Saturday, November 24, 2007

Just for Today, November 25

A fervent religious man bears and takes all things well that are commanded him. A negligent and lukewarm religious man has trouble upon trouble, and on every side suffers anguish; because he has no comfort within, and is hindered from seeking any without.
A religious man that lives not in discipline lies open to dreadful ruin.
- Bk. I, ch. xxv.

How much anxiety our vow of obedience spares us! Simple religious are fortunate beings; as the will of superiors is their only compass, they can never lose their way, even if superiors make mistakes. But if a soul neglects to consult her compass, she will soon wander off into the desert where no water of grace is to be found.
- H.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 25

Is it not a great cruelty for us Christians, mem­bers of the body of the Holy Church, to attack one another?
-St. Catherine of Siena
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 November 25, Spiritual Inequalities

When I compare the favors accorded to certain saints, perhaps to souls that are close to me, with the difficulties that I experience in serving God perfectly, or in remaining faithful to prayer; when I consider how they seem to fly in the service of the Good Master, transported, as it were, to the seventh heaven, I feel myself moved not exactly to jealousy but to regret.

What have I done to the Good God? Have I not tried to serve Him with the entirety of my weak powers? Why does He treat me so differently?

Here is how one of the masters of the Spiritual Life, Alvarez de Paz, explains the reasons for these inequalities in the distribu­tion of graces:
"Equality does not demand that all the just be raised to the same degree of purity. The heavenly fatherland is not a pile of uniform stones, but a perfect city whose particular characteristic is inequality in rank, in variety, and dignity. After the manner of a city, there must be different classes. Those who are neither called nor elected to the eminent glory of the Apostles, the martyrs, or doctors, do not receive the corresponding grace for that glory or that state, but a wealth of help in harmony with their personal vocation."

Moreover, by this unequal distribution of grace the Savior has not only regarded the laws of Providence, but He has manifested His divine condescension to the infirmity of the elect, not wishing to impose on them a burden out of proportion to their strength, lest they succumb under the weight of the favors bestowed. That is why some have received five talents, others two, and others only one, according to their capacity of making them valuable.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Mexican Government: “The cathedral belongs to the nation”

An update to the post, Leftists attack Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral during Sunday Mass :

Government authorities say Catholic Church powerless to close Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral despite recent attacks by leftists because it is state-owned property

When ecclesiastical authorities decided to close the doors of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City indefinitely following a Sunday, Nov. 18, attack on worshippers by leftists during the noon Mass, some politicians, instead of condemning the aggressors, severely criticized the Church for shuttering the cathedral.

The first reaction came from Marcelo Ebrard, chief of government for Mexico’s capital city, the Federal District. After learning the cathedral had been closed, Ebrard declared, “The cathedral belongs to the nation, not to the Catholic church, so they cannot unilaterally close it up....”

Gospel for Nov 24, Memorial, St Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, & his companions, martyrs

Old Calendar: St. John of the Cross, confessor and doctor; St. Chrysogonus, martyr

From: Luke 20:27-40

The Resurrection of the Dead

[27] There came to Him (Jesus) some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, [28] and they asked Him a question saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. [29] Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; [30] and the second [31] and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. [32] Afterward the woman also died. [33] In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."

[34] And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; [35] but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, [36] for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. [37] But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. [38] Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him." [39] And some of scribes answered, "Teacher, You have spoken well." [40] For they no longer dared to ask Him any question.


27-40. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the body or the immortality of the soul. They came along to ask Jesus a question which is apparently unanswerable. According to the Levirate law (cf. Deuteronomy 25:5ff), if a man died without issue, his brother was duty bound to marry his widow to provide his brother with descendants. The consequences of this law would seem to give rise to a ridiculous situation at the resurrection of the dead.

Our Lord replies by reaffirming that there will be a resurrection; and by explaining the properties of those who have risen again, the Sadducees' argument simply evaporates. In this world people marry in order to continue the species: that is the primary aim of marriage. After the resurrection there will be no more marriage because people will not die anymore.

Quoting Sacred Scripture (Exodus 3:2, 6) our Lord shows the grave mistake the Sadducees make, and He argues: God is not the God of the dead but of the living, that is to say, there exists a permanent relationship between God and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who have been dead for years. Therefore, although these just men have died as far as their bodies are concerned, they are alive, truly alive, in God--their souls are immortal--and they are awaiting the resurrection of their bodies.

See also the notes on Matthew 22:23-33 and Mark 12:18-27.

[The note on Matthew 22:23-33 states:
23-33. The Sadducees argue against belief in the resurrection of the dead on the basis of the Levirate law, a Jewish law which laid down that when a married man died without issue, one of his brothers, according to a fixed order, should marry his widow and the first son of that union be given the dead man's name. By outlining an extreme cases the Sadducees make the law and belief in resurrection look ridiculous. In His reply, Jesus shows up the frivolity of their objections and asserts the truth of the resurrection of the dead.]

[The note on Mark 12:18-27 states:
18-27. Before answering the difficulty proposed by the Sadducees, Jesus wants to identify the source of the problem--man's tendency to confine the greatness of God inside a human framework through excessivereliance on reason, not giving due weight to divine Revelation and the power of God. A person can have difficulty with the truths of faith; this is not surprising, for these truths are above human reason. But it is ridiculous to try to find contradictions in the revealed word of God; this only leads away from any solution of difficulty and may make it impossible to find one's way back to God. We need to approach Sacred Scripture, and, in general, the things of God, with the humility which faith demands. In the passage about the burning bush, which Jesus quotes to the Sadducees, God says this to Moses: "Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).]
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, November 23, 2007

Just for Today, November 24

I will hear what the Lord God will speak to me (Ps. lxxxiv).

Happy is that soul which heareth the Lord speaking within her, and from His mouth receiveth the word of comfort! Happy ears, which receive the accents of the divine whisper, and take no notice of the whisper­ings of the world. Happy ears, indeed, which hearken to Truth itself teaching within, and not to the voice which soundeth without.
- Bk. III, ch. i.

When I was seventeen and eighteen I found much light in the writings of St John of the Cross, and he was my principal guide, but later on all spiritual writers left me in great dryness of spirit, and do so still. However beautiful and moving a book may be, as soon as I begin to read I am incapable of taking it in, and my heart is troubled; or if I do understand, my mind is unable to meditate further. In this state of helplessness the Scriptures and the Imitation come to my assistance, and in them I find a hidden manna, pure and sustaining.

The Gospel is my chief support in prayer, and I find in it all that my poor little soul needs. I am always finding new light there, and hidden, mysterious mean­ings; I learn by experience that the kingdom of God is within us (Luke xvii, 21). The divine Master has no needs of books or other teachers to do His work; He instructs the soul silently, without words. I have never heard Him, but I know that He is within me, inspiring and prompting me at the moment I need it most. It is not usually at my prayer that I see this new light, but when doing my ordinary work during the day.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 24

Afflictions are the most certain proofs that God can give us of His love for us.
-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 November 24, Love of the Cross

In a convent of Carmelites, at the time of St. John of the Cross, there was a painting representing Jesus carrying His Cross. The Saint decided to remove this painting from the monastery to the church where the faithful would be able to honor it. Then one day, when St. John of the Cross was in prayer, he heard the Savior say to him,
"Brother John, ask what you wish and I will grant you this for the service that you have rendered me."
To which the monk gave this sublime answer, "Lord, I wish that you would give me some sufferings to bear for You, and that I may be con­temned and regarded as of little value."

There is a double lesson in this for me.

First: Devotion to the cross. I should love with all my heart the image of Christ on Calvary and venerate particularly the cru­cifix I received at Profession.

Secondly: I must understand that love of the cross is not merely love for an object of wood or of brass which recalls the gibbet of my Savior, but the loving acceptance of the great or small occa­sions of crucifixion which might be offered me.

O Jesus, through the intercession of your crucified servant, John of the Cross, give me devotion to the Cross and love of the Cross. Many times I have asked this grace of You, and You know well how my need for it increases. Therefore, I beg You humbly to grant my prayer. The generosity of the saints delights me; but it also frightens me; I feel myself so inferior to them in valor and in love; without doubt I have not their grace. Grant that from afar, at my level, I may serve without pusillanimity or dis­couragement.

Up, my soul! Follow the cross of the Good Master, as the least of that noble line of Saints who did not spare themselves at all when there was question of the honor of Christ.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Coming Next Friday, "Spe Salvi," Next Encyclical of Pope Benedict

VATICAN CITY, NOV 23, 2007 (VIS) - The new Encyclical of Benedict XVI, "Spe salvi," will be presented in the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Friday, November 30. The document will be presented by Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Indicted "Life Teen" Co-founder Priest Starts New Worship Center

The former pastor at a Mesa Catholic church who faces seven misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct has started a new worship center and conducted his first services.

More than 500 worshippers gathered to hear Dale Fushek conduct a service at a Mesa hotel Thursday.

Known as "Monsignor Dale" during his 20 years at St. Timothy's, Fushek co-founded the national Life Teen program and served as vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix...

On Thanksgiving Day, he said he was happy to be back before a group of worshippers.

"I feel alive again," he said after the two-hour morning service. "This was inspiring and beautiful. I thought there was a really good spirit among the people here."

Fushek said he started the nondenominational Praise and Worship Center as a place where people can come to worship between regular services, not as competition for the Catholic Church.
A nondenominational Praise and Worship Center?

Gospel for Friday, 33rd Week In Ordinary Time

Optional Memorials of St. Clement I, pope & martyr;
St. Columban, abbot;
Bl. Miguel Pro, priest and martyr
Old Calendar: St. Clement I; St. Felicitas, martyr

From: Luke 19:45-48

Jesus in the Temple

[45] And He (Jesus) entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, [46] saying to them, "It is written, `My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers."

[47] And He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy Him; [48] but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon His words.


45-48. Jesus' indignation shows His zeal for the glory of His Father, to be recognized at this time in the temple itself. He inveighs against the traders for engaging in business which has nothing to do with divine worship (cf. Matthew 21:12; Mark 11-15). Even the priests allowed some of these abuses to go on--perhaps because they benefited from them in the form of taxes. The traders did perform services necessary for divine worship but this was vitiated by their excessive desire for gain, turning the temple into a marketplace.

"My house shall be a house of prayer": Jesus uses these words from Isaiah (56:7; cf. Jeremiah 7:11) to underline the purpose of the temple. Jesus' behavior shows the respect the Temple of Jerusalem deserved; how much more reverence should be shown our churches, where Jesus Himself is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. (cf. notes on Matthew 21:12-13; and Mark 11:15-18).

[The notes on Matthew 21:12-13 states:
12-13. Although God is present everywhere and cannot be confined within the walls of temples built by man (Acts 17:24-25), God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle where He would dwell among the Israelites (Exodus 25:40). Once the Jewish people were established in Palestine, King Solomon, also in obedience to a divine instruction, built the temple of Jerusalem (1 Kings 6-8), where people went to render public worship to God (Deuteronomy 12).

Exodus (23:15) commanded the Israelites not to enter the temple empty-handed, but to bring some victim to be sacrificed. To make this easier for people who had to travel a certain distance, a veritable market developed in the temple courtyards with animals being bought and sold for sacrificial purposes. Originally this may have made sense, but seemingly as time went on commercial gain became the dominant purpose of this buying and selling of victims; probably the priests themselves and temple servants benefited from this trade or even operated it. The net result was that the temple looked more like a livestock mart than a place for meeting God.

Moved by zeal for His Father's house (John 2:17), Jesus cannot tolerate this deplorable abuse and in holy anger He ejects everyone--to show people the respect and reverence due to the temple as a holy place. We should show much greater respect in the Christian temple--the Christian churches--where the eucharistic sacrifice is celebrated and where Jesus Christ, God and Man, is really and truly present, reserved in the tabernacle. For a Christian, proper dress, liturgical gestures and postures, genuflections and reverence to the tabernacle, etc. are expressions of the respect due to the Lord in His temple.

[The notes on Mark 11:15-18 states:
15-18. Our Lord does not abide lack of faith or piety in things to do with the worship of God. If He acts so vigorously to defend the temple of the Old Law, it indicates how we should truly conduct ourselves in the Christian temple, where He is really and truly present in the Blessed Eucharist. "Piety has its own good manners. Learn them. It's a shame to see those `pious' people who don't know how to attend Mass--even though they go daily,--nor how to bless themselves (they throw their hands about in the weirdest fashion), nor how to bend the knee before the Tabernacle (their ridiculous genuflections seem a mockery), nor how to bow their heads reverently before a picture of our Lady" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 541).]
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, November 22, 2007

Just for Today, November 23

Oh! how much is the pure love of Jesus able to do, when it is not mixed with any self-interest or self-love! Are not all those to be called hirelings, who are always seeking consolation? Are they not proved to be rather lovers of themselves than of Christ, who are always thinking of their own profit and gain?

Where shall we find a man that is willing to serve God gratis?
- Bk. II, ch. xi.

I do not serve Thee, Lord, for gain,
That were a hireling's way!
Love does not wait with outstretched hand
For payment day by day.
My heart's love is my only wealth,
And this I bring to Thee;
I only ask that to the end
Thy handmaid I may be.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 23

When one has fallen into some fault, what bet­ter remedy can there be than to have immediate recourse to the Most Blessed Sacrament ?
-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 November 23, Wide Catholicity

How well these two words go together. Wide means compre­hensive. Catholicity means universality. It is almost a repetition. But not a useless repetition, however. It could happen that, living in a relatively narrow milieu, my Catholicity should confine itself within the limits of what I see and hear and touch. I must break this wall in thought to reach out as far as the most distant regions, wherever there is a soul in need.

During a recreation at Granada, the brothers of St. John of the Cross saw him construct a little mound of gravel stones, dividing it into several piles, after which he put aside a little pebble and remained a long time looking at it as if riveted to the spot. They asked him for an explanation. He said that this little pebble rep­resented for him the least of the souls reached by the preaching of the Gospel, in relation to the number of human beings upon earth - for every two thousand inhabitants living on the earth were there not still a thousand pagans?

I will often think of this little pebble of St. John of the Cross, or rather of what it represented for him, that I may enlarge my intentions to take in the needs of the world; to grieve that Our Savior is so little known; to pray for the spread of Christianity in pagan countries; to recommend foreign missionaries frequently to Our Lord.

"O my God, increase in me the spirit of the Father and let this be my constant desire, Thy Kingdom Come!"
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Thanksgiving greetings & blessings from Fr. John Corapi & Co-workers

From Fr Corapi via email:

I want to take a moment this Thanksgiving day to greet and bless all of our dear friends and customers. From the day I began my ministry it has been you who encouraged me and made what we do possible. You have been kind and you have been generous, purchasing the media materials that alone provide the financial support we need to carry on. We receive no funds from the Church to do our work, only your support...No salaries, no benefits, no subsidies of any kind. We don't need them. You support us, and we in turn contribute to the support of the Church's many good works.

Early this morning before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I:

*thanked God for God, as my old friend Bernice used to say: 'Thank God for God!'

*thanked God for the 'gift Who contains all gifts,' the Holy Spirit.

*thanked God for Jesus in the most holy Eucharist, truly Emmanuel, 'God among us.'

*thanked God for our Blessed Mother whose 'fiat' gave us the Word made flesh.

*thanked God for all of the Angels and all of the saints, who help us every day.

*thanked God for Holy Mother Church, pillar and bulwark of truth.

*thanked God for my mother, father, grandparents, and all the Catholic family I was fortunate enough to grow up in.

*thanked God for Tamra and Matt, without whom none of my work would go on.

*thanked God for you, our friends and customers at & Santa Cruz Media.

*thanked God for my health, when it is good, and even when it isn't - for that is the gift of the Cross, the power to sanctify and save souls.

*thanked God for being born in and living in the United States of America, not perfect, but still the best there is.

*thanked God for the blessings of creation: the beauty of the mountains, the rivers, the birds and fish, the animals, the trees, and everything that is.

*thanked God for each and every person who ever persecuted, hated, or cursed me and what I do, for it is of such hard stones that the road to Heaven is paved.

*thanked God for being able to thank Him, for it is only through the Holy Spirit in Jesus that we are enabled to give thanks to our Father.

Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving,
Fr. John Corapi

Gospel for Nov 22, Memorial: St Cecelia, virgin and martyr

Thanksgiving Day
Old Calendar: St. Cecilia

From: Luke 19:41-44

Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem

[41] And when He (Jesus) drew near and saw the city He wept over it, [42] saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. [43] For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, [44] and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation."


41-44. When the procession reaches a place where there is a good view of the city, they are disconcerted by Jesus' unexpected weeping. Our Lord explains why He is weeping, by prophesying the destruction of the city which He loved so much: not one stone will remain on another, and its inhabitants will be massacred--a prophecy which was fulfilled in the year 70, when Titus razed the city and the temple was destroyed. These historical events will be a punishment for Jerusalem failing to recognize the time of its visitation, that is, for closing its gates to the salvific coming of the Redeemer. Jesus loved the Jews with a very special love: they were the first to whom the Gospel was preached (cf. Matthew 10:5-6); to them He directed His ministry (cf. Matthew 15:24); He showed His word and by His miracles that He was the Son of God and the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures. But the Jews for the most part failed to appreciate the grace the Lord was offering them; their leaders led them to the extreme of calling for Jesus to be crucified.

Jesus visits every one of us; He comes as our Savior; He teaches us through the preaching of the Church; He gives us forgiveness and grace through the sacraments. We should not reject our Lord, we should not remain indifferent to His visit.
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, November 21, 2007

Just for Today, November 22

No chastity is secure without Thy protection. No guard that we can keep upon ourselves will profit us, if Thy holy providence watch not over us.
- Bk. III, ch. xiv.

The thought of dear little St Cecilia fills me with delight; what a model she was! In the midst of a pagan world, and at a time of great danger, when she was about to become the bride of a man who had no thoughts of anything higher than earthly love, it seems to me that she should have wept and trembled. Instead of which, while the musical instruments were playing, Cecilia sang unto the Lord in her heart (Office of St Cecilia). What sublime trust! No doubt she heard other melodies than those of earth, the divine Bridegroom sang to her, and the angels repeated the refrain they sang on that blessed night: Glory be to God in the high­est, and peace on earth to men of good will!

The glory of God, how well Cecilia understood it! She sought it with all the ardor of her soul, and know­ing how Christ thirsted for souls, longed to bring Him this young Roman. He thought only of earthly glory, but the wise virgin, in whose footsteps so many were to tread, made of him a martyr. She fears nothing: the angels promised and sang of peace; she knew that the Prince of Peace was bound to protect her, preserve her virginity, and reward her at the end. O how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory (Wisd. iv, 1).
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 22

If we would advance in virtue, we must not neglect little things, for they pave the way to greater.

-St. Teresa
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 November 22, Exaggerations

Exaggeration lies in wait for sensitive and imaginative persons. A good proof of this is given by the false lights which come only from a somewhat troubled soul; or from simple remembrances of past reading; from uncontrolled impulses that a little more wisdom would reveal as emanating from the Spirit of Evil transformed for the needs of his cause into an Angel of Light.

How many examples of this we find throughout the History of the Church! Some said "Let us close the books, forget studies, and give ourselves to prayer and nothing but prayer," and others, "The servants of God should not obey a superior in anything that would disturb contemplation." Under pretext of developing the spirit of prayer, some neglected the duties of their state. Besides these there were exaggerations in matters of afflictive penances, which weakened the body and were entirely beyond the spirit of the Rule, and without the permission of the superior, not to men­tion the sad lack of good plain common sense they revealed.

True wisdom is more in keeping with the idea of St. John of the Cross, who wrote in The Ascent of Carmel, "We ought to hold so firmly to reason and doctrine that if, in spite of ourselves and without our seeking, we receive some supernatural communication, we will credit only what harmonizes with the one or the other; and then further we will accept it not because it is a revelation, but because it is reasonable, passing over what is purely revelation."
My God, give me generosity, but an intelligent, well-regulated and prudent generosity, subject to obedience and sound judgment.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Mordor Incorporated (or Catholics for a Free Choice and allies)

Diogenes writes:
It seldom hurts to pay attention to what the opposition are up to. The Catholics for a Free Choice website provides us with a lengthy study of pro-life-ish tendencies within the progressive movement in general and the Democratic Party in particular, with a particular focus on Catholic Democratic office holders. It is a monster PDF file (52 pages), and needlessly hard to view, but worth a look if you're interested in how the pro-aborts size up their allies and enemies. My sense is they've got a good grasp of who's helping them and who's hurting (their remarks on the late Cardinal Bernardin are especially noteworthy)....

[a paragraph from the conclusion states:]
Future elections, especially the presidential one in 2008, will likely see the Catholic hierarchy and its conservative allies seeking to shape the result, vilifying prochoice Catholics running for office and placing abortion above all other issues -- to the detriment of women and their families throughout the U.S.
As Phil Lawler says, a basic law of politics is to find out what your adversary doesn't want you to do, and then do more of it. Take a half-hour to study this document, and then ask yourself which statement is closer to the truth:

Catholics for a Free Choice doesn't want us to do what Cardinal Mahony is doing -- or, Catholics for a Free Choice doesn't want us to do an Archbishop Burke.
Haven't seen the report yet, but we can make an educated guess...

Diogenes "Off the Record" commentary is here...and as always, quite excellent...

Post-Dispatch Journalist Picks "Turkeys"

Deb Peterson, allegedly a journalist for the Post-Disgrace, has taken on the arduous task choosing noteworthy individuals in the St Louis area and beyond for her prestigious "turkey" awards.

She states:
TURKEY TIME: It is the somewhat anticipated, somewhat dreaded time of the year for this columnist to hand out her "Turkey" awards for Thanksgiving 2007. If your particular gobbler's carcass didn't get picked over, don't stew. We'll just have to try it again next year. But for now, the winners are:

Presumably as an act of humility, she elected to exclude herself and other worthy individuals, (J.C. Corcoran comes to mind), while choosing some who actually do what they are charged to do:

The Archbishop of Perpetual Turkey, Raymond Burke, had another year of ill-planned press and recognition. He threatened to excommunicate more local Catholics; caused a ruckus by publicly protesting a fundraiser to benefit the Bob Costas Cancer Center because it was going to include pro-choice supporter Sheryl Crow; and warned Rudy Giuliani that he would not give him Communion because the GOP presidential hopeful is pro-choice. Hopefully someone can persuade Burke to keep his gobbler down and out of the spotlight for the upcoming year. Nothing would make me more thankful than to not to have to give him this recognition again.

I would think that most people care not a whit about about Peterson's opinion, especially considering that, as a journalist, her grasp of facts in the above instances is woefully deficient.

Rather than refuting in detail each of her qualifying turkeydom examples, a brief explanation should more than suffice, as the details are contained within this site and elsewhere. As a matter of fact, so plentiful was the available information providing the reasons why Archbishop Burke performed his actions faithfully and diligently, it is difficult to understand why a journalist, supposedly with some investigative skills, was unable to find them.

One might even be led to believe that the "journalist" has an "ax to grind," so to speak, in a manner similar to that of J.C. Corcoran of recent days. We can actually see her first critical review of Archbishop-elect Burke back in December of 2003 here. The link at this post no longer works but it provided a clear and easy to understand response by Dr. Arthur Hippler, the Justice and Peace Director of the Diocese of La Crosse...

It's clear that things have changed little at the Post, and elsewhere...a persistent ingratitude for a good and faithful shepherd for the people of God in St Louis.

I am reminded that St Thomas Aquinas teaches us something about ingratitude and thanksgiving:

It would seem that the ingratitude, whereby a subsequent sin causes the return of sins previously forgiven, is a special sin. For, the giving of thanks belongs to counter passion, which is a necessary condition of justice. But justice is a special virtue. Therefore this ingratitude is a special sin. Thanksgiving is a special virtue. But ingratitude is opposed to thanksgiving. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin.

In addition to praying for Archbishop Burke and his family, we should also pray for those who feel it is their calling in life to attack and ridicule Archbishop Burke, the Church, and St Louis Catholics. We can be thankful that our Lord sees it fitting to provide us this cross to offer up to Him as a means penance and reparation.

Stem Cell Breakthrough Advances Science Without 'Ethical Landmines,' Says Cardinal Rigali

WASHINGTON, D.C. (USCCB)—The following statement was released November 20, 2007, by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

"Studies published this week in the journals Cell and Science offer new hope for advancing stem cell research and therapies while fully respecting the dignity of human life...

"Ian Wilmut, head of the team that cloned 'Dolly' the sheep, now says he is abandoning efforts at human 'therapeutic cloning' to pursue this adult cell reprogramming avenue instead, because it is technically superior as well as 'easier to accept socially.'

"I am grateful today for scientists who took up the challenge of finding morally acceptable ways to pursue stem cell research, and for government leaders who have encouraged and funded such avenues. This advance reminds us once again that medical progress and respect for human life are not in conflict; they can and should support and enrich one another for the good of all."

Some Thanksgiving Thoughts

From Archbishop Burke's column:
Thanksgiving Day and the Royal Heart of Jesus

...Although Thanksgiving Day is a civic holiday, it was religious in its origins and remains for us always a religious celebration. Even as the Pilgrims desired to give thanks to God for the first harvest brought home in their new-found land, we want to give thanks to God for all of his many blessings given to us in our homeland which we love.

Thanksgiving defines for us our whole being. It is our response to God Who has first loved us and has given up His life for us, out of pure and selfless love. Reflecting upon the mystery of God’s love of us, we can only be filled with the deepest sentiments of gratitude toward Him and of love of Him, in return. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes our moral life as “the acknowledgment and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving” (n. 2062)...

Be assured that you and your families will be remembered in my prayers, especially at Holy Mass, on Thanksgiving Day. I will be spending a few days with my family in Wisconsin during the week of Thanksgiving Day. As I thank God for all of His many blessings extended toward me, I will be remembering, with particular affection, you whom I am most blessed to serve. I will be asking God to bless your home with the unity and peace of the Holy Family of Nazareth...

Thanksgiving and the Enthronement of the Royal Heart of Jesus
On the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, bringing to a conclusion the current Liturgical Year. The new image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, which I dedicated and blessed on June 17th of this year, expresses the true meaning of the kingship of Christ. Christ rules from His glorious pierced Heart, receiving into His all-glorious Heart the hearts of all who call upon His Name and invoke His mercy. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is rightly also called the Royal Heart of Jesus...

On Thanksgiving Day and on the Solemnity of Christ the King, be sure to give special honor to the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which you have enthroned in your home. Gather before the image of the pierced Heart of Jesus to recognize God’s manifold blessings in your life and in our world, and to offer Him your homage of praise and thanksgiving... [emphasis added]

Again, my best wishes for the celebration of Thanksgiving Day and the Solemnity of Christ the King. Please continue to pray for me that God will help me to be a good, faithful and generous shepherd of His flock. You will be in my prayers, as I thank God for calling me to serve you, His flock in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. In these days, let us pray with special fervor: Heart of Jesus, of Whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.
The full version of Archbishop Burke's column can be read here. (PDF file)

As we give thanks to Our Lord, especially tomorrow, remember to pray also for Archbishop Burke as he prays for all the faithful of St Louis and to offer thanks for being so blessed to have such a faithful shepherd.

And from the past, but still worth reading:

Preparing for Thanksgiving Day-Thank you, God!

Last year's Thanksgiving Address by Fr John Corapi

Why the Pope is right to purge modern music

Damian Thompson, editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, writes:
Church music in Italy is generally atrocious, and the Vatican is no exception.

Since he arrived in Rome nearly 30 years ago, the music-loving Joseph Ratzinger has had to endure the sub-operatic warbling of bad 20th-century music. Now he has had enough.

The Pope, who last year appointed a new choir director of St Peter's, wants Gregorian chant, polyphony and baroque masterpieces to dominate the repertoire in the basilica and the Sistine chapel. And, by making his preferences clear, he is sending out a message to the whole Catholic Church.
But only those with ears to hear will listen, I'm afraid...Be thankful if you live in a diocese where humility, fidelity, and obedience are considered virtues rather than vices. Pray and practice perseverance if you're still waiting.

We are moving into an era of liturgical revolution. Benedict detests the feeble "folk Masses" that have remained the staple fare of Catholic worship long after they went out of musical fashion.

Many of us would claim that we've been enduring a 40-year war and revolution when it comes to liturgical music. What a blessing it would be if the teacings of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council were truly followed - that of the organ and Gregorian chant holding pride of place in the liturgy. Can this be too much to ask for? Can we not offer to God our best rather than the mediocrity of our "folk masses"?

He wants the Church to rediscover the treasure of its heritage - and that includes Gregorian chant as well as the pre-1970 Latin Mass that can now be celebrated without the permission of bishops.
Treasures, indeed! A restoration of the beauty of our heritage would, I firmly believe, be a welcomed first step in restoring a rightful and necessary awe and reverence to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The old guard of trendy choir directors and composers (many of whom have signed lucrative contracts with dioceses) will fight his reforms every inch of the way, egged on by philistine bishops.
I hear there is a new "Rock Band" game coming out for Xbox, PS3 and Wii - perhaps no longer needed guitarists, drummers and such can start a new enterprise with contests, prizes, and such - something more suited for their "talents" outside the sanctuary?

The next generation of choir directors have been charged by the Pope with the task of reintroducing beautiful music into church. If they succeed, then at long last the pews may begin to fill up again.
It would certainly help - It's shameful that so many offer to God, not the best, but that which is mundane, not the 'first fruits' but the leftovers of the hippie generations, where anyone who could play a couple of guitar chords or beat the bongos could "perform" or (actively participate) at a parish Mass...

A seemingly growing number of faithful Catholics are finding (or have found) parishes where Holy Mass is celebrated absent any music - which is a welcomed respite from having to endure the pain of listening to today's "guitar heroes".

The sooner the Holy Father's restoration of Sacred Music comes about, the better - it will help in the restoration of the majesty of the most precious sacrament Christ gave us and it will allow us to truly offer to God our best!

"Eucharistic" Ceremony Highlights Local Women Ordained as Priests

From Baltimore we read:
Priest[ess] Andrea Johnson of Annapolis, dressed in a white robe, the red swirls on her sash rippling like water, lifts a goblet of wine to offer [un]Holy Communion at the Stony Run Friends meetinghouse in North Baltimore on Nov. 12. Behind her, Deacon Gloria Carpeneto of Catonsville offers grape juice and gluten-free rice cakes to those on restricted diets...

"Discrimination, hierarchical power, and exclusion are being challenged here today," Carpeneto says in her homily.

Of course! Having a wiccan-type retreat, playing dress-up and pretending to celebrate Mass was a real challenge to the Bishops gathered for their bi-annual meeting. Wasn't that covered on EWTN?

At the Stony Run liturgy, Womenpriests gave out polished stones of stained glass containing mustard seeds to symbolize the growth they expect from small beginnings.
A new type of power crystal...?

"It's a bit of a misnomer for them to call themselves Roman Catholics," says Mark Gray of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, which gathers data on the Catholic Church. "They're not recognized by the official Roman Catholic Church."
They're not recognized by anyone except themselves or others whose oppose the Catholic Church.

The women are no longer trying to gain Vatican approval. "We're not complaining, we're modeling," [Bridget Mary] Meehan, [national spokeswoman for Roman Catholic Womenpriests] says. The law forbidding female ordination is discriminatory, and church tradition allows for holy disobedience in the face of injustice, she says. She quotes St. Thomas Aquinas to back up her assertion: "I would rather die excommunicated than violate my conscience."
Translation, echoing the words of Lucifer, "I will not serve!" and "I would rather die and go to hell than conform my will to that of God."

Meehan dismisses the excommunications. Once baptized a Catholic, always a Catholic, she says. "We are passionately Roman Catholic Church," she says. "What can they do, burn us at the stake?"
It's amazing - they all use the same talking points - recently Rose Hudson from the St Louis area said the same thing. A few hundred years ago, they would not even consider doing what they are doing today, precisely because they would not have the courage to submit themselves to such a death.
Joan of Arc, who was burned to death for heresy in 1431, is a role model for the group. A few decades after her death, the church declared Joan an innocent martyr and, in 1920, made her a saint. The women priests hope the church has a similar change of heart about them and welcome dialogue.
St Joan never attempted to pretend to be a priestess - and since 'women priests' are a theological impossibility, these lost women will be waiting an eternity for something which will never happen.

Leftists attack Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral during Sunday Mass

The doors to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City have been closed indefinitely following a Sunday, Nov. 18, incident during which about 150 militants of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution violently broke in during Sunday’s noon Mass and tried to take over the altar, the Archdiocese of Mexico announced...

Cathedral Dean Rubén Ávila Blancas characterized the attack as “a terrorist act” in a press conference following the incident. “It was a condemnable and inadmissible act,” he said...

The 50 elements of the Mexico City police department in charge of Cathedral security did nothing to stop the mob....

As a consequence, said the communiqué, “the Metropolitan Cathedral will close its doors until authorities pledge to guarantee freedom of worship and the security of people attending religious services...”
Leftists are so predictable...

Gospel for Nov 21, Memorial, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Old Calendar: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Columban, Abbot

From: Luke 19:11-28

Parable of the Pounds

[11] As they heard these things, He (Jesus) proceeded to tell a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the Kingdom of God was to appear immediately. [12] He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive kingly power and then return. [13] Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, `Trade with these till I come.' [14] But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him saying, `We do not want this man to reign over us.' [15] When he returned, having received the kingly power, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. [16] The first came before him, saying, `Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.' [17] And he said to him, `Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.' [18] And the second came, saying, `Lord, your pound has made five pounds.' [19] And he said to him, `And you are to be over five cities.' [20] Then another came, saying, `Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; [21] for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.' [22] He said to him, `I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? [23] Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?' [24] And he said to those who stood by, `Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.' [25] (And they said to him, `Lord, he has ten pounds!') [26] `I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [27] But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'"

The Messiah Enters the Holy City

[28] And when He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.


11. The disciples had a wrong concept of the Kingdom of Heaven: they thought it was about to happen and they saw it in earthly terms: they envisaged Jesus conquering the Roman tyrant and immediately establishing the Kingdom in the holy city of Jerusalem, and that when that happened they would hold privileged positions in the Kingdom. There is always a danger of Christians failing to grasp the transcendent, supernatural character of the Kingdom of God in this world, that is, the Church, which "has but one sole purpose--that the Kingdom of God may come and the salvation of the human race may be accomplished." (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 45).

Through this parable our Lord teaches us that, although His reign has begun, it will only be fully manifested later on. In the time left to us we should use all the resources and graces God gives us, in order to merit the reward.

13. The "mina", here translated as "pound", was worth about 35 grammes of gold. This parable is very like the parable of the talents reported in St. Matthew (cf. 25:14-30).

14. The last part of this verse, although it has a very specific context, reflects the attitude of many people who do not want to bear the sweet yoke of our Lord and who reject Him as king. "There are millions of people in the world who reject Jesus Christ in this way; or rather they reject His shadow, for they do not know Christ. They have not seen the beauty of His face; they do not realize how wonderful His teaching is. This sad state of affairs makes me want to atone to our Lord. When I hear that endless clamor--expressed more in ignoble actions than in words--I feel the need to cry out, `He must reign!' (1 Corinthians 15:25)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 179).

17. God counts on our fidelity in little things, and the greater our effort in this regard the greater the reward we will receive: "Because you have been `in pauca fidelis', faithful in small things, come and join in your Master's happiness. The words are Christ's. `In pauca fidelis!... Now will you neglect little things, if Heaven itself is promised to those who mind them?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 819).

24-26. God expects us to strive to put to good use the gifts we have received--and He lavishly rewards those who respond to His grace. The king in the parable is shown to be very generous towards his servants--and generous in rewarding those who managed to increase the money they were given. But he is very severe towards the lazy servant who was also the recipient of a gift from his Lord, who did not let it erode but guarded it carefully--and for this his king criticizes him: he failed to fulfill the just command the king gave him when he gave him the money: "Trade till I come." If we appreciate the treasures the Lord has given us--life, the gift of faith, grace--we will make a special effort to make them bear fruit--by fulfilling our duties, working hard and doing apostolate. "Don't let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love. With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 1).

28. Normally in the Gospels when there is mention of going to the Holy City it is in terms of "going up" to Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 20:18; John 7:8), probably because geographically the city is located on Mount Zion. Besides, since the temple was the religious and political center, going up to Jerusalem had also a sacred meaning of ascending to the holy place, where sacrifices were offered to God.

Particularly in the Gospel of St. Luke, our Lord's whole life is seen in terms of a continuous ascent towards Jerusalem, where His self-surrender reaches its high point in the redemptive sacrifice of the Cross. Here Jesus is on the point of entering the city, conscious of the fact that His passion and death are imminent.
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, November 20, 2007

Just for Today, November 21

Man beholds the face; but God looks upon the heart.
Man considers the actions; but God weighs the inten­tions.
-Bk. II, ch. vi.

I showed her a photograph of herself: "That is only the envelope; when shall we see the letter? How I would love to see the letter!"
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 21

The Blessed Virgin is, of all the works of the Creator, the most excellent, and to find anything in nature more grand one must go to the Author of nature Himself.

-St. Peter Damian
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 November 21, The Presentation of Mary

A little girl offering herself to God at some particular place in the world is nothing especially moving or striking; a child who says her prayer is a pretty picture, but one which is renewed a thousand times in various places, consequently not at all novel.

Yes, but who is this little girl and what is her prayer and her offering?

When we hear that, at about the same age, she who was to be­years of age, was found praying behind heavy curtains and that upon being asked "What are you doing?" she answered "I am thinking," we are deeply moved because the words are rich in meaning and Little Therese has since become a great saint.

When we hear that at about the same age she who was to be­come St. Margaret Mary vowed her virginity to God, again and for similar reasons, we admire the sublimity of an act so unex­pected at such an age.

Little Mary is different again from her humble sisters, Therese and Marguerite. There is a considerable difference between an ordinary Saint and the Queen of all Saints. And her offering to God on the day of her presentation, when she was only about three years old, expresses a love much more intense than that of the little girl of Verosvres or of the little girl of Alencon.

I will live this scene and unite myself to it. I will try to recall the first workings of grace in my soul, quite some time ago; my very first desires to give myself to God. What pristine purity! I was so young but my love was even then very deep. Has it gained or lost since?

Mary, you have grown, but I have remained a child. At least I am justified by my littleness to beg you to make my offering of today pass through your heart. You are willing, aren't you?
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

New stem-cell technique could eliminate moral problems

Philadelphia, Nov. 20, 2007 ( - A new technique for obtaining stem cells could eliminate the public pressure for destructive research on human embryos, a Catholic think-tank reports.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) has welcomed the results of research by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Dr. James Thomson, who have found a method of using skin cells to obtain pluripotent stem cells. By "reprogramming" the skin cells, the researchers found that they could reproduce the features that scientists find most desirable in embryonic stem cells...
I'm not certain that this will appease those who want to continue to feed at the public trough while killing children in their embryonic stage, but we can pray that all human cloning facilities are eventually closed down.

Brazilian Government's National Health Conference Rejects Abortion

Vote Seen As Devastating Blow Against Lula Regime's Desire to Legalize Practice
Good news from Brazil...more at LifeSiteNews.

Tale of Two Prawns

From a repeatedly forwarded email:

Far away in the tropical waters of the Caribbean, two prawns were swimming around in the sea, one called Justin and the other called Christian. The prawns were constantly being harassed and threatened by sharks that inhabited the area.

Finally one day Justin said to Christian, 'I'm fed up with being a prawn; I wish I was a shark, and then I wouldn't have any worries about being eaten.'

A large mysterious cod appeared and said, 'Your wish is granted.' Lo and behold, Justin turned into a shark. Horrified, Christian immediately swam away, afraid of being eaten by his old mate. Time passed and Justin found life as a shark boring and lonely. All his old mates simply swam away whenever he came close to them. Justin didn't realize that his new menacing appearance was the cause of his sad plight.

While swimming alone one day he saw the mysterious cod again and he thought perhaps the mysterious fish could change him back into a prawn. He approached the cod and begged to be changed back, and, lo and behold, he found himself turned back into a prawn.

With tears of joy in his tiny little eyes Justin swam back to his friends and bought them all a cocktail. Looking around the gathering at the reef he realized he couldn't see his old pal.

'Where's Christian?' he asked.

'He's at home, still distraught that his best friend changed sides to the enemy & became a shark,' came the reply.

Eager to put things right again and end the mutual pain and torture, He set off to Christian's abode. As he opened the coral gate, memories came flooding back. He banged on the door and shouted: 'It's me, Justin, your old friend, come out and see me again.'

Christian replied, 'No way man, you'll eat me. You're now a shark, the enemy, and I'll not be tricked into being your dinner.'

Justin cried back 'No, I'm not a shark! That was the old me! I've changed....'I've found Cod. I'm a Prawn again Christian!'
Don't blame me! I'm only a messenger!

New Bishop fro Great Falls-Billings

VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Juneau, U.S.A., as bishop of Great Falls-Billings (area 241,276, population 391,360, Catholics 51,629, priests 74, permanent deacons 6, religious 81), USA.

and -
- Appointed as consultors of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue:...(among several others) James Massa, secretary of the commission for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops...

Congregation for Catholic Education Issues Document

VATICAN CITY, NOV 20, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of a document published by the Congregation for Catholic Education, entitled: "Educating Together in Catholic Schools. A Shared Mission between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful."

Participating in the press conference were Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, respectively prefect and under-secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Roberto Zappala, rector of the high schools of the Gonzaga Institute in Milan, Italy.

In his talk, Cardinal Grocholewski expressed the view that globalization "favors meeting and exchange between peoples, but it can also produce dangerous cultural homologies, a sort of cultural colonialism."

The cardinal went on to note that "a profound malady is affecting the educational world, especially in the West." Professors "feel a lack of motivation and have to witness the frustration of their educational duties. Among the worrying signs are the increase of violence in schools and among adolescents, and the difficulties faced by families which, it as well to recall, have the prime responsibility for the education of their children" and must play "an active part in the school community..."

For those who can read Italian, more information is available here from the Congregation.

Pride and Presumption

Isn't life wonderful! Besides the fact that we are blessed to live another day, we have the opportunity to do rightly what we failed to do yesterday, to make amends, and to practice the virtue of charity towards others who are created in the image of God. And it is with our faith and our hope that we can live this love of God and charity toward our neighbor.

I was forwarded a recent anti-bishop screed in the Chicago Sun-Times witten by Eugene Cullen Kennedy, who happens to be a former priest and professor emeritus of psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

This is all one needs to know (former priest, psych prof) in order to understand the editorial headline "Catholic bishops vs. grown-ups." Here is great example of lack of charity. Lots of former priests presume to be instruments of teaching authority, however, most have fashioned esteemed pedestals for themselves (at least in their own minds and in the minds of the unwary).

Kennedy writes:
The nation's Catholic bishops warned their people last week that the choices they make in the voting booth are something like the sins they admit in the confessional. In an approach that even friendly commentators would hardly describe as subtle, the bishops warned that how a Catholic votes will have "an impact ... on the individual's salvation."
Apparently Kennedy sees a problem with the truth - had the bishops said something like "A Catholic risks his eternal salvation when voting for anyone other than a Democrat or Socialist..." (I know, they're the same these days) - I'll bet (if I were a gamblin' man) we would have heard nary a peep from this ex-priest...

But we still need to see how Kennedy's "grown-ups" will respond to the moral teaching of the Church as enunciated by the bishops:

The reason they [the bishops] feel good is...because they think they have reasserted control over their people. Their idea of what has been wrong with the church is what other authorities, including church teaching, declare to be right: that mature faith is integrated as a master motive into the lives of believers so that, on their own, they consult theological principles and follow their consciences in making moral choices that include how they vote on Election Day.
And did not bishops not provide a means for the people to "consult theological principles" so they could properly form their consciences, many of which have been maliciously malformed by dissenters, ex-priests, heretics, psycholpgical 'experts', and other anti-Catholic bigots? The problem for Kennedy, it seems, is that the bishops may be on the right track (or spur leading to the right track) - finally - and this frustrates those opposed to Church teaching.

Kennedy claims:
They [the voters] don't need to be told -- as if they had not reached the age of reason -- about the gravity of the choices about war and peace and life and death they make when they vote.
Apparently, they do - as evidenced by the number who support and vote for those who advocate the extermination of the unborn - a global holocaust - as well as the murder of the sick and dying. Is this murderous rage not a war against the innocent? Where is their peace?

The former priest continues:
Many men who wear miters think the best way to lead the church to 2025 is by returning it to 1925. They want to repeal Vatican II and magically bring back the devotions and practices of a wonderful but permanently ended era in American Catholicism.
Of course, the Sun-Times won't question him on where he obtains his "facts" to support this claim - truth being unimportant and irrelevant to moral relativists. Then such a statement by an ex-priest is not new.

They [the bishops] apparently feel it is dangerous for Catholics to be adult and to take responsibility for their decisions. They seem uneasy conversing with a generation of Catholics who know as much or more theology as they do.
Again, there is nothing which supports this claim - it's merely a figment of his own over-active imagination which he perceives as truth. I can't help but wonder if he conjured facts in his classes to inculcate in the minds of his students, depriving them of the truth?

And unless a Catholic's theology is in accord with right reason and in accord with the teachings of the Church, it is meaningless, at the very least, and quite possibly, dangerous to one's immortal soul.

Most bishops...will realize they are dangerously eroding rather than recovering their authority by treating grown-up Catholics as children.
If these "grown-up" Catholics listened to Christ and His Church, maybe they wouldn't need to treated as children - but then, don't a number of quack psych professors (and others) prefer to confirm a sinner in his sin so as not to injure the sinner's self-esteem?

May God protect us from those who wish to pervert the truth and protect our good bishops and priests who fearlessly teach us Your Truth and remind us of our duties to God and our neighbors!

Kennedy's opinion piece is here.

How to Paint a Homily, with the Brush of Luke, Evangelist and Painter

A book by Timothy Verdon comments on the readings for the Mass with the masterpieces of Christian art. It is a "preaching through images" that blossomed for centuries in the Church. And the current pontificate wants to revive it...
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, November 20, 2007 – Next Sunday, the feast of Christ the King, brings the liturgical year to its conclusion. And the following Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent according to the Roman Rite, begins the new year: the first in the three-year cycle of readings from the Old and New Testament, with pride of place given to the Gospel of Matthew.

The widespread practice among parish priests is to prepare the homilies with the help of books of commentary on the readings of that day's Mass. There are many of these manuals for sale. But that's not how it was long ago.
From the sixth century on, the lectionaries that collected the Gospel and Epistle readings for the Mass did not need any separate commentaries. They were, in themselves, an illustration of the pages of the Sacred Scriptures, a visual guide to understanding them...

And now, just before the first Sunday of Advent, a book has been published in Italy that gives new life to this tradition. It is a commentary on the lectionary of the Sunday and feast day Masses of year A – the volumes for years B and C will follow – made up of images from great Christian art. Images more eloquent than many words.

The author is Timothy Verdon, a priest and art historian...
This looks to be a wonderful and very needed resource. The article is continued here...

Abp.Ranjith Interview in L’Osservatore Romano on Liturgy

Fr. Z has posted an interview from the 19-20 November Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano.. He has translated part of it as it concerns Summorum Pontificum. He says:

The causa movens is the 60th anniversary of Pius XII’s great liturgical encyclical Mediator Dei. Now that Pope Benedict has issued Summorum Pontificum, people are revisiting the Council and the Council’s roots.

Here is a representative excerpt in my translation:

Q: After the publication of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum there ignited again confrontation between the so-called traditionalists and innovators. Does a contrast of this sort between the two make any sense?

Absolutely not. There wasn’t and there isn’t a break between a before and an after, there is rather a continuous line.

Speaking of the Motu Proprio let’s go back instead to a topic just examined. There was over time, slowly but surely better organized, a growing demand for the Tridentine Mass. On the other side, fidelity to the norms for celebration of the sacraments continued to decline. The more that fidelity diminished, the sense of beauty and awe in the liturgy, the more there grew requests for the Tridentine Mass. So then, really, who really was asking for the Tridentine Mass? Not only whose groups, but also those who had been shown little respect for the norms for worthy celebration according to the Novus Ordo. For years the liturgy has endured too many abuses and many bishops ignored them. Pope John Paul II had made a sorrowful appeal in...[continued]...
Read more at "What Does Prayer Really Say" here.

Gospel for Tuesday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Felix of Valois, confessor

From: Luke 19:1-10

The Conversion of Zacchaeus

[1] He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through. [2] And there was a rich man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. [3] And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. [4] So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was to pass that way. [5] And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today." [6] So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." [8] And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." [9] And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. [10] For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."


1-10. Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind; He has healed many sick people, has raised the dead to life and, particularly, has brought forgiveness of sin and the gift of grace to those who approach Him in faith. As in the case of the sinful woman (cf. Luke 7:36-50), here He brings salvation to Zacchaeus, for the mission of the Son of Man is to save that which was lost.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector and, as such, was hated by the people, because the tax collectors were collaborators of the Roman authorities and were often guilty of abuses. The Gospel implies that this man also had things to seek forgiveness for (cf. verses 7-10). Certainly he was very keen to see Jesus (no doubt moved by grace) and he did everything he could to do so. Jesus rewards his efforts by staying as a guest in his house. Moved by our Lord's presence Zacchaeus begins to lead a new life.

The crowd begin to grumble against Jesus for showing affection to a man they consider to be an evildoer. Our Lord makes no excuses for his behavior: He explains that this is exactly why He has come--to seek out sinners. He is putting into practice the parable of the lost sheep (cf. Luke 15:4-7), which was already prophesied in Ezekiel: "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak" (34:16).

4. Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus, and to do so he has to go out and mix with the crowd. Like the blind man of Jericho he has to shed any kind of human respect. In our own search for God we should not let false shame or fear of ridicule prevent us from using the resources available to us to meet our Lord. "Convince yourself that there is no such thing as ridicule for whoever is doing what is best" ([Blessed] J. Escriva, "The Way", 392).

5-6. This is a very good example of the way God acts to save men. Jesus calls Zacchaeus personally, using his name, suggesting he invite Him home. The Gospel states that Zacchaeus does so promptly and joyfully. This is how we should respond when God calls us by means of grace.

8. Responding immediately to grace, Zacchaeus makes it known that he will restore fourfold anything he obtained unjustly--thereby going beyond what is laid down in the Law of Moses (cf. Exodus 21:37f). And in generous compensation he gives half his wealth to the poor. "Let the rich learn", St. Ambrose comments, "that evil does not consist in having wealth, but in not putting it to good use; for just as riches are an obstacle to evil people, they are also a means of virtue for good people" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc."). Cf. note on Luke 16:9-11).

10. Jesus' ardent desire to seek out a sinner to save him fills us with hope of attaining eternal salvation. "He chooses a chief tax collector: who can despair when such a man obtains grace?" (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.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just for Today, November 20

Thou knowest, O Lord, what is best; do with me as Thou knowest, and as best pleaseth Thee, and is most for Thy honour.
Put me where Thou wilt, and do with me in all things according to Thy will. I am in Thy hand, turn me round which way Thou wilt.
- Bk. III, ch. xv.

For some time past I had offered myself to the Child Jesus to be His little plaything. I asked Him not to treat me like an expensive toy, that children look at but scarcely dare to touch, but like a cheap ball that He could throw on the ground, kick, pierce, leave in the comer, or press to His Heart if He pleased. I wanted to amuse the Child Jesus and give myself up to His childish fancies.
In Rome He heard my prayer, for He pierced His doubt to see what was in it...and then, pleased with His discovery, let the ball drop and fell asleep. What was He doing in His sleep, and what became of the forgotten toy?
Jesus dreamt that He was still playing; that He took up the ball, and then let it drop; that He threw it far away, and at last pressed it to His Heart, never to let it out of His little hand again.
- H.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 20

What is it that renders death terrible? Sin. We must therefore fear sin, not death.
-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 November 20, My Charge

It was while Zachary, the father of St. John the Baptist, was exercising the functions of his office according to custom that God communicated to him His secrets. (Luke i, 8-9.)

A charge and the duties that are attached to it do not seem to be a great thing, because it is something customary and there are many who must fulfill a charge; but I am never nearer God nor is God more inclined toward me than when I exercise my charge.

I don't have to sanctify myself according to the abstract plan of a religious life established in general. No, but I must sanctify myself within the very concrete boundaries of my personal life and employment. For every passing hour I have my position and the exigencies of my Institute, that is to say, by the will of Providence, a program of determined activity. If I fulfill this program to the best of my ability, I can do nothing in the world which would please God more.

It is not a question then of having a beautiful life, of accom­plishing this or that, of executing such a great action, but of clean­ing a casserole, or a corridor; it is a question of accomplishing at a definite time what God asks of me, whether it be great or small, important or unimportant according to worldly standards.

Besides, in principle, a little action is more important than a great action, because it demands more humility. If, then, my charge requires almost all little actions of me, I should rejoice, for it is easy to sanctify myself through them.

Considering the merit of my actions, not so much according to their intrinsic supernatural value but according to my dispositions in performing them, my acts are worth the charity that animates them. If I put a great love into them they are great things.

"I will put forth every effort to sanctify myself in my work; to do it well and to animate it with as much love as possible. In this manner I will best prepare myself to receive the secrets of God if He has any to confide to me."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Catholic League: Pundit for Fox 2 St Louis Goes Berserk

From the Catholic League:

On November 15, Fox 2 pundit J.C. Corcoran slammed St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke and subsequently contacted the police when someone complained about his screed. We called Fox 2 news director Kingsley Smith for his position and learned that he stood by Corcoran.

Corcoran opened his remarks by saying he was not a practicing Catholic, admitting that “many years ago I gave up on religion basically because I thought it was silly.” Here is an excerpt of his remarks about Archbishop Burke and the Catholic Church today.

“Burke is old school, but I’m not convinced old school works right now. Too many things have changed. What I see, again from the outside, is the Catholic Church pretty much at the end of its public relations rope. The sex scandals continue to mount, the flock is thinning, and young men and women aren’t exactly knocking down the doors of seminaries and convents trying to get in. And locally, instead of a respected spiritual leader in the community, you have a guy who’s been stomping around, alienating, threatening, intimidating, excommunicating and carrying on since the day he got off the plane from Wisconsin.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“They have some serious problems at Fox 2 in St. Louis. They have a commentator whose insulting remarks are matched only by his ignorance of his former religion, and they have a news director who is equally irresponsible. Calling the cops about a Catholic woman who merely registered a complaint suggests that thuggery is another quality of the Fox affiliate. Perhaps they’ll call a SWAT team about my statement.

“We are blanketing the media outlets in St. Louis—print and electronic—letting them know about their colleagues at KTVI. To say that Corcoran and Smith are unprofessional is an understatement—they are disgrace to journalism and should be disciplined for their unethical behavior.”

I wonder if KTVI's advertisers feel the same way as Corcoran and Smith? Maybe it's time to let them how Catholics feel about this?

Four Points on the Church's Teaching about Homosexuality

By Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

I was pleased that Joe Towalski, editor of The Catholic Spirit, ad­dressed the issue of the church's teaching on homosexuality, derived as it is from an understanding of the natural moral law, and the reason why those who promote homosexual activity or a homosexual lifestyle are not permitted to speak at Catholic institutions.

I thought his presentation was balanced and quite helpful as far as it went. I propose this column as a sequel to his, in the sense of providing four footnotes, if you will, to the points he made...:

Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts or such activity within a homosexual lifestyle formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin. They have broken communion with the church and are prohibited from receiving holy Communion until they have had a conversion of heart, expressed sorrow for their action and received sacramental absolution from a priest.
Archbishop Nienstedt has a clear and unambiguous article here. He also supports Courage and Encourage...Something which many are loathe to support. But because he speaks the truth at a time when many wish truth to be banished, he has, as expected, incurred the wrath of those who deny the laws of God and the natural moral law: Activists Respond to Archbishop Comments on Homosexuality
“This should be a wake-up call for all Minnesotans,” said Catholic Rainbow Parents convenor Mary Lynn Murphy. “Such extreme talk from the most prominent Catholic leader in our State not only offends Catholics, but all LGBT citizens, their families and friends, and gives license to hatred and violence against all of us.”

Faithful Catholics are looking to bishops who will proclaim the truth while unfaithful or dissenting Catholics are looking for those who will confirm them in their sins, especially their sexual sins. They want to receive positive reinforcement that their sins against God are OK...

Those who love the darkness refuse to accept that "Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts or such activity within a homosexual lifestyle formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin."

It's pretty simple, really - Mortal sin separates one from God - and which, if unrepented, will result in eternal damnation - an eternity of hell. Some refuse to accept this, yet they wish to be called Catholic - but this denial of a divinely revealed truth is simply put, heresy.

Sins seem to grow in direct proportion to one's denials or refusals to repent - it's almost like an unstoppable deadly plague of the soul - a fast spreading disease of the soul which soons infects the intellect and will - and those who refuse the grace of our Lord to repent and amend their sinful ways become willing followers of the evil one... to their own perdition.

The homosexual activists wish to impose upon others a belief that their sickening acts of depravity are normal - just as Satan wishes to turn right into wrong and light into darkness.

Archbishop John Nienstedt has done taken a courageous step in speaking the truth and he reminds us that
"St. Augustine recognized..."hating the sin, but loving the sinner." It is a "careful line," but one that calls for conversion - a conversion that leads to eternal life.
And Eternal Life is our end - unless one chooses eternal damnation as the alternatve.

Jesuits tentatively settle Alaska sex abuse cases

An Oregon-based Jesuit province has tentatively agreed to pay a record $50 million to settle 110 claims of child sexual abuse in remote Alaska Native villages, attorneys for the accusers said Sunday.

The settlement is the largest ever involving a Catholic religious order, according to a statement issued by plaintiffs' attorneys.

The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, with headquarters in Portland, includes in its territory Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. It is separate from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, which earlier this year agreed to pay clergy accusers up to $75 million to emerge from bankruptcy.
Wouldn't this make St Ignatius proud? May God help us all!