.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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

Monday, February 28, 2005

Archbishop Flynn at a Tridentine Mass?!!

This info was just e-mailed to me --

Archbishop Harold Flynn will be present for the celebration of theTridentine mass this Sunday, March 6 at 11:30 at St. Augustine's in South Saint Paul.

There will be time for confession before and after the mass. Reception with his Excellency Archbishop Harold Flynn to follow the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

St. Augustine's
302 5th Avenue North
South Saint Paul, MN 55075-2092

(FYI - St. Augustine's is the Traditional Latin Mass indult parish for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, they offer the approved TLM Mass on Sundays at 11:30am. Fr. Echert of EWTN fame and Fr. Ubel from the St. Paul Seminary typically alternate celebrating the Mass.)

Snowy Morning at the Cathedral

Taken yesterday morning (the 3rd Sunday in Lent) of the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, MN. We had a really pretty snow dusting over Saturday night, it really looks nice against the newly redone copper dome!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Good news for LaCrosse diocese!

Hey LaCrosse diocese! Looking good for you and your new bishop - check out his recent interview with the Central Wisconsin newspapers.

Bishop: Put faith and truth above all

Bishop Listecki sounds like he's going to be a pretty good fit for Archbishop Burke's former see. Quote:

Q: What are one or two things that Catholics or anyone should know about you?
A: First thing is, what you see is what you get. I don't have hidden agendas. I am pretty straightforward and honest. Because I believe we are in this wonderful aspect of church together, we share in the joys and we share in the struggles.
The second thing is that I am committed to the church's teaching. I'm very convinced that if we follow what the church offers and what the church says, that we would be better individuals and a better society.

Whoo-hoo! Let's pray that the new bishop also follows St. Francis' advice - "preach the Gospel always, and when necessary, use words."

Taking Our Lady's University to task

The local South Bend Indiana newspaper has recently published a well-written op-ed piece from a Catholic alumni of the University of Notre Dame, in which he takes the University of Our Lady to task for its hypocrisy and "pandering" behavior towards the liberal progressive establishment.

SouthBendTribune.com: Notre Dame isn't true to its Catholic character

The popular and well-tended image of the University of Notre Dame is that of a unique, traditional, faith-based institution. However, as a cadre of progressive administrators, faculty and students promotes its agenda, the Catholic character and conservative foundation of the university are at risk. Our Lady's university is becoming like all the rest.

...The independent student newspaper, The Irish Rover, recently reported two disturbing events on campus, neither of which resulted in admonitions from the university. On Sept. 28, undergraduate champions of tolerance mocked and interrupted the conservative guest speaker at a political debate. On Oct. 9, champions of human rights vandalized Christian, pro-life symbolism. For the vandals, the execution of 1.3 million unborn children in this country each year is not a significant human rights problem. Few, if any, have observed a late term abortion, and certainly none wants to.

The Irish Rover also reported in Beth Monteleone's Oct. 15 column that some professors subtly coerce students to adopt their liberal party line. In this writer's recent dialogue with students, some also complain that classroom success frequently depends upon capitulation to highbrow interpretations of social issues. Quests for nuance, subtlety of thought, ethical relativism and political correctness replace the logical pursuit of truth. Members of the Progressive Faculty Alliance took their methods a step further on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, when these university employees demonstrated their political views on campus for national attention.

...Evidence of Notre Dame's progressive makeover also includes a recent 7 percent jump in tuition. A combination of tuition increases and selective financial aid represents a new, albeit non-governmental, form of income redistribution. Kate Antonacci's Feb. 11 report in The Observer makes that abundantly clear. Despite the university's artful explanations, the full-pay student bears a disproportionate burden in promoting campus utopia.

...Notre Dame too often defines itself by new buildings, elitist rhetoric, Berkeley-esque curricula, and pandering to liberal academia. These hardly make the university unique, and the cost of maintaining each new edifice is another factor that drives up tuition cost. Traditional friends, benefactors and students would prefer fearless, contemporary leadership that is true to the university's popular image and to its heritage.

I was happy to visit the Notre Dame campus last fall, for an excellent conference sponsored by the University's Center for Ethics and Culture (one of the good elements of the school I might add). It is a beautiful campus, with a beautiful Basilica, that still maintains it's architecural heritage reasonably well (no major wreckovations that I saw, but then, I didn't see the "crypt" chapel). Mass, confessions and Eucharistic Adoration all seemed to be held fairly regularly while I was there, which was good to see (even if the priest that I went to confession to tried to convice me that the sins I was confessing weren't really sins... at least he gave me valid absolution).

I would agree with this author's opinions, for the most part, from what I saw and experienced while on campus. I do, however, think that (while there was much nonsense going on and being advertised...) there is a fairly well organized Catholic "sub-culture" (if you will) on campus, along with a committed pro-life movement (small, perhaps, but "size matters not" as Yoda would say). There is hope. Give our Lord and Lady some time, and pray for some courageous bishops and clergy administrators to emerge onto the campus scene in a big way.

Viva Papa!

Pope Makes Surprise Appearance

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Words of wisdom

"Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, "Behold, we did not know this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not requite man according to his work?"
~Proverbs 24:11-12

Pray for Terri Schiavo and all who are being led to the slaughter today. Then, contact people who can help Terri (thanks to the Old Oligarch's blog):

Contacts who can help Terri. Make a phone call or send an e-mail on behalf of Terri to civil authorities including Gov. Jeb Bush and President Bush.

Alan Keyes also links to several grassroots petitions on behalf of Terri. (From BlogsForTerri.com)

Pity the author pleading for catechesis

There's a lot wrong, and yet, a lot to take to heart in this column from the Ireland Sunday Times...

Comment: Brenda Power: Church must rule on more than missing Mass

The author, Brenda Power, seems to be a self-proclaimed "Cafeteria Catholic" who has had, like many of us, both poor catechesis and a poor understanding of what did and did not "change" with Vatican II... I cringed during certain references, particularly to the notion that, according to her (wrongly, I might add)

These days a christening is far more of a social occasion than a theological imperative and the idea of limbo has been entirely decommissioned.

I also cringed when I hear the words a "friendly nun" at the hospital spoke to her:

...she asked: “Do you intend to baptise her?” When I said I did, she continued: “In that case, you have baptismal intent, and that is what matters.”

I'm not so sure about that, dear sister. I mean, I am not saying that an unbaptized baby is damned according to the Church. It's not. At the same time, the Church (not some individual priest or nun) will not say that an unbaptized baby is surely in heaven either. Instead, the Church wisely leaves the little one's soul to the mercy of God and prays for it's salvation.

What bothers me here more is the sense that the whole meaning and point of Baptism as being a SACRAMENT seems to be gone completely... Not to mention the fact that it is indeed correct for parents to have a sense of urgency about baptizing their children -- pity the poor parent who waits (as this woman seems to have done) out of convenience and a desire for a big social event, more the pity for the parent who willfully denies the normal necessity for baptism and sinfully denies the sacrament to the child. But I digress.

Getting to hell, it seems reasonable to assume, ought to involve something more wilful and serious than just neglecting to be baptised when you are two weeks old. If limbo has been decommissioned, hell certainly has not, though you’d be hard pressed to find any senior church figure willing to discuss its present or potential population.

This sounds right... doesn't it? Not quite. Did you catch it? The merit of Jesus' death on the Cross, our very salvation by His passion, is being... logically rejected. (Huh?)

"Getting to hell, it seems reasonable to assume, ought to involve something more wilful and serious than just neglecting to be baptised when you are two weeks old."

With one sentence, a hidden (and probably unconscious on her part) reminder of how the devil works -- deny the seriousness and consequences of Original Sin, and you deny the need for a universal Redeemer of fallen humanity. Deny the dependence on the Redeemer and you open to door to deny the authority of the Church formed by the Redeemer to be His Body on earth. Deny the authority of the Church, and you can believe whatever seems "reasonable," including the "reasonableness" of the nature of hell (or even whether there is such a thing.)

All sin follows from Original Sin. All are stained by it, and Christ came to free us from not only "culpable" sin (that we willfully commit), but ALSO to give us the means necessary to free us from Original Sin - baptism (whether by true sacramental Baptism, or by Baptism by blood or chosen desire, as defined by the Church). To deny both the sacramental nature of Baptism, and the nature of Original Sin, is to deny our need for a Savior in a crucial way.

But, she is right that hell just isn't preached anymore... I think it has something to do with such preaching not being condusive to helping fill up diocesean and parish coffers. Just a guess.

Hell rarely gets a look in during Sunday sermons, for fear of outraged protests from parents whose little darlings are evidently more easily shocked by a priest’s words at Mass than by a violent computer game or an 18-certificate film Mortal sin that remained unabsolved used to be a fairly reliable guarantee of admission to Hades and may still be — it just seems that the definition of mortal sin is confusingly flexible these days.

She's definitely got a point here... The definition of mortal sin does seem to be a moving target among many of our more political Church officials and theologians. I wonder if that means salvation is also going to be a moving target for them?

Keeping holy the sabbath, unless you had a very good reason for missing Mass, has always been viewed by the church as a profound obligation. And though that attitude hasn’t changed, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a recent interview that the consequences of neglecting this duty are now a bit more vague. It is not a mortal sin to miss Mass deliberately and the church has to take cognisance of the many people who may well have a deep faith yet be occasional or even sporadic Mass-goers.

“A mortal sin is always a conscious decision on the part of somebody to do something which is seriously wrong,” he said, and suggested this is rarely the case “with many of the people who don’t go to Mass”.

Ok -- what the Archbishop said is correct. In order for a sin to be mortal is has to be done with knowledge of three things -- 1) objectively grave (this does include missing Mass on a Sunday), 2) knowledge that it is grave, and 3) full consent of the will to commit the sin anyway. However, her interpretation of what he said, prior to quoting him, is a bit off -- it is indeed a sin to miss Mass deliberately if you know that the Church says it is sinful to do so. And "take cognisance" certainly does not mean "condone" or "allow." The Church, realizing that many people truly have been cheated out of proper moral formation, does "consider" those who seem to be the black sheep of the Church. The Church does not condemn anyone. However, she does warn the faithful away from doing things that may condemn themselves. To this end, the Church will not say anyone other than Satan and his demons are in hell. That doesn't mean that if people choose to do what they want, what they think is "reasonable" (seems to be her pet phrase), the Church will welcome them into heaven (since, of course, hell is where all the "bad people" go, and no one is really "bad" anymore...). The Church has no authority to welcome ANYONE into heaven, only God is the Judge. The Church's role, which this woman seems not to understand, is not to get you into heaven, the Church's role is to help you get to heaven. If you choose to defy the Church, then you are seperating yourself from the benefits of being in full communion with the Church Christ left you for your assistance.

You’ll never get people tiptoeing back to a church that is timidly tiptoeing in the opposite direction. If the solution to youth angst, rampant materialism, binge drinking and suicide really is the moral certainty and firm boundaries that the church once supplied, nobody is going to find that reassurance in an institution that is nice, bland and desperately careful not to give offence.

Bingo. I pray for this woman, she is insightful and it appears, I believe, that she is honestly seeking God. I consider this entire column to be basically one big plea for help... She wants to believe the blandness she has been given, but at the same time, she wants a "parent" (the Church) to come along and tell her where she's got it wrong. She is an icon for the modern generations, post-Vatican II, who have been left by their shepherds to wander aimlessly in circles, never quite finding peace in the truth.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Terri will be allowed to live another three weeks - New deadline, March 18th

MSNBC - Life-support case extended 3 weeks

Yet another stay has been granted in the case of Terri Schiavo, with a new "execution date" of March 18th. Now it seems the Flordia department of Children and Families is also attempting to enter into the case hearings.

Continue to pray for life!

"Pope Keating" responds to NCR reporter

Washington Notebook February 24, 2005

Karl Keating v. Joe Feuerherd... Who's on top? (See my previous post below on the NCR's recent article by Feuerherd criticizing the success of the Catholic Answers Voter's Guide in the last election)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

In the "Things that make you go, hmmmm..." category:

(Find more crazy vestment examples at Taking the episcopalian.co.uk)

"You've killed off my generation, my generation will kill yours"

Some words of warning from a 16-year-old pro-lifer... I've often thought the same thing myself, as I see all these selfish single adults (or childless couples) running around and living it up, leaving their parents and grandparents to rot alone... and I think, "You know, parents and grandparents, if you teach your kids to only value human life when it's worth something to you, then why are you surprised when they throw you away once they've used you up?"

It is time for the surviving members of my generation to reject the ideology of our parent's generation, to reject the notions that can only lead to eugenics and mass genocide (of the young, of the old, of the disabled, of the "useless."). We can begin very simply - one prayer at a time.

Terri Schiavo's latest reprive is running out once more, with the emergency stay expiring at Friday, 5pm Eastern time.

Stop. Right now, just stop whatever you're doing. Bow your head, and pray for the Holy Spirit to come and convert the hearts of the world. Pray for Terri. Pray for her husband. Pray for the life of an unborn child who is in danger of abortion. Pray for the life of a mother who is in danger of choosing abortion. Pray for a conversion of our society into a culture of life, not a culture of death. Pray for our Holy Father, who has taken one more step up the hill towards his personal Calvary.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen

Pray for our Holy Papa

Our Holy Father is back in the hospital, and it seems to be more serious this time. The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis has just released the following prayer:


All power and ever-living God,
the lasting health of all who believe in you,
hear us as we ask your loving help for Pope John Paul the Second;
restore his health
that he may lead the flock entrusted to his care
and with them reach eternal life.
This we ask through Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Time is running out for Terri Schiavo

WorldNetDaily: Clock running out for Terri Schiavo

Today (Wednesday) at 5pm Eastern time, the emergency stay to prevent Michael Schiavo from murdering his wife by removing her feeding tube and starving her to death in agony will expire. He says she's a vegetable, reams and reams of reports from medical personnel and family members say otherwise, that she is a responsive womam who could benefit from physical therapy (that her "guardian" husband has denied her).

Death by starvation & dehydration takes between 7-10 days.

Fast and pray for conversion of hearts and for the life of Terri! If Michael Schiavo succeeds, this will be the "Roe v. Wade" of euthanasia -- and you and I could be next.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

NC Reporter spits nails at the actual effectiveness of the laity

All I can do is grin as broad as my mouth will stretch!! I saw this article in the National Catholic Liber-um, sorry, Reporter yesterday, and I was going to blog on it myself... but Dale Price did a much better job than I would have anyway.

Go read this -- great stuff, and just wait, I betcha the NCR will be back to complaing about how the laity are never heard in the Church next week (rolling eyes...) : Dale's commentary - Extra, extra: National Catholic Reporter lashes out at Catholic laity!

Read the original NCR "article" here: Bishops "Faithful Citizenship" undermined by conservative groups

Monday, February 21, 2005

Chicago archdiocese studies Wichita's way

I like this in concept, though I am not sure how they practically are doing this stewardship plan (not too many details are in the story). Working in a parish as I do, I fully realize that most people are not giving anywhere near even 2% of their income, at least not to the church. Down there in Wichita, it seems the good old-fashioned method of true tithing (10% if at all possible) is the aim.

I wonder if our Archdiocese here has considered this? Just think - perhaps instead of only serving the affluent kids at St. Thomas Academy, Hill Murray, and Nativity of Our Lord, our Archdiocese could help to serve the poorer families as well. Now that would be holding true to the Catholic ideal of schooling.

Chicago archdiocese studies Wichita's way

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Day of prayer and fasting for Terri

I just came across this over at the Catholic Answers forums, and thought it would be good to pass along! Please consider joining us!

I posted this on another forum, but it didn't seem to get much response, so I thought I'd try it on this one.

I would like to call everyone to a day of prayer and fasting for Terri Schiavo on Monday, February 21st. There is a strong possibility that her feeding tube could be removed as early as Tuesday, February 22nd.

So please, everyone who feels compelled to do so, let's all get together and pray and fast for Terri Schiavo. Let's pray that the courts will respect her life and leave her feeding tube in, and that her husband will see that Terri's life is worthy of respect and leave her alone and let her family take care of her.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Just got back from a Byzantine Divine Liturgy - Wow.

I have just returned from participating in my first Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy (the Easter Rites' equivalent to the Roman Catholic Mass... Sidenote: Don't ever call an Eastern Divine Liturgy a "Mass," since "Mass" comes from the Latin words for dismissal! Thus, the Latin Rite liturgy is called "Mass," and not the Eastern liturgy.) and holy (truly) cow! I totally see now what our Holy Father said when he referred to the Western (Latin) and Eastern Churches as being the two lungs of the faith, and that we must breathe deeply of both in order to come to an understanding of the fullness of the Catholic Church.

Our local faithful order of Franciscan brothers (the Franciscan Brothers of Peace) is co-sponsoring a monthly Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy, held in their friary chapel and offered by the priest from St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Minneapolis. Before the Divine Liturgy they offer a brief class on Eastern Catholicism. They started this a couple of months ago, but I wasn't able to go until tonight. Tonight's liturgy was special, because we are in the season of Great Lent, it was the Liturgy of St. Basil, so the liturgy was about half-hour longer than the average Byzantine liturgy (they normally use the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom; the Liturgy of James of Jerusalem is used, very rarely, as well).

A few things in particular that struck me, as your typical Roman Rite Catholic (who has grown up with Mass in English, though I have gone to Tridentine Latin Masses, and Latin High Masses using the current missal, before) --

1) - The smells 'n bells! Oh yeah, the Eastern Churchs sure know how to invite the whole body to praise Jesus Christ and experience the mystery of our redemption! Incense everywhere, with those cool "Eastern" censors that have bells on them. Icons everywhere, every word of the Divine Liturgy is sung or chanted.

2) - The language! Oh yeah, baby, now this is a properly reverent vernacular translation! Check this out, this is what the congregation (the ones who will be receiving Communion anyway) recites together before going up to receive Communion:

O Lord, I believe and profess: that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to you: Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdom. Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom. Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom. May the partaking of Your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body. O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious body, and Your life-giving blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive the the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen. O God, be merciful to me a sinner. O God, cleanse me of my sins, and have mercy on me. O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.

I bet that if the Western Rite started doing a prayer like that before shuffling up the Communion line the numbers of people who claim ignorance of the Real Presence of Our Lord would diminish... They even keep the correct "And with your spirit" phrasing instead of the bland "And also with you" that the current Latin Rite uses. The language during this Liturgy puts ICEL to absolute shame. Anyone who is looking for reverent liturgical language, in the vernacular English, needs to go check out one of these Divine Liturgies.

3) The petitions/imploring our Lord for mercy! Rather than stick almost all of the petitions in one spot right after the homily (or Creed, on Sunday), the Byzantine Rite has long petitional sections all throughout the Liturgy of the Word; in fact, the Divine Liturgy starts with a series of petitions. It is beautiful to hear, as it truly makes us realize that we are indeed worshipping the Lord of all Creation, the Omnipotent God! Plus, the refrains are phrases like, "Lord have mercy," "To You, O Lord," and "Grant it, O Lord." Sweet.

4) Alleluia!! Yes, the forbidden A-word during Lent is sung long and proud in the Eastern Rite (something that I never understood in the Latin Rite - especially since it typically is replaced with a phrase like "Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ," which basically is restating what Alleluia means in sentence form, so why bother?)

5) Sign of the cross! In the Eastern Rite, the sign of the cross and a head bow is done every time the Trinitian formula is said (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and they traditionally do the sign of the cross from right to left, unlike the Roman Rite... I was told tonight that the entire Church did it right to left until the 14th century or so, when the Western Church laity started doing it backwards. Weird. I liked it though. I wish we did the sign of the cross more often in the Western liturgy, getting the body more involved in worship like that is a good thing I think.

6) Leavened bread for Communion! Communion under both kinds by intinction! While I had academically learned long ago that the Western Church uses unleavened "wafer" bread (hosts) for Communion while the Eastern Church uses leavened bread, I was still surprised somehow to actually see it... It was weird for me, as a knowledgeable Roman Rite Catholic, to see bread being used that would make me cringe if I saw it used at my own parish... I first wondered just why they would use cubes of "real" (leavened) wheat bread, since it seems the danger of there being fragmentation and spillage of the Body of Christ is too great to use leavened bread. Well, duh, of course they don't just go handing out little pieces of crumbly Body - instead, they combine the Body with the Blood, and everyone receives (via a Communion spoon!) directly into the mouth the Body of Christ soaked in His Blood. Wow. I was definitely not quite comfortable with this, being so set in my Roman Rite ways as I am, but I can certainly appreciate the value of doing it this way. Much more intimate of a Communion method, and far more reverent as far as I am concerned.

7) Blessed bread! After the Divine Liturgy, those in attendance come up to venerate a crucifix and take a piece of "blessed bread" - bread that is not consecrated, so it's still bread (not the Body of Christ), but has been given a blessing. Therefore, it is a sacramental (like ashes on Ash Wednesday, or palms on Palm Sunday.) I'm not sure what I think about this tradition, it would seem to be a bit confusing to people in terms of trying to emphasize the Real Presence of our Lord under the appearance of bread at one point in the liturgy, and then handing out plain "blessed bread" on the other. But, then again, they also have that beautiful prayer that they recite and affirm directly before receiving Communion (unlike the Western Rite) so maybe it's not as big of a deal.

8) Mary! Marian phrasing and acknowledgement is all over the place - but still properly ordered, not spoken for her sake, but spoken so that we might better see the absolute wonder of the Incarnation, that GOD was born of a woman and became man, "for us men and for our salvation."

In summary, I was greatly impressed with what I saw tonight of Eastern Catholicism, and I would highly recommend that everyone who has access to an Eastern Rite Catholic Church go and see the Divine Liturgy for yourself! Remember, it's still our same Lord!

Those of you who are in the area of St. Paul/Minneapolis MN, please go check out the "St. Michael's Outreach" Divine Liturgy at the Franciscan Brothers of Peace Friary in St. Paul - They hold this on the 3rd Saturday of every month, with class at 5pm and Divine Liturgy at 6pm. E-mail Gordon for more information at saintmichaels@frontiernet.net or call 651-235-2097.

A Blessing to One another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People

Catholic, Jewish leaders promoting pope exhibit

Check out this new exhibit, detailing the long history of our Holy Father with our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Cardinal criticizes liturgical abuse in Linz

Cardinal Scheffczyk: Liturgy is no marketing event

For the first time, a high-ranking church representative comments on the liturgical abuses in the Catholic Diocese of Linz. In an exclusive kath.net interview, Cardinal Leo Scheffczyk of Munich talked about the “liturgical marketplace of Linz”, “Women's Sermons” and “Women's Pericopes”...

Worth a read, the good Cardinal clearly and concisely lays out both the errors in the Diocese of Linz liturgical practices, and the underlying heresy and dissent that motivates these errors. Take note, these underlying motives are not confined to Linz (though they have been most spectactularly demonstrated there), these same heretical theological beliefs can be found in parishes and Catholic organizations around the world...

Halfway just doesn't cut it...

Students accuse St. Scholastica of censoring play

The College of St. Scholastica insists it did not practice censorship when administrators restricted admission to a student production of "The Vagina Monologues" to students and faculty.

But St. Scholastica officials say they had to uphold the college's Roman Catholic standards

While it is sort of admirable that the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN made at least some effort to remind students and the public that the V***** Monologues goes against Catholic teaching, the fact that they allowed the play to go on at all is lamentable.

On the other hand, I don't think they quite accomplished the PC/"middle way" that they were trying to get, since they have ended up making everyone mad on both sides!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Twilight of a historic papacy

Twilight of a historic papacy

The Pope’s legacy is, in other words, a story of great strengths and considerable weaknesses. It would be incomplete, however, were one not to mention the warm, curious, friendly, and humorous human being underneath it all. Pope John Paul II is in many ways an intellectual; he may have been underrated in that regard. However, he is also a simple man, who connected without effort to others. He bore his suffering since the assassination attempt of 1981 with dignity. As a person, he never failed to impress his many visitors.

Even in his current reduced state due to his illness, Pope John Paul II symbolises human potential.

Well, that last line aside (not so much human potential as God-given grace), the article as a whole is a pretty balanced and well-written little piece on what John Paul II means to the world, from the perspective of a non-Catholic who acknowledges him and respects him for who he is and what he has done.

"DaVinci Code" on trial

Art Experts Hold Mock Trail for 'Code'

Watch out Roma, DeMars is on the loose!

Just thought I'd pass the word along to those who might be interested... A good friend of mine, Christopher DeMars, is currently wandering around Rome, waiting for his classes to begin at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the "Angelicum," or just the "Ang" as it's affectionately referred to as). Christopher is studying over in Rome as part of the University of St. Thomas' Catholic Studies program, and will be maintaining a blog of his adventures and photos over there in Italia!

Check it out -- Viva Italia

A Prayer for Terri

As many know, Terri Schaivo is periously close to losing her life, as the stay against her husband's intention to withdraw her feeding tube will run out in only a couple of days, and he could act to remove her tube as early as Tuesday. A sad sad day is near to us, and prayers are needed! To this end, I have placed this blog on the Terri Schaivo Blogburst (a blogburst is a voluntary grouping of like-minded blogs who come together in a common cause). I will try to post updates on Terri's fight, and offer possible options for prayer for her and her family, on a regular basis (something I should have done ages ago...).

To start, Pete Vere over at the Catholic Light blog, and Fr. Rob over at Thrown Back blog have collaborated on composing a prayer for Terri, asking for the intercession of Sr. Lucia of Fatima, who passed away on Sunday, February 13th. They invite you to start praying this prayer for Terri's deliverance:

Merciful Father, you blessed Sr. Lucia of Fatima as a child with a vision of the Virgin Mary, and granted her the grace to live a life of holiness and heroic obedience to Holy Mother Church. By her life she bore witness to the glory of God. Grant, in this hour of need for your daughter Terri Schiavo, that by Sr. Lucia's intercession, those souls hardened by the culture of death may come to believe in the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and be moved to revere and protect her life and all innocent human life. Amen.

Some religious just don't "get it"

Well, I just returned from being a guest speaker at a Vocations meeting, with representatives from the various orders around the Twin Cities area... And, face it, the orders that don't need vocations typically don't come to meetings to try to figure out how to get more vocations, if you get the idea...

Anyway, I was asked to come to this meeting because the members of these meetings have noticed a curious thing that I happen to be a part of, called Theology on Tap (a program for young adult ministry begun 25 years ago by the Archdiocese of Chicago). I have been a part of a group doing TOT here in St. Paul (the only "official" TOT group here -- accept no substitutes! :) and we get between 150-170 young adults on average per night (least was 70+, most was well over 200 young adults!). This kind of success doesn't go unnoticed by those who are wondering why young adults aren't coming to their orders.

So there I was. Talking up a storm about how we began the program, how it has developed for us in the Twin Cities, and the marvelous fruits that have come from the program by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Of course, I know the crowd I'm talking too, so I'm trying my best to speak in their language, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and all that. But, they asked some direct questions, so of course, I gave them some direct answers... Here are some highlights:

I got some pointed questions about justice and diversity from Fr. "Wally." They weren't too difficult to answer, since of course, when you grow in love of God, then that love spills over into love of neighbor. The activity level of our young adults in participating in community work and "social justice" (oh, how I hate that term...) has increased dramatically since we started our efforts to help them to see the relevance of God in their lives. I think "Wally" thinks we are too focused on "us" and not enough on "neighbor;" he had a real problem when I said that Christ died on the cross, not for some ambigious "crowd," but for each and every individual that made up that "crowd," and that with Theology on Tap and other aspects of our ministry we seek to connect with the individuals of the crowd, and not just the crowd. I don't think that answer satisifed him... But he didn't really bother me, I recognized his langauge of "caring progressivism," and I noticed that no one else in the room cared to take up his fight with me.

Some other questions too as to what exactly the "answers" are that young adults are looking for... oh boy... that one opened a can of worms I'm afraid, but hey, they asked... young adults want real answers to their real questions about morality, sexuality, and faith. Answers, not suggested opinions, or approval of whatever they "feel" is right for themselves. I told them that young adults need parents, and in this time of moral crisis and lose of understanding about personhood, they see the Catholic Church as being a way to find direction in their life, so of course, that means that means that these tough questions are asked within the context of the Church -- everything from why homosexual activity is sinful, to why abortion is always morally wrong, to why women cannot become priests (yes... I actually said that... ouch.). Young adults want to know not only what the Church teaches but why, they want to find the reasons for their faith, so that the authority that they give to the Church is granted authority, not blind obedience. It got kind of quiet after that...

I spoke early on about how we go about selecting speakers and topics, which helped clarify things, I brought along copies of all of our flyers and basically walked them through most of the topics/speakers and the reasons for having them, and the fruits that came from each topic... This seemed to help a lot, by allowing me to actually tell them about what was really discussed at the evenings and the feedback we got from them. They seemed amazed at not only the sheer numbers we are ministering to, but the types of people that we are reaching. I told them about the 5+ people we know of who are in RCIA now, about the multiple engaged/married couples that have met at TOT, about the 2 women I know of who entered relgious life after being at TOT, about the countless individuals whom I and others have met at TOT and who have developed into deep relationships (in fact, one of my current roommates and I met at a Theology on Tap!). TOT is not our work, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and we just hope to cooperate with Him. In large part due to Theology on Tap, there is a revived and thriving young adult Catholic presence in the Twin Cities today -- the Cathedral Young Adults, the Frassati Society, St. Olaf Young Adults, Corpus Christi Catechism Fund, SPO/NET Ministries, University of St. Thomas Catholic Studies, St. Kate's Catholic Club... the list goes on and on. Many of these groups existed before TOT, but it has been TOT that has brought the greatest numbers of various young adults together, so that all of the groups have tighter bonds and deeper connections, and all of them are better able to answer the call to holiness and evangelization.

There was also a ringing endorsment of our group and Adoration from one of the other sisters present that I know pretty well... Apparently she came to Mass at the Cathedral a few Wednesdays ago and discovered our young adult-sponsored Holy Hour -- God bless her, that seemed to get the group interested in why young adults are interested in Adoration, leaving me wide open to talk about personal testimonies. Yay! :) I did try to speak frequently, almost in passing, about the merits of Adoration and how many young people are drawn to it, how many vocations I know of have been heard during time of Adoration. I think this all surprised them, but no one said anything else, either positive or negative, about it, which was too bad. But maybe a seed was planted, who knows?

It really was an eye-opening session for me, to see the fears that many older people have regarding the "zealous" faith of my generation. I hope that I was able to communicate to them that we both love the same Lord, and that we embrace both the best of the traditions of the faith as well as the deeper understanding of the meaning of evangelization that has flowered in the past decade or so. I hope I piqued their interest, and I hope to see some of them at our next Theology on Tap, so they can see for themselves the joy and the yearning for truth of the young adult generation of today that I tried to do my best to explain to them. I hope that they will see this, and take it back to their orders, and be open to bringing about a revival and a reform for them, so that they too may benefit from vocations.

Please take a moment right now to pray for these religious, pray that the Holy Spirit may speak to them through what I said, and that they may be open to the call of our Holy Father to re-evangelize the world, beginning with themselves and their orders -- pray that they may be open to receiving the grace of deeper conversion and a return to the roots of their orders, to the mission of their founders. Pray for their ongoing renewal in Christ. Pray that they may one day "get" us, the new, young, orthodox faithful who are answering the call of Christ today!

Think MN, think "polka," even in Mass apparently

No comment.

Polka not overlooked at Grammys
Music style still popular in Minnesota, elsewhere at Masses and festivals

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Locally - Russian speaker coming to UST

Dr. Georgy Chistyakov
University of St. Thomas
February 21, 2005 – 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Georgy Chistyakov Director of the Center for Religious Literature, Library of Foreign Languages, Moscow will give a presentation on the ecumenical importance of the 20th century Russian martyrs and confessors, taking the life and death of Fr. Alexander Menn as a focus. The lecture is directed to a general audience of students and faculty of the university as well as members of the local Orthodox and Catholic communities. Sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies – for information contact Dr. Gayrilyuk (theology department) at ext. 651-962-5326

Monday, February 14, 2005

Moses as a young child.

Hallelujah! The organist finally stopped!

Ever wonder what would happen if the organist was off key during Handel's Hallelujah chorus?? If you haven't, you should!

Check out this audio file

Church of England to reistitute heresy trials

Our Anglican friends over the pond report that they are going to begin holding clerical heresy trials once again, to try to reign in the clergy who preach that Mary was not a virgin and that Jesus did not really rise bodily from the dead. This measure seems to be lay-driven, in that it has come about thanks to a lay synod held yesterday, and while the lay synod does not have any real church authority, the understanding seems to be that the bishops are behind the decision. Trials are expected to begin by 2006.

See the whole story at Times Online - Britain - Clergy who deny the Virgin Birth may be tried as heretics

Homily Review: 1st Sunday of Lent

Amy Welborn over at the Open Book blog has started a new trend -- what did you hear at Mass this weekend? I really like this idea, not only do we get to sneak a peek at what other priests and parishes are doing, but we also are inspired ourselves to pay better attention at Mass! Bonus -- our friends and families perhaps can here more about our parish life.

So, I encourage everyone to go check out this week's posting on the topic over at Amy's blog -- If today you hear his voice...

I include below a reposting of my own comments that made on her blog this morning -

Sunday, February 13th, 2005 - 1st Sunday of Lent
Location: Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis
Church: Cathedral of St. Paul
Mass: 8am (silent Mass, no music)
Celebrant: Fr. Michael Skluzacek

Lately, I have really preferred going to our 8:00am Mass at the Cathedral it is a "silent" Mass - no organ, no choir, no cantor, no singing. It is very peaceful and prayerful, and a very different crowd from the 10:00 "high Mass" attendees. (Though I guess my perfect Sunday Mass would be a quiet Mass, with either choir or cantor, either chanted or singing the timeless hymns, and with all the smells and bells. But I digress.)

Our rector, Fr. Skluzacek, gave a great homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent. It was so great I asked him to give me a copy, which I wish I could just post for you all to read, but I don't think that would be right.

So I'll try to summarize for you :)

Fr. began by telling us about a discussion he had gotten into some time ago, debating some theological point with another priest, and he was so proud of himself for quoting a Scripture passage that he thought proved his point... well, the other priest responded by saying that "even the Devil quotes Scripture to suit his own purposes." This is so true, Fr. pointed out to us, and we forget just what the devil is -- a fallen angel, with far superior intelligence than we have, who can quote Scripture better than any of us can hope to.

Fr. then went on to refer to the specific quote that the devil used to tempt Jesus, that "He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone." But, "why, O devil, do you suppress the verse that follows?" The next verses from that Psalm refers to how the devil will be crushed and trampled like a scorpion, because he is powerless before God!

That's the key - the devil KNOWS not to quote that verse. And this is the nature of temptation -- "Temptation stops short of telling the whole story, because if it did, no one would ever give in to it." The devil never gives us the full story, instead he tells the part of the story that is "pleasing to the eye," just as he did to Eve so long ago.

When we pray in the "Our Father" for the Lord to "lead us not into temptation," what we really mean is 1) spare us from temptation and 2) if we are tempted, that we may have the grace to realize the full story and then be able to resist the temptation.

He continued, that don't we sometimes purposely do things to bring on temptation? Because others have told us that the forbidden fruit is good, or because we have already tasted it before and are still attracted to it, or because of sinful habits we have acquired... can we truly say that we do not many times lead ourselves into temptation?

I love this part, I've got to quote it: "And we try to suppress the rest of the story, because we don't want to hear it. And certainly the tempter is not going to tell us the rest of the story." Isn't that so true?

Next, Fr. discussed particular sins as examples. He says, not many are really tempted to commit murder. But how many easily give in to the temptations to sin against the 5th commandment by gossip, sarcasm, detraction, talking about others uncharitably? Like Eve, we rationalize about the goodness of what we want to do -- and that is what sin is, the using of something that is good, even holy, but using it contrary to God's purpose.

This Lent we need to "restore our ability to resist temptation," we need to "renew the dignity of our baptismal grace," and turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. "This is really God's work, but we need to cooperate with His grace."


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Death of Sr. Lucia, last of the Fatima visionaries

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Virgin Mary Child Dies

We entrust her to the care of our loving Lord, may she rest in peace.

Virgo Maria, ora pro nobis

Homosexuals honor Catholic lawmakers

"...their Catholic faith inspired them to support same-sex marriage, despite clear pronouncements against it from Pope John Paul II and Boston Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley."

So says two MA lawmakers, state Rep. Marie P. St. Fleur and state Sen. Marian Walsh... Talk about being more Catholic than the Pope!

"There were people whom I have known since I walked into that parish at 7 years of age, who could not understand how at this age I was moving away from all that I was born and raised [to believe]," St. Fleur said, according to the Globe. "But I came to understand that I was not moving away, but was in fact affirming all that I had learned in all those CCD classes, and that it is one thing to read it in the Bible, one thing to go through the sacraments, but it is another thing to stand up and really support and demonstrate that the Bible too is a living word, just as the Constitution."

Really? The Bible is like the Constitution? Interesting. Score another one for the post-Vatican II CCD classes. And apparently all that stuff about sacraments is just something you "go through," it's not real life.

St. Fleur said "I absolutely see myself as a faithful Catholic, but all that I've been taught as a Catholic suggests I am supposed to embrace people who are different, and particularly those who are marginalized."

There's a difference, Ms. St. Fleur, between loving all people as being children of God, and embracing all that people profess and do. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Your Catholic education seems to have missed the second part... But, hey, "Theology is Anthropology" right?

Walsh said that when she considered the same-sex marriage issue, "it was obvious to me that morally, this is the right thing to do, not as a legislator, but as a person, because all people are created equal, and God didn't make any mistakes. ... We are all made in God's image and likeness."

"Obvious" huh? Let's see what her argument is:

1. We are all made in God's image and likeness
2. All people are created equal
3. God didn't make any mistakes
4. Therefore, it is moral to support same-sex "marriage."

Anyone else see a problem with this argument? (Well, multiple problems, really.)

Each of those three premises might be accepted as sound (if, of course, the theological understanding behind each premise is sound), but the argument itself certainly isn't valid -- as any 1st year logic student will tell you. There is absolutely no connection between the premises and the conclusion.

Fundamentally, there is at least one premise missing (this also seems to be the one that Sen Walsh thinks is "obvious") -- that homosexual attraction is "natural" to us; that SSA is a part of our nature that is made in the image and likeness of God.

Really Senator? Is that "obvious?"

Read the rest at WorldNetDaily: Homosexuals honor Catholic lawmakers

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Eucharistic Adoration makes the news again

Coming on the heels of a wonderful article in the Minneapolis StarTribune (and which spread to various other media outlets), is this fairly positive article in the Pennsylvania Times Leader newspaper.

Any article that starts with this quote: “The adoration is an extension of the Eucharistic Mass, and it gives us more time to be present to our Lord and to grow in his love and share that love with others.” The Rev. Kevin Mulhern Gate of Heaven Parish, Dallas is going to be good.

Divine devotion lifts soul

Update: I also just came across yet another news article, great stuff!! Check this one out too, at the Bismark Tribune, A place for prayer 'round the clock.

(See about the other, more extensive, article on Eucharistic Adoration from the StarTribune at my earlier blog post)

Spanish bishops take a stand on "assisted reproduction!"

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we were hearing all these reports of the Spanish bishops talking about the morality of using condoms??

Talk about a 180-degree turn!

Spanish Church lashes out at new law on reproduction

80 years of marriage

God bless them!

80 years of marriage

Religious sister shot and killed in Brazil

An American nun was shot to death in northern Brazil on Saturday, less then a week after she accused loggers and ranchers of threatening to kill rural workers, authorities said.

Dorothy Stang, 74, was shot in the face three times near the town of Anapu, about 2,100 kilometers north of Sao Paulo in the Amazon region, federal police officer Fernando Raiol said...

Stang, of Dayton, Ohio, had lobbied forcefully against efforts by loggers and large landowners to expropriate lands and clear large areas of the Amazon rainforest.

"She was basically protected by her status as being an old lady and being a nun. She also recently became a Brazilian citizen, and she thought that would help but it obviously didn't," said her niece Angela Mason, who lives in Dayton, Ohio. She said Stang had told them there was a price on her head.

Stang was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, an international Catholic religious order of about 2,000 women in five continents.

Last June, Stang was honored by the state of Para for her work in the Amazon region. In December she received an award from the Brazilian Bar Association for her work helping the local rural workers.

"She was awesome. A little old bundle of joy. She was the happiest person," Mason said. "She needed nothing. She just loved the people down there."

While, of course, this is a horrible tragedy, and my prayers are with this religious sister and her family, I have to ask myself, "Why?"

According to these reports, this woman, a consecrated religious, seems to have made her life's work the salvation of the Amazon rainforest. She had, it says, "lobbied forcefully against efforts by loggers and large landowners to expropriate lands and clear large areas of the Amazon rainforest." It also talks about her meetings with farmers, ranchers, peasants, and a human rights secretary.

Not one word is said about her work for the Lord.

Nothing is known about this woman's personal committments to religious life, I hope and pray that she was a faithful servant of the Lord. But, the approach this article takes raises serious questions in my mind as to whether the purpose and meaning of the life of a religious has been overshadowed in attempts to make the world itself into heaven -- instead of seeing the world as our place to prepare ourselves to leave it in order to enter heaven.

The primary purpose of a consecrated religious is to love and serve the Lord, and to spread the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. I'm not sure what part devotion to rainforests plays in this role, and I am decidedly not sure of the spiritual value of "martyrdom" for rainforests.

American Nun Shot to Death in Brazil

And you thought *your* parish was bad...

Apparently, some parish has been using paper napkins instead of purificators to wipe up the Precious Blood, and then throwing them away!!


Valentine didn't sacrifice beliefs; why should we?

Great editorial by a Baptist pastor on the inconsistency of American anti-Christian practices today... (don't read too carefully though, there is a bit of politically-correct pluralism going on here; it does, however, fairly adequately point out the incoherence of our supposedly "tolerant" culture.)

Let's remember that Saint Valentine's Day was originally named to honor the life of a man who loved his fellow man and paid the ultimate sacrifice for his belief in Christ.

Valentines - and the Valentine Bandit - came much later.

Valentine didn't sacrifice beliefs; why should we?

Editorial: New mindset is necessary for Catholics

Interesting editorial today in the Port Huron MI Times-Herald:

While American Catholics, and many Protestants as well, pray for the pope, they also must be wondering about the future of the U.S. Catholic Church...

Maybe church leaders are getting the message, but I wonder. The Boston Archdiocese again issued a formal apology for its past sins the day Shanley was convicted. The words are nice, but words without deeds don't mean much.

Can't argue with you there! "Faith without works is dead," as it is said... and so too do words without deeds mean little.

New mindset is necessary for Catholics - thetimesherald.com

Bishop Olmsted: Church better able to deal with abuse problems

A very fine article based on an interview with Phoenix Bishop Olmsted on why he thinks that the Church of today is better equipped to deal with sexual abuse scandals --

"I think ... we believed for quite a while that if you gave the person all the best means possible spiritually and psychologically, that they could actually overcome that. Nobody believes that today," said Olmsted.

With that, I think the Bishop has put his finger right on the problem. (Not that other bishops do not know the same thing, but they do not seem to have the guts to say it!)

For more, please go to the Arizona Daily Sun

Rosaries increasingly popular

The rosary for the world - Catholics and non-Catholics alike. This article is fairly well-balanced and favorable to the "original" Catholic devotion of the Rosary, though it does falter in a few spots (for example, it says the traditional Catholic rosary "prescribed meditation on 15 mysteries of the birth and death of Jesus and the life of Mary." Well, not quite... the entire rosary is focused on meditation on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, never on Mary herself, but always on her Son.)

There also seems to be a tendency to see the idea of "bead praying" to be mere invention, more of a "self-help" method rather than the powerful prayer of intercession that we believe it to be, as given to us by the Virgin Mary through St. Dominic.

A lot of focus is given to "alternate" rosaries, Protestant-ized rosaries that use "scripture" instead of "Hail Marys" (hmmm... isn't the Gospel of Luke scriptural?), and the "centering" aspect of "repetitive prayer." This is not very good, but at least respect is given to the Catholic rosary. There is even a mention of EWTN on there that is favorable.

All in all, it might be a good article to show to your friends and family when they tell you that the Rosary is "pre-Vatican II" or "not said anymore" or some other silly thing like that.

It is encouraging to see that there are many people who are not Catholic who are discovering the Rosary, and even if they feel the need to make their own versions that reflect "their" beliefs, perhaps the very knowledge that they are using something so "Catholic" will plant a seed for the future...

Portsmouth Herald It: Varied worshippers draw bead on rosary

A Lonely Funeral in a Faraway Land

The Canda Free Press is reporting today with a very poignant editorial on the recent death of an imprisoned Chinese bishop, and lamenting the lack of concern on the part of the Western world, and particulary Canada, regarding the persecution of Christians in China.

"Denied religious comforts, the affection of his blood relatives or visitors from the outside free world, Bishop Gao languished, largely forgotten in prison for five years. In the news blackout that sealed off all information about him in the last years of his life, no one can really say what else he may have been denied in the way of human comforts, what foods he was given, what medication, if any his jailers may have patently ignored...

...While Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin raised the case of two Chinese-Canadian journalists who had their visitor’s Visas revoked 48 hours before they were to join Martin’s nine-day tour of South Asia, he remained mum on the issue of Zhao Ziyang, whose death was suppressed by the Chinese media..."

For more, read "Canada ignores fate of China's imprisoned bishops"

Get your sash on! We're goin' to Mass!

This has been floating around online for a week or so, thought I'd share it now that Catholic Citizens has picked up on it too -- what the heck! :)

Get your sash on! We're goin' to Mass

(For the record, this whole thing started over at Jeff Miller's "Curt Jester" blog, and you can see the original there.)

Cardinal Arinze speaks on the "Centrality of the Holy Eucharist in Christian Life"

Just about everything Cardinal Arinze says is golden, and his recent talk at the new Ave Maria college in Naples, Flordia is no exception!

Please take a moment to read his thought-provoking words of inspiration for us during this Lenten season -

Cardinal Arinze: "Centrality of the Holy Eucharist in the Christian Life"

Friday, February 11, 2005

12 months of... seminarians??

"What the..." you ask?

Never fear, the annual Roman "tradition" of sending out a couple of guys with camera and seminarian "duds" to search out prospective calendar models continues again this year!

Too late if you want one though, they're sold out.

A Fine Portrait of Heterodoxy

The Old Oligarch's Liturgical Absurdities

I'm sure this is ancient news in the blogging world, but I just found it and had to share... It is a good portrait of the state of the Church in the turmoil of the recent decades, the fruits of the misbegotten "spirit" of Vatican II that so many fell for hook, line and sinker.

Please remember, though, that the force of the misguided "progressive" impetus behind this type of nonsense is dwindling rapidly. "Do not be afraid," as our Holy Father has implored us all! The new springtime is coming, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, and the willingness of my generation to listen to Him. My generation has had enough of twaddle, and of wishy-washy relativism -- we are hot on the heels of the Truth, and we will not stop until we find Him!

Tiniest Baby Goes Home From Hospital

Tiniest Baby Goes Home From Hospital

Why is it that doctors will fight to save the life of Rumaisa, a baby (born by C-section, furthermore!) at 25 weeks and 6 days of gestation and who weighed only 8.6 ounces, but then turn around and kill another unborn baby the same gestational age as Rumaisa was, but who just happened to be "unwanted?"

Why is one a human "worth" saving, and the other one not?

Of course, we are all very grateful that the doctors were able to save Rumaisa -- praised be Jesus Christ! Still... it makes you wonder.

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes

Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes

Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy; Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy.

Christ hear us; Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven; Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world; Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit; Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God; Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary; Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God; Pray for us.
Mother of Christ; Pray for us.
Mother of our Savior; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of Christians; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, source of love; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the poor; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the handicapped; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of orphans; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all children; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all nations; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the Church; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, friend of the lonely; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of those who mourn; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, shelter of the homeless; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, guide of travelers; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, strength of the weak; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, refuge of sinners; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of the suffering; Pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of the dying; Pray for us.
Queen of heaven; Pray for us.
Queen of peace; Pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; Spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; Have mercy on us.
Christ hear us; Christ graciously hear us.

Let us pray: Grant us, your servants, we pray you, Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body. By the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrows, and enjoy everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Cardinal Pell on True and False Conscience

Sweet -- check it out!

Cardinal Pell, "Newman and the Drama of True and False Conscience


But annunciating grand titles does not change moral reality. Conscience is simply the mind thinking practically, thinking morally; the mind thinks well when we understand moral principles and apply them in clear and reasonable ways; the mind thinks badly when we ignore or reinvent moral principles, or apply them in ambiguous and unreasonable ways.

"Good conscience" simply means good grasp and good application of moral truths -- it is the truth that is primary, it is the truth that is grasped and applied by the practical mind, or, if you prefer, by the conscience. …

A Catholic conscience cannot accept a settled position against the Church, at least on a central moral teaching. Any difficulties with Church teaching should be not the end of the matter but the beginning of a process of conversion, education and quite possibly repentance. Where a Catholic disagrees with the Church on some serious matter, the response should not be "that's that; I can't follow the Church here"; instead we should kneel and pray that God will lead our weak steps and enlighten our fragile minds, as Newman recommends in Sermon 17 -- "The Testimony of Conscience" ...

Much of the debate over conscience in Catholic circles focuses on the possibility of a conscience against the Church's teaching. This seems to me a peculiar notion. For a start, it would mean that dissenters believed that following the Church on, for example, contraception or same-sex relationships, would actually give them a guilty conscience, not just frustrated wishes. Yet it seems clear that most dissenters do not fear guilt if they obey the Church: What they fear is precisely the frustration of their unsatisfied wishes. ...

Did you know that "the Catholic Church has become as 'decrepit as the Pope?'"

Liberal Catholic leader urges Pope to quit

Why am I not surprised?

Rebel German theologian Hans Kueng has taken the opportunity of the Pope's illness to call for the Holy Father to resign. Remember Kueng? He's the guy who got himself in hot water for challenging papal infallibility, and was banned from teaching Catholic theology way back in 1979. It's not likely that anything he's going to have to say about Pope John Paul II is going to be gracious. (for example, in March of 2004 he is quoted as saying "Karol Wojtyla does not know enough modern exegesis, history of dogmas, modern theology." Hmm...

This time, Kueng seems to have gotten a bit bolder, and goes so far as to call the Pope "decrepit" and says that he has led the Church into a "miserable crisis" behind a "shining facade." Of course, what exactly the "crisis" is that another Pope (any Pope, apparently) would be better at handling, or what precisely the "facade" the present Pope is hiding behind, is not mentioned.

Another note of interest -- Cardinal Ratzinger is (of course) brought up as a possible "German successor," but of course, an unamed Vatican source dismisses that as a possibility due to his age (77). However, this is not out of some concern for his health, but rather, because the unamed source is "frustrated by the entrenched conservativism" at the Vatican.

Come on people, roll your eyes with me! And then go read the story yourself, it's kind of entertaining, in a perverse sort of way.

Don't worry folks, it's the last breaths of a dying generation. The springtime is almost here!

Archbishop Flynn's "clarification" statement

(This is a bit late, I forgot about it...)

Some extended commentary on things mostly talked about in other places before -- however, it does have the complete text of the "clarification" statement of Archbishop Flynn which is of note.

U.S. Archbishop issues perplexing "clarification" statement

New breakthrough for adult stem cell research

They have now discovered adult stem cells that "may have the capacity to repair and regenerate all tissue types in the body"--a capacity formerly thought to be only applicable to embryonic stem cells (which are immoral to use for research according to Catholic teaching, since their use requires the killing of a living, growing baby).

The specific type of stem cell that they seem to be using for this case, comes from living "adult" bone marrow -- a perfectly acceptable source for stem cell research.

Let us pray that this new discovery brings more people to an understanding of the value of adult stem cell research.


More cardinals on the horizon?

There is a report that another consistory is being planned for June at the Vatican, to appoint more cardinals to the College of Cardinals, the electors of the next Pope... Sounds good to me, if it happens!

The Pope plans new voices to choose his successor

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"Episcopal Leadership Card Game"

Cynical, but hilarious!! :)

(Thankfully, our Archdiocese has nothing to be cynical about with regards to promotion of the Eucharist -- we've got the highest concentration of Perpetual Adoration chapels anywhere, and we've got laity who know where to find them! We also have a high number of orthodox priests who are eagerly promoting the Year of the Eucharist and working on making the truth of the Real Presence known throughout their parishes, and there will be a big Eucharistic Congress here in St. Paul to close out the Year of the Eucharist.)

Catholic World News (CWN)

Catholicism "flourishing" in Southern US... wanna know why?

"The creation of a Catholic culture and a strict adherence to Catholic teachings"

Catholic News Agency

Pope distributes ashes to doctors in hospital room Mass

Good news from Rome on our Holy Father's health!

CNS STORY: Pope distributes ashes to doctors in hospital room Mass

Go Yale Catholic students!

A group of Yale University Catholic students is dismayed at the heterodoxy and culturally-influenced "Catholic" chapel on their campus, and have asked the Legionaires of Christ to look into opening a COMPASS chapter on campus as a way to get spiritually fed healthy food as opposed to the junk food of modernism, pluralism, and "tolerance."

Whoo-hoo! Keep the faith my brothers and sisters in Christ, and persevere! My only advice would be to also work on getting Adoration going on campus, Adoration will shower many graces on you, and orthodox teaching will inspire and encourage all those other students who are lost and wandering around with Augustine's restless heart.

The Yale Herald - February 4, 2005 - St. Thomas More: A church divided

Congo's bishops hopeful about elections

Some good news out of the forgotten Congo... It's funny, last night our Archbishop congratulated those of us in attendance at a fundraising banquet for our generosity in donating money to the tsunami relief effort -- I could not help but think of all the "forgotten" miseries of the world that have killed just as many people in the last few years. The Congo is one of those places where people are suffering greatly with little regard from the international community. It's good to hear the Catholic bishops speaking about the upcoming Congo elections:

Catholic World News : Congo's bishops hopeful about elections

Catholics in SW Flordia -- go check this out!

NBC2 News Online - Beloved Catholic statue tours SWFL

Our Lady of Fatima pilgrim statue is making the rounds in SW Flordia, if you're down in that area (wish I was, sitting up here in frozen icy MN!) go check her out!

Rainbow Sash rebuke Cardinal George

Yet again...

mysan.de/international - Rainbow Sash Movement (Gay Catholics) Call on the Pope to Make the Decision (I'm not sure exactly where they got that headline from... I can't find any mention in the article about asking the Pope about anything! Then again, it's on a German website so...who knows.)

Quote: "Presently there is an attempt by fundamentalist Catholics to attack reason and pastoral practice. These fundamentalist elements within the Church consistently promote lies about the Rainbow Sash Movement. We say the Rainbow Sash is about identification, the fundamentalist say it is about protest. They have even drawn His Eminence Francis Cardinal Ainse, Vatican Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) into debate with deceptive practices."

Earlier in the article, they give the numbers of bishops in the USCCB and then claim that "only Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has denied members of the Rainbow Sash Movement Communion." This is false, Cardinal McCarrick, former president of the USCCB and now bishop of Atlanta (I think?) also has consistently denied them Communion. I believe other bishops have also stated that they would be denied if they showed up in their dioceses.

They go on to state, "Members of the Rainbow Sash Movement believe in the Church’s Teaching Magisterium, and a fundamental Teaching of the Church the Primacy of Conscience." Hmmm... If you believe in the Church's "Teaching Magisterium" then you have to believe the Catechism when it says,

(Catechism of the Catholic Church - section on Moral Conscience)


1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith."60

So, my question is, if the Rainbow Sash wearers profess that they accept the Magisterium and the "Primacy of Conscience," do they accept the Magisterium's teaching on the primacy of conscience?

St. Louis church faces censure

We knew it was coming...

News-Leader.com | News | St. Louis church faces censure

Pray for Archbishop Burke and all those involved, that during this Lenten season they may come to a deeper understanding of the gift that Christ has given us in His Church.

Catholic "Rampage" in Indonesia after incident at Mass

Uh-oh... Whatever the real story is behind this, it can't be good for Christian/Muslim relations in Indonesia.

Apparently something happened at a Mass in Indonesia this Ash Wednesday morning... there are conflicting reports about what exactly took place. What seems to be certain is that a non-Catholic man took Communion and did not consume it, and caused a response by multiple upset Catholics at the Mass... apparently the priest interceded and escorted the man away to protect him, and the bishop had to step in and speak to the crowd.

What exactly the man did to cause such a stir is unclear... The Melbourne Australia news is saying that the Catholic "mob" torched a police post after they saw the man "allegedly crushing the communion wafer during morning mass." The Jakarta Post is saying that the man "refused a Roman Catholics holy wafer during a Mass...did not immediately swallow the wafer, but kept it."

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Catholic Rampage after Protestant Refuses Mass Wafer

Melbourne Herald Sun - Catholic mob burns police post

Jakarta Post - Riot under control in Atambua after bishop steps in

Al-Jezeera - Indonesian Christains go on rampage

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Catholic College Honoring Pro-Abortion Speaker Again...

The College of St. Katherine in St. Paul is at it again... now they are sponsoring an luncheon with Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland, and ardent pro-abortion activist, who legalized abortion in Ireland during her term) as part of their "Forum on Women in Leadership." Following the event, they will bring Mary Robinson back to the St. Kate's campus to have a "conversation" with students.

The luncheon is this Thursday, Febrary 10th, at 11:30 am at the Radisson hotel in downtown St. Paul, on Kellogg Blvd.

The announcement by the College is available at: http://minerva.stkate.edu/offices/academic/ce.nsf/pages/robinson/?OpenDocument&Expand=1.2

More detailed information about the aggressively pro-abortion stance of Mary Robinson is available here (or just search Google... more than you ever wanted to know)

St. Kate's earlier this year hosted a formal fund-raising event for the John Kerry campaign.... What are the Sisters of St. Joseph (who run the school) thinking??? Obviously, they know they can get away with it.

Please take action! We ask that you please consider writing letters to Archbishop Flynn and/or to the college, or calling the chancery office directly.

Chancery phone number - 651-291-4400
Chancery address: 226 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102
(Communications director: Dennis McGrath, communications@archspm.org)

Contact the College at leadership@stkate.edu or call 800-945-4599, or write College of St. Katherine, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Blog Alert - "Mass Tour of the Omaha Archdiocese"

Check out this great blog by MJ, entitled "Mass Tour." It's basically a tour of the parishes and Mass services offered in the Omaha Nebraska Archdiocese, with personal reports on the level of orthdoxy, liturgical style, and general Mass-going experience at each Mass/parish/event... plus, some great personal side comments too :)

Go take a peek at http://omahamasstour.blogspot.com/

Pray for our Holy Father

Our Holy Father is in the hospital, suffering from respiratory problems related to the flu it seems. He is in stable condition, but please take a moment to pray for him and lift him up to the arms of our Lord.

+Virgo Maria, ora pro nobis!

Fra Angelico's Annunciation