Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gospel for Pentecost Sunday

From: John 20:19-23

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." [20] When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you." [22] And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

19-20. Jesus appears to the Apostles on the evening of the day of which He rose. He presents Himself in their midst without any need for the doors to be opened, by using the qualities of His glorified body; but in order to dispel any impression that He is only a spirit He shows them His hands and His side: there is no longer any doubt about its being Jesus Himself, about His being truly risen from the dead. He greets them twice using the words of greeting customary among the Jews, with the same tenderness as He previously used put into this salutation. These friendly words dispel the fear and shame the Apostles must have been feeling at behaving so disloyally during His passion: He has created the normal atmosphere of intimacy, and now He will endow them with transcendental powers.

21. Pope Leo XIII explained how Christ transferred His own mission to the Apostles: "What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly resolved to do: this He actually did. 'As the Father hath sent Me, even so I send you' (John 20:21). 'As Thou didst send Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world' (John 17:18). [...] When about to ascend into Heaven, He sends His Apostles in virtue of the same power by which He had been sent from the Father; and He charges them to spread abroad and propagate His teachings (cf. Matthew 28:18), so that those obeying the Apostles might be saved, and those disobeying should perish (cf. Mark 16:16). [...] Hence He commands that the teaching of the Apostles should be religiously accepted and piously kept as if it were His own: 'He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me' (Luke 10:16). Wherefore the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ as He is the ambassador of the Father" (Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum"). In this mission the bishops are the successors of the Apostles: "Christ sent the Apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father, and then through the Apostles made their successors, the bishops, sharers in His consecration and mission. The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ" (Vatican II, "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 2).

22-23. The Church has always understood--and has in fact defined--that Jesus Christ here conferred on the Apostles authority to forgive sins, a power which is exercised in the Sacrament of Penance. "The Lord then especially instituted the Sacrament of Penance when, after being risen from the dead, He breathed upon His disciples and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit...' The consensus of all the Fathers has always acknowledged that by this action so sublime and words so clear the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to the Apostles and their lawful successors for reconciling the faithful who have fallen after Baptism" (Council of Trent, "De Paenitentia", Chapter 1).

The Sacrament of Penance is the most sublime expression of God's love and mercy towards men, described so vividly in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15:11-32). The Lord always awaits us, with His arms wide open, waiting for us to repent--and then He will forgive us and restore us to the dignity of being His sons.

The Popes have consistently recommended Christians to have regular recourse to this Sacrament: "For a constant and speedy advancement in the path of virtue we highly recommend the pious practice of frequent Confession, introduced by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; for by this means we grow in a true knowledge of ourselves and in Christian humility, bad habits are uprooted, spiritual negligence and apathy are prevented, the conscience is purified and the will strengthened, salutary spiritual direction is obtained, and grace is increased by the efficacy of the Sacrament itself" (Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis").
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, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

Principles and Practices - May 23

Outwards Unknown

Perform all thy actions, be they never so trifling, with great attention and the utmost exactness and diligence, because doing them thoughtlessly and hastily is the result of pre­sumption.

The truly humble man is always upon his guard, fearing lest there should be something amiss even in his smallest actions.

For the same reason thou shouldst always prefer to practise ordinary exercises of piety, and shun in general, all such extraordinary things as thine own inclination may suggest to thee.

For, as the proud man always seeks to make himself singular, so the humble man finds his delights in practices which are common and ordinary.

-Leo XIII-Vaughan.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - May 22


[continued from yesterday]

It is part of God's providence that when He sets before us an end to be attained He provides us also with the means of attaining that end. So in the case of marriage, having ordained it for the high purpose of preparing souls for heaven, God has endowed it with qualities which make it an apt instrument for the purpose for which it was instituted.

These qualities are revealed in the truth of Christ and the Church. Christ's Church was to be one only, and it was to last until the end of time.

The bond of Christian marriage must likewise be one only and must last until broken by death.

Unity and perpetuity are the qualities which make the marriage state specially fitted for the great object of bringing children into the world, of nourishing them in body, mind, and spirit, of bringing them to the final perfection for which man was created.

If the bringing of children into the world is attended with great pain and labor, the bringing of their souls to perfection is attended with still greater pain and labor. It requires nothing else than the united life and love of both parents.

Now such is the nature of man and woman that they cannot love effectually with a divided love.

Let either partner give the other the slightest cause for jealousy and there is an end of that perfect love and harmony in the family which is so needful for the well-being of the children.

The archtype of perfect love is the mutual love of the three Persons of the blessed Trinity. One of the fairest created reflections of that love is the triple love of family life, the love of husband, wife, and child. It will brook no intrusion from without. It cannot bear the prospect of it coming to an end.

This is a fundamental and universal law of nature, a law of nature which is accentuated, ennobled, and made perfect by a law of grace.

The Sacrament of matrimony implies a special divine sanction to the laws of unity and perpetuity in the marriage bond....

[continued tomorrow]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gospel for Saturday, 7th Week of Easter

From: John 21:20-25

Peter's Primacy (Continuation)
[20] Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, and who had lain close to His breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?" [21] When Peter saw Him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" [22] Jesus said to him, "If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow Me!" [23] The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, "If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?"

[24] This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

[25] But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

20-23. According to St. Irenaeus ("Against Heresies", II, 22, 5; III, 3, 4) St. John outlived all the other Apostles, into the reign of Trajan (98-117 A.D.). Possibly the evangelist wrote these verses to dispel the idea that he would not die. According to the text, Jesus does not reply to Peter's question. The important thing is not to be curious about what the future will bring but to serve the Lord faithfully, keeping to the way He has marked out for one.

24. This is an appeal to the testimony of the disciple "whom Jesus loved" as a guarantee of the veracity of everything contained in the book: everything which this Gospel says should be accepted by its readers as being absolutely true.

Many modern commentators think that verses 24 and 25 were added by disciples of the Apostle, as a conclusion to the Gospel, when it began to be circulated, a short time after St. John completed it. Be that as it may, the fact is that both verses are to be found in all extant manuscripts of the Fourth Gospel.

25. St. John's account, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has as its purpose the strengthening of our faith in Jesus Christ through reflecting on what our Lord said and did. Like the Fourth Gospel, we shall never be able to capture the full richness and depth of our Lord's personality. "Once one begins to be interested in Christ, one's interest can never cease. There is always something more to be known, to be said--infinitely more. St. John the Evangelist ends his Gospel making this very point (John 21:25). Everything to do with Christ is so rich, there are such depths for us to explore; such light, strength, joy, desire have their source in Him. [...] His coming to the world, His presence in history and culture and [...] His vital relationship with our conscience: everything suggests that it is unseemly, unscientific and irreverent ever to think that we need not and cannot advance further in contemplation of Jesus Christ" ([Pope] Paul VI, "General Audience", 20 February 1974).
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.

Principles and Practices - May 22

Our Fault Always

If always grace were at once given, and came at the wish for it, it would be more than feeble man could well bear.

Therefore the grace of devotion must be awaited for with good hope and humble patience.

Ascribe it, however, to your­self and to your sins, when it is not given, or when it is secretly withdrawn.

Sometimes it is a little thing which hinders or hides grace; if, indeed, anything can be called little, and not rather great, which is an obstacle to so great a good.

But if you will put away this thing - whether it be little or great in itself - and completely overcome it; you will have what you have sought.

-The Imitation.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - May 21


[continued from yesterday]

...It is well to keep this supernatural aspect of the case prominently before our minds when we consider the duties and obligations of the state. The end for which marriage was instituted was a most difficult end to attain. Indeed, it were an impossible task without the special divine helps provided.

Remembering these helps, however, the married couple may face their difficulties with a good heart. The sacramental effect of matrimony does not spend itself out within a week or two of the nuptial ceremony. The grace conferred on the wedding morning remains with them when they leave the church, remains with them in their home life, fortifies them in their discouragements, and steels their wills to the emergencies of every difficult situation.

The Church then, having made this clear to them, sets aside all false modesty and tells them in grave and plain language what their duties are.

The first duty is the bringing of children into the world and the educating of them in the service of God; the second duty is mutual love and service in the companionship of domestic life. In the nuptial Mass the priest solemnly prays over them that they may be fruitful in their offspring and that they may see their children's children unto the third and fourth generation. And finally in his exhortation he warns them to be faithful to each other, and to remain chaste at special times of prayer, during the fasts and solemn seasons of the Church.

Now all this involves much trouble and anxiety both on the part of the husband and of the wife.

With the former lies the paramount obligation of working for the sustenance of the household; with the latter lie all the cares of child-bearing; with both lies that anxiety for the temporal and spiritual well-being of each other and of the children.

"But if thou take a wife," says St. Paul, " thou hast not sinned. But if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned; nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh."

Those who enter this state, therefore, should do so with their eyes wide open to the fact that it is a life fraught with difficulty and that both man and woman are supposed to be willing to bear grave inconveniences. When a man complains of his loss of liberty or the increased burden on his pocket; or when a woman complains of the troubles of children, there has evidently been some radical misunderstanding as to the end of the institution of marriage and of its burdens.

What is needed on those occasions is the consideration that marriage is a Sacrament, — a Sacrament which is a channel of divine strength to bear the burden, of divine light to see the way out of the difficulties, of divine refreshment for the constant renewal of conjugal life and love.
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

News Updates, 5/21

Pope: we need truly Christian politicians
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We need truly Christian politicians" to promote in the "confused cultural relativism" of our times the values given by the Church's social doctrine, like life, family, solidarity with the poor, freedom, the search the common good, which ensure an authentic development of society. This was the exhortation that Benedict XVI addressed to Catholic laity throughout the world, as he met with participants at the 24th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, on the theme "Witnesses to Christ in the political community."...

The Knight time for fraternal correction (K of C Membership)
The Knights are making a mistake. As reported by Catholic World News and other sources, the leadership of the Knights of Columbus is forbidding local and state councils from suspending politicians who support abortion or same-sex marriage. This is a complex issue, so let’s add some details and begin a conversation about their decision....

Fr. Wissman in Bolivar, MO calls Pope Benedict, bishops, faithful, “faithless and hypocritical”
Long-time readers of WDTPRS may remember that we have on at least two other occasions looked at the musing of Fr. Pat Wissman, pastor of St. Catherine Mission in Bolivar, MO in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Fr. Wissman wrote some of the dumbest things I have ever read, as a matter of fact...It seems Fr. Pat has moved beyond dumb to angry and hateful....

US bishops withdraw from civil rights coalition
Group was backing pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee

Woman ordained as priest denied Catholic burial
Chicago archdiocese explains she excommunicated herself

Cardinal O'Malley: Catholic schools do not 'exclude'
Comments in wake of controversy over lesbian's son

Cuban cardinal and Castro in rare meeting
'Various issues of mutual interest were analyzed'

UK abortion advert sparks Catholic criticism
Group says abortion is not a 'consumer service'

Vatican asks U.S. court to dismiss suit
Canon lawyer supporting Kentucky victims' claim

Louisiana House kills explicit sex-ed mandate
State rep: 'Why not leave that to the parents?'

Cardinal warns Europe: Return to Christian roots
Says no future without common cultural heritage

Aussie churches open to hosting asylum seekers
'This is the kind of ministry that should be undertaken'

Gospel for Friday, 7th Week of Easter

Optional Memorial: St Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs
Optional Memorial (Canada): St Eugène de Mazenod, Bishop

From: John 21:15-19

Peter's Primacy
[15] When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." [16] A second time He said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord, you know I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." [17] He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. [18] Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." [19] (This He said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this He said to him, "Follow Me."

15-17. Jesus Christ had promised Peter that he would be the primate of the Church (cf. Matthew 16:16-19 and note on the same). Despite his three denials during our Lord's passion, Christ now confers on him the primacy He promised.

"Jesus questions Peter, three times, as if to give him a triple chance to atone for his triple denial. Peter has learned his lesson from the bitter experience of his wretchedness. Aware of his weakness, he is deeply convinced that rash claims are pointless. Instead he puts everything in Christ's hands. `Lord, You know well that I love You" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 267). The primacy was given to Peter directly and immediately. So the Church has always understood--and so Vatican I defined: "We therefore teach and declare that, according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to Blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ our Lord. [...] And it was upon Simon Peter alone that Jesus after His resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all His fold in the words: "Feed My lambs; feed My sheep" ("Pastor Aeternus", Chapter 1).

The primacy is a grace conferred on Peter and his successors, the popes; it is one of the basic elements in the Church, designed to guard and protect its unity: "In order that the episcopate also might be one and undivided, and that [...] the multitude of the faithful might be kept secure in the oneness of faith and communion, He set Blessed Peter over the rest of the Apostles, and fixed in him the abiding principle of this twofold unity, and its visible foundation" ("Pastor Aeternus, Dz-Sch 3051"; cf. Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 18). Therefore, the primacy of Peter is perpetuated in each of his successors: this is something which Christ disposed; it is not based on human legislation or custom.

By virtue of the primacy, Peter, and each of his successors, is the shepherd of the whole Church and vicar of Christ on earth, because he exercises vicariously Christ's own authority. Love for the Pope, whom St. Catherine of Siena used to call "the sweet Christ on earth", should express itself in prayer, sacrifice and obedience.

18-19. According to Tradition, St. Peter followed his Master to the point of dying by crucifixion, head downwards, "Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome during Nero's persecution of Christians, which took place between the years 64 and 68. St. Clement, the successor of the same Peter in the See of the Church of Rome, recalls this when, writing to the Corinthians, he puts before them `the generous example of these two athletes': `due to jealousy and envy, those who were the principal and holiest columns suffered persecution and fought the fight unto death'" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Petrum Et Paulum").

"Follow Me!": these words would have reminded the Apostle of the first call he received (cf. Matthew 4:19) and of the fact that Christ requires of His disciples complete self-surrender: "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up the Cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). St. Peter himself, in one of his letters, also testifies to the Cross being something all Christians must carry: "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).
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.

Principles and Practices - May 21

The Complete Response

Above all must be crushed self-love, self­ will, the desire of honour, the satisfaction of the senses.

You must live by dying, and die by living. Nor must anything that is in you be made use of for any other end than the service and glory of God; for He has chosen you, and individually, to be entirely dedicated and consecrated to Him.

And to enable you to live this life He in His mercy has given you the Holy Spirit, who, if you are in the state of grace, dwells within you.

-Sr. Francis de Sales.

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - May 20


[continued from yesterday]

...When St. Paul speaks of marriage being a great Sacrament he does not use the word in the strict sense in which we use it now. He means merely that it is a great sign of something sacred, a mystical symbol of the union between Christ and His Church.

Nevertheless, on account of the similarity of the marriage bond to the bond between Christ and His Church, we are able to gather that marriage is a Sacrament in the strictest sense of the word. The union between Christ and His Church consists of sanctifying grace.

It consists further of a continual flow of all those graces which are needful for attaining the Church's end, namely, the salvation of all the souls for whom the Church was instituted.

If, therefore, the marriage bond is like the bond between Christ and His Church, it must be the means by which graces sanctifying the marriage state are conferred. A Sacrament of the new law is a sacred sign instituted by Christ to signify and to confer grace.

If, therefore, the marriage bond signifies and confers the graces needful for the marriage state, and if instituted by Christ, then it is one of the seven Sacraments of the new law. So it was then that Christ placed His divine seal on the natural contract and with His own lips proclaimed it henceforth to be a bond forged in heaven. "What, therefore, God hath joined together let no man put asunder."

From the fact that Christ raised the natural contract into a Sacrament, it follows that the parties to the contract are the ministers of the Sacrament. It is the man and woman who hand themselves over to each other making a mutual contract to live together till death. It is the man and woman, therefore, who confer on each other the Sacrament enabling them to fulfil the higher duties which are involved in the Christian married state.

The priest is not the minister of the Sacrament, but only the witness of it. Our late Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII, emphasized this when he insisted that the contract and the Sacrament were not two separate things.
"The distinction, or rather separation, cannot be approved of; since it is clear that in Christian matrimony the contract is not separable from the Sacrament, and consequently that a true and lawful contract cannot exist without being by that very fact a Sacrament. For Christ Our Lord endowed matrimony with the sacramental dignity; but matrimony is the contract itself, provided that the contract is rightly made...Therefore, it is plain that every true marriage among Christians is in itself and by itself a Sacrament; and that nothing is further from the truth than that the Sacrament is a sort of added ornament or quality introduced from without, which may be detached from the contract at the discretion of man." [Leo XIII, Encyc. Arcanum]

If, therefore, the Sacrament is the mutual contract. it is the woman, who, as God's minister, confers on the man those soul beauties which make him a figure of Christ, the bridegroom of the Church; and so likewise is it the man who, as God's minister, confers on the woman those soul beauties, which make her a figure of the Church, the bride of Christ. Husband and wife are thus seen to be the complement: of each other in their supernatural, as well as in their natural, relationships...

[continued tomorrow]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

New Updates, May 20

Church Must Protest Against Laws Favoring Homosexuality, Cardinal Says
Cardinal Pujats, the Archbishop of Riga, capital of Latvia, sheds light on the question of homosexuality, indicates the best means to fight against this sinful practice, and expounds the reasons why he combats it...

Virgin Mary statue in Weymouth [Massachusetts] destroyed
A statue of the Virgin Mary was vandalized and destroyed outside a Catholic church in Weymouth on Sunday, breaking it into three pieces in a crime that shocked the community, the church's pastor said today. "Right now, all I can say is I'm considering it a hate crime," said the Rev. Bill Salmon, who has been with the Immaculate Conception church for six years. "I don't know what their actual motivation would be, but when you start moving the base of a statue, you know it's deliberate."
[Uhhh, no such thing as hate crimes against Catholics, Padre]

USCCB belongs to coalition supporting Kagan
Commercial praises pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee
[Satan has control over the USCCB]

Knights of Columbus refuse to allow suspension of members who promote abortion, gay marriage
The leadership of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) has forbidden local councils to take any action against members of the Catholic fraternal organization who support legalized abortion or same-sex marriage. A Massachusetts K of C member had proposed a resolution, to be taken up by the group's state convention, calling for the suspension of membership of any politician who gave public support to abortion and same-sex marriage. That resolution was declared inappropriate by the Supreme Advocate of the K of C, John Marrella...

Illinois bishop removes priest for homosexual activity
Bishop J. Peter Sartain of Joliet has removed Father Jerry Simonelli from his pastorate because he engaged in homosexual activity....

Guatemala bishops: Arizona law promotes 'hate'
Delivers firm rebuke of anti-immigrant legislation

Pope wrote foreword to banned deacon liturgist
'Alcuin' Reid had some sway with the Vatican?

NYC Franciscans battle crime in Irish projects
Friars turn around crime-infested ghetto in Limerick

Belgian bishops ask pardon for sexual abuse
Pastoral letter promises tougher guidelines for clergy

Catholic Physicians Guild supports Phoenix bishop
Olmsted rebuked hospital nun over abortion decision

NH man files sex abuse lawsuit against diocese
Accused priest has multiple complaints filed against him

Irish Church blasted by one of its own leaders
Archbishop of Dublin 'disheartened' and 'discouraged'

Cardinal Ivan Dias: We need priests 'in 3D'
'...people who maintain Doctrine, Discipline, Devotion'

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gospel for Thursday, 7th Week of Easter

From: John 17:20-26

The Priestly Prayer of Jesus (Continuation)
(Jesus lifted His eyes to Heaven and said,) [20] "I do not pray for these (My disciples) only, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, [21] that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. [22] The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, [23] I in them and Thou in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them even as Thou hast loved Me. [24] Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, may be with Me where I am, to behold My glory which Thou hast given Me in Thy love for Me before the foundation of the world. [25] O righteous Father, the world has not known Thee, but I have known Thee; and these know that Thou hast sent Me. [26] I made known to them Thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

20-23. Since it is Christ who is praying for the Church His prayer is infallibly effective, and therefore there will always be only one true Church of Jesus Christ. Unity is therefore an essential property of the Church. "We believe that the Church founded by Jesus Christ and for which He prayed is indefectibly one in faith, in worship and in the bond of hierarchical communion" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God", 21). Moreover, Christ's prayer also indicates what the basis of the Church's unity will be and what effects will follow from it.

The source from which the unity of the Church flows is the intimate unity of the Three Divine Persons among whom there is mutual love and self-giving. "The Lord Jesus, when praying to the Father `that they may all be one...even as we are one' (John 17:21-22), has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying that there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the Divine Persons and the union of the sons of God in truth and love. It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 24). The unity of the Church is also grounded on the union of the faithful with Jesus Christ and through Him with the Father (verse 23). Thus, the fullness of unity--"consummati in unum"--is attained through the supernatural grace which comes to us from Christ (cf. John 15:5).

The fruits of the unity of the Church are, on the one hand, the world believing in Christ and in His divine mission (verses 21, 23); and, on the other hand, Christians themselves and all men recognizing God's special love for His faithful, a love which is a reflection of the love of the Three Divine Persons for each other. And so, Jesus' prayer embraces all mankind, for all are invited to be friends of God (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). "Thou hast loved them even as Thou hast loved Me": this, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, "does not mean strict equality of love but similarity and like-motivation. It is as if He were saying: the love with which You have loved Me is the reason and the cause of Your loving them, for, precisely because You love men do You love those who love Me" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc."). Besides noting this theological explanation, we should also ponder on how expressively Christ describes His ardent love for men. The entire discourse of the Last Supper gives us a glimpse of the depth of Jesus' feelings--which infinitely exceeds anything we are capable of experiencing. Once again all we can do is bow down before the mystery of God-made-man.

20. Christ prays for the Church, for all those who, over the course of centuries, will believe in Him through the preaching of the Apostles. "That divine mission, which was committed by Christ to the Apostles, is destined to last until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:20), since the Gospel, which they were charged to hand on, is, for the Church, the principle of all its life for all time. For that very reason the Apostles were careful to appoint successors in this hierarchically constituted society" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 20).

The apostolic origin and basis of the Church is what is termed its "apostolicity", a special characteristic of the Church which we confess in the Creed. Apostolicity consists in the Pope and the Bishops being successors of Peter and the Apostles, holding the authority of theApostles and proclaiming the same teaching as they did. "The sacred synod teached that the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the Apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and Him who sent Christ (cf. Luke 10:15)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 20).

21. Union of Christians with Christ begets unity among themselves. This unity of the Church ultimately redounds to the benefit of all mankind, because since the Church is one and unique, she is seen as a sign raised up for the nations to see, inviting all to believe in Christ as sent by God come to save all men. The Church carries on this mission of salvation through its union with Christ, calling all mankind to join the Church and by so doing to share in union with Christ and the Father.

The Second Vatican Council, speaking of the principles of ecumenism, links the Church's unity with her universality: "Almost everyone, though in different ways, longs for the one visible Church of God, a Church truly universal and sent forth to the whole world that the world may be converted to the Gospel and so be saved, to the glory of God" ("Unitatis Redintegratio", 1). This universality is another characteristic of the Church, technically described as "catholicity". "For many centuries now the Church has been spread throughout the world, and it numbers persons of all races and walks of life. But the universality of the Church does not depend on its geographical distribution, even though this is a visible sign and of motive of credibility. The Church was catholic already at Pentecost: it was born catholic from the wounded heart of Jesus, as a fire which the Holy Spirit enkindled.

"In the second century the Christians called the Church catholic in order to distinguish it from sects, which, using the name of Christ, were betraying His doctrine in one way or another. `We call it catholic', writes St. Cyril, `not only because it is spread throughout the world, from one extreme to the other, but because in a universal way and without defect it teaches all the dogmas which men ought to know, of both the visible and the invisible, the celestial and the earthly. Likewise because it draws to true worship all types of men, governors and citizens, the learned and the ignorant. And finally, because it cures and heals all kinds of sins, whether of the soul or of the body, possessing in addition--by whatever name it may be called--all the forms of virtue, in deeds and in words and in every kind of spiritual life' ("Catechesis", 18, 23)" ([St] J. Escriva, "In Love with the Church", 9).

Every Christian should have the same desire for this unity as Jesus Christ expresses in His prayer to the Father. "A privileged instrument for participation in pursuit of the unity of all Christians is prayer. Jesus Christ Himself left us His final wish for unity through prayer to the Father: `that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me' (John 17:21).

"Also the Second Vatican Council strongly recommended to us prayer for the unity of Christians, defining it `the soul of the whole ecumenical movement' ("Unitatis Redintegratio", 8). As the soul to the body, so prayer gives life, consistency, spirit, and finality to the ecumenical movement.

"Prayer puts us, first and foremost, before the Lord, purifies us in intentions, in sentiments, in our heart, and produces that `interior conversion', without which there is no real ecumenism. (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio", 7).

"Prayer, furthermore, reminds us that unity, ultimately, is a gift from God, a gift for which we must ask and for which we must prepare in order that we may be granted it" ([Pope] John Paul II, "General Audience", 17 January 1979).

22-23. Jesus possess glory, a manifestation of divinity, because He is God, equal to the Father (cf. note on John 17:1-5). When He says that He is giving His disciples this glory, He is indicating that through grace He makes us partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Glory and justification by grace are very closely united, as we can see from Sacred Scripture: "Those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified" (Romans 8:30). The change grace works in Christians makes us ever more like Christ, who is the likeness of the Father (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 1:2-3): by communicating His glory Christ joins the faithful to God by giving them a share in supernatural life, which is the source of the holiness of Christians and of the Church: "Now we can understand better how [...] one of the principal aspects of her holiness is that unity centered on the mystery of the one and triune God. `There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all' (Ephesians 4:4-6)" ([St] J. Escriva, "In Love with the Church", 5).

24. Jesus concludes His prayer by asking that all Christians attain the blessedness of Heaven. The word He uses, "I desire", not "I pray", indicates that He is asking for the most important thing of all, for what His Father wants--that all may be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4): which is essentially the mission of the Church--the salvation of souls.

As long as we are on earth we share in God's life through knowledge (faith) and love (charity); but only in Heaven will we attain the fullness of this supernatural life, when we see God as He is (cf. 1 John 3:2), face to face (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12). Therefore, the Church has her sights fixed on eternity, she is eschatological: that is, by having in this world all the resources necessary for teaching God's truth, for rendering Him true worship and communicating the life of grace, she keeps alive people's hope of attaining the fullness of eternal life: "The Church, to which we are all called in Christ Jesus, and in which by the grace of God we acquire holiness, will receive its perfection only in the glory of Heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things (Acts 3:21). At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly reestablished in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20; 2 Peter 3:10-13)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 48).

25-26. God's revelation of Himself through Christ causes us to begin to share in the divine life, a sharing which will reach its climax in Heaven: "God alone can give us right and full knowledge of this reality by revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in whose eternal life we are by grace called to share, here below in the obscurity of faith and after death in eternal light" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God").

Christ has revealed to us all we need to know in order to participate in the mutual love of the Divine Persons--primarily, the mystery of who He is and what His mission is and, with that, the mystery of God Himself ("I made known to them Thy name"), thus fulfilling what He had announced: "No one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him" (Matthew 11:27).

Christ continues to make known His Father's love, by means of the Church, in which He is always present: "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

June 27 Credo Forum-Mr William A. Donohue

Credo of the Catholic Laity is proud to present as our Sunday June 27 Forum Speaker, William A Donohue ,the foremost lay defender of Catholic rights in the United States.

His topic will be: Current Threats to the Religious Freedom of Catholics.

Bill is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest civil rights organization. He is the publisher of the Catholic League Journal, Catalyst. Bill is also an adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation and serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars and the New York state chapter of NAS.

He serves on the board of advisors of the Washington Legal Foundation, the Educational. Freedom Foundation, The Association of Catholic Social Scientists, Catholics United for the Faith, and many more. His memberships include: The Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Catholic War Veterans. He is an Honorary member of The Catholic Social Workers National Association, serves on the Manhattan Committee on Foreign Relations Advisory Board, and on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.

Bill is the author of four books and many articles. His first book, The Politics of the American Civil Liberties Union, was published in 1985. His second book, The New Freedom: Individualism and Collectivism in Social Lives of Americans, was written while Bill was a Bradley Resident Scholar at the Heritage Foundation; it appeared in 1990. The third book, Twilight of Liberty: The legacy of the ACLU, was published in 1994. His most recent book, Secular Sabotage: How Liberals are Destroying Religion and Culture in America, was published in 1999 and is available at bookstores and from Amazon.

Bill started his career as a teacher in the 1970's, working at St Lucy's in Spanish Harlem. In 1977 he took a position as a college professor, teaching at La Roche College in Pittsburg. In 1980 he was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University.

I am sure most of you are familiar with Bill Donohue. He has received many awards from the Catholic Community and appeared on thousands of television and radio shows, speaking on civil Liberties and social issues and defending the Catholic Church from its many detractors.

See the flyer here for full details on this event. Get your checks in early because we expect a sellout crowd.

Principles and Practices - May 20

Nothing Small With God

There is nothing too small for God to notice, and there is nothing too insignificant about which to seek His help. God gives the same attention to an infinite multitude of things as He would do were there only one thing to claim His care.

Beware of transferring human limitations to the Divine Greatness.

Our imagination is equally baffled by the infinitely small revealed by the microscope as the infinitely great unfolded by the tele­scope.

To the Creator of all, many things that we with our petty, toy minds consider small, are great, and many that we call great are small.

Everything, whether large or small, is contained in, and per­meated by, the Divine Immensity.

-Fr. Degen.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - May 19


[continued from yesterday]

The state of marriage, therefore, as reflected in the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Church is seen to have the high function not only of procreating human beings to replenish the earth, but also of training them in the higher life of grace and thus preparing them for the still higher life of glory.

Christ came into the world solely to save sinners. The end of the Church is merely the salvation of souls. If, therefore, matrimony is a figure of the Incarnation and the Church, then its chief end is the population of heaven with immortal souls.

Seeing, then, that the chief end of matrimony is so high and noble, the means ordained for the accomplishment of that end must be proportionately high and noble. And so we find that nature has provided such means. These may be summed up in the two properties of marriage, its unity and its indissolubility.

And if we would probe further into the mystery and find the common source of these properties of marriage we discern it in that all-attractive beauty of the state, conjugal love. The mere procreation of children could not possibly be the end of matrimony; for this could be done without the bond, without the unity, without the perpetuity, without the love.

Manifestly, then, the chief reason for the institution of matrimony was the welfare of the offspring, not merely the existence of the offspring, but its growth and development, the promotion of all its interests.

Therefore it was that God so made man and woman that they should love each other, that they should foster that love and concentrate it on each other by excluding all other love of the same kind, that they should make it so strong and lasting that only death should be able to bring about a breach of the union.

All this points to the fact that the marriage bond is a law of nature. It is a mutual agreement by which a man and a woman give themselves to each other until death, and this chiefly for the sake of the highest interest of the children which shall be born to them.

Its natural perfection, however, in course of time became corrupted. Impurity then, even as now, led to hardness of heart. Consequently Moses allowed divorce. The Pharisees, knowing this, brought it as an objection to Our Lord's teaching. Our Lord, however, was able to quote an earlier and more fundamental law.

"Have ye not read that He who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And He said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh." Moses had taken into consideration the hardness of their hearts and for the sake of preventing greater evils had permitted them to put away their wives." But," Our Lord reminded them, "from the beginning it was not so."

In this, as in many other matters, God had a greater design in view. He desired to provide a remedy for all this irregular life by raising the natural state of marriage to a supernatural plane.

Forbidding divorce and insisting on the essential unity and indissolubility of the marriage tie, Christ raised it to the dignity of a Sacrament. Thus it became a more perfect figure of the Incarnation and the Church. Through the union of the Godhead and the Manhood, Christ in His human nature was filled with all grace and knowledge compatible with His created nature.

Through the union of Christ with the Church, the Church is sanctified as His one perfect and unspotted bride. So likewise through the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of matrimony, there is conferred on them all the graces needful to enable them to carry out the arduous duties of that state.

"Husbands," says St. Paul, " love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life. ... So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. This is a great Sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church."...

[continued tomorrow]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

News Updates, 5/19

Abortion by Remote Control
Planned Parenthood clinics across Iowa are fine tuning an advanced and novel way to abort babies - by remote control. According to reports, about 1,500 women have already used a videoconferencing system to obtain abortion drugs over the past two years. Planned Parenthood’s system now allows a doctor in Des Moines to meet with patients across the state through video conference. At the end of the teleconference the doctor presses a button on the computer to activate a drawer at the patient’s location that contains R-U 486...

Catholic Church Denies Female Priestette a Catholic Burial
A woman who challenged a Catholic ordination ban has died. The Catholic church will not allow her to be buried at a Catholic parish. Janine Denomme was "ordained" a priestette in April by a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests. She had been battling cancer and yesterday she died in her Edgewater home. The Catholic church never recognized Denomme's delusional ordination. The Archdiocese of Chicago says Denomme automatically separated herself from the Church when she participated in "the simulation of the sacrament of Holy Orders." The diocese says she knowingly and willingly participated in the simulation and brought excommunication upon herself. And because of that Denomme is denied a Catholic funeral. The Archdiocese says Denomme would only be allowed a Church burial if she gave "some sign of repentance before death."

Portugal's president ratifies gay marriage law
Says he was setting aside personal convictions

Irish cardinal to stay on despite abuse concerns
Sean Brady says he's ashamed of events in his past

Pope-bishop relationship key in sex abuse defense
Is Benedict their boss? Are bishops Vatican employees?

German passion play hurt by crisis, scandal
Event staged since 1634 struggles to attract visitors

Virgin Mary statue destroyed at Mass. church
'All I can say is I'm considering it a hate crime'

Cardinal: There is no fourth secret of Fatima
'The third secret is the last part of the message'

Diocese owes former teachers more than $1 million severance pay and accumulated sick leave

Canadian pro-life priest receives death threat
Man arrested after shouting and swearing

Dutch sex shop to give away 'Pope condoms'
Wants to make 'point' about Church's opposition

Sister violated more than Catholic teaching in sanctioning abortion, ethicist says
A religious sister who was on a Catholic hospital panel that approved a direct abortion has excommunicated herself, the Diocese of Phoenix said on Tuesday. While one of the hospital’s doctors has defended the sister, a Catholic ethicist says direct abortion is a “crime” against the unborn child who is killed....

Catholic schools have 'right' to protect best interests of children, asserts author
As controversy swirls around the Archdiocese of Boston's decision to undermine a pastor who denied enrollment in a Catholic elementary school to a lesbian couple's child, Dale O'Leary, a noted Catholic author and international lecturer, is defending the Catholic Church's right to protect what she calls “the best interests of all the children.”...

==== Other Issues ====

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gospel for Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter

From: John 17:11b-19

The Priestly Prayer of Jesus (Continuation)
(Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven and said, ) [11b] "Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou has given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. [13] But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world. [15] I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. [18] As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

11-19. Jesus now asks the Father to give his disciples four things--unity, perseverance, joy and holiness. By praying him to keep them in his name (v. 11) he is asking for their perseverance in the teaching he has given them (cf. v. 6) and in communion with him. An immediate consequence of this perseverance is unity: "that they may be one, even as we are one"; this unity which he asks for his disciples is a reflection of the unity of the three divine Persons.

He also prays that none of them should be lost, that the Father should guard and protect them, just as he himself protected them while he was still with them. Thirdly, as a result of their union with God and perseverance they will share in the joy of Christ (v. 13): in this life, the more we know God and the more closely we are joined to him, the happier will we be; in eternal life our joy will be complete, because our knowledge and love of God will have reached its climax.

Finally, he prays for those who, though living in the world, are not of the world, that they may be truly holy and carry out the mission he has entrusted to them, just as he did the work his Father gave him to do.

12. "That the scripture might be fulfilled": this is an allusion to what he said to the Apostles a little earlier (Jn 13:18) by directly quoting Scripture: "He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me" (Ps 41:10). Jesus makes these references to Judas' treachery in order to strengthen the Apostles' faith by showing that he knew everything in advance and that the Scriptures had already foretold what would happen.

However, Judas went astray through his own fault and not because God arranged things that way; his treachery had been taking shape little by little, through his petty infidelities, and despite our Lord helping him to repent and get back on the right rode (cf. note on Jn 13:21-32); Judas did not respond to this grace and was responsible for his own downfall. God, who sees the future, predicted the treachery of Judas in the Scripture; Christ, being God, knew that Judas would betray him and it is with immense sorrow that he now tells the Apostles.

14-16. In Sacred Scripture "world" has a number of meanings. First, it means the whole of creation (Gen 1:1ff) and, within creation, mankind, which God loves most tenderly (Prov 8:31). This is the meaning intended here when our Lord says, "I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one" (v. 15). "I have taught this constantly using words from holy Scripture. The world is not evil, because it has come from God's hands, because it is his creation, because Yahweh looked upon it and saw that it was good (cf. Gen 1:7ff). We ourselves, mankind, make it evil and ugly with our sins and infidelities. Have no doubt: any kind of evasion from the honest realities of daily life is for you, men and women of the world, something opposed to the will of God" ([St] J. Escriva, "Conversations", 114).

In the second place, "world" refers to the things of this world, which do not last and which can be at odds with the things of the spirit (cf. Mt 16:26).

Finally, because evil men have been enslaved by sin and by the devil, "the ruler of the world" (Jn 12:31; 16:11), the "world" sometimes means God's enemy, something opposed to Christ and his followers (Jn 1:10). In this sense the "world" is evil, and therefore Jesus is not of the world, nor are his disciples (v. 16). It is also this pejorative meaning which is used by traditional teaching which describes the world, the flesh and the devil as enemies of the soul against which one has to be forever vigilant. "The world, the flesh and the devil are a band of adventurers who take advantage of the weakness of that savage you bear within you, and want you to hand over to them, in exchange for the glittering tinsel of a pleasure--which is worth nothing--the pure gold and the pearls and the diamonds and rubies drenched in the life-blood of your God-Redeemer, which are the price and the treasure of your eternity" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 708).

17-19. Jesus prays for the holiness of his disciples. God alone is the Holy One; in his holiness people and things share. "Sanctifying" has to do with consecrating and dedicating something to God, excluding it from being used for profane purposes; thus God says to Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jer 1:5). If something is to be consecrated to God it must be perfect, that is, holy. Hence, a consecrated person needs to have moral sanctity, needs to be practising the moral virtues. Our Lord here asks for both things for his disciples, because they need them if they are to fulfill their supernatural mission in the world.

"For their sake I consecrate myself": these words mean that Jesus Christ, who has been burdened with the sins of men, consecrates himself to the Father through his sacrifice on the Cross. By this are all Christians sanctified: "So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood" (Heb 13:12). So, after Christ's death, men have been made sons of God by Baptism, sharers in the divine nature and enabled to attain the holiness to which they have been called (cf. Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 40).
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.

Principles and Practices - May 19

The Source of Holiness

Faith enlightens the understanding with celestial light, hope endows the soul with supernatural strength, and love inflames the heart with divine fire; thus these three virtues enable us by a new and holy life to announce to men the glorious prerogatives and perfections of God, that they may see our works and glorify our Father who is in heaven (1 Peter 2:9; Matt. 5:16).

They give rise to the virtue of religion, and excite us to glorify God through works of piety, mercy, and penance.

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - May 18



ONE of the most remarkable phenomena of the social life of the new century is the movement among womankind for a readjustment of the rela­tions between man and woman. The movement affects all spheres of life. It makes most noise in the sphere of politics. But as the affairs of the State have their root in the affairs of the family, it is to the family that we must look for the cause of the disturbance.

There would seem to be some­thing wrong with many of the current ideas con­cerning the relationship between husband and wife. The fact indeed is that in many quarters the Cath­olic ideal of the great Sacrament of matrimony has become obscured. The protective love of the husband toward the wife has been changed into a tyrannical overlordship. The loving acquiescence in that protection on the part of the wife has been construed into a servile obedience. The outrage on both nature and grace has rendered the mutual life irksome beyond endurance, and consequently ideas have become prevalent which tell both against the sanctity of the marriage state and against the indissolubility of its bond. Let us see then what the Church has to say about this won­drous mystery.

The very institution of marriage has its reason in the weakness and insufficiency of man. God, although supremely happy in the company of His own blessed Trinity, had willed to exercise His love outside Himself. He had willed to produce a created world in which there should be one class of creatures bearing His own likeness.

After separating the night from the day, and the land from the water, after making the fishes of the sea, the fowls of the air, and the cattle of the earth, He made man to rule over the earth. He made man a reasonable being, capable of giv­ing a reasonable service.

But even with all the delights of that paradise of rleasure, with all his unimpaired intelligence and power of ordaining things for God's glory, man by himself was not enough for God's purpose. There were parts in God's great design which man by himself could not accomplish. He was wanting in both physical, mental, and moral complements. So God said: "It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself." So God cast Adam into a deep sleep, took a rib from his side from which He built a woman.

And when God brought the woman to the man, then did Adam say: "This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh." Having been thus made for each other and united to each other, they then received the message of God as to the end for which all these things had been arranged. "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it."

The formation of Adam and Eve and their union in the matrimonial bond had, however, a very much wider significance than the mere multi­plication of human beings and the replenishment of the earth. God, when He created them, had also in His mind His own Incarnation and His Church. The institution of matrimony was to be a kind of prophecy of His Incarnation and a figure of His Church.

As Adam was made weak so that Eve might be given to him to be his strength, so the Son of God became weak, emptying Him­self of Himself so that He might take upon Him­self the form of a servant and, clothed in flesh, might accomplish the strong victory over sin and death. As Eve was taken from the side of Adam as he slept, and became the mother of all living, so was the Church taken from the side of Christ as He slept upon the Cross, and became for Him His chosen spouse, the Mother of all those to whom He had come to give life....

[Continued tomorrow]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

News Updates, 5/18

Phoenix nun excommunicated for abortion link
Decision draws sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Thousands flock to Vatican to back Pope over abuse
Benedict comforted by 'spontaneous show of faith'

Scientists: couples increasingly rely on IVF
Natural human reproduction is 'fairly inefficient'?

Vatican to claim bishops are not 'employees'
Says Holy See not liable for actions of US prelates

Legion leaders absolve themselves before they sink
Claim they never knew a thing about Maciel's issues

Colombian priest: Church is 'closet of gays'
Writes book on homosexual scandals in the priesthood

Bishop pushed to clarify 'strong forces' claim
Says Church in Ireland wants to hide sex abuse scandals

Cardinal Pell urges new action on pedophiles
Says such priests should be permanently removed

Vatican rejects appeals by closed Boston churches
Three parishes had sit-ins for past five years

==== Other Issues ====

Woman battles county for husband's life Another Terri Schiavo? Hospital refuses...
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Texas doctors opting out of Medicare at alarming rate
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Pfizer to cut 6,000 jobs, close plants
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Muslims Threaten to Kill Participants in "Draw Mohammed Day"
“Draw Muhammad Day” is in two days. Check out the spate of profanity-laced death threats against the organizer on Facebook from Internet jihadists....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gospel for Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter

Optional Memorial: St John 1, Pope and Martyr

From: John 17:1-11a

The Priestly Prayer of Jesus
[1] When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted His eyes to Heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son that the Son may glorify Thee, [2] since Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom Thou hast given Him. [3] And this is eternal life, that they know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. [4] I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which Thou gavest Me to do; [5] and now, Father, glorify Thou Me in Thy own presence with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was made.

[6] "I have manifested Thy name to the men who Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word. [7] Now they know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; [8] for I have given them the words which Thou gavest Me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from Thee;and they have believed that thou didst send Me. [9] I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine; [10] all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them. [11a] And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to Thee."

1-26. At the end of the discourse of the Last Supper (Chapters 13-16) begins what is called the Priestly Prayer of Jesus, which takes up all of Chapter 17. It is given that name because Jesus addresses His Father in a very moving dialogue in which, as Priest, He offers Him the imminent sacrifice of His passion and death. It shows us the essential elements of His redemptive mission and provides us with teaching and a model for our own prayer. "The Lord, the Only-begotten and co-eternal with the Father, could have prayed in silence if necessary, but He desired to show Himself to the Father in the attitude of a supplicant because He is our Teacher. [...] Accordingly this prayer for His disciples was useful not only to those who heard it, but to all who would read it" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 104, 2).

The Priestly Prayer consists of three parts: in the first (verses 1-5) Jesus asks for the glorification of His holy human nature and the acceptance, by His Father, of His sacrifice on the cross. In the second part (verses 6-19) He prays for His disciples, whom He is going to send out into the world to proclaim the redemption which He is now about to accomplish. And then (verses 20-26) He prays for unity among all those who will believe in Him over the course of the centuries, until they achieve full union with Him in Heaven.

1-5. The word "glory" here refers to the splendor, power and honor which `belong to God'. The Son is God equal to the Father, and from the time of His Incarnation and birth and especially through His death and resurrection His divinity has been made manifest. "We have beheld His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father" (John 1:14). The glorification of Jesus has three dimensions to it. 1) It promotes the glory of the Father, because Christ, in obedience to God's redemptive decree (cf. Philippians 2:6), makes the Father known and so brings God's saving work to completion. 2) Christ is glorified because His divinity, which He has voluntarily disguised, will eventually be manifested through His human nature which will be seen after the Resurrection invested with the very authority of God Himself over all creation (verses 2, 5). 3) Christ, through His glorification, gives man the opportunity to attain eternal life, to know God the Father and Jesus Christ, His only Son: this in turn redounds to the glorification of the Father and of Jesus Christ while also involving man's participation in divine glory (verse 3).

"The Son glorifies You, making You known to all those You have given Him. Furthermore, if the knowledge of God is life eternal, we the more tend to life, the more we advance in this knowledge. [...] There shall the praise of God be without end, where there shall be full knowledge of God; and because in Heaven this knowledge shall be full, there shall glorifying be of the highest" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 105, 3).

6-8. Our Lord has prayed for Himself; now He prays for His Apostles, who will continue His redemptive work in the world. In praying for them, Jesus describes some of the prerogatives of those who will form part of the Apostolic College.

First, there is the prerogative of being chosen by God: "Thine they were...". God the Father chose them from all eternity (cf. Ephesians 1:3-4) and in due course Jesus revealed this to them: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-42). These apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 19). Also, the Apostles enjoy the privilege of hearing God's teaching direct from Jesus. From this teaching, which they accept with docility, they learn that Jesus came from the Father and that therefore He is God's envoy (verse 8): that is, they are given to know the relationships that exist between the Father and the Son.

The Christian, who also is a disciple of Jesus, gradually acquires knowledge of God and of divine things through living a life of faith and maintaining a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

"Recalling this human refinement of Christ, who spent His life in the service of others, we are doing much more than describing a pattern of human behavior; we are discovering God. Everything Christ did has a transcendental value. It shows us the nature of God and beckons us to believe in the love of God who created us and wants us to share His intimate life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 109).

11-19. Jesus now asks the Father to give His disciple four things--unity, perseverance, joy and holiness. By praying Him to keep them in His name (verse 11) He is asking for their perseverance in the teaching He has given them (cf. verse 6) and in communion with Him. An immediate consequence of this perseverance is unity: "that they may be one, even as We are one"; this unity which He asks for His disciples is a reflection of the unity of the Three Divine Persons.

He also prays that none of them should be lost, that the Father should guard and protect them, just as He Himself protected them while He was with them. Thirdly, as a result of their union with God and perseverance they will share in the joy of Christ (verse 13): in this life, the more we know God and the more closely we are joined to Him, the happier will we be; in eternal life our joy will be complete, because our knowledge and love of God will have reached its climax.

Finally, He prays for those who, though living in the world, are not of the world, that they may be truly holy and carry out the mission He has entrusted to them, just as He did the work His Father gave Him to do.
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.

Principles and Practices - May 18

Dryness and Distraction

We never find that sinners, and those who have given themselves to the things of the world, have to lament such trials; whence it is clearly manifest that this is a precious food with which God feasts those whom He loves; and although it may be insipid to our taste, yet it is a marvellous help, though at the time we are not conscious of it.

-The Spiritual Combat.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Marriage and Parenthood,The Catholic Ideal-May 17


A MAN thinks he is very clever if he can make an aeroplane. Thousands of other men think he is a genius if he can fly over the Alps, even though at the end of the journey he break his neck. But these are paltry trifles compared with the work of training a soul for the kingdom of God. Such a task needs the genius of the Catholic Church.

Amongst her many helps for this purpose not the least important is the Sacrament of marriage. The ideal which she holds before the world and the power which she gives for the realizing of luch ideal stand out as the chief hope for the salvation of modern society. On every side we see influences at work which tend to break up the family and consequently to break up society. The icrease of divorce, the falling off in the birth­ rate, the spread of the white slave traffic, - these are a few of the more obvious symptoms which follow upon a low ideal of the marriage bond.

That there is something wrong is admitted on all hands, as is proved by the attempts to mend matters. The Divorce Commission at present sit­ting in London is an evidence of such unrest. The formation of the Eugenics Education Society is another. In these movements, however, the Cath­olic student detects a lack of the knowledge of foundation principles. Most of the remedies pro­posed are a tinkering with the symptom rather than a treatment of the root cause.

Here and there, however, the value of the Cath­olic ideal asserts itself. Thus, for instance, in the evidence before the Divorce Commission, Sir John Bigham, then President of the Divorce Court, said: "My experience shows me that members of the Roman Catholic Church seldom come to our court, and I attribute that fact to the great influence of their priesthood, and to the respect which is inculcated amongst Roman Catholics for the marriage vow."

Another witness, Dr. Glynn Whittle, of Liver­pool, bore magnificent testimony to the fidelity of the Catholic poor. Speaking as he did in favor of divorce, there was a double weight in his words. He said he had questioned countless poor women, victims of habitual cruelty, as to whether they would avail themselves of divorce if they could get it. The answers had been most impres­sive. Protestants said "Yes"; Roman Catholics said "No." He could not recall a single Protes­tant exception.

What is the cause of this grand steadfastness amongst Catholics and of weak changeableness amongst their Protestant neighbors? A member of the Council of the Eugenics Society shall make answer. Writing in a London journal [Daily Dispatch, Nov 11, 1910] he says: "Marriage, like other natural and necessary rela­tions, is sacred. Only in Catholicism is it a Sacra­ment; in scientific sociology the term is meaning­less....Protestantism will have none of it. The Reformation, in this as in other points a revolt from Catholicism, expressly declared that marriage is not a Sacrament, that it is essentially a secular matter."

For the present disastrous state of affairs, then, we have to thank the system which for three hun­dred years has proclaimed the denial that mar­riage is a Sacrament. But, as we have seen, the leaven of truth is still working. The preaching and the practice of the sacramental ideal with all its implications is to be the leaven of the whole mass. To promote and foster this ideal is the aim of the following pages.

It is also hoped that a re-statement of the Cath­olic ideal, in the face of modern ideals to the contrary, will tend to increase the happiness of Catholic family life. We cannot shut our eyes to the many failures. In all cases they are due either to ignorance of the ideal or to a refusal of its graces. They may be traced largely to the fact that false views of marriage and parenthood do make their way into Catholic homes.

These views concern the most intimate, the most delicate, and the most sacred marriage relationships. The protective modesty, so natural to a good con­science, has been carried too far, and false doc­trine has been able to make headway simply because the true was not present to resist it.

Now reticence in these matters is a very strong protection against temptation. But there is some knowledge which we must have. Some people require more, others can do with less. I acknowl­edge that I have found the greatest difficulty in deciding what must be left out of this book. What has been retained has been retained by advice of authority much more competent than myself. If knowledge in these matters is needful then that knowledge must be acquired and we must trust to grace to keep us from abusing it. No less an authority than St. Clement of Alexandria has said: "Be not ashamed to know what God was not ashamed to make."

Let it be admitted at once that isolated points of this doctrine may seem harsh and unkind to the individual. At the same time let it be remembered that the Church is an expert in human nature and that by her divine guidance she can see further than the individual. When under her direction the larger vision has been gained, when through painful experience the lesson has been learnt, then will Mother Church be discovered to be right after all. What a man loses as an individual, through keeping the Church's laws, he gains as a member of a world-wide society; what he loses in a portion of life he gains in the whole of life, yea a thousandfold in the life eternal.

The Church guards a divine ideal, - that is why she is always right. A nation's decadence consists not so much in the actual lowering of its moral life, as in the lowering of its ideal. If it preserves its ideal there is hope of its resurrec­tion. But if it calls good bad and bad good, then its doom is sealed.

I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Gideon W. B. Marsh, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Vice-President of the Guild of Sts. Luke, Cosmas, and Damian, for valuable suggestions regarding the medical side of the sub­ject. I have tried to avoid all topics that do not involve moral principles. These must be sought elsewhere. Unfortunately many books, most ex­cellent from the medical and nursing point of view, contain directions, here and there, contrary to Catholic principles.

If they are to be used with­out harm, therefore, they must be read with cau­tion and duly corrected according to the reader's knowledge of the Catholic ideal. [emphasis added]

Feast of The Nativity, 1910.
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gospel for Monday, 7th Week of Easter

From: John 16:29-33

Fullness of Joy (Continuation)
[29] His (Jesus') disciples said, "Ah, now You are speaking plainly, not in any figure! [30] Now we know that You know all things, and need none to question You; by this we believe that You came from God." [31] Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? [32] The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave Me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. [33] I have said this to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

25-30. As can be seen also from other passages in the Gospels, Jesus spent time explaining His doctrine in more detail to His Apostles than to the crowd (cf. Mark 4:10-12 and paragraph)--to train them for their mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world (cf. Matthew 28:18-20). However, our Lord also used metaphors or parables when imparting instruction to the Apostles, and He does so in this discourse of the Last Supper--the vine, the woman giving birth, etc.: He stimulates their curiosity and they, because they do not understand, ask Him questions (cf. verses 17-18). Jesus now tells them that the time is coming when He will speak to them in a completely clear way so that they will know exactly what He means. This He will do after the Resurrection (cf. Acts 1:3). But even now, since He knows their thoughts, He is making it ever plainer to them that He is God, for only God can know what is happening inside someone (cf. 2:25). Verse 28, "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father" summarizes the mystery of Christ's Person (cf. John 1:14; 20:31).

31-32. Jesus moderates the Apostles' enthusiasm, which expresses itself in a spontaneous confession of faith; He does this by asking them a question which has two dimensions. On the one hand, it is a kind of reproach for their having taken too long to believe in Him: it is true that there were other occasions when they expressed faith in the Master (cf. John 6:68-69; etc.), but until now they have not fully realized that He is the One sent by the Father. The question also refers to the fragility of their faith: they believe, and yet very soon they will abandon Him into the hands of His enemies. Jesus requires us to have a firm faith: it is not enough to show it in moments of enthusiasm, it has to stand the test of difficulties and opposition.

33. The Second Vatican Council teaches in connection with this passage: "The Lord Jesus who said `Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world' (John 16:33), did not by these words promise complete victory to His Church in this world. This sacred Council rejoices that the earth which has been sown with the seed of the Gospel is now bringing forth fruit in many places under the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord, who is filling the world" ("Presbyterorum Ordinis", 22).
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.

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal

Beginning today, I have a new (old) book which I hope will benefit all Catholics and others. It deals with families, children, parenthood and marriage. Fr. Gerrard discussed the sad states of affairs at the time (100 years ago - and how much worse off are we today?), and how the Church guides us in such matters so that we may be in union with the will of God.

Following are the chapters of the book as well other pertinent information. A note from the author on the Revised Edition is included. Tomorrow we will begin with the introduction.

Chapters of the book:
The Catholic Ideal


Nihil Obstat

Archbishop of New York

New York, January 19, 1911
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.


I BEG to express my grateful acknowledgments to the large number of clergy, medical men, and parents who have so kindly favored me with most valuable criticisms and suggestions. And I de­sire to make special mention of Surgeon-General Maunsell, C.B., who as President of the Guild of Sts. Luke, Cosmas, and Damian, has been able to secure for me such a wealth of expert opinion.

Here and there I have been unable to follow even a very weighty authority, not, however, because I set my own judgment against it, but because it appears to me to be outweighed by a consensus of equally grave authorities. Some few ideas, too, I have decided to omit as pertaining rather to an­other book which I have in preparation on the attitude of the Church towards the Eugenic movement.