Sunday, August 31, 2003

Cardinal Rumored to Take Ratzinger's Post Says its Time to Take a Fresh Look at the Liturgy Changes

From Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome:

"'Forty years later, it is right to ask what the liturgical reform itself has represented for the renewal of Christian communities, to what degree the liturgy, reformed according to the indications of the council, is able to mediate between faith and life, so that it forms believers able to offer consistent evangelical testimony,' the cardinal said.

At the same time, 'it is useful to ask oneself with clarity and sincerity if the reform has experienced some weak point and where, and, above all, how it can be relaunched for the good of the Christian people,' he added.

According to the cardinal, the challenge the Church faces today is 'to translate the reform in the life of the believer, called to integrate himself in the communion that the Son desires to establish with each one, a communion that we celebrate constantly in the liturgy.'

Cardinal Sodano presented these questions to the participants in the Liturgical Week and asked them to give thoughtful answers. At the same time, he offered guidelines for their answers.

'Although it can rightly be said that the conciliar reform has been carried out, the liturgical pastoral program represents a permanent commitment which enables one to draw from the richness of the liturgy the vital force that is spread from Christ to the members of the Body, which is the Church,' he said. "
Why the Left Hate the Church

An attempt at an answering the most baffling of questions. Why people who claim to love the poor hate the institution that does the most for the poor.

From FrontPage

So why do leftists hate the Church? In part, because they don’t really care about the poor. If they did, they’d support school choice, the Second Amendment, strict law enforcement in urban neighborhoods, and a restriction of mass immigration that savagely undercuts the wages of the native working class—to mention just a few policies the Left opposes with all the demagoguery it can muster.

No, the contemporary Left knows that fighting poverty isn’t a sexy issue anymore—that the suburban bourgeoisie which stuffs its coffers has pretty much given up on uplifting impoverished Americans, and retreated behind the walls of its gated communities. Instead, the Left has focused on issues which really appeal to its privileged constituency—namely, preserving and extending the sexual libertinism that became respectable in the 1960s. “Progressives” who’d never drop a dime in a beggar’s cup can be counted on to help keep abortion legal up through the ninth month—lest inconvenient pregnancies interrupt their daughters’ sojourns through Barnard, Bard, or Oberlin.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Are Attacks on The Passion Anti-Christian?

Turning the tables.

From WorldNetDaily: In defense of Mel Gibson:

"Nominally, we are supposed to be this Christian country, although even a glancing look over some of the media's recent treatment of religious themes in popular culture does make you wonder. Right now, Mel Gibson's getting it in the neck for, as Time Magazine of Sept. 1 refers to it, his 'eccentric film project' – the 'eccentric' project being of course, 'The Passion,' the filmed recounting of the last day in the life of Jesus Christ.

You get the feeling from the venomous tone of many of the articles written so far about the Gibson film (a number in the New York Times), many of those writing can't forgive him his Christian fervor, and his conservatism, which rather indeed sets him apart from many of his fellows in Hollywood. So they're having something of a field day, nailing him for 'anti-Semitism,' getting real picky about details such as whether the Roman soldiers spoke Latin or Greek in the Holy Land in Christ's day. People magazine after running a cute picture of him frolicking on the beach at Malibu with his youngest child (of seven) devotes two pretty nippy pages to him and 'The Passion.' "
Problems of the Married Priest?

I found this interesting, please read the entire article by Father Wilson. But I did want to comment about some of the objections.

1)Living off campus. This already is happening in many dioceses in the US with the celibate clergy.

2) Office hours. Ditto and for some years. I remember when the pastor in my parish posted office hours in the 1970's people were scandalized. But now this is pretty standard. A married priest can respond to an emergency just as well as a celibate one. Do we think that parents don't respond to the emergencies of their children if they don't occur during "office hours." Ever hear of doctors, dentists, etc responding to emergencies. The fact is I know of plenty of cases where celibate clergy haven't been available in emergencies, have been impossible to reach (employing answering services off campus, etc.) This is a red herring.

3). Divorced Priests. Father mentions one that he thinks exists in TN. I wonder how many people are aware of the presence of not a few "celibate" priests who were once married and have divorced. There are divorced priests serving right now, a few have been very public about it, a pastor in a large Florida parish had an article written about his strange path to ordination a few years ago.

4) Compensation. Another red herring. Almost every parish in the country now employs a heft staff of married people to function as business managers, DRE's, Youth Ministers etc. The average salary of celibate priests is $18,000 including food and housing, plus stipends for weddings, funerals and other additional means. Parishes can afford and in fact do pay out a lot more than is commonly realized. Recently a "celibate" priest in Florida was jailed for having embezzled $400, 000 dollars over a period of three years in a rather small parish. This went unnoticed until an audit of the parish. If a parish of that size didn't miss that much money, I think it is clear that this is a non issue.

Father Wilson rightly notes that there have always been married clergy in the Church and that this is not an innovation. It is something that has been the exception in the West but it is nothing akin to other issues that it often gets lumped with that are clearly against the tradition of the Church.

Anyway give it a read.

From The Wanderer, Father Joseph Wilson:

"For one thing, Catholics would need to get used to their priests living off-campus (in the northeast at least, this is still unusual), away from the parish plant, and many priests serving in troubled areas would be living significantly far away in places where they could raise their families. Compensation would have to be looked at, stewardship and Catholics’ poor level of giving addressed. In Protestant congregations, typically far smaller than ours, individual parishioners know that if they do not give significantly, their churches will not be able to afford a full program and, likely, a pastor. Catholics who are members of large congregations can avoid feeling that same responsibility.

Catholics would have to get used to the fact that their priest would have something approaching 'business hours,' and live with the consequence of troubled clergy families if they didn’t. We’d also have to face the fact of clergy family divorce (there already is a divorced Catholic priest, I think in Tennessee — a married former Episcopal priest who divorced after being received into the Church and ordained)."
Terrorism Takes Many Forms

From The Mighty Barrister - Catholic Commentary Online:

"Terri was being 'housed' in a hospice in Florida, although hospice care in Florida is apparently intended for terminal patients only, not for long-term care. She was recently secretly moved to a separate hospital, and Michael Schiavo has instructed the hospital staff not to disclose her medical condition to her parents. The same judge who ruled to have the feeding tube removed just slapped Michael with an order that the hospital must disclose Terri's condition to her parents. However, the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that Judge Greer must now set a date for a hearing on when to remove the tube, and that hearing is set for... ahem... September 11.

Yes, folks, terrorism can take many forms. "

Friday, August 29, 2003

Joseph Dubruiel

Aquinas Thought of Everything

Below is a quote from Summa Contra Gentiles. I've been familar with the notion that St. Thomas said we'd all be 33 in Heaven regardless of when we died (before or after that age), but no one every seemed to know where he'd said it. Well here it is, along with an interesting discussion on the other qualities of the glorified body:

From Jacques Maritain Center: GC 4.88:

"STILL we must not suppose, what some have thought, that female sex has no place in the bodies of the risen Saints. For since resurrection means the reparation of the defects of nature, nothing of what makes for the perfection of nature will be withdrawn from the bodies of the risen. Now among other organs that belong to the integrity of the human body are those which minister to generation as well in male as in female. These organs therefore will rise again in both. Nor is this conclusion impaired by the fact that there will be no longer any use of these organs (Chap. LXXXIII). If that were any ground for their absence from the risen body, all the organs bearing on digestion and nutrition should be absent, for there will not be any use for them either: thus great part of the organs proper to man would be wanting in the risen body. We conclude that all such organs will be there, even organs of which the function has ceased: these will not be there without a purpose, since they will serve to make up the restored integrity of the natural body.*

Neither is the weakness of the female sex inconsistent with the perfection of the resurrection. Such weakness is no departure from nature, but is intended by nature.* This natural differentiation will argue the thoroughgoing perfection of nature, and commend the divine wisdom that arranges creation in diversity of ranks and orders. Nor is there anything to the contrary in the expression of the Apostle: Till we all meet and attain to the unity of faith and recognition of the Son of God, even to a perfect man, to the measure of the full stature of Christ (Eph. iv, 13). This does not mean that in that meeting in which the risen shall go forth to meet Christ in the air* every one shall be of the male sex, but it indicates the perfection and strength of the Church, for the whole Church shalt be like a perfect, full-grown man, going out to meet Christ.*

Again, all must rise at the age of Christ,* which is the age of perfect manhood, for the sake of the perfection of nature, which is at its best in this age above others.
Book Recommendation--Required Reading

Romano Guardini remains one of the best modern classic writers to read. Here is a quote from him from the book linked below:

"the health of the spirit depends on its relation to truth, to the good and the holy. The spirit thrives on knowledge, justice, love, adoration--not allegorically but literally."

Signs of the End?

Thanks to a reader for pointing this out to me. The day that the 10 Commandments were removed from the Alabama courthouse the stock markets fell.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average (CBOT:^DJI - News) ended down 6.66 points.

In case you don't get the point...from the Book of Revelation, Chapter 13:

18: This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six.

It's not God that we really trust anymore, folks!
Monks of the Wester Priory Celebrate 50 Years

Their best singer, the lead vocalist on all those Monks of the Western Priory left the community some years ago. I visited the community some years ago. It is in rural Vermont and quite the center of activity. A little whacko at times, but then so was most of the church at that period. Hopefully, they are doing well.

Weston Priory / Welcome!
Nice Post About Bishop Dolan's Talk in St. Augustine

The Curt Jester
Sixteen Year Old Might Play in UK-UL Football Game!

From theLouisville Courier Journal:

"University of Louisville freshman Amobe Okoye might be the youngest player in college football this season. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle turned 16 last month.

When he showed up on the depth chart with the second team last weekend, UofL officials started digging. So far, no player younger than Okoye has surfaced.

But that might not stop coach Bobby Petrino from playing the Nigerian-born phenom when the Cardinals open their season Sunday at the University of Kentucky. "
In Post 9/11 Passengers Still Carry Weapons in Carry-On Bags

From Oregon Live:

"Outbound passengers at Portland International Airport recently tried to carry on board the following items:

A 16-pound, clear plastic bowling ball with a hand grenade inside.

A hundred rounds of live ammunition.

A large can of mace.

A desk ornament with a grenade attached.

A razor-sharp martial arts weapon called a 'throwing star.'

The last three were confiscated Wednesday morning in what security agents described as a typical day at PDX.

Discovery of the grenade desk ornament shut down one security lane for about 15 minutes while police were summoned to make sure it was not explosive. "
Power Outage in London During Rush Hour

When I lived in Europe the power was always going out, so I'm not sure how big a story this is but it does have an "erie" parallel to what happened around the great lake a few weeks ago--could it be the work of a hacker sending a message?


"A rush-hour power cut has caused major disruption on rail and Tube services in London and the South East.

Power returned to the system at about 1900 BST and the rail and tube network took several hours before most services resumed normal operations.

Network Rail said about 1,800 trains were affected by the power cut, caused by a fault with the National Grid.

Train company Connex reported the power went out between London and Ashford, in Kent.

South London was hardest hit and Transport for London said 60% of the Tube network was affected. "

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Saintly Aura Appears at Funeral of Priest?

From Ananova:

"Thousands of people who attended the funeral of a Romanian priest believe they saw a miracle when a halo appeared over the church.

Scientists say it was a rare type of circular rainbow that appeared as the priest's body was taken for burial.

A believer told Evenimentul Zilei: 'I am sure it was a sign. It looked like a rainbow but it was circular as a fire aura. It was the father's saint aura.'"
A Confused Man for All Seasons

Arnold is very far from being a conservative, but he does have a lot of money and that must be why he is a republican. He's a little confused too.

From Inside Cover Story:

"Arnold said he supported domestic partnership legislation but not gay marriage, contending, 'I think that gay marriage [sic] is something that should be between a man and a woman.'"
Feast of St. Augustine

Here is a saint that transcends it all. Almost anyone can relate to him, his struggle and the beautiful way that he described it. Here is an excerpt from the Confessions that is read in the Liturgy of the Hours for today.

From Universalis: Office of Readings:

Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

A great Eucharistic meditation for today and everyday!
40th Anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" Speech

Being from NH, I was always proud that we got a mention. Here is an interesting piece from our friends at the Bruderhof Communities:

Bruderhof Communities - Martin Luther King:

"Despite all the hoopla surrounding the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech, it seems that every year King’s real message becomes more obscured. For most Americans he has been reduced to posters and postage stamps, an excuse for a long weekend once a year. But in these days of heightened fear, acute injustice, and daily warmongering, King’s example of nonviolent resistance becomes more relevant than ever before. In fact, unrealistic as it may sound, I believe King’s principle of overcoming enemies with love is the only solution to the problems facing us today, both at home and abroad."

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The Real Changes are Forthcoming

And they deal with translations! When we go back to saying "And with your spirit" and "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault" then I wonder how the liturgists will react?


The Vatican has convened a meeting with church leaders from English-speaking countries to discuss and clarify questions about the translation of liturgical texts.

The Oct. 21 encounter will cover a wide range of topics, including the principles of translation used under new Vatican norms, the respective competencies of the Vatican congregation and bishops' conferences, the role of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, known as ICEL, and the function of the Vatican-instituted Vox Clara Committee.
Notice--God is not the 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments have been moved from the courthouse in Montgmery, AL. I have written previously that it was rather ironic that after the very religous civil rights movement that gave people of all races the right to participate in the life of this country that almost at the same time "God" became the unwanted guest. I specifically say "God" and I should add "Jesus" but I do not mean "religion." Althought separation of Church and State is often put out as the issue, it is clear that other religion are fine with the populace. Moslems are lauded, Buddha is accepted, and every conceivable pagan religion is just fine. It is God of the Christians that is no longer welcomed in the public forum. God has become the scapegoat of this nation, and we have become the aetheistic power in the world that once was the Soviet Union.


"Another man tried to calm the protester, who was angrily shouting 'God haters' at the people who wanted the controversial monument removed.

'Get your hands off our God, God haters!' the red-faced man yelled.

The 5,300-pound granite marker was hauled on a dolly by a Georgia moving company from the public view area to another, undisclosed place in the courthouse complex."


My Wife Amélie
Judge Rejects Governor Bush's Plea

Due to a massive amount of email received by the Governor about this case, he wrote to the judge to reopen this case. The judge refused. The judge also refused to allow the feeding tube to be removed from Terri. This is a sad case with a lot of conflicting information.

One of the side stories here has to do with money, another is that the husband is living with another woman. Shouldn't he leave the care of his wife to the parents? But it seems that he is unwilling to do so because he would lose money. Therein lies the moral issue that I would think a judge could rule on.


Judge Denies Bush's Request To Rehash Terri Schiavo Case - from Tampa Bay Online:

"Michael Schiavo said his in- laws, Bob and Mary Schindler, orchestrated a campaign to send e-mail to the governor through a Web site that also raises money from right-to-life supporters. He accused the Schindlers of using his wife's Catholic faith to their own ends.

``Suddenly, they are on the religious kick. They never went to church a day in their lives,'' he said. ``I believe in God and so did Terri, but they are out to push it on people.''

Bob Schindler said his son- in-law is forgetting he and his wife sent Terri and her siblings to Catholic schools and that the Schiavo wedding was performed by a priest.

``It [Michael Schiavo's comment] is really upsetting to my wife because she is a better Catholic than I am,'' he said.

The Web site has drawn a good response, Schindler said. Any donations it generates are going to family attorney Pat Anderson, who had been working for free, he said.

In a third development Tuesday, Greer denied Michael Schiavo's request for an immediate hearing to set a date for removing his wife's feeding tube. That matter will be handled at a hearing previously scheduled for Sept. 11 to decide whether Michael Schiavo can ban a priest from visiting his wife, the judge said. "
General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Amy is now doing some fascinating detective work, discovering what various dioceses are doing to implement the changes mandated by the revision of the General Instruction. As I've said previously the changes mostly affect the presider and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Other changes include the presence of a crucifix in the sanctuary. Those who have resurrected Christs, processional crosses with out a corpus, etc should all be making changes--I have witnessed changes being made already to the Archabbey of Saint Meinrad in Indiana earlier this summer (including the installation of kneelers in a place where many future priests were trained to accept "standing" as the accepted posture during the Eucharistic Prayer).

Notice that having the congregation pray in the "orans" position is nowhere in any of Amy's other diocesan directives that she has uncovered so far. It is true that the Bishop is the chief liturgist of his diocese but even that has limits.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I believe Lord, help my unbelief...

A new book illustrates how little most of us either understand what we are doing or what we are saying when we pray the Creed. Luke Timothy Johnson does a fine job of showing the Scriptural origins of "creeds", their development and then finally the meaning of the Creed that Christians say every Sunday when they worship.

Another book on the Creed that has come out this year is by one of my favorite authors, Dwight Longenecker. Dwight is a convert that grew up a Menonite, to later become an evangelical Christian and graduate of Bob Jones University, next he became an Anglican priest only later to become a Catholic and soon to become a Catholic priest (a married one at that). Giving his journey, he knows a thing or two about creeds and his book on the creed is an adventure and aptly named.

And because it fits into this general theme in a negative way. I can't forget my friend Father Richard Hogan who upon reflecting on the Church's history of heresy reflected on them in light of the Creed, in Dissent from the Creed:

Interview with Al Kresta

From National Catholic Register:

When did you learn that your life was in danger?

The next day, in about the mid-afternoon a number of doctors came into the room to introduce themselves. There was a kidney doctor, and a cardiac doctor, a vascular doctor, and a general surgeon. They all looked pretty concerned and asked me how I was doing.

I told them that I was tired, but I thought it would pass. They pointed to two purplish-black marks on my leg and asked if I had seen them before. I told them I had not.

They explained to me that they thought I had necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria). I asked if there would be a way for them to test it any further?

They said that they could do a biopsy, but the condition was so far advanced that if they didn't take care of it in the next 20 minutes I would be dead in 1-3 hours.

They explained that they might have to take my leg to save my life. It was a clear choice to make. A nurse came over to initiate prayer with me. I thought this might be the end and I embraced my wife.

I had been visited by two priests earlier in the day, so I felt as prepared spiritually as I could be. They slapped the mask on over me and put me to sleep. I woke up about six to seven days later without my leg and with a lot of pain medication in me.

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Ave Maria Communications Home Page
Twenty Five Years Ago Today

The "smiling pope" was elected, a refreshing breath of life entered the church after the declining years of Paul VI. Yet it was a short breath that lasted for a mere month and to some extent was eclipsed by the election of Pope John Paul II. But many were touched by the short reign of John Paul I, enough in fact that a cause for his has been going strong. I've linked to it below along with a beautiful prayer taught to John Paul I by his mother:

"'Lord, take me as I am, with my faults and with my sins, but make me become what You want me to be.'

If you are unfamiliar with John Paul I and would like to read more about him, may I recommend the fine title by Leo Knowles, Modern Heroes of the Church, that was just released this year:

Amy Continues with More GIRM Misuse

open book:

"Go back and read the notorious section 43 (in the Adoremus link). This priest is implying that standing through the communion rite is the norm, mandated in the GIRM. It's not. In fact, the implication of the last paragraph of the section that kneeling after the Agnus Dei is the norm, although a bishop may make another decision.

This seems like a minor point, but it's not really, because it's symbolic. If those bishops want to know what's going wrong in this Church at that September 8 meeting, if they have any time left after going over the rot of secrecy about clerical sexual abuse and episcopal responsibility, they might turn their eyes to how the GIRM is being implemented in their dioceses. It is the perfect example of what happens, and what has been happening for forty years in the US: Directives come from Rome, are adapted by the US, as is our right and responsibility, and then are simply ignored or deliberately misinterpreted by a whole layer of Church employees who have their own agendas, and then blindly accepted by the faithful because it's a priest or nun telling them that this is the way it should be so sure, it must be true, because you know a priest or nun wouldn't lie."

Monday, August 25, 2003

In a Nutshell

To seek in the Church anything besides Christ (and it means to seek oneself and one's own) inevitably leads to temptation, to distortion and finally to self-destruction.

-Alexander Schmemann-
Cleveland "Embraces" Changes For the Sake of Change?

This is wrong...Catholics to change Communion ritual

The only change that is mandated in the new GIRM and it is an adaptation by the US bishops is bowing before receiving communion. None of these other changes has anything to do with the revised GIRM and I can't believe the reporter of this story or some other people in the Diocese of Cleveland haven't pointed this out to Father J. Glenn Murray!

This is horrible! It is another example of someone "mandating" there personal tastes and using the Vatican as the excuse. What is even more pathetic about it is that it makes the changes seem as though they are liberal, when in fact the changes all aim to reign in extraordinary eucharistic ministers etc.

Catholics in Cleveland should rise up and lodge a protest against the Office of Pastoral Liturgy and have Father Murray point out to all exactly where in the Revised GIRM it says to "embrace" during the sign of peace (it doesn't--tells the priest to stay up by the altar unless it's a wedding or funeral), "lift up your hands" during the Our Father (doesn't only the priest is required to do this, no one else) or to continue standing while everyone else is receiving (doesn't). Accretions, things added to the liturgy were one of the things that Vatican II tried to get strip from the liturgy, it amazes me how "liturgist" are constantly trying to add new ones in the name of "Vatican II."

For a more positive take on something going on in Cleveland, check out the book reviewed below:

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Book Review-Highly Recommended

I sort of stumbled across this book while I was doing a search of Poor Clare Monasteries after our recent trip to Cleveland, OH a week ago. While we were in Cleveland we stopped in and visited the chapel of a Poor Clare monastery that I was sure was the same place that a Franciscan nun that I knew had once spent a year in. The nun had remarked how these nuns did not wear shoes, lived an incredibly austere life and the one incident I remember above all was that during the Christmas season they took turns being "Mary" holding the plaster Christ in their hands in the chapel manger scene.

Kristin Ohlson's book is not about the monastery we visited but another in Cleveland, one that we must have driven past at least three or four times during our stay but never even noticed. Something that Ohlson who lives in Cleveland says she had done herself before seeing an ad in the Plain Dealer for a Christmas service there several years ago.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and this is no small praise giving the fact that part of my job is reading endless submissions of this genre. I think what makes this book so compelling is the personal faith quest of Kristin Ohlson. Here is a tale that reminded me favorably of a book that she quotes, Thomas Merton's Seven Story Mountain. Like that tale opened up the richness of Catholicism to a war time generation over fifty years ago, this book could end up having a similar impact on the present generation.

Ohlson's life in many ways mirrors the lives of so many and it why her tale is so compelling. What she encounters behind the grille at the Poor Clare's reminds one of Dorothy on her quest to Oz, yet unlike the Wizard those behind the grille do not pretend or claim to be the "great one", they are mere fellow pilgrims on a journey to a greater Kingdom. But what they do serve as living reminders that there is something greater, some ultimate meaning, something worth giving up everything that pretends to be of value in this life. It is a haunting presence one, felt and whose voice is heard but remains cloistered and out of sight.

The honesty of Ohlson's search is refreshing. In a time where Catholics call themselves Catholic and then pick and choose what they believe, here we find a woman on a genuine faith quest striving to believe. "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief."

I highly recommend this book, it'll make you think more about your own faith, and perhaps your lack of faith. It'll make you thirsty for God and perhaps you'll find yourself wanting to go to your church and pray. Do yourself a favor and read this book and then give it to someone else to read...

Book Review-Recommendation!

Michael Rose, the author of Goodbye, Good Men, has a new book out by Sophia Press. This book could easily have been entitled Hello, Good Men, it details the virtues and charisms of ten Catholic priests, nine of whom are alive and functioning in the church today. I was critical of Goodbye and will admit that in reading this latest work by Rose that colored my preconceptions about the book. But in reality there was very little to not like about this book. The priests presented in the book are alike only in that they are all ordained priests but their lives and ministries are as varied as the office of priesthood is.

The publisher advertises the book as a rememedy to all the bad news about priests. I think it succeeds on that level. Again, I don't think i picked the book up with a lot of objectivity but I found the accounts to be honest and to reflect a wide scope that I would presume gives evidence that in this case Rose is at his best. The priests are all orthodox but their interests make them hardly carbon copies of one another.

Most of the priests presented see their calling under the image of "battle." They are at war with the culture and sometimes the very church. In many cases they seem alone with God and the faithful few who support them.

The priests represented are diocesan and religious, ministering in places like Russia and Washington, D.C., in seminary work and parishes. A good cross section of the church in all her glory.

As I said at the begining, this book could easily have been called Hello, Good Men. It paints a positive picture of hope and fidelity that is out there. Hopefully this book will do even better than Goodbye and restore hope and some trust in the office of the priesthood.

A Modern Noah

One of the more interesting sagas of the past year has been the building of a boat over at Nancy Nall's house as recorded in her journal/blog/website.

No doubt the neighbors thought it odd when day and night they heard Nancy's husband working loudly on the building of a boat. Perhaps at times they even ridiculed him, telling him he'd never get it done. But there had to come a time when they wondered if Alan was answering some divine intuition and was building the boat as a way to escape the coming divine retribution against Fort Wayne, so that he could take his wife, daugther, dog and himself somewhere safer, (like Ann Arbor, MI).

I thought about this when the water's of the St. Mary's river had risen to their highest levels in recorded history around here and water was lapping the edges of Old Mill Rd. a few blocks from both there house and ours last month. But alas, the waters have returned to normal and Alan has nearly finished a true work of art. They reached Ann Arbor without the boat but he was close to ready if they had need it.

Visit Nancy's web site for a view of the finished project, look to the archives for the progression of the project.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Catholic Bookstore Closings

Amy has an interesting take on this.
Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Smiling Pope's Election

August 26th, 1978


"Yet some Catholics still fondly remember Pope John Paul I and his endearingly simple style of being pope. A few elder cardinals are convinced that his brief papacy was part of a providential design that led to the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years.

In the crypt below St. Peter's Basilica, the tomb of 'the smiling pope' still draws the most comments from passers-by.

On a recent morning, 56-year-old Lucia Casella went up to the marble sarcophagus decorated with angels and gave it a kiss.

'I remember him with great affection. I think he was very human -- smiling on the outside but perhaps worried on the inside about the duties of being pope,' she said."

Friday, August 22, 2003

Queenship of Mary

Today is the feast of the Queenship of Mary and I can’t help but think back to a week ago when we were in Cleveland, Ohio standing in the streets of Little Italy awaiting the procession of the statue of Mary’s Assumption. While there was quite a mixture of religion, culture and even some superstition mixed in with the event, it nonetheless stood as a remarkable sign of faith.

What do we ultimately trust in? The procession of a statue of Mary points to trust in Jesus. The statue of Mary is like a great sign of hope being paraded through the streets announcing to all that life after death is a possibility and that Mary is the first to share in the Resurrection of Jesus.

You would think that after 9/11 such acts of religious belief would be on the rise. Personally I think I was more disposed to the procession, in light of the fact that we had been without power from the time we had first arrived in the Cleveland area until almost daybreak on the Feast of the Assumption. We had spent a vigil in a very apocalyptic setting, calling to mind the fragile human nature that we all share.

Today’s Office of Readings offers a reading from Isaiah 30:10-14 that struck me could be an indictment of our culture which seeks to replace God with a lot of little “idols”.

These are rebellious people, deceitful children,

children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction.

They say to the seers,

"See no more visions!"

and to the prophets,

"Give us no more visions of what is right!

Tell us pleasant things,

prophesy illusions.

Leave this way,

get off this path,

and stop confronting us

with the Holy One of Israel!"

It is the line that says, “Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions” that strikes me as so pertinent to our times. People want to be affirmed, they want to live in “fantasy land”. The rest of the Isaiah passage offers the frightening prognosis for such people:

"Because you have rejected this message,

relied on oppression

and depended on deceit,

this sin will become for you

like a high wall, cracked and bulging,

that collapses suddenly, in an instant.

It will break in pieces like pottery,

shattered so mercilessly

that among its pieces not a fragment will be found

for taking coals from a hearth

or scooping water out of a cistern."

I think back to the procession in Little Italy and the faith of the Cleveland Italian community drawing people from around the city for the “feast”, God must be pleased with them, what about us?

Greg Popcak Responds to His Critics

Greg has come under attack from a group that is on the fringe of Catholicism, something they are accusing him of being. They have gone through all of his writing and come up with a few quotes that they find objectionable. He responds on Mark Shea's blog.

Catholic and Enjoying It!
Schindler's List

"The list is life." I have followed the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case from afar and it is difficult to know what the facts are because there seem to be so many contradictory reports.

The latest outrage being reported is that she is not being allowed to see a priest who has been bringing her the sacraments.

There is a web site dedicated to her cause and I invite you to go there and to read the various reports and to make your opinion known there...Terri's Fight! The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation

Thursday, August 21, 2003

One Week Ago

Monsignor Phillip Murnion Dies

I heard Msgr. Murnion speak once. He was big into "empowerment"--one of the post Vatican II slogans that I always felt put us on the wrong road, away from the Gospel. Pray for his soul.

I would mention that if you go to the article you'll notice that he is referred to as "Mr." in the piece. I wonder if this is the latest anticlerical move of the Boston media?

From / News / Education / Higher education / Philip Murnion, priest, sociologist:

"Philip Murnion, a Catholic priest and sociologist who founded and directed the National Pastoral Life Center, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 65."
A Subtle Reminder:

There are Married Priests Already in the Catholic Church

This discussion always is tiresome for a number of reasons. I remember one person arguing against this vociferously and at the same time holding up the greatest priest she had ever met (who happened to be a married priest)--talk about disconnect! There are over 100 married Roman Catholic priest in the United States--so celibacy is already optional because Pope John Paul II has allowed for married priests in certian situations. So the "law" already has been overturned.

Married deacons (who have received holy orders) have been around since Vatican II. What is more they have been allowed to remarry with a special dispensation from Rome when a spouse has died and they have wished to marry again. This is broke with centuries of tradition of not allowing "ordained" men to marry.

Anyway here is a story about one such married priest in San Antonio.

From News 9 San Antonio | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES | SA priest speaks against Catholic celibacy doctrine:

"'My family consists of my wife, and I have five children,' Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church Rev. Christopher Phillips said.

He's not your typical Catholic priest. Rev. Christopher Phillips is one of about a hundred married Catholic priests in the United States.

Twenty years ago he served as an Episcipalian priest. That was before the Pope made an exception, allowing him into the church.

Rev. Phillips and his wife said marriage has served them and their church well."
Don't Worry--It isn't Terrorism?

From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online JS Online: Trains stopped, e-mail jammed:

"Malignant computer viruses halted CSX Transportation trains and slammed corporate and government e-mail networks across the country Wednesday as security experts scrambled to respond to the second major cyber attack in as many weeks."
Fr. John Bertolucci Fights Release of File

In two years of shocking revelations, this was probably the greatest. When one thinks of some of those who have fallen Father Bruce Ritter, Father Ken Roberts--Bertolucci's case still seems the most troublesome to me. The following story makes you wonder what is in his file that he doesn't want released?

Albany, N.Y.

A priest accused of molesting children is fighting the release of his personnel file during his 37 years with the Albany Diocese.

The file has become the latest skirmish in the legal battle between the Rev. John Bertolucci, once a nationally televised Catholic minister, and a man who claims Bertolucci molested him in the late 1970s.

The dispute over the file -- and how it is resolved by acting state Supreme Court Justice Christian Hummel -- may be a critical crossroad in a case that some say is as much about information and disclosure as money and justice.

A lawsuit alleges Bertolucci and other Albany church officials tried to intimidate the man from coming forward last year with allegations of sexual abuse, charges the Albany Diocese has vigorously denied.

Email Virus War!

Do not open any attachments that you receive in email, unless you know who it is from and you are expecting it. Don't make the mistake of thinking you've won something, been approved for something and need to open attachment to find out. This virus is relentless

Subject Lines of Virus

Re: details

Re: approved

Re: my details

Re: Thankyou!

Re: That movie

Re: wicked screensaver

Re: your application

Your details


From iTnews:

"The Sobig email virus spread unabated for a second day across the Internet, as security experts discovered Wednesday that the malicious program also had the ability to update itself.


The fourth variant of a worm first discovered in January appeared to be infecting PCs at the same rate as Tuesday, based on the number of people emailing the virus to anti-virus company Symantec, which has listed Sobig as a 'level-three' virus. Level five is the highest rating."

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Stalking the Divine

One of our unplanned trips in Cleveland last week was a stop at a Poor Clare Monastery off of Rocky Ridge Rd. We made a short visit to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, mindful that on the unseen side of the altar a nun was praying around the clock. It is a comforting thought to think that these sisters pray for us, twenty-four hours a day.

In doing a little research, I discovered that there are two Poor Clare monasteries in Cleveland and that one has had a book written about it, "Stalking the Divine." For those interested in nuns who still look like nuns and still live a cloistered life in the twenty-first century this book may be for you:

Unusual Occurences During Blackout

From Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world

Do you have any stories to tell? Send them to me and I'll post them.
The Sacred Heart of George Bush?

Bush's Jesus is hardly the Catholic one...seeGeorge Christ at the DRUDGE REPORT 2003®

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Father Benedict's Rosary Book

I just finished reading Father Benedict Groeschel's Chain of Hope, his new book on the rosary that is published by Ignatius Press. As always Father has a slightly different take that makes reading about the most common devotion interesting and unique. He shares his experience of praying the rosary while entering the subteranean world of the New York subway system that he describes as richly apocalyptic (something that struck me as prophetic in light of last Thursday's black out and how it affected those depending upon that mode of transportation). He shares the experience of Mother Teresa's praying the rosary in times of darkness--in a word he presents the prayer of the rosary as a "chain of hope."

Somewhat strangely, the Luminous Mysteries are included in an appendix, I understand from my sources that the publisher doesn't quite buy their addition to the traditional mysteries and wanted them treated as something "extra." The meditations and the focus on the mysteries of light as a source of renewal within the church is both insightful and right on. Also included in the appendix is the Apostolic Letter on the rosary written by the Holy Father.

This book is different then the one that Amy and I have put together, ours is more of a "prayer book", this is more of a book about the rosary and a "meditation" book. But I highly recommend it to both the long time rosary pray-er and the novice.

Most Popular Person in France?

A saintly priest!

Alan Moss: A brief essay on Abbé Pierre's personal memoir (Mémoire d'un croyant)

Monday, August 18, 2003

A Book for Your Back to School Student

I first include an review:

A fond introduction by the editor (a former student of the Archabbot's) leads you into pithy latin expressions which are then translated and followed by a light (very light but still insightful) meditation, and Reilly writes with a humble yet amusing style.

This is an extremely useful for those of us who practice lectio divina and who might be having some difficulty with it, as sometime happens with a discipline...a gentle way to get back to it. I highly recommend it.

The fond introduction is written by moi, who indeed was a former student, albeit a terrified one at the feet of this Latin master:

Private Revelations and the "Grid"

Here is a taste from Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world:

"But this is serious business. After last week, with the great blackout, we have a glimpse of what can happen on a much wider, longer scale. At this point no one knows what triggered the outage, but they are pointing to relatively minor mishaps that may have pulled down the energy supply for parts of eight states and Canada. We were granted a glimpse of just how reliant we are on a system that can vanish in a flash. Many are now pointing to the source of the blackout as Ohio, where Storm himself lives and where, that the very same week, a statue of the Virgin Mary was reported to be mysteriously glowing.

As the eyes and heart of the statue allegedly lit -- even in the night -- the rest of the state and much of the North were in darkness."

Go to the link for the rest of the column.
Cleveland in the Dark or A Light Shines in the Darkness

As Amy has detailed, we on a whim, decided to spend a few vacation days in Cleveland, Ohio before Katie had to start school today. It turned out to be quite an adventure.

On the way there, just west of Toledo we saw a van towing a U-haul that looked like it had been blown up. It was on fire, raging with dark black smoke billowing into the sky. I mused at the time that it might have been some terrorist who had his bomb go off before reaching his target. I don't know what it actually was, since the Cleveland Plain Dealer carried almost no news in their Friday's edition due to the blackout.

We stopped for lunch at one of the Ohio Turnpike rest areas. Amazingly hardly any brochures, etc of what to do while you are in Ohio. Does Ohio not promote tourism? I also noticed that there are hardly any billboards on the turnpike. The gas prices and food are reasonable on the Turnpike which is laudable though.

We arrived at Berea, a suburb of Cleveland around in the early afternoon and everyone went for a quick swim. Then it was off to the "The Feast" in Little Italy for some Italian for dinner. But on the way the traffic lights went out and the Little Italy trip turned out to be a quick tour of what wasn't going on because of the power outage and after we picked up a schedule we sought out St. Andrews Benedictine monastery, that turned out to be not that far away from where we were. Traffic was a challenge. No one was obeying the standard rules for driving when the traffic lights were out, and instead of stopping and taking turns, it was more like once one car went forward they were followed by a bunch as though an imaginary green light had come on, and they stopped only when someone bravely started inching out in another direction and was followed by a similar bunch of cars. Amazingly though I didn't see any accidents, perhaps these Ohioans have this down to a science?

The power was out in the monastery but candles were lit and we chanted vespers with the monks with a piano accompanying us. It was a pleasant interlude from the chaos on the roads outside. It also called to mind the real principle of life that all the noise, hustle and bustle of life can crowd out. It was the first "light" in the darkness of that day.

After Vespers and a brief look at the reliquary that contained some very big bones pieces of St. Boniface and others, it was back on to the streets. By this time it was time for dinner and there of course was nothing open, until thankfully we found one convenience store where the clerk was adding items up on a scratch pad (without sales tax--I might add). We bought some crackers and such and were thankful for the clerk who was the second "light" of the day.

Next it was off to the a Byzantine Catholic Church. There were a few cars and Amy worried that I had gotten the wrong time down for the vigil Mass of Our Lady's Dormition. But it turned out that I hadn't but only a few people were in attendance. Even though the prayers were a little unfamiliar to me, I enjoyed the simplicity and constant focus on God, (except for one humorous incident that Amy relates where the female cantor stopped the priest and loudly instructed another congregant on what page we were on). Begging God to have mercy on you, thanking God for all that he has done, and even receiving a blessing as you receive communion gave me a great sense of what the Eucharist is all for the journey, God's presence going with you. A third "light" shining in the darkness.

When we got to the Residence Inn, everyone was outside. Hotels clearly aren't built with power outages in mind. One window in our room, opened but had no screen, so there was little air flow in a room suddenly bereft of air conditioning. The staff was a great help though, cooking extra food (albeit burning it) and providing a keg of beer that the guests had already drained by the time we arrived back (we could have used a miracle at Cana here). Darkness fell, and an alarm went off in our room. This turned out to be a good thing. The Russian maintenance man (almost everyone who worked spoke at the hotel spoke with a Russian accent), fixed the alarm and then turned on the fireplace providing some much needed light to the room (that none of us had thought of in our bemoaning our not having bought a flashlight at the convenience store). The staff at the hotel, then was the fourth "light" that shone in the darkness.

That night, I stood at the open window observing city lights off in the distance, while our skyline remained dark. I stood there receiving a gentle breeze and marveling at the night sky often hidden by the glow of the artificial lights below. Every now and then there was an unusual flash of light (almost like an explosion) that would go off. I couldn't figure out what that was, but it might have been some low class fireworks--since I did see a few of those go off too. Later a nearly full moon lit the sky, the fifth "light", a light of hope reflecting the Sun that soon would rise--like all of the other lights that reflected the Son of God in the darkness that fell on Cleveland last Thursday.
Was it an Act of Terrorism?

From this week's NewsweekWhat Went Wrong:

" In fact, federal investigators ruled terrorism out within the first 45 minutes—perhaps prematurely. True, there was no detectable physical intrusion; nor had terrorist hackers left the usual cyber footprints. But despite the initial reassuring signals to the public, during an emergency conference call with senior officials at 5:30 p.m., the CIA “put on the radar” the possibility that there might have been some terrorist tampering. Informants and interrogations of terror suspects have led the CIA to believe that Al Qaeda is seeking to target power grids to produce just the widespread chaos witnessed Thursday afternoon, a senior administration official told NEWSWEEK. Last year the FBI concluded that terrorists are eagerly surveying weaknesses in power grids through Internet connections in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan. Even if they had no role in this episode, many worry that the Blackout of 2003 provided them with a perfect case study."

Sunday, August 17, 2003


Back from Cleveland, where on Thursday afternoon we were driving along a road when suddenly I noticed that the traffic lights had died. It was 3 o'clock, in another hour the lights would dim around Lake Erie.

At the time we didn't know that. Turning on the radio we found out that the power outage was spreading. It wasn't terrorism though, we were also told. Of course they also said they didn't know what was causing it. Which begs the question of how do you not know that it isn't something if you don't know what it is?

Today, in case you missed it an air traffic control center lost power. Just for thirty seconds, half a minute. But a lot can happen in thirty seconds. Makes you wonder if someone is trying out a new computer set they just got to see how much havoc they can raise.

Here's the L.I. Traffic Control Center story, from Yahoo! News - L.I. Air Traffic Control Suffers Delay:

"NEW YORK - A 30-second power failure at an air traffic control center disrupted flights at major New York-area airports for about 30 minutes Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

The cause of the failure was under investigation but was not believed to be related to Thursday's blackout, Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) spokeswoman Arlene Salac said.

At 3:08 p.m., computers at the New York Terminal Approach Control Center on Long Island lost power when the power conditioning system broke down, Salac said.

Air traffic controllers who monitor flights in and out of the region's three major airports temporarily lost radar contact but not voice communication with aircraft, she said. "

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

About to Retire?

A new rumor is circulating that the Pope will retire on his twenty-fifth aniversary with the Cardinals of the world gathered in Rome for the occasion. We'll see...
Catholic Light
Crowds Growing at Glowing Statue of Mary

See picture below from yesterday's post.

From The Vindicator:

"The crowds are getting bigger, arriving earlier and staying later, prompting the city to take pre-emptive action in the event of an emergency.

Curious onlookers and the faithful have been gathering outside St. Joseph the Provider Church to see for themselves what some say is a miracle since a group of women noticed the glowing eyes and heart of a statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, on the bell tower about two weeks ago.

Weekend crowds swelled, packing Masses on Saturday and Sunday. Some worshippers streamed into the church to pray until the wee hours of the morning, according to Rocky Yeropoli, who lives across the street.

Around-the-clock crowds

Crowds gathered outside around the clock, praying or peering through binoculars in front of the statue of Mary on the west side of the bell tower and the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the east side. "
Warren Zevon's Upcoming Album

A great review not only of the album that will be released later this month, but also of the life and times of Warren Zevon. Zevon is dying, (given three months to live by his doctor a year ago) and this could be his last album or it could be a "wake-up" call. Time will tell:

From theNew York Observer: Zevon’s The Wind Amazing Testament To Soul’s Honesty:

"I think of this passage every time I listen to Warren Zevon’s new album, The Wind (Artemis). One year ago, Mr. Zevon, who is best known for a song called 'Werewolves of London'—a horrible injustice to those familiar with the 13 solo albums he’s released since 1969—was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of inoperable lung cancer. His doctors gave him three months to live, and Mr. Zevon made a decision: to gather his musical friends and family and, under the watch of a VH1 documentary crew, record one last album."

Also, for the "real" Zevon fans, check out this fine collection of his work:

Thanks to Amy for pointing this article out to me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Yet Another New Amy Welborn Book!

Quote of the Day

Where the church ceases to be a symbol, a sacrament, it becomes a horrible caricature of itself.

-Alexander Schmemann (The Journals of)-

Will Catholics be "Left Behind"?

Carl Olson answers the question for you...

An exhaustive Catholic critique of premillennial dispensationalism, the "pretrib rapture," the Left Behind phenomenon, and Fundamentalist eschatology, written by a former Fundamentalist/dispensationalist. Examines the historical, biblical, and theological roots of the "left behind" theology and the belief in a rapture event separate from the Second Coming. Also contains chapters on the Book of Revelation, the millennial kingdom, and Catholic eschatology.

Statue of Mary Glows in Youngstown

Can you say strange???

From The Vindicator:

"Crowds outside St. Joseph the Provider Church, 633 Porter Ave., have been growing larger every night since a group of women first noticed that the eyes and heart of a statue of the Virgin Mary appear to glow.

With many carrying still and video cameras and peering through binoculars, the crowd swelled to several hundred people of all ages as daylight waned Thursday, and the obvious glow of the statue's eyes and heart intensified.

Even with some notable light sources, the reason for the glow was unclear.

Light shined on the church and the crowd from inside the attached school building, where bingo was being played, and from security and streetlights outside. "

Monday, August 11, 2003

Today is the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi but Traditionally this was the Feast of St. Philomena

Absolutely one of the best little books that I've read in the past year will be released in a few weeks. It is entitled "I Ask St. Philomena" and is written by Rick Medina. It is the Catholic "Prayer of Jabez" Anyone who doesn't get this patron saint stuff has to read this book. Medina, a young professional, details how unexpectedly, even miraculously he came to claim St. Philomena as his patron. He also shows how you too can find your own patron!
Nice Quote from Thomas a Kempis

Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world:

"'Do not regard much who is with you or who is against you, but let this be your greatest study: that God may be with you in everything that you do. Have a good conscience, and He will defend you, and no evil will hinder or grieve the man God will help and defend. If you can be quiet and suffer for a while, you will, without doubt, see the help of God come in your need. He knows the time and place to deliver you, and therefore you must resign yourself wholly to Him. It is God's concern to help and to deliver from all confusion.' "

Sunday, August 10, 2003

A New Place to Check Out

Turns out there is a Shrine to Our Lady of Czestowchowa in Merrillville, IN at a Salvatorian Seminary there. This past weekend the faithful made the trek on foot from Chicago to the Shrine. Read about it here:Northwest Indiana News: - Features
Passion Fan Site

You choose whether you surf in English or Latin!

PASSION: Mel Gibson Film PASSION of Jesus with Caviezel and Bellucci
Excellent Column by Mark Steyn

Among other things he hints at why the Great Stone Face, the Old Man of the Mountains fell from grace in the Granite State or why the rock solid faith of some Christians has become gelatin...

From the Chicago Sun Times:Episcopal Church endorses narcissism:

Because I'm an adopted New Hampshirite, people keep asking me what I think about the Gay Bishop. Once upon a time, the most famous symbol of Granite State manhood was the Old Man of the Mountain, the Great Stone Face, whose profile God and nature had etched onto the cliffs high above Franconia Notch in the White Mountains. But, after centuries of keeping a watchful eye on us, he came crashing down in an almighty rock slide a couple of months back. So now the most celebrated symbol of Granite State manhood is the Great Gay Face, the Reverend Gene Robinson. And, although I'm feeling a little gayed out these days, since folks insist on pressing me, let me say a couple of things about the Episcopal Church's and the worldwide Anglican Communion's first gay bishop.

Read the whole column...


BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Cool is still cool

Interesting that "cool" is still popular here too, but I'd say none of the other words being used in the isles is (although "wicked" used to be very popular in New England, not sure if it still is or not though).
Great Book on Prayer!

I read this book some years ago upon the recommendation of Father Benedict Groeschel who said it was one of the best books on prayer out there. It is! Lately it has appeared in and out of print and I noticed recently that it is back in print in the original Image version. No matter what your prayer life is like, you'll benefit from the sage advice contained within "Sensing Your Hidden Presence:"

Best Sports Site?

It is amazing how in one year viewing sports on the internet has changed. A year ago you could have listened to almost any sporting event on the internet for free. Not anymore. Now most sites offer a very limited amount of info for free, if at all. But for one site that still can give you a wealth of information in close to real time for such sports as baseball and even pre-season football, check

Saturday, August 9, 2003

A Nice Amazon Review of My Mass Book:

I can easily see how this book would be indispensable for those new to the Catholic faith. In fact, I was tempted to buy this book for the entire RCIA class this year (pecuniary interests prevented this, of course).

What may not be so obvious is the value to cradle Catholics. So many details of the Mass are lost in the fog of CCD & "Religion Class" (in my day, calling it "Catechism Class" would have offended the hippies and ex-nuns). Details on the meaning and purpose of bowing vs. genuflecting, signs of the Cross, etc., were invaluable, as was the emphasis on the liturgical calendar and historical origins of different components of the Mass.

The author does a great job of focusing on the Real Meaning, as opposed to simply detailing the mechanics. The Scriptural storyline provided is relevant and helpful, as are the personal anecdotes. Also helpful was the admonition to the overscrupulous. It was particularly appropriate for me to be armed with humility when I began to notice fellow parishioners genuflecting to the empty tabernacle on Good Friday.

The only thing missing from this book is an appendix of prayers during Mass (before & after are provided). While referencing the text of the Gloria, the Confiteor, etc., the full text was not provided. Obviously these can be obtained elsewhere, but it would have been nice to have them for reference in this book.

In summary, Dubruiel's work ought to provide an entertaining and instructive read for any Catholic - cradle, convert, or returning, as well as providing a full explanation for non-Catholics wondering what the "smells & bells" are all about.

Actually, if you go to the Amazon link, you can click on new and used copies and I'll sell you a new copy cheaper than they are selling it for ($9.00) and if you'd like to give the book as a gift to someone I'll even autograph it specifically to that person. You can order it through Amazon but you'll be getting it from me.

Here is a New Twist

The story is rather unclear as to why the parishioners are no longer welcome in their parish. Did they rat on the priest? If so the priest should be suspended for sending the letters.

From - News - Parishioners Expelled As Priest Is Investigated:

"The 15 families of Our Lady of Grace Vietnamese Catholic Church in Eastpointe received letters by certified mail stating they were no longer welcome in their parish, Local 4 reported Thursday. The letters went out after allegations from church members that their priest allowed his brother -- a defrocked priest -- to perform sacred services.

Church members said they would ignore their priest's request and attend their parish on Sunday.

'Whatever happened I'm not going to leave until the pope come and say to me, Adam, you cannot participate in the church,' kicked-out parishioner Adam Nguyn said. "

Friday, August 8, 2003

Have You Read Either of These Books?

I'm interested in hearing what you thought.
Only Six Clicks Away From Reaching Whoever You Want

Most of you are familiar with the six degrees of separation theory where everyone on the planet is reacheable through six people. You call your friend in Boston, who is a friend of someone in Paris, who is related to someone in Lyon, who knows the mayor, who once studied with the Pope.

Now the theory has been applied to the internet. I would have thought if anything that the ability to connect would have been greatly reduced to three or four degrees of separation.

From - The Age:

"Email users are only six mouse-clicks away from anyone else in cyberspace, a team including two Australian researchers at New York's Columbia University has found.

Drawing on the six degrees of separation theory, the experiment involved more than 60,000 participants in 166 countries who registered online.

Volunteers were asked to begin an email chain to reach 18 'target' people in 13 countries, including Australia.

Each person in the chain was to forward the email to someone they thought would get it closer to the target. Although some message chains died out, researchers found that emails could reach their targets in an average of five to seven steps.

'This study was based on a much older study conducted by Stanley Milgram in the 1950s and out of which the phrase 'six degrees of separation' is likely to have arisen,' said researcher Duncan Watts, who studied physics at the Australian Defence Force Academy before further study in the US.

Associate Professor Watts said the internet allowed researchers to gather detailed information from a large number of participants. "
Who Need Pre-marriage Counseling? Algebra is What is Needed!

From Yahoo! News - Algebra points way to a happy marriage:

"A mathematician says he can predict with almost total accuracy which newly wed couples will enjoy a happy marriage -- using two lines of algebra.

Professor James Murray says the two formulae he devised have a 94 percent success rate when it comes to forecasting whether a couple will stay together, the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.

The formulae were calculated during a 10-year study of 700 couples in the United States conducted by Murray, a mathematics professor at the University of Washington, Seattle.

The experiment, conducted with the help of a psychologist, involved observing the couples during a 15 minute conversation when they were newly married, Murray said.

He presented his findings to a conference in Dundee, Scotland, for the first time on Thursday, the Telegraph said.

A couple's ability to communicate on subjects such as sex, child-rearing or money was measured using a scale that gave positive points for good signals, such as smiles and affectionate gestures, and negative points for bad signals, such as rolling of the eyes, mocking and coldness."
No, You Think?

CBS distorted the document?

From Catholic World News (CWN):

"A CBS network news report, claiming that the Holy See orchestrated a cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, is based on a gross misinterpretation of a 1962 Vatican document.

In a sensationalist report aired on August 6, CBS Evening News claimed to have discovered a secret document proving that the Vatican had approved-- and even demanded-- a longstanding policy of covering up clerics' sexual misdeeds.

The document cited by CBS does nothing of the sort.

In fact the network's story misrepresented the Vatican document so thoroughly that it is difficult to attribute the inaccuracy to honest error.

The CBS story is based on a secret Instruction issued to bishops in March 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, then the prefect of the Holy Office (now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). That document sets forth the canonical procedures to be followed when a priest is charged with the ecclesiastical crime of 'solicitation'-- that is, using the confessional to tempt penitents to engage in sexual activity. "

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Google Demos

Try out Google viewer, real neet! - Google Demos
Looking for a Catalog?

Beta Version:

Google Catalog Search
In Africa if You Don't Believe--Get Out!

In this country that would mean the exit of 60% of the teachers.

From Uganda: Leave Catholic Schools, Non-Believers Told:

"THE Bishop of Lugazi Diocese, Dr. Matthias Sekamaanya, has said parents and teachers who do not want to obey Catholic rules should not seek vacancies in Catholic-founded schools.

'It is not my problem that I am a Catholic, but my mission is to see Catholic ideologies imparted in the followers of the Church. Parents and teachers who cannot obey these rules should look for other places to work,' he said.

Sekamaanya was on Saturday speaking at St Peter Clavier Church, Namagunga during the Teacher's Day celebrations.

'We have initiated a new education policy for Lugazi Diocese that will guide Catholic schools. It is coming out soon.

'We want to see that Catholic students are given higher priority in admissions,' he said."

New Catholic Blog

Well worth checking out!

Times Against Humanity



"Workers at a car wash saw a bizarre scene at a bank machine, and it led police to what they think is a complex plot involving identity theft in Greenwood.

Officers arrested a man claiming to be from Texas, but he carried three different drivers' licenses. It left police officers trying to figure out who the suspect really was.

A car wash employee saw a bizarre scene at an automated teller, and told his co-workers. Someone was wearing motorcycle headgear while withdrawing money from the machine without a motorcycle anywhere in sight."

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

It Begins...

One day after the Episcopal Church made a move that has rocked the Anglican Church, leading to a massive protest within the convention of Episcopalians meeting in Minneapolis as reported by Rachel Zoll here. What does CBS Evening News lead off with tonight?

Kolbe Bryant you guess, nope that didn't make it.

Arnold's run for the CA governor, wrong again (Matt Drudge breaks this after breaking earlier that Arnie wouldn't run).

The crisis facing the Episcopal church, well of course? Again, not even close.

So what was the top story of the day? This:

Sex Crimes Cover-Up By Vatican?

From CBS news:

For decades, priests in this country abused children in parish after parish while their superiors covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover up were written in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican.

CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales has uncovered a church document kept secret for 40 years.

The confidential Vatican document, obtained by CBS News, lays out a church policy that calls for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests - anyone who speaks out could be thrown out of the church.

The policy was written in 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.

The document, once "stored in the secret archives" of the Vatican, focuses on crimes initiated as part of the confessional relationship and what it calls the "worst crime": sexual assault committed by a priest" or "attempted by him with youths of either sex or with brute animals."

Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases "in the most secretive way...restrained by a perpetual silence...and everyone {including the alleged victim) to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office...under the penalty of excommunication."

Larry Drivon, a lawyer who represents alleged victims, said, “This document is significant because it's a blueprint for deception.”

Drivon said the document proves what he has alleged on behalf of victims in priest-abuse lawsuits: that the church engaged in Mafia-style behavior -- racketeering.

“It's an instruction manual on how to deceive and how to protect pedophiles,” Drivon said. "And exactly how to avoid the truth coming out."

First of all this is hardly news at all. Knowledge of this document has been around for weeks. It is old and it may indeed be responsible for much of the cover-up that went on in a different day and time, but it is hardly the big story of the day. Why would CBS lead off with this when there is so much other big news today?

Read the first paragraph again of the news story. This is exactly the way it was read at the top of the newscast. Is that objective reporting? Is that what has been going on in the Catholic Church?