in-hand with the calumniators.

It certainly seems like we'll have another busy year ahead - trying to educate those who are incapable of learning...Thank God we have prayer and can offer up these trials to Him! And let's not forget to pray for Archbishop Burke as he continues to educate the faithful and guide them toward Christ and His Kingdom!

Archbishop Burke: public figures must receive Holy Communion worthily

Pastors must protect the holiness of the Eucharist and communicant’s soul

From Catholic News Agency
St. Louis, Oct 2, 2007 / 10:24 am (CNA).- In an essay certain to have an impact on American politics, Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis has criticized lax attitudes concerning the reception of the Holy Eucharist. His words continue a long-standing debate about whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should receive communion.
It only a "debate" among those who refuse to recognize that the Holy Eucharist needs to be protected from profanation and that some souls must be denied It because of grave sin which is manifested publicly.

A link to Archbishop Burke's essay can be found to the left in the sidebar.

Archbishop Burke closed his essay by admonishing priests and bishops to fulfill their difficult duty:
"No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow. To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law."
And the scandal that ensues further diminishes the reverence and respect due to all that is sacred.

Gospel for Wednesday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, virgin

From: Luke 9:57-62

The Calling of Three Disciples

[57] As they were going along the road, a man said to Him (Jesus), "I will follow you wherever You go." [58] And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." [59] To another He said, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." [60] But He said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." [61] Another said, "I will follow You, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." [62] Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God."


57-62. Our Lord spells out very clearly what is involved in following Him. Being a Christian is not an easy or comfortable affair: it calls for self-denial and for putting God before everything else. See the notes on Matthew 8:18-22 and Matthew 8:22.

[The notes on Matthew 8:18-22 states:
18-22. From the very outset of His messianic preaching, Jesus rarely stays in the same place; He is always on the move. He "has nowhere to lay His head" (Matthew 8:20). Anyone who desires to be with him has to "follow Him". This phrase "following Jesus" has a very precise meaning: it means being His disciple (cf. Matthew 19:28). Sometimes the crowds "follow Him"; but Jesus' true disciples are those who "follow Him" in a permanent way, that is, who keep on following Him: being a "disciple of Jesus" and "following Him" amount to the same thing. After our Lord's ascension, "following Him" means being a Christian (cf. Acts 8:26). By the simple and sublime fact of Baptism, every Christian is called, by a divine vocation, to be a full disciple of our Lord, with all that that involves.

The evangelist here gives two specific cases of following Jesus. In the case of the scribe our Lord explains what faith requires of a person who realizes that he has been called; in the second case--that of the man who has already said "yes" to Jesus--He reminds him of what His commandment entails. The soldier who does not leave his position on the battlefront to bury his father, but instead leaves that to those in the rearguard, is doing his duty. If service to one's country makes demands like that on a person, all the more reason for it to happen in the service of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Following Christ, then, means we should make ourselves totally available to Him; whatever sacrifice He asks of us we should make: the call to follow Christ means staying up with Him, not falling behind; we either follow Him or lose Him. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus explained what following Him involves--a teaching which we find summarized in even the most basic catechism of Christian doctrine: a Christian is a man who believes in Jesus Christ--a faith he receives at Baptism -- and is duty bound to serve Him. Through prayer and friendship with the Lord every Christian should try to discover the demands which this service involves as far as he personally is concerned.]

[The notes on Matthew 8:22 states:
22. "Leave the dead to bury their own dead": although this sounds very harsh, it is a style of speaking which Jesus did sometimes use: here the "dead" clearly refers to those whose interest is limited to perishable things and who have no aspirations towards the things that last forever.

"If Jesus forbade him," St. John Chrysostom comments, "it was not to have us neglect the honor due to our parents, but to make us realize that nothing is more important than the things of Heaven and that we ought to cleave to these and not to put them off even for a little while, though our engagements be ever so indispensable and pressing" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 27).]

We see here the case of the man who wanted to follow Christ, but on one condition--that he be allowed to say goodbye to his family. Our Lord, seeing that he is rather undecided, gives him an answer which applies to all of us, for we have all received a calling to follow Him and we have to try not to receive this grace in vain. "We receive the grace of God in vain, when we receive it at the gate of our heart, and do not let it enter our heart. We receive it without receiving it, that is, we receive it without fruit, since there is no advantage in feeling the inspiration if we do not accept it [...]. It sometimes happens that being inspired to do much we consent not to the whole inspiration but only to some part of it, as did those good people in the Gospel, who upon the inspiration which our Lord gave them to follow Him wished to make reservations, the one to go first and bury his father, the other to go to take leave of his people" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 2, Chapter 11).

Our loyalty and fidelity to the mission God has given us should equip us to deal with every obstacle we meet: "There is never reason to look back (cf. Luke 9:62). The Lord is at our side. We have to be faithful and loyal; we have to face up to our obligations and we will find in Jesus the love and the stimulus we need to understand other people's faults and overcome our own" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 160).
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.