Saturday, July 05, 2008

Just for Today, July 6

Oh, how good a thing and how peaceable it is to be silent of others, nor to believe all that is said, nor easily to report what one has heard!
-Bk. III, ch. xlv.

The first infirmarian, a senior nun, had through forgetfulness neglected a duty. As this might have had serious consequences for the patient, the Prioress asked for an explanation: "I was obliged to tell our Mother the whole truth," said the Saint, "but it came into my mind to word the explanation more charitably than I had at first thought of doing. I followed the inspiration, and God rewarded me with deep interior peace."
-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 - July 6

Gratitude for graces received is a most effica­cious means of obtaining new ones.
-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 July 6, The Need for Joy

"I come back again to my need of not being treated too sternly by You, my Lord. I have such a fear of suffering. Somewhere, I read that the great composer Gounod arranged two finales for one of his suites; the one, according to the original theme of the composer, was somber in color, the other, purely fantastic, offering a happy ending. The public greatly preferred the latter. 'Do you believe that we pay for our places to weep?' said these good people.

"I am like that public. The denouement pleases me more if it is happy."

"Have I not already told you that I, your Lord, have written My suite, the beautiful poem of your life upon earth, with an ending from which all sadness is banished. You obliged me to change My finale. What do I mean? My poem took on a mood of blood, where all before was joy - and not only for you human beings, but likewise for My Son. All was disorder; there was no longer any harmony because a horrible false note had slipped in making every­thing discordant. I had to introduce a new melody into the poem. Alas, a melody of indescribable sadness; it began with the tears of a Little Child cradled in a manger used for animals, and ended with a piercing dolorous cry that rent the veil of the Temple, set the elements astir and shook the world. You have seen the suffering of My Son? And you cannot accept even little thorn pricks! Something is missing in the Passion of Christ. Other notes are necessary to uphold His Voice and strengthen His mournful song. Do you wish to join your voice with My Son's?"

"Yes, Lord, I accept all. Have pity on me, but use me. Insig­nificant as my voice may be in the chorus of souls who sing to You the poem of the Cross, I do not refuse to take my part. I will dare accompany You, since You desire it, and since You ask me to."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Sacred Music that Serves the Word of God (Part 1)

Father Samuel Weber on Sacred Music Institute

From Zenit:
By Annamarie Adkins

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, JULY 4, 2008 ( Parish music directors -- and congregations -- in the Archdiocese of St. Louis soon will benefit from Archbishop Raymond Burke’s recent initiative: The Institute for Sacred Music.

Archbishop Burke, who has since been named to head the Apostolic Signature, the Church's supreme court, appointed Benedictine Father Samuel Weber as the first director of the new institute earlier this year.

Father Weber is a professor in the divinity school of Wake Forest University in North Carolina and also a monk of the St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana.

In Part 1 of this interview with ZENIT, Father Weber discusses how the Institute for Sacred Music will try to restore Gregorian chant’s “pride of place” in the liturgy....

Friday, July 04, 2008

Gospel for Saturday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, priest
Old Calendar: St. Anthony-Mary Zaccaria, confessor

From: Matthew 9:14-17

The Call of Matthew (Continuation)

[14] Then the disciples of John (the Baptist) came to Him (Jesus), saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" [15] And Jesus said them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. [16] And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. [17] Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."


14-17. This passage is interesting, not so much because it tells us about the sort of fasting practised by the Jews of the time--particularly the Pharisees and John the Baptist's disciples--but because of the reason Jesus gives for not requiring His disciples to fast in that way. His reply is both instructive and prophetic. Christianity is not a mere mending or adjusting of the old suit of Judaism. The redemption wrought by Jesus involves a total regeneration. Its spirit is too new and too vital to be suited to old forms of penance, which will no longer apply.

We know that in our Lord's time Jewish theology schools were in the grip of a highly complicated casuistry to do with fasting, purifications, etc., which smothered the simplicity of genuine piety. Jesus' words point to that simplicity of heart with which His disciples might practise prayer, fasting and almsgiving (cf. Matthew 6:1-18 and notes to same). From apostolic times onwards it is for the Church, using the authority given it by our Lord to set out the different forms fasting should take in different periods and situations.

15. "The wedding guests": literally, "the sons of the house where the wedding is being celebrated"--an __expression meaning the bridegroom's closest friends. This is an example of how St. Matthew uses typical Semitic turns of phrase, presenting Jesus' manner of speech.

This "house" to which Jesus refers has a deeper meaning; set beside the parable of the guests at the wedding (Matthew 22:1 ff), it symbolizes the Church as the house of God and the body of Christ: "Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope" (Hebrews 3:5-6).

The second part of the verse refers to the violent death Jesus would meet.
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.

Just for Today, July 5

What is it thou sayest, my son? Cease to complain, considering My Passion, and the suffering of the saints. Thou hast not yet resisted unto blood. What thou suffers is but little, in comparison to them who have suffered so much, who have been so strongly tempted, so grievously afflicted, so many ways tried and exercised.

Thou must then call to mind the heavy sufferings of others, that thou mayest the easier bear the little things thou suffers. And if to thee they seem not little, take heed lest this also proceed from thine impatience.

-Bk. III, ch. xix.

One day I complained of being more tired than the other Sisters, because in addition to a Community duty I had done some work of which no one knew. The Servant of God replied: "I would like to see you a brave soldier who never speaks of his own troubles, who considers the wounds of his comrades serious, but his own mere scratches. Why are you feeling your fatigue so much? It is because no one knows of it."

-Conseils et Souvenirs.
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 - July 5

Learn to be silent sometimes for the edification of others, that you may learn how to speak some­times.

-St. Vincent Ferrer.
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 July 5, Public Appearance

It is too commonly believed that humility consists only in re­maining hidden. That is certainly its most ordinary manifestation. It is possible, however, that one's office or duties place her on the candlestick. If that be so, then, true humility does not consist in burying oneself, in seeking impetuously to get out of sight, but rather in remaining fully in evidence without, however, becoming conceited.

Does not Our Lord give us an example of this when in the very midst of His Hidden Life, He left His obscurity to speak to the doctors, even to question them?

It is far more humble, or at any rate, far more humiliating to be on the candlestick when it is necessary than under the bushel. There are certain desires for humility which do not spring from humility; certain withdrawals into the hidden life of which God does not approve, particularly when it is not one's duty to remain hidden, but to appear in public.

The ideal of humility is to hold ourselves as nothing inwardly so that if circumstances draw us from obscurity into the limelight, we shall remain as humble before a great public as behind four walls.

Humility, like all the virtues, is an interior power, and should, therefore, be able to adapt itself to any circumstance, remaining true to itself whether in the shadow or the light.

"O Jesus, Teacher of the Doctors, teach me not to hesitate to appear when necessary, if there is a possibility of Your glory or an indication of Your will; teach me also to disappear and remain hidden if that is the manifest will of Your Providence for me."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Was There More to Archbishop Burke's Appointment?

Though not mentioned here before, last Friday morning's saddening news of Archbishop Burke's move left some with many questions and a certain uneasy feeling. It seems that John Allen of National Catholic Reporter has picked up on it:

Since news of St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke’s appointment as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura was announced June 27, I’ve received numerous telephone calls and e-mails, from both sides of the Atlantic, posing some version of the following question: Was this a case of what the Italians call promuovere per rimuovere … promoting someone in order to get rid of him?

It’s a reasonable question, given Burke’s profile as a lightning rod in St. Louis. Not only is he the American bishop most identified with the push to deny Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians, but he also engaged in very public spats involving rock star Sheryl Crow and basketball coach Rick Majerus. Basically his last act as archbishop was to issue canonical penalties for Sister of Charity Louise Lears for her support of women’s ordination. While most of Burke’s fellow bishops, and certainly the Vatican, would share the substance of his positions, not everyone applauds his pugnacious way of advancing them....

It's a bit presumptious to claim that his way of dealing with public scandals and public dissent was "pugnacious." Most faithful Catholics in St Louis (and elsewhere) welcomed the fact that a bishop was finally doing was a bishop is supposed to do in safeguarding the faith and protecting the faithful continued dissent and scandal from those who made claims to be Catholic.

The real test of whether there is a desire to place such a pastoral figure in St. Louis, of course, will come with the nomination of his replacement. For that reason, the selection will be keenly anticipated -- not only because of the historical importance of St. Louis as a center of Catholic culture, but also because of broader indications it may offer about the tone Benedict XVI and his nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, want to set for the American church.

We'll see what's in store for us. Many would agree that Archbishop Burke is not one who can easily be replaced.

AFA Reports:McDonald's chooses to support homosexual agenda

Latest email alert:
McDonald's has refused a request to remain neutral in the culture war, choosing to continue support of the homosexual agenda. American Family Association (AFA) wrote McDonald's asking the company do two things:

* Remove McDonald's name and logo from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Web site listing McDonald's as a "Corporate Partner and Organization Ally" of NGLCC.

* Remove the endorsement of NGLCC by Richard Ellis, Vice President of Communications for McDonald's USA, from the NGLCC Web site.

McDonald's refused both requests. McDonald's donated $20,000 to NGLCC in exchange for membership in the NGLCC and a seat on the group's board of directors. The NGLCC lobbies Congress on a wide range of issues including the promotion of homosexual marriage.

This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals, or homosexuals eating at McDonald's, or how homosexual employees are treated. It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, choosing to put the full weight of their corporation behind promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.

Pat Harris, Global Chief Diversity Officer, Vice President, Inclusion & Diversity at McDonald's, responded: "I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our position on diversity." Notice that Ms. Harris said "reaffirm." Translated: McDonald's will not change their policy of supporting the NGLCC and their promotion of homosexual marriage.

Richard Ellis, who is openly homosexual, was given a seat on the NGLCC Board of Directors. He was quoted as saying: "I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and ready to go to work. I share the NGLCC's passion for business growth and development within the LGBT community, and I look forward to playing a role in moving these important initiatives forward."

Addressing McDonald's promotion of social issues, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner said earlier the company will aggressively promote the issues they approve. In remarks on its Web site, Skinner said: "Being a socially responsible organization is a fundamental part of who we are. We have an obligation to use our size and resources to make a difference in the world ... and we do."

Take Action!

* Sign the online Boycott McDonald's petition and urge your friends and family to do the same.

* Print and distribute the Boycott McDonald's petition.

* Call your local McDonald's. Speak with the manager. Tell him or her (in a polite manner) that you will be boycotting McDonald's until they stop promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage. To find the phone number of your nearest McDonald's, click here.
Those who sponsor and support the assault on the family and morality deserve to be opposed! The future of our country is at stake. No more McD's coffee for me!

Happy Independence Day!

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Christian Conception Of Wealth

By The Rev. Charles Bruehl, D.D.

"Give an account of thy stewardship." - Luke xvi, 2.

SYNOPSIS. - The idea of stewardship in Christian life. Embraces all gifts and talents, extends also to earthly goods.

(1) Nature of wealth. Has no intrinsic value. Can never be an end. May not be sought for its own sake. It is a trust. No absolute rights of ownership. The rich man God's steward.

(2) Dangers of riches. The acquisition of wealth may implicate us in injustice. Its possession may foster pride. Its use. easily leads to sensuality and indulgence. Dangers of prosperity only overcome by grace.

(3) Christian use of wealth. Selfish enjoyment contrary to God's intention. No indefinite expansion of wants. Leisure not to degenerate into indolence. Social service. Duties of employers. Alms to be given from one's superfluous goods.
Not to seek riches. Fear prosperity. Make friends unto you of the mammon of iniquity.


My Dear Friends:

Deeply impressed upon the consciousness of the Christian, and indelibly engraven on the tablets of his mind is the commanding thought that for all his actions he is responsible to a higher Power, to which he is subject and, accordingly, must render an account of the minutest details of his life. Strongly and vividly does he realize the stern and undeniable fact that he is not his own lord and master; that he owes allegiance and fealty to the Supreme Lord of all things, from whom he has received whatever he calls his own; that whatever he possesses, be it much or little, he holds in trust for a certain end, a definite purpose, independent of his free choice; that, in the fullest sense of the word, he is but a steward who may use things only according to the will and intentions of his Master, and whose term of stewardship shall come to a speedy, often unforeseen, close.

This is a fundamentally and thoroughly Christian idea; it is wrought into the very structure and fabric of Christian morality; it is the source of that continual watchfulness and wholesome fear that should accompany the Christian in all his walks and undertakings; it is also his shield and staff, when he is assailed by temptation, and a powerful and most salutary restraint when his passions would draw him into forbidden pleasures and self-indulgence; again and again it has been most forcibly insisted on by our Lord. It is this deep-rooted conviction which gives solemnity and gravity to the life of the Christian and distinguishes it from the frivolity and pagan thoughtlessness of the world.

In the doctrine of the particular judgment, which follows immediately after death and which determines the destiny of man according to his faithfulness or unfaithfulness as a servant of the Most High, this consciousness of responsibility is crystallized and has received a concrete and striking form. Parables and passages dealing with the severity of the account to be rendered and bringing home to man its vital significance and final, irrevocable character, abound in the sacred books.

Now, though in theory and in the abstract every Christian is well aware of his stewardship and consequent responsibility, in practice we often indulge and foster illusions as to the extent and full force of our accountability. We flatter ourselves that there may be some things at least which are our very own, of which we may dispose at our own pleasure, and which may be withheld from the final reckoning:

There is one realm, especially, in which this subtle deception crops out quite frequently and persistently, like a noxious weed difficult to exterminate and encumbering the ground to the detriment of the good plants; I mean the domain of earthly goods and material possessions. Men like to believe that with the riches they have acquired by legitimate inheritance or by their own efforts, they are at liberty to do what they please. The law and the spirit of the age favor this delusion, for they both concede to a man the right to use or abuse his wealth as his whims and fancies may dictate. No error, however, could be more unwarranted and fatal, since it is so evident from the Gospel that there will be a very searching scrutiny of our attitude towards the goods of this earth and the use we have made thereof.

Frequent are the warnings against the seductions and snares of riches, and most emphatic are the denunciations of the unrighteous rich. There can be no doubt, then, that our stewardship and responsibility extend also to our material resources, however much we may be inclined to regard them as our very own. To-day's Gospel furnishes us a most welcome occasion to bring before our mind, in a clear and precise manner, the Christian conception of wealth, and the moral consequences which flow from it. Our discourse will deal with the nature, the dangers and the Christian use of wealth.

I. Pope Leo XIII. sounds the keynote of Catholic teaching concerning riches in his immortal Encyclical on the condition of labor. The passage is remarkable for the terseness of its language and the noble daring of its utterances. These are his words: "The things of earth can not be understood or valued aright without taking into consideration the life to come.... As for riches and the other things which men call good and desirable, whether we have them in abundance or lack them altogether, so far as eternal happiness is concerned it matters little; the only important thing is to use them aright.... Therefore those whom fortune favors are warned that freedom from sorrow and abundance of earthly riches are no warrant for the bliss that shall never end, but rather are obstacles; that the rich should tremble at the threatenings of Jesus Christ and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for all we possess."

In themselves riches are indifferent, neither good nor bad; they may become harmful and bad by the sinful attachment of their owner, by unscrupulous methods of acquisition or by the improper uses to which they are turned. Riches will bless or curse you, as your own heart determines. The material goods of life are not the highest goods; not in them consists the true value of man's life; for, so says our Lord: "Take heed and beware of all covetousness, for a man's life doth not consist in the abundance of things which he possesseth" (Luke xii, 1,5).

Measured by Christian standards a man's life maybe a rich, a large, a splendid life, though he possesses none of the earth's goods; it may be a narrow, sordid, groveling and unprofitable life, though he be the master of millions. Compared to the true values of life, wealth is irrelevant; at its best, it may be a means; at its worst, it is an obstacle. For the Christian the pursuit of wealth may never become an absorbing interest or a whole-souled purpose; it must always be subordinated and tributary to the higher aims of life.

Thus St. Basil warns: "Do not give your soul up to riches, loving and admiring them as the one good thing in life, but take advantage of them, using them as an instrument of service." The passionate desire for riches, the scramble for the spoils of the earth and the inordinate haste to accumulate a fortune are un-Christian, as they run directly counter to the injunction of Christ. "Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; for where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also" (Matth. vi, 19). If sought for its own sake, wealth will become a bar to the attainment o~ the things which are valuable by reason of their own intrinsic goodness.

Man's rights over his resources are not unlimited; his title to them is not an absolute one. God is the Supreme Owner of all things, and He has attached certain duties to all property. All are to live from the bounty of the earth; if anyone possesses more than his legitimate needs require, it is that he should share with those who have less. Such is the plan of Divine Providence. Let us listen to the startling words of St. Basil. "Do you think," he says, God is so unjust as to will an unequal distribution of the necessaries of life? Why are you rich and your neighbor poor? Is it not that you may receive the reward of generosity and faithful distribution, and he that of patience? Yet you fancy that you do no one an injury by gathering all things into the fathomless recesses of your greed." The rich man is God's steward; he holds his wealth from God and must use it, not for himself alone, but for the benefit of others also.

In the Christian view, then, wealth is not an end and aim of life; the pursuit of riches may not engross a man's thoughts and desires; his heart may not become attached to his possessions, for they shall perish and fail him in the supreme hour; he must consider his wealth as a trust from God and be ever faithful and watchful in ~he administration of his property; nor may he ever forget that he is in the presence of a constant and subtle danger, since the road of riches is beset by numerous pitfalls and imminent perils.

2. Poverty is not an unfailing passport to heaven; nor do riches necessarily exclude one from eternal happiness. "Wealth," declares St. Jerome, "is not an obstacle to the rich man if he uses it well, nor does want make the poor man more praiseworthy, if in the midst of his filth and poverty he does not avoid sin." Yet, it is easier for the poor than for the rich to work their salvation. Not without reason did our Lord say: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Luke xviii, 24). We know at what occasion our Lord spoke those fearful words; it was when the young man had refused to follow him, because the discipleship of Jesus involved the surrender of his wealth.

Truly, the perils of wealth are many; there is danger in the acquisition of wealth; danger in the possession; danger in the use. The acquisition of riches may tempt to injustice; the .possession to ~ride; the use to sensuality. If one has set his heart on wealth and decided to amass a fortune in a short time, it will be difficult for him to keep his hands clean of injustice. "For he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" (Prov. xxviii, 20).

In his blind hurry to increase his profits he will set aside the scruples of a tender conscience and engage in transactions of dubious' character, provided that they promise rich returns. He will scorn that caution and those safeguards which might help him to travel unscathed the slippery road of opulence, but which stand in the way of large gains and speedy earnings. He who burns with the desire of becoming rich, courts ruin and hurries to his perdition. Gold kindles greed; he who possesses will possess more. The desire to increase their wealth steals upon the rich unawares, and soon the appetite grows to be insatiable.

When this deplorable stage has been reached, conscience is dulled; the sense of equity and justice stunted; the heart grows as feelingless as flint, and the soul is blinded to its own wretched condition. Nothing but the thunders of Divine Justice will arouse such a miserable soul from its deadly torpor. Gold is enchanted, and if we do not resist its charm from the outset it will cast over our soul its fatal spell and hold us in its power.

Riches beget pride and haughtiness, which are an abomination before God. Wealth gives power, and power makes proud. Golden keys open all doors, and so the rich man fancies himself the master of men. He exalts himself above his fellowmen, because they are willing to serve and flatter him for the sake of his money, as the preacher had already observed in his times, for "all things obey money" (Eccl. x, 19). And another close observer of men and inspired writer remarks: "The house that is very rich shall be brought to nothing by pride" (Eccles. xxi, 5).

The great difference of possessions lessens the consciousness of universal brotherhood, and so the wealthy come to look down on the poor and to despise those that can not make costly display. Is it not difficult to remain humble and not to become puffed up, where everything ministers to pride and where the most abject flattery constantly besieges the ear? Is it easy not to become overbearing and haughty, where everybody is willing to submit to our caprices and to carry out our unexpected wishes? Blessed the man who surrounded by artful adulation falls not a victim to vanity, and who, standing on the dangerous pinnacle on which wealth places him, becomes not intoxicated with the power he wields over his fellow men!

Sensual corruption but too often follows in the wake of prosperity. The material wants assume an undue preponderance, since money furnishes ample means to satisfy them. It is hard to refuse oneself the pleasures of life when they are within such easy reach and proffered hourly in the most seductive fashion. Who will sub, due his passions where everything caters to them? Wealth supplies constant fuel to the unhallowed flame of concupiscence; so we need not be astonished when we see men perish in the blaze of prosperity, as moths are burned in the glow of a lamp. The abundance of material goods makes men judge life by false standards; they exalt the things that gratify the senses; place their happiness in the satisfaction of their passions and finish by despising the things of the spirit.

Many a man's spiritual downfall has been wrought by a sudden prosperity that burst upon him as a hot summer day and scorched the blossoms of virtue that were beginning to unfold. Few even of those who were thought of sterling worth and finest mettle have stood the test of prosperity. Experience has shown that virtue which could not be corrupted by persecution, torture and want, was finally debauched by the seductive influence of wealth and luxury. Deploring these evil effects of riches, from which so few escape, St. Paul writes: "They that will become rich fall into temptations and into the snares of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires which drown men into destruction and perdition" (1. Tim. vi, 9).

There are numerous insidious temptations that never cross the threshold of the poor man's cottage, but that will only enter into the luxurious homes of the prosperous. Luxury, self-indulgence, slothfulness, ostentation, pride, ambition., self-conceit, worldliness, oppression-vices which make men unspiritual, unteachable and unresponsive to the call of God-are the attendants of the unrighteous mammon.

Great and terrible are the perils that surround wealth, and only by a continual vigilance and the grace of God can we be saved from them; the insinuating fascination of riches can be counteracted only by the stronger influence of Divine grace. There is no safety, then, in prosperity except by prayer and grace.

3. The possession of wealth is attended with grave and solemn duties, the fulfillment or neglect of which form an important part of the account to be rendered. The rich man must administer his wealth as a faithful steward in conformity with the intentions of his Lord. His wealth is not alone for himself. His needs are limited, and what he possesses above that what is required to satisfy hem reasonably is not intended for his personal use. As one may not shut out one's neighbor from the use of the air and the light, so may he not exclude others from some participation in his riches.

God wishes all his children, the rich and the poor, to live; the rich from their own resources, the poor by the generosity of the rich; thus he makes the rich the dispensers of his gifts to those whom he has deprived of worldly goods. Solitary enjoyment of one's wealth would constitute a grave violation of God's law and a crime against the brotherhood of mankind. Truly, out of his wealth the Christian may first provide for his own wants and keep his own in reasonable comfort. He has no right, however, to multiply his wants and desires indefinitely, and to make his income the means of mere sensual gratification.

Endless entertainments, sumptuous feasts, over-refinement in dress, costly adornments, elaborate display, extravagance in food, form no legitimate use of wealth. N either does wealth give any title to indolence or idleness. The leisure which the man of means commands must be employed in self-culture or in social work. The rich man is not exempt from all obligations to his fellow men; he may be likened to an employee paid in advance, and must make good the title to his revenues; the law of his life, as well as that of the poor man, is, service.

The owner: of a large estate enters into certain relations with his fellow men; of a necessity he becomes employer. In his capacity as an employer he is, in the most direct way, the steward of God. Let him not forget this fact in his dealings with his subordinates. God demands that he treat them justly, fairly and equitably. There must be some proportion between the profits he draws and the wages he pays; if his business is successful, he must allow his laborers a compensation that enables them' to lead a truly human life. Any form of exploitation would constitute a gross abuse of the economic power placed in his hands. The honest management of one's business, so that all concerned benefit thereby, is one of the first and strictest requirements of the Christian use of wealth.

From his superfluous goods the rich man must bestow generously and liberally on the poor and the needy. No duty is plainer and inculcated in more emphatic terms than that of almsgiving. Terrible are the judgments awaiting the rich that close their eyes to the needs of the helpless and refuse to relieve the clamoring wants of the indigent out of their abundance. Quick is God to hear the voice of the poor and readily does He listen to the complaints against the rich who have shown no mercy. "He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother hi need, and shall shut up his bowels from him, how doth the charity of God abide in him?" (1. John iii, 17). "Almsgiving is one of the ways of making unto yourself friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings" (St. Luke, xvi, 9).

My dear friends, seek not riches. If God sends you wealth as the reward of industry, honesty and economy, thank Him for His gifts. But place not your trust in your riches and look not for happiness in the things money can buy. Check your desire for the possession of more and beware lest your heart become insensibly attached to the things of earth and forget heaven and God. Guard against pride and exalt not yourself over your poorer brother clad in rags, for in the eyes of God he may be richer than you. Fear your riches more than you love them, and give of them freely. Store not up unto yourself treasures of unrighteousness, for they will be your ruin if found in your hands on the day of reckoning.

Adapted from Plain Sermons by Practical Preachers, Vol. II(©1916)
Nihil Obstat: Remegius Lafort, S.T.D
Imprimatur: John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Americans Who Risked Everything


It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall, bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who was ill at home.

Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72 and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour....

This is well worth reading today as well as the Declaration of Independence...

Possible Changes in the Novus Ordo Liturgy?

The New Liturgical Movement web site is reporting that:

The rite of the Mass could change. According to some indiscretions, Benedict XVI has charged the Congregation for Divine Worship to study some modifications in the liturgy. In particular, the Pope is said to have the intention to restore Latin for the formula for the Eucharistic consecration within the Mass in the "vernacular language", i.e. the one celebrated in the different national languages. The same could happen to the formulae of Baptism, Confirmation, Confession and of the other sacraments. In addition, the exchange of peace among the faithful during the Mass, which today takes place prior to the distribution of the Eucharist, could be anticipated (as in the Ambrosian rite) to the offertory so as not to disturb the recollection that precedes Communion....

While this would be great news, it is unclear at this time if the report is accurate. Therefore, we remain skeptical until further verications are made.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Gospel for Friday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal: Independence Day (USA)

From: Matthew 9:9-13

The Call of Matthew

[9] As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[10] And as He sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [12] But when He heard it, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."


9. "Tax office": a public place for the payment of taxes. On "following Jesus", see the note on Matthew 8:18-22.

The Matthew whom Jesus calls here is the Apostle of the same name and the human author of the first Gospel. In Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 he is called Levi the son of Alphaeus or simply Levi.

In addition to Baptism, through which God calls all Christians (cf. note on Matthew 8:18-22), the Lord can also extend, to whomever He chooses, a further calling to engage in some specific mission in the Church. This second calling is a special grace (cf. Matthew 4:19-21; Mark 1:17-20; John 1:30; etc.) additional to the earlier calling through Baptism. In other words, it is not man who takes the initiative; it is Jesus who calls, and man who responds to this call by his free personal decision: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).

Matthew's promptitude in "following" Jesus' call is to be noted. When God speaks, soul may be tempted to reply, "Tomorrow; I'm not ready yet." In the last analysis this excuse, and other excuses, are nothing but a sign of selfishness and fear (different from that fear which can be an additional symptom of vocation: cf. John 1). "Tomorrow" runs the risk of being too late.

As in the case of the other Apostles, St. Matthew is called in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of his life: "What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And--wonder of wonders!--Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 799).

10-11. The attitude of these Pharisees, who are so prone to judge others and classify them as just men or sinners, is at odds with the attitude and teaching of Jesus. Earlier on, He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), and elsewhere He added, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).

The fact is that all of us are sinners; and our Lord has come to redeem all of us. There is no basis, therefore, for Christians to be scandalized by the sins of others, since any one of us is capable of committing the vilest of sins unless God's grace comes to our aid.

12. There is no reason why anyone should be depressed when he realizes he is full of failings: recognition that we are sinners is the only correct attitude for us to have in the presence of God. He has come to seek all men, but if a person considers himself to be righteous, by doing so he is closing the door to God; all of us in fact are sinners.

13. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, keeping the hyperbole of the Semitic style. A more faithful translation would be: "I desire mercy MORE THAN sacrifice". It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does--especially his worship of God (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 5:23-24).
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.

Just for Today, July 4

The other is that of the divine law, containing holy doctrine, teaching the right faith, and firmly leading even within the veil, where is the Holy of holies. Thanks be to Thee, O Lord Jesus, Light of eternal Light, for the table of holy doctrine which Thou hast afforded us by the ministry of Thy servants, the pro­phets, and apostles, and other teachers.

-Bk. IV, ch. xi.

I feel that I am about to begin my mission to make others love God as I have loved Him, and of teaching souls my little way. If my desire is granted, I shall spend my Heaven until the last day doing good upon earth. This cannot be impossible, for the angels enjoy the beatific vision and yet watch over us. I cannot rest as long as there are souls to save, but at the end of the world when the Angel will proclaim that Time shall be no longer (Apoc. x, 6), then I shall rest and be happy, for the number of the elect will be made up, and all will have entered into joy and peace. My soul exults at the thought.

-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 - July 4

Short pleasures and long sufferings are all the world can give.

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

Meditation for July 4, Confidence in Suffering

"My God, I asked You yesterday to have pity on me when You send me suffering; not to forget to add a drop of joy, because am poorly fortified for endurance and my strength soon gives out."

"You are right, my Child, in saying that you scarcely know how to suffer. I am not surprised. I created you for joy. It was original disobedience that darkened everything. Why do you not wish to be happy as I want you to be?"

"You are good, my Lord, not to be astonished at my inability to suffer for any length of time. Do more for me, relieve me without long delay whenever I am in distress."

"Take confidence in the remembrance of what happened one day to My servant, John of the Cross. There was not a crumb of food in his monastery when mealtime came. Did he abandon himself to discouragement? Not at all. The community prayed. They heard John exhorting them to confidence. Suddenly there was a knock at the outer door of the monastery; an unknown visitor was bringing bread. The little community did not die for want of bread that day. John of the Cross wept tears of gratitude because I had not the courage to make him and his brethren suffer too much. That is My way."

"Yes, Lord, I know You, I know that is Your way. But I - You know what I am, too. What is my sanctity compared to that of St. John of the Cross?"

"That is no difficulty. All proportions kept, and with the grace that is yours, become a saint as he did."

"Do you know, dear Lord, that it is still more difficult to add to my sanctity than to a loaf of bread. Miracle for miracle, the first has more attraction than the second."

"Do your best, my child, I will do the rest."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

One woman's journey from pro-choice atheist to pro-life Catholic

This is a good article...and it's in “America,” of all places!

Breaking News: Community supports ousted St. Louis nun

This "just in" from a National Catholic Reporter email alert - where have they been? It's been nearly a week since this started.

Community supports ousted St. Louis nun
By Tom Fox NCR Staff
Published: July 2, 2008

Louise Lears (Photo by Jim Tobin)

Sister of Charity Louise Lears, forced out of all church ministerial roles by Saint Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, is described by friends and colleagues in near saintly terms....

It was her belief that all church ministries, including women’s ordination, should be open to women....

Her belief is erroneous and at odds with what the Church teaches. Despite whatever good she does, she may not publicly support this position as she has done and remain a Catholic in good standing.

Jerry King, a member of the parish and member of the Center for Theology and Social Analysis in Saint Louis, an organization he and Lears belong to, found irony in the Burke censure. “Louise was not spoiling for a fight; she really did not want a fight; she wanted resolution.” He said she just wanted to be a pastor – “and has been very good at it, very active in her commitments” to the parish, which he described as a “last stop” for people disaffected from the church.

In other words, it's a hotbed of dissent. And she just wanted to be a "pastor"....Touching...

King and others now worry the disaffected are now going to drop out altogether....

Disaffected? What this really means is those who loathe the teachings of the Church , especially with regard to women priestettes and homosexuality. Haven't they already dropped out? Do they believe all that the Church teaches? Hardly; it's more the cafeteria or buffet style at St Cronan's from what we understand.

You can read this old news from the 'Distorter' here.

Archbishop Burke Unfairly Maligned by SNAP in Post-Dispatch

So what else is new? This is standard fare, especially from SNAP. As a matter of fact, it's what it does best.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue writes:

On June 29, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an editorial on the papal appointment of St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to head the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura. The mostly favorable editorial ended with a startling paragraph that cited accusations made by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The group charged that “dozens of proven, admitted, and credibly accused predator priests have been welcomed here.” It also said that “there’s not a bishop in America who has imported so many pedophile priests into his diocese as Burke has” (Emphasis is ours.)

...Bill Donohue commented as follows:

“When I read the operative verbs ‘welcomed’ and ‘imported,’ I knew it wasn’t true and I knew that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had been had...

“As it so happens, there are two treatment facilities located in the Archdiocese of St. Louis—one in Jefferson County and one in Franklin County. The Archdiocese neither owns nor operates them and both were built before Burke became the Archbishop of St. Louis.

“I’ve been waiting all week for SNAP to send us the evidence that the Archbishop ‘welcomed’ and ‘imported’ molesting priests into his diocese. But it hasn’t been able to deliver. All that exists is the vicious interpretation by SNAP.

“This is anti-Catholicism writ large. What we have is an advocacy group that is going broke because it can’t get any more money from steeple-chasing lawyers and a prominent newspaper swallowing its moonshine. The newspaper owes Archbishop Burke a public apology and SNAP needs to take an ethics class or shut down altogether.”

SNAP lost all credibility a long time ago and David Clohessy was so instrumental in this regard. This might explain why he continues to spew calumnies against good men like Archbishop Burke. Some evidently believe that hiding the truth or distorting facts in a public forum is helpful, when all it does is sow division and confusion among the people, especially those who fail to see through the falsehoods. It does, however, give Clohessy and his group "face time" on TV and in the paper. It must make him feel 'important.'

Will the Post-Dispatch apologize? We'll see. The one who really needs to apologize is Clohessy - but that's rather doubtful. Truth is irrelevant to him and his group. Many of us anticipate the day when we will no longer hear from this group or its distortions and calumnies. May God grant these obsessed individuals the healing they need for their souls.

Source: Catholic League

The Bureaucracy Blind-Sides The Bishops

From The Wanderer:
by Christopher Mannion

Our recent coverage of the scandal at Richmond Catholic Charities ( CCR) tells a sordid tale of tragedy, secrecy, and sub­terfuge. But this incident, sorrowful as it is, also reveals a deeper and more per­vasive problem that has plagued the Church in America for decades. That problem is the power of rogue bureaucra­cies that have hijacked the work of the Church and secularized it. In many cas­es, like that in Richmond, they have to­tally corrupted it.

Sometimes we have to wonder if the chanceries have learned anything from the clerical abuse scandals and cover- ups that have so damaged the Church in re­cent years. The Richmond chancery, flouting the Dallas charter’s requirement for transparency, covered up this latest scandal for months. Their method is marked with familiar signs — secrecy, ex­pensive lawyers, denials, and finger pointing. The only tactic missing is “ blam­ing the victim” — which is impossible, in this case, because one of the victims is dead, killed last January 18 by an abor­tion arranged and authorized by employ­ees of Richmond Catholic Charities (CCR)....


...For the past thirty years, many USCCB bureau­cracies have faithfully reflected the poli­cies of the pro-abortion, Democratic left in Washington. The small (and good) pro­life office at the USCCB is a lonely island in a sea of left-wing attitudes.

No wonder the parking lot of the US­CCB was full of bumper stickers support­ing Al Gore in 2000, and John Kerry in 2004. And the spirit of secrecy prevails even there — when a photographer en­tered the parking lot during the 2004 campaign and started snapping pictures, she was quickly ushered off the premises by a private security guard....

Unbelievable or what? And some wonder why the USCCB has lost credibility among orthodox Catholics.

News Update, 7/3

Lourdes Rector undergoes fraud investigation
$350,000 for shrine turns up in his bank account - Miracle?

Catholic doctors attack abortion proposals
'The right of conscience is a fundamental human right'

The pope, Mormons, and Muslims agree…
Religious groups line up for and against the legalization of same-sex marriage

Australian Catholics split on freedom to annoy
Is it contrary to the Church's teaching on human rights?

Catholics hit back at criticism of World Youth Day
Is it appropriate for protestors to hand out condoms?

Prosecutors refile theft charge against two priests
Allegedly bilked parish in Delray Beach of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Gospel for July 3, Feast: St. Thomas, Apostle

From: John 20:24-29

Jesus Appears to the Disciples (Continuation)

[24] Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."

[26] Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." [27] Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing." [28] Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" [29] Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."


24-28. Thomas' doubting moves our Lord to give him special proof that His risen body is quite real. By so doing He bolsters the faith of those who would later on find faith in Him. "Surely you do not think", [Pope] St. Gregory the Great comments, "that is was a pure accident that the chosen disciple was missing; who on his return was told about the appearance and on hearing about it doubted; doubting, so that he might touch and believe by touching? It was not an accident; God arranged that it should happen. His clemency acted in this wonderful way so that through the doubting disciple touching the wounds in His Master's body, our own wounds of incredulity might be healed. [...] And so the disciple, doubting and touching, was changed into a witness of the truth of the Resurrection" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 26, 7).

Thomas' reply is not simply an exclamation: it is an assertion, an admirable act of faith in the divinity of Christ: "My Lord and my God!" These words are an ejaculatory prayer often used by Christians, especially as an act of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.

29. [Pope] St. Gregory the Great explains these words of our Lord as follows: "By St. Paul saying `faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen' (Hebrews 11:1), it becomes clear that faith has to do with things which are not seen, for those which are seen are no longer the object of faith, but rather of experience. Well then, why is Thomas told, when he saw and touched, `Because you have seen, you have believed?' Because he saw one thing, and believed another. It is certain that mortal man cannot see divinity; therefore, he saw the man and recognized Him as God, saying, `My Lord and my God.' In conclusion: seeing, he believed, because contemplating that real man he exclaimed that He was God, whom he could not see" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 27, 8).

Like everyone else Thomas needed the grace of God to believe, but in addition to this grace he was given an exceptional proof; his faith would have had more merit had he accepted the testimony of the other Apostles. Revealed truths are normally transmitted by word, by the testimony of other people who, sent by Christ and aided by the Holy Spirit, preach the deposit of faith (cf. Mark 16:15-16). "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ" (Romans 10:17). The preaching of the Gospel, therefore, carries with it sufficient guarantees of credibility, and by accepting that preaching man "offers the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals, willingly assenting to the revelation given" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 5).

"What follows pleases us greatly: `Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.' For undoubtedly it is we who are meant, who confess with our soul Him whom we have not seen in the flesh. It refers to us, provided we live in accordance with the faith, for only he truly believes who practices what the believes" ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 26, 9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Just for Today, July 3

Christ was also in this world despised by men, and in His greatest necessity forsaken by His acquaintance and friends, in the midst of reproaches. Christ would suffer and be despised; and dost thou dare to complain of anyone?

-Bk. II, ch. i.

Thy lot on earth was open scorn,
So let it, Lord, be mine.
To men, the lowest place is shame;
But since to it Thy meekness came,
Thou makest it divine.

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 - July 3

Our Faith will never be true unless it is united to that of St. Peter and the Pontiff, his suc­cessors.

-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 July 3, Suffering and Joy

It is peculiarly significant that yesterday's meditation on the Magnificat follows the meditation for the Feast of the Precious Blood; first the consideration of suffering, then a radiant bursting forth into joy; the day before yesterday - the darkness of night; yesterday - the light of day.

There is in this strange sequence a symbolic representation of our life. Our whole life here below is a mixture of joy and sorrow, a constant passing from one to the other; a succession in mosaic of drab little stones joined to others brightly colored.

Someone once wondered how it was that God did not seem to give him any joys. Patience! Day will follow night! Summer, winter! We must not think that God, on account of a sort of inti­macy with suffering, finds joy only in sorrowing hearts. He has made us for joy, and if it weren't for expiating our sins and the sins of the world, only joy would reign in the world. But because we have only this earth for atonement, and a whole eternity to participate in the everlasting joy prepared for those who love, God permits suffering to hold sway a bit here below. It is true that it tries to increase its dominion as much as possible, but then, can we say we have not helped it along? How could we speak of suffering here on earth were it not that human beings cause it among themselves?

"My God vouchsafe me the grace to understand the role of joy in the world. Let it help me to discover Your Providence and Your immense goodness. Grant that I may also understand the role of suffering here, that I may detest sin the more. In the midst of my suffering, do not forget that I am weak and that it will be a great mercy to accompany it with a drop of joy. However, just as You wish. Alleluia. Amen."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Haloscan Comment Problems

Sorry for the inconvenience. Can't access Haloscan for some reason...

Blogger Comments Activated...per request.

Place your bets-Who Will Replace Archbishop Burke? had a report last night speculating about the next archbishop of St Louis to succeed Archbishop Burke...Not mentioned in the report was local favorite, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who, unfortunately may not be on the short list due to his age (He will be 73 this September).

Some of the names mentioned were Dolan, Finn, Naumann and Steib...Notably absent the enumerated possibles was Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan, a St Louisan who has been a fearless leader and defender of the faith.

Others have mentioned Bishop Thomas Doran, but he, too, is over 70 years old and probably not a possibility.

Others might be Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon; Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ; or Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Diego...

My picks would be Sheridan, Vasa, Naumann, although there are others and, of course, comments are welcomed. It will be difficult to replace Archbishop Burke, who is a very special, kind, humble, and prayerful shepherd. St Louis was truly blessed when then-Bishop Burke was appointed to succeed Abp. Justin Rigali. Let us pray that St Louis will be blessed again to receive another faithful shepherd of Christ and the Church in the weeks or months ahead.

Nevertheless, we should pray that whoever might be appointed will be capable of his three-fold duties of teaching (the Truth), of governing (in fidelity to the dictates of the Church), and sanctifying (so that souls can be brought into the beatific vision). Any bishop who is true to Christ and His Church would be a tremendous blessing!

For the video report click here.

News Updates, 7/2

Groups criticize laws forbidding ‘causing annoyance’ to WYD pilgrims
Some say they will defy the regulations and risk a $5,500 fine.

Archbishop Calls All Catholics to Demand National Award to Abortion Doc be Revoked
"Canada's highest honour has been debased" Morgentaler has been awarded the Order of Canada

Denver archdiocese to pay $5.5 mil in abuse suits
Archbishop apologizes on behalf of Catholic community

Catholic priest assassinated in Nepal
Police suspect the hand of a terrorist organization

Will he say anything to win?
Senator Barack Obama comes out against California Marriage Protection Act [he evidently prefers judicial tyranny to self governance]

Judge OKs keeping autistic boy from church
His mother says she will continue the legal fight

Pauline Year: The Ecumenical Dream of Pope Benedict (Chiesa)
Together with the patriarch of Constantinople, the successor of Peter has proclaimed a special jubilee year dedicated to another great apostle, Paul. The stated objective: "to create the unity of the 'catholica', of the Church formed from Jews and pagans, of the Church of all peoples"

Zenit Liturgy Questions; Celebrating the Mass Silently-Is it OK?

Gospel for Wednesday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
Saints Processus and Martinian, martyrs; St. Swithin

From: Matthew 8:28-34

The Demoniacs of Gadara

[28] And when He (Jesus) came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met Him coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. [29] And behold, they cried out, "What have You to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" [30] Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. [31] And the demons begged Him, "If You cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." [32] And He said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. [33] The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. [34] And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their neighborhood.


28. Most Gospel codexes and the New Vulgate say "Gadarenes"; but the Vulgate and parallel texts in Mark and Luke have "Gerasenes". Both names are possible; the two main towns in the area were Gerasa and Gadara. The event reported here could have happened close to both towns (limits were not very well-defined), though the swine running down into the lake or sea of Galilee makes Gadara somewhat more likely. "Gergesenes" was a suggestion put forward by Origen.

28-34. In this episode Jesus once more shows His power over the devil. That it occurred in Gentile territory (Gerasa and Gadara were in the Decapolis, east of Jordan) is borne out by the fact that Jews were forbidden to raise swine, which the Law of Moses declared to be unclean. This and other instances of expulsion of demons narrated in the Gospel are referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, when St. Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: "He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10:38). It was a sign that the Kingdom of God had begun (cf. Matthew 12:28).

The attitude of local people towards this miracle reminds us that meeting God and living a Christian life require us to subordinate personal plans to God's designs. If we have a selfish or materialistic outlook we fail to appreciate the value of divine things and push God out of our lives, begging Him to go away, as these people did.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Women's Ordination Conference Issues Absurd Statement Regarding Sr. Louise Lears

And, of course, those at the WOC must have failed to read the decree or - they were unable to comprehend it, since the "News Flash" incorrectly states:

Sister of Charity Wrongfully Penalized by Archbishop Recently Promoted to Vatican's Highest Court

Wrongfully penalized? Aisha Taylor, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference, issued the following gibberish about the penalties imposed on Sister Louise Lears, SC by Archbishop Raymond Burke:

The penalties callously doled out to Sister Louise Lears – a woman who has dedicated her entire life to serve the Church – is a prime example of the way women are often wrongly treated by the Catholic hierarchy, where dangerous secrecy runs rampant and preserving power in the hands a few ordained men reigns supreme.

There is so much wrong with this one statement, it's amazing that anyone could be so far off base.
1. What makes Aisha think that the penalties were "callously" doled out? Lears had every opportunity to recant and repent of her public scandal but refused. She apparently invited the penalties.

2. How is it possible to "serve the Church" while at the same time refusing to believe or assent to what the Church proposes for our belief or discipline?

3. How can Aisha claim that the imposition of these just penalties is a "prime example of the way women are often wrongly treated by the Catholic hierarchy," when similar interdicts have been applied to "men"? Intellectual honesty demands that one's assertions be substantiated by truth, however, the claims made by Aisha Taylor are, at best, dishonest and deceptive.

4. She also asserts that the Catholic hierarchy engages in a "dangerous secrecy." One logically must then ask - If it's a secret, how then does she know about it?
If there is rampant "secrecy" among a few men in the Vatican, how much of a "secret" is it?
And if this "secrecy" is known by only a very few, how can she claim that it's "dangerous," since she would not know about it?

Taylor seems to say that the Catholic hierarchy conspires and schemes so that they can find news ways to keep women in their place, so to speak - they're trying to keep the woman down! Such an implication speaks volumes - it's delusional and it seems to demonstrate a unhealthy paranoia or some phobia or hatred of men.

A rational mind can only conclude that Taylor and her cohorts have a talent for combining insulting and accusatory words into calumniating ramblings. And we have only looked at the first sentence! Let's continue:

The Women's Ordination Conference supports Sister Louise in her life and ministry in the Church. We oppose these penalties as a way of dealing with differences. Such misuse of church discipline will not intimidate women into accepting marginal status within the Church. Sister Lears remains steadfast in her faith and loyalty to the Church, and she has the support of millions of Catholics who seek only the gospel promise of equality.

All Catholics should support their brothers and sisters in Christ, most especially when those children of God have strayed from the path of Christ as Lears has done. Having been given ample opportunity to reject her obstinancy and rebellion, she maintains her rejection of a doctrine de Fide tenendo.

The imposition of interdict is certainly not a misuse of Church discipline, but a necessary and just means of bringing the wayward soul to repentance for the delicts which he/she has committed and to reconciliation with the Catholic Church.

While one might claim to be steadfast in his faith and loyalty to the Church, it is impossible to do so if one openly and repeatedly rejects a truth of the faith. What wife would accept a statement from her philandering husband that he "remains steadfast in his love and loyalty" to his wife, when he continues to violate his vows by engaging in affairs with other women (or, given today's hedonistic culture, with homosexual men)? Only the naive or mentally diminished would believe such claims.

It is claimed that Lears has the "support of millions of Catholics who seek only the gospel promise of equality." One wonders how it is possible to ascertain that "millions" of faithful Catholics have voiced their support in such a short period of time for her. Again as we have witnessed numerous times before, we suspect that pride and arrogance has blinded those in this small priestette movement, and this has resulted in the grossly inflated figures. As a matter of fact, at the time of this post, the number of online petition signers supporting Lears was less than 300. Go figure!

The decree announcing the penalties states the reason for this action is due to Sister Louise's support of Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie McGrath, the two women who were ordained priests in a St. Louis synagogue on November 11, 2007....

Actually, this is not correct, but then we are dealing with those who reject the truth and reject the Church and all lawful authority. As the statement accompanying the Decree states, the reasons for the penalties are:
1) the obstinate rejection, after written admonition, of the truth of the faith that it is impossible for a woman to receive ordination to the Sacred Priesthood (cann.750, §2; and 1371, 1º);

2) the public incitement of the faithful to animosity or hatred toward the Apostolic See or an Ordinary because of an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry (can. 1373);

3) the grave external violation of Divine or Canon Law, with the urgent need to prevent and repair the scandal involved (can. 1399); and

4) prohibited participation in sacred rites (can. 1365).

Secondly, Hudson and McGrath were not "ordained" priests - they and their lost followers and supporters might consider them some sort of "priestettes" but they are not in any way, shape, or form, Catholic clergy.

Taylor continues:
...The Vatican’s stance on ordination is based on arguments that have been refuted time and again. In 1976, the Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission determined that there is no scriptural reason to prohibit women’s ordination. Jesus included women as full and equal partners in his ministry, and the hierarchy would do well to follow suit.

Frankly, does it make any difference to the faithful Catholic why the Church teaches what she teaches? It does to those who want to understand more deeply; it does to those who wish to be able to explain it to others. In other cases, some probe and search for loopholes and exceptions - all in an effort to reject a teaching, rather than humbly give one's assent.

These fallen away Catholics, belonging to a divisive and heretical group wish to afford the charism of infallibility to the Pontifical Biblical Commission while denying that gift to the Holy Father upon whom Christ Himself bestowed that power. Common sense would indicate that such a position borders on the insane.

Even more of a stretch is the less than persuasive "suggestion" that the Church should ordain women because Jesus "included women as full and equal partners in his ministry," even though He did not ordain any of those women Himself, nor did any of His Apostles. Well, as some might say, that dog don't hunt.

As usual, Taylor pleads her case that one's conscience, be it malformed or dead, is the highest authority - even after having been informed by the light of truth. This, too, is fallacious and erroneous.

She (and the group) denigrates Archbishop Burke for imposing these penalties because they are "insensitive and unnecessary" - another erroneous statement; and, because she claims that Archbishop Burke is "out of sync with most of his brother bishops." Faithful Catholics might be inclined to say that too many of his brother bishops are, in fact, out of sync with the Church.

Fidelity to Christ and His Church comes at a price - a price many are unwilling to pay. One can obtain that true peace of which of Lord speaks - only when we humble ourselves and follow Him and His Church - then, we experience the wonderful joy of being "free" - because the Truth (which is Christ) has set us free! Rebellion in the Church and against Jesus always causes pain and sorrow, slavery, sin and death. It is a path which leads to eternal separation from our Lord - in a word, damnation.

It should sadden all Catholics that such penalties should ever have to be imposed, but given the fallen nature of mankind, it is something which cannot be entirely avoided. Let us remember that His Excellency asks all of the faithful of the Archdiocese to pray for the reconciliation of Sister Louise Lears with the Church. May all faithful Catholics everywhere do likewise - and let us not forget those confused souls of heretical and schismatic groups like the "Women's Ordination Conference", deceived as they are by the devil himself - they, too, need our prayers.

Just for Today, July 2

If thou set thyself to what thou ought; that is, to suffer and die to thyself, it will quickly be better for thee, and thou shalt find peace.

-Bk. II, ch. xii.

I had made what I considered an act of heroic virtue, and expected her to congratulate me, but she only said: "What is this little act of virtue compared with what Our Lord has the right to expect from you? You ought rather to feel humbled at missing so many opportuni­ties of proving your love."

I was not best pleased by this remark, and waited to see how the Saint would behave in some trying situation. I soon had an occasion, for Mother Prioress having asked us to do a difficult and exacting piece of work, I deliberately added to the difficulty, without once finding her at fault, but always gracious and cheerful, not spar­ing herself. If it was a question of helping others and putting herself out, she at once seized the opportunity with alacrity.

At last I could stand it no longer, and putting my arms round her I told her what had been troubling my mind. "How do you manage," I asked her, "always to remain happy, peaceful and even?"

"I was not always like that," she said, "but ever since I gave up all self-seeking, I have led the happiest of lives."

-Conseils et Souvenirs.
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 - July 2

O Queen of heaven and earth! Thou art the gate of mercy ever open, never closed. The uni­verse must perish before he who invokes thee from his heart is refused assistance.

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

Meditation for July 2, The Visitation

A short respite from the earth to find in the depths of heaven the unchangeable Majesty of God; surcease from our petty struggles, our narrow views, our little conflicts, our little miseries, and our mean oppositions; to admire in the light and in the calm the infinite sovereignty of God - to this unusual sweetness does the Magnificat of Mary invite us.

To desire, if it were possible, to add to God's greatness; to ex­perience ecstasy even now before enjoying the vision of His Om­nipotence and Immensity; to dream - as did St. Theresa of Avila when she heard in the Credo of the Mass the Cujus regni non erit finis - of God's Kingdom begun in the very beginnings without beginning of the unfathomable Eternity of the past, and destined to perpetuate itself beyond all time into the mysterious, limitless un­folding of the Eternity to come - all this Mary's soul expressed in answer to the greeting of Elizabeth.

Does it not often happen, particularly when events make me suffer, that I attach too great an importance to them, an impor­tance which makes me forget their relationship to the commands and permission of God? Earth, above all when it is dreary, hides heaven from me; the pygmies here below prevent me from seeing God.

I will forget my difficulties, rise above them, rise above myself to become imbued with the spirit of the Magnificat. God, nothing but God! I will relinquish all that is little, and thirst for what is truly great. I will seek admittance only to the Inaccessible, establishing myself there so that all below will seem too remote and stripped of interest for my attention.

O Mary, give me something of your taste for the greatness of God.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Theft at Archbishop Nienstedt's Home Nets Catholic Treasures

An overnight burglary at the St. Paul residence of new Archbishop John Nienstedt netted the thief or thieves the gem- and precious-metal-laden rings and crosses worn by bishops throughout the 150-year-plus history of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a church official said Monday.
"These things are historically and reverentially irreplaceable," said Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the archdiocese. "They're beyond value...."

Archbishop Nienstedt was in Rome to receive his pallium from Pope Benedict...Hopefully, the police will be able to quickly apprehend the culprit and return the items to the Archdiocese and to Archbishop Nienstedt.

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for July

VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention
for July is: "That there may be an increase in the number of those who, as
volunteers, offer their services to the Christian community with generous
and prompt availability".

His mission intention is: "That the World Youth Day held in Sydney,
Australia, may awaken the fire of divine love in young people and make them
sowers of hope for a new humanity".

Source: V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service

Televised Extraordinary Form of the Mass Today on EWTN

Feast of the Most Precious Blood - July 1st, 2008
First Solemn High Mass of Fr. Jared McCambridge, FSSP

Tue 07/01/08 8:00 AM ET & 5 AM PT LIVE
Tue 7/01/08 7:00 PM ET & 4 PM PT Encore
Wed 7/02/08 12:00 AM ET & 9 PM PT (Tue) Encore

News Updates, 7/1

And Jesus wept: religion, race and politics (The Vital Voice, St Louis)
Rev. Pfleger 'sez': "We have failed! That’s my conversation on race: THE CHURCH HAS FAILED!" [Ed. note: send this guy packing, please - the Church has not failed but some members have.]

The unsinkable Father Pfleger (Enter Stage Right)
Failed threats from Cardinal Cody, Cardinal George described him as a "unique priest." The activist pastor does as he pleases and prevails.

Bishop knew of Catholic Charities abortion plan
'Was told...there was nothing he could do to stop it'

“Not ready to make that commitment”
With no new vocations in 20 years, just six sisters remain at once thriving monastery

World Youth Day protest could cost $5500 fine
Anti-papal antics will be met by Australian police

Archbishop deplores founding of false Reformed Catholic Church in Venezuela
“Reformed Catholic Church,” leaders aligned with “Bolivarian Socialism,” receiving financial backing from Chavez.

Thomas Aquinas College chapel nears completion
Architect Duncan Stroik erects 21st century Domus Dei

Fr. Michael Pfleger scores his biggest media triumph on "Good Morning, America" thumbing his nose at the wilted, pathetically impotent (Chicago) archdiocese (Catholic Citizens of Illinois)

UK Catholic Church website is a 'disgrace'
Smorgasbord of PC messages edits out Church teaching

40 new archbishops receive pallium

Gospel for Tuesday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Blessed Junipero Serra, priest (USA)

Old Calendar: Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

From: Matthew 8:23-27

The Calming of the Storm

[23] And when He (Jesus) got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. [24] And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. [25] And they went and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." [26] And He said to them, "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?" Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. [27] And the men marvelled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?"


23-27. This remarkable miracle left a deep impression on Jesus' disciples, as can be seen from the fact that the first three evangelists all report it. Christian Tradition has applied this miracle in various ways to the life of the Church and the experience of the individual soul. From earliest times Christian art and literature have seen the boat as representing the Church, which also has to make its way around hazards which threaten to capsize it. Indeed, very early on, Christians were persecuted in various ways by Jews of their time, and were misunderstood by the public opinion of a pagan society--which also began to persecute them. Jesus' sleeping through the storm has been applied to the fact that sometimes God seems not to come to the Church's rescue during persecution. Following the example of the Apostles in the boat, Christians should seek Jesus' help, borrowing their words, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing". Then, when it seems we can bear it no longer, Jesus shows His power: "He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm"--but first rebuking us for being men of little faith. Quite often Gospel accounts are meant to serve as examples to us: they epitomize the future history of the Church and of the individual Christian soul.
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, June 30, 2008

Chaplet of the Holy Face for the Intentions of Archbishop Burke

Chaplet of the Holy Face

For the Triumph of the Church and downfall of Her Enemies

Make the Sign of the Cross, and say:

God, come to my assistance,
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Next, say 33 times:
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered;
let those who hate Him flee before His Holy Face.

At the end, say 3 times:
Glory be to the Father...
The formula being used for the Chaplet of the Holy Face is a variation of the original chaplet. If you would like to know more about the Holy Face Devotion, visit the website: