Monday, January 31, 2005

Pope has Flu

From Pope comes down with flu:

"The pope has the flu.

The Vatican says John Paul has come down with an influenza case, forcing him to cancel some scheduled appearances.

A spokesman says the 84-year-old pontiff was stricken yesterday, and doctors told him to cut back on some activities."

The Pensive Brothers

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Busy Week

Retreat on Monday in Indianapolis to a state ministerial group and then catching a plane the same afternoon to New York to spend a week working with Father Benedict Groeschel on several projects. Also meeting with Father Stan Fortuna in the middle before returning home Thursday night.

At the same time trying to finish up preparations for The Power of the Cross retreat in Indianapolis and getting How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist to the printers.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

First of the Documentaries on Clergy Sex Abuse Released

At the Sundance Film Festival


TWIST OF FAITH follows the intimate psychological journey of Tony Comes, a firefighter from Toledo, Ohio, who survived years of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest. When we first meet Tony, he seems to have it all: a great job, a pretty wife, adorable kids and a beautiful house. But Comes is just beginning to come to grips with a past he’s buried for twenty years. The constant barrage of news related to sexual abuse, coupled with a disturbing discovery in his personal life, forces Comes to confront his demons.

A proud Catholic all his life, Comes decides to report his abuse to the person he has been taught to trust the most, his bishop. But when the bishop isn’t completely honest with him, Tony files a lawsuit – first as John Doe, later putting his own name on the suit and going public. As Comes grapples with anger, guilt and confusion, the film shows how the effects of his abuse entangle everyone with whom he shares an intimate bond: his wife, children, extended family, friends and ultimately, his God.

While TWIST OF FAITH unravels the damage that sexual abuse wreaks on Comes’ life, the film also chronicles a close-knit Catholic town that is unwilling to let the truth come out. Comes does everything he can to hang on to a lifetime of Catholic traditions, despite his ongoing pain and the deceit of Church leaders. The result is a riveting drama of one man’s struggle to overcome a profound trauma in the face of intense family, community and religious pressures.

History Written and Deleted


From [ ] Wednesday 26, January 2005:

"Pressure from Turkey has resulted in the removal of a reference to the Armenian genocide from a German school curriculum, reports said Wednesday.

The eastern German state of Brandenburg has eliminated half a sentence on the Armenians included in ninth and tenth grade history classes after a Turkish diplomat complained to state Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck, the newspaper Die Welt reported.

In a chapter entitled 'War, Technology and Civilian Populations' the school book text said 'for example, the genocide of the Armenians population of Anatolia.' That passage has now been removed from school textbooks, the newspaper said. "

Your Opinion Counts Unless You're Catholic

In Canada....

From National Post:

"Prime Minister Paul Martin has already ordered all members of Cabinet to vote with the government although backbenchers are free to follow their consciences. Last week, Catholic archbishops voiced their opposition to the bill, echoing the concerns of Muslim and Sikh religious leaders.

And yesterday, Catholics were outraged at Mr. Pettigrew's suggestion they keep silent on an issue of moral significance such as the same-sex legislation.

'Certainly those who are trying to bring about change have not been shy at engaging in debate,' said Thomas Collins, Archbishop of the Diocese of Edmonton. 'We have every right to make our voice heard as well.'

Archbishop Collins says Ottawa should not try to stifle the views of any Canadians on issues of moral conscience. 'This is an effort to try to remove moral comment from issues affecting the common good.'"

Friday, January 28, 2005

ut unum sint

Some thoughts on the movie, The Kingdom of Heaven at ut unum sint

Kingdom of Heaven

What's the buzz about this?

Kingdom of Heaven

New Bishop for Wichita

From Vatican Information Service:

Msgr. Michael Owen Jackels of the clergy of Lincoln, U.S.A., official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as bishop of Wichita (area 51,835, population 949,385, Catholics 115,482, priests 130, permanent deacons 3, religious 333), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Rapid City, U.S.A., in 1954, and ordained a priest in 1981.

Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

A great lesson on the cross FromUniversalis: Office of Readings and Saint Thomas Aquinas:

"Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.

It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.

If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.

If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ's patience on the cross was great. In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.

If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.

If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, "

And a reminder:

At the Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 11-13, 2005

'The Power of the Cross' Lenten Retreat

with Author Michael Dubruiel

This retreat is aimed at applying the passion Of Christ to your everyday life. Learn God's unique Purpose and mission for you, how to overcome the evil that you have suffered at the hands of others, to find God' presence in difficult times, and to discover the keys to unleashing the power of the cross in your life.

Registration Friday @ 6:30 pm until Sunday 1:00 pm Cost of retreat is $145.00 which includes program, materials, meals and overnight accommodations. $50.00 deposit is required at registration. "

If you live in a different part of the country, Indianapolis has Southwest, ATA, Independence Air all flying into their airport--all at incredibly low, low rates!

The book can be viewed here:

A young woman dying of a terminal illness and abandoned by her family is filled with unspeakable joy.

What is her secret?

Discover what she knew and what it means for you in The Power of the Cross!


Eighty percent of kindergartners solved this riddle, but only 5% of Stanford graduates figured it out!

Can you answer the following question?

1. The word has seven letters...

2. Preceded God...

3. Greater than God...

4. More Evil than the devil...

5. All poor people have it...

6. Wealthy people need it...

7. If you eat it, you will die.

Zenit Interviews Amy

At Opus Dei - In the Media - De-coding Da Vinci: Zenit interviews Amy Welborn on her new book

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pope's Message for Lent 2005 "Respect the Elderly"

From Message for Lent 2005:

"Dear brothers and sisters, during Lent, aided by the Word of God, let us reflect upon how important it is that each community accompany with loving understanding those who grow old. Moreover, one must become accustomed to thinking confidently about the mystery of death, so that the definitive encounter with God occur in a climate of interior peace, in the awareness that He 'who knit me in my mother's womb? (cf. Psalm 139:13b) and who willed us 'in his image and likeness' (cf. Gen. 1:26) will receive us."

Gospa Missions

Pay them a visit at Catholic Evangelization Thomas Rutkoski -, Catholic events, Catholic Speakers, books and even a chocolate factory!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Music Recommendations

Southern Christian...

And Southern Catholic

Austrailian Priests Council Petition Vatican to Allow Married Clergy

From Catholic priests demand the right to marry:

"Australian Catholic priests are urging Rome to overturn its ban on married clergy as the church grapples with a chronic shortage of ordained priests.

The unprecedented submission to the Vatican directly challenges the obligation of celibacy, a prerequisite of the Catholic priesthood, and has reignited a debate within the church that has been simmering since the Middle Ages.

The National Council of Priests wrote to the Vatican's Synod of Bishops last month arguing that marriage should be no bar to ordination and asking the church to consider readmitting priests who had left the clergy to marry.

It also asked the church to extend the right held by thousands of married clergy who converted to Catholicism from other faiths to practise as priests to other married men.

About half of Australia's 1649 Catholic clergy, including 42 bishops and three cardinals, are members of the National Council of Priests, including the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell "

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Publisher Fined for Insulting Pope

From IOL: Europe:

"A Warsaw court convicted a magazine publisher on Tuesday of insulting Polish-born Pope John Paul in his satirical weekly and fined him 20 000 zlotys (about R40 000).

The court ruled that Jerzy Urban, 71, founder and publisher of the weekly magazine Nie - Polish for 'no' - illegally insulted the pope when he wrote and printed a piece making fun of John Paul's age and frailty before the pontiff's visit to Poland in August 2002.

Urban was found guilty of violating a law that bans publicly insulting foreign heads of state. The court noted that the pontiff heads the Vatican, formally an independent state."

Oscar Nominations

From The Davis Enterprise:

"The Howard Hughes epic 'The Aviator' led Academy Awards contenders with 11 nominations Tuesday, including best picture among them, plus acting honors for Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Alan Alda and a directing slot for Martin Scorsese.

The boxing saga 'Million Dollar Baby' and the J.M. Barrie tale 'Finding Neverland' followed with seven nominations each, among best picture and acting nominations for Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Johnny Depp.

Eastwood also got a directing nomination for 'Million Dollar Baby.'

The other best-picture nominees were the Ray Charles portrait 'Ray' and the buddy comedy 'Sideways.'

Along with Eastwood, Jamie Foxx also scored two nominations, as best actor for the title role in 'Ray' and supporting actor as a taxi driver whose cab is hijacked by a hit man in 'Collateral.' "

Monday, January 24, 2005

Thanks to Times Against Humanity for a Plug for my Upcoming Retreat

Times Against Humanity?-?O tempora, o mores!

Father Marciel Steps Down as General Director of the Legionaries

From Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome:

" The Legionaries of Christ elected a new general director, after their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, declined re-election, citing his age and his desire to see the congregation flourish under a successor.

The congregation, in a press statement issued today, explained that its general chapter 'first re-elected Father Maciel by absolute majority vote,' and added that 'Father Maciel, 84, who has headed the Legionaries since their founding in 1941, declined' the re-election.

'The chapter fathers expressed their filial gratitude to Father Maciel for his leadership during these past decades and pledged their heartfelt loyalty to the mission he continues to fulfill as founder,' the statement added. "

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Rose Mary Woods and Johnny Carson Die

Two famous people both who's fame had something to do with taping.

Pope Reaffirms Stance Against Condome in AIDS Prevention

From My Way News:

"Pope John Paul on Saturday stressed that the Roman Catholic Church believed abstinence and fidelity within marriage, and not condoms, were the best way to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Pope's words, spoken to a new ambassador to the Vatican, took on an added significance being his first direct comment on the controversial topic since a Catholic official in Spain this week appeared to question the Church's stand against condoms.

'The Holy See ... believes prevention through education about the sacredness of life and the correct practice of sexuality, that is chastity and faithfulness, is necessary above all other things in order to prevent this disease responsibly,' the 84-year old Pontiff said in a written address."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Austrian Scandals Lead to Mass Defections

From - Church in the World:

"Fifty thousand Catholics officially left the Church in 2004. The nationwide average of 40 per cent was even higher than in 1995 when the former Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, was accused of sexually abusing a minor. In 2004 the St P?lten diocese had 45 per cent more Catholics leaving than in the previous year, after a scandal at the seminary involving the downloading of child pornography and claims of homosexual activity. Bishop Klaus K?ng subsequently replaced Kurt Krenn as Bishop of St P?lten.

Commenting on the main evening news on 17 January, the dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty of Vienna University, Professor Paul Zulehner, said the exodus was still primarily due to the controversial episcopal appointments that the Vatican had made in the Austrian Church after the late Cardinal Hans K?nig's retirement in 1985. The fact that Rome delayed in responding to the St P?lten crisis had made things even worse, said Professor Zulehner. Since the 'Groer Affair' of the mid-1990s, 'the immune system of Austrian Catholics has grown steadily weaker so they can no longer cope with further bouts of scandals', he said.

In St P?lten, meanwhile, Bishop K?ng, who replaced Bishop Kurt Krenn last October, spoke at length with the former rector of the seminary, Fr Ulrich K?chl, and his assistant, Fr Wolfgang Rothe, about their future. Photographs of both priests fondling seminarians made world headlines last July. Bishop K?ng told them before Christmas they should both retire to a religious house for six months to a year to consider their vocations and their future. "

Balestrieri Presses on with Heresy Charge

From WorldNetDaily: Heresy case pressed against Kerry, others:

"A Catholic lawyer who pressed heresy charges against Sen. John Kerry for advocating abortion plans to file similar church lawsuits against other prominent politicians, including Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Denunciations for 'Heresy, Sacrilege, and Scandal' will be pressed against Kennedy, D-Mass.; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Susan Collins R-Maine; and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, says Marc Balestrieri, a canon lawyer and director of the Los Angeles-based non-profit group De Fide."

Friday, January 21, 2005

Bush Home Early

Gets home in time for bedtime.

On a related note, Katie Couric opened this morning's Today Show with the line "A lot of balls." I'm sure the studio crew got a good chuckle out of quote Amy "What is she twelve?"

From Yahoo! News - Bush Speeds Through Inaugural Balls, Home Early:

"President Bush (news - web sites) capped the first night of his second term on Thursday with a whirlwind tour of nine inaugural balls and an early return home at 10:03 p.m.

In a scene repeated throughout the evening, the president arrived to applause, thanked revelers in packed ballrooms and then took a quick spin around the stage with first lady Laura Bush, who wore a blue-and-silver evening gown by designer Oscar de la Renta.

Bush quipped that this was perhaps the first time he had danced with his wife in the last four years. After a brief spin, the couple headed on to the next ball. Conveniently, six of the nine balls were held at the Washington Convention Center. "

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Looking for Signs of Intelligent Life in Fort Wayne

This says it all for me...from - Looking for signs of intelligent life in Fort Wayne:

"Russ Choka, 81, owner of the Coney Island hot dog shop ('Our Buns are Steamed'), is more circumspect.

'What do you expect me to say?' he asks. 'I've traveled all around the world, and nothing tops (Fort Wayne). They may be bigger but not better. Why do people always come back here to die if it's so bad, if we're so dumb?'

He pauses, then wonders: 'I don't sound stupid, do I?' "

Florida Marlins Termed "Terrorists" by FL State Senator

From Marlins seek $60 million from state:

"The Marlins, though, may have a bigger hurdle on the other side of the Capitol, where Senate President Tom Lee appeared less receptive.

'I thought that we already appropriated money to help them move to Vegas,' he said. 'I was very disappointed that they publicly announced the negotiations and discussions with Las Vegas, and I don't negotiate with terrorists.'

Samson wants $2 million a year for 30 years. He said that money would allow the team to borrow $30 million today and 'close the current funding gap' toward a $360 million stadium. The city of Miami, Miami-Dade County and the Marlins also are picking up part of the tab."

Threat to Boston?

From - Local/ Regional News: Boston terror threat probed:

"Authorities are scouring Boston for four Chinese nationals and two Iraqi men who may pose a nuclear threat to the city based on a report from an unidentified man calling from Mexico who claims to have smuggled them over the U.S. border.

``They got a call from across the border in Mexico to the California Highway Patrol several days ago, and he said he brought two Iraqis and four Chinese (individuals) across the border and according to him, they stated soon to follow behind them would be some sort of (nuclear) material,'' said a law enforcement source.

``He refers to some sort of nuclear material that will follow them through New York up into Boston.'' "

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Article in the Manadnock Shopper News Posted by Hello

Bishop Released

Good news for a change.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Catholic Archbishop Kidnapped in Iraq

From Yahoo! News - Catholic Archbishop Kidnapped in Iraq:

"It identified the kidnapped man as Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, 66, of the Syrian Catholic Church, one of the branches of the Roman Catholic Church.

'The Holy See deplores in the firmest way such a terrorist act,' a Vatican statement said, demanding that he be freed immediately.

According to reports from Baghdad, Casmoussa was walking in front of his church in Mosul's eastern neighborhood of Muhandeseen when he was abducted.

Mosul is a northern Iraqi city that in recent months has been a hotspot of violent insurgency. "

NCR and the Legion

From Perspective: NCR and the Legion: an explanation:

"On the letters pages this week you will find one by Fr. Owen Kearns of the Legionaries of Christ. He is editor in chief and publisher of the Legion-owned National Catholic Register. The letter is an edited version of the original, which accuses NCR of a slur against the Legion and of spinning the story about Legion founder Fr. Marciel Maciel Degollado, who has been accused of sexually abusing seminarians in the past.

Kearns' letter also said NCR used a "journalistic resource," with the implication that we are simply interested in keeping the story alive with no regard for the facts.

It is not the first time Fr. Kearns has reacted to a story about either the Legion?s activities or its founder. Whether Kearns' responses have been solicited in the preparation of an article or delivered to us in reaction to one about Maciel, the content has been consistent: Fr. Maciel is demonstrably innocent and all one need do is consult the Legion?s Web site for the necessary information."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Reminder....Lent is Early This Year

At the Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 11-13, 2005

'The Power of the Cross' Lenten Retreat

with Author Michael Dubruiel

This retreat is aimed at applying the passion Of Christ to your everyday life. Learn God's unique Purpose and mission for you, how to overcome the evil that you have suffered at the hands of others, to find God' presence in difficult times, and to discover the keys to unleashing the power of the cross in your life.

Registration Friday @ 6:30 pm until Sunday 1:00 pm Cost of retreat is $145.00 which includes program, materials, meals and overnight accommodations. $50.00 deposit is required at registration. "

If you live in a different part of the country, Indianapolis has Southwest, ATA, Independence Air all flying into their airport--all at incredibly low, low rates!

The book can be viewed here:

A young woman dying of a terminal illness and abandoned by her family is filled with unspeakable joy.

What is her secret?

Discover what she knew and what it means for you in The Power of the Cross!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Catholics Can Receive Special Indulgences During Eucharistic Year

From CNS STORY: Catholics can receive special indulgences during eucharistic year:

"Cardinal Stafford said the special eucharistic year indulgences include the normal requirements set by the church for all plenary indulgences: that within a reasonably short period of time, the person goes to confession, receives the Eucharist and prays for the intentions of the pope, all in a spirit of total detachment from the attraction of sin.

Special plenary indulgences, he said, would be given to those who fulfill the normal requirements in conjunction with participating 'with attention and piety in a sacred function or a pious exercise carried out in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, either solemnly exposed or preserved in the tabernacle.'

In addition, he said, those who recite the vespers and compline prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours in a church or chapel where the Eucharist is present in the tabernacle will receive a plenary indulgence.

Cardinal Stafford said that Catholics who because of illness or other serious reason cannot visit a church or chapel could still earn the indulgence if they make the visit 'with the desire of their hearts, in a spirit of faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar.' "

Friday, January 14, 2005

Pope --Cardinal Schotte as "man of peace"

I write about the Cardinal in one of my books as a man who took the time to notice a very young Joseph after another now Cardinal had walked by and not noticed. Based on the three minutes that he talked "baby talk" to Joseph, I would say that he "imitated Christ" in a way that many do not.

Offer a prayer for him, it may return to you.

From Catholic World News : Pope praised late Cardinal Schotte as "man of peace":

"Pope John Paul II praised the late Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte as a 'man of peace' during funeral services for the Belgian prelate on January 14.

The Holy Father presided at the funeral in St. Peter's Basilica, and delivered a homily, in which he observed that Cardinal Schotte had 'generously and tirelessly placed his multiple gifts of intelligence, humanity, and spirituality at the disposal of the Roman Curia.' Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the principal celebrant of the Mass.

Cardinal Schotte had served as the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops from 1984 until his retirement in February 2004. During that time he was responsible for organizing the meetings of 12 synods. Prior to assuming his post in that office, he worked in the Secretariat of State and the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul in November 1994. "

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Join Me for a Lenten Retreat

At the Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 11-13, 2005

'The Power of the Cross' Lenten Retreat

with Author Michael Dubruiel

This retreat is aimed at applying the passion Of Christ to your everyday life. Learn God's unique Purpose and mission for you, how to overcome the evil that you have suffered at the hands of others, to find God' presence in difficult times, and to discover the keys to unleashing the power of the cross in your life.

Registration Friday @ 6:30 pm until Sunday 1:00 pm Cost of retreat is $145.00 which includes program, materials, meals and overnight accommodations. $50.00 deposit is required at registration. "

If you live in a different part of the country, Indianapolis has Southwest, ATA, Independence Air all flying into their airport--all at incredibly low, low rates!

The book can be viewed here:

A young woman dying of a terminal illness and abandoned by her family is filled with unspeakable joy.

What is her secret?

Discover what she knew and what it means for you in The Power of the Cross!

Eastern Catholics Should Pursue Ties with Orthodox--Pope

From Catholic World News : Eastern Catholics should pursue ties with Orthodox, Pope says:

"Pope John Paul II (bio - news) has encouraged Eastern-rite Catholics to pursue their contacts with their Orthodox counterparts, saying that their 'common liturgical tradition' could furnish the basis for greater ecumenical progress.

The Pope made his remarks in an address to participants at an interparchal synod of Italy's Eastern Catholic communities. He told them that their faithful could profit greatly from a 'solid formation rooted in the Oriental tradition,' adding that the Byzantine perspective could also provide 'an effective manner to the growing challenges of secularization. Pope John Paul has frequently encouraged the growth of the Eastern Catholic churches, and urged Byzantine Catholics to protect their distinctive spirituality and liturgy. The intereparchal synod was set up to serve the two small Byzantine Catholic communities of Italy: the Italo-Byzantine community centered around the monastery of Grottafera, and the Italo-Albanian Church. Pope John Paul remarked that cooperation between the two is fruitful because they are 'heirs of a common spiritual patrimony.' "


From AGI online:

Vatican City, 12 Jan - The Pope commented today on the Apocalypse before the 7,000 people attending the General Papal Audience today in the Nervi Hall, indicating that the fight between good and evil, personified by Satan, is a very hard one, as shown by the manifold violence and injustice in the world today, however the outcome is certain, evil will be vanquished. Pope John Paul II explained, "God and the Lamb, Christ, surrounded by the 'Council of the Crown', are judging human history in good and evil, but showing us however the ultimate end in salvation and glory. The songs which are found in the Apocalypse and which serve to illustrate the issue of divine glory which regulates the flux, often disconcerting, of the tide of human events". Of great significance is the first part of the hymn intoned by the 24 ancients who seem to incarnate the chosen people in their two historic stages, the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Church. The Pope continued, Satan, the original adversary, who accused our brothers in the heavenly court, has now been cast down from heaven and therefore no longer has great power. He knows he has not much time left because history is about to see a radical turning point in freedom from evil and therefore he is reacting full of great fury. And then the resurrected Christ will rise up, whose blood is the principle of salvation and who received from the Father royal power over the entire universe, in Him are centred salvation, strength and the kingdom of our God. In his victory are associated the Christian martyrs who chose the path of the cross, not yielding to evil and it virulence, but delivering themselves to the Father and uniting themselves to the death of Christ by means of a testimony of donation and courage which brought them to give up life in order to die". He concluded, "the words of the Apocalypse regarding those who have vanquished Satan and evil through the blood of the Lamb, echo also in the splendid prayer attributed to the Christian martyr Simeon, from Seleucia-Ctesifonte in Persia, 'I will receive life without pain, worry, anguish, persecutor, persecuted, oppressor, oppressed, tyrant or victim, there I will see no threat of king, or terror of prefects, no-one will quote me in court or terrorise me and no-one will drag me or scare me".

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Church Leadership Quick to Act Sometimes...

What a public relations nightmare...seems dealing with this silently would have made more sense.

From East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona news for Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale:

"A marriage ceremony over the holidays, performed outside of the Catholic Church and without a priest, violated church law and has led to the firing of the diocese's Child and Youth Protection Advocate --the person responsible for ensuring sexual misconduct by church personnel doesn't occur again in the diocese.

Jenny O'Connor, 47, said she was dismissed Saturday after acknowledging to the Rev. Fred Adamson, a vicargeneral, that she and her boyfriend married without the sanctity of a Catholic wedding because he is dying from cancer and they did not believe there was time to plan for and hold a church wedding.

'They asked me to come in and just asked me why I got married, and I told them,' O'Connor said Tuesday from her Tempe home. 'They said it was outside the boundaries of being a good Catholic, and I explained all the reasons why.'

'They didn't seem to think that any of that is important, and that was it,' O'Connor said. She said she was first asked to resign, but when she declined, she was terminated. "

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Book Review of The Power of the Cross

For a copy of the book click on the cover image posted in the right hand column.

Thanks to Monsignor Vincent Haut, Pastor of Resurection Parish in Jacksonville, FL:

I knew Michael Dubruiel when he and I were much younger. In those days he was determined to do his best to preach the Gospel. He was a fiery preacher and relentless searcher for authentic faith. Reading his book is like hearing him speak again. He speaks with a desire for Christ and a passion for the Gospel that has become more refined and more insistent over the years.

This will be a good Lenten book for many people because it is divided into 42 short chapters, each of which provides a scriptural passage, some incisvive reflection, and a set of steps to take one day at a time. Whether you use it as a Lenten devotional or simply as a book of reflections, you will sense some of the author's fire and rediscover the hope that comes from the Cross.

I like this sort of book because it fits my life. Breaking things into short manageable segments is the best way to move through a book about Christ's passion. We discover what Christ means for us by following the recurring pattern set up for us in Michael Dubruiel's new book.

One Year Ago Today

From Father Benedict:

On January 11, I have an anniversary. It’s one that I never particularly wanted to have, or look forward to, but nonetheless it’s coming around. As I was thinking of this anniversary, I decided not to make it the anniversary of the day I almost died, but rather the anniversary of the day I came back from the dead.

I’m very grateful to God to be back and to be able to work and especially to have the use of my brain and mind. Just why I have this is quite mysterious and can be attributed only to God. Your brain cannot last for more than three or four minutes without oxygen; then it begins to deteriorate. Apparently I went twenty-seven minutes without oxygen or any vital signs, including blood pressure. No one can explain it, or at least nobody can explain it in medical terms.

I had several close calls in the first week, one just as close as the night of the accident, but the Lord obviously wanted me remain here and get some things done. How do you feel about life when you’re in such a situation? It’s very simple: You’re not looking for or desiring anything special, you just want to get your work done peacefully and as best you can and get going on the next step of the spiritual journey, which for most of us is that mysterious reality called Purgatory. Having trusted God all these years and looking forward over the edge of death, I have to say that Purgatory doesn’t scare me at all. It can’t be any worse than being on a respirator for nine weeks, at least I don’t think it can be.

I’ve learned over the past year to be very grateful to God that I have life and that I know how to use it well from the holy Gospel. I’m grateful to the Church for all the friends and brothers and sisters that it gives me. I’m grateful to my family and my immediate friends for all the support they gave me. I’m very grateful to my community of brothers and sisters who stood by me in this terrible time. I’m grateful for so many people, friends and relatives. I’m grateful to you who have cared about me, prayed for me, and watched this little website to see how we’re all doing.

Let’s celebrate together. Let’s say a prayer.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Biggest Non-story of the Day

I listen to sports radio normally on my way to work. This morning all the talk was about Randy Moss and his "mooning" of the Green Bay crowd, comparing it to Janet Jackson's stunt at the Super Bowl last year. What all of these people have failed to mention is that he didn't actually moon anyone. He pretended. Until I read the piece below I thought I had missed what I actually saw when the event happened on live TV.

From 24-Hour Sports News - Vikings upset Packers, move on to Philly -

"Meanwhile Moss - whose reputation is still smarting for skulking off the field with 2 seconds left in a loss in Washington last week - pretended to pull down his pants and moon the crowd after scoring.

'Just having a little fun with the boys a little bit,' he told FOX. 'I hope I don't get in trouble by it, but if I do I'll take the heat.'

The Packers were feeling good after winning nine of their last 11 and drawing the Vikings, who had lost 20 of their last 22 games outside of domes.

You never would have guessed."

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Where is God?

I have been preparing for a series of talks that I am to give to a group of Christian ministers of various denominations later this month on the subject of "finding God where you are". When I agreed to the task I felt that I it would be a simple matter, then the magnitude of this Asian dissaster and the incessant chanting of the crowd "Where is God?" has made it clear that my task will be more difficult...or will it?

It struck me this morning that if I believed in the God of the philosophers as Abraham Joshua Heschel used to term the god that most people argue with than this would indeed be the case. But the God of the Scriptures, "the God of Old" as one modern Jewish author has termed God is not a distant God and as a Christian that is the God that I worship this Sunday.

Start with the cross. Then think God and you'll see that all your distant god arguments start to dwindle. The Nancy Grifth song "From a Distance"..."God is watching us from a distance" while beautiful is actually heretical. Try this is on for size...

Philip says to Jesus: "Show us the Father."

Jesus tells Philip:"He who sees me (Jesus) has seen the Father."

Elie Wiesel told a story that I quote in my Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton Sheen book about a young boy being hung on the gallows between two older men in the concentration camp. The old men shout political slogans as they quickly die. The young innocent lingers on and says nothing. The inmates of the camp are forced to watch the whole ordeal as they march back and forth in front of the gallows. Someone in the crowd cries out, "Where is God now?" Wiesel tells of watching the young childs eyes as he slowly dies. "Where is God now?" the person screams again. Wiesel says something that Christians immediately recognize differently than the meaning that Wiesel has in saying them: "There he is hanging on that gallows." I think that for Wiesel that in the death of this child any hope that God existed was extinguished. But for the Christian there is an immediate recognition of the child as a Christ figure who like the early followers of Jesus the Son of God all met cruel deaths that were similar to the death of their Lord. In the young man God was being hung.

Chistianity in its good moments does not keep God at a distance. It recognizes God has come to dwell with us. It also remembers that the Lord said that the Kingdom suffers violence so it is not surprised when the innocent suffer--in fact I think it might be fair to say that we should be more surprised when we don't suffer.

In the end Jesus told his disciples that there would be two groups of people that all of humanity would be divided into the sheep and the goats. The difference between the two groups would be that one recognized God in the face of the hungry, thirsty, stranger, the naked, the imprisoned, the infirmed while the other group did not. The surprise of the other group is marked no doubt by their search for God in the distance, "When did we see you Lord?"

It is good that in response to this disaster that so many are responding with heartfelt generousity to help those who have suffered. In doing so we are helping God who is not off in the distance plotting the next disaster but clings to the wood of the cross as the storm seeks to destroy him yet again.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Vatican Lists 15 Missionaries Who Suffered Violent Deaths in 2004


This was the list of slain missionaries:

-- Brother Ignacio García Alonso, headmaster of the College of the Brothers of Christian Schools, in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, was killed with a machete in his office Feb. 6.

The 63-year-old Spanish religious had spent more than 40 years as a missionary in Morocco, Niger and Burkina Faso.

-- Father César Darío Peña Garcia, 43, a parish priest at Raudal in Valdivia, Colombia, was kidnapped March 16 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). On July 30 the diocesan vicar of Santa Rosa de Osos affirmed that the local Church was certain that the priest had been killed while in captivity.

-- Comboni Father Luciano Fulvi, 76, was found dead with a stab wound March 31 in his room at the Catholic Mission of Layibi, in the outskirts of Gulu, Uganda.

The Italian missionary had been in Uganda from 1956 to 1964 and then since 1990. He was mainly involved in education and more recently in vocation work.

-- Javed Anjum, a 19-year-old Catholic Pakistani student from Quetta, died May 2 in a hospital from 26 stab wounds inflicted by a Muslim teacher and group of students from the Jamia Hassan bin Almurtaza School of Islam near Islamabad. They had tried to force him to convert to Islam.

On April 17 the students abducted Javed and tortured him for five days. They then took him to the police station and reported that he had been caught stealing. The police took Anjum to the hospital where he died of his wounds 10 days later.

-- Samuel Masih, a Catholic Pakistani youth arrested and accused of blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed in August 2003, died in hospital on May 28. He had been treated for months for injuries suffered in prison at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist prison guards.

The youth was charged with blasphemy after the owner of bookshop told the police that he saw him depositing garbage near the walls of a mosque in Lahore.

-- Father Ramon Navarrete Islas, a 56-year-old Mexican priest, was found dead in the house next to the parish church where he was serving at Ciudad Juarez.

His body was found July 6 with numerous stab wounds in the chest. Police said the murderer or murderers were robbers.

-- Servite Father Faustino Gazziero, 69, was stabbed to death July 24 at the end of evening Mass in the cathedral of Santiago, Chile.

The Italian-born priest was attacked and stabbed by a young man as the priest was returning to the sacristy. Father Gazziero went on mission to Chile in 1960. He held various duties and for some years had been president of the Santa Teresa Foundation which ran several schools in Chile.

-- Father Eusebio Manuel Sazo Urbina, 45, parish priest at the Divine Savior of the World Church in the suburbs of Guatemala City, was killed July 31.

The Guatemalan priest had been en route to the home of a sick person he was attacked by a gunman who apparently tried to steal his mobile telephone. The priest died of his wounds at a hospital.

-- Nasir Masih, Pakistani Catholic aged 26, was abducted from his home Aug. 16 in the district of Baldia Siekhupoura, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Lahore, by a group of fundamentalist Muslims who accused him of stealing.

A few hours later the police informed the family that Masih was under arrest. Three days later the police said he had died in prison. His body showed numerous wounds and bruises.

-- Father Job Chittilappilly, 71, was found dead with numerous stab wounds Aug. 28 in his home next to the parish church of Our Lady of Grace in the village of Thuruthiparambu, Kerala, India.

The Indian priest was attacked and murdered while reciting the rosary before Mass. The Syro-Malabar rite priest had received threats and warnings to stop "proselytizing."

-- Father Gerard Fitzsimons, 63, was found dead Oct. 2 at his home next to the Church of St. Mary and St. Joseph in Colesberg, South Africa. The British priest had been on mission in South Africa for seven years and was involved in assisting the poor and people with HIV/AIDS.

-- Father Macrino Nájera Cisneros, a 42-year-old parish priest at Jilotlan, Mexico, was slain Oct. 18 during a reception following a first-Communion Mass.

He was defending a 15-year-old girl from a molester who insisted on dancing with her. The molester left the reception and returned with a gun. He shot the priest and two other people dead and wounded another girl.

-- Father Gerard Nzeyimana, 65, episcopal vicar of the Diocese of Bururi, in Burundi, was killed Oct. 19 while traveling with other people in a car from Bururi to Bujumbura.

A group of gunmen stopped the car and told the occupants to hand over money and valuables. After carefully examining the priest's identity papers they killed him in cold blood with a few shots in the head, leaving the other passengers beaten and bleeding on the roadside.

Father Nzeyimana was known for promoting peace and denouncing violence against civilians.

-- Father John Hannon, 65, a Missionary of the Society of African Missions, was found dead Nov. 25 at St. Barnaba Parish at Matasia, in the Diocese of Ngong, near Nairobi, Kenya.

According to the police a gang of men entered the parish complex around midnight after tying up the watchman. The intruders probably aimed to steal and ended up attacking and murdering the Irish-born priest, police said.

-- Father Kazimir Viseticki, 66, was killed during the night of Nov. 17. His body was found the next day bound and covered in blood in the house next to the parish where he was parish priest, St. Roko in Bosanska Gradiska, northern Bosnia Herzegovina, close to the Croatian border.

The priest was probably killed by thieves who struck him with an iron rod when they were discovered.

-- Father Javier Francisco Montoya, 45, from the Diocese of Istmina-Tado, was taken hostage by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Dec. 8 while on his way to the town of Novita. In the region at the time there was fighting between guerrillas and paramilitary troops.

The Colombian priest was involved in pastoral work with rural and indigenous peoples in the region of Choco. On Dec. 24 the bishop of the diocese was told the priest had been executed and buried.

-- Sister Christiane Philippon, 58, regional superior of the Congregation of Notre Dame des Apôtres, was killed early Dec. 26 in Chad, on the road from Ba Hilli to N'Djamena.

Sister Christiane was traveling with three other women religious to the capital to attend in a meeting of her congregation. The car was assaulted by bandits who opened fire and shot Sister Christiane dead and wounded the other three religious.

French-born Sister Christiane had been in Chad for 20 years and for the last five had been involved in family pastoral work in the Diocese of Sahr. A year ago she was elected president of the diocesan association of women religious.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

The top 10 films of 2004

From CNS STORY: The top 10 films of 2004 -- and the picks for families too according to the Bishops Conference:

  1. "The Aviator"
  2. "Danny Deckchair"
  3. "Finding Neverland"
  4. "Hero"
  5. "Hotel Rwanda"
  6. "The Passion of the Christ"
  7. "Ray"
  8. "Shall We Dance?"
  9. "Spanglish"
  10. "Woman Thou Art Loosed"

For Families

  1. "Ella Enchanted"
  2. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
  3. "I Am David"
  4. "The Incredible,"
  5. "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"
  6. "Miracle"
  7. "The Polar Express"
  8. "Shrek 2"
  9. "The SpongeBob Square Pants Movie"
  10. "Two Brothers"
The Harry Potter nomination has already made this list quite a hit on some of the more conservative websites.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Catholic Mom Book Spotlight --The Power of the Cross

From Catholic Mom Book Spotlight The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel:

"With the liturgical season of Lent quickly approaching, I am convinced that The Power of the Cross is one of the best resources I've seen lately for enhancing our commitment to spirituality. Whether you choose to implement this book as a 'kick start' to your New Year's devotional rituals, or as a supplement to your Lenten devotional aids, please join me in reading The Power of the Cross - a special thanks to Michael Dubruiel and Our Sunday Visitor for this great resource. "

Lawyer Finds Terri Schiavo Alert

From WorldNetDaily: Surprised lawyer finds Terri Schiavo alert:

"Despite the widely believed claims of her husband, Terri Schiavo is purposefully interactive, curious and expressive with her parents, according to a surprised lawyer who visited for the first time the brain-damaged Florida woman embroiled in a euthanasia dispute. "

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Arrested in Iraq

From Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq:

"Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the 'target number one' in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources.

Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq.

The newspaper's correspondent in Baghdad points out that a report on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US put a bounty of US$10 million, was also reported by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which at one time had been the first to announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein. "

How Many American Lives Were Saved by this Warning?

From US warns of attacks in Indonesia:

"US warns of attacks in Indonesia

21:58 AEDT Sat Dec 18 2004

AP - The US State Department warned that terrorists were planning more attacks against Western targets in Indonesia over Christmas and New Year, and reiterated advice to its citizens not to travel to the country.

The US State Department's move follows similar warnings by Australia and other foreign governments earlier this week that militants belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah terror group were plotting more bombings.

'The department reminds Americans that the terrorist threat in Indonesia continues and may increase over the December-January holiday period,' according to a statement on its website.

'Reports indicate that terrorists are planning attacks against a wide variety of targets.'"

Monday, January 3, 2005

Rabbi: G-d is Angry

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar

From Arutz Sheva - Israel National News:

"The earthshaking disaster in southeast Asia shows that 'G-d is angry' and that 'we must pray more and ask for mercy,' Rabbi Amar told the Ynet website. 'The nations of the world are obligated to observe the seven Noahide laws, such as prohibitions against murder and illicit relations... The deaths are very painful.'

No one should mourn for those who are missing until the rescue missions stop trying to find victims, the rabbi added. Israeli rescue teams are planning to remain in the region for at least another few days for this purpose."

Father Benedict Begins to Gain Movement in Right Arm

Asks for your continued prayers on his behalf:

Father Benedict's Letter:

"Most of you knew that my shoulder was frozen solid with calcium deposits, which came as a result of the breakage of bones. It seemed that the only way to improve this situation was surgery that was dangerous because of the possibility of a blood clot and stroke. I opted not to take that possibility. Just the other day my shoulder began to move, not a great deal, but very obviously.

This means that the calcium adhesions have broken loose in the socket and will probably break loose some more. I'm so grateful for your prayers added to those that you sent as I initially recovered. It will be very helpful to have some more use of my right arm.

I've been praying to Our Lady of Lourdes through the intercession of St. Bernadette very particularly for recovery and it seems like the Lord is hearing those prayers. Thank you for all your prayers and kindliness to me during this difficult year."

Gypsies' Knowledge of the Sea Saves Them

From Yahoo! News - Elders' Sea Knowledge Spares Some Thais:

"By the time killer waves crashed over southern Thailand last Sunday the entire 181 population of their fishing village had fled to a temple in the mountains of South Surin Island, English language Thai daily The Nation reported.

'The elders told us that if the water recedes fast it will reappear in the same quantity in which it disappeared,' 65-year-old village chief Sarmao Kathalay told the paper.

So while in some places along the southern coast, Thais headed to the beach when the sea drained out of beaches 'the first sign of the impending tsunami ' to pick up fish left flapping on the sand, the gypsies headed for the hills. "

The Water Seemed to Stall Momentarily

Missionary saves his orphanage...with prayer

From With little warning, director saves 28 orphans from tsunami - 12/29/04:

"The orphans' ordeal did not end when their boat pulled away from the shore.

Not only was water cascading over the lagoon side of the peninsula, but it also was pouring in directly from the mouth of the estuary about two miles away. Sanders feared the converging currents would swamp the small craft. At that point, Sanders said, he recalled a line from the Book of Isaiah: 'When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against it.'

He raised his hand in the direction of the flood and shouted, 'I command you in the name of Jesus -- stop!' The water then seemed to 'stall, momentarily,' he said. 'I thought at the time I was imagining things.' With the water pouring into the mouth of the lagoon, he then began to worry that waves would overtake them from behind, swamping the small boat. Reasoning that it was better to hit the waves head on, he said, he ordered the driver to reverse direction and head back toward the open ocean.

But that maneuver carried its own risks. As it made for the mouth of the lagoon, the boat was broadsided and nearly capsized by the torrent pouring over the peninsula. 'The children were very frightened,' Kohila Sanders, 30, recalled. 'We were praying, 'God help us, God help us.''

As the waters began to roll back out to sea, the turbulence subsided. It was then, Sanders and his wife recalled, that they became aware of the people crying for help as they bobbed in the water nearby. They were villagers who had been swept off the peninsula. The passengers rescued one young man, who was 'howling for his missing wife and daughters,' Kohila Sanders said. But they had to leave the rest behind. There wasn't any room.

'People were crying, 'Help us, help us"

Vatican Reopens Case Against Maciel?

That's what the Hartford Courant is reporting: Connecticut News - State, National and World News from Today's Hartford Courant - FROM TODAY'S COURANT:

"The Vatican has reopened an investigation into charges first reported nearly eight years ago that a powerful Mexican priest close to the pope sexually abused seminarians.

The allegations focus on the actions of the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, now 84 and based in Rome. He leads a religious order known as the Legionaries of Christ, which claims 600 priests in 18 countries. Its U.S. headquarters is in Orange and it has a seminary in Cheshire.

The allegations surfaced in a Courant report in February 1997. Nine former members of the Legion said Maciel first abused them years ago when they were young boys or teenagers, ages 10 to 16, in seminaries in Spain and Italy."

Bishop Sees God's Message in Tsunami

The message for all of us is "you know neither the day nor the hour."

From Bishop sees god's message in tsunami :- - India News -

"Was the killer tsunami a message from god? A reflection on the way man lives?

Yes, says Bishop Alex Dias of the Stella Morris Cathedral Church, the main Catholic church here.

'I believe that the tsunami is a warning. A warning from god to reflect deeply on the way we lead our lives,' said Dais, as he stood among the ragtag tarpaulin tents in the 900-strong relief camp the church is running for tsunami survivors.

More than 800 people are now confirmed dead in the Indian archipelago of the Andaman and Nicobar, which has 572 islands, islets and rocks, and more than 5,000 still missing, a week after giant tidal waves hit the islands. "

Sunday, January 2, 2005

My View: Don't Punish the Kids for the Sins of the Parents

FromGay Couple's Sons Anger Catholic Parents - EarthLink - U.S. News:

"Some parents and parishioners have accused the Roman Catholic diocese in Orange County of violating church doctrine by allowing a gay couple to enroll their children in a church school.

The group demanded that St. John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa accept only families that pledge to abide by Catholic teachings, the Los Angeles Times reported in Sunday's editions. Church doctrine opposes gay relationships and adoption by same-sex couples.

'The teachings of the church seem to have been abandoned,' John R. Nixon told the Times. 'We send our children to a Catholic school because we expect and demand that the teachings of our church will be adhered to.'

School officials rejected the demand, and issued a new policy stating that a family's background 'does not constitute an absolute obstacle to enrollment in the school.'"

Difficult Questions Regarding Evil

From Difficult Questions Regarding the Terror Attacks:

"One of the most vexing problems in theology is the problem of evil. If God is good why does He permit great evils, such as the terrorist attacks of 11 September? Could He not, with a mere thought, stop all evil in its tracks, protecting lives and souls from destruction, physical or moral? Is not His goodness diminished when innocent people suffer at the hands of evil men? "

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Happy New Year!

May the cross be our reference point as we begin this new year. In this vale of tears may its shadow give us hope! May the joy that is the blessing of Christ dwell in each of your hearts.

Pope's New Year Address

From Asia News in Italy:

“We begin the year celebrating Mary, Mother of God, Theotokos. The Holy Virgin offered the world the Messiah who is God’s blessing to every man and woman and the entire world.

The greetings that are exchanged today are based on this blessing, greetings of well-wishing because in Christ God fills us with all sorts of good things, greetings of peace “For he is our peace (Eph 2:14).

It is in this liturgical context that today we celebrate World Peace Day whose theme is the apostle Paul’s entreaty: “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

“Evil [. . .] is the result of human freedom” and is defeated when freedom, prompted by grace, firmly turns towards the Good, i.e. God.

May Mary, Queen of Peace, help us all build the fundamental good that is human co-existence. Only thus can the world progress along the paths of justice and fraternal solidarity.

After the prayer, the Pope said:

“Once again I feel close to the communities stricken by the tragic calamity of the last few days.

“In pledging my prayers for the victims and their families I salute the many acts of compassion and empathy taken around the world.

“It is this sense of compassion for fellow humans as well as God’s help that give hope for better days in the coming year.

David Bentley Hart

Amy links to his piece in the Wall Street is a link to his book...