Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just for Today, June 1

Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth: for love proceeds from God, and cannot rest but in God, above all things created.

-Bk. III, ch. v.

When I read St Paul's description of the different members that make up the mystical body of the Church, I could not recognize myself as any of them, or rather, I wished to be all of them. Charity gave me the clue to my vocation. I realized that if the Church were complete in all her members, she could not lack the most necessary and noblest of all the organs - a heart, and that this heart was on fire with love. Love sets in motion all the members, and if it were to die, there would be no apostles to preach the Gospel, and martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. So that Love includes all these vocations, it suffices alone, and being eternal fills all Time and all places.

Carried away by excess of joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Beloved! at last I have found my vocation, my vocation is Love! The place Thou hast prepared for
me is in the heart of my Mother the Church, where I shall be Love; and so my dream will come true and I shall become all things!

-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, 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 - June 1

Can we, amongst all hearts, find one more amiable than that of Jesus? It is on His Heart that God looks with special complacency.

-­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 June 1, An Apostolic Heart

[This meditation was desigated for the Sunday after Corpus Christi]

Astonishing are the words of St. John in his first Epistle, which the Church has chosen as the Antiphon for the Lauds. Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. (iii, 13, 14.)

In a world that hates, we must be souls who love. We must teach the world again how to love, by loving. The masses revolt because they have not been sufficiently loved. At present, because they fail to expand their love, reserving it just for the members of their own class, they come very close to drawing evil from good. It is always the lack of love among men which is responsible for the wretched lot of a large part of humanity.

Let those who can serve the suffering put more love than ever into their service of humanity. They say that the scene of the Oberammergau Passion which stirs the greatest emotion is the washing of the feet. In general, nothing is more touching than true service of one's neighbor. I must not fear to put myself at my neighbor's feet if I wish to touch his heart.

Whoever cannot actually care for his neighbor's bodily or spiritual needs can at least pray for him; he can at least try to sanctify himself, through interior self-renunciation and immolation,

"O great Apostle, St. John, who spoke so beautifully of charity, obtain for me loving consideration for others, discernment to anticipate their needs; the power to heal; the zeal to help. Let me learn in your school what is meant by an Apostolic heart."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Gospel for May 31, Feast: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Old Calendar: Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Petronilla, virgin; St. Angela Merici, virgin

From: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation

[39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, [40] and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. [41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! [43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44] For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

The Magnificat

[46] And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. [50] And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. [51] He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, [52] He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; [53] He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. [54] He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, [55] as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


39-56. We contemplate this episode of our Lady's visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth in the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: "Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary company...and you will hear the traditions of the House of David.... We walk in haste towards the mountains, to a town of the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:39).

"We arrive. It is the house where John the Baptist is to be born. Elizabeth gratefully hails the Mother of her Redeemer: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? (Luke 1:42-43).

"The unborn Baptist quivers...(Luke 1:41). Mary's humility pours forth in the "Magnificat".... And you and I, who are proud--who were proud--promise to be humble" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary").

39. On learning from the angel that her cousin St. Elizabeth is soon to give birth and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid. She has no regard for the difficulties this involves. Although we do not know where exactly Elizabeth was living (it is now thought to be Ain Karim), it certainly meant a journey into the hill country which at that time would have taken four days.

From Mary's visit to Elizabeth Christians should learn to be caring people. "If we have this filial contact with Mary, we won't be able to think just about ourselves and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 145).

42. St. Bede comments that Elizabeth blesses Mary using the same words as the archangel "to show that she should be honored by angels and by men and why she should indeed be revered above all other women" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

When we say the "Hail Mary" we repeat these divine greetings, "rejoicing with Mary at her dignity as Mother of God and praising the Lord, thanking Him for having given us Jesus Christ through Mary" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 333).

43. Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary "the mother of my Lord", thereby showing that Mary is the Mother of God.

44. Although he was conceived in sin--original sin--like other men, St. John the Baptist was born sinless because he was sanctified in his mother's womb by the presence of Jesus Christ (then in Mary's womb) and of the Blessed Virgin. On receiving this grace of God St. John rejoices by leaping with joy in his mother's womb--thereby fulfilling the archangel's prophecy (cf. Luke 1:15).

St. John Chrysostom comments on this scene of the Gospel: "See how new and how wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his actions [...]; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the prison of his mother's womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the Savior is about to come" ("Sermo Apud Metaphr., Mense Julio").

45. Joining the chorus of all future generations, Elizabeth, moved by the Holy Spirit, declares the Lord's Mother to be blessed and praises her faith. No one ever had faith to compare with Mary's; she is the model of the attitude a creature should have towards its Creator--complete submission, total attachment. Through her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring about the Redemption; as Mediatrix of all graces, she is associated with the redemptive work of her Son: "This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death; first when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the Precursor leaps with joy in the womb of his mother [...]. The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf. John 19:25), in keeping with the Divine Plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associating herself with His sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 57f).

The new Latin text gives a literal rendering of the original Greek when it says "quae credidit" (RSV "she who has believed") as opposed to the Vulgate "quae credidisti" ("you who have believed") which gave more of the sense than a literal rendering.

46-55. Mary's "Magnificat" canticle is a poem of singular beauty. It evokes certain passages of the Old Testament with which she would have been very familiar (especially 1 Samuel 2:1-10).

Three stanzas may be distinguished in the canticle: in the first (verses 46-50) Mary glorifies God for making her the Mother of the Savior, which is why future generations will call her blessed; she shows that the Incarnation is a mysterious __expression of God's power and holiness and mercy. In the second (verses 51-53) she teaches us that the Lord has always had a preference for the humble, resisting the proud and boastful. In the third (verses 54-55) she proclaims that God, in keeping with His promise, has always taken care of His chosen people--and now does them the greatest honor of all by becoming a Jew (cf. Romans 1:3).

"Our prayer can accompany and imitate this prayer of Mary. Like her, we feel the desire to sing, to acclaim the wonders of God, so that all mankind and all creation may share our joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 144).

46-47. "The first fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace and joy. And the Blessed Virgin had received within herself all the grace of the Holy Spirit" (St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 32). Mary's soul overflows in the words of the "Magnificat". God's favors cause every humble soul to feel joy and gratitude. In the case of the Blessed Virgin, God has bestowed more on her than on any other creature. "Virgin Mother of God, He whom the heavens cannot contain, on becoming man, enclosed Himself within your womb" ("Roman Missal", Antiphon of the Common of the Mass for Feasts of Our Lady). The humble Virgin of Nazareth is going to be the Mother of God; the Creator's omnipotence has never before manifested itself in as complete a way as this.

48-49. Mary's __expression of humility causes St. Bede to exclaim: "It was fitting, then, that just as death entered the world through the pride of our first parents, the entry of Life should be manifested by the humility of Mary" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

"How great the value of humility!--"Quia respexit humilitatem.... It is not of her faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: `Since He has looked on my humility, all generations will call me blessed'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 598).

God rewards our Lady's humility by mankind's recognition of her greatness: "All generations will call me blessed." This prophecy is fulfilled every time someone says the Hail Mary, and indeed she is praised on earth continually, without interruption. "From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: `all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me'" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 66).

50. "And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation": "At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the Resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the people of God, marked with the sign of the Cross and of the Resurrection and `sealed' with the sign of the paschal mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman's house: "His mercy is [...] from generation to generation' [...].

"Mary, then, is the one who has the "deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy". She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the "Mother of Mercy": Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy; in each one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the special preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which `from generation to generation' people become sharers according to the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 9).

51. "The proud": those who want to be regarded as superior to others, whom they look down on. This also refers to those who, in their arrogance, seek to organize society without reference to, or in opposition to, God's law. Even if they seem to do so successfully, the words of our Lady's canticle will ultimately come true, for God will scatter them as He did those who tried to build the Tower of Babel, thinking that they could reach as high as Heaven (cf. Genesis 11:4).

"When pride takes hold of a soul, it is no surprise to find it bringing along with it a whole string of other vices--greed, self-indulgence, envy, injustice. The proud man is always vainly striving to dethrone God, who is merciful to all His creatures, so as to make room for himself and his ever cruel ways.

"We should beg God not to let us fall into this temptation. Pride is the worst sin of all, and the most ridiculous.... Pride is unpleasant, even from a human point of view. The person who rates himself better than everyone and everything is constantly studying himself and looking down on other people, who in turn react by ridiculing his foolish vanity" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 100).

53. This form of divine providence has been experienced countless times over the course of history. For example, God nourished the people of Israel with manna during their forty years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-35); similarly His angel brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), and to Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 14:31-40); and the widow of Sarepta was given a supply of oil which miraculously never ran out (1 Kings 17:8ff). So, too, the Blessed Virgin's yearning for holiness was fulfilled by the incarnation of the Word.

God nourished the chosen people with His Law and the preaching of His prophets, but the rest of mankind was left hungry for His word, a hunger now satisfied by the Incarnation. This gift of God will be accepted by the humble; the self-sufficient, having no desire for the good things of God, will not partake of them (cf. St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 33).

54. God led the people of Israel as He would a child whom He loved tenderly: "the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went" (Deuteronomy 1:31). He did so many times, using Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, etc., and now He gives them a definitive leader by sending the Messiah--moved by His great mercy which takes pity on the wretchedness of Israel and of all mankind.

55. God promised the patriarchs of old that He would have mercy on mankind. This promise He made to Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 22:18), David (2 Samuel 7:12), etc. From all eternity God had planned and decreed that the Word should become incarnate for the salvation of all mankind. As Christ Himself put it, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
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.

Note: Picture above is from the Murals of the Basilica of Conception Abbey

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just for Today, May 31

When thou art troubled and afflicted, then is the time to gain merit.

-Bk. I, ch. xxii.

Why are you so happy today?..."Because I had two little trials this morning which really hurt. Little crosses are my little joys."

-Novissima Verba.
For more information, 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 - May 31

Let the servants of Mary perform every day, and especially on Saturday, some work of charity for her sake.

-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 May 31, Perseverance in Prayer

How graphically the Acts describe the conduct of the Apostles after the Ascension: All these were persevering with one mind in prayer, with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus. (Acts 1, 14.)

They persevered. Before leaving, the Good Master had said to them: You shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost, coming upon you. (Acts i, 8.) They wait, not knowing the times or the mo­ments which the Father hath put in His own power.

They hold themselves in readiness. God's hour will be their hour.

In prayer. Still disheartened by their separation from the Mas­ter, whom they had found again for an instant, and who had now gone from them forever, they needed to be comforted.

Moreover, to prepare for the task Jesus had assigned them to Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Matt. xvi, 15) and to be witnesses (Acts 1, 8) of the holiness of the Savior's Message, they needed help. What could be better than prayer? And so they pray.

Together. They do not pray alone, in isolation; they are united, not only in the oneness of an identical location, but in the unan­imity of hearts, all in harmony and vibrating in unison. To­gether they speak of the Master recounting His teaching and the pleasant meetings of the last days. They go over together their cowardice and the sinister weakness of their desertion.

With Mary the Mother of Jesus. The Virgin is there, not to preside authoritatively over the destiny of the Church, but to give her maternal aid. Mother of the Eternal Son, she is mother of the sons of men. It is fitting that she be there. What comfort she imparts to them.

Mother, O Mother, prepare me for the coming of the Holy Spirit, that He may possess me in the fulness of His power.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

CCI Calls on Cardinal George to Remove Rev. Phleger Immediately

Catholic Citizens of Illinois (, a lay organization of Roman Catholics who support the teachings of the Catholic Church, is calling on Francis Cardinal George to remove Rev. Michael Phleger as pastor of St. Sabina's immediately.

Phleger's tirades are racist and there's nothing Catholic about them. A few years ago, Phleger threatened to start a new church rather than be re-assigned. He has started a new church, but on Archdiocese of Chicago property. Phleger's scandalous conduct is shameful and an embarrassment to the Catholic Church.

I believe that most, if not all, of faithful Catholics would concur. The man is an embarrassment. It's time for any remaining Catholics at St Sabina's to get a real Catholic priest.


SF Mayor Angered over "Conscience" Objections

San Diego County Clerk Gregory Smith’s recent statement that he might allow clerks to decline processing homosexual marriages for reasons of conscience has angered San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom....

“I’ve got very strong religious beliefs,” said Newsom, who says he is Catholic. “So now, all of a sudden, I don't have to do certain things, even though that's my responsibility as mayor?" He said, "if you don't want to provide a marriage certificate and you've got a job that does that, then you should think twice about why you got the job in the first place and maybe you should get a new job. Talk about a slippery slope, Mr. County Clerk down in San Diego....."

He claims to be Catholic yet he supports sexual perversion and sodomy? What about his "very strong religious beliefs?" What religion is this he is talking about?

Again, where is the bishop in addressing this matter of a wayward public official who professes to be Catholic?

And, of course like far too many "Catholic" politicians, they bring scandal and ridicule to the Church.

Archbishop Burke enlists priests’ support for seminary expansion

Archbishop Raymond Burke told priests May 28 that the archdiocese is preparing for a major campaign to raise money to provide for the needs of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and bring its endowment to an effective level.

The archbishop, in his prepared remarks, asked for the priests’ support of the campaign, which will be conducted in the fall of 2009. It will seek $65,280,000.

"The campaign is to be carried out during the next calendar year, but I am announcing it now, so that all of us can have time to prepare well for it," he said.

"Clearly, the success of the campaign is critical."

In his talk, he called the campaign a "happy challenge" for the archdiocese to meet the critical needs of the seminary, now and for the future. He added that "I want to make clear that I am speaking of true needs for an adequate seminary program. I am not speaking for frills or luxuries which would be nice but are not necessary...."

Archbishop Burke: Recent decisions of the Holy See regarding St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation


On Dec. 15, 2005, I was obliged to declare the excommunication of the members of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation because of their persistence in schism. The members of the board had committed the most grievous delict of schism by hiring a suspended priest, that is, a priest not in good standing in the Church, for the purpose of attempting to celebrate the Sacraments and sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, all outside of the communion of the Catholic Church. The priest in question, the Rev. Marek B. Bozek, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo., had left his priestly assignment against the expressed will of his bishop, Bishop John Leibrecht, to be hired by the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation.

Bishop Leibrecht warned Rev. Bozek, several times, about the grave consequences of his actions, and, when Rev. Bozek refused to heed his warnings and abandoned his priestly assignment, was obliged to suspend him from all acts of the power of Holy Orders and of governance. When I received news of Rev. Bozek’s coming to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I urged him to be obedient to his bishop and not to participate in the schismatic activity of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation. Rev. Bozek also refused to follow my direction and, likewise, incurred the penalty of excommunication because of persistence in schism.

On March 23, 2006, the board of directors and Rev. Bozek presented a recourse against my declaration of their excommunication before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office of the Holy Father which treats all matters of heresy and schism. The recourse alleged that I had unjustly declared the excommunication of the members of the board of directors and of Rev. Bozek.

Decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith After careful study of the recourse, which has necessarily taken a long time, especially because of the many and weighty matters which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith treats, the Congregation, by its letter of May 15 last, has communicated to me its decision regarding the recourse. The complete text of the letter is printed, with this column, for your information. [PDF version here]

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has taken two actions in the matter. First, it has rejected the recourse presented by the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation, including Rev. Bozek. In other words, it has found the recourse to be without foundation.

Secondly, the Congregation has confirmed my decrees of Dec. 15, 2005, by which I declared that the members of the board of directors had incurred the canonical penalty of excommunication because of persistence in schism.

Reasons for the congregation’s response

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gives two reasons for its decisions. The first reason is the failure of the members of the board of directors to observe the time-limits set by law for the presentation and pursuit of a recourse, and their negligence in fulfilling what is formally required to pursue a recourse.

The second reason is the evident fact that the members of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation have committed the delict of schism and persist in the delict. As the letter of the congregation explains, the board of directors have made what was St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, a parish of the Roman Catholic Church, into "an independent entity capable of appointing its own clergy apart from the hierarchy of the Church." The letter observes how the former St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish was gradually "removed from the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary." In other words, the actions of the members of the board of directors demonstrate their refusal to submit themselves to the legitimate authority of the Church (cf. can. 751).

The decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith makes clear that the actions of the board of directors have broken communion with the universal Church.

Frequently, especially in the communications media, the difficulties of the board of directors have been presented as a disagreement with me as archbishop of St. Louis and have been reduced to a personal conflict between them and myself. As their pastor, I have been obliged to call them to reconciliation and repentance for the good of the salvation of their souls and the good of the whole Church.

In doing so, I have acted in accord with what the teaching and discipline of the Catholic Church require. My actions have nothing to do with any personal conflict but, rather, with the integrity of the Catholic faith and its practice, which I have the solemn responsibility to safeguard and promote.

Further recourse or reconciliation

Clearly, the finding of the congregation is most serious for the members of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation. It touches upon the eternal salvation of their souls. For the congregation, and also for me, the matter is of the deepest pastoral concern. The congregation, therefore, indicates two possible responses of the members of the board of directors.

If the members of the board of directors believe the decision of the congregation is unjust, then they may appeal the decision to the ordinary session of the cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation, which takes place each Wednesday, Feria IV in Latin, within 30 "useful days" from the day on which they receive a copy of the congregation’s letter. In Church law, the "useful time" which a person has to exercise a right does not run when the person is unaware or is unable to act (can. 201, §2).

The other possible response of the board of directors is to withdraw from the state of schism, in which they have placed themselves, and to be reconciled with the Church. As the Congregation points out, reconciliation with the Church necessarily includes repentance for the grave harm which their schismatic actions have caused to individual souls and to the whole Church.

Pastoral care of the congregation

The decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asks that I, as archbishop of St. Louis, assist the members of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation to accept its decision and offer them, on the congregation’s behalf, "special pastoral care and kindness." I have been and continue to be committed to the reconciliation of the members of the board of directors with the Roman Catholic Church. From the beginning, extraordinary efforts have been made by the Archdiocese of St. Louis to keep St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation within the communion of the Church. I will continue those efforts.

What is clear, however, is that reconciliation can only take place through the acceptance of the Church’s teaching and discipline, in its integrity, which we all are held, in obedience, to accept and follow. Reconciliation, in the present case, must be a return to the recognition of the legitimate authority of the Church’s pastors, that is, the Holy Father, the archbishop of St. Louis and the parish priest.

Regarding Rev. Marek Bozek

Some months ago, I was obliged to take further canonical actions in the matter of Rev. Bozek, the suspended and excommunicated priest who has been serving the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation since December 2005. Among those actions was the referral of his commissions of the delict of prohibited communicatio in sacris to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has the competence to handle such matters.

Prohibited communicatio in sacris is the concelebration of "the Eucharist with priests or ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church" (can. 908). Regarding such activity, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council taught: "Worship in common which is detrimental to the unity of the Church or implies a formal assent to error or the danger of erring in faith, of scandal, and of indifferentism is forbidden by Divine Law" (Decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum, "On the Catholic Eastern Churches," Nov. 21, 1964, no. 26).

By a separate letter, also dated May 15 last, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has informed me of its decision in the matter. Referring to Rev. Bozek’s delicts of disobedience to his bishop by abandoning his priestly assignment and of persistence in schism, by which he has incurred the penalties of suspension and excommunication, the congregation declared: "After a careful and attentive study of the material submitted this dicastery has concluded that Rev. Bozek has also committed the delict of prohibited communicatio in sacris."

As a result of its decision, the congregation has asked me to impose a penal precept upon Rev. Bozek, namely, ordering him, with the time-limit of 30 useful days, "to recede from his perseverance in contumacious schism and promise to refrain from any further violation of prohibited communicatio in sacris." The Congregation also has asked me to inform Rev. Bozek that, if he refuses to comply with the terms of the penal precept, the congregation intends "to present his case to the Holy Father for his dismissal ex officio from the clerical state."

The congregation has further requested that "every effort be made to communicate to Rev. Bozek the seriousness of this matter and the harm his behavior has caused to the faithful," and that Rev. Bozek be encouraged to reconciliation and repentance. I have provided a copy of the Congregation’s letter to Rev. Bozek and have assured him of my continued commitment to assist him in being reconciled with the Church and offering repentance for the harm which he has inflicted upon the Church.

Conclusion: Request of your prayers

While it is necessary that I inform you of the decisions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the situations which have necessitated these decisions are profoundly sad for me as, I am sure, they are for you. Our archdiocese has suffered great spiritual harm, over the past four years because of the situation of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation. As we thank God for the help which the Holy Father, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has given us in bringing about reconciliation and repentance, let us pray that the decisions of the Congregation will be received by the board of directors and Rev. Bozek with faith and obedience.

Please pray for the graces of reconciliation and repentance for the members of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation and Rev. Marek Bozek. I urge you to invoke especially the intercession of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church; Our Lady of Czetochowa, Queen of Poland, and St. Stanislaus Kostka.

by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke



Stations Receive PC Treatment for World Youth Day

In a bid to ensure the World Youth Day Stations of the Cross will not incite anti-Semitic feelings and appeal to all Christians, organisers have dropped six traditional stations which have no scriptural foundation.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Church has changed one of its most popular devotions and a landmark event of World Youth Day to take account of the sensitivities of Jews and draw other Christian denominations into its youth celebrations....

To make the event more appealing to all Christians, a Vatican approved scriptural version, founded entirely on passages from the New Testament, will be adopted when it is staged in the streets of Sydney on July 18.

It is not the only concession the Church is willing to make in the name of interfaith unity: scriptural texts, reflections and video commentaries will be carefully worked so that the scene at the Sydney Opera House in which Jesus is condemned does not incite anti-Semitic feeling.....

The sensibilities and sensitivities of faithful Catholics are irrelevant, it appears...I can't count the number of people who, after praying the St Alphonsus Liguori version of the Stations of the Cross, rush out the doors looking to satisfy their "anti-Semitic feelings."

What's next? Excising 'offensive' parts of Scripture?

Obama tries to distance himself from Fr. Michael Pfleger

CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Thursday that he was "deeply disappointed" by a supporter's sermon at his church that mocked Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicago activist, also apologized for last Sunday's sermon at Obama's church, in which he said Clinton's eyes welled with tears before the New Hampshire primary because she felt "entitled" to the Democratic nomination and because "there's a black man stealing my show."

In video circulating on the Internet, Pfleger said the former first lady expected to win the nomination before Obama's sudden popularity.

Why Pfleger has not been punished by Cardinal George for his irresponsible behavior is incomprehensible to many and this is only the most recent episode in this priest's life. Let's look back, shall we? Some previous entries:

Controversial Chicago Priest Defends Rev Jeremiah Wright-3/31/08

Statement by Cardinal George Concerning Fr Michael Pfleger-6/6/07

Fr. Pfleger's (AKA "Snuffy") Response-6/1/07

Gun Advocate Wants Priest's 'Snuff' Comments Investigated-5/31/07

A Catholic Priest Cooperating with a Death Peddler-1/18/07

This is a guy who gives scandal, not only to the Church, but also to our good priests. A rotten apple in the bunch, he needs to go.

The Clinton campaign states:
"Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics....We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn't specifically reject Father's Pfleger's despicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so."

Nore videos of this crackpot are here, including his defense of Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan...

Where's Cardinal George?

Dr Edward Peters looks at Excommunication for female 'ordination'

As I pointed out some time ago (scroll to 6 July 2005), the 1983 Code does not levy excommunication on those who simulate the conferral and reception of holy orders on women. Canon 1378 excommunicates non-priests who simulate Eucharist and confession, and Canon 1379 imposes "a just penalty" on those who simulate the other sacraments (such as holy Orders), but neither canon directly excommunicates those who simulate holy Orders. The excommunications that have been applied in some cases of female 'ordination' have been imposed in virtue of a combination of other canons (e.g., Abp. Burke's model action in March 2008), which works fine of course, but it seems somewhat cumbersome to those who do not know canon law well.

As of today, though, all of that has changed: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has just decreed that those who attempt to confer holy Orders on women are excommunicated, as are the women who attempt to receive holy Orders. Latin-Italian text here, Latin-English text here. The decree goes into effect immediately....

To read more about it, click here

Gospel for Friday, May 30, Solemnity: The Sacred Heart of Jesus

From: Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus Thanks His Father

[25] At that time Jesus declared, "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; [26] yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will. [27] All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. [28] Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."


25-26. The wise and understanding of this world, that is, those who rely on their own judgment, cannot accept the revelation which Christ has brought us. Supernatural outlook is always connected with humility. A humble person, who gives himself little importance, sees; a person who is full of self-esteem fails to perceive supernatural things.

27. Here Jesus formally reveals His divinity. Our knowledge of a person shows our intimacy with Him, according to the principle given by St. Paul: "For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (1 Corinthians 2:11). The Son knows the Father by the same knowledge as that by which the Father knows the Son. This identity of knowledge implies oneness of nature; that is to say, Jesus is God just as the Father is God.

28-30. Our Lord calls everyone to come to Him. We all find things difficult in one way or another. The history of souls bears out the truth of these words of Jesus. Only the Gospel can fully satisfy the thirst for truth and justice which sincere people feel. Only our Lord, our Master--and those to whom He passes on His power--can soothe the sinner by telling him, "Your sins are forgiven" (Matthew 9:2). In this connection Pope Paul VI teaches: "Jesus says now and always, `Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' His attitude towards us is one of invitation, knowledge and compassion; indeed, it is one of offering, promise, friendship, goodness, remedy of our ailments; He is our comforter; indeed, our nourishment, our bread, giving us energy and life" ("Homily on Corpus Christi", 13 June 1974).

"Come to Me": the Master is addressing the crowds who are following Him, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). The Pharisees weighed them down with an endless series of petty regulations (cf. Acts 15:10), yet they brought no peace to their souls. Jesus tells these people, and us, about the kind of burden He imposes: "Any other burden oppresses and crushes you, but Christ's actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings. If you take a bird's wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies" (St. Augustine, "Sermon" 126).

"All you who go about tormented, afflicted and burdened with the burden of your cares and desires, go forth from them, come to Me and I will refresh you and you shall find for your souls the rest which your desires take from you" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", Book 1, Chapter 7, 4).
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, May 29, 2008

Just for Today, May 30

Behold, our King marches before us, who will fight for us. Let us follow Him like men of courage, and not shrink through fear; let us be ready valiantly to die in battle, and not suffer our glory to be tarnished by flying from the standard of the Cross.

-Bk. III,. ch. lvi.

For Thee I have a longing desire, and therefore must sigh after Thee, and cry, and pray.

-Bk. III, ch. lix.

There is a passage in the Canticle of Canticles [in the French] where the bride is compared to singing choirs in an army encamped, which might well be applied to you. Through suffering your life has become a field of battle; for it to be also as singing choirs, you must be a harp for Jesus to play on. But there is something lacking in a concert if no one sings; if Our Lord plays, then Celine must sing. To a sad melody she will sing songs of exile; to a joyful one songs of Heaven...Everything of this world, its sad and joyful happenings, will be like distant sounds powerless to make the harp-strings vibrate. Only the touch of Our Lord's hands can do that.

For more information, 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 - May 30

Know that of all devotions the most pleasing to Mary is to have frequent recourse to her, asking for favors.

-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 May 30, Witnesses to Christ

Jesus has gone away, he has left earth forever. We shall not see Him in this world again. Man will no longer be able to observe the living Christ. When we wish to contemplate, to see Christ, we will have to turn to pictures of Him.

And if these pictures are not true likenesses, is it surprising then that poor man does not recognize the true Jesus Christ? He has been given only disfigured images.

You shall be witnesses to me (Acts 1, 8), Jesus said to the Apostles before ascending into Heaven. "I am going away. I shall no longer be here to see that my Gospel is recognized, but you will be here. I your Christ am going to disappear; it is up to you, My disciples to manifest Christ by faithfully living according to the principles of Christianity. That is the testimony I ask you to give. It will be necessary to assert the glorious beauty of the Christian religion by the Christian splendor of your lives."

Witnesses to Christ, not only grosso modo, in a general way, that is, by the avoidance of serious faults, but even by concern for the least details of a service which will be beautiful because it will be one of great love. That is what is asked of us.

"That is what I desire with my whole heart, my Jesus, But you know that in order to carry out this desire I need powerful assistance, be­cause I have a vacillating will; in prayer, I am full of excellent intentions which I am not capable of executing. Then, when I have occasion to display my courage on the battle field, it seems I no longer desire to give testimony of You; my will is good nevertheless, but it is as if it were powerless. O Jesus do You Yourself help me to bear witness to You."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Translated text of Decree: Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman

The translated text of the Decree (from Catholic News Agencey:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
General Decree

Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders, in virtue of the special faculty conferred to it by the supreme authority of the Church (see canon 30, Canon Law), in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007, has decreed:

Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman or if the woman who has attempted to receive holy orders, is a member of the faithful subject to the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1443 of the same Code, they will be punished with major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See (see canon 1423, Canon Law of the Eastern Churches).

The current decree will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the 'Osservatore Romano' and is absolute and universal.

William Cardinal Levada

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

St Stanislaus Church...looking to the 'fringe'....?

So reports Tim Townsend of the Post Dispatch:

The feisty, stubborn members of the Polish church believed their long, rich history would save them. But the Vatican saw things differently, and now the congregation, which still celebrates Mass in Polish once a week, is set to follow a renegade priest into the fringes of the church. . . .

If [the church's pastor, the Rev. Marek] Bozek is laicized, he said he will ask a different bishop to oversee St. Stanislaus, and the board's chairman says the congregation will support him.
William Bialczak, chairman of the St. Stanislaus board, and others seem to prefer rebellion while abandoning the one, true faith.

And it appears that being headstrong and obstinate is more important than the salvation of souls, including their own:

One option is worshipping under the authority of an excommunicated Zambian archbishop who is married to a Korean acupuncturist, and whose organization — funded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon — promotes a married priesthood. . . .

That's right, some might actually be thinking about following that Milingo character. What a revelation! Really, though, it's not surprising.

Regarding Bozek's possible laicization:
"Once you're ordained, you're ordained and nothing can change that," Bozek said Wednesday. But the priest also said that if Pope Benedict XVI did laicize him, he would "be forced to find another Catholic bishop. If and when it happens, I will be left with no option."

The capital sin of pride rears its ugly and deadly head in the words of Marek Bozek. Such a statement demonstrates a blatant disregard for the souls of the faithful whom he leads farther and farther from the Church.

Bozek said he also has talked to retired diocesan bishops in good standing with the church, and to bishops in several so-called Old Catholic churches including the Polish National Catholic Church, the American Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Catholic Church.

"I intend to lead St. Stanislaus and continue to be the pastor of this parish even if I'm laicized by the Roman Catholic church," Bozek said.

Schism, rebellion, disobedience, revolt - and he thinks these actions are commendable. The best thing for the people of St Stanislaus would be to throw out the board members who are more concerned with saving face than for ensuring the viability of a once Catholic parish and its members. Then they can pack Bozek's bags and give him his walking papers.

How many Catholics remain at St Stanislaus is yet to be seen - it appears that it's been overrun with dissidents of every type.

Automatic Excommunication for Women "Priestettes"

(AGI) - Vatican City, May 29 - A woman being consecrated as priest besides being invalid, automatically leads to the excommunication of the consecrating bishop and the consecrated woman.

A decree issued by the Congregation for Religious Doctrine published today by the 'Osservatore Romano' establishes this.

"The Congregation for Religious Doctrine, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of the holy order, in virtue of the special faculty to be consecrated by the supreme authority decrees that both the one trying to consecrate a woman in the holy order, and the woman who has tried to receive the holy order, will be excommunicated 'latae sententiae', reserved to the Apostolic See".

Such decree is true for all rites in communion with Rome. The text continues that

"if he who has tried to consecrate a woman in the holy order or if the woman who has tried to receive the holy order is a faithful subject of the Code of the Rules of the Oriental Churches, he or she will be punished by excommunication, pardon can only be given by the Apostolic See".

The decree, specifies the former Holy See,
"will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the 'Osservatore Romano'".

St Stanislaus Loses Appeal to Vatican

St. Louis, May 29, 2008 / 01:03 am (CNA).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmed Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond Burke’s decree excommunicating the board of directors of a schismatic parish. Archbishop Burke had excommunicated the leaders of the breakaway ethnically Polish parish for hiring a suspended priest to celebrate the Sacraments and sacramentals.

The priest could be defrocked for remaining in schism, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has warned.

Bozek is already a "rent a priest" though he may not be a current member of that group. Unless he recants and submits to lawful authority, his days as a priest are numbered.

According to Archbishop Burke’s May 30 column in the St. Louis Review, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has taken two actions. First, it has rejected the recourse (appeal) presented by the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation, including the recourse of suspended priest Reverend Marek B. Bozek.
Archbishop Burke said the Congregation gave two reasons for its decision. First, the board of directors did not observe the time limits set for recourses and neglected to fulfill the formal requirements for a recourse. Second, it said the members of the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation have committed schism and continue to persist in it.

We should pray for these people, who have been without licit and/or valid sacraments for far too long because of the Board's actions.

The archbishop said that members of the church’s board of directors could appeal the Congregation’s decision to its Ordinary Session of the Cardinals and Bishops, or they could reconcile with the Church and “withdraw from the state of schism.” The Congregation’s letter said “reconciliation with the Church necessarily includes repentance for the grave harm which their schismatic actions have caused to individual souls and to the whole Church.”

It's simply a matter of ridding oneself of the deadly sin of pride and
rebellion, then humbly and contritely seeking reconciliation and forgiveness. Most of us have at some point had to do this - rare is the individual who has never had to do seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

In a separate letter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed the case of Father Marek Bozek, saying he could be defrocked if he does not renounce his schismatic acts and continues to celebrate the sacraments illicitly. Unless the priest reconciles with the Church, the Congregation said it will “present his case to the Holy Father for his dismissal ex officio from the clerical state.”
Time for reconciliation is running out for Marek Bozek...

The saga continues...

Vatican unveils pagan tomb

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican unveiled the largest and most luxurious of the pagan tombs in the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday after nearly a year of restoration work.

A family of former slaves built the Valeri Mausoleum during the second half of the second century, when Emperor Marcus Aurelius ruled. It is one of 22 pagan tombs in the grottoes under the basilica....

"Pro-choice" is really anti-choice, anti-freedom...

...As one can clearly see in this story:

Canadian Federation of Students Passes Motion to Support Ban on Pro-Life Groups at all Campuses
By Jenna Murphy

OTTAWA, May 28, 2008 ( - This past weekend the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) held its semi-annual Assembly, during which a motion was brought forward by the York Federation of Students (YFS from York University) to effectively shut down any official recognition of campus pro-life groups. CFS, which purports to represent "over one-half million students from more than 80 university and college students' unions across Canada", will use students monies, including those from pro-life students to advocate for abortion and to curtail the pro-life message from campuses.

The successful motion read: "Be it resolved that member locals [of the CFS] that refuse to allow anti-choice organizations access to their resources and space be supported. And further, be it resolved that a pro-choice organization kit be created that may include materials such as a fact sheet, buttons, contact information for local pro-choice organizations and research on anti-choice organizations and the conservative think-tanks that fund them..."

Can these college-educated mental giants not see the irony of their position? They wish to deny others freedom of speech and freedom to associate while claiming to be advocates for "choice." How well they have learned from their tyranical, anti-choice, freedom-hating mentors!

The CFS has become that which it claims to loathe - an anti-choice organization. It seems that these children need some remedial education. Not only are they anti-life/pro-death, they also support the forced aborting of others' freedoms. This is all too typical for those whose gray matter has been poisoned by the culture of death.

Remember the commercial which said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste"? These kids, having survived the plague of abortion, have let let their parents, mentors, or professors abort their consciences, wills, minds and characters. Maybe someday they'll grow up to be responsible, caring adults and rediscover their humanity and freedoms and what it truly means to be "pro-choice."

Pro-life group posts photos of Kansas governor with abortion doctor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An anti-abortion [pro-life] group released photos Wednesday of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius with a prominent abortion doctor at what it called a "lavish secret party" at the governor's official residence, but her office said the doctor bought the reception at a political group's fundraising auction.

Dr. George Tiller was under investigation by the attorney general's office at the time of the Cedar Crest event, held April 9, 2007. The Wichita abortion provider is one of the few U.S. doctors who perform late-term abortions.

Sebelius, a Democrat who supports abortion rights and has repeatedly vetoed legislation sought by anti-abortion groups, has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, her party's likely presidential nominee.

Operation Rescue posted the photos on its Web site and described the event as a "lavish secret party" for Tiller, his staff and several other doctors who perform abortions...
And Sebelius claims to be Catholic. What a disgrace and disappointment she is to that which is right and just. May God have mercy on her soul and the souls of all of the other supporters of infanticide. At the time of each one's particular judgment there will be, in real terms, "hell" to pay for his or her betrayal of Christ and the murder of His little ones, whose blood runs so deep. Let us pray for the conversion of their hearts.

Gospel for Thursday, 8th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, virgin

From: Mark 10:46-52

The Blind Man of Jericho

[46] And they (Jesus and His disciples) came to Jericho; and as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. [47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!: [48] And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all he more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" [49] And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; rise, He is calling you." [50] And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus said to him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Master, let me receive my sight." [52] And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.


46-52. "Hearing the commotion the crowd was making, the blind man asks, `What is happening?' They told him, `It is Jesus of Nazareth.' At this his soul was so fired with faith in Christ that he cried out, `Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'

"Don't you feel the same urge to cry out? You who are also waiting at the side of the way, of this highway of life that is so very short? You who need more light, you who need more grace to make up your mind to seek holiness? Don't you feel an urgent need to cry out, `Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me'? What a beautiful aspiration for you to repeat again and again!...

"`Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.' As people have done to you, when you sensed that Jesus was passing your way. Your heart beat faster and you too began to cry out, prompted by an intimate longing. Then your friends, the need to do the done thing, the easy life, your surroundings, all conspired to tell you: `Keep quiet, don't cry out. Who are you to be calling Jesus? Don't bother Him.'

"But poor Bartimaeus would not listen to them. He cried out all the more: `Son of David, have mercy on me.' Our Lord, who had heard him right from the beginning, let him persevere in his prayer. He does the same with you. Jesus hears our cries from the very first, but he waits. He wants us to be convinced that we need Him. He wants us to beseech Him, to persist, like the blind man waiting by the road from Jericho. `Let us imitate him. Even if God does not immediately give us what we ask, even if many people try to put us off our prayers, let us still go on praying' (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 66).

"`And Jesus stopped, and told them to call Him.' Some of the better people in the crowd turned to the blind man and said, `Take heart; rise, He is calling you.' Here you have the Christian vocation! But God does not call only once. Bear in mind that our Lord is seeking us at every moment: get up, He tells us, put aside your indolence, your easy life, your petty selfishness, your silly little problems. Get up from the ground, where you are lying prostrate and shapeless. Acquire height, weight and volume, and a supernatural outlook.

"And throwing off his mantle the man sprang up and came to Jesus. He threw off his mantle! I don't know if you have ever lived through a war, but many years ago I had occasion to visit a battlefield shortly after an engagement. There strewn all over the ground, were greatcoats, water bottles, haversacks stuffed with family souvenirs, letters, photographs of loved ones...which belonged, moreover, not to the vanquished but to the victors! All these items had become superfluous in the bid to race forward and leap over the enemy defenses. Just as happened to Bartimaeus, as he raced towards Christ.

"Never forget that Christ cannot be reached without sacrifice. We have to get rid of everything that gets in the way--greatcoat, haversack, water bottle. You have to do the same in this battle for the glory of God, in this struggle of love and peace by which we are trying to spread Christ's Kingdom. In order to serve the Church, the Pope and all souls, you must be ready to give up everything superfluous....

"And now begins a dialogue with God, a marvelous dialogue that moves us and sets our hearts on fire, for you and I are now Bartimaeus. Christ, who is God, begins to speak and asks, `Quid tibi vis faciam?' `What do you want Me to do for you?' The blind man answers. `Lord, that I may see.' How utterly logical! How about yourself, can you really see? Haven't you too experienced at times what happened to the blind man of Jericho? I can never forget how, when meditating on this passage many years back, and realizing that Jesus was expecting something of me, though I myself did not know what it was, I made up my own aspirations: `Lord, what is it You want! What are You asking of me'? I had a feeling that He wanted me to take on something new and the cry, `Rabboni, ut videam', `Master, that I may see,' moved me to beseech Christ again and again, `Lord, whatever it is that You wish, let it be done.'

"Pray with me now to our Lord: `doce me facere voluntatem tuam, quia Deus meus es tu" (Psalm 142:10) (`teach me to do Thy will, for You art my God'). In short, our lips should express a true desire on our part to correspond effectively to our Creator's promptings, striving to follow out His plans with unshakeable faith, being fully convinced that He cannot fail us....

"But let us go back to the scene outside Jericho. It is now to you that Christ is speaking. He asks you, `What do you want Me to do for you?' `Master, let me receive my sight.' Then Jesus answers, `Go your way. Your faith has made you well.' And immediately he received his sight and followed Him on His way." Following Jesus on His way. You have understood what our Lord was asking to from you and you have decided to accompany Him on His way. You are trying to walk in His footsteps, to clothe yourself in Christ's clothing, to be Christ Him- self: well, your faith, your faith in the light our Lord is giving you, must be both operative and full of sacrifice. Don't fool yourself. Don't think you are going to find new ways. The faith He demands of us is as I have said. We must keep in step with Him, working generously and at the same time uprooting and getting rid of everything that gets in the way" (St. J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 195-198).
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, May 28, 2008

Just for Today, May 29

I am He who made all the saints; I gave them grace; I have brought them to glory. I know the merits of each; I prevented them by the blessings of My sweetness, I foreknew My beloved ones before the creation: I chose them out of the world; they were not beforehand with Me to choose Me: I called them by My grace, and drew them by My mercy.

-Bk. III, ch. lviii.

It was on the feast of Pentecost that I told my father my great secret. Throughout the day I prayed for the light of the Holy Spirit, begging the Apostles to pray for me and to put the right words into my mouth. They were the very ones to help a timid child, destined by God to become an apostle of the apostles by prayer and sacrifice.

I seized my opportunity after Vespers in the after­noon, as my father was sitting in the garden, looking at the beauties of Nature. The setting sun turned to gold the tree-tops, and the birds were singing their evening prayer. Through my tears I told him of my hopes of soon entering Carmel; and he wept too! He said nothing to dissuade me, but merely pointed out that I was very young to make so grave a decision. I defended my cause so well, that I soon convinced my generous and open-minded father.

We continued our walk for some time, for I was now reassured and my father's tears were dried. He spoke like a saint, and going up to the wall, showed me some little white flowers like miniature lilies. He gave me one, explaining how Our Lord had cherished it, and made it blossom, and kept it safe. The little flower and little Teresa were so alike, that I seemed to be listening to my own story. I took the flower as a memento, noticing that all its roots were intact, as though it were destined to live on in some more fertile soil. My father had done that very thing for me, by allowing me to be transplanted from the valley of my childhood to the hill of Carmel.

-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, 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 - May 29

Let the name of Mary be ever on your lips, let it be indelibly engraven on your heart. If you are under her protection, you have nothing to fear; if she is propitious, you will arrive at the port of salvation.

-St. Bernard.
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 May 29, Religious Poise

It is difficult, even though we live in a religious community, to remain perfectly peaceful; that is, to avoid being drawn into fever­ish activity, into excessive haste, and in consequence into dissipa­tion of spirit which destroys easy contact with God.

Sometimes this diffusion of energy comes from a lack of organiza­tion and foresight; we lose ourselves in our work. Sometimes when there are many things to be done at one time we do the easiest or the most appealing which is not always the most necessary; we take more time than necessary to do it; we should have left it until last and, in case of necessity, sacrificed it for more impera­tive duties so that later on we are not forced to act with undue haste, impetuosity and a lack of composure which is harmful to interior peace.

If I find myself habitually steeped in work, I should inform the proper person; if authorized superiors can arrange otherwise, they will gladly lighten the burden. If I am the cause of my own diffi­culties, I will do all I can to remedy the situation. I must not forget to plan thoughtfully before acting, then I will be able to judge more clearly what can be left undone and how I should proceed.

The Gospel offers timely advice in this respect. Before building, measure the height; examine the land; when that is done, deter­mine the probable cost. And then begin! Pauses are the best things in life; the best, and at the same time, the most fruitful. In order to begin well and end well, we must first know when to stop.

"My God, teach me how to disengage myself from temporal concerns and let me remember that to do so I must pause occasionally."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

New Vatican document on obedience in religious life

Vatican, May. 28, 2008 ( - The Vatican has issued a new document underlining the importance of obedience in religious life.

Entitled "The Service of Authority and Obedience," the 50-page document from the Congregation for Religious takes the form of an Instruction. It was presented to the superiors of male and female religious orders on May 28 at an assembly held in the Salesianum in Rome.

Obedience, the Vatican document says, should be understood by religious as "a way to help the community or institute to seek and achieve the will of God." The basis for religious obedience, the Instruction notes, is found "in that search for God and for his will which is particular to believers." In offering their obedience, religious imitate "the fundamental experience of Christ Who, out of love, was obedient unto his death on the Cross...."

It's encouraging to see an Instruction on Obedience from the Holy See. Obedience to one's lawful superiors is something which has been sorely lacking for many years. We have witnessed flagrant disobedience so much over the last 40 years, it's amazing that the rebellion is not even more widespread than it is.

Once I find a link to the Instruction, we will post it here. Read the article here.

Atlanta archbishop in line for NYC job?

Traditionally, that archbishop has been made a cardinal

Roman Catholic leaders may be reaching to Peachtree Street to make a pick for the Big Apple.

Atlanta's popular and respected Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory is one of several candidates under consideration to replace Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop of New York, church watchers say.

The secretive and sometimes long process to assign Egan's successor could take years, as it has in the past, but several indicators are that a choice could be made sooner rather than later....

June 8 - Are You a Catholic Atheist?

Please join us for an afternoon talk on:

Are You a Catholic Atheist?
A Practical Guide To Keeping the Faith In Our Times

by John Horvat

to be held at our new location:

St. Agnes Home
10341 Manchester Rd.
Kirkwood, MO

Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Many people call themselves Catholics and yet for all practical purposes act as atheists. They say they are Catholics and yet hold positions contrary to the Church in matters like abortion or other issues. This even happens to children who are sent to the best Catholic schools or those who are home schooled.

How does this happen? How is it possible that the Faith was taken from so many people? How do we prevent ourselves from becoming “Catholic atheists?”

Mr. Horvat will speak on this topic and provide many examples of how the Faith is undermined in society. He will also give some practical advice of how to avoid this problem and fortify one’s own Faith.

A question and answer period and refreshments will follow the presentation.

Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating afternoon of Catholic conviviality, enlightening conversation, and hope for the future.

For additional information about this meeting, contact Mark Serafino at (573) 459-5531.

The American TFP – America Needs Fatima
P.O. Box 251
Spring Grove , PA 17362

The Peaceful Revolution of Vietnam's Catholics (Chiesa)

Like the Buddhist monks in Burma, in Hanoi and other cities of Vietnam bishops, priests, sisters, and faithful are taking to the streets. They want buildings and land confiscated by the state to be given back. Their weapons are crosses and rosaries. The apprehensions of the Vatican...
by Sandro Magister

Interesting - Secrets of Narnia Deciphered, Scholar Claims

Interview ( - Dr. Michael Ward is considered by many scholars to be a leading authority on the Christian writer and theologian C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, the second Hollywood adaptation of which, Prince Caspian, is now playing in theaters.

Ward is a former curator of The Kilns, the Oxford home of C.S. Lewis, and a former officer of the Oxford University Lewis Society. In his new book, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis, Ward contends that the seven books of The Chronicles are based upon one of the seven medieval "planets" -- the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

In an April 29, 2008, interview with Cybercast News Service, Ward discussed his theory about the seven planets and also explained why he thinks the Prince Caspian tale is relevant to current events....

An interesting interview! For instance, this excerpt:

C.S. Lewis wrote Prince Caspian about the idea of "just war." The Prince drives King Miraz out of Narnia and recovers his proper throne. It's a civil war and a war of deliverance. Lewis chose the Mars theme for Prince Caspian because Mars is the god of war. Throughout the novel we see themes that are associated with the planet Mars including blood, the color red, war and trees. This story is written to embody and express the qualities of Mars....

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann's column from May 24

My May 9 column, making public my request to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius not to present herself for reception of holy Communion until she had sought to repair the public scandal of her long-standing support for legalized abortion, not surprisingly has initiated quite a bit of discussion in secular newspapers, local talk radio shows and coffee-break conversations....

In this column, I want to provide you with my responses to some of the more common questions and misunderstandings regarding my pastoral action. I hope this is helpful for your own personal understanding....
Archbishop Naumann then proceeds with a long series of questions and answers, which are well worth reading as they help to clarify his position and that of the Church regarding such a grave matter.

Cardinal Rouco: Homosexual “marriage” is rebellion against man’s biological limits

Madrid, May 27, 2008 / 08:52 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid said this week that gender ideology and the laws inspired by it, such as those condoning so-called gay marriage, are an expression of “man’s rebellion against his biological limits.”
Cardinal Rouco said the law on homosexual marriage “is a modern version of the desire to be like God the Creator and not his creatures, to not accept his law, which reveals the fundamental goods of man and of society and, therefore, guarantees the dignity, freedom and equality of mankind better than any human construct that is outside it,” he added....

Roman Catholic Women Priests Does It Again

Two members of the Roman Catholic Women Priests sect will be ordained from deacons to priests this week, a move that has some Catholics divided on what traditional beliefs should carry into modern times.
The only ones divided are those who willfully separate themselves from the Church.

Monica Kilburn-Smith and James Lauder will be ordained as Catholic priests by Bishop Patricia Fresen on Thursday (May 29)....

Fresen has no power to ordain anyone. She is merely pretending to be a bishop and the priestettes she "ordains" are pretending to be priests.

Kilburn-Smith and Lauder feel strongly about their faith but said they are discriminated by the church for joining the Roman Catholic Women Priests sect.
Unfortunately, their faith is not the Catholic faith - it is a warped, distorted belief poisoned by pride, rebellion, and arrogance.

Pat Jamieson, editor of Island Catholic News, said there are many groups of Catholics on Vancouver Island who are in a similar position.

“We call ourselves prophetic Catholics.” Jamieson said, explaining the groups within Catholicism that accept married, gay or women priests openly but still feel strongly about their faith.

They prophesy for the evil one - they place themselves above the Bishop of Rome and lawful ecclesiastical leaders; they make themselves the ultimate authority, the arbitor of truth. Each has elected himself/herself pope.

The ordination of Lauder and Kilburn-Smith will be held at 2 p.m. in St. Aidan’s United Church in Saanich.

The circus of blasphemy continues....

Gospel for Wednesday, 8th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Augustine of Canterbury, archbishop and confessor

From: Mark 10:32-45

Third Prophecy of the Passion

[32] And they (the disciples) were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the Twelve again, He began to tell them what was to happen to Him, [33] saying, "Behold, we are goingup to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles; [34] and they will mock Him, and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and kill Him; and after three days He will rise."

The Sons of Zebedee Make Their Request

[35] And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Him, and said to Him, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You." [36] And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" [37] And they said to Him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." [38] But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" [39] And they said to Him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; [40] but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." [41] And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. [42] And Jesus called them to Him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. [43] But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. [45] For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom of many."

32. Jesus was making His way to Jerusalem with a burning desire to see fulfilled everything that He had foretold about His passion and death. He had already told His disciples that He would suffer there, which is why they cannot understand His eagerness. By His own example He is teaching us to carry the cross gladly, not to try to avoid it.

35-44. We can admire the Apostles' humility: they do not disguise their earlier weakness and shortcomings from the first Christians. God also has wanted the Holy Gospel to record the earlier weaknesses of those who will become the unshakeable pillars of the Church. The grace of God works wonders in people's souls: so we should never be pessimistic in the face of our own wretchedness: "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

38. When we ask for anything in prayer, we should be ready, always, to accept God's will, even if it does not coincide with our own: "His Majesty knows best what is suitable for us; it is not for us to advise Him what to give us, for He can rightly reply that we know not what we ask" (St. Teresa, "Mansions", II, 8).

43-45. Our Lord's word and example encourage in us a genuine spirit of Christian service. Only the Son of God who came down from Heaven and freely submitted to humiliation (at Bethlehem, Nazareth, Calvary, and in the Sacred Host) can ask a person to make himself last, if he wishes to be first.

The Church, right through history, continues Christ's mission of service to mankind: "Experienced in human affairs, the Church, without attempting to interfere in any way in the politics of States, `seeks but a solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ Himself under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth, to rescue and not to sit in judgment, to serve and not to be served' (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 3). Sharing the noblest aspirations of men and suffering when she sees them not satisfied, she wishes to help them attain their full flowering, and that is why she offers men what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race" (Paul VI, "Populorum Progressio", 13).

Our attitude should be that of our Lord: we should seek to serve God and men with a truly supernatural outlook, not expecting any return; we should serve even those who do not appreciate the service we do them. This undoubtedly does not make sense, judged by human standards. However, the Christian identified with Christ takes "pride" precisely in serving others; by so doing he shares in Christ's mission and thereby attains his true dignity: "This dignity is expressed in readiness to serve, in keeping with the example of Christ, who `came not to be served but to serve.' If, in the light of this attitude of Christ's, `being a king' is truly possible only by `being a servant', then `being a servant' also demands so much spiritual maturity that it must really be described as `being a king.' In order to be able to serve others worthily and effectively we must be able to master ourselves, possess the virtues that make this mastery possible" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 21). Cf. note on Matthew 20:27-28.
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, May 27, 2008

Just for Today May 28

Moses always had recourse to the tabernacle, for the deciding of all doubts and questions; and fled to the help of prayer, against the dangers and wickedness of men. So must thou in like manner fly to the closet of thy heart, and there must earnestly implore the divine assistance.

-Bk. III, ch. xxxviii.

The novices, finding that she guessed their inmost thoughts, expressed their surprise. "I will tell you my secret," she said, "before correcting you, I always ask Our Lady to inspire me to say what will be most helpful, and I myself am often astonished at what I teach you. I feel quite sure that I am not mistaken in thinking that Our Lord speaks to you by my mouth."

-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme).
For more information, 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.