Friday, May 30, 2003

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Catholic League Notes that Bruce Almighty Offfends Movie Critics

From the CATHOLIC LEAGUE for Religious and Civil Rights:

Catholic League president William Donohue commented today on the way movie critics are reacting to “Bruce Almighty”:

“Louis Giovino, the Catholic League’s director of communications, came to work today expecting to see “Bruce Almighty”; the film has comedian Jim Carrey playing God. But then I noticed that so many movie critics were upset with the religious-laden ending to the flick. This made me very happy. Indeed, it made my day.

Go to the Catholic League site for the quotes from various movie critics.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Thanks to Kathryn Lively for Her Review!

From Catholic and Christian Book Reviews:

Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen by Michael Dubruiel

OSV Press, 0879737158, $8.95

One might hear the name Fulton Sheen and think, assuming the person knows of Sheen, that his words and works are no longer relevant. True, the archbishop has been dead for over twenty years, and original episodes of his inspirational television show, Life is Worth Living, aired in the 1950s on a network that no longer exists, but one must consider also that the Bible is and always will be relevant. So it is with Sheen's wisdom, as a young Army solider on a tour of duty in Turkey learned once when presented with a taped series of Sheen's inspirational talks. Indeed, as this solder-turned-author Michael Dubruiel stresses, Sheen's writings on faith are timeless, as was his devotion to Christ and to spreading his Good News.

Dubruiel offers in Praying in the Presence of the Lord with Fulton J. Sheen the opportunity to reacquaint the Sheen reader with some of the bishop's more memorable reflections. For the Sheen beginner, Presence is a welcome primer of over thirty sermonettes on redemption and reperation, having a relationship with Christ, and imitating His holiness. Each is concluded with Dubruiel's own reflections on Sheen's writing, along with suggested meditations and prayers.

That Presence concludes with Sheen's reflections on war and peace make this book especially valuable for the Christian reader. "In exiling God from our national life, our politics, oue economics, and our education, it was not His Heart we pierced - it was America we slew!" he writes of another war, yet these words are still applicable, and no doubt if Sheen live today he would encourage us to heed them.

Catholic University??? Upset with Cardinal's Remarks

From Cardinal's speech upsets university -

"In many parts of the world, the family is under siege," Cardinal Arinze said. "It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalised by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce."

Theresa Sanders, a professor of theology at the university, protested by leaving the stage where Cardinal Arinze was speaking. Other students upset with the comments also left, according to emails on a subscription list used by many of the university's gay and lesbian students.

Ed Ingebretsen, a professor of English at Georgetown and a priest in the American Catholic Church, said on Wednesday that Cardinal Arinze's remarks were in line with Catholic doctrine, but nonetheless seemed out of place at the commencement ceremony.

"These things are exactly what he's paid to say," Professor Ingebretsen said. "[But] it's a graduation; why he decided to do the pro-family thing no one seems to know."

Professor Ingebretsen said he was compelled, as a writer, to post a short apology on the email subscription list "on behalf of Catholics" for Cardinal Arinze's "insensitive remarks", which he termed "un-Christian".

Interesting Piece on the Pope and the Iraq War

From the New York Times:

Revisiting the Pope's Stance on Iraq

So the pope's words did not fall into an absolute void. But they certainly did not provoke any vast crisis of conscience or even, apparently, a serious setback for the Republican White House's much vaunted "Catholic strategy." Those who imagine that the Holocaust could have actually been halted by a clarion call from Pope Pius XII should take note.

The general impression is that many American Catholics were quite content to have a pope widely viewed as a peacemaker — even as they were equally content to disagree with him.

This is not a measure of waning Catholic belief. No one was more ardent in buffering the American policy against Vatican criticism than Catholic neoconservatives whose admiration for the pope usually knows no bounds. They emphasized that the pope's primary responsibility was to ensure that moral principles remained part of the public debate and that all peaceful remedies were given a fair chance.

On the other hand, they insisted, responsibility for making the factual estimates and prudent judgments needed to apply those principles always remained with laypeople and knowledgeable public authorities.

Vatican worries about the effects of the war were understandable, said George Weigel, the pope's semiofficial biographer and consistent defender. But "reasonable people can have different views about the effects," he said in an interview during the war.

Arguments like Mr. Weigel's are familiar enough. But they had usually been found in the mouths of liberal Catholic thinkers, who were now enjoying the sight of neoconservatives suddenly discovering important qualifications in their usual enthusiasm for papal leadership.

Beyond the inconsistencies revealed by this internal Catholic clash between liberal and neoconservative intellectuals, is there anything more to say about the pope's moral leadership in matters of war and peace, and its apparently limited effect?

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Today is the Feast of the St. Rita of Cascia

The National Catholic Register has a story that piqued my interest because I knew the story of St. Rita and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the twist to their headline, "Raising Kids St. Rita’s Way" was going to be. Go to their site to read the article but for those of you who want to know the "rest of the story", I've included the last few paragraphs that reveal the fate of St. Rita's children--none of whom to my knowledge have been canonized (so there is a little bit of fudging going on here).

From the National Catholic Register

After St. Rita lost her family, of course, she entered the convent. After 40 years of praying there, “she received one rose that bloomed in the winter, that came to life out of time, out of the same cold ground that contained the bodies of her husband and children,” says Father DiGregorio. “She read it as a sign that God had brought out of the tragedy of their deaths their salvation through her prayers for them.”

“So what’s the real vocation of parents?” he asks. “Is it to want my children to grow us successful and comfortable? Or is it wanting my children to grow up to be saints, get to paradise and see God?”

For Catholic parents, St. Rita has the answer.

For a picture of St. Rita's incorrupt body visit Catholic POV.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Definition of a Christian?

From The Office of Readings:

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonour, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

Diognetus gives us a lot to meditate upon. How do we see his view of a Christian matching up with how we view our lot in this world?
Terror Alert Raised Amid Threats Against Boston, NY, DC and East Coast Beaches

One wonders if one of these times the boy who cried wolf will actually be bitten?

From ABC News:

An FBI bulletin obtained by ABCNEWS points to two recent e-mails intercepted by U.S. intelligence. One message, according to the bulletin, warns of "a possible devastating attack in the next 48 hours and urged all Muslims to leave all cities, especially Boston, New York and the commercial coastline."

However, one government official said intelligence analysts have serious doubts about the credibility of the source of those messages.

A separate message targets Washington and again points to possible attacks against New York and the nation's beaches.

The nation's terror-alert status was yellow — the third level, signifying "elevated." Orange is the fourth level, and red is the fifth and highest level.

How One Diocese Dealt with Clergy Abuse Complaint

From the Albany

Candles and incense burned in the chapel as a circle of clerics splashed holy oils on him, David Leonard recalled of what he described as his exorcism 25 years ago.

Murmured prayers swelled into shouts and accusations, he said. The priests were trying to expel demons they believed were troubling the 35-year-old man who said a priest sexually abused him when he was a child.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Who is Joe Scarborough?

A Floridian...

A graduate of both the University of Alabama and Florida...

A former member of Congress...

and host of MSNBC show called Scarborough Country...

and now named the "generic angry white man" by some bloggers.

For more...Joe Scarborough for Congress

Monday, May 19, 2003

Pope Reflects on His Own Death

From Pope's day before God nears, Yahoo News:

"Yesterday, I turned 83. I am ever more aware of the fact that the day when I have to account for my life before God is always closer," the pope, speaking in Polish, said on Monday in unprepared remarks in St Peter's Square to thousands of visiting Poles.
Trouble in Orthodoxy

From Telegraph | News | Greek bishop is accused of hiring hit-man to kill Patriarch:

A Greek Orthodox bishop is to be charged under anti-terrorism laws in Athens for allegedly plotting to murder the head of the ancient Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Bishop Timotheos of Vostra is accused of offering to pay a hit-man $500,000 (£354,000) to have his clerical rival, Patriarch Irenaios, killed.

According to Irenaios's lawyer, Timotheos offered the money to a Palestinian radical, Yusaf Naim al-Mufti. He was said to be angry that he had lost out to Irenaios in the 2001 election to become patriarch - one of the most sought-after roles within the Greek Orthodox Church.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Happy Birthday Pope John Paul II!

E-MAIL the Pope!

E-Mail the Holy Father a Birthday Wish by going to the Vatican Web Site and click on "BIrthday of the Holy Father" or just send your message to:

Friday, May 16, 2003

June Carter Cash Dead

Goes to show you never can tell. Who would have thought she would have died before Johnny?

Thursday, May 15, 2003

The Color of Money

Most countries have colored money, now we do too!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Russian Monks will Read Your Prayers Before Miraculous Image of the Virgin...

For a Price

From the The Scotsman - International:

MONKS at one of Russia’s most famous religious retreats, the Holy Lake Monastery of Our Lady of Iberia, have struck on a new scheme to raise cash - selling prayers on line.

Visitors to the monastery’s website ( can now complete a prayer form and send it to the monks, who pledge to read it aloud in front of the "miracle-working" Iberia icon of the Holy Virgin.

A single mention in prayers costs 25 roubles (50p), while an "eternal" mention costs 1,000 roubles (£20).

Payment can be made by post, bank transfer or using an internet payment scheme. The prayer service has provoked a torrent of criticism from believers, who have recorded their protests in the monastery’s on-line visitors’ book.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Seminarians Abducted in Uganda

From Catholic

The Ugandan army is seeking a group of rebels who abducted more than 40 trainee Catholic priests over the weekend.

Army spokesman Major Bantariza told the BBC that at least 100 soldiers had been sent to rescue the boys.

An eight-year-old boy was shot dead during the attack, which happened early on Sunday morning at the Lacor junior seminary in Gulu district, about 400km north of Uganda.

The Lord's Republican Army (LRA) rebellion has lasted 16 years, during which time thousands of children have been abducted and conscripted to fight alongside the rebels.

The director of Lacor seminary, Mathew Odong, said he fears those abducted may be forced to become LRA fighters.
Ad Limina Visits for Non-Catholic Christian Leaders?

From Catholic News.Com--Former Anglican head suggests all religious leaders report to Pope:

Dr George Carey, who retired as Archbishop of Canterbury last year, has recommended that leaders of other religious communities make regular ad limina visits to the Pope, as Catholic bishops do.

Dr Carey made his proposal on Saturday, the last day of the seminar on John Paul II: 25 Years of Pontificate, the Church at the Service of Man, organized by the Lateran University.

"I am convinced of the value of the 'ad limina' visits which the Pope has with his colleagues of the episcopate from all over the world," held every five years, he said.

Dr Carey wondered if "Pope John Paul II might consider having an informal consultation, every now and then, with the leaders of the Churches of other communions".

Monday, May 12, 2003

Modern Art

I've written about modern art on this blog before with some insight into "art imititating life." Below is a link to a UK Times piece on why it is okay not to like modern art--this reminds me of a joke that I heard on the radio the other day:

An older woman was looking at a piece of modern art in a gallery rather confused, seeing the gallery owner nearby she pointed at it and said "What is it?"

Rather condescendingly he pointed out, "It is supposed to be a mother and child."

She responded, "Then why isn't it?"

Why it's OK not to like modern art

By Julian Spalding at Times Online:

I HAVE NEVER met anyone who told me they loved modern art. No one ever came up to me, their eyes glowing with pleasure, telling me I just must see, say, the new wall drawings by Sol Lewitt in the 1970s, or the smashed-plate paintings by Julian Schnabel in the 1980s, or the life-size, glazed porcelain figures by Jeff Koons in the 1990s.

I have, however, met plenty of people who have told me that I ought to like modern art. There is some place for “ought” in life, but none at all in art; art is a gift, not a duty. The people who told me that it was my job as a curator to like modern art invariably had a vested interest in so doing: either they earned their living making, teaching, criticising or curating modern art, or they came from the worlds of the media and marketing, who genuinely admire anything that can attract so much attention.

Saturday, May 10, 2003


Tallahassee Democrat | 05/09/2003 | Man who can't swim saves woman in pond

Tracy Olson cannot swim. But when he saw an elderly woman lose control and drive her car into a small pond behind his home, he knew he had to do something.

So Olson, a self-employed plumber, grabbed a hammer and dog-paddled his way to the sinking Ford Crown Victoria. He made his way to the car, broke one window with the hammer and managed to pull Ann Adamski, 86, to safety.

"He couldn't swim, but he jumped in," said Pasco County Sheriff's Sgt. Raymond Stanley. "He did what he had to do. He saved her life."

A good story about a hero, but brings home how in Florida old people drive into ponds and sometimes even into other people.

Friday, May 9, 2003

From a Sermon by Saint Ephrem

From the Universalis: Office of Readings:

Death trampled our Lord underfoot, but he in his turn treated death as a highroad for his own feet. He submitted to it, enduring it willingly, because by this means he would be able to destroy death in spite of itself. Death had its own way when our Lord went out from Jerusalem carrying his cross; but when by a loud cry from that cross he summoned the dead from the underworld, death was powerless to prevent it.

Thursday, May 8, 2003

An Excerpt from My Mass Book

Found here...Our Sunday Visitor's the Eucharist
Group Evil

Most people by now have seen the images of high school senior girls beating and humiliating younger high school girls after a powder puff football game. The rage and abuse exhibited in the video is nothing short of demonic--and I am reminded of M. Scott Peck's book People of the Lie where he devoted several chapters to the subject of "group evil."

Dr. Peck felt that the root cause of why a group suddenly becomes possessed were two fold--laziness and narcissism. Both of these are obviously at odds with any authentic spirituality (regardless of what religious tradition you embrace). He muses in the book about a future where educators will provide children with the tools to avoid being swept up in the tide of violence and destruction that such evil unleashes:

Children will, in my dream, be taught that laziness and narcissism are at the very root of all human evil, and why this is so. They will learn that each individual is of sacred importance. They will come to know that the natural tendency of the individual in a group is to forfeit his or her ethical judgment to the leader, and that this tendency should be resisted. And they will finally see it as each individual’s responsibility to continually examine himself or herself for laziness and narcissism and then to purify themselves accordingly. They will do this in the knowledge that such personal purification is required not only for the salvation of their individual souls but also for the salvation of their world.

Now, if you think I'm bringing this up to pound on the high school where this occurred you are wrong. I bring it up because that high school is very symbolic of what we as a country are becoming. If sloth and pride are the very roots of all human evil--we stand on the precipice of witnessing great acts of evil in our land. For we quickly are becoming a nation of obese lazy and narcissistic individuals. This isn't my opinion but the stuff of what Time and Newsweek are reporting weekly in their profiles of America.

The sacredness of every human must motivate us to take a stand against the evil that seeks domination and destruction before it is too late. There is much to pray about these days.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Cheapest Place to Buy my Book on the Internet!

The How-To Book of the Mass by Michael Dubruiel : (1931709327, Paperback)
Gethsemani Abbey has a New Site!

The design now features the "God Alone" gate seen in the right hand column on this blog. Check it out at:

Alone in God - The Abbey of Gethsemani
Funny Joke...

Posted for Monday May 5th at Building Zion blog...

Begins....A man is driving down a deserted stretch of highway when he notices a sign out of the comer of his eye. It reads: SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION 10 MILES

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!

I escaped hell!

b>Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
Shake the Dust from your Sandals

Anti-US protestors in India show a unique way to protest both the United States and the President:

Remember the Iraqi's taking off their shoes and striking the statues of Saddam with them? I'm guessing the same mentality is operative here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Great Talk by Amy Last Night in Kalamazoo!

Even though I didn't hear any of it...I baby sat or baby ran as the case might be, but there was good reaction by those who purchased books during the break.

We both had the opportunity to meet and speak with Father Rob Johansen who's Thrown Back blog is up an running again. He shared a great story about what St. Thomas Aquinas' relics that hopefully he'll share on his blog with all of you.

Monday, May 5, 2003

Top Nine E-Mail Hoaxes

How many have you received?

From MSN Money - The top 9 e-mail hoaxes-

Here is the one that I receive at least three times everyday:

Nigerian scam letter

Greetings, sir. I got your e-mail address from a very confidential source -- the Internet. I am the prince, minister and Grand Poo-ba of one of many foreign nations that you stupid Americans have never heard of. There is a billion, kazillion dollars in an account here that rightfully belongs to my family and my people. Due to some horrid-bloody military coup in which my entire family, several accountants and various goats lost their lives, I cannot reach this money. But you, an American who has never heard of my country, can march right into the corner branch of God-Forsaken-War-Torn-East-of-Nowhere-Africa and deposit this money right into your fat American bank account. For your trouble, I'll give you a few million off the top -- because what's a few million between confidential best friends who have never actually even heard of one another?

OK, let's start from the top. Do not kid yourself. You are not so important that the High Priest of Anywhere will e-mail you requesting help. Rid yourself of your delusions of grandeur -- or as we say back home, you may sing "Like a Virgin" into your hairbrush every night, but that doesn't make you Madonna.

Here's what will happen when you give strangers your bank account information: They will take your money. Period. End of story. You get nothing, but you lose a lot.

Saturday, May 3, 2003

Sad Day for New Hampshire Natives--

Old Man of the Mountain is No More!

From The Union Leader:

New Hampshire's beloved Old Man of the Mountain fell from its rocky perch 1,200 feet above Profile Lake in Franconia some time within the past day.

Workers at the Flume reported the incident early this morning. It is unknown exactly when the face fell because it has been hidden by clouds and fog for more than a day. Don Bliss, the state's director of emergency management, said he believed the profile fell overnight.

Dick Hamilton, president of the White Mountain Attractions, said it appears the forehead fell and took the nose with it.

The image as it was shortly after 9/11--

Friday, May 2, 2003

Interesting Interview About Liturgical Matters


Q: Why did liturgy go awry so much in the post-conciliar era?

Monsignor Elliott: Basically, the work of the liturgical movement and Pius XII in "Mediator Dei" on the meaning and spirit of the liturgy was not properly assimilated before the council.

The opening doctrinal section of "Sacrosanctum Concilium" is brief, because it presupposes "Mediator Dei." Then, after the council, the "changes" were brought in an authoritarian way, hastily, often without respect for popular piety and what people valued. Extremists and cranks soon moved in, experimenting, innovating and pushing people around. They moved many altars but not so many hearts.

I also believe that some changes to the Mass went beyond what the council Fathers envisaged in "Sacrosanctum Concilium," and this is the very area where we still encounter problems. We also need to remember that the late 1960s and 1970s was an era of cultural modernism, marked by overconfidence, radical chic and bad taste.

Q: Are the liturgical problems behind us?

Monsignor Elliott: There has been some stabilization and the revised Roman Missal and General Instruction should help, but there are still widespread problems -- sloppy ceremonial, verbosity, vulgar music, disobedience and sheer ignorance.

In some areas, in Australia for example, Church "renovators" are still destroying our patrimony and alienating people. These renovators are rushing their projects through before the Catholicpeople discover what is in the revised directives -- for example, the location of the tabernacle.

I hope that the Vox Clara committee will put one problem behind us -- the poor English translations. We have suffered 30 years of banal and inaccurate texts. That scandal is on par with the mistranslated vernacular Bibles that spread errors at the time of the Reformation. It has played into the hands of the Lefebvrists and it is a major source of banal liturgy in English-speaking countries.

Q: Would rapprochement with the Eastern Churches help the liturgy in the West?

Monsignor Elliott: I would hope so, because we have much to learn from the East a sense of mystery, transcendence, the liturgy as a taste of heaven. The Eastern Churches also understand the liturgy as an action, both divine and human.

In the West we often want to control, plan, even manipulate worship, so it centers more on us than on God. Liturgy becomes what we do, rather than the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, May 1, 2003

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

From Zenit News:

John Paul II highlighted the meaning and importance of May 1, entrusting the world of work to St. Joseph.

"The month of May, consecrated to the Virgin, begins tomorrow. It starts with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker," the Pope said at the end of today's general audience in St. Peter's Square.

"To the Virgin Most Holy, and especially to Joseph, her chaste spouse, we entrust today in particular the world of work," he added. "May he who experienced the exhaustion of daily work be an example and support to those who in their activity attend to the needs of the family and of all the human community."
Amy and I Have a New Book Coming Out This Month!

Watch for more news soon.