Tuesday, September 30, 2003

One of the New "Conservative" Cardinals

From Edinburgh Evening News - Top Stories - O'Brien in challenge to Catholic traditions:

"SCOTLAND’S new cardinal-elect has spoken out in favour of married priests, acknowledged there are gay clergy and suggested a review of the Vatican’s ban on contraception.

Archbishop Keith O’Brien said there could be no change in the church’s teaching on fundamental issues such as opposition to abortion, war and divorce.

But he called for 'full and open discussion' on other matters, including celibacy, married clergy and birth control.

Pope John Paul II’s choice of the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh as Scotland’s next cardinal caused some surprise because of his more liberal outlook. "
Plenty of Stories Claiming John Paul II is Failing Fast

Of course we've read these before, but you usually don't hear bishops and cardinals saying it.

From IOL : 'The pope is in really bad shape':

"One of the newly appointed cardinals, Archbishop Phillippe Barbarin, of Lyons, France, told Europe 1 Radio on Monday: 'The pope is reaching the end of the road. It's a big responsibility for us. The pope is in really bad shape.'

He has forced himself forward through many years of his failing health by giving himself new goals.

The major milestones next month - his own jubilee and the beatification of Mother Teresa - may have given him the will to continue thus far.

Thus far, but perhaps no further."

From F2 Network:

Ailing Pope John Paul II, easily the most widely travelled pope in history, has told his closest aides he will make no further trips abroad, the daily La Repubblica reported yesterday.

"The trip to Slovakia was the last one," the 83-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church was quoted as having said of the trip that ended two weeks ago. There was no immediate Vatican reaction.

From Cardinal Ratzinger via Yahoo News:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the German head of the Vatican body which oversees doctrinal matters, has been quoted as saying Pope John Paul is in very poor health and the faithful should pray for him.

"He is in a very bad way," Ratzinger told Germany's Bunte magazine in an interview on Tuesday. "We should pray for the pope."

Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the magazine that the 83-year-old pope had taken on too much, but he was unable to stop him.

Is the Diocese Report No More???

A click on the diocese report seems to indicate that it no longer exists. Not a 404 message. Anyone know the scoop?

Update: It's back up but hasn't been updated in some time.
Michael Brown Reflects on Darkness at the Vatican

Spirit Daily is one of my favorite daily stops.

From Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world:

"To make matters more poignant -- and mysterious -- the blackout occurred as the Pope was naming 31 new cardinals -- cardinals who will be instrumental in choosing his successor. What meaning this? 'Inside the Vatican press room, journalists huddled with candles and flashlights to read the list,' said one report. 'Only a few copies of the list had been made before the power went out early Sunday, shutting down the Vatican's copy machines.'

Indeed: mysterious. Was something to be read into that, or was it simply happenstance? Why darkness? Why was there such a punctuation when it came to the new cardinals? Or was it simply related to the Pope's health? Was God saying something about what will happen when John Paul II goes -- or was it the devil lashing against a list of new and largely conservative who will help pick John Paul II's successor?"

Michael Brown's Story and St. Michael

Monday, September 29, 2003

Cleveland's Mandated Changes Revisited

How is any of this going to foster unity in the rite????

FromMost changes during Mass to be optional:

"Under the new norms, all diocesan Catholics will be required to bow before receiving the Communion host.

Other proposed changes - such as standing until everyone has received Communion or raising one's arms at 'The Lord's Prayer' - are being encouraged, but not mandated.

As opposed to brief multiple handshakes, Catholics also are being asked to consider bowing toward or embracing one or two people next to them during the sign of peace, in a sober act of reconciliation. "
Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel

(among others)

From Pope John Paul II:

"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: "Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power" (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."

Pope John Paul II (St. Peter's Square, Sunday, April 24 1994)

And the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him we humbly pray. And do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host By the power of God Cast into hell satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about this world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Pray for the Pope

I received the following in an email:

Pray for Pope John Paul II

His Holiness is specifically requesting that we pray for him in the

knowledge that his time among us is limited.

Email is such a powerful tool. Please pray an "Our Father" for him and

forward this to as many people around the world as possible.

1. Pope John Paul made this request about 3 weeks ago on praying the

Angelus before the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. He says that only through

prayer will he be given strength from those who prayed.

Let us help the Pope, whose prayers have helped so many of us.

2. Please send this to all your friends.

3. With your co-operation, in just a few days, millions of human beings

will have offered their prayers for John Paul II, and by the same token,

offered their prayers to God.
Give Zook Credit???

I'll give Jared Lorenzen credit...

From Zook Bashers: Give Him Credit For This Victory - from Tampa Bay Online:

"Piling on Zook has become a cliche, but for a long while Saturday it seemed the mob who wants his head would have to be heard. This was as close to the brink of a lost season as you can come.

But those in the Gator Nation who have been beating on Zook, time to play fair. If the Miami collapse was Zook's fault, as many believed, he deserves credit for pulling off a rally that didn't seem possible.

Florida trailed 21-9 with less than five minutes to play, but it was worse than that. The Gators were tentative, almost intimidated. They had trailed since UK's first drive, and there was no reason to believe that was going to change. When asked what he was thinking at that point, Athletic Director Jeremy Foley replied, ``You don't want to know.''

Yes we do. "

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Italy and the Vatican in Darkness

Having lived through the power outage of 2003, one can only sympathize with them. The pope named the new cardinals today with the aid of a sound system run by a generator.

From Nationwide Power Outage Hits Italy (washingtonpost.com):

"Power went out across Italy before dawn Sunday, plunging the nation into darkness, police and news reports said. Authorities did not immediately know the cause."

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Zookball in Person...

If I'm posting a link to Fire Ron Zook tomorrow it'll be based on an eyewitness account. I'm in Lexington, KY today to watch the Florida-Kentucky game...hopefully a convincing win by the Gators!
Congratulations to the Marlins!

As one of their faithful seven remaining fans, I'm overjoyed.

Thankfully, we don't have to worry about the scenario below...

Friday, September 26, 2003

Marlins Clinch Tie!

What happens if the Marlins lose their last three games and Houston and Chicago all win their last three? How will they settle a three-way tie between the three?

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Cubs vs. Reds Tonight

I'm in Cincinnati to watch the Cubs vs. the Reds today. Will be in Kentucky on Saturday to watch the once mighty Gators play...

Go Marlins!

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Pope's Wednesday Audience Cancelled

From Sick pope skips general audience:

"Pope John Paul II took the rare step of canceling his weekly general audience on Wednesday in the face of growing concern over his health, but the Vatican insisted that only a “minor” intestinal problem was to blame."

Here is a little more:

In an audio link-up from his summer residence south of Rome, the 83-year-old pope briefly greeted the disappointed crowd that had gathered to see him at the Vatican's large audience hall.

"Dear brothers and sisters, I send you all cordial greetings. I'm sorry I can't be with you for this regular weekly meeting. I carry all of you in my heart and I bless you," he said.

His voice, which sounded normal for his recent condition although a bit fatigued, filled the vast audience hall and brought tears to the eyes of some.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Transcript of Cardinal Ratzinger Interview

With Raymond Arroyo on EWTN

From EWTN - Document Library - www.ewtn.com:

Raymond: "Will we see a return to the ad orientem posture, facing the East, the priest facing away from the people during the Canon, a return to the Latin, more Latin in the Mass?

Cardinal: Versus orientem, I would say could be a help because it is really a tradition from the Apostolic time, and it’s not only a norm, but it’s an expression also of the cosmical dimension and of the historical dimension of the liturgy. We are celebrating with the cosmos, with the world. It’s the direction of the future of the world, of our history represented in the sun and in the cosmical realities. I think today this new discovering of our relation with the created world can be understood also from the people, better than perhaps 20 years ago. And also, it’s a common direction – priest and people are in common oriented to the Lord. So, I think it could be a help. Always external gestures are not simply a remedy in itself, but could be a help because it’s a very classical interpretation of what is the direction of the liturgy. Generally, I think it was good to translate the liturgy in the spoken languages because we will understand it; we will participate also with our thinking. But a stronger presence of some elements of Latin would be helpful to give the universal dimension, to give the possibilities that in all the parts of the world we can see “I am in the same Church.” So generally, popular language is … "

I find this question and answer rather insightful, mostly because he doesn't answer it with any reference to the institutional church:

Raymond: What would you say to the faithful, who in the United States are so despondent at this hour, and not sure who to look to? What would you say to them?

Cardinal: Yes. On the one hand, look to the Lord is the first point. He is always present and He’s always near to us. Look also to the saints of all the times, and so find in our times the saints. The humble, faithful persons are present, perhaps not so visible because they are not appearing on the television. But the humble, praying people are present today and this is a confidence of the Church and of all our people find these people, finds that with all the problems of today, the Church has not disappeared; but is continuing, especially in not so visible personalities. So, I think this is essential – find the Lord, find the saints of the times, but also find the not canonized, simple persons who are really in the heart of the Church.
No More Applauding at Mass!

This is the good news contained in this piece. The altar girl thing will receive most of the attention though and no doubt spark quite a bit of outrage.

From The Advertiser: Vatican to ban altar girls [23sep03]:

"Nor, it said, will girls be able to serve at the altar. Readings from texts other than the Bible will be forbidden, as will applauding during religious services. No reasons were given for any of the various edicts.

The document will state that all Catholics, whether priests or laymen, would be encouraged to denounce 'abuses' of the regulations to their bishops, or even to the Vatican itself, according to the magazine. "

This Reuter's piece on the same document is even more confusing:

According to the magazine, the draft says the use of girl altar servers should be avoided "unless there is a just pastoral cause" and that "priests should never feel obliged to seek girls for this function."

The Vatican in 1994 gave individual bishops the power to decide whether to allow altar girls in their dioceses. But some conservative Catholics are against altar girls, saying their presence has eroded a traditional recruiting ground for priests.

Traditionalists have also seen altar girls as a foot in the door to a female priesthood, which the church bans.

Italian media reported that the initial reaction to the draft, circulated to the world's bishops, has been negative and the document may have to be at least partially modified.

The draft document also discourages applause during masses and "dances inside the sacred building."

Ironically, Pope John Paul's sermons during masses, even those in St Peter's Basilica, are often interrupted by applause.

Some of the pope's masses in Rome and around the world have included dancing, particularly those celebrations marking Asian, African or Latin American events.

The document, drafted by two Vatican departments which oversee doctrine and liturgy, was ordered by the pope who will eventually have to approve a final version.

The draft also warns against the use of non-Biblical language during the mass, such as readings from poets.

It discourages the practice where the faithful receive the wafer and wine at communion.

Catholics believe Christ is present in the wafer and wine but the document says it is preferable just to receive the wafer.

"Self-service" communion is also frowned upon. This appeared to be a reference to the faithful taking the consecrated host directly from the chalice instead of receiving it on their tongue from the hand of a priest.

Communion under one form seems very suspect to me. The altar girl thing seems like a suggestion. The document seems doomed before it is even released.
A Dim View of a Pittsburgh Priest

The strange tale of Fr. Henry Krawczyk and the University of Pittsburgh football player who died in his church this summer. Ann Rodgers gives the long meandering tale of a celibate priest who led two lives and sought desparately to be one of the crowd.

The novice might think that there were more than enough "warning" signs to have merited his removal years ago, but from my experience all of these signs are such frequent problems among clergy that most diocesan staffs merely shrug their shoulders when complaints come in about "punch and judy" (a term often used to refer to the frequent human failures of priests).

One might ponder what the church would be like in a perfect world, unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world but a fallen world. I do think that all of these revelations will lead to a more public recognition of the sinfulness that is the domain of all of us and that we will begin to have a more realistic view of clergy and to not shake off their faults but demand that they deal with them or find a vocation that suits their lifestyle.

Read the Pittsburgh story here Priest falls from grace
The Other Limbaugh has a Bestseller

From Publisher's Weekly:

They may not get thrown to the lions any more, but today's Christians endure subtler forms of martyrdom, argues this strident manifesto. Limbaugh (Absolute Power: The Legacy of Corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department) recites a litany of abuses and insults perpetrated, he claims, by separation-of-church-and-state absolutists and the forces of secular humanism. Most of them are familiar complaints of the Christian Right: school children are forbidden to pray before football games; nativity scenes are banned from municipal property; the media ridicule Christian politicians, and Hollywood caricatures Christians as Bible-thumping yahoos or axe-wielding fanatics. At universities where Darwinism, relativism and "sexuality studies" hold sway, Limbaugh says, vocal Christians get packed off to the psych ward. Most insidiously, Christians are continually subjected to sensitivity training-which often promotes a "homosexual agenda"-and silenced when they object. Many of the cases Limbaugh cites raise legitimate questions about society's hypersensitivity to religious expression (although the really serious abuses were often remedied after the inevitable lawsuit). Unfortunately, he tends to equate political controversy with religious bigotry, and Christianity with fundamentalism. Many of the issues he cites, like Democratic opposition to pro-life judicial nominees, or laws requiring Catholic employers to cover contraceptives in health insurance, amount to political disputes pitting conservatives like Limbaugh against liberals, feminists, gays or users of contraceptives, with Christians ranged on both sides. Limbaugh has a point: there are anti-Christian tendencies-rigid school bureaucrats, militant atheists and an often profane and irreligious popular culture-in American society. But there are plenty of pro-Christian tendencies too, such that Limbaugh's persecution complex seems overblown.

Year of the Rosary

The year of the rosary is quickly coming to a close but praying the rosary is once again becoming a way of life for Catholics and some other Christians as well. Amy and I have a rosary book that includes the Mysteries of Light and was published this year:

Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries
If Clark Were the Nominee and the Election Were Today...

Neither of which is the case, of course, but it is interesting. Clark is a Catholic convert who was raised Southern Baptist.

From Yahoo! News - Clark Tied With President Bush in Poll:

"Clark, a retired Army general, garnered 49 percent support to Bush's 46 percent, which is essentially a tie given the poll's margin of error. The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll was conducted Sept. 19-21, beginning two days after Clark announced he would become the 10th Democratic candidate for the party's nomination. "

Monday, September 22, 2003

This is Not a Good Sign

Ironically, the convent in question is the subject of one of the finest books that has been released this year about the nuns and the woman who encounters them. I link to the book after the story.

From newsnet5.com - News - Officials Say Cloistered Nuns Are Security Risks:

"NewsChannel5 reported that the Department of Homeland Security is ordering two Korean sisters out of the country, saying they don't qualify for visas. But the cloistered nuns are hoping a higher power will intervene.

The women live as cloistered nuns with the order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. Inside, the nuns pray for the entire world 24 hours a day. They never leave the church except for when they need medical care, and they have almost no contact with the outside world.

But on Friday, they spoke with NewsChannel5 behind steel bars in the visitors' parlor. The bars are a symbol to their commitment to God, prayer and their separation from society.

Sister Mary Cecilia and Sister Mary Catherinia, of Korea, must now deal with the outside world. The Department of Homeland Security said the sisters are security risks. Both Korean sisters may be deported because the U.S. Immigration Service said they don't qualify for religious worker visas.

'I think it's very sad,' said Sister Mary Joseph, a cloistered nun. 'They're not going to hurt anyone at all.' "

Pope Prepares for End of Rosary Year

From Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome:

"The Holy Father proposed the luminous mysteries when he convoked the Year of the Rosary last October. That year ends this Oct. 19.

These mysteries of Christ's life, which complement the traditional joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries, present key moments in Jesus' public life: his baptism, the wedding of Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and the institution of the Eucharist.

They 'are instances of revelation; indeed, luminous mysteries, which reflect the splendor of the divine nature of God in Jesus Christ,' the Pope told the pilgrims gathered at the papal summer residence.

'It was the time when Jesus, with the power of the word and works, revealed fully the face of the heavenly Father, inaugurating his Kingdom of love, justice and peace,' he said.

Noting that the rosary proposes the contemplation of the love of Christ with the eyes of the Blessed Virgin, the papal meditation focused on the second mystery, the wedding at Cana, where Mary's presence is more evident.

'It is she, in fact, who points out to her Son that there is no more wine; and when he replied that 'his hour' had not yet come, she insists with maternal urgency, saying to the servants: 'Do whatever he tells you,'' the Pope recalled.

'In this way she shows that she intuits more than anyone else the profound intentions of Jesus. She knows him 'heart to heart' as, from the beginning, she kept and pondered every gesture and word of his,' he added.

The 'Virgin is the first and principal teacher of Christian prayer,' he said. 'In her school one learns to contemplate the face of the Lord, to assimilate his sentiments and accept his values with generous consistency.' "

The papal meditation ended with an exhortation: "In these last weeks of the Year of the Rosary, let us feel ourselves more united than ever in reciting the holy rosary, in a particular way for families and for peace in the world."

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Mike Bianchi Always Says it Best

From OrlandoSentinel.com: Sports Columnists:

"By now, you know what happened. The Gators had the ball with 52 seconds left in the first half, ran a play, called a timeout and tried to drive down the field. Except they ended up having to punt and giving Tennessee just enough time to complete an improbable Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.

Hail Mary, full of Zook,

Run out the clock or your goose is cooked.

'When I looked down and saw that ball in my hands, my eyes got so big I felt like I was watching a horror movie,' UT receiver James Banks said after catching the pass. 'I was shocked. That play gave us the momentum.'

And gave the 'Give Zook the hook' crowd another round of ammunition. That whirring sound you heard at halftime Saturday was the sound of FireRonZook.com rebooting."

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Second Posting of the Year


How many times will I post this link this year????

Fire Ron Zook!!! @ www.ezboard.com
Beware of New Email Virus

Poses as a "Microsoft security update"---just delete it, don't even open it.

From InformationWeek > Security > Virus Posing As Microsoft E-Mail Spreads Fast > September 19, 2003:

"Less than 24 hours after first being detected, the Swen blended-threat worm picked up steam Friday, gained a foothold in the United States and the United Kingdom, and accounted for more than 35,000 interceptions by E-mail filtering firm MessageLabs.

Swen, also called W32/Swen@MM, Gibe, and W32/Gibe-F, masquerades as E-mail from Microsoft and purports to carry a security update as its file attachment. The worm can also propagate over Internet Relay Chat and peer-to-peer files sharing networks such as Kazaa, as well as over network shares within the firewall if a machine inside a company is infected.

'It is highly effective in spreading because it looks very official and masquerades as a legitimate E-mail from Microsoft or as a fix tool for a well-known virus,' said Ken Dunham, an analyst with security firm iDefense. "
Good News!

This refers to yesterday's feast of St. Januarius (Gennaro in Italy). The miracles has something of an "appearance of the groundhog" lore attached to it, but it happened and that's supposed to be good for everyone.

From Agenzia Giornalistica Italia - News In English:

"At 9:57am, after less than one hour's praying, the miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of St.Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, occurred in the Cathedral, jam-packed with believers. The 'miracle' usually takes place three times a year: on the 19th September, the day of St.Gennaro, anniversary of his decapitation, which dates back to Diocletian's persecution; on the first Saturday of May, anniversary of the transfer of the saint's relics from Fuorigrotta (formerly Agro Marciano) to the catacombs; and on the 16th December, anniversary of a terrible eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 1600. In the latter case, the miracle is rare. The 'miracle' is thought to bring good luck to the city and to the entire world. The liquefaction was announced by the believers in the church - following tradition - by the waving of a white handkerchief by the delegate of treasury. It was then time for fireworks and ringing bells."
Leonard's Loser

When I lived in the south I always enjoyed hearing the unique predictions of Leonard, now he's online. Here is a sample of a game that is being played today...

Leonard's Losers -- Smart Pill Machine:

"The Volunteer Army is looking to play a game of capture the flag, and the banner they want ownership of is decorated with the words 'SEC Champions.' Before they claim that title, they first have to trap the official reptiles of the Sunshine State that are hanging out in the Gainesville Swamp Lands. General Fulmer will have his Tennessee Troops eating hardtack and drinking black coffee, but I ain't sure that's enough nourishment to see them through the war ahead.

Leonard's Loser -- Tennessee by 7."

Friday, September 19, 2003

18 Year Old Dies from Abortion Drug

From Pregnant teen's death under investigation / East Bay woman had taken RU-486, according to father:

"The Alameda County coroner's office is investigating the case of an 18- year-old East Bay woman who died Wednesday, days after reportedly taking the abortion pill RU-486.

The victim's father told The Chronicle that his 18-year-old daughter had gotten a prescription for RU-486 at a Planned Parenthood office in Hayward on Sept. 10 to end her seven-week pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement Thursday night that it was working with the young woman's family to look into the cause of death.

'A patient who recently sought health care services at a Planned Parenthood health care center died yesterday at a hospital in Pleasanton,' said Dian Harrison, chief executive officer and president of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate. 'The cause of death is unknown at this time. . . . We extend our deepest sympathy to the family. We wish them strength and support in this tough time.' "
Near Disaster for Dixie Chicks

From FOXNews.com - Foxlife - Dixie Chicks' Plane Clips Building During Landing:

"The wing of a plane carrying the country band the Dixie Chicks clipped the side of a building after the jet landed at Glasgow Airport Friday afternoon, their spokeswoman said.

The Texas trio had just arrived from Dublin on a private, twin-engine plane for an evening concert at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center in Glasgow.

'The girls are all absolutely fine,' their publicist, Barbara Charone, said from London. 'I'm sure it wasn't pleasant. The incident happened when part of the wing just hit a corner of the building.'

She said the band would go ahead with the concert"
Richest Americans

Happy Days are here again...

Bill Gates is at the top of the list with 46 billion and that could lead one to conclude that computers are the way to wealth. But the reality is that the richest person, if he were alive would be Sam Walton and his heirs are worth 20.5 billion each (and there are five of them). So discount department store/warehouse is the way to go...because Mr. Sam would be worth a whopping 102 billion if he were still around.

Read more at Annual List of Richest Americans Released (TechNews.com)
Arafat Threatens Suicice

I wonder if he'll kill himself if he "thinks" they are going to try to expell or kill him. If so they might do something to let him do the dirty work.

From New Zealand News - World - Arafat threatens suicide over expulsion:

"Israeli forces killed a Hamas militant during a firefight with gunmen in the Gaza Strip yesterday, hours after Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said he would kill himself if Israel tried to expel or kill him.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed Jihad Abu Swerah, 34, a senior activist in the Izz-el-Deen al-Qassam armed wing of Hamas during an operation to arrest him at his home in central Gaza, military sources said. "
A Prayer for the Life of Terri Schiavo

Posted at The Mighty Barrister - Catholic Commentary Online

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The Miracle of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


The Spectator.co.uk

"We also met the miracle lady herself. Monica Besra is an illiterate tribal woman, mother of five children, who appears composed and elegant as she recounts her story. She was suffering from headaches, fever and a large abdominal lump, which, after she had spent several months intermittently taking anti-tubercular medicines and visiting a variety of doctors, was getting worse. She could no longer afford any more treatment and, in a very weak condition, was taken to the Missionaries of Charity home in Patiram for rest. Besra thought that she was going to die. On 5 September 1998, the first anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death, the nuns prayed for her recovery and placed on her stomach a small medallion that Mother Teresa had once touched. In the morning the lump had disappeared. It is the speed of her recovery that makes her cure inexplicable, according to Professor Bonomo, head of the Vatican Medical Board. It must also be declared spontaneous, complete and permanent before being considered by the Theological Board: it was.

Besra’s version of events is convincing. Those with faith say it is a divine miracle wrought by the intercession of Mother Teresa; others maintain that science will one day have the answer for what happened, even if it does not yet. "
Feast of the Patron of Aviators

St. Joseph Cupertino, he levitated during prayer--could be that his fast lightened his load.

From CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Joseph of Cupertino:

"Frequently he would be raised from his feet and remain suspended in the air. Besides he would at times hear heavenly music. Since such occurrences in public caused much admiration and also disturbance in a community, Joseph for thirty-five years was not allowed to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession or say Mass in church, but was ordered to remain in his room, where a private chapel was prepared for him. Evil-minded and envious men even brought him before the Inquisition, and he was sent from one lonely house of the Capuchins or Franciscans to another, but Joseph retained his resigned and joyous spirit, submitting confidently to Divine Providence. He practised mortification and fasting to such a degree, that he kept seven Lents of forty days each year, and during many of them tasted no food except on Thursdays and Sundays. His body is in the church at Osimo."
Someone Else Thinks Florida Will Win Big

From College football predictions:

"No. 12 Tennessee at No. 17 Florida (Noon ET, Sat.)

This rivalry has produced a large knapsack of classic games, including the Gators' 14-13 Gator Bowl win over the Vols in 1969. (Isn't it a blatant conflict of interest for a team called the Gators to play in a game called the Gator Bowl?). Florida's 20-18 win in 1976 was a dandy, too, as was the 62-37 shootout in '95, the Gators' 35-29 victory the next year, Tennessee's OT triumph in '98, and all three games from 1999 to 2001, with the average winning margin being less than a field goal.

Will this week provide another game deserving to be archived? Probably not. The only way the Vols can manage to hang with the Gators in the Swamp is to somehow find another year of eligibility for Jamal Lewis. That's not going to happen, and even if it did, it's doubtful Brian Billick would allow his record-setting running back to moonlight as an 'amateur.' (Use of quotes required because most SEC football stars earn more than the NFL minimum. Oh! That's a cheap shot!).

Pick: Florida will take numerous shots (clean, not cheap) at Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen. The Gators had Miami bottled up pretty good and we're staring at an early-season 'statement' win, until Brock Berlin started to light it up against his former team. Clausen is experienced and solid, but he won't be able to find a rhythm like Berlin found during the late stages of the Orange Bowl showdown two weeks ago, and the Gators will win this one with a little room to spare. Florida 32-17. "
Judge Rules Against Parents

Here we have a case of two parties, one who wants to take care of their child, the other a spouse who is living with another woman who he has had a child with, a spouse who stands to make some money from the death of his wife. Why would any "judge" worth his salt side with the husband in this case? Doesn't reason dictate that care of Terri be given to the parents? She is vulnerable, like a child and the husband clearly is not capable of carrying out his duties. This is spousal abuse being sanctioned by the State.

From Schiavo's Feeding Tube To Be Removed Oct. 15, Judge Rules:

"Robert and Mary Schindler will not be allowed to provide their daughter speech therapy that they believe would also help her to swallow spoon-fed food once the feeding tube is removed from her stomach, Circuit Judge George Greer said in a second ruling issued Wednesday.

Greer said he sympathized with the parents but concluded that their request to try spoon feeding amounts to a bid to re-litigate the case from scratch.

Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when, at age 26, she suffered unexplained heart failure. Her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, has been seeking court permission to discontinue life support.

Following a non-jury trial in early 2000, Greer ruled that evidence showed Terri Schiavo would not want to be kept alive with no hope of improvement. "

October 15th is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, the patron saint of Terri Schiavo. Even when secular "judges" think they are acting independent of God's law they often unwittingly are paving the way for God's will to be done. Expect a miracle--indeed pray for one!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Interesting New Study!

Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a word dosen't mttaer, the olny thnig thta's iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crrecot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

Praying with Icons

New Frederica Mathewes-Green book on praying with icons. Frederica has a style that is accessible to all and as a Publisher's Weekly review says of this book, "this slight volume offers rewards for both the intellectually curious and the religious seeker."

Feast of the Imprinting of the Stigmata on St. Francis

"From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." -Paul's Letter to the Galatians 6:17

From CIN - St. Francis Receives the Stigmata:

"'O my God, Jesus Christ! On this Feast of the Holy Cross, I ask for two things before I die: that during my short life I may feel Your sufferings and Your love in my soul and in my body!'

Francis was kneeling outside his hut. His prayer quivered in the silence of the night. Dawn was near. It was bitingly cold, and the stars were shining brightly in the sky. And then, as the first glimmer of light appeared in the dark, what he had lived for all his life happened.

All of a sudden there was a dazzling light. It was as though the heavens were exploding and splashing forth all their glory in millions of waterfalls of colors and stars. And in the center of that bright whirlpool was a core of blinding light that flashed down from the depths of the sky with terrifying speed until suddenly it stopped, motionless and sacred, above a pointed rock in front of Francis. It was a fiery figure with wings, nailed to a cross of fire. Two flaming wings rose straight upward, two others opened out horizontally, and two more covered the figure. And the wounds in the hands and feet and heart were blazing rays of blood. The sparkling features of the Being wore an expression of supernatural beauty and grief.

It was the face of Jesus, and Jesus spoke.

Then suddenly streams of fire and blood shot from His wounds and pierced the hands and feet of Francis with nails and his heart with the stab of a lance. As Francis uttered a mighty shout of joy and pain, the fiery image impressed itself into his body, as into a mirrored reflection of itself, with all its love, its beauty, and its grief. And it vanished within him. Another cry pierced the air. Then, with nails and wounds through his body, and with his soul and spirit aflame, Francis sank down, unconscious, in his blood. "
Cincinnati Archbishop Under Attack

Over the past few weeks every time I've gone out of the office for lunch and had on the Bill Cunningham show I've been amazed at the attack that he is launching on the Archbishop of Cincinnati. It is relentless, and it is inflamatory.

Sadly, I think even the Catholic League would have a hard time calling it anti-Catholic though. Because Cunningham, a Catholic, is expressing outrage at the sinful behavior that has been coddled and covered up by the Archdiocese and were not talking years ago, but in recent days. There is an arrogance, not to mention strange lack of humility that has been on display by some bishops in response to this crisis within their ranks. One wonders if they read the Office of Readings that they are required to pray every day and over the past weeks the condemnations leveled against those shepherds who do not stand up for the truth.

Until they do people like Bill Cunningham will have plenty to blast them for.

Future Terror Strikes on the US and Vatican?

Michael Brown has an interesting essay over at Spirit Daily today about Muslim apocalyptic writers that may indicate the veiled plans of extreme Muslim radicals.

Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world

Here is a sampling:

In chilling references that predate September 11, Muslim philosophers -- including at least one said to have influenced Bin Laden -- have used terms like "partial strike" and link it to the war over Kuwait as well as the immorality they saw as flourishing in the West, especially under the Clinton Administration. In a bizarre rendering of symbols, Muslim apocalypticists have cited Jeremiah 50:2 and 51:44, where the figure of "Bel" (a Babylonian god) is "punished in Babylon." They connect "Bel" to "Bill" Clinton....

In Muslim apocalyptic literature, America is associated with "Ad," a city whose destruction is detailed in the Koran. Ad was an advanced civilization, according to Cook, who has studied the Muslim apocalyptic interpretations and quotes Abdallah as seeing Ad as a civilization that "could predict weather and possessed other advanced technology.

"They had advanced weaponry and organized sports and cultural events," Cook writes, summarizing the Muslim beliefs regarding the evil power they had to overthrow. "These, however, were merely for pleasure, not for the purpose of glorifying God. Their buildings were skyscrapers [speaking of their capital, Iram dhat al-`Imad], just as in New York."

Therefore, says Abdallah, "America deserves now, according to the sunna of God regarding the punishment of nations, a partial strike like that which caught Ad." In the matter of earthquakes or khasfs, says Cook, the Muslim apocalyptic writers believe America will be targeted "and specifically New York City, which is called the 'great Babylon.'"

The "Mahdi" is a messianic figure whom some radicals now associate with Osama Bin Laden. According to Muslim writers, the Mahdi will proclaim himself in Mecca and move against Jordan, which will be ruled by a Jew.

"Then America will live through the worst disaster in its history," writes Muhammad 'Isa Da'ud. "This disaster will be the destruction of New York by a terrible flood after a terrifying series of explosions nearby makes the surrounding waters swallow it up as if it is an ant inside a terrifying star of heat and water."

In the perspective of these Muslim writers, "Florida also suffers nuclear explosions of unknown origin and this triggers even more explosions as the American nuclear arsenal in the area detonates."

After the disabling of the U.S., much of Europe will convert to Islam, in the view of modern Muslim prophetic writers, but there will be one stumbling block. "This ideal state of affairs is wrecked by the Vatican, since groups of saboteurs under Roman Catholic control are caught, and brought before the Mahdi," says Cook. "They confess who sent them to him personally and to representatives of the foreign countries. Then the Mahdi proclaims that his armies are moving to the Vatican and going to attack Rome."

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

John Paul II's Twenty-fifth Anniversary Approaches

It is rather amazing to think that twenty-five years have almost passed since John Paul II was elected pope in 1978. I have seen the pope in person twice during those twenty five years, in Miami, in the ninth year of his pontificate. He was still young then and full of vigor.

In recent years I have had a book autographed by him through the intervention of a friend, Dr. Lena Allen Shore. She is a close confidant of the Holy Father and is an amazing story herself. A Polish-Jew, she grew up in Krakow, Poland at the same time as Karol Wotija. Like him she survived the War, in her case, by pretending to be Catholic. That pretending has left its mark on her and in the correspondence that she now has with the pontiff, it is interesting how often he counsels her to "be herself"--a testimony to the genius of the pope who realizes the scars that have never totally healed of someone who in the formative years of their lives could not be themselves for it would have meant a certian death.

Dr. Allen Shore has compiled a book of that is filled with her poems, the Pope's poems, their correspondence, her reflections on the pope's formative years and her own. It is entitled "Building Bridges" a play on the English translation of the title that John Paul II now holds "pontiff". It probably is the greatest testimony to the greatness of John Paul II as he approaches his twenty-fifth. It would make a great gift for anyone out there wanting to commemorate the event with a truly unique book on the papacy of John Paul the Great.

Praying for Protection Against Hurricanes and Other Storms

One memory that I have of living in Florida was a Jesuit priest who daily would say the Divine Praises at Mass for protection against hurricanes and storms. This priest a native southerner from Mobile, AL could say Mass faster than any priest I have ever encountered in over 40 + years of attending Mass. A Sunday mass with homily and the Divine praises in less than twenty minutes! Anyway below is another prayer for protection against storms.

Prayers Against Storms

Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. † God became man, † and the Word was made flesh. † Christ was born of a Virgin. † Christ suffered. † Christ was crucified. † Christ died. † Christ rose from the dead. † Christ ascended into Heaven. † Christ conquers. † Christ reigns. † Christ orders. † May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning † Christ went through their midst in Peace, † and the word was made flesh. † Christ is with us with Mary. † Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Judah, the Root David, has won. † Holy God! † Holy Powerful God! † Holy Immortal God! † Have mercy on us. Amen!

Monday, September 15, 2003

Why Being Pro-Life is Right

In 4-D, for all to see.

Should Father Andrew Greeley Be Indicted?

In a book Andrew Greeley claimed to know of a priest pedophile ring in Chicago that may have been responsible for at least one murder. He also claimed that he did not fear for his life because he had enough to criminally indict members of the group in a safe should anything happen to him. Shouldn't he be made to reveal that information? Matt C. Abbott makes a good point.

Illinois Conservative Politics:

"The obvious questions: If Greeley is truly interested in justice and the good of the Catholic Church, why has he thus far refused to expose this 'dangerous group'? Why is the 'information' in 'safekeeping' and not with the proper authorities? And what about the newspapers that run Greeley's columns? One would think that they would be aware of his (public) allegation. Yet, the silence from them on the matter is deafening.

As for the Church, the Archdiocese of Chicago has no information to corroborate the allegation 'that a ring of priests may have been involved in criminal activity. Nevertheless, when this information was published, the Archdiocese brought it to the attention of the State's Attorney in Cook County.' So stated a letter sent to Yours truly, dated July 31, 2001, from John C. O'Malley, director of legal services for the Archdiocese. And, according to Cardinal Francis George, Greeley hasn't provided him with any actual evidence on the matter.

So...is it a case of Greeley's smarmy fiction, or is it a case of his liberal hypocrisy? Or both?"
An Interesting Piece on "storm gods" at Spirit Daily

Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world:

"The very name 'hurricane' is eerie, coming from the Indian hurakan for 'storm god.'"
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

A modern version of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, the more traditional rendering. Today's Office of Readings selection from St. Bernard speaks of the martyrdom of Mary, interesting if not downright creative:

The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord’s passion. The holy old man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted. He went on to say to Mary: And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus - who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours - gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

Or were those words, Woman, behold your Son, not more than a word to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of iron and stone though they are!

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would not die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.
2-5 on My Pro Picks Yesterday

Oh well, that's what gloating will get you.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Nation's Capital Could Take a Direct Hit of Isabel

The most potent hurricane since Andrew is looking like it could hit D.C. this Friday.

6-0 on My College Picks Yesterday (see below)

I would have been gladly wrong about the Florida State pick though.
'Not So Quiet' Catholic Corner

Check out some great entries by "Not So Quiet", a blog by Father Sistare. Including "Here's Looking at You Kid" and "Removing the Cross at Ground Zero."

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Football Picks

For laughs...

College Games

Louisville over Syracuse

Iowa over Iowa State

Michigan over Notre Dame

Georgia over S.Carolina

Florida State over Georgia Tech

Florida over Florida A&M


St. Louis over San Fran

Cleveland over Baltimore

Jacksonville over Buffalo

Spurrier over Johnson (although I'd watch out if I were Spurrier--Johnson only missed hitting Bowden by a few inches)

Tampa Bay over Carolina (but not to cover the 9 points)

Friday, September 12, 2003

Chicago This Weekend

Amy and I are speaking and signing books at A Wing and A Prayer in Plano, IL (suburb of Chicago) tomorrow beginning at 10. A.M. and ending somewhere around 2 P.M. I have the address and topics posted at my homepage under "appearances". Love to see and meet all of you out there in Chicagoland! Everyone is invited to come, no charge!

Joseph is excited about going to Chicago. I had asked him why he was about ten times and everytime he said "toys". Hey, Joseph there are not toys in Chicago! Just a long drive, a hotel room and a day of trying to keep you busy while either mom or dad is trying to keep whoever shows up interested.
Johnny Cash, John Ritter are Dead

The Johnny Cash dying isn't that much of a surprise (the fact that he was only 71 is though--he looked 90). He went out on top with his recent "Hurt" video and album. Hey, a Country Music legend nominated for an MTV award--that's an accomplishment when you Country stations won't even play your music anymore.

John Ritter had country roots too. His father Tex Ritter was an old time Country and Western superstar--still lives immortally by being the inspiration behind one of Disney's country bears. John Ritter was only 54 and was working on the set of his ABC show about raising daughters when he had a heart attack yesterday. Most people remember him from Three's Company but I thought his best role was in Sling Blade.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Good News on the Schiavo Case

From Judge delays ruling on pulling brain-damaged woman's feeding tube | theledger.com:

"A judge Thursday postponed issuing an order removing a feeding tube keeping a brain-damaged woman alive after her parents argued that she first should be given the chance to learn to eat.

Circuit Judge George W. Greer delayed his decision after receiving affidavits filed by two speech therapists hired by Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, saying that she could be taught to eat and talk. He said he now will rule next week.

Greer and Florida's appellate courts have consistently sided with the woman's husband, Michael Schiavo, who has battled her parents for years for the right to remove the feeding tube so she can die. She has been in a persistent vegetative state since collapsing 13 years ago."
Two Years Ago Today

From theUniversalis: Office of Readings

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?

Look around and see.

Is any suffering like my suffering

that was inflicted on me,

that the LORD brought on me

in the day of his fierce anger?

-Lamentations 1:12-

I heard something on the way to work this morning that was a first for me. It was said that on the morning of 9/11 a van filled with men of Arab discent pulled up to the resort where President Bush was staying on Longboat Key, Florida saying they were there to do an interview with him. They were turned away at the gate. Has anyone else ever heard of this? Evidently there was even more terror planned for that day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

New Bin Laden Tape Surface on Eve of 9/11

From Yahoo! News - Al-Jazeera Airs New Bin Laden Videotape:

"The voice attributed to al-Zawahri also referred to the Sept. 11 anniversary.

'On the second anniversary of the raids on New York and Washington we challenge America and its Crusade, which is teetering from its wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq,' the speaker says. 'We tell them that we do not seek to kill, but we will chop off the hand which seeks to inflict harm on us, God willing.'

In the audiotape, translated from the Arabic by The Associated Press, the voice said to be al-Zawahri's threatened more attacks on Americans.

'What you saw until now are only the first skirmishes,' the voice says. 'The true epic has not begun.' "
#1 on Amazon.com Music Charts

RIP Warren Zevon.

Sad it takes someone's passing for them to finally be appreciated.

Man Visits Fort Wayne in Crate on Cargo Plane

This story obviously raises a lot of security questions, but of more interest to me is that he flew into Fort Wayne on his trek. Fort Wayne has an airport where basically commuter airlines fly in and out of, but large cargo planes. The man in the crate flew in on one of those cargo planes that usually wake me up in the morning about an hour before my alarm goes off.

From CNN.com - Man shipped from New York to Texas in crate - Sep. 10, 2003:

"McKinley shipped himself through cargo carrier Kitty Hawk Inc., which said it was told by the shipping firm, Pilot Air Freight, that the crate was loaded with computer monitors.

The crate, marked as containing computer equipment, was picked up at a company called Metrotech in the Bronx, New York, and driven to John F. Kennedy International Airport, and then to Newark, New Jersey, where it was placed on a Kitty Hawk cargo plane, she said.

'The plane actually went to Buffalo. From Buffalo it went to Fort Wayne, Indiana. There was a change of planes onto another Kitty Hawk cargo plane, and he ended up at DFW [Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport],' Luber said.

He was then driven to the intended address, which was his father's house in De Soto, a suburb 14 miles south of Dallas. "
A Bad One

Hurricane Isabella is a bad one as you can see from the photo. It may threaten the U.S. mainland this weekend or it may turn north. Pray that it does the latter.
Pope Heads Close to Home on 9/11

He'll be very close to Krakow while in Slovakia, can't imagine that he wouldn't want to make the short trip to visit. There has been some kind of death threat issued but not many details there.

From News 8 Austin | 24 Hour Local News | HEADLINES | Death threat made on Pope:

"There's been a death threat made against Pope John Paul as he prepares to go to Slovakia later this week.

The threat was reported Tuesday by a Slovak newspaper. Authorities are confirming the threat but won't elaborate on its nature. They say they don't want to say anything that could help any would-be attackers.

The pope arrives in Slovakia Thursday. Thousands of police officers and guards will be on duty during the four-day visit."

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Archbishop Dolan Responds to Optional Celibacy Letter

I greatly admire Archbishop Dolan. I've included one paragraph that I thought was especially good because it focuses on Jesus. Archbishop Dolan isn't afraid to bring prayer and Christ to the forefront of any discussion.

Read the whole letter. It is a lot more balanced than the usual defense of celibacy and it is a reaffirmation of the current practice in the church. The Archbishop does a great job of affirming all of his priests and working not to allow this incident to drive a wedge between them.


Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome:

"The church, of course, listens intently to many voices, and loud voices are not lacking today. She listens to petitions, committees, authors, advocacy groups, even columnists and editorial writers in newspapers, all free with advice. But she first and foremost listens to Jesus, His Word, and, as my teacher and mentor Msgr. John Tracy Ellis used to say, she listens, 'Not to the voice of today as much as to the voice of the centuries.' That voice -- of saints, scholars, and faithful of the past -- speaks eloquently in praise of celibate chastity for priests, a praise admirably echoed by the signers of the letter as well. "
Popular Catholic Writer Father John Powell Accused of Sex Abuse

FromNBC5.com - News - Popular Priest Faces Lawsuit:

A popular Chicago priest was slapped with a lawsuit Monday as charges of sexual abuse surfaced.

NBC5's Anna Davlantes reported on Monday that four women have come forward, claiming Rev. John Powell (pictured, center), a Jesuit priest, abused them when they were teenagers. Davlantes further reported that Powell is a popular professor at Loyola University and is an accomplished lecturer and writer. Powell, Davlantes reported, is the second-best selling "Christian" author in U.S. history.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the Jesuits and Powell, Davlantes reported.
Funny No One Makes This Connection

Remember late last year and again earlier this year when Bishop Weigan publicly confronted Governor Gray Davis? Now, less than a year later, Davis is about to be recalled as governor. I know there are other reasons but to the person of faith this raises an interesting question what would be the real effect if more bishops took to task those who wear the name "Catholic" and then publicly oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church?

From National Catholic Register:

"The message is blunt: Abortion hurts women and is the direct killing of children, and any politician who promotes such a heinous thing shouldn't receive Communion.

That's what Sacramento, Calif., Bishop William Weigand said to Gov. Gray Davis.

But Davis said he's going to continue to receive Communion anyway.

Bishop Weigand repeated his opinion twice: Once in a pro-life Mass marking the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and once in an interview with the Register on Jan. 27.

In the Mass, Bishop Weigand explained that one cannot be Catholic and pro-abortion.

'I have to say clearly that anyone - politician or otherwise - who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk and is not in good standing with the Church,' Bishop Weigand said. 'Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving holy Communion until he has a change of heart.'

Davis has taken exception to Bishop Weigand's statement and says he will neither stop taking Communion nor renounce legalized abortion."
Archbishop Curtis Says Archdiocese Will No Longer Provide Priests for Girls and Boys Town

From Omaha.com:

"Many questions remain unanswered, including Peter's immediate future as executive director. Will the archbishop reassign him to another post? Will Peter seek a leave of absence from the archdiocese to remain in his job, and would Curtiss grant it?

Peter, who turns 69 in November, wants to stay. The board apparently wants him to remain, at least for the foreseeable future, until embarking on a national search for his successor.

A Girls and Boys Town leader told me over the weekend that he was certain that Peter would remain as executive director for at least a couple of years. But who knows? This is a developing story.

Peter was out of town Monday. Archbishop Curtiss said he would respond to questions after consulting with advisers - and with Father Peter. "

Father Val Peter is the author of a very good book on spirituality that is a quick read:

Why You Should Read Luke Timothy Johnson's New Book

First Amy has a wonderful post over at

open book:

"But doesn't this bulletin notice scream 'Miracle of Sharing?' I mean - my experience as a religious ed coordinator tells me very definitely that what adult Catholics want, more than anything else, is answers, and they live with this fantastic hope that God has revealed answers, through Scripture and Tradition. To suggest that 'there is no final answer' to the question of who Jesus's identity is absurd and not Catholic, and not even Christian. It is a shabby god in whom I have no interest who leaves us bereft, with no answers.

And ultimately, those who fall back on this technique for 'teaching' are showing, in the end, how stupid they are. They don't have the knowledge or skills to be able to explain the Creeds - they don't understand them in context, they're not smart enough to be able to elucidate them so that they are comprehensible and relevant to modern sensibilities...so they throw up their hands and say, 'Discuss, class.'"

She's right and I would say that the above average Catholic has little understanding of what the Creed says we believe. The Catechism is based on the Creed and it is a reliable source of belief but it is based on a presumption of belief. Luke Timothy Johnson's new book points out that the norm for Scripture interpretation and belief is the Creed and he lays out a great presentation of the Creed and why we "modern" just don't get it.

Pope-Hopes for Peace Fell with Twin Towers

From Reuters AlertNet:

"'In a few days we will be commemorating the tragic attack on the Twin Towers in New York,' he said in a message to the annual meeting of the internationally renowned Catholic peace group Sant'Egidio.

'Unfortunately, it seems that many hopes for peace collapsed along with the Towers,' he said in the message released by the Vatican on Monday."
September 11th is D-Day for Terry Schiavo


Latest News From Ground Zero

Contributing editor Pamela Hennessy of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation brigns us the latest news from Ground Zero in the fight to save Terri:

As you may already know, a hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 11, 2003, at the courthouse in Clearwater, Florida. This hearing is to be at 10.00am (GMT -5) and, at that time, Judge Greer is expected to schedule a date when Terri Schindler-Schiavo's feeding tube will be removed. When that is done, Terri will die from dehydration and/or starvation. Though the attorney representing Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, contends that this is a peaceful and painless death, the truth is that Terri will be made to suffer tremendously. You can read more here.

Monday, September 8, 2003

Sad News-Warren Zevon Dies

I was just thinking a few days ago how he was given only a few months to live almost a year ago--it seemed like he was beating the odds.

From CNN.com - Singer Warren Zevon dead at 56:

A lifelong smoker until quitting several years ago, Zevon announced in September 2002 that he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and had only months to live. He spent much of that time visiting with his two grown children and working on a final album.

Zevon died in his sleep Sunday at his home, publicist Carise Yatter said.

I Apologize to Zook

Turns out Florida starting quarterback, Ingle Martin, suffered a concussion in the first half of the Miami-Florida game. So that is why he didn't play in the second half. Makes the coach's moves more understandable.
Today is the Feast of the Birth of Mary

Here is a link to hearing AVE VERUM Corpus Natum de Maria Virgine chanted. The prayer composed by a pope at one time was recited by the faithful during the elevation at Mass as a way of contemplating the true presence of Jesus.

Here is the prayer in Latin and then in English:


Natum de Maria Virgine:

Vere passum, immolatum

In cruce pro homine:

Cuius latus perforatum

Fluxit aqua et sanguine:

Esto nobis praegustatum

Mortis in examine.

HAIL, true Body, truly born Of the Virgin Mary mild Truly offered, wracked and torn, On the Cross for all defiled, From Whose love-pierced, sacred side Flowed Thy true Blood's saving tide:

Be a foretaste sweet to me In my death's great agony.

Is bin Laden the 'Mahdi'?

The Hadith predicts the rise of a messianic figure toward the end of time, interestingly also the reappearance of Jesus. Shows in some way how Islam captured some of the teachings of Arius that were prevalent in Arabia during the time of the Prophet. Anyway World Net Daily reports that Bin Laden might see himself as this "enlightened one" who will lead the Islamic people in a fight against the infidel and if that is true how that changes the type of war that the US faces.

From WorldNetDaily:

"If bin Ladin – or some other Islamist leader – were to declare himself the Mahdi, should that make a difference to U.S. policy-makers? Yes.

If the claim were believable to the Islamic world, then the U.S. could no longer claim to be fighting terrorism alone. Indeed, it would become a global religious conflict. "
Strong Words for the Week

Times Against Humanity gives a survey of the "strong words for the week"--a review of Catholic commentary. He makes me sound pretty good in the post for September 4th. Thanks!

Sunday, September 7, 2003

Cafeteria Catholicism and the Canonization of Sin

I thought about entitling this bit "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" but thought that I'd better wait until now to state that, because what I'm about to say is really nothing more than that I am a sinner, and believe me I'm reminded of it every time I open my mouth. I know that uncharitbable things that I say often are sinful and I sincerely repent of having said them. But I think that even as I say that, I also realize that too often I just excuse my behavior or blame it on something else.

Such is the modern attitude toward sin. Although, I think it goes even further than excusing it or explaining it away. The real issue that we face now is that people have gone to the point of calling what is clearly sinful behavior--"good".

I've been thinking it about this for some time, how even the most conservative of Catholics has stopped admitting that they are sinners and their are some elements of Jesus' teaching that they find difficult to accept because of this basic "disorder" that exists in all of us no matter what our idealogy. We all come the light of Christ with our "blindspots" and we say right along with the most liberal of Catholics, "I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have sinned!" And truly we all have. The attitude of conservative Catholics to the war, over and against the warnings of Pope John Paul II about the lack of justice in the arguments put forth by the U.S. government, the attitude of liberal Catholics on issues of homosexuality, abortion and the attitudes of some high ranking bishops about homosexuality in their ranks etc. all point to the sinfulness that is there for anyone with an oposing viewpoint to see, albeit the spec in their brother's eye, while avoiding the beam in our own eye.

Admitting our sinfulness is something that we do at every Mass. We do it in preparation for the sacred mysteries that quite frankly can become a little meaningless if we do not approach Christ with any real felt need for a messiah or savior. If we are not desparate for Christ to save us from our sins, because we don't think we have any, then we are likely to be just going through the motions. Such is the state of many Catholics, I think, including priests and laity.

I have often been moved by the story of Peter being told to cast out into the deep after a night where he and his companions had a pretty miserable fishing outing. He reluctantly does so, because quite frankly he is a fisherman and the carpenter on the surface wouldn't seem to know much about fishing. He catches so many fish that they have a difficult time pulling them in and he turns to Jesus and says "Lord, depart from me for I am a sinful man." Jesus turns to Peter and says, "Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men."

It is a powerful story. It pits our plan against God's. Our plan often leads to a lot of frustration and what do we do with it? Admitting that we are sinners, real sinners, going to Hell if someone doesn't save us sinners---is the first step to experiencing salvation.

A former classmate of mine, he was a few years ahead of me at Saint Meinrad has recently been excommunicated. He was a good guy back in school. In a place that had more than its share of homosexuals, I never even suspected that he was one, but turns out that he is and rather actively promotes it. He was removed recently from his parish after being arrested in a park for public indecency. He's gone off and joined a church that calls itself the Orthodox Catholic Church of America, a church largely made up of former Catholic and Orthodox clergy that is neither Catholic or Orthodox. A visit to their website shows that they perform "holy unions" and "second marriages" are not a problem. In some ways they strike me as "cafeteria catholicism" on steroids. Here you can choose and even call what Jesus called sin--holy! Truly a novel approach to following whatever path you are on and calling it "good."

I am a sinner and the path I walk, if it is my own is often not good. Jesus didn't counsel anyone to "do what they want to" or to "believe whatever they wanted to" rather he spoke of repenting "of changing one's mind" and believing the Gospel, taking up one's cross and following Him. It is a difficult path for us sinners but ultimately the path of salvation...the other road is paved with good intentions but as we all know deep down leads to Hell.
First Linking of the Year to Fireronzook.com

33-10 in the third quarter with 3 minutes left. The announcers are saying it is time to put Brock Berlin on the bench, the fans boo when he returns to the lineup.

Meanwhile on the other side, Ingle Martin stands with his helmet off. The masterful way he moved the ball and ate up time in the first half forgotten by the clueless coaching staff. In a game that demanded experience on the field to run the clock out, he never returned. The defense that was in the backfield all night long suddenly were not within site of any Miami player who had the ball. The defense which held Miami to under fifty yards of offense to this point in the game suddenly could do nothing.

What could have gone down as a defining moment in Ron Zook's career as a head football coach--will go down as a defining moment. How do you blow a three plus touchdown lead in the final quarter of a game? Hire Ron Zook as your head football coach.

Here is what the editor of fireronzook.com says--Editor's Note:

"I can tell you this much...I watched the first half of the Miami game on the edge of my seat, loving the attitude and explosiveness that our guys were playing with, and thinking to myself 'why do I keep this site up?' It's true...I'm a Gator fan no matter what, and sometimes I just get sick of the whole Zook business and want to blindly cheer for the team. No website, no point of view on the choice of our head coach, no effort. Just drink beer and cheer. But I don't break that easily I suppose. Zook even went for the 2 point conversion when he had no business doing so (as aptly pointed out by my tequila-ridden friend Larry), and I ignored it because I was having fun. I was thoroughly impressed though. Completely. I haven't felt that good cheering for Gator football in over a year....and dammit I missed that feeling.

But then the sun went behind the clouds and I once again remembered why this site exists in the first place. Not because Leak threw in interception. Not because the defense fell apart against a Brock Berlin onslaught. But because we have the wrong head football coach. String together an entire game of what I saw in the first half...and maybe I'll give it some more thought.

But for now...I'm not holding my breath."

Friday, September 5, 2003

Want to Visit the Vatican Art Museum?

But don't have the money to make the trip. Make a virtual visit...

Vatican Museums Online
Books I'm Associated With

Click on the above to see some of the books that I have had a hand in walking through. Includes such authors as Father Benedict Groeschel, Pat Madrid, Archbishop Dolan, Johnnette Benkovic and others.
Rosary Book Finally Available on Amazon:

Thursday, September 4, 2003

Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword".

Paul Hill is dead. The State of Florida took his life. He took the life of those he felt were murderers of the unborn. He became one of them by taking their life. Ironically, the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush remarked that Hill's God wasn't his, because his God didn't teach that killing was right--I say ironically because he signed the death warrant that did to Paul Hill, what Paul Hill did to the abortionists. Hill felt they were murderers, the State of Florida felt that Hill was a murderer and in the end they murdered him.

Jesus' teachings are so radically opposed to the killing of anyone. Those who have grasped the teachings of Jesus have changed the world not through violence but through the power that Jesus offers his disciples if they humble themselves and allow Him to be the Lord of their lives. One has only to think of Rev. Martin Luther King and the non-violent Christian civil rights movement and the revolution it unleashed in the United States. Or of the Polish Solidarity movement led by Lech Walesa under the patronage of Our Lady that sparked similar movements and brought down the Iron Curtian. The only victims in both of these movements were members of the protesting groups, in imitation of Christ they offered their lives so that others might live. This is the message of Christ, that we lay down our lives for our friends and enemies--not that we take their lives.

But unfortunately most of us are way to impatient to wait on the Lord and are apt to take things into our own hands. So the unplanned pregnancy is terminated, so the anti-abortion protestor gets impatient and seeks to take up the sword, so the State decides the easiest way to deal with a criminal is to exterminate them. And the cycle of violence continues...but please never in the name of God.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Need Something from Amazon? Get it now...

Apparel, kitchen utensils and of course cd's and books:

The Church that was Destroyed on 9/11

Much has been written about the church that survived the fall of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001, but I've seen little written about the one that fell. It was an orthodox church dedicated to St. Nicholas. It strikes me there is symbolism to the fall of a church dedicated to the Christian bishop who has become the secularized Santa Claus.

An awesome picture of the church before its destruction and the effort to rebuild it are here...SAINT NICHOLAS CHURCH
Scripture Interpretations--The Sodomites

Thanks to Amy for sending me a letter to the editor that appeared in the New Orleans newspaper protesting a priest who protested the French Quarter becoming another Sodom and Gommorah. Here is the link to the letter and here is my response to this absurd interpretation of the passage in Genesis. First let me say that what the writer is saying is truly one of the most oft repeated "modern" interpretations of the passage but in my mind one of the most absurd and cleary one motivated by an agenda that is not at the base truth seeking.

Was the sin of the Sodomites, inhospitality? (read the letter)

This is another example of the sad state of scripture studies. Reread that story about Sodom and see if there is anyway you could interpret the sin of the Sodomites as that of "inhospitality"--while it is true that Lot is hospitable--to the point of offering his virgin daughters to the Sodomites--their crime is hardly inhospitality. In fact if you take away any sense that homosexual activity is a bad thing, one might argue that the Sodomites were being incredibly hospitable to their guests and Lot was doing anything he could to prevent them from offering their generous hospitality to the strangers.

Of course the truth is that the Sodomites were evil. They lusted after the strangers and wanted to "use" them. The sin of the Sodomites is "lust" gone totally beserk to the point of violence. The imagery of them being struck blind by the angels is a good way shedding light on their predicament--they are so "blinded" by their lust that they can't even discern the heavenly visitors are from God!

The idiots who continue to teach the most absurd things about Scripture in order to be politically correct, to re-explain the miraculous and to not offend really have overstayed their welcome. I think it is time for us to be a little inhospitable to them.

Told Ya

Cleveland clarifies that the only real change in the new GIRM that affects the congregation is that they must bow before receiving communion. Further giving the desire for unity in the worshipping congregation, why are they allowing for all these "may" options that will create a "house divided"?

First, this "clarification" is being released because thankfully the laity aren't as ignorant about these matters as they were twenty or thirty years ago. Father Murray has found out that you can't just "make it up" and say that the Vatican is issuing these changes.

Secondly, if the Diocese of Cleveland is really interested in unity they would mandate the posture that is put forth in the GIRM and not try to recapture parts of the "tradition" of the church that Father Murray is fond of. If he wants the church to change the posture of the faithful during the liturgy he should vigorously work for that change. But in the meantime, this instruction is fostering a liturgy where some people will be standing, some sitting, some kneeling, some raising their hands, some clutching their hearts, some holding hands, some clasping their hands, etc. This is instruction????

From An explanation of the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

"Fr. Murray explained that there will be changes in the way Roman Catholics in the United States will do Holy Communion.

Here are some of the major points to be clarified regarding this new instruction:

Recitation of the “Our Father”:

During the “Our Father” (Lord’s Prayer) people may raise their hands. This is not, as some suggest, an attempt to mimic those from the Evangelical or Pentecostal Churches. It is an attempt to recover an ancient gesture of the Church seen in the catacombs, but most importantly, it is an imitation of how Christ prayed in life and in death, says Tertullian, a Father of the Church. People may also continue to fold their hands at their hearts. Neither of these gestures is mandated by GIRM. They are pastoral suggestion from Tradition.

Sign of Peace:

During the “Sign of Peace,” people may embrace one or two family members, loved ones or close friends. They may shake hands, or bow respectfully and peacefully to their neighbor, or whatever the individual deems appropriate to his/her culture and personality in so far as it shows forth the dignity, sobriety, seriousness of this gesture that signifies a deep love, unity, and reconciliation within the Body of Christ. It is not a “hug” nor is it meant to put anyone in jeopardy.

Reception of Holy Communion:

People will be required to show reverence to the Body and Blood of Christ by bowing their heads before receiving Holy Communion. People will also be invited to stand and sing throughout the reception of Holy Communion, though no one will be prohibited from kneeling or sitting in prayer after the individual reception of Holy Communion—a longstanding custom in the United States.

Those are the facts. What the Diocese hopes, is that our Catholic faithful will understand that after the Second Vatican Council, changes were introduced that upset people and were unsettling because people were told what to do, but were not told why we do, what we do. The Diocese is committed to catechesis and education. People will be invited to do the new changes because they would know why the changes. It is our hope that people would come to know that these new changes are intended to bring a greater reverence, holiness and unity to Holy Communion. The reason for the reverence holiness, and unity is: so that having been transformed by God, made holy by God, we would be able to transform the world to be more just, more holy, more peaceful. "