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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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

You know it's my desk when...

This blog post has absolutely nothing of interest to you in it, but it makes for a good work diversion for me - I was just sitting at my desk here, and started chuckling to myself (good thing I have my own office!) as I gazed across the piles of strewn books and papers that are now hiding the top of my desk, I thought of how clearly this is now, after only a couple months or so, clearly my office.

Just for kicks, let me take you on a tour. On my small desk right now, within arm's reach, NOT in the bookcase (also full, of course) are:

* Bible, RSV 2nd CE (from Ignatius)
* Catechism
* Compendium of the Catechism
* Daily Roman Missal
* The Catholic Sourcebook
* Compiliation of the Catechetical Documents
* General Directory of Catechesis
* Chesterton University Student Handbook (and bumper sticker - "Break the Conventions, Obey the Commandments")
* The Faith Explained by Leo Treste
* A zillion random pamphlets and material, mostly from Adoremus, Catholic Answers, and OSV
* Magnificat Rosary Companion
* The Shoemaker's Gospel (a free copy of a new Loyola Press novel I got in the mail today... I only looked at four pages of it, enough to tell that there's a reason they're trying to give it away. STAY AWAY!)
* Archdiocesan Directory
* Pope Benedict holy cards, blessed by him at one of the general audiences last year
* Life with Mother Teresa book
* Print-off of the Harrisburg "Formation in Christian Chastity" program
* Fishers of Men Vocations DVD
* Magnificat Advent Companion
* Print-off of Cardinal Arinze's Address in Paris, on the Liturgy
* Print-off of Bishop Morlino's article on "Mass music" from October 26th
* Random printed articles from the www.catholiceducation.com site
* Book of Prayers in honor of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
* Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with St. Thomas Aquinas book

Anybody who knows me and walks in here is going to have a pretty good guess of who "lives" here. Only I would crowd up my workspace like this, with a computer that has the wealth of the Internet only clicks away in front of my nose. But, you have to admit, it's a pretty good assortment to have at hand's reach!

Too bad you can't see the REST of my office!! LOL!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bleg: Pro-life credit cards?

I've finally had it with my current credit card company (Chase), they just sent me a new card and account information today and I realized that in the sneaky fine print there's now an annual fee for it, plus the APR is just ridiculous - for no reason, I haven't been late or anything. Not that it matters anymore, since I have at last paid off the balance on it. I also understand that Chase is a supporter of Planned (Denial of) Parenthood, and I don't particularly want to continue doing business with them because of that either.

A search online for pro-life credit card options turned up one (fromm Vitaecorp), which no longer seems to be in business. Too bad. Does anyone know if there is a bank out there that does NOT support PP, that has a decent Visa credit card?

Mass on All Souls' Day

So, last year on All Souls' Day I was in Rome, which was great, but I regretted not being able to attend the annual All Souls' Day High Mass at St. Agnes here in St. Paul - with Mozart's Requiem Mass in full and living color, with not only the customary St. Agnes reverence and zeal for the proper celebration of the Eucharist, but also the inspirational assistance of an orchestra and choir that knows what they are doing, and that they are doing it for love of God.

It's one of the days of the year I look forward to the most!

But this year I believe I've been enticed away from attending St. Agnes (and from having to arrive at 6:00 to get a seat for a 7:30pm Mass!)...

You see, there's going to be a very special Mass at the Cathedral in St. Paul at 7pm on All Souls' Day. At the Sacred Heart chapel. Viene uno, viene tutti!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A change "Pro Multis"...

So, you fogeys out there (old or young!) probably know that part of the Latin text for the words of consecration over the chalice says "pro multis". And you probably know that in the current English translation of the text, the priest says "for all" (...will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven).

Drilling down the knowledge layers a little further, I betcha quite a few of you even know that "for all" isn't what "pro multis" has always been translated to mean - "for many" is. Theologically, while the Church acknowledges that Christ died willing that "all men might be saved" as it says in Scripture, the Church has also held (per the Latin phrase "pro multis") that the efficacy of His death is only realized for those who CHOOSE to accept Him in baptism - thus, His sacrifice was "for many", the multitudes who accept Him, and not for "all" as in every single person would be saved - that would deny our free will!

Zoom forward to the post-Vatican II translation efforts, and somehow or other "pro multis" got translated into English as "for all" - for what reasons, and whether or not there were any questionable ideologies, we can only speculate. In any case, the Popes did accept the translation as a valid one and approved it for use during Masses celebrated in English. However, some people refused to accept the Pope's assurances, and setting themselves up as linguistics experts, have proceeded for years to argue against the usage of "for all" instead of "for many". Others, while accepting the Pope's authority and assurance of validity, still have been concerned for years over this and have done considerable research and background study on it in an effort to help Rome understand their concerns.

Nitpicking, you say? Perhaps, perhaps not. We belive what we pray, after all. And this is the prayer at the very HEART of the Mass, the very words that we believe Jesus Himself said and is saying through the action of the priest. Heady stuff.

And it looks now like the Pope just might do it "for many" of us (as in, the English-speaking Catholics of the world).

Read more over at the What Does the Prayer Really Say? blog, keep in mind however that it is still in the "very strong rumor" category... Still, interesting to contemplate as yet another significant liturgical rumbling that has emerged from the Roman rumor mills of late - I do believe there's a lot of smoke pouring out from there, and you know what they say... I can't wait to see this big liturgical document that is supposed to be heading our way! I also can't wait to see how our bishops, and parishes, react to it...

Fr. Z discusses the “pro multis” rumor

New Blog Alert!

I've newly discovered another local MN blog, through a comment he left on the ever-interesting What Does the Prayer Really Say blog (what he was commenting on is my next post - stay tuned!)

Anyway, check out Standing Thunder today and in the days to come!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SJV/SPS - Borromeo Weekend!

St. John Vianney College Seminary and St. Paul Seminary invites everyone to join them for Borromeo Weekend, with 40-hour Eucharistic adoration, Nov. 3-5

Way cool. I'm there!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You NEED to know about this!

It's perhaps the biggest moral battle in America since 1973... and all we hear are crickets chirping in Mass Media Land.

Americans!! Stand up and take notice - if Amendment 2 passes in Missouri on Nov. 7, a mere two weeks from now, the barn door will be open to let a whole lot of clones out. Don't let the Big Corportations of bioengineering pull the wool over your eyes - they are throwing their whole weight behind this to FOOL Missouri voters - who THINK they are voting against cloing, but if they vote yes they will actually give almost unrestricted rights and funding to cloning researchers!! Under this law, embryos can be created freely for research purposes - bad enough, but it gets worse - the amendment would make it illegal to KEEP embryos alive past the 14th day! Talk about canny - they create life, but arbitrarily say that it's not a person until after 14 days, and so they therefore try to tell you that this will "prevent" cloning! But what they are really doing is trying to keep Missouri's voters in the dark until after it's all over, and Missouri's citizens have no choice but to allow unrestricted funding of clone research with their tax money (so the biotech corporations don't have to pay a cent - convenient). Period. Kyrie eleison.

Call all your friends and family in Missouri right now and tell them to vote NO on Amendment 2!

Our very own AP has the story that you, and your familiy, friends, and prayer chains, need to know about NOW!

Pray. Hard. Time to get those knees dirty and those rosaries going!

Roma locuta est...

Something every American pastor and worship committee needs to know about... and don't count on the bishops being all that quick to jump on getting the word out either: Amy notes that the "indult" that Americans have previously used to allow non-priests to purify the sacred vessels has NOT been renewed by Rome.

What does this mean? It means that the permission that Rome did grant for a short period for sacristans, EMHC ("eucharistic ministers" to most parish communities), and other laity to purify the vessels that contain the Body & Blood after Communion has quite explicitly not been renewed after the end of the indult period (permission period). It therefore means that, starting immediately, the priests, deacons, and instituted acolytes (typically seminarians) are the only ones who can take the vessels and purify them of the sacred particles.

It is funny, I remember noticing when the indult expired a while ago (two years ago?) thanks to a Zenit post - and asked my pastor at the time about it. Neither he nor anybody else seemed to know anything about it, and I never heard anything about it again until now. It seems now that the US bishops have been appealing for the indult's renewal for a while now - thus requiring, apparently, no notification of pastors on their part to anyone else that it has lapsed and is no longer in effect. Until now, when Rome finally says flat out, "NO."

So I guess the policy of the American bishops regarding indults they like is to ignore any kind of "expiration date" as being meaningless until the indult is specifically rescinded. In other words, it's renewed until we're told otherwise. Of course, I doubt that rule would apply if the indult was one they don't like - such as the one we currently enjoy that tells us we can kneel after the Lamb of God (yes, that's a permission - they don't do that many other places of the world!). If that one were to drift past its expiration date, I can imagine a lot of bishops moving swiftly to implement standing, citing the "lapse" of the indult as their go-ahead light! (Out of curiousity, does anyone know whether that one ever has lapsed?)

Note bene, I'm not saying the bishops shouldn't move to do that if such a lapse were to happen, I'm just observing that there seems to be a bit of selective action going on in our American episcopate. Now, if they all move to tell their priests about this new word from Rome about the purification of vessels, they just might prove me wrong.

But I betcha if you ask your parish priest 6 months from now if the bishop has told them to stop allowing laity to purify the vessels, the majority will look at you blankly.

I'm just saying...

As a side note, it will be interesting to see if there's any change now in the hordes of EMHC and the regular distribution of both species - Body & Blood - at so many of our parishes. As the CNS article notes:

Although receiving Communion under both kinds is a "more complete" sign of the sacrament's meaning, Cardinal Arinze said, "Christ is fully present under each of the species."

"Communion under the species of the bread alone, as a consequence, makes it possible to receive all the fruit of eucharistic grace," he added.

Another "legitimate option" when "the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice" is intinction -- the practice of dipping the consecrated host into the consecrated wine -- "with reception on the tongue always and everywhere," the cardinal's letter said.

After hearing people wonder why they are not offered the cup, thinking that by only receiving the Host they not receiving "all" of Jesus, I have often reflected that it would be better for catechetical reasons to return to primarily distributing only the Body to the congregation, except under special circumstances (which is, by the way, precisely how the norms of Communion under both Species were supposed to be implemented anyway). So if this document also "helps" parishes to do that, then I say AMEN to that too!

Read the CNS story here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Favorite Charity: Aid to The Church In Need

You know, I hadn't even heard of Aid to the Church in Need until I returned from Rome this past summer. As it happened, I found a curiously titled book at the used book store, called They Call me the Bacon Priest, published by Ignatius Press. I picked it up and was absolutely floored by the testimony given there by the founder of "Aid to the Church in Need", Fr. Werenfried von Staaten, of the motivation and inspritation behind this network of Catholic charity. I highly recommend you all read this book!

Oddly though, while I was greatly inspired by this book, to the point of tears, I didn't think to check online to see what the charity is doing today. It took a post by my good friend Zadok Romanus to alert me to the realization that ACN is still very much alive and striving to help the needs of the Church throughout the world.

If you are looking for a way to really support the Church, without throwing your money into the bureaucracy that is the USCCB, please consider looking into ACN. They allow you to specify which project you want your money to support (put the project code in on the donation form). ACN is a very CATHOLIC aid organization - God is first, and their social action comes out of this witness of faith. This means that while they do much to help aid the material needs of the people they serve, they are first and foremost about saving souls. All projects submitted are done so by the local bishop/priests, and then ACN discerns how it might best help in this area, while also requiring that there be local accountability and effort (this means that bishops must try to make an assessment of how much they really need to help them accomplish a project in addition to what thier own local church can provide).

Here are some of the needs listed today - for a more complete list & information go to Aid to The Church In Need Project List

* Child's Bible Project
* Provide a Roof for a Church in Uganda
* Supply Urgently Needed Transport for A Priest in Mexico
* Help Repair a Convent in the Philippines
* Restore a Church in Moldova
* Help Renovate a Seminary in Eastern Hungary
* Help the Sisters of St. Ephraim in Lebanon
* Support Catholic Radio in Lithuania
* Seminarians Need Your Help in Colombia
* Provide a Vehicle for Pastoral Work in the Capital of Nicaragua

Of Hans Küng and Josef Ratzinger

Fascinating article on the life of Josef Ratzinger in the years immediately following Vatican II - where he was invited to be professor at the German university of Tübingen under the endorsement of none other than Hans Küng himself (the infamous "off-the-deep-end-of-the-left-side-of-the-pool" theologian whom Ratzinger would later on censor during his time at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith).


In 1966 Joseph Ratzinger was still not forty, but his hair was already white and his fame as the enfant prodige of German theology has been established by his intense and decisive participation in the Council venture. Vatican II was coming to its end, the air was still vibrant with trusting hope. But the expectation of good weather in the world for the Church was marked by other, strange portents. Already in that year, in a lecture summing up the Council, Joseph the Bavarian took account of these mixed conditions. «It seems to me important», he said, «to show the two faces of what has filled us with joy and gratitude to the Council…. It seems to me important to point out also the dangerous, new triumphalism into which the denouncers of past triumphalism often fall. While the Church remains a pilgrim on the earth, it has no reason to glory in itself. This new way of glorying could become more insidious than tiaras and gestatorial chairs that, in any case, are by now more a reason for smiling than for pride».

Read the whole account at 30 Giorni, and stay tuned as it looks like there will be at least one more article to come!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Christian one-liners

Just got this sent to me by our deacon - it's pretty dang funny, though not specifically Catholic... So who knows some good Catholic ones to add to the list?

Christian One Liners

Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.

Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.

It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.

The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.

People are funny; they want the front ofthe bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.

If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.

God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?

Some minds are like concrete: thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

Peace starts with a smile.

I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?

A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.

We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.

Be ye fishers of men. You catch them - He'll clean them.

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

Don't put a question mark where God put a period.

Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

Forbidden fruits create many jams.

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

God grades on the cross, not the curve.

God loves everyone, but probably prefers "fruits of the spirit" over "religious nuts!"

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

He who angers you, controls you!

If God is your Co-pilot - swap seats!

Prayer: Don't give God instructions -- just report for duty!

The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.

The Will of God never takes you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.

We don't change the message, the message changes us.

You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.

The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Young Fogeys

New Blog Alert!

Young Fogeys, by Fr. Jay Toborowsky, heralded today by the illustrious Shouts in the Piazza blogging priest, Fr. Guy Sylvester.

Excerpts from Fr. Jay's first post, which may answer all your questions:

For years the lay faithful watched as the things they knew as distinctly "Catholic" were changed or removed, always with the reason, "It’s what Vatican II has called for", when in reality a truer sentence would have been, "It’s what I, Father X and/or Sister Y, have called for." But we’re a generation that learned wiffleball and football in schoolyards and backyards with the magic rule of "Do-over". That’s what we want. This "Young Fogey" generation of Roman Catholic Priests wants to take their best collective shot at learning the rich teachings of Vatican II, and then making these documents known, understood, and appreciated by the laity that has lived under their shadow for more than forty years without knowing what the Council actually said.

...I firmly believe that amongst all the questions that every Priest will face from Jesus Christ when it comes to whether we merit heaven, the one that could help us the most or hurt us the worst will be something like, "Did your example of priestly identity inspire others to follow you into the priesthood?"

...Herein lies what’s at the core of the resentment of "Young Fogeys". For all of the changes and gimmicks and watering down of the Faith that was done while we were kids, YFs didn’t buy into it. The crowd that resents us now faces their retirement realizing they have not replaced themselves with Priests "in their image and likeness", but rather with men who say, "Been there. Done that. Don’t want the T-shirt."

..."Don’t you just love the irony? YFs were told as kids to 'let their consciences be their guide', and now that their consciences have told them that what they were told as kids was wrong, they’re resented and despised by the gang that taught it to them!"

"Do-over"! Of course! As a member of that "Do-over" generation, why have I never thought of that before? All we have to do is find the Nintendo console with the "Human History" cartridge in it, hit the Reset button, and revert to the last Save Point!

Young Fogeys - Priests and Laity - Unite! I think we need T-shirts now.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Catholics - Get Motivated Today!

My entry for Lapped Catholic's motivational poster contest!

(Make your own motivational poster at BigHugeLabs.com! Try it - it's fun!) Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Book Review: May Crowning, Mass, and Merton

"May Crowning, Mass, and Merton: And Other Reasons I Love Being Catholic", by Liz Kelly (Loyola Press: 2006).

Perhaps this book has already made the rounds on St. Blogs, but if it did I missed it - and you shouldn't. I happened upon this book last week in the "half-off" section of the local Catholic bookstore, and after seeing the description on the back talk about "the litany of reasons to love being Catholic is extraordinary" and then list off an assortment of my own favorite things in the Catholic life, things like crucifixes, Swiss Guards, kneelers, Flannery O'Connor, and Tenebrae, well I just had to pick it up!

This is a great book, one that I feel embodies in a wonderful way the universal character of the Church - I don't agree with quite everything she says, or the way she says it (mostly in matters of, I acknowledge, personal preference - de gustibus!), but I can completely relate to her experience of the Catholic faith and its expression in the world. And not only I, but I bet just about everyone who is at all familiar with Catholicism (and maybe even a lot of people who aren't but are curious) will also relate to it.

Her description of her Catholic faith experiences in life could be slightly uncomfortable for both those on the extreme traditional side, and those on the extreme progressive side (example: she emphasizes over and over again the beauty of Eucharistic Adoration and the sacrifical nature of the Mass - but also speaks of how much she loves the Sign of Peace and enjoyed an outdoor Mass in Maine where the priest really interacted with people - it's a bit unusual today to read honest commentary in favor of them all!). I also thought a bit amusing to see how she can go from quoting the infamous Flannery O'Connor to the infamous Andrew Greeley (actually pretty good quotes from both - !), in a completley honest, innocent, and faithful way, with no agenda or ideology involved. Throughout the whole book, she seems to simply be breathing out into words her entire life experience of Catholicism - from Merton to Mary to Michelangelo to Mass.

I must say, I was mildly curious about why she doesn't list some things - or even quote them, as in the case of Pope Benedict. Pope John Paul II is a reason, and yeah, a great reason why we love to be Catholic - but not one mention of his successor? There are many other things too that I noticed as "missing" - but then I realized, silly me, that's the whole point isn't it? She's saying what some of her reasons are for why she loves being Catholic, only some. What the others are, she and God only know.

I, being human, look at her list of reasons why she loves being Catholic (like all of us look at any list we see) and immediately start matching her list to mine - duh, it's not going to match exactly, and most certainly we won't have the same priority of reasons. I may have a strong devotion to St. Josemaria - he's not on Kelly's list in any way, shape, or form. I may have a longing to experience Mass celebrated in Latin - not even a glimmer of this in Kelly's writing. But that's ok!

The whole point of this, after all, is something more wonderful than reading about someone else's reasons - it's to inspire us to start thinkinig about our own reasons! Some of those will match (I mean, we are Catholic, so I would hope that Mass would be on all of our lists!), other reasons are more fluid and tied to the individuality of each person, and that's the real beauty of being baptized members of Christ's Mystical Body, the Church. I know that both during and after I read this book, I have been thinking a lot on my own reasons - which really means my own experiences - on why I love living life as a Catholic in 2006 AD.

This would be a great Christmas present this year for friends and family, particularly those Catholics who are perhaps a little uncertain just why and how they are Catholic. It's made up of 49 very short chapters, each titled with one of her many reasons to be Catholic (for example, "Holy Water", "House Blessings", "Wedding Bands on the Hands of Nuns", "Fasting", "Silence", "The Hour of Divine Mercy", "The Young Thomas Merton in Rome", "The Sixth Station: Veronice Wipes the Face of Jesus", "The Ave Maria", and so on...) Each chapter does stand on its own (there are even a few repeated sentences here and there), so its great for busy folks who can only read a short chapter at a time!

As an additional note, the book would complement well with another newer book out (one that I know St. Blog's HAS taken notice of!), Saints Behaving Badly, by Thomas Craughwell. Read what other Catholic bloggers have to say on this one! (I bought a copy of this one at the same time, and am enjoying it as much as "May Crowning, Mass and Merton"!)

Friday, October 13, 2006


Found today (hat tip to the SHW, as usual):

65% favor the (rumored) restoration of the Mass in Latin by Pope Benedict, out of 25,401 respondents to a survey done by one of the larger Italian newspapers, the Corriere della Sera. Only 35% of respondents said "no" to the question.

The wording of the question is a little off (it says "are you in favor of the return of the Mass in Latin?"), as the rumored move by the Holy Father is not to restore Latin Masses, but to grant a more common celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. Latin, as a language, is still permitted to be used freely by any priest, no permission needed (in fact, as one of the past bishops of our Archdiocese is quoted as saying to a priest, "you don't need my permission to say the Mass in Latin - you need my permission to say the Mass in English!")

I honestly wonder now what kind of response we'd get if one of the major US newspapers did a similar survey... Of course, they'd botch up the question itself way worse than the Corriere did. But still.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Look - We're TOLERANT at the UofM!

...so stop calling us otherwise you intolerant Catholics!

At least that seems to be the gist of the friendly letter I just got from Mr. Robert Bruininks, President of the University of Minnesota, in response to my letter to HIM expressing my disapproval of such a tolerant institution as the UofM defending and supporting such a bigoted play as "The Pope and the Witch", when similar support would certainly not be present for any play portraying Islam, African-Americans, or any other group of people with such irreverence and falsehood.

But I guess since Mr. Bruininks SAYS they are still tolerant, even when they are not, that means they are. Because he said so. Right? Hmm.

Here's his letter, for your viewing pleasure:

Dear Ms. Gibson:

Thank you for contacting me regarding an upcoming theatre production at the University of Minnesota. I understand your concern regarding its content, but strongly disagree with any suggestion that the University of Minnesota is anti-Catholic. Just like the thousands of views expressed here each year - many from devout and committed Catholics - those views allegedly espoused in this play do not reflect those of our institution as a whole.

The University of Minnesota is a research university dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, and one of the hallmarks of that work is academic freedom. That freedom extends to the ability of faculty, staff and students to present works of art, music or scholarship from a variety of viewpoints-including those that are controversial. This play, in particular, is one in an entire season designed to demonstrate a variety of theatrical techniques. It has been staged in a number of venues in the past decade, including four other major universities, and it is housed in 167 university libraries around the country, including the Catholic University of America and Holy Cross College.
(Great - so just because others have done it, we can do it too? That's been a great rationale throughout human history. And shame on CUA and Holy Cross for such scandal as they have caused!)

This institution has long championed academic freedom as supported by our Board of Regents policy. Academic freedom is described in the policies that guide the University's work as adopted by our governing board of regents in 1938, 1963, 1971, and 1995. (Sure, let's hide behind "academic freedom", a vague term that seems to have nothing to do with the showing of tihs play - what kind of academics can be done from this play, other than sociological studies of whether or not watching bigoted material contributes to an increased sense of bigotry against another group of individuals?)

Like its peer institutions, the University of Minnesota hosts hundreds of conferences, concerts, theatre events, lectures, and workshops each year. These occasions bring to campus speakers, scholars, artists, politicians, and public figures that represent a broad and diverse range of opinions. Within that wide range of viewpoints, we will always find those with which we agree as well those with which we differ vehemently. (When was the last time YOU saw a Nazi play on campus, promoting violence again Jews? So apparently there are some things that you will disagree with and would NOT allow to be promoted by your institution. I notice that in this whole paragraph you don't say anything about what you don't allow, only that there's all these various things that people may not agree with and that we allow. Doesn't say one word about things THE UNIVERSITY doesn't agree with and doesn't allow. It's all the royal "we" (all of us are buddies, you too stranger) that does and doesn't agree with every viewpoint. Interesting wordplay there.)

I appreciate your taking the time to share your views on this issue. I hope that this matter will not keep you from supporting the work of this country's great research universities, which are both places of great intellectual diversity and major contributors to the United States' ability to compete in an increasingly knowledge-based world economy. (Oh, you can forget that! You and your skillfully crafted politically correct double-speak can go play in your own dang backyard, I ain't joining you!)

Sincerely, (Really? I suppose when you write nothing, you can be sincere about writing nothing!)

Robert H. Bruininks

For the record, here's my original letter:

September 15th, 2006

Mr. Bruininks, Mr. Friswold, and to whom it may concern on the Board of Trustees,

I am shocked at the intolerant behavior that your institution of higher education is endorsing, and not only endorsing but blatantly defending, regarding the planned production of the play "The Pope and the Witch" in Spring 2007.

If this were a play that was bigoted against the Muslim, Jewish, African-American, Native American, or any other ethnic or religious community, would you allow it? I doubt it. If I wanted to promote a play that portrayed an Islam in the way this play caricatures the Catholic Church, no doubt your university would label me as an intolerant bigot.

No matter what our personal feelings are regarding the Catholic Church, yours or mine, it is clear that it is a major world religion, numbering over a billion people, and it deserves the same respect and tolerance that you would give to any other religious group, whether we agree with them or not. Might I also remind you that John Paul II, in particular, was a very highly respected individul acround the world, if you would recall the events surrounding his death last year.

You are setting a very clear double standard for your students and for the surrounding community by what you are doing, something that should be beneath you.

I ask that you rescind your support this production, to maintain the integrity of your institution, and to be tolerant of others as you claim to be. Or is that just a farce?

In no way can I support such an institution as would allow this, I will be forwarding all of the information that I have on this to everyone else that I know who stands for justice and integrity, and encourage them to withhold all support as well until such a time as this university actually does work towards “establishing and nurturing an environment that actively acknowledges and values a very broad diversity of points of view that are free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice, intolerance and harassment".

With regret,

Mary Gibson

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bishop Olmsted - "Catholics in the Public Square"

Yet one more reason to keep an eye out on the goings-on around this fine Shepherd.

His booklet on "Catholics in the Public Square" is suitable for anyone on your contact list - and comes out just in time for election season. Amazingly, in a breath of true fraternal charity over materialism and "sell sell sell", they have posted the entire contents online soas to better spread the word among us without the hold-up of printing time and costs. So - GO! Read the whole thing at Basilica Press

And keep an eye out for their future booklets... Arinze on prayer, Aquila on liturgy, and Gomez on end-of-life issues -- what a line-up!

Monday, October 02, 2006

SSA & the Seminary

Homosexuality and the Catholic seminary is a hot-button topic, but one that needs to be discussed in today's society (and, I would venture to say, in all societies, in all ages, as Ecclesiastes gets it right - "there is nothing new under the sun", particularly when it comes to sin and disordered tendencies, we've all got concupiscence thanks to our first parents, after all.

I bring this up because today I spotted a spot-on post on Jimmy Akin's blog, with a testimony and plea for help in discerning a vocation from a person who does have experience with SSA - and he really, truly, wants to discern WITH God and the Church, not FOR God and the Church. It is heartwarming and inspiring, and we really must pray for this young man. But first, before you can love someone, you must come to knowledge of them (as Aquinas so soundly observed!), and so I ask that you now click over and read his story and the worthy commentary that follows it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Latin Inscriptions at the Cathedral

As many of you know, my personal spiritual home on earth will always be the Cathedral of Saint Paul in St. Paul, MN - not to push St. Peter's aside, by any means, as our universal spiritual home. It is true, there is a special place in my Catholic heart for the depth of St. Peter's... but our cathedral here has real sentimental and experiential value given solely by Providence, as she and her priests and people were the instruments God chose to convert me to His own Sacred Heart.

Anyway. The reason I bring all this up is because in my sorting of papers this beautiful Sunday, I came across one that I don't want to slip away into obscurity again: "The Latin Inscriptions in the Cathedral of Saint Paul"

I am not sure who created this, and to be honest I never checked it for accuracy, but I think it's pretty close. I think I am missing a few sheets from the original set, as there is a record of some inscriptions of the Blessed Virgin Mary chapel and the St. Joseph chapel, but not all of them and none of the ones from the St. Peter or Sacred Heart chapel. Perhaps, if a local Latinist reading this is willing to take on the challange, they can go on a pilgrimage to the Cathedral and fill in our blanks!

For now, here is the list that I have. I do not think this, or a more complete list, is in print anywhere else. Print it off and take it with you to the Cathedral some time, and do let me know if you try to fill in the gaps!

Link to the Word document

Respect Life Month

Today is the feast day of dear St. Therese of Lisieux (of course, since it's a Sunday this year, the weekly solemnity of the Lord's Day means that at Mass this morning you celebrated the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time instead...). Hard to believe that it's only a little over a year ago that I was actually in Lisieux! It was such a blessing to be there, I give thanks today for St. Therese and her Little Way of God's love.

I always think that it is fitting that Therese, the one who desired nothing more than to be the littlest so as to be held by God more closely, introduces us to October - the month the Church in America observes as Respect Life month.

No amount of good social policy, such as programs that feed the hungry and shelter the homeless – as vitally important as they are – can make up for bad policies concerning the protection of life itself. Without the fundamental right to live, the right to not be killed, no other rights are meaningful. In fact, without life no other rights can exist.
- from this year's USCCB Respect Life flyer

Take a moment this month to do something for the pro-life movement, especially if you have never taken that step before. Not only is there the ongoing needs of your local pro-life clinics and care centers that you could help with (even by simply dropping off a few bags of diapers!), but with the elections fast approaching there is also urgent need to get out the vote! As we are reminded in that same Respect Life flyer, it is up to Catholic laypeople to participate directly in public life, helping to enact laws and policies that respect the lives of all, especially those who have no voice—unborn children, human embryos targeted for destructive research, and those who are cognitively impaired, disabled or dying.

"Who is my mother and my bretheren?" - Jesus didn't ask that question rhetorically, He asked it to give us thought as to our responsibilities as children of God - who are our mothers and our bretheren?

St. Therese, pray for us, and for all the tiny ones beloved of God who are in danger of death by our complacency - whether they are tiny preborn babies in the womb, or our small and fragile elderly and infirm. Pray for us that we may be strengthened in resolve to stand up for life and to act with love.

Fra Angelico's Annunciation