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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Media Has Noticed the Growth of Perpetual Adoration!

Our local Twin Cities CBS station, WCCO, has just released a great report on the dramatic increase in the number of Perpetual Adoration chapels in the Twin Cities area over the past decade! The report is very well done, considering the secular source, and talks to all the right people (wow!) -- although I think it is mildly amusing to read it, as there is a very clear "bemused" tone to it, as if the author/correspondant just doesn't quite understand what all the commotion is about... I just want to tell them, "It's ok if you don't get it, we don't quite get it either; it is a mystery and not all mysteries are meant to be solved!" :)


UPDATE -- This coverage appears to be connected with a large article in the Minneapolis paper today! Sweet! Check out the full article at http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5211613.html (You might need to register with the Star Tribune to see the whole thing... obnoxious of them, but it's worth it... they have been covering a lot of Catholic-related stories lately.)

You may be the symbol for peace, but "Shoo!"

Pope John Paul II shoos away from the window of his studio white doves freed at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

You can tell the kids loved this one!! :)

UPDATE: More info on the details surrounding this event has been posted by Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,145837,00.html.

Friday, January 28, 2005

UPDATE: Arinze vs. Flynn??

Nice... I think we can assume the letter is real after all! Or at least, there is truth in it that has not been refuted, but instead has sparked this statement --

Found on the Catholic News Service (the news organization of the USCCB):
"ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- A Vatican official has recommended that U.S. bishops adopt a uniform pastoral approach for ministering to members of Rainbow Sash, a gay rights group, said Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Archbishop Flynn allows members wearing the sash to receive Communion, while some other bishops do not.

In a Jan. 26 statement, Archbishop Flynn said he met in mid-December with Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, to discuss "the difficult pastoral situation" of Rainbow Sash.

Cardinal Arinze "did not in fact suggest an immediate change to the policy in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis," Archbishop Flynn said in his statement.

"However, he did clearly indicate that this situation merits further study and that ideally all of the bishops who have pastoral care for the members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach," the statement said. "This recommendation needs to be reviewed by those bishops involved in the near future."

Archbishop Flynn said he was issuing the statement to clarify remarks he made in an interview with Catholic News Service in December.

In the December CNS interview, Archbishop Flynn said it was recognized that U.S. bishops have come to different conclusions about how to respond to Rainbow Sash members who present themselves for Communion, but he said he got no sense that the Vatican was pushing for a single policy on this."

See complete article at http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0500509.htm

Subtle how Archbishop Flynn's phrasing things now, isn't it? Now he's saying both that Cardinal Arinze did not tell him to make an "immediate" change in his policy, and also that Arinze "indicat[ed]" that there should be a uniform policy in place by the US Bishops.

Funny -- here's what he said back on December 14th --

"Archbishop Flynn said it was recognized that U.S. bishops have come to different conclusions about how to respond to Rainbow Sash members who present themselves for Communion, but he said he got no sense that the Vatican was pushing for a single policy on this."

(See the original CNS article from December 14th at http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0406824.htm )

Nice way to "clarify" your past comments about your meeting with the good Cardinal, Archbishop, now what are we supposed to think? There is no indication in this article that this is "new" information. Are you just "reinterpreting" old information?

Oh yes -- and this article might also be of interest to people. This is not the first time Kralis and Flynn have sparred -- but this time, it's interesting that there was no refutation by Flynn, but only a "clarification." http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0405310.htm

I think the Archbishop needs to clarify his clarification...

(Catholic World News has another good blog analysis of this at Off the Record)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Reaction to the photo "Handshake of Life"

There was a wonderful article recently in the Pittsburgh, PA "Post-Gazette" by a woman named Ruth Ann Dailey. In light of the amazing photo, dubbed "Handshake of Life" by many e-mailers, that has made the rounds online for years now, Dailey takes the time to ponder one of the most important questions of our day, how can we call our society a "moral" society?

Baby Samuel

"...it doesn't matter whether a fetus's hand reached out involuntarily or in thanks. It matters that doctors can successfully operate on a 21-week-old fetus with spina bifida -- or they can vacuum his brain and crush his skull to remove him from a woman's body.

It matters that the same scientific progress that's made a supremely unnatural act relatively safe also shows us -- in vivid, freeze-frame detail -- how unnecessary, how brutal and how personal that act is.

And it matters that we continue to question whether we can consider our nation "moral" when our laws enshrine such an act as a reasonable choice."

Read the article at: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05024/447098.stm

Arinze vs. Flynn??

The saga of the Rainbow Sash Movement in the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese continues, and you gotta wonder what this report is all about...


If the letter's fake, A) we'll hear it soon enough from the Vatican, and B) Ms. Kralis has got GUTS.

If the letter's true, A) we'll hear conflicting reports from the St. Paul/Minneapolis chancery office and the Vatican, and B) Ms. Kralis has got GUTS.

Ms. Kralis has written an article on RenewAmerica explaining more about why she has publicized this info, available at http://renewamerica.us/columns/kralis/050123

With luck, more info on this will emerge, including further verification of truth or refutation of falsehood I hope!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Homily - Bishop Campbell's Installation Mass

Many of you who read these words are from my Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis -- and so, you know that we have recently "lost" (to others' gain) one of our beloved bishops, Bishop Frederick Campbell, to the diocese of Columbus, OH. He will be sorely missed by us here in Minnesota, but we send him forth with our blessing and prayers to his new flock in Ohio!

Below is a transcript of Bishop Campbell's homily at his installation Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Columbus, taken from the Diocese of Columbus website at http://www.colsdioc.org

Mass of Installation of Bishop Frederick F. Campbell
Eleventh Bishop of Columbus
January 13, 2005
Bishop Campbellā€™s Homily

Several years ago a young priest from a missionary order visited the parish of which I was then pastor to give a mission appeal. He began his sermon with an exemplary and cautionary story.

A bishop visited one of the order's missions somewhere in the South Pacific. The priest in charge of the mission had gathered the catechumens of the area to greet the bishop and to hear a message from the successor of the apostles. The priest understood that the bishop did not know the native language and that the catechumens possessed an imperfect grasp of English, so the priest asked the bishop to address the group in English and the priest would translate the message into the native language.

The catechumens, a sizable group, were enthusiastic about meeting a bishop from so far away. For his part, the bishop was excited by this opportunity to exercise his teaching office. Desiring to share the fullness of the faith, he offered an extraordinary and deeply theological explanation of the meaning of baptism. As the bishop described the life in Christ to which baptism would call the people, he spoke with great eloquence. He also spoke at great length.

What the bishop appears not have noticed were the uncomprehending, though respectful, eyes of the catechumens and the desperate look on the face of the missionary priest who was madly searching for the terms in the native language that would convey the bishop's meaning. Finally the bishop finished. With a nod he indicated to the priest that the translation could begin. The priest drew a breath, stood up before his people, and said in the native language: "The bishop says that he is happy to be here." The priest then sat down. The crowd was delighted. More than a little confused, the bishop said to the priest: "Is that it?" "Yes," replied the priest, "this particular language has the wonderful ability to say so much in so few words."

My brothers and sisters, I do not know that native language and therefore cannot hope to achieve that standard of compression and abbreviation. But I shall begin by saying: "I am happy to be here."

I believe that there is, however, a bit more that I must say at this time. And what I have to say is, in part, a further reference to the story of the bishop at the, mission station.

I described the story as exemplary and cautionary. First the caution.

Since the announcement of my appointment to the Diocese of Columbus, I have been frequently asked the question: "What are your plans?" To be candid, I am uncertain how to answer the question. I have not arrived here with a roll of blueprints and a large set of specifications. After being away for so many years, I shall need to reacquaint myself with this rapidly growing city and this good diocese. When I was last here, Worthington was a small town north of Columbus, Lazarus Department Store proudly dominated the downtown, and the Josephinum was out in the country. Thankfully, Bexley seems to have stayed in the middle. I remember visiting Washington Courthouse and Chillicothe, fascinated by their names, and to Granville and Marion, for historical reasons. There was a fellow graduate student who preceded me to Minnesota, and now 1 have followed him back to Columbus. I recall the Church of the Holy Name on Patterson Avenue where as a graduate student I attended Mass. The late Msgr. Donovan was then pastor and his associate, for a time, was a young priest who exhibited a deep interest in Sacred Scripture. I wonder if anything ever came of it.

There is much to discover and I must be careful about outlining plans so early in my tenure here. Besides, the more that I have learned of the leadership of Bishop Griffin, my predecessor, the more I am grateful for his work and his example. His welcome has been warm and generous.

The tale of the bishop and the catechumens is also an exemplary one, a story that helps to address a slightly different question. If I were asked, "To what will you dedicate your ministry here in Columbus?" I would be eager to respond.

Remember those individuals who came to hear the bishop. Perhaps from the first moment of self-consciousness, they experienced a sense that they were made for an ultimate reality that no thing on this earth could comprehend or fulfill. Little by little, they may have come to understand, however ill-defined or unclear, that they were heirs to a dignity not of their own making, nor achievable by their own efforts, but yet which alone was the source of their authentic humanity.

Was it when they observed a faithful Christian living the pattern of Christ, or when they were told the reason for Christian hope, or when the accounts of the teaching of our Lord resonated in their hearts, that they came to know that what they had longed for was now to be answered by an encounter with Jesus Christ? As they embraced that Christ did they not know a freedom from fear, a deeper meaning of life, and a peace and joy from the experience of a love that is greater than death?

Every human person is made for God and only in God will he find life and peace. As a bishop I want to awaken others to this reality and help them to achieve its promise. Is this not the mission of the Church and is it not the foundation of all that we do, all of our acts of justice and charity?

I think also of that bishop in the mission field impelled by a profound desire to share the riches of the Catholic faith, even while working, perhaps clumsily, to understand more completely the native language. But whereas that bishop spoke of baptism, I would first speak of Transfiguration, our Gospel reading.

Consider that scene on the mountain top, one revealing the brilliance of the divine presence radiating through the humanity of Jesus, transforming life and overcoming everything that could threaten our human destiny, even death itself. This glory of God is our inheritance and its manifestation compels a response, even if it is simply the disciples' fumbling attempts to express their awe and wonder. In bringing that event on Mount Tabor before the people whom the Church has entrusted to me, I would invite them to understand the power of Christ, the beauty of personal holiness, and the splendor of truth. I would encourage them to acknowledge the Gospel of life, the call to a just and lasting Kingdom, and the task of preaching the Word of God, using, to echo St. Francis, words if necessary. For often, the most effective means of propagating the Gospel is simply the personal influence of a devout Christian.

One of the Church Fathers (I believe it was St. John Chrysostom) wrote that the first responsibility of a bishop is to enter into the mystery of God and, returning from that encounter, to share the mystery with the people. It is only in the grace of God and with your prayers that I should hope to begin to fulfill that responsibility.

I shall begin, continue, and in due time conclude my dedication to this task by a devotion to the sacred liturgy of the Church and preeminently to the Holy Eucharist.

Luke tells us that when Jesus appears with Moses and Elijah, the three were speaking of the exodus that Jesus was to accomplish in Jerusalem, the final exodus of our Lord's suffering, death and resurrection. For the glory of God in Jesus Christ embraces the Cross as well as the rising to new life. Without our participation in this dying and rising there can be no transformation of life, no overcoming of sin, no light nor clarity among the shadows and false images or our world. The Eucharist, from which the Church emerges, must then be celebrated with deep understanding and the most attentive care. The liturgy is the grammar of our faith, the common language necessary for us in order to render our discussions fruitful, to resolve our difficulties, and to reconcile our differences. The liturgy is the breath of Christ's spirit, joining all good things visible and invisible, that impels us to take up the call to holiness and to fulfill the mission of the Church.

The mention of the mission of the Church leads me to consider our first reading from the first Book of the Prophet Samuel.

The scene described in the reading is a dramatic one. The Israelites are beset on all sides by grave difficulties, marked by terrible defeats on the battlefield. Their enemies have even captured the Ark of the Covenant and paraded it off to their pagan temple. The Israelites' own faults and internal strife have added to the threats. In their distress, the Israelites come to Samuel, not necessarily to beseech their God, but to ask Samuel to do something from which he shrinks.

The Israelites had decided that the solution to their problems was to become like all the other nations: they wanted a king to lead them and to form them into a mighty nation according to the standards of the pagans. Then they would be relieved of their distress. Samuel resisted, saying that God Himself was the King of Israel and that the people chosen by Him should not be like other nations. Even when the prophet described the many ways in which a king would abuse the people, the Israelites called for a king all the more loudly. Grieved, God instructed Samuel to give the people what they want. The kingship that the people asked for was, as Samuel promised, only a fleeting solution. It rapidly became a disappointment and then a disaster.

In our own time, whenever the Church faces troubles, disputes, misunderstanding, and threats, both internal and external; when we are tempted to believe that the solution lies in becoming "like all the other nations"; then it will be good for us to remember this story of Samuel and the Israelites. To define the church and her life, her form and constitution in terms other than those found in Sacred Scripture and defined by our apostolic faith is to invite confusion and serious disappointment. Now is certainly the time to renew our understanding of the Church as Christ intends her to be. This is not to ignore the difficulties but to remember who we are.

For over sixty-one years, the Church has nourished me and sustained me. She has taught me constantly and asked me to reflect on the gracious Word of God in Christ. She was the encourager of joy in the good times and a source of consolation in difficulties. In her I have met saints and sinners; known forgiveness and compelling truth; encountered great beauty; endured misunderstanding and experienced a renewed clarity. I have also come to learn, on this wonderful pilgrimage to the Kingdom, how all depends on the love and grace of God and how exceedingly precious is the communion of the faithful who are on the journey with me.

It is my prayer that God grant me the grace as your bishop to teach the meaning of the Church of Christ with clarity, persuasiveness, a good humor when appropriate and a forcefulness when necessary, inviting all that I meet to consider the treasure that we possess in earth vessels. I pray also that God make me a reflection of the charity that flowed from the heart of Christ onto the dust of our life to awaken new hope. I shall strive to call all the members of the Church to the understanding of their particular vocation in life, but, especially, to encourage young men and women to listen carefully to the voice of the Spirit directing them to the service of the Church as priests and religious.

For in the end, at the conclusion of our work and our prayer, our study and reflection, will it not be important for us to rest in the knowledge that we have generously embraced our vocation, to say with the disciples at the Transfiguration "It is good for us to be here," and to be able to acclaim with heart-felt recognition, "My Lord and My God"?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mother Chooses Life For Baby, Despite Cancer

Following in St. Gianna Molla's footsteps...

In Canada, the land of socialized medicine, "hate crime" laws for quoting Bible verses that condemn homosexual activity, and abortion on demand, a woman has triumped over the culture of death, by the sacrifice of her own death. While suffering from breast cancer, and being urged to abort her second child, a young mother instead chose to accept the risks in order to grant her unborn child continued life.

On New Year's Eve, Gabriele Helms died, after giving birth to a beautiful daughter, Hana Gabriele. Her friend relates, "I believe she was happy when she passed. The doctors believe that Gabi was aware, that she knew she had delivered a child... It was the No. 1 priority in her life."

Read the whole story at http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=34617

St. Gianna Molla, pray for us!

Monday, January 10, 2005

"Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church"

All Catholics, young and old, need to go out and read this book!

Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church
by Tim Drake (Sophia Institute Press, 2004)

I was fortunate to receive a copy from a friend of Tim's, and it is one of the most encouraging pieces of writing I have read in a long, long time... As a young adult myself, and living in the heart of the St. Paul area (where youth and young adult ministry has exploded in the past several years), I can tell you that this book is not too optimistic!! It is true, all of it!

It may be a cold January evening, but I can still say that the new springtime is here, and it is starting to bloom!

Those of you who are reading this from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you've gotta check out this book -- you will find many familiar faces and groups in here, such as NET Ministries, the Theology of the Body study groups (even photos from the TOBIA conference), brief interviews with Fr. Joseph Williams and Fr. John Klockeman, blurbs on Relevant Radio and so so much more!

Pete Vere has reviewed the book at
http://www.catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=52&art_id=26511 -- CHECK IT OUT!!

Bringing the light to the darkness of Hollywood

Many of us are utterly frustrated with the filth emerging from Hollywood and the "Left Coast" these days -- Barbara Nicolosi is working in "shark-infested waters" to win souls for Christ! Her awesome blog ("Church of the Masses")recently had a great post by her on the importance of Christians working in the media/theater industry. As she puts it, "...this missionfield is clearly not for everyone. Working in this business is like swimming in shark-infested waters. So, why would anybody swim there? Only one reason could justify it from a Christian standpoint: because there are other people drowning there, and they have to be saved."

Go read her post at http://churchofthemasses.blogspot.com/2005/01/anyone-who-is-not-against-you-is-for.html

Zenit: Ecclesial Movements in the Church

How Ecclesial Movements Fit In With Parishes
Interview With Professor Arturo Cattaneo

ROME, JAN. 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- At its plenary assembly in November, the Pontifical Council for the Laity reflected on the need "to rediscover the true face of the parish."

The topic of the relationship between the parish and ecclesial movements was presented by Father Arturo Cattaneo, professor of canon law in Venice, and of ecclesiology in Rome and Lugano.

In this conversation with ZENIT, Father Cattaneo explains the conclusions of his address.

Q: Ecclesial movements continue to grow. Will they eventually replace parishes?

Father Cattaneo: No, because the parish will always play a fundamental and irreplaceable role.

It is, as John Paul II has said, the ultimate presence of the Church in a territory and, in a certain sense, the Church itself, close to the homes of its sons and daughters. Because of this, one must think of the parish as the "common home of the faithful," the "first place of the incarnation of the Gospels"; it cannot be replaced with movements.

Q: Why, then, does the Holy Father consider the development of the movements so positive and promising?

Father Cattaneo: It is obvious that the parish is not the only way in which the Church responds to the exigencies of evangelization.

The parish cannot contain every possible form of Christian life, whether individual or group, as if it were a diocese in miniature.

Q: What contributions do movements make to parishes?

Father Cattaneo: John Paul II has often manifested his confidence in the capacity of movements to renew the Church's apostolic action, and, especially, that of parishes. At times, we see parishes that are languishing, turned into mere "providers of pastoral services."

In this case, the role of movements is especially important and providential, given the challenge of de-Christianization, and the response to the demands of religiosity, increasingly urgent in the West.

Q: Can you clarify this idea a bit more?

Father Cattaneo: Each movement has its own charism, and those who participate are called and helped to live it in family, social, professional, political, cultural, sports, etc., life. Precisely this one-to-one presence of Christian life is the main contribution of movements to the parish.

As professor Giorgio Feliciani observed recently: "The first and most important contribution that movements can make to a parish community is their presence in the territorial realm of those that John Paul II has described as 'mature Christian personalities, conscious of their own baptismal identity, their own vocation and mission in the Church and in the world.' And, therefore, capable of offering all those they meet a significant testimony of Christian life."

Q: Sometimes there is talk of the danger that movements might constitute a parallel Church. What do you think?

Father Cattaneo: Above all I would say that this slogan might be an unjust simplification, which tends to give a negative image of movements, and does not help in their contributing to the revitalization of parish life.

The ecclesiastical authority, which approves the statutes, and watches over the activity of these movements, is the competent entity to avoid their becoming a parallel Church.

In the measure that parishes accept and promote the "school of communion," requested by the Pope in the apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte," which will avoid the "parochial mentality."

Q: What, specifically, does "school of communion" mean?

Father Cattaneo: The Pope has suggested the challenge of having the "look of the heart on the mystery of the Trinity that dwells in us." From this deep spiritual reality, measures and postures will arise that favor the development of ecclesial communion.

In a society like ours, so permeated by individualism, in which many suffer from loneliness, all this seems to me to be very timely and important.

Q: What can the parish priest do to promote this communion?

Father Cattaneo: The instruction of the Congregation for Clergy, on "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community," states that above all "the parish priest is called to be a patient builder of communion between his own parish and the local Church, and the universal Church."

He should also be a "a model of adherence to the perennial magisterium of the Church and to its discipline" [No. 16]. The movements are often exhorted to respect and promote the unity of the Church. But it must not be forgotten that this is also true for parishes and that, at times, these also have defects in regard to a unity of this nature.

Q: And if a parish priest belongs to a movement?

Father Cattaneo: This will surely be, for the parish priest himself, a source of support and spiritual enrichment, which will be manifested in growing pastoral dynamism, for the benefit of the whole parish.

Nevertheless, the parish priest must be careful that the movement to which we belong does not monopolize the parish's activities and that no one is discriminated against.

Q: Today there is much talk about the need for the missionary renewal of the parish. In your opinion, what does this mean?

Father Cattaneo: The Holy Father referred to this aspect in the audience granted to participants in the plenary assembly of the Council for the Laity, when he emphasized that "the parish must be constantly renewed so as to be a true 'community of communities,' capable of truly effective missionary action."

In this perspective, the enrichment the parish receives from the apostolic vitality of movements is appreciated. Monsignor Renato Corti, vice president of the Italian episcopal conference, observed recently that to "underline the great and urgent task of evangelization will make us all more sensitive to the unity of the mission, and will give us the courage to take the necessary steps toward conversion."

Q: In defense of the movements, the freedom of the faithful is sometimes recalled. Don't you think that this might undermine the necessary unity of the Church, including that of the parish?

Father Cattaneo: The freedom of the faithful certainly finds its intrinsic limit in the obligation to maintain the communion of the Church and therefore its unity.

But, thinking it through, freedom and unity are not opposed, as if affirming the first might lead to negating the second.

Rather, it is about two simultaneous and harmonious exigencies of ecclesial communion. The unity of the parish implies respect for the freedom of each one. Lack of freedom would not go down well with unity. On the contrary, it would be the cause of disintegration.

Q: What do you think are the main exigencies that the movements must take into account to maintain a beneficial relationship with the parish?

Father Cattaneo: All that I have just said in regard to the parish, so that the latter will be a "school of communion" and "missionary," is also true for movements. But the latter have, in part, characteristics that are different from those of the parish. One of these is to transcend the parish realm.

However, the integration of movements in the diocese is essential as is, therefore, unity with the bishop. Several texts of the magisterium have also emphasized some "criteria of ecclesiality" for movements. In my address, I preferred to reflect on the manner in which the parish can make this relationship beneficial.

Q: Could you mention the main criteria of ecclesiality for the movements?

Father Cattaneo: Above all, the capacity to integrate their charism in the local Church. The strong sense of belonging, experienced within a movement, might obfuscate the sense of belonging to the local Church itself, and the proper responsibility in regard to the latter.

Members of movements, remaining faithful to their own charism, must try to insert it creatively in the life of the local Church. Which does not necessarily mean that they must be present, as representatives of a movement, in diocesan or parish organizations. The first area of ecclesial action proper to the lay faithful is that of family, social, professional, political, cultural, sports, etc. life.

Another exigency that movements must take into account is the esteem of other ecclesial realities.

Awareness of the variety and complementarity of the different charisms and vocations in the Church, will lead the members of every movement to understand that the latter, even if admirable, is only one of the elements that make up the symphonic ensemble that we call "Catholicity."

In this way, the members of movements will also be able to appreciate other experiences and styles of Christian life. Speaking of the sign that each movement offers to the life of the Church, Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation, has gone so far as to affirm: "The first sign is that those who live it are full of esteem, attention, appreciation and collaboration with other movements."

Mention must also be made of the spirit of service, which will lead members of movements to be happy to support the initiatives of the bishop and parish priest, according to the characteristics of the charism itself.

The members of a movement, will thus avoid falling into action that is not very ecclesial, which might turn out to be counterproductive for the harmonious integration in the communion of the local and parish Church.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Pro-Life Activists - Contact Consumer Reports!

On the eve of yet another March for Life, on the eve of yet another anniversary for the legalization of abortion in the United States, here comes the February 2005 volume of Consumer Reports magazine with a splendid overview of the "options" available to women these days for birth control and for getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy.

Yes, CR has now determined that abortion and birth control are just more "services" that needs to be evaluated, so that just the right method might be promoted (all for the benefit of the common good of course). They have now blatantly argued that abortion is just another form of birth control (so much for legal, safe, and rare) to be used at will. But, now now, which to use? Chemical or surgical abortion? Which is easier on the woman?

Here is the breakdown of the article (thanks to online friend Briana for the overview):

There were three distinct articles and one informational table.

1st - "Condoms Extra Protection" with a colour photograph of condoms (not packaged).

2nd - "Birth Control More & Safer Choices" which included a section subtitled "Help in Emergencies" which advises one on how to get the best results from the so-called "morning after pill".

3rd - A table titled "Your Comparative Guide to Contraceptives" which includes all forms of contraception. Though it inaccurately lumps all forms of Natural Family Planning into the category of "Rhythm Method" and inaccurately lists the failure rate as "1 - 9 % if used perfectly; 25% if used typically".

4th - A side bar article titled "Abortion Options" listing the comparative risks of drug induced abortions vs surgical abortion.

Please, go to http://custhelp.consumerreports.org/cgi-bin/consumerreports.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php? and complain to Consumer Reports about this offensive and misleading article!

Top Ten Signs a Parish Has Been Using Oregon Catholic Press for Too Long

(Substitute any of your favorite modern hymnals for the title :)

10. People call to ask what time Midnight Mass is "sending forth" (usually about 11 PM).
9. Epidemic of laryngitis following attempts to "sing a new church into being."
8. Followers of Huub Osterhuis lobby to have flooring removed in favor of hard-packed dirt.
7. Bored parishioners count how many times the word "gather" is used per Mass.
6. Old "Glory & Praise" books thrown out for being too "conservative" and "exclusive."
5. People discover that they get that same fuzzy feeling of community standing in Wal Mart.
4. Incense is re-introduced at Mass, but it's patchouli.
3. Worn depressions in "D" keys and pedals on the organ.
2. What's an organ?
1. The local Byzantine parish begins construction on the new church building.

I can't take credit for that list, I found it online somewhere... but it's definitely something that I understand!

People who know me, know that many of my ARGH! moments come when liturgical "drivel" music is forced upon the congragation during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar (ie, Mass). I truly believe that our liturgical music reflects what we believe, and in many ways, teaches us what we are to believe -- which explains why, in the aftermath of the insipid FM-pop-station ditties invading our liturgies, it is now said that 73% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. Why would they? Their Masses have been turned into celebrations of "community" and sappy love (not real Love, Who died on the cross for our sins - three things that have become forbidden topics in many "modern" Masses)

Two things of note: First, if anyone is looking for a better "worship aid" for their parish, you might try to propose the Adoremus Hymnal. Second, if you (like me) despise the invasion of pew-pop-psychology, you might want to check out this great "pious sodality" I discovered - the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas

Also check out this article: "What's So Sacred About Sacred Music?: Is Sacredness a Matter of Taste or an Objective Reality?"

Fra Angelico's Annunciation