Tuesday, October 31, 2006
And other matters...from the Vatican Information Service:
- Accepted the resignation from the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, presented by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
- Accepted the resignation from the office of archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, presented by Cardinal Francesco Marchisano. He is succeeded by his coadjutor, Archbishop Angelo Comastri, prelate emeritus of Loreto, Italy, vicar general for Vatican City State, president of the Fabric of St Peter's.
- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of New York, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Robert A. Brucato, upon having reached the age limit.
Monday, October 30, 2006
First, Rev. Raymond Gravel had to get permission from the Vatican to run in a federal by-election. Now, the former prostitute who used to work in gay leather bars has to convince the voters of Repentigny riding that he is the right man to represent them.
Mr. Gravel gave up prostitution after being so severely beaten by a client that he ended up in hospital.
His tenure as a priest has not been low key, either. An outspoken advocate, Mr. Gravel has publicly decried the Roman Catholic Church's position on same-sex marriage. He also received a disciplinary letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI.
Mr. Gravel was also one of 19 priests who created a tempest in February when they signed an open letter criticizing the church's position on same-sex marriage and its opposition to ordaining gays.
"I would say that 50 per cent of the priests in Quebec are gay, but if I became a priest, it's because I'm a believer and I believe in the message of Christ," he said in an interview last year with Fugues, a gay magazine.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
From Asia News Italy:
In St Peter’s Square, on a sunny day reminiscent of summer, the Latin text of the Angelus prayer was shown on maxi screens for the first time, to enable the faithful present to pray the words together with the Pope. Among the crowd of 50,000 pilgrims, there was a large yellow and blue arch with the word “Loreto”, put up by youth delegates from all the regions of Italy. They are currently meeting in Rome to implement a three-yearly project of the Italian church entitled “Agorà of youth”. Greeting them after the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI publicly announced his intention of going next year to the city that hosts a famous Marian shrine. “Dear friends,” he told them. “I bless your journey and I await you in large numbers for the meeting of young Italians scheduled for 1 and 2 September 2007 in Loreto.” He added: “Near that beloved Marian shrine, we will live a moment of grace together, in the joy of faith and perspective of mission, not least in preparation for the World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.”
An unusual group present in the square today was composed of hundreds of motorcyclists of the Motorcyclists Association of the police force, who thundered down Via Conciliazione.
Before the Angelus, leaning out of the window of his study in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope spoke about the Gospel reading, stressing that the “decisive moment was the personal, direct encounter between the Lord and that suffering man. They face each other: God with his desire to heal and the man with his desire to be healed. Two freedoms, two converging desires: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ asks the Lord. ‘Let me see again,’ responds the blind man. ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ With these words, a miracle takes place; the joy of God, the joy of man. And Bartimaeus, who has come to the light, ‘followed him on the way’, according the Gospel. Thus he becomes his disciple and goes with the Teacher to Jerusalem, to participate with Him in the great mystery of salvation."
The pope continued: “This account, with the essentiality of its passages, evokes the route of the Catechumen towards the sacrament of Baptism, which in the ancient Church was also called ‘Enlightenment’. Faith is a journey of enlightenment: it departs from the humility of recognizing that we are in need of salvation and reaches personal encounter with Christ, who invites all to follow him along the road of love. It is on this model that the itineraries of Christian initiation are based, as they prepare for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation (or Cresima) and the Eucharist. In places of ancient evangelization, where the baptism of children is widespread, opportunities of catechesis and spirituality are offered to youth and adults, to enable them to follow a path of rediscovery of their faith in a mature and conscious way, to consequently assume a coherent commitment of bearing witness. How important the work of pastors and catechists in this field is! The rediscovery of values of one’s Baptism is at the basis of the missionary commitment of each Christian, because we see in the Gospel that those who allow themselves to be fascinated by Christ cannot but testify to the joy of following his footsteps. In this month of October, especially dedicated to mission, we understand even more that, precisely due to the strength of Baptism, we possess an innate missionary vocation.”
He added: “Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary so that missionaries of the Gospel may multiply. Intimately united with the Lord, may every person who has been baptized feel called to announce the love of God to all, with the witness of his own life.”
How should one vote on this issue according to them on this proposition?
From The Tidings:
Proposition 83: Sex Offenders. Sexually Violent Predators. Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring. Initiative Statute.
Proposition 83 will increase penalties for violent and habitual sex offenders and child molesters, prohibit residence near schools and parks, and require GPS monitoring of registered sex offenders. Fiscal Impact: Proposition 83 would increase Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prison operating costs (longer sentences and purchase of GPS equipment)-possibly hundreds of millions of dollars; however, GPS monitoring may reduce recidivism among offenders.
A reflection on Catholic teaching:
"We are guided by the paradoxical Catholic teaching on crime and punishment: We will not tolerate the crime and violence that threatens the lives and dignity of our sisters and brothers, and we will not give up on those who have lost their way... We seek both justice and mercy. Working together, we believe our faith calls us to protect public safety, promote the common good, and restore community. We believe a Catholic ethic of responsibility, rehabilitation, and restoration can become the foundation for the necessary reform of our broken criminal justice system."
-Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration, U.S. Bishops, 2000
Is there a failure here to recognize the human condition? What about the church's teachings on original sin? Jesus teaching on scandalizing the little ones? Is there anything wrong with carrying around the "Mark of Cain--a GPS device" when even God chose that method of rehabilitation in Genesis? I think here is an example where the shepherds have lost their moral voice and are more worried about defending their past acts of irresponsibility then speaking up for those who are abused by the powerful...and the abusers need to be marginalized for their own salvattion sake. We can't continue to live in a world that doesn't deal with the reality of sin and violence--the church's teaching on penance for sins needs to be revived.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Jim Caviezel played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ...from LifeSiteNews:
In the one minute response ad Caviezel is joined by celebrities that include Cardinal’s pitcher Jeff Suppan and Patricia Heaton, star of the TV comedy Everybody Loves Raymond and honorary chair for Feminists for Life. After explaining the facts of the issue they in turn state, “Don’t be tricked”, Don’t be deceived”, Don’t be fooled”, with Caviezel ending the ad telling Missouri voters, “You know now. Don’t do it. Vote no on (Amendment) 2”, the ballot initiative that would permit research using human embryos in the state.
The election campaign in Missouri centers on the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative (Amendment 2). While the amendment claims to ban “human cloning,” in fact it would only ban a human clone from being implanted in a woman. Creating a human clone and then killing it for research purposes would be permitted.
A priest of the Corpus Christi diocese, Msgr. Daniel Flores, is named auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Cardinal Maida says he's delighted that the bishop-elect "is now part of our team," and indicates the new bishop's ministry will include a special focus on Hispanic concerns in the Detroit archdiocese. For his part, Bishop-elect Flores says he is "humbled" by Pope Benedict XVI's expression of confidence in him, and "looks forward to learning and serving in my new home."
Also in Detroit, Church to be converted to Mosque:
After 83 years, the church will celebrate its final Mass on Sunday and become the first church in the Archdiocese of Detroit sold to a mosque. It will cater to a new crop of immigrants -- from Bangladesh, primarily.
"It's going to hurt," said Rice, 68. "There are a lot of memories there. But you've got to go with the times."
The Islamic Center of North Detroit has a purchase agreement with the Archdiocese of Detroit for Our Lady Help of Christians' five buildings, which tentatively are planned to be used for an Islamic community center, larger worship space and possibly a school.
The conversion of the Detroit buildings, on the Hamtramck border, from church to Muslim center underscores how much the community's makeup has changed. Long-entrenched Catholic churches have had to downsize as their congregations moved to the suburbs and other immigrant groups moved in.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
From Asia News Italy:
Benedict XVI today announced a new cycle of catechesis to 25,000 people
gathered for the general audience, since he has completed his depiction of the
12 apostles. Starting with Paul of Tarsus, he will now tackle “men and even women who dedicated their lives to the Gospel and to the Lord”.
After Jesus, recalled the pope, Paul “is the person from the beginning about who we are most informed”, both from the Acts of the Apostles as well as his letters that allow us to get to know him “without intermediaries”. “A diaspora Jew, Paul lived in
the city of Tarsus between Anatolia and Syria”, a persecutor of Christians until
struck by the light of Christ. Described by Chrysostom as “superior to angels
and archangels” and by Dante as “vase of election”, which means, the pope explained, “an instrument chosen by God”, Paul knew the first disciples of
Christ, “who put not a religion but the person of Jesus at the centre, and to
him was linked the remission of sins”. But his “enlightenment and true vocation
came when he encountered the Risen Lord”. For this reason, Paul “describes himself explicitly as an apostle by vocation or an apostle by the will of God”.
Benedict XVI said: “From that moment, he dispensed all his energies for Jesus
Christ and for his Gospel”. From here is drawn the foremost teaching of Paul,
that “what counts is putting Jesus Christ at the centre of our lives, and that
in the light of Christianity, every other value is found or even, if necessary,
purified from possible impure matter.”
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
On his second day in Rome, as planned, George attended the canonization of Mother Theodore Guerin of Indiana, the first U.S. saint in six years. What wasn't planned, he said, was an invitation that day to concelebrate mass with the pope. In a concelebration, several priests say mass together.
"I hadn't expected that, and I was very pleased to do that," he said.
George said the pope was worried about the state of the church in the United States.
"He was very concerned about the seminary system and the morale of priests who have been ordained for some years, especially in the current crisis," he said.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
From the Papa Ratzi Forumn (translated by Teresa Benedetta):
Today we celebrate the 80th World Missionary Day. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI who gave a strong push to the mssions ad gentes, and in the Jubilee Year of 1925, promoted a grand exposition which became what is now the ethnological-Missionary Collections of the Vatican Museums.
This year, in the message for the occasion, I proposed the theme "Charity, spirit of mission". Indeed, if mission is not inspired by love, it is reduced to a philanthropic and social activity.
But for Christians, the words of St. Paul are valid: "Love of Christ urges us on" (2 Cor 5,14). The love that moved the Father to send His Son to the world and the Son to offer Himself for us by His death on the Cross - that same love is instilled by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer.
Every baptized person, like a shoot from the vine, can thus cooperate in the mission of Jesus which can be summarized thus: to bring to every person the good news that "God is love" and because of this, He wants to save the world.
Mission comes from the heart: When one stops to pray before the Crucifix, and looks at the pierced chest of Christ, one cannot but feel the joy of knowing we are loved, and a desire to love and become an instrument of mercy and reconciliation.
That is what happened 800 years ago to the young Francis of Assisi in the little church of St. Damian which was then in ruins. From atop the Cross, now kept in the Basilica of St. Clare, Francis heard Jesus tell him: "Go, repair my house which, as you see, is all in ruins."
That 'house" was, first of all, his own life, to be 'repaired' through a true conversion; it was the Church, not that one of bricks, but that of living persons who are always in need of purification; it was also all mankind, in whom God wants to live.
Mission always starts from a heart transformed by the love of God, as shown by countless stories about the saints and martyrs who in different ways gave their lives in the service of the Gospel.
Mission is therefore a worksite where there is a place for everyone: for those committed to realize in their own families the Kingdom of God; for those who carry out their profession in the Christian spirit; for those who consecrate themselves totally to the Lord; for those who follow Jesus the Good Shepherd in the ministry ordained for the people of God; for those who specifically go forth to announce Christ to those who do not yet know Him.
May the Most Holy Mary help us live with renewed missionary impulse - each in the situation Providence has placed us - the joy and the courage of mission.
After the Angelus, he said the following:
I am happy to send a cordial greeting to the Muslims of the whoe world who these days are celebrating the end of the fasting monmth of RAmadan. I wish everyone serenity and peace!
In dramatic contrast to this joyous atmosphere is the news coming from Iraq on the most serious problems of security and the brutal violence to which so many innocents are exposed just because they are Shiite, Sunni or Christian.
I feel the great concern throughout the Christian community there and I wish to assure them that I am near to them, as I am to all victims of violence, and for all, I pray for strength and consolation.
I invite you to join me in asking the Omnipotent to grant the faith and courage needed by religious authorities and political leaders, local as well as international, to support the Iraqi people in reconstructing their homeland, in seeking a shared equilibrium, and in reciprocal respect, knowing that the multiplicity of their national components is an integral part of the nation's wealth.
From the Monterey Herald:
Islam was also deported from Israel for giving thousands of dollars to Hamas. More recently, the composer of "Wild World" and "Moonshadow" has tried to build understanding among Christians, Jews and Muslims. He called the 9/11 terrorist attacks "an offense against the true spirit of Islam" and recently sent Pope Benedict his book "The Life of the Last Prophet" after the pontiff made remarks perceived to be divisive.
Islam's new lyrics don't mention Allah or the prophet Mohammed by name but in the song "Heaven," he sings, "If a storm should come and if you face a wave/That may be the chance for you to be saved/And if you make it through the trouble and the pain/That may be the time for you to know his name."
Is this the liberal O'Brien that everyone feared?
From the Scotland:
THE leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has called for Muslims to apologise for the 9/11 and 7/7 bomb attacks, declaring that the public should not have to live "in fear of attack" from believers of the Islamic faith.
In a move that has provoked a storm of outrage, the cardinal claims that, as the Pope apologised for the offence caused last month by his comments on the Islamic faith, so Muslims should now step up and say sorry for the attacks carried out in the name of their faith.
O'Brien said: "There have been no apologies for the shooting of the nun [in Somalia after the Pope made his remarks], let alone for 9/11 or the London bombings. I would like to see some reciprocal moves from the Islamic side. We shouldn't have to live in fear of attack from Muslims."
Saw him as an ally against the Muslim crusade against the Christian West.
From the Toronto Sun:
A prominent Italian journalist and self-described atheist who died last month has left most of her books and notes to a pontifical university in Rome because she admired Pope Benedict, a school official said yesterday.
Oriana Fallaci had described the Pontiff as an ally in her campaign to rally Christians in Europe against what she saw as a Muslim crusade against the West. As she battled breast cancer last year, she had a private audience with Benedict, who had been elected only a few months earlier, at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
In one of her final interviews, Fallaci told The Wall Street Journal: "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a Pope think the same things, there must be something true."
Benedict was surprised by the gift of the books, some of which date to the 17th century and included volumes about the formation of modern-day Italy, philosophy and theology, said Msgr. Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateranense University in Rome.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
From The Church's Most Powerful Novenas:
Antonio and Annunziata Del Bufalo named their child after one of the three magi when he was born on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1786 in Rome, Italy. Yet when at the age of two young Gaspar was threatened with blindness due to a serious eye ailment it was to St. Francis Xavier (whose partial relics were contained in the nearby Gesu (Jesus) Church) that they turned—and were heard as Gaspar was healed.
Early in Gaspar's life he showed himself to be a great friend of the poor and the sick. He would teach the catechism to orphans and bring meals to the hospitalized as well as setting up a shelter for those who had no place to sleep at night. At the same time he was pursuing the priesthood in Rome to which he was ordained in1808.
A year after Gaspar's ordination the French Emperor Napoleon took over the Papal States and imprisoned the Pope. The clergy were ordered to take an oath of loyalty to the emperor and when Gaspar came before the magistrate and was given the oath he replied, "I would rather die, or suffer evil than to take such an oath. I cannot, I ought not. I will not." He was sent to Piacenza, in exile and during this time he became gravely ill and received the Last Rites from his friend Monsignor Albertini.
Monsignor Albertini encouraged his friend that he was sure this could not be the end for Gaspar for some years earlier a saintly nun Maria Agnese had told him that he would meet a young priest with whom he would form a close friendship during a time of oppression by the Church's enemies. She had said, "He will distinguish himself by a special devotion to St. Francis Xavier. He will become an apostlic missionary and will found a new congregation of missionary priests under the invocation of the Divine Blood who purpose shall be to reform customs, to save souls, to foster decorum among the secular clergy, to arouse the people back from their apathy and lack of faith, bringing them back to love of the Crucifix." Monsignor Albertini told Gaspar that God had much for him to do and so he would.
In 1811 after refusing the loyalty oath a second time he was imprisoned for the next four years until Rome was liberated from Napoleon's rule. In 1814 Pope Pius VII granted Gaspar a church and convent that had been abandoned by another religious order as a place where he could house a new congregation that would bear the name of Most Precious Blood of Christ. On August 15, 1815 the first house of this new congregation opened with four members.
The congregation founded by Gaspar was to be a charitable fraternity of priests who would take no vows but dedicate themselves to preaching missions and spreading devotion the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. He wrote to a priest friend at the time, "Those who do evangelical work, do so by ensuring that the Blood of Jesus is used to save souls, and they must do this continuously, asking that sinners be forgiven."
Gaspar went about preaching missions to the most obstinate groups. One time when a dying man, a sinner refused to convert—Gaspar began to scourge himself until the dying man came to his senses and died with his faith intact. Sent by the pope to preach to the most difficult souls, essentially gansters some of who intended to kill the priest, miracles were worked where the knife of a would be attacker fell out of the hand, a bullet intended for Gaspar fell harmlessly at his feet—while those who set out to persecute ended being captured by the Lord. Such was the power of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus and his apostle.
Gaspar suffered throughout his life. Some of this suffering came from the Church he loved and obeyed. He died in 1837. He was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
Blessed Pope John XXIII, himself a great modern apostle of devotion to the precious blood added the phrase "Blessed be his most precious blood" to the Divine Praises commonly recited at the conclusion of Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. In an Apostolic Letter on promoting the devotion of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus entitled Inde a Primis he shared that he had been a devotee of this devotion begun by St. Gaspar since his infancy and encouraged others to promote this devotion by using a litany developed by the Congregation of Rites at the time. He wrote in his Apostolic Letter that devotion to the Most Precious Blood owed its modern diffusion to St. Gaspar del Bufalo.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The Pope to Italian Catholics today in Bentegodi, from Zenit:
To communicate to others what a Christian believes, "it is necessary that this faith become life in each one of us," the Holy Father said. A great effort "is necessary so that every Christian becomes a 'witness,' is able and willing to assume the commitment to always give a reason to everyone for the hope that encourages him."
To achieve this, Benedict XVI said, one must "announce with vigor and joy the event of the death and resurrection of Christ, [the] heart of Christianity, essential fulcrum of our faith, powerful spring of our certainties, impetuous wind that sweeps away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation."
"Only from God can the decisive change of the world come," the Pontiff said. "Only from the Resurrection is the authentic nature of the Church and of her testimony, understood."
To grasp what it means to be "witnesses of the risen Jesus, the 'of' must be well understood," stressed the Pope. "It means that the witness is 'of' the risen Jesus, namely, that he belongs to him, and precisely because of this, can give a valid testimony, can speak of him, make him known, lead others to him, transmit his presence."
In this way, the Holy Father added, "Christians can give the world hope, as they are of Christ and of God in the measure that they die with him to sin and rise with him to the new life of love, forgiveness, service and nonviolence."
Pope Benedict may have to have his ring tightened.
According to Italian media reports, the papal ring slipped off his finger twice while he was shaking hands with well-wishers as he left Verona's Bentegodi stadium on Thursday.
The faithful into whose palms the gold ring fell promptly gave it back each time.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
One person was killed and about 110 were injured when two metro trains
collided during the morning rush hour in Rome, officials say.
place at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II station in the centre of the
capital. The trains were travelling on metro line A.
been cordoned off. Police and firemen are at the scene.
Monday, October 16, 2006
The words of Pope Benedict XVI from the Tribune Star:
“‘Go and sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor … then
come, follow me.’ These words have inspired countless Christians throughout the
history of the church to follow Christ in a life of radical poverty, trusting in
divine providence. Among these generous disciples of Christ was a young
Frenchwoman, who responded unreservedly to the call of the Divine Teacher.
Mother Theodore Guerin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence in
1823, and she devoted herself to the work of teaching in schools. Then in 1839,
she was asked by her superiors to travel to the United States to become the head
of a new community in Indiana. After their long journey over land and sea, the
group of six sisters arrived at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. There they found a simple
log-cabin chapel in the heart of the forest. They knelt down before the blessed
sacrament and gave thanks, asking God’s guidance upon the new foundation. “With
great trust in divine providence, Mother Theodore overcame many challenges and
persevered in the work that the Lord had called her to do. By the time of her
death in 1856, the sisters were running schools and orphanages throughout the
state of Indiana. In her own words, ‘How much good has been accomplished by the
sisters of St. Mary-of-the-Woods. How much more good they will be able to do if
they remain faithful to their holy vocation.”
“You're a married priest? I didn't know we had married priests. I think the
Church should let all her priests marry.”
Words like these have greeted me frequently since my ordination to the priesthood in 1983, with dispensation from the rule of celibacy. I always assure those who favor optional celibacy that both my wife and I strongly support the Church's discipline of priestly celibacy. While I'm deeply grateful that the Church has made an exception for certain former Protestant clergy like me, the exception is clearly a compromise.
The priesthood and marriage are both full-time vocations. The fact is, no one
can do complete justice to both simultaneously.
T he objection usually persists. “But surely a married man is better qualified to teach people about marriage than is a celibate priest.” Again, I disagree (politely, of course). The purpose of marriage preparation is not to teach couples what the priest has experienced. Catholic couples need and have the right to be instructed in the
Church's revealed truth about the meaning of human sexuality and holy matrimony.
If both a married and a celibate priest are reasonably mature, and if each teaches in harmony with the Church, the married priest has no essential advantage over the celibate priest in giving marriage instruction.
Then comes the final argument. “Yes, that may be, but if priests could marry, it
would solve our priest shortage.” I reply that this is an assumption with no
evidence to support it. If the rule of celibacy is keeping men out of the priesthood, how do we account for the dioceses in this country that have an abundance of priests? As Pope Paul VI said 40 years ago, the decline in priestly vocations is due to lack of faith on the part of our people. The dissent that has been rampant in recent decades has created widespread confusion about the Church's teaching, especially with regard to the priesthood.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
In Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints,just published by Doubleday, Tom Craughwill gives the answers.The list of the evils that some saints engaged in before their conversion is long: thievery, embezzling, satanists, promiscuity, idolatry, drunkedness and even anti-popery. The list brings to mind St. Paul "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God" and what follows "And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11). Indeed!
Craughwell's book is filled with both the well known (Augustine, Patrick, Francis of Assisi,Ignatius of Loyola) and the lesser known (Callixtus, Pelagia, Genesius, Fabiola). From the latter group is the story of St. Pelagia, an actress who before her conversion lived a life of rather loose morals. One can readily think of a number of similar actors, actresses, rock stars, politicians who might be the Pelagia's of today--whose popularity is matched by the wanton lifestyle they lead--leading others down a path of self-destruction. What keeps them and us from following Pelagia's path to saintdom--perhaps this event related by Craughwell provides a hint:
That night the devil woke Pelagia. "What evil have I ever done to you?" he asked. "Tell me how I have offended, and I will give you whatever you want. Only do not leave me. Do not make me a laughingstock."
Most of us would probably believe that lie--and if you do you might need to read another book that has just been published by Ascension Press, Interview With an Exorcist. Pelagia didn't need that book, but she knew what to do:
Pelagia made the sign of the cross and drove the devil away.
Of course this exactly what Saints Behaving Badly does for the reader, it gives them a solid lesson in Christian spirituality by showing them how the great saints have overcome the very evils that plague many of us. It is a catechism of a different source, a real page turner and in the end a book that can change your life.
Freddy Fender, the "Bebop Kid" of the Texas-Mexico border who later turned his twangy tenor into the smash country ballad Before the Next Teardrop Falls, died Saturday. He was 69.
Fender, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2006, died at noon at his Corpus Christi home with his family at his bedside, said Ron Rogers, a family spokesman.
Over the years, he grappled with drug and alcohol abuse, was treated for diabetes and underwent a kidney transplant.
Fender hit it big in 1975 after some regional success, years of struggling — and a stint in prison — when Before the Next Teardrop Falls climbed to No. 1 on the pop and country charts.
From the Indianapolis Star:
Pope Benedict, seated on a gold-trimmed throne in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, accepted gifts from Hoosiers Phil McCord, Sisters of Providence Marie Kevin Tighe and Denise Wilkinson, giving each a personal blessing.
It was the medically unexplained healing on McCord’s eye in 2001 that was deemed as the second miracle necessary for Guerin to be declared a saint.
McCord, now 60, offered up a prayer asking Guerin to seek God’s favor in healing.
Tighe, who promoted the cause of sainthood for 10 years, said: “It was like it is sealed, it is finished,” she said of a cause that has been in the works for nearly a century.
Wilkinson, who presented the pope with a picture of Mother Theodore and a check for $5,000 for to serve the needs of women and children, is the current leader of the Sisters of Providence, the order that Guerin founded northwest of Terre Haute in 1840.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Thousands of people, many of them expectant mothers, are expected to descend this weekend on St. Lucy's Roman Catholic Church for the Feast of St. Gerard, a colorful, spiritual 107-year-old tradition that continues today.
St. Gerard is widely revered by Catholics as a protector of aspiring and expectant mothers.
The highlight of the festival - located in the heart of Newark's Old Little Italy - is the procession of the church's St. Gerard statue through the streets of the neighborhood. The procession will be held today, tomorrow and Monday afternoons.
As the statue is marched in the street on a pedestal, the faithful pin dollar bills and donation envelopes on it, covering it almost entirely in green. The church usually makes about $200,000 from the festival, enough for about a quarter of its annual budget, Granato said.
The novena to St. Gerard is included in my novena prayer book, which for some reason has jumped into the top 100 Catholic bestseller's at Amazon today:
Friday, October 13, 2006
What I long for is the experience that I had as a young student at Saint Meinrad in the 1980's where in the monastic chapel the reformed rite of the Mass was celebrated exactly the way it is in the ritual. Only one hymn, a post communion thanksgiving hymn. The antiphons chanted at the entrance and other places, the psalm chanted, most of the prayers chanted, incense used, the homily on target with the Readings--something that if others experienced would have made the longing for the old days totally unnecessary...but what we all have experienced is a far cry from that and therefore the crisis in the liturgy continues...
From Time magazine:
The new permission, or "indult," would most immediately address a longstanding schism with the ultra-traditionalist group founded in 1969 by the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who opposed the Vatican II reforms. Lefebvre was excommunicated in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent. But Benedict is believed to want to bring the Lefebvrites back in the fold.
Yet his olive branch may complicate matters in the American Church. Certainly, traditionalists who had to drive a hundred miles to find a priest with permission will be thrilled. More theologically liberal Catholics, however, may see it as a Lefebvrite-tinged step back from the principles they feel inspired Vatican II. "This would make it much more difficult for people to engage in full conscious and active participation, which was the goal of the Council," says Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America. Congregations could theoretically split on the issue, and many current priests would have to learn the old Mass (and more Latin, if they wanted to understand it).
Or buy a missal and follow along like they did in the old days.
For a real concise and excellent review of the issues surrounding this issue. Check out More Catholic Than The Pope: An Inside Look At Extreme Traditionalism by Pete Vere and Pat Madrid:
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Pressing ahead with his illustration of the personalities of the apostles, the pope today dealt with Simon the Canaanite and Jude Thaddeus. Coming as they did from totally different social realities, they “are an evident sign that Jesus calls his disciples and collaborators from the most diverse social and religious strata, without any preclusion. He is interested in people, not social categories or labels! And the great thing is that within the group of his followers, all lived together although they were different, overcoming the imaginable difficulties. It was Jesus himself, in fact, who was the reason for their cohesion, in who all came together. This clearly is a lesson for us, who are often inclined to stress differences and perhaps contradictions, forgetting that in Jesus Christ is given to us the strength to calm our conflicts.”
The pope then turned to a letter, attributed to Jude Thaddeus, that harshly criticizes “those who use the grace of God as a pretext to excuse their debauchery and to lead their brothers astray with unacceptable teachings, introducing division within the Church”. Benedict XVI said “such controversial” language is no longer used today to “state very clearly both what remains distinctive in Christianity as well as that which is incompatible with it. The way of indulgence and dialogue, which the Second Vatican Council happily took up, should surely be followed with firm constancy. All the same, it should not make one forget the duty to hark back to, and to highlight with the same force, the main and irrefutable lines of our Christian identity. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that this identity of ours is not only expressed on a merely cultural or superficial level. Rather it calls for the strength, clarity and courage of provocation that belong to the faith.”
The pope added: “It is clear that the author of these lines fully lives his faith, to which belong considerable realities like moral integrity and joy, faith and finally praise, all motivated solely by the goodness of our unique God and the mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why both Simon the Canaanite and Jude Thaddeus help us to rediscover anew and to live tirelessly the beauty of the Christian faith, capable of bearing strong and at the same time serene witness.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Phil McCord was at a composting convention in New Mexico making small talk when a guy asked him what was the weirdest thing that's ever happened to him.
A shy man, McCord smiled. When the Roman Catholic Church has declared the unexplained healing of your eye to be a miracle that proves a 19th century nun is worthy of sainthood -- this is a question you can answer.
McCord, who has been asked to recount his experience a lot lately, leaves Thursday for Rome, where he will participate in the canonization of Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin, whose coming recognition as a saint is due in no small part to what happened to McCord's eye.
On Sunday, he will be part of a delegation from the religious order Guerin founded -- the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods -- that will present the pope with a gift during the canonization ceremonies.
And McCord -- who isn't Catholic, doesn't consider himself devout and can't figure out how he wound up in the middle of all this -- will come face to face with a pope.
"I've got to tell you there is this whole big fuzzy circle around the whole thing that is unreal," he said.
Monday, October 9, 2006
The angel's greeting to Mary is one of joy as the hoped-for Messiah's coming is announced. Ask Our Lady to help you pray this decade, pondering the joy of God's coming to save His people.
--from Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and & Mysteries by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn.
Repent or Perish Luke 13:3
To experience the joy of the joyful mysteries of the rosary one must truly repent, change their way of thinking--and learn a new what is really important in life. What should you and I really be awaiting? What is the ultimate event we should be looking forward to in our lives?
Isn't it interesting how the day that commemorates the birth of Jesus has been poluted in modern times as an event that is looked forward to for material gifts that in the end disappoint? Isn't this our first lesson in that not to repent leads to a life that is constantly passing where a final perishing is the end result?
Most of us can remember the many times that we have finally received what we thought would bring us ultimate happiness only in the end to realize that there is something more, something beyond what any of the earthly desires and fulfillment can bring. But the game goes on and we continue to replace one fantasy with another, thinking that this new "thing" will be "it."
This can happen even in religion, when one thinks the perfect liturgy, preacher, pope, spiritual director, (fill in your blank) will bring us to the heights that hitherto we haven't accomplished. This is a far cry from Jesus' admonition not to go off in search of the false messiahs, but rather to die to oneself. Repentance is hard. Most of us don't repent we just change our addictions, replacing one for the other--and experience the same disappointments over and over because X has let us down.
Imagine the joy of Mary as she hears the announcement that a savior is coming. The joy of a St. Paul when he realizes "wretched man that I am, who will save me?" "Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ!" (See Romans) Imagine your joy, my joy when we finally repent, turn away from Satan and all his empty promises and place our hope in God alone.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
Mix of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 20s.
In 1914, none of the four Catholic pastors in South Florida was Irish born, according to the Rev. Michael McNally's book, Catholicism in South Florida. By 1940, Irish clergy predominated.
About 1,250 Irish-born priests were serving in the United States in 1997, according to a study by sociologist William Smith of Georgia Southern University.
The very uncertainty of a religious frontier was a lure for the Irish, said the Rev. Gerald Grace of Highland Beach, one of 16 foreign-born Irish still serving in the Diocese of Palm Beach. "It was the missionary endeavor, never knowing what you're going to find."
For Grace, pastor of St. Lucy church in Highland Beach and a theology instructor at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary west of Boynton Beach, the appeal of South Florida so far has lasted 41 years.
"Any time you serve the needs of others -- seeing their perspective, affirming their goodness -- it's always fulfilling," he said. "That's at the heart of the gospel."
Citing Gaudium et Spes and Vatican Council II, the pope recalled that “God himself is the author of marriage”. And it is precisely from this Origin that the definition of marriage is born as “no longer two, but one flesh”. For this reason, any division or breaking of the marital bond is excluded: ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate’ (Mk 10:8-9).
So the pope exhorted Christian spouses “to remain faithful to their vocation in every stage of life, ‘in joy and sorrow, in health and sickness’, as they promised to do in the sacramental rite. Aware of grace received, may Christian spouses build families open to life and capable of confronting together the many complex challenges of our time.”
Overcoming hedonism and relativism, parents are “true ‘missionaries’ of love and of life (cfr n.54).This mission is directed within the family – especially in reciprocal service and children’s education – and outside: the domestic family, in fact, is called to be a sign of God’s love towards all. It is a mission, this, that the Christian family can bring to fulfillment only if sustained by divine grace.”
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Friday, October 6, 2006
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
In a scene most spectators said they never expect to witness again, a new
coffin bearing the remains of a woman about to be declared a Catholic saint was
installed in a new shrine 150 years after her death.
The simple box, hand-crafted from walnut trees grown on the grounds Guerin walked as a 19th-century nun, was placed next to a display featuring three bones from her hand.
For nearly 100 years, Guerin's remains had been stored beneath the floor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, an Italianesque church here at the headquarters of the Sisters of Providence, near the village of St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
From the Office of Readings:
It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The disciple whom Jesus loves peers into the empty tomb and believes. Ask Our Lady to help you to pray this decade to experience the hope of those who believe in her Son's glorious resurrection.
--from Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and & Mysteries by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn.
As Mary and Ben explained the day's violence to their sons, they emphasized the
importance of forgiveness and trusting in God.
"I just feel bad for the gunman," said Mary's husband, Ben, 41. "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God."
While outsiders might be surprised at the forgiveness immediately extended to Roberts, Donald Kraybill, an authority on Amish culture, said that reaction is typical.
"That theme of forgiveness really comes from the example of Jesus, who carried that spirit even to the cross," said Kraybill, a professor of Anabaptist studies at Elizabethtown College.
In Gospel lessons, hymns and prayer books written in German dialect, those teachings are passed down through generations in Amish settlements."I
think the Amish are much better prepared to cope with something like this than
most Americans," Kraybill said. "They see things as having a higher purpose,
there's a higher good, so they are more able to absorb and accept things in a
spirit of humility."
"The figure of St Bartholomew, notwithstanding the scarcity of information about him, stands before us to tell us that adhesion to Christ can be lived and testified to even without the realisation of sensational works. It is Jesus himself who is and remains extraordinary; we are all called to consecrate our life and death to him."
Benedict XVI recalled the depiction of Bartholomew in the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel, with skin in hand. From the story of Bartholomew, the pope suggested two fundamental pointers. One is that "freedom of God surprises our expectations, by being found right where we did not expect it" and the other is that "in our relationship with Jesus, we should not content ourselves with words". As revealed by the words of Philip to Nathaniel, "come and see", said Pope Ratzinger, "our knowledge of Jesus needs above all a living experience. The witness of someone is certainly important because it starts with the announcement that reaches us through one or more witnesses, but then we ourselves must become involved in a more personal relationship." And one should never "lose sight of neither one nor the other" of the divine and human dimensions of Jesus. "If we proclaimed only the heavenly dimension of Jesus, we would risk making him an ethereal and evanescent being and on the contrary, if we only recognised his collocation in history, we would end up by neglecting his divine dimension which is actually what qualifies him."
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
From the Palm Beach Post:
Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi was fired Tuesday, a move that had been
expected after his rift with owner Jeffrey Loria boiled over in an on-field
confrontation two months ago.
Girardi lost his job even though he's considered a strong candidate for NL manager of the year. The Marlins had baseball's youngest team and lowest payroll at $15 million, but Girardi led them to a 78-84 record, and they were in contention for a playoff berth until a late-September fade.
The cost-conscious Marlins wanted Girardi out so badly they were willing to let him go with two years left on a guaranteed three-year contract he signed in October 2005, when he became a manager for the first time.
At 41, he was the second-youngest manager in the major leagues after spending 15
years as a big-league catcher.
"There is no compulsion in religion," Benedict quotes the emperor as saying. "God is not pleased by blood -- and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats . . . To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death."
It is not the case that Benedict was only criticizing Islam for impeding constructive dialogue and tolerance between faiths. Protestantism, liberal theology, scientific rationalism and leftward fringes of Catholicism are also called on the carpet.
Some Western editorialists grumbled that the Pope's words had been "ill-considered" -- an absurd charge to lay at the feet of the major architect of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
It was only in parts of the Islamic world that violence, including the cowardly murder of an elderly nun, erupted in a sometimes stage-managed response to Benedict's lecture.
Of course, such irrational bullying and intimidation only proved Benedict's point.
Monday, October 2, 2006
Telling the Rev. Joe Classen how much fun hunting and fishing are would be like preaching to the choir.
That's because Father Joe, 33, a Roman Catholic priest who serves as associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in south St. Louis County, is both an avid hunter and an experienced angler. Classen is also a newly published author, one so eager to share the myriad ways in which faith has helped his love of the outdoors -- and vice versa -- that he's written a book about the topics.
Classen's book, "Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord: Encountering the Sacred in the Great Outdoors," should be required reading for anyone who sometimes wonders about life and its meaning. The author has done a good job of articulating personal philosophy as well as outdoors anecdotes, a few fairly hilarious. Of course, what else would you expect from a person so dedicated to archery that he set up his own range on the parish rectory's second floor?
"I shoot through the (guest) room, down the hall, through my bedroom and into the storage attic where the target's been placed," Classen said. "That's a good 20 yards."
During the past few weeks I’ve lived through a part of the terrible drama caused by that decision. A very fine young couple learned from a sonogram that there were difficulties, possibly major difficulties, in the development of their little baby. Without paying any attention to pro-abortion doctors—who are many—they went on with their determination to have the child who is now home with all signs of good health. The parents and family are elated. I also am elated, but more than that I am impressed by the courage and faith of the parents. Would we have known what to do if Pope John Paul II, along with many others, had not clearly condemned the process of abortion?
Father Benedict has a new book out on the virtues that is very interesting and unique. A real page turner:
I've been here many times, beautiful shrine where perpetual adoration takes place around the clock and there always seems to be a good crowd of people praying. This is one of those places you can "sense" God's presence. The heat of the vigil candles burning in the foyer hits you in the face as you walk into the Church, preparing you for you encounter with the Divine.
Thanks to John H. from Kentucky for pointing this out to me, for some reason when I first looked at the story this morning I thought it had happened at another church. Although four people were injured, none were apparently serious. One person who might have taken a direct hit, left just before it fell--the fruit no doubt of her time in adoration. People who pray before the Blessed Sacrament are more able to deal with reality--in this case a stomach ache--perhaps a premonition--that kept her from suffering more seriously.
From the Chicago Tribune:
A group of about 50 women, who were visiting the chapel as thousands of pilgrims do annually, was scheduled to enter the chapel within minutes of the collapse, which occurred around 6:45 p.m.
"I shudder to think what it would have been like on a Sunday morning," said McKinley, the rector and guardian at Marytown, a 12-acre Conventual Franciscan friary and national shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
The group of parishioners was preparing for devotion at the chapel, which is the centerpiece of the Marytown complex.
McKinley said a parishioner who had been sitting in a pew where the ceiling section landed had left shortly before the collapse because she had a stomachache and wanted to lie down.
"Good thing she did," he said.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, the site's main chapel, was modeled after St. Paul Outside the Walls, one of four patriarchal basilicas in Rome. It was built to memorialize the 1926 International Eucharistic Congress, the first held in the U.S.
From Frederick Dale Bruner: Moving from text to sermon:
You don’t have to write sermons to appreciate Bruner. Michael Dubruiel, an acquisitions editor for the Catholic publisher Our Sunday Visitor, draws on him
when writing books on practical Catholic living and speaking to Catholic groups
on how to live out their faith.
“Bruner gives such a complete overview of what others have said about a passage—as well as commenting on it himself—that you hardly need another reference book on Matthew,” Dubruiel says. He adds that Bruner leaves readers with “a renewed appreciation for Scripture…and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”
Thanks to Joan Huyser-Honig for spelling my name right!
One volume of the two-volume series on Matthew by Bruner:
No one knows whether it happens with a satisfying "thump," but at sunset Monday, God will close the Book of Life, according to Jewish tradition, and the fate of every Jew will be sealed for another year.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and most solemn day in the Jewish calendar, begins at sunset Sunday and ends at sunset Monday. It is a day dedicated to repentance and forgiveness, the end of the 10-day high holiday season that began with Rosh Hashanah, the festive Jewish New Year. Over those 10 days, Jews worldwide, including the 6,000 in the St. Louis area, seek forgiveness from those they've wronged over the last year, and forgive those who ask it of them.
But Yom Kippur is different. It is the day that Jews will also ask forgiveness for sins they've committed against God. Just before sunset Sunday, Jews will gather for the Kol Nidre prayer, a chant that releases the individual from promises made to God that won't be fulfilled.
The following 25 hours are spent in an intense individual examination of one's life - as it relates to other people, to God, to the Jewish faith and to the prospect of life's finality.
"All our lives we deny we're going to die, but on Yom Kippur we're forced to realize that we're not going to get out of this life alive," said Rabbi Mark L. Shook of Congregation Temple Israel in Creve Coeur. "Yom Kippur makes us think hard about the significance of our lives. What will be different about the world because we've entered and left it?"
From Scottland on Sunday:
A devout Catholic, MacMillan uses an article in a religious magazine this weekend to confess his despair of the "screaming microphones" and "incompetently strummed guitars and cringe-making, smiley, cheesy foil groups" which fill churches every Sunday.
He reserves particular venom for two well-known modern hymns, 'Bind Us Together, Lord' and 'Make Me a Channel Of Your Peace', the latter having even been recorded to popular acclaim by Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell.
MacMillan says the hymns amount to "cultural vandalism" and that a backlash against such groups is growing, with more church-goers demanding a return to the traditional music which filled churches before reforms of the 1960s.
He declared: "The church has simply aped the secular West's obsession with 'accessibility', 'inclusiveness', 'democracy' and 'anti-elitism'. The effect of this on liturgy has been a triumph of bad taste and banality and an apparent vacating of the sacred spaces of any palpable sense of the presence of God."
Sunday, October 1, 2006
The pope also cited the patroness of missions, the Carmelite St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who John Paul II proclaimed as Doctor of the Church. “She, who indicated confident abandonment to the love of God as a ‘simple’ way to holiness, helps us to be credible witnesses of the Gospel of charity. Most Holy Mary, Virgin of the Rosary and Queen of missions, lead us all to Christ the Saviour.”