Saturday, January 31, 2004

Super Bowl Prediction

I really don't care who wins this year. Don't have any vested interest in the game. I've felt that it is just the type of game where everyone talks about how good one team is at the expense of the other--which usually is a set up for a blow out in the other direction. My prediction:

Carolina 24

New England 10

Update: I was wrong, of course. New England 31 Carolina 29

Friday, January 30, 2004

Lay Organization Devoted to Helping Problem Priests

What to do with problem priests continues to be an issue. A layman from Michigan has formed an organziation to deal with this dilemna. Read about him and the organization here..Catholic Priests-About Us Solving the Problems of Priests:

"Opus Bono Sacerdotii (work for the good of the priesthood) was founded in response to many sensitive situations with priests and religious around the world requesting unique assistance to confidential problems. These problems may encompass a whole spectrum of circumstances, however, the success in finding solutions is understanding the uniqueness of each individual and their particular needs, abilities and desires especially as it effects the extraordinary relationship between the natural and supernatural aspect of the person of the priest.

In this context, Opus Bono Sacerdotii works quickly and confidentially to assist priests and religious in crisis through a network of confidential experts in various fields that can provide the most appropriate care and handling of crisis affecting priests and religious. Always at the forefront of the mission is Divine Mercy which constrains judgment and prescribes unconditional love and forgiveness. "

Father Benedict Still Not Out of the Woods

From Father Glenn:

I was hoping to report that today was uneventful; it was not. This morning at approximately 10:20, Father's blood pressure unexpectedly began to drop together with his pulse rate which suddenly went flat. Of course, this unexpected turn of events put the trauma team into high gear. After five or so minutes, the pulse rate once again peaked and the blood pressure slowly rose and stabilized. The storm was sudden and strong, but thank God, it ended and Father was back safe and sound.

I was not able to receive much information other than Father did not sustain a heart attack and there was no neurological or brain damage. When the friars were finally allowed to enter Father's room they said he looked "awake and alert". I have not been able to get any clear word as to why this happened, but I was told by a doctor here in New York that this can happen if a person is on a respirator for a long time. In the process of trying to wean the patient off, there can be some inability to get enough oxygen to the lungs and into the blood. However, this is the opinion of a physician who is following Father Benedict's progress from afar.

This morning's scare was sobering indeed. The tightrope is very narrow and Father's steps are feeble. So, once again, and with full voice we cry out: "Lord, have mercy!" In the liturgy of the Eastern Church we hear this invocation repeated over and over again. The ancient Egyptian monks were said to hurl very short prayers to God like javelins. "Lord, have mercy" is a simple, yet powerful prayer so straight and strong! Remember, our prayer need not be long, but it should be deep; meaning, it should come from our very depths. The more the bow is bent, the further the arrow flies. So, go down deep and let your prayer fly like an arrow aimed towards the heavens at the very heart of God.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Wise Advice from a Early Church Father

From the Praktikos:

"Our holy teacher, who was very experienced in the ascetical life (praktikotatos), said, ?The person ought always to be ready as if he were to die tomorrow, but at the same time he should use his body as if he were going to live with it for many years to come. The first [approach] cuts back the thoughts of acedia and makes the person more zealous, while the second preserves the body and keeps its self-control balanced.?" Evagrius #29

Had to Remove the Map

Was messing up my page.

Tales of a Football Recruit

Private jet, limo, nice hotel room, $500 dinner tab... what a joke the NCAA is! Read Willie Williams ongoing accounts of recruiting visits to top colleges around the country.

From - Your Miami Everything Guide:

"Willie Williams' weekend visit to Florida State felt like a scene from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

From a ride on a private jet to chowing down hundreds of dollars worth of steaks and lobster tails at Tallahassee's most elegant restaurant The Silver Slipper, Williams ate up the royal treatment.

Williams enjoyed it so much that he says FSU has moved back into a tie with the University of Miami in the battle for his services.

''After this visit, it's 0-0 again,'' said Williams, who will also visit Auburn and Florida. "

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

An Excerpt From "Walking through the Ruins of Catholicism"

Taming the Wild

Solanus had also been cultivating a patch of wild strawberries which he told the friars he was "taming."

Father Solanus: The Story of Solnus Casey O.F.M. Cap. p.174

I had been making my lunch time pilgrimage for several months when I read a chapter from Cathy Odell's book on Solanus' time in Huntington. I had literally walked the fields and woods throughout but had never come across any wild strawberries. They must have perished when some of the land was plowed, I figured.

It was a beautiful sunlit day, not a cloud in the sky and very low humidity. I started out walking the perimeter of the property, as was my usual route, and began to pray the rosary. Normally this meant finishing the joyful mysteries by the time I reached the far forest where an Eagle Scout had cleared a trail through the woods. There I would begin the sorrowful mysteries reaching the Capuchin graveyard about the time I reached the third sorrowful mystery (the Crowing with Thorns) where I would prostrate in the direction of the simple wooden cross at the head of the graveyard and pray the prayer of St. Francis, "We adore thee O Christ and we praise Thee because by thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world." Then I would pray the third sorrowful mystery on my knees for the Friars and others buried there, at the same time asking for their intercession for my many needs.

Then I would retrace my steps backward in a slightly different path along the woods rather than through them. At about the same spot where I had discovered an apple tree left over from the orchard that Solanus had blessed, I looked down and spotted something red blooming. At first I thought they were small red flowers that had some how resisted the mowing the lawn had received recently. But on closer inspection I found wild strawberries almost ready to be harvested.

I thought of the irony of my discovery on the very day that I had first read about Solanus' "taming" of wild strawberries, then I thought of the whole aspect of "taming" the wild.

Looking over the property of what had once been a flourishing center of Catholic spirituality, I could not help but be struck by the apparent failure. What had been tamed here and once again become wild.

It struck me as an apt symbol for the state of Catholicism in the United States at the beginning of the Twenty-first century. The in-roads that the Church had made in converting and bringing Catholic Christianity to this country seemed to have reverted back to its wild state. Those who call themselves Catholic pick and choose what they believe and how they practice their faith. In many ways they mirror the environment they live in with very little to distinguish them from their non-Catholic neighbors.

Of course it also struck me that I suffered from this as much as anyone.

Picking up the wild strawberry, I saw how immature it was. No doubt Solanus' taming of the "wild" strawberries had resulted in them growing into substantial fruit that was enjoyed by the Huntington Capuchins. Now without that taming, the wild strawberry had once again returned to a small pitiful caricature of what it might have been.

Sadly this is what we also have become. Our influence in our culture is weak and we risk giving scandal to those who look to us as representatives of all that is Catholic. We are "wild" Cathlolics, in great need of being tamed by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me."

This is this year's Lenten theme! Now, I think (in other words, I'm guessing), that the message that John Paul will release tomorrow will revolve around charitable works that are designed to help children in impoverished parts of the world. But if there is no mention of the scandals that have rocked the Church in Ireland, Austrailia, Austria and the United States--there will be something that is really out of touch with the theme.

Our Servant of God Needs a Miracle More!

Father Stan Fortuna, C.F.R. told me an amusing story yesterday about the battle of relics that is taking place at Father Benedict Groeschel's bedside. If you have been following the updates, you'll know that one of the first groups to respond with the offer of sending relics were Mother Teresa's sisters who had relics of Mother Teresa sent to Father's bedside.

Father Stan told me that another group from Turkey called the friars and argued that their "Servant of God" needed a miracle more than Mother Teresa and that her relics should be removed from Father's bedside and the "Servant of God's" should be placed there instead.

Meanwhile, Father Benedict seems to be recovering nicely, thanks to all of those who are praying and to the presence of the saints--both those declared "Blessed" and those who await that miracle.

Free Holy Card and Pamphlet

Thanks to Father Andrew Apostoli for sending me a stack of pamphlets detailing the life of Archbishop Sheen and his cause that I will now include with a free holy card to anyone who would like one. For details go to Free Holy Card

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Pope Meets with Vice President

The pope said...

From the Vatican Information Service:

"I am pleased to welcome you and your family to the Vatican and to receive the cordial greetings which you bring from President Bush," said the Holy Father. "The American people have always cherished the fundamental values of freedom, justice and equality. In a world marked by conflict, injustice and division, the human family needs to foster these values in its search for unity, peace and respect for the dignity of all. I encourage you and your fellow citizens to work, at home and abroad, for the growth of international cooperation and solidarity in the service of that peace which is the deepest aspiration of all men and women. Upon you and all the American people I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God."

Monday, January 26, 2004

Pope's Health Better

Listens to rap and watches Polish youth break dance...

Pope Addresses Alarming Shortage of French Priests

From the Vatican Information Service:

Pope John Paul met with French bishops

this morning from the provinces of Toulouse and Montpellier as they conclude

their "ad limina" visit, and focused his talk to them on their concerns for

the future of the clergy in France "and the especially alarming situation

your country is going through" with the low number of priests and priestly


He told the prelates that he "easily understands how you can feel

demoralized in the face of this situation, . but I invite you to hope and to

an ever more resolute commitment in favor of the priesthood." He noted that

"the crisis the Church is going through is in large part due to the

repercussions . of social changes, new forms of behavior, the loss of moral

and religious values and a widespread consumeristic attitude."

The Pope urged the bishops to clarify and then communicate the image of

a priest as a man whose sees the priesthood as "great and beautiful" and

demonstrates "enthusiasm for the mission of the Church." A priest's calling

is to serve his fellow man and it is here that he will find "joy and


A risk for priests in modern society, said the Holy Father, is that "of

neglecting their spiritual life or allowing it to become weak. . The heavier

the burden, the more important it is to be close to the Lord in order to

find in Him the grace necessary for their pastoral service and their welcome

by the faithful."

He asked the bishops to be close to their priests and priests to be close

to each other "in order to develop their priestly fraternity and pastoral

collaborations." Priests must have a healthy, active community life in order

to sustain each other in their ministry and in problem solving.

"Participation in a priestly association is a precious aid" in this regard.

John Paul II then spoke of the "essential dimension" of priestly life,

"celibacy and chastity," saying this is a much misunderstood concept and too

often is seen as an "impediment" to service. "I invite priests to be

diligent in the face of worldly seductions and to regularly make an

examination of conscience in order to live ever more deeply in fidelity to

their commitment which conforms them to Christ, chaste and totally dedicated

to the Father." Young priests must be accompanied, he said, and suggested

having them accompanied by older, wiser priests and perhaps even

"appropriate psychological and spiritual aids."

"Growing de-Christianization is the major challenge at the moment," the

Holy Father said in concluding remarks, "and I ask you to underscore this,

mobilizing all the priests of your diocese in this regard." What is urgent

is "the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic

aspects of Christian dogma, . but has in great part lost even the memory of

the cultural elements of Christianity."

Update on Father Benedict

From Father Glenn:

"Holy Mass was offered in Father's room this morning. He was reported to look well. For the first time he was propped up a bit. Since be cannot receive Holy Communion as yet, Fr. John touched the Sacred Host to his lips. No doubt, this is the longest period in which Father has not received the Holy Eucharist. Yet, he is now living the Eucharistic mystery by being a sacrifice of praise, broken and poured out. The graces given for him and for all he holds in his heart will be extraordinary - and perhaps already experienced.

Tomorrow (today), the operation on Father's right arm. "

Effects of Fast Food on You

A film about what eating at a fast food restaurant can do to you in just a month. I would only add that when I'm being good and exercising daily, if I have a meal at any fast food restaurant I can feel its effects for the rest of the day.

From Entertainment News - Film records effects of eating only McDonald's for a month:

"It is called Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions and it is a sometimes comic but serious look at America's addiction to fast food.

Spurlock, a tall New Yorker of usually cast-iron constitution, made himself the guinea pig in this dogged investigation into the effects of fast food on the body. He ate only at McDonald's for a month - three meals, every day - and took a camera crew along to record it. If a server offered to super-size his order, he was obliged to accept - and to ingest everything, gherkins and all.

Neither Spurlock, 33, nor the three doctors who agreed to monitor his health during the experiment were prepared for the degree of ruin it would wreak on his body. Within days, he was vomiting up his burgers and battling with headaches and depression. And his sex drive vanished.

When Spurlock had finished, his liver, overwhelmed by saturated fats, had virtually turned to pate. 'The liver test was the most shocking thing,' said Dr Daryl Isaacs, who joined the team to watch over him. 'It became very, very abnormal.'

Spurlock put on nearly 12kg over the period and his cholesterol level leapt from a respectable 165 to 230. He told the New York Post: 'I got desperately ill. My face was splotchy and I had this huge gut, which I've never had in my life ... It was amazing - and really frightening.' And his girlfriend, a vegan chef? 'She was completely disgusted by me,' he said. "

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Latest Update on Father Benedict

From Letter Father Glenn:

"I just got off the phone with Fr. Sylvester. The operation, which was scheduled for today, has been postponed until Monday. Not because of any problem with Father, but probably because of another emergency. Father is still awake and engaged. Father Sylvester told me Father was 'annoyed' when he heard his surgery was postponed! Come on, Fr. B., you relax, we pray, and you'll be out of bed before you know it!

I was also told he was presented with his religious habit with its wooden rosary; both will be close by beckoning him to better health. The relics are now suspended in a plastic bag near his head so he can see them and seek the intercession of his friends. Someone sent a relic of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, Fr. Benedict's namesake. My God, it's getting crowded in that room - just like Fr. B. likes it! "

Saturday, January 24, 2004

The Book that Inspired the Gibson Movie "The Passion of the Christ"

Hint: It wasn't the Gospels. I took some heat for mentioning this over on Amy's blog the other day. Some said "you haven't seen the movie, so how do you know Anne Catherine Emmerich's revelations were the inspiration behind the movie?" Well lo and behold, today I get an email from the "fans of the Passion" web site and here is what it says (from the email, not the website linked above):


Mel Gibson was inspired to make the film because of a book that he accidentally stumbled upon. The book is called "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ." To find out more about the book and to order it, please visit our website. We even have an audio quote of him talking about the book and how he first came to think about making the film over 10 years ago:

If you have never read the book, no need to buy it, you can read it online. It is very moving. If you are not Catholic, you are in for a surprise. Because you are going to find that Jesus clearly starts the Catholic Church in these revelations. Let me quote a piece to give you a sample from the beginning of the Passion from the account of the Last Supper as Our Lord revealed it to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich:

Jesus gave his Apostles some private instructions; he told them how they were to preserve the Blessed Sacrament in memory of him, even to the end of the world; he taught them the necessary forms for making use of and communicating it, and in what manner they were, by degrees, to teach and publish this mystery; finally he told them when they were to receive what remained of the consecrated Elements, when to give some to the Blessed Virgin, and how to consecrate, themselves, after he should have sent them the Divine Comforter. He then spoke concerning the priesthood, the sacred unction, and the preparation of the Chrism and HolyOils.* He had there three boxes, two of which contained a mixture of oil and balm. He taught them how to make this mixture, what parts of the body were to be anointed with them, and upon what occasions. I remember, among other things, that he mentioned a case in which the Holy Eucharist could not be administered; perhaps what he said had reference to Extreme Unction, for my recollections on this point are not very clear. He spoke of different kinds of anointing, and in particular of that of kings, and he said that even wicked kings who were anointed, derived from it especial powers. He put ointment and oil in the empty box, and mixed them together, but I cannot say for certain whether it was at this moment, or at the time of the consecration of the bread, that he blessed the oil.

*It was not without surprise that the editor, some years after these things had been related by Sister Emmerich, read, in the Latin edition of the Roman Catechism (Mayence, Muller), in reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation, that, according to the tradition of the holy Pope Fabian, Jesus taught his Apostles in what manner they were to prepare the Holy Chrism, after the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. The Pope says expressly, in the 54th paragraph of his Second Epistle to the Bishops of the East: ' Our predecessors received from the Apostles and delivered to us that our Saviour Jesus Christ, after having made the Last Supper with his Apostles and washed their feet, taught them how to prepare the Holy Chrism. '

Latest on Father Groeschel

He will have surgery again today at 10 a.m.

From Father Glenn:

"Critical but stable" continues to be the official designation given to Father Benedict's condition. Doctors and nurses are still using words like "fragile", "guarded", and "cautious"; yet it appears the deep dark night is softening on the far horizon. A lip of light is detected in the distance. While still deep in the woods, Fr. Benedict presses on to recovery.

Today, the friars reported that Father appears calmer; most certainly his eyes are now wide opened and his face is relaxed. When our newly ordained Fr. Sylvester told Father that he had assisted the local parish in hearing "first confessions" for the first time Father raised both eyebrows, as if to say, "isn't it wonderful!" It's not exactly a smile, but that will come, that will come!

Behind Father's confusion and immobility is a keen intelligence. Fr. John and the friars make sure they introduce all the medical personnel who come into his room. I have no doubt that by now he both recognizes them and remembers their name. Being an articulate communicator by nature, no doubt his inability to be understood is frustrating. I suggested to the brothers that they find a person adept in lip reading to help. He has mouthed the phrase, "what happened?" more than once. An inquisitive and intelligent person would especially be distressed at not being able to put the pieces together. Be patient, Father!

Today Father had two special visitors, the first being the Ordinary of the diocese who Father recognized - again the raising of the eyebrows. Yet, the second visitor was accompanied by a tender affectionate gaze - his sister, Marjule. Father was evidently consoled having his "baby sister" at his bedside. The friars quietly slipped out of the room and closed the sliding glass door allowing them some private time together. He looked after Marjule when she was a child. In some way, the roles are now reversed. Marjule asked me to thank you for your prayers. With a brother like Father Benedict, you have a good idea what a wonderful person she is. Marjule will be spending the week close to her brother, so we should expect even greater progress in his recovery.

On some practical or technical note: Father was placed in a new high-tech bed, which is programmed to slowly move this way and that. I believe this helps in the patient's general circulation of blood. They also wheeled in a huge X-Ray machine, which beeped and buzzed and did its thing. It appears that the shoulder was not only dislocated but may have a slight fracture, which is painful but obviously not life- threatening. Also, tomorrow, our well-known and highly acclaimed orthopedic surgeon will be attending to Father's right elbow. An elbow replacement might be in order. Father will be wheeled downstairs to the operating room. The first operation was made right in the ICU because of Father's precarious condition. So, this too is another hopeful sign. The operation is scheduled for 10 am Saturday morning. So while the doctors and assistants are working on Father's elbow, let us "work" on our knees. Please, keep praying. Keep praying.

Near Father's bedside is a small table. On the table are a few objects worthy of devotion; a small relic of the true cross, a relic of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and a crucifix used by the Servant of God, Terence Cardinal Cooke, the former archbishop of New York. The New Testament speaks of oil and Saint Paul's handkerchiefs used to heal the sick. Scripture attests even his passing shadow healed people! Well, while we all know that all healing comes from God Himself, He uses many means, many instruments to bring His mercy to our misery. God uses everyone and everything - skilled physicians, caring nurses, competent therapists, and even large metal machines that beep and buzz. In every way He seeks to slip His invisible and invincible hand into our time and space in order to touch us and make us whole.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Democratic Debate--I hate all of them

I watched the Democratic candidates debate last night and I've decided that I hate them all.

Although, if I were still a Democrat--I would vote for Al Sharpton and I did feel that some of the questioners, including Peter Jennings, were pretty racist in their choice of questions for Al that were never the same questions they were asking everyone else. But to his credit, Sharpton points out the hypocrisy of the rest of the candidates.

Why do I hate all of them? (I hate them as candidates not as individuals--I pray for them as individuals, for their conversion)

Because they claim to be for the underprivileged yet all favor the destruction of the unborn. The fact that they cannot see the contradiction is truly troubling. John Kerry calls himself a practicing Catholic--he has voted proabortion in every conceivable way! Joe Lieberman is an orthodox Jew and he too refuses to take his own beliefs seriously about life!

They all seem to think that life is all about money. They are fixated on money--grabbing more of it from the rich (themselves) and giving it, not to the poor but to government programs where they can put their cronies in and their cronies will become rich administrating the program--while the poor remain poor. Most of them are rich and could do a lot of good by getting out of politics and helping the poor--all that Heintz ketchup money could take care of a lot of people.

Why can't someone, anyone stand up for what is right? Why is it that the Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, conservative protestants--all of whom taken together make up the overwhelming majority within this country have no teeth when it comes to who ends up being a candidate for the presidency? Why is it that those who hold liberal minority oppinions are catered to--at the expense of the majority?

A third political party is needed. One that stands up for the human rights of all but does not compromise on morality based on natural law. Is for the protection of life from conception to the grave, stands up for the sanctity of marriage, is just to people of all races and creeds, and is able to do all of this without compromising core values.

Figures I'd be a Reformer

"What a mystery is this, that Christianity should have done so little good in the world!

Can any account of this be given? Can any reasons be assigned for it?"
You are John Wesley!

When things don't sit well with you, you make a big production and argue your way through everything.

You complain a lot, but, at least you are a thinker and not afraid to show it. You are also pretty

liked by people, and pretty methodological about your life and goals. You know where you're going.

Some people find you irritating, so watch out for people leaving you out of things they do.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Father Benedict Apparently wants a Pen

Hopefully, to finish the two books that I've been waiting for him to finish. Keep up your prayers.

The latest update from Father Glenn:

"Here's the latest.

Through the efforts and expertise of top-notch medical personnel, and through the effusion of Divine grace poured out from His most merciful heart, our friend is showing wonderful signs of the first steps of recovery! Although Father is a bit dazed and somewhat confused, we can honestly say that he is slowly emerging out of his medicinal fog. Yesterday the doctors decided to give Father Benedict a tracheotomy since his gag reflex was keeping him from taking those deep breaths we all know he needed. We also learned that Father Benedict had a dislocated shoulder; this was readjusted the same day. Also, a feeding tube, which was causing some ulceration on the lip, was removed; now nutrition is being directly sent to the stomach. This, of course, frees Father from a certain evident degree of discomfort. The nurses gave Fr. John permission to moisten his raw lips with balm and to apply some cool water to his parched mouth with a moist cotton swab. What a privilege to bring relief to those lips, which have brought comfort and courage to so many!

Although Father Benedict is far from sitting upright and smiling in bed, he is displaying genuine and generally consistent responses - slowly and subtly. His both eyes are open, and although he is unable to turn his head, his eyes, glazed and curious like a newborn baby, turn here and there. The friars tell me his 'personality is slowly emerging' and while he cannot be heard, he is forming words. In fact, he appeared to be saying the word 'pen' - my God, here comes another book! O Mother of God, how can we thank you?

Holy Mass was offered in his room in the ICU for the rights of the innocent unborn. Of course, Father couldn't receive Holy Communion, but the friars said he was well aware of the Mass. Of course, he is still quite groggy and easily falls in and out "

Former Bishop Accused of Sexual Abuse

As an aside, I heard that the Cincinnati firm charged with dispersing the $3 million dollar settlement there is about to advertise on local television soliciting any abuse victims. This could lead to all kinds of accusations--a lot false--I would presume. Think about the woman in Ohio who "lost" her winning power ball ticket...

From The Examiner: More accusations against priests 01/22/04:

"Three Kansas City-area Catholic priests, one a former bishop, have been accused of sexually abusing nine men as minors over the span of 30 years.

Former Bishop Joseph Hart, Monsignor Thomas O'Brien and Thomas Reardon were each named in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Reardon was briefly stationed in Buckner at the Santa Fe Church in 1978. O'Brien served at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence from 1982 to 1983, when the diocese sent him to New Mexico for psychological evaluation after reports of sexual abuse first surfaced.

The lawsuit is the largest yet in a series of suits against Kansas City area priests that began last year."

Thursday, January 22, 2004

"It is as it was."

Of course, he said it. This is nothing less than papal politics. Popes don't endorse things! Here is the latest statement from the Vatican and if you read Vaticanese, you'll understand what's really being said here.

From the V.I.S.:

"After consultation with the Holy Father's personal secretary, Archbishop

Stanislaw Dziwisz, I can confirm that the Pope has had the opportunity to

see the film, 'The Passion of the Christ'. The film is the cinematographic

recounting of the historical fact of the passion of Jesus Christ according

to the Gospel accounts.

"It is the Holy Father's custom not to express public judgments on

artistic works, judgments which are always open to diverse evaluations of an

aesthetic nature."

Father Glenn's Update Plus Stirring Video

As reported here yesterday, Father Benedict opened his eyes yesterday. In Father Glenn's short update there is also a stirring video produced by the Grassroots Renewal Team. Find both at Letter 1/21/04

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Father Groeschel Opens His Eyes

From Catholic World News and Vatican news; Eternal Word Television Network:

"EWTN regular Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., who was critically injured after being hit by a car January 11th, opened his eyes and reacted to stimulus Wednesday."

State of the Union of the Catholic Church

Perhaps I wrote about this last year or perhaps I was just thinking about it at five o'clock this morning and it seems like last year, but I couldn't help but think as I watched the President's State of the Union address last night about offering a similar critique of the state of the Church in this country.

We have undergone a severe crisis in the Church. It began with a breakdown of discipline that no longer saw any reason for that practice, almost forty years ago. I think the symbol of this was the lifting of the ban for Catholics of eating meat on Fridays, add to it the loss of ember days.

Quickly on the heals of this highly destructive symbolic act was a watered down Catechesis--that no longer present Jesus as the "way" but one of many ways. Jesus Christ literally became the "road less traveled" in rapid pace. His "way" was replaced with a cornocopia of new routes based on newly defined historical Christs--none of whom matched up all that well with the Jesus presented in the Gospels but pretty much matched the ideology of whoever was crafting these false Christs.

From the new catechesis flowed liturgy light, no longer really worship per se, but a friendly gathering in Joe Blow's living room with the latest pop music providing the background (those of you who are over forty will remember those days). Over time some of these liturgy experiments have faded into the winds of history but a true sense of worship of God, of communio, has only made a return in a few places. Like the agape feasts that Paul condemned in the nascient church, coffee and donuts are the feast that many look forward to receiving at the conclusion of Mass. I would even say that if there was anything to symbolize where liturgy has gone---it could be symbolized by a styrofoam coffee cup and a Krispy Kreme glazed donut--modern Catholics seem to think these are what have the ability to make us one rather than the Body and Blood of Christ. The horizonal nature of modern Catholic worship continues.

The Church should be one. There should be a unity of believers, united in Christ. Yet the modern church is as divided as the world it lives in. Perhaps it is because when the doors of the Church were opened to the world, the world came in and took over the Church. So we now live in a Church where ideology is worshiped more than God and division is tolerated rather than overcome in Christ Jesus.

How can this crisis be overcome?

First, by rediscovering Jesus. The Pope has recommended contemplating on the face of Christ with Mary in the rosary. I think this is an excellent practice. Focus on the "one thing necessary." What is necessary for the divisions that sever the Body of Christ--the Church to be healed? To be grafted to the vine---we are the branches, He is the Vine. Apart from Him we can do nothing. And this precisely is the problem, too many in the Church are doing everything apart from Christ , often in the name of a false Christ or ideology that they've made into a God. This applies to liberal and conservatives---the divider "diabolos" seeks to keep us weak.

Secondly, by living out the Gospel---embracing the mysterious power of Christ to overcome the world. God's ways are not our ways. Too many of us are trying to do it our way or the way we see it done in the world. This is not the Gospel message. Our Lord uses the weak and our weakness to show forth His power. "The Lord Himself will figh for you, you have only to be still," (Exodus 14:14), were the words Moses told the Israelites when there situation seemed hopeless. This is the level of faith that the Scriptures proclaim.

Latest Update on Father Groeschel

From Father Glenn:

"Stretch out your hand!" This is the command Our Lord gives to a man with a shriveled hand in today's Gospel. The gospel says, "The man did so and his hand was perfectly restored". Today, Fr. Benedict was commanded, "Father raise your eyebrow! Raise your finger!"

Nothing. No movement.

Today things were quiet. Perhaps too quiet. Father is still asleep. The chemicals put into his system the first night were necessary to keep his body still and to dull the pain. Evidently, the sedatives are doing their thing, perhaps a bit more than expected. The doctors have told us that every person reacts differently to the same doses. The way I read the present situation is that there is a certain "cautious optimism". Professionals are understandably hesitant to offer their opinions. Sometimes you get more from the nurses' expressions than from what they say. Some raise their eyebrows and shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Who knows?" Some slightly purse their lips and tilt their heads which looks like: "I'm sorry". Many of you have been through this with loved ones. "An emotional roller coaster" is how one mother of a cancer victim recently described it to me.

Yet, today we choose to thank God. Fr. Benedict has survived thus far. We're into our second week. Every day he is with us is a gift. He is in little pain. The head wound is healing. The leg was repaired masterfully with no apparent negative effects. His color is good. His blood pressure "okay", and his heart rate generally moderate. His lungs show no signs of pneumonia or infections.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Free Holy Card

Archbishop Fulton Sheen holy card with prayer for his intercession.

For details...Free Holy Card

Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

For all you writers out there...

Found at Holt Uncensored :: A Candid Look at Books and the Book Industry : Publishing News : Booksellers : Bookstores : Reviews Interviews

A Tale of Two Howards?

Howard Beal in the movie Network was "Mad as hell and he wasn't going to take it anymore."

and the defiant...

Howard Dean

Daily Update on Father Benedict

From Father Glenn:

Today is Monday, January 19. Here is the latest update on Fr. Benedict.

Much appears to be the same on the surface, yet we are hoping much improvement is happening in hiding. Father's heart rate has slightly improved, but his blood pressure dipped a bit - two areas that are continually being monitored by his attending nurses.

A plastic surgeon examined the two head wounds which are now unbandaged and slowly healing. Father has one small but deep puncture right above his right eye which should heal in time. The second is a "Y" shaped wound more to the back of the skull. The mere fact the doctors are speaking of cosmetic surgery "in the future" gives us great hope!

They had Father in a slightly raised position to prevent fluid building up in the lungs; now he is lying prone due to some fluid buildup in the legs. The fear of pneumonia is keeping everyone on alert. Please, continue to "attack the enemy" with your prayers to the Holy Spirit. Begin and end your prayer by taking a good deep breath - fill your lungs, then slowly let the air out. This is what puts oxygen into the blood and what is not happening due to Father's shallow breathing.

Father John Lynch and the friars will continue to read, pray, and sing to Father as they have been doing sweetly and gently. Tomorrow, they will be making a greater effort to stimulate the senses - especially sound and touch. There will be a slight reduction of sedatives so that Father will come out of the "fog". There appears to be no brain damage and Father Benedict is not in a coma; nevertheless, the body has experienced severe trauma - a real "shock to the system" to say the very least.

A number of people have mentioned they have read our prayer for Father on EWTN. Perhaps if we make copies, we can be praying together in a very special way. I will give you another update, if God wills, tomorrow night. God bless you!

Monday, January 19, 2004

Blessed Orthodox Epiphany!!!

Today the Russian Orthodox celebrate Epiphany. They bless the water and all over Russia and Eastern Europe believers bathe themselves in the blessed water.

Yes, that is ice they are standing on folks! The temperarture was about 31 degrees.

At an Undisclosed Location?

Vice President Cheney to meet with Pope John Paul II this Friday...IHT: Cheney to lead group at economic forum

Martin Luther King

This past summer on our way to Florida, Amy and I stopped at the gravesite of Martin Luther King Jr. I had been there before, a number of times. Though it is close to downtown, there is a quiet that persist--obviously this was not the case the other day when President Bush was there--but the times I've been there, although a crowd is present, most are quiet, reflecting.

What are they reflecting on?

Non-violence, peaceful protest, offer no resistence--the teachings of Christ! For what made Dr. King's message different and in the end successful was the apparent failure of it. Like the master he preached--his tomb stands like a cross planted squarely in the middle of the south. The relecting pool surrounding it reflects the faces of humanity who walk around it.

It was Christian faith, radical belief in the message of Jesus that led the civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and sadly that very faith has been forgotten by many who wish to follow in his footprints. But who can blame them when they see the tomb of Dr. King, they see the price of the taking up one's cross and following the master.

We also visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church nearby. I had never been inside the church before--since it was undergoing renovations. Amy and I were both shocked at how small it was--having seen in on television countless times, it seemed large. But alas it wasn't..."if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to that mountain."

There will be many talks given today, that will laud Dr. King and his contribution to our society. There will be many proclamations about the progress we have made and some lamentation about how much further we have to go. But the saddest indictment will not be that we have not moved far enough in recognizing all people as our brothers and sisters--but rather that most of us have forgotten the one Father that we share that makes us all brothers and sisters!

At the Loraine Motel in Memphis, TN where Dr. King was shot there is a historical marker with a quote from Genesis..."here comes that dreamer, let us put an end to him and then see what becomes of his dream." Of course the dreamer spoken of in Genesis is Joseph and his dream was given to him by God and nothing men could do could destroy or keep that dream from coming to fruition. Ultimately God always wins...

Her Silent Fight

Reflections by Father Rob Johansen and Peter Vere on what Terri Schiavo has taught them about the culture of life. Found at Lay Witness

Latest Update on Father Benedict

Father Andrew Apostoli spoke to me and asked that we keep praying for Father. The medcated fog is necessary, he said, to conserve Father's strength to fight off all the trauma that his body has endured.

From Father Glenn's Letter of 1/18/04:

Sunday was for Fr. Benedict what Sunday should be - a day of rest. Today there was no scheduled procedures, at least not medically speaking. Thanks to a quiet and devout layman, Fr. Benedict received some spiritual therapy as he was blest with a relic of Saint Francis of Assisi. It seems that Saint Francis made it to Fr. Benedict's side before Blessed Mother Teresa! Evidently a friend who was bringing the relic from Calcutta got unexpectedly stranded in London. Now guess where he's spending the night? Our friary in London!

The situation with Father is still somewhat the same -nothing too new, nothing too bad - at least from what we can see. There is still no immediate response to stimuli except the slight raising of his eyebrow. Remember, that medicinal "fog" Father's swimming in? Well, this is caused not only by the accumulated sedatives in his system together with the prescribed medicine to ease pain, but it may also be the excess blood from the head wound which still needs to be absorbed into Father's system. This accumulated blood on the brain may be suppressing his ability to readily respond to stimuli like voice commands or touch. So, perhaps when the blood is absorbed things might look better. There is no talk about any neurological damage at this time.

Here's the dilemma: sedatives are necessary to ease the pain which reduces stress on the heart, yet Father needs to break through this thick fog he's in. What to do? While the medical people do their thing, we'll do ours. Let's make our prayer not only sincere, but also clear!

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Fear of Pneumonia and Father Groeschel

Here is the latest update on Father Benedict from Father Glenn:

Today is Saturday, January 17, and here is a brief update on Fr. Benedict's condition.

Fr. John Lynch, a close friend and a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of New York, continues to stay close by Fr. Benedict. He reports to me that Fr. Benedict had "a good day" and is stable in the wake of last night's extensive surgery. The leg was masterfully attended to thanks to the Holy-Spirit guided hands of a wonderful orthopedic surgeon and his assistant. Evidently, the right arm still needs work but it isn't a major concern for his doctor at this time. The incision in the abdomen is now safely closed. As planned, the doctors did place small "screens" or "filters" in the lower abdomen to prevent any blood clots from the lower extremities traveling to the heart, lungs, and brain. The bandages to the head wound were changed. This wound doesn't appear to be problematic at this point.

Fr. Conrad and Br. Sharbel both report that Father's color looks good, and the overall swelling of the face and body has greatly diminished. Father Benedict still remains in a "deep fog" because of the sedatives. The doctors want to slowly but surely diminish the amount of these pain-reducing medicines so that he can begin to respond to stimulus. From what I have been told, this is important; they don't want him to stay in this "fog" too long.

Although Father doesn't immediately respond to simple commands (e.g. move finger, etc.), he did flinch when the head bandage was being changed! Although no one wants to cause Father any pain, his reaction to pain is actually good. He has to in some way, struggle out of his drug induced sleep.

While these are good signs, we all must now turn our attention to an enemy on the horizon -pneumonia. At the time of the accident, like many of us, Father had a cold with some congestion. Also, although Father has been breathing on his own with the aid of a respirator, his breathing has been quite shallow. As he lies still in one place, fluid buildup in the lungs is almost inevitable. The doctors can almost see the enemy ready to attack.

Golden Menorah from Temple in Vatican?

One of the strangest aspects to this story is the claim the golden menorah that once stood in the Temple in Jerusalem is in the Vatican.

My friend, Dr. Lena Allen Shore was present at this meeting. I'll have to ask her about this when she returns.

From CBS 2: Pope Meets With Israel's Chief Rabbis:

"The audience with Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar was the first by Israel's chief rabbis in the Vatican. The pope met Israel's previous chief rabbis in the Holy Land during his visit in 2000.

Before leaving Israel, the rabbis said they would ask to search Vatican storerooms for artifacts such as the huge golden menorah that stood in the temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

But Metzger said they didn't mention the menorah.

'We left it to his discretion to find an object that would be important to us,' Metzger said. 'We don't know if it (the menorah) exists but if it does and they decide to give it to us there will be no greater joy for us.'

They were shown manuscripts written by the 12th century Jewish scholar Moses Maimondes and asked that they be lent to Israel.

John Paul told them that in his 25 years as pope 'I have striven to promote Jewish-Catholic dialogue and to foster ever greater understanding, respect and cooperation between us.' "

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Latest Update on Father Benedict's Condition

The friars have all set up a link, so that you can email your wishes to Father Benedict...

From aLetter 1/16/04 by Father Glenn:

"I am getting this message to you earlier than planned since I have been told that Fr. Benedict is being operated on at this moment. The time now is 8:00 pm (EST).

From what I know tonight they are operating on Father's right arm. This will be the second procedure on the right arm. Last night's operation was simply 'step one'. Besides attending to his right arm, the doctors will also work on the right leg which was broken in two places. The doctors will also be stitching up the open incision in his abdomen which was opened when they had to do an exploratory looking for the source of an acid build up. This has been brought to an acceptable level with medication. Finally, they will be inserting small filters to prevent blood clots from traveling to vital organs. So you see how much your prayers are needed."

Mr. John Bertolucci

Of all the charismatic leaders of the 1980's, I liked Father John Bertolucci the best. He was a great preacher, had a great television program and was a remarkable evangelist.

He was largely responsible for keeping a segment of the Charismatic movement linked to a more conservative idealogy. I think he also was responsible for the bringing devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary into the movement--a move that split it to some degree.

I thought it was strange, how he just disappeared from sight in the 90's.

Sadly, he is an example that the sexual failings are not a liberal enterprise.

I pray for him and his victims, but at the same time give thanks for the ministry that he provided for the church at one time--a time I might add that was after his great fall (but of course no one knew it at the time).

He is still teaching us a lesson, even now. We are all sinners, we all have failed. We all need Christ. As the Psalmist says, "I have seen the cedars of Lebanon towering, I looked again and they were gone..."

From Albany, N.Y. --

"Bertolucci was among the first priests removed by the diocese when the sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002. He had retired before that, and had been a national leader of the charismatic Christian movement.

Bertolucci's appearance at the conference sparked controversy. Bertolucci wore a dark suit, like that worn by priests.

Aretakis and a victims' advocates group said such wearing of clerical garb was in violation of the church's rules on priests removed from ministry for sexual abuse of children.

Diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said there was no violation because Bertolucci was not wearing his white clerical collar. 'He was wearing the black suit, but maybe he has only one suit,' Goldfarb said.

The Capital Region Chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests fired off a letter to Bishop Howard Hubbard demanding an investigation.

'When Mr. Bertolucci was removed from active ministry, he should have been told by you, in no uncertain terms, that he is forbidden from presenting himself in any way, shape or form as a member of the clergy. This includes dressing as a priest,' wrote chapter leader Mark Furnish. "

Friday, January 16, 2004

Only a Fifteen

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 15.
What is your score? Get it here.

Extreme Makeover Indeed

One of the worst things being promoted by a television network right now is Extreme Makeover. The thesis is that your miserable life--due to your gut, double-chin, bags under your eyes, drooping face, etc.-can be reversed by walking the cross of a surgical makeover.

Well bestselling author Olivia Smith has died undergoing a facelift.

Blessed Mother Teresa pray for our society that makes people feel unwelcomed if they are not perfect. Teach us to feel the acceptance of the God, Our Father and Creator. Release us from the demons that make people feel unloved.

From ThisisLondon:

"Best-selling author Olivia Goldsmith has died after her facelift went wrong.

She was best known for The First Wives Club which was turned into the 1996 hit film starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton as three friends who take their revenge on cheating husbands who dump them for younger women.

The 54-year-old writer, whose real name was Justine Rendal, had been in a deep coma for more than a week caused by a reaction to an anaesthetic while she was having plastic surgery. "

Updated Blog Links

I updated the blog links in the right hand column. Amazing how many bloggers come and go. I've been doing this for quite some time now, along with a few others. Many have fallen by the way side, but new ones have taken their place.

Discerning a Vocation

Follow along as Julie discerns a vocation to religous life. Is she called to be a Dominican? Will her parents bless her decision? Very interesting...

The Theoscope: A Search for a Vocation, among other things...

Houston Gets New Co-Adjutor

Surprising how many dioceses are getting co-adjutor's these days. Also what sense does it make to take a Bishop who is an ordinary of a diocese and place him in a diocese where there already is a bishop?

Anyway from the Vatican Information Service:

Appointed Bishop Daniel DiNardo of Sioux City as coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Galveston-Houston (area 23,257, population 4,704,532, Catholics 974,312, priests 443, religious 760, permanent deacons 300)

On the Horizon--More Changes

This will create quite a firestorm when it happens, but it is my hope that it might lead to a real renewal of liturgical life in this country.

From The Tablet:

"The first draft translation of ICEL's new Missal is being sent out to bishops' conferences this month. From a copy obtained by The Tablet , it is clear that the change in approach is startling. The Confiteor , for example, begins: "I confess to Almighty God/and to you, my brothers and sisters/that I have sinned exceedingly." At the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, the celebrant says: "The Lord be with you" to which the congregation replies: "And with your spirit." He says: "Let our hearts be lifted high." They reply: "We hold them before the Lord." He says: "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God." They reply: "It is right and just." Preparing the altar, the priest says: "By the mystery of this water and wine / may we be made partakers in his divinity / who deigned to share in our humanity." At the consecration he says: "Who on the day before he was to suffer / took bread into his holy and venerable hands." The Creed, perhaps surprisingly, says "For us and for our salvation", but in Eucharistic Prayer IV gender-inclusive language is jettisoned: "You formed man in your own image / and entrusted the whole world to his care".

Take the Pope Test...I did and...

St. Pius X
You are Pope St. Pius X. You'd rather be right than

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Special Prayers Asked for Father Benedict Today....

From Father Glenn:

Today is Thursday, January 15. Here is the latest update on Fr. Benedict.

Today I was able to spend some time at Fr. Benedict's bedside. Thank God, he is even looking better. He has good color and the swelling of the body has decreased. He is still highly sedated, so he is a "sleep state" and is slightly aided in his breathing with a respirator. His right arm is suspended due to the operation he received last evening. He has a few metal pins or rods sticking out of his bandaged arm. As I mentioned in the last entry, his surgeon is well known and almost revered in the medical community due to his expertise. Providentially Fr. Benedict is receiving extraordinary care. The doctors and nurses have been kind, cooperative, and very respectful. They now know who their patient is; in fact, I am hoping to send some of Father's tapes to them. Not, of course, so they would be giving any better care, but as an opportunity for evangelization!

Tomorrow is a very important day. May I ask each of you to pray for Father during the day? Other procedures will be attempted, depending, of course, how he is doing. The first, I believe, will be to set the broken bones in the right leg. Secondly, to implant small micro filters in special places to prevent a blood clot traveling to either his lungs, heart, or brain. Like many heart patients, Fr. Benedict was taking a blood thinner. This is why there was a large loss of blood from the head after the accident. Since the blood was not congealing, it was literally pouring out. Now that the blood thinner is out of his system, blood clots are more probable than possible. So, small screens will hopefully block any clot from traveling into an area which would have dire consequences. Both operations might take place at once and even done in the surgical intensive care unit. These plans can, of course, change at a moments notice. There are so many variables. Please pray for the doctors, nurses, and other assistants. I promised them you would.

So, tomorrow we are calling for all the friends of Fr. Benedict throughout the States and the world to offer him a helping hand. We are all in this together and our job is to support him. Friends don't walk away from us - they walk with us.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Great Quote

From St. Marguerite Bourgeoys on the Eucharist:

"It seems to me that we are charcoal ready to be kindled and that Holy Communion is entirely suited to set us on fire. But when this charcoal is kindled only on the surface, as soon as it is set aside, it is extinguished. On the contrary, that which is fired all the way to the center is not extinguished, but is consumed."


Father Groeschel is the postulator for the cause of the late Cardinal Cooke.


"Almighty and Eternal Father, we thank you for the exemplary life and gentle kindness of your son and bishop, Terence Cooke.

If it be your gracious will, grant that through his intercession Fr. Benedict Groeschel will be healed of his injuries and restored to health, so that he may continue to labor in Your vineyard for years to come.

We ask this though Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen."

Story on Father John Pasquini

I know Father John, taught him in the seminary. This happened last Fall, CruxNews is picking up a New Oxford Review piece on the incident. Just as an update, Father John is now working as a chaplain at Ave Maria University in Naples, FL.


"The Palm Beach Post (Oct. 11) reports that Fr. John J. Pasquini was relieved of his duties after only three months at St. Juliana Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, and was sent packing to a hospital chaplaincy. Chaplaincies at hospitals are 'dumping grounds for clerics,' notes The Post (if you don't believe that, just recall for a moment what happened to Fr. Cornelius Buckley, S.J., and Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.).

So, what did Fr. Pasquini do that was so terrible? Well, The Post begins its story this way: 'An outspoken Catholic priest who publicly condemned homosexuality and criticized Episcopalians for electing a gay bishop is being removed from his church and transferred to a job as a hospital chaplain.'

Would the Diocese of Palm Beach admit to that? According to the story, the Vicar General of the Diocese, Fr. Charles Notabartolo, claims that the reason for the removal was because Fr. Pasquini's 'homilies were poor' and 'he didn't show enough devotion to Mass.' On the other hand, Fr. Pasquini (who graduated top in his class at seminary, has two master's degrees, and has written 12 books) says that no one complained to him about his homilies or his devotion to Mass."

What did I teach him at the seminary? Homiletics! He is a very good preacher, in fact much better than the priest criticizing him.

Update on Father Groeschel

The last time I met with Father and had a lengthy conversation, he told me that Father Glenn was a beautiful writer. Indeed he is! Father the superior of the community called the "community servant" gives evidence of how he handles that position in his latest update.

Continue to pray, in the imagery of the Old Testament, to lift up the hands of Moses who has grown weak...

From The Franciscan Friars:

"Fr. Benedict appears to be 'the same' as yesterday - at least externally; sedated, in a sleep-like state and lightly assisted by a respirator. However, being 'the same' is actually good -- he hasn't lost any ground. The body is healing itself and this takes time - God willing, these are the first steps along a long road to recovery.

Tonight, between six and eight o'clock (EST) a well-know and highly esteemed trauma surgeon will be operating on his broken right arm. The mere fact that they have opted for surgery indicates a certain amount of 'strength in the system.' Doctors don't like taking chances if they don't have to. So, in short, we should see this as a positive sign. I imagine, based on the results of this somewhat 'minor' surgery, they will attempt to work on his right broken leg. The nurses told me everything has to be done in small doses -- sort of 'spoon feeding' an infant. The next spoonful depends on how well the baby consumes the first. Once again, these are the slow, preliminary steps Father has to take weeks, perhaps months before his feet touch the floor.

While there appears to be some semblance of stability in his condition, I believe the real concern is his heart. The heart may be considered the 'weak link' a chain which could not be called strong. He is elderly and has had some health problems in the past, now add the unexpected trauma of being hit by a car…. So, you see how much he needs our prayers. He's walking a very fine line, a 'tightrope,' a strong young man could walk away if he fell. So, our job is to extend our hands to the heavens and support him step-by-step. "

Shopping for Faith or Votes?

Great post about faith and politics over at Times Against Humanity Is Howard Dean a baptized Catholic?

Even if he's left, he's still in. Remember the Catholic faith is like the Hotel can check out anytime you'd like, but you can never leave.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Update on Father Groeschel from His Superior

From Father Glenn Sudano, C.F.R.:

To clarify some of the details about the accident, I will tell you as much as I know at this time. Fr. Benedict had just completed a preaching engagement and was at the airport with his traveling companions, Fr. John Lynch and David Burns. Evidently, they were at an airport car rental. Fr. Benedict knew his two companions hadn't eaten, and knowing the long lines meant a long wait, he went to outside to find a place to buy a hamburger or something. This is where the facts are fuzzy. At some time and for some reason, he was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Perhaps it was dark, who knows, but this is all I know at this point.

Fr. Benedict was struck on his right side. The impact broke his right arm and leg in two places. He also received some injury to the head. Thank God, the ambulance arrived soon after and was brought to a nearby hospital which, thank God, has an expert trauma unit. This is where he is today and will slowly recover through your prayers.

I had the opportunity to speak to his attending physician who represents a small team of trauma specialists. At this time all his vital signs are "good." His arm and leg still needs to be operated on, but it's still too soon. They have to be very careful not to upset whatever "balance" he has at this point. The bleeding on the brain is not serious and his blood pressure Okay - at least right now. Last night they had to open him to see if there was any damage to his inside organs. Thank God, no problems there. There appeared to be an increase in acid accumulating in his system, yet it appears to be naturally lowering.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Strange Faith of Wesley Clark

This man is very confused...

From - weblogs:

Clark said that he would never appoint a pro-life judge to the federal bench, citing the judicial precedent of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision as his rationale. From that start, Clark then proceeded to launch a radical vision that goes beyond anything ever articulated by a major presidential candidate to date. "Life begins with the mother's decision," Clark argued.

"At present, Clark remains a Roman Catholic--but attends a Presbyterian church. He told, 'I'm spiritual. I'm religious. I'm a strong Christian and I'm a Catholic but I go to a Presbyterian Church. Occasionally I go to the Catholic church too. I take communion. I haven't transferred my membership or anything. My wife and I consider ourselves--she considers herself a Catholic.'"

Update on Father Groeschel

Keep praying, the news is better.

Father squeezed the hand of one of the priests at his bedside today. A procedure was done last night to try to relieve some of the bleeding in his head.

I learned the above from Father's secretary who phoned me this afternoon.

Most of the media has finally picked up the story (its amazing how slow they are). They pretty much are all running the same story that originally appeared in the Orlando Sentinel (I had wrote the new director there yesterday and told them what had happened in their backyard--got a response from them later in the day, saying they would look into it). What is interesting to me is that the story they told mentions one of the books that I worked with Father Groeschel on, namely "The Cross at Ground Zero." If you haven't read it yet (it has sold a ton of copies) it is well worth the read and besides dealing with the horrible events of 9/11 it deals with suffering in general and "where is God?" in the midst of it all.

Second Driver may Have Caused Groeschel Accident

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

"Police tell Spirit Daily the incident occurred at 9:43 p.m. as Father Groeschel was leaving a Chili's Restaurant with a carry-out bag. The accident was at the corner of Semoran Boulevard and Hazeltine National Drive about a mile north of the airport.

The priest was 'barely conscious' when police arrived, according to Detective Norris Butler, who said there is an investigation involving a second car that may have caused the accident. He said the car that actually hit Groeschel did not appear at fault. 'I can't give out more details because it is an ongoing investigation,' he said, leaving open the possibility that charges may be brought against the second driver."

The Situation with Father Groeschel

I have worked with Father Groeschel over the past five years and have known him as a friend and trusted spiritual advisor for over twenty years. Father's health has always been an issue over that period of time especially with regard to his heart.

The problem that he is having right now is that he takes a certain type of blood thinner medication that is preventing the medical staff from performing surgery on Father's head injuries where there seems to be some bleeding in the brain. Besides a broken arm and leg, Father also suffered broken ribs. Add to this, as I mentioned yesterday one of the C.F.R. brothers in New York told me that Father suffered a heart attack when he was struck and had to be resuscitated on the spot. The situation appears very grave and your prayers are needed.

While I was still recovering from the shock of hearing about Father's accident, I was opening my mail and found among the parcels received yesterday a large envelope from overseas. Contained within it was a letter that began--"Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. suggested that you might be interested in publishing this..." The "this" in question is a lengthy interview, book length, with Father on every topic imaginable. Reading it yesterday I was reminded of the greatness of this humble friar and the difference that he has made in the Church in the United States and beyond. He frequently talks about his own death in the interview--with joyous anticipation of meeting the Lord. There is another part of the interview where the English man interviewing Father, pesters him with questions, about how he came to start all the charitable enterprises that he has during his life. Father Groesechel repeats his answer a number of times..."No plans, be led."

I'm sure that is the situation right now for Father, as it has been through out his life. Whatever God wants, Father will be led in that direction.

My favorite Father Groeschel book:

Father Benedict News from The Orlando Sentinel

Nothing new here...

From Orange County News:

"The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, a nationally known Roman Catholic author and religious television personality, was in critical condition Monday after a traffic accident at Orlando International Airport.

The Franciscan priest was injured Sunday while walking to a restaurant, according to the Eternal Word Television Network, based in Irondale, Ala.

Groeschel, who is director of spiritual development for the Diocese of New York, was reported in critical condition, according to Joe Brown, a spokesman for Orlando Regional Medical Center. EWTN officials said Groeschel had suffered broken arms and legs, as well as head trauma. Brown, citing new federal privacy laws, said he could not confirm the nature of the injuries."

Monday, January 12, 2004

Deal Hudson on Father Groeschel

Dear Friend,

I'm afraid I have some very bad news. As you may have already heard,

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the

Renewal in New York City and long-time friend of CRISIS, was struck

by a car last night and is now in the hospital in critical


Details are still sketchy, but sources say that Fr. Groeschel was

walking to a restaurant in Orlando when he was hit by a car near the

Orlando International Airport. He's now in intensive care at the

Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical but stable condition.

We spoke with Fr. Groeschel's assistant this morning who confirmed

the news, saying that the situation didn't look good. "We need

nothing short of a miracle," she said.

At this point, the most important thing we can do is pray. The

Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) is broadcasting a Holy Hour

for him this morning, and Fr. Groeschel's assistant requested that we

ask for prayers from St. Francis, the founder of the order, and St.

Augustine, who has been Fr. Groeschel's favorite all his life.

Father Groeschel is one of the most powerful voices for the Church

in this country and around the world. Not only that, but he's been

absolutely selfless in his generosity to numerous Catholic

apostolates, including this one. I know you don't need any

encouragement from me to pray for this truly holy man.

I'm very sorry for the bad news, but I knew you'd want to be kept

informed. I'll let you know as soon as we learn anything new.



Father Groeschel Update

I spoke with one of the C.F.R. brothers who told me that Father Groeschel was struck by a car while crossing the road at the Orlando airport. He sustained injuries to his head, arm and leg. He also suffered a heart attack and had to be resuscitated. I think he told me that Father currently is semi-conscious. He also said that Father had bleeding in his brain.

He said that the C.F.R. site will provide updates as they become available. Although as I write this there is nothing there yet.

He asked that we continue to pray for Father's recovery.

Update: The promised update information has been posted on the web site--although at this point it is pretty much the samething that has been reported here. Check back on their site for future updates.

Father Groeschel Seriously Hurt

Hard to find out anything online about this. But supposedly Father Groeschel was hit by a car over the weekend and suffered two broken legs and has slipped into a coma. If you know anything further, please post in the comments.

Please pray for Father's recovery!


Spirit Daily is reporting the following:

Renowned TV priest Father Benedict Groeschel, author of numerous books and popular on the Catholic network EWTN, was hit by a car near Orlando International Airport Sunday night, according to sources in Alabama, where the network is based. He is in stable but critical condition at the intensive care unit at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Details remain unverified and sketchy but reports are that he had just arrived in Orlando and was walking to a place for food when he was struck, breaking a leg and arm. At latest reports he is partially conscious and awaiting surgery. We ask all to pray for this fine priest.

I would only add that my information came from the C.F.R. community--not sure where Michael Brown is getting his info from.

EWTN has added a similar posting to Spirit Daily's.

You Can Tell Dean is an Outsider

If he were a real New Englander, he'd know there was nothing rude about those remarks...

From Reuters News Article:

"The former Vermont governor had just finished his standard stump speech blasting President Bush for, among other things, his Iraq policy and his stewardship of the economy. He asked, as is his custom, for 'questions, comments or rude remarks in the New England tradition.'"

Who Makes the Coffee?

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said, "You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get

our coffee."

The husband said, "You are in charge of the cooking around here and you should do it, because that is

your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."

Wife replies, "No you should do it, and besides it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."

Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me."

So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and shows him at the top of several pages, that it

indeed says "Hebrews."

The Real Reason You're Overweight

It's not all that fat you eat, it's the lack concrete hitting your feet.

Study of Amish in Ontario...

From Old-Time Fitness in Old-Order Amish - Trustworthy, Physician-Reviewed Information from WebMD:

"Even though they ate the high-fat, high-sugar diet typical of pre-World War II Americans -- meat, potatoes, gravy, eggs, garden vegetables, bread, pies, and cakes -- the Ontario Amish were remarkably fit. Only 4% were obese and only 26% were overweight.

How did they do it? Hard work -- and lots of foot power. Their weekly exercise was equivalent to that of long-distance runners. Men averaged 18,425 steps a day. Women averaged 14,196 daily steps.

'The Amish were able to show us just how far we've fallen in the last 150 years or so in terms of the amount of physical activity we typically perform,' Bassett says in a news release. 'Their lifestyle indicates that physical activity played a critical role in keeping our ancestors fit and healthy.' "

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Baptism of the Lord

From Universalis: Office of Readings:

"Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open. The Spirit comes to him as to an equal, bearing witness to his Godhead. A voice bears witness to him from heaven, his place of origin. The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honour to the body that is one with God.

Today let us do honour to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received - though not in its fullness - a ray of its splendour, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen."
St Gregory Nazianzen

Should an Admitted Pedophile be Honored at a High School?

Amy graduated from this high school in Knoxville. Look for her to offer a more personal commentary upon this. The article is from the Palm Beach Post where O'Connell was bishop when the allegations were made public. He was the founding bishop of the Knoxville diocese and its a little harder to wipe him off the slates in a Stalinist style. But he doesn't have to be enshrined either...

From Place of honor for a pedophile:

"Leaders of the Knoxville diocese are choosing to ignore the disgraceful part of O'Connell's past and focus instead on the positive things he did as bishop there from 1988 to 1999. So they proudly display his pictures, keep his name alive and send him 'prayer bouquets' from church services. Months after his public confession, church leaders are doing much to rehabilitate his reputation.

Susan Vance thinks this is appalling. A former Dominican nun and parishioner at St. Mary's, Ms. Vance led the campaign to remove O'Connell's name from the life center building. She prevailed, but only after a yearlong struggle that brought her hate mail, nasty phone calls, scornful looks at Mass and the disdain of the new bishop, Joseph Kurtz.

'Only the church would allow a building to be named after a pedophile,' she says. 'You tell someone who's not Catholic this happened and they look at you as if you're kidding.'

Ms. Vance, whose son attends the high school, believes it is wrong to memorialize O'Connell's image. Her supporters include victims of sexual abuse and their advocates, as well as SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests), which she has joined. The diocese's reasoning for keeping the pictures is that people should forgive, not cast the first stone, and remember the good.

'They do not understand the tremendous pain he caused his victims,' Ms. Vance said. 'Remembering him like this is another way to keep victims powerless. It is hurtful.'

A church that has used symbolic messages for centuries should recognize the consequences of enshrining pedophiles in the presence of children. The issue is less about forgiveness than it is about prevention. A young victim of abuse who looks at O'Connell's heroic portrait will wonder what good it would do to come forward and report crimes when criminals are revered. Who would listen?"

Bishops Propose Day to Remember Sex Abuse Victims

In Ireland...

From news:

"The Catholic Church is reported to be planning a national day of atonement as a way of acknowledging and seeking forgiveness for the sins of the Church.

According to a report in today's Sunday Times newspaper, the Catholic Bishops are to publicly seek penance and offer a definitive apology for decades of clerical sexual abuse.

The plans for the day of atonement are at a very early stage and a number of options are being considered, including a televised ceremony and the creation of a 'healing garden'. "

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Hooray for Archbishop Burke!

Hopefully, Archbishop Burke will do this in St. Louis as well. This clarification is needed badly in this country where a person's faith is often treated rather superficially as though a person could believe in the sanctity of life and then vote for anything that would extinguish it. It is my sincere prayer that all Catholics will be converted to be for life and that they will do everything within their realm of influence to change the laws of this country to reflect that stand.

This means voting for most of us...and if we vote for politicians who are not "representative" of our beliefs then we probably shouldn't be going to communion either.

From CNS STORY: BURKE-POLITICIANS Jan-8-2004 (840 words) xxxn:

"Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has formally notified Catholic lawmakers in the La Crosse Diocese that they cannot receive Communion if they continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia.

The four-paragraph canonical notification, published in the Jan. 8 edition of The Catholic Times, the La Crosse diocesan newspaper, called upon Catholic legislators in the diocese 'to uphold the natural and divine law regarding the inviolable dignity of all human life.'

'To fail to do so is a grave public sin and gives scandal to all the faithful,' it said."

Friday, January 9, 2004

Great Quote and Highly Recommended Read

First here is the quote in reference to the conversion of St. Paul when Christ asks "Why do you persecute me?":

"Christian conversion is always this question that Christ himself asks. Because of the simple fact that we live in a world whose structure is based on mimetic processes and victim mechanisms, from which we all profit without knowing it, we are all accessories to the Crucifixion, persecutors of Christ"

Rene Girard I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

This is a must read!!!

Miami Proposes Linking Ballpark to Orange Bowl

Interesting plan proposed to keep the Marlins in South Florida.

From - Your Miami Everything Guide

Miami city leaders on Thursday proposed building a baseball-only stadium for the Florida Marlins at the site of the Orange Bowl that would adjoin the existing football facility along its northern flank.

Consultants working for the city said the cost of the two-in-one sports complex would run at least $375 million, including a major overhaul of the historic city-owned stadium, home to the University of Miami football team.

But the ballpark proposed by the city would not include a retractable roof -- a feature Marlins team officials have said is vital to the team's financial success in South Florida.

A Great Title

A book being published in the UK this May...

Get Off the Cross-Someone Else Needs the Wood: The Experiences of a Roamin' Catholic Priest

by Father Ken Deasy

3: The Dale Earnhardt Story

If you've seen The Junction Boys, you'll understand my comment "We're going to drive now..."

From Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage:

"3: The Dale Earnhardt Story," chronicling the life of the NASCAR star who died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500, is scheduled to bow in late summer.

It will be ESPN's third original longform production, following 2002's "A Season on the Brink" and "The Junction Boys." Russell Mulcahy ("Skin") will direct. Casting is expected to be announced soon.

"It really is an inspirational story," said Rob Semiao, senior vp ESPN Original Entertainment. "We tried to capture the inner drive of who he is."

Tailing "Earnhardt" in various stages of development are "Hustle: The Pete Rose Story," which will examine the baseball star's gambling-related downfall; "Four Minutes," a tale of track star Roger Bannister, the first person to break the four-minute mile barrier; and "October Men," an adaptation of a book about the 1977-78 New York Yankees.

Out of the Pen for the Penultimate 'Sopranos' Season

From Out of the Pen for the Penultimate 'Sopranos' Season (

"Mobsters let out of the slammer after paying their debt to society are the 'taking-off point' for the fifth and penultimate season of HBO's 'The Sopranos,' creator David Chase told eager critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2004 Thursday. "

"The show begins with what we call the Mafia Class of 2004 hitting the streets," Chase told critics via satellite from in front of the Arc de Triomphe. He got the idea after reading an article in the Newark Star-Ledger about the highly publicized RICO cases of the '80s, which put away a lot of mobsters who've now served their time.

Steve Buscemi, who has directed episodes of the series, has joined the cast as one such mobster, a cousin of Tony Soprano.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Zook's Contract Extended Two Years

Fairly unbelievable...

From Gator Football News @

University of Florida head coach Ron Zook has been given a two-year contract extension, Athletics Director Jeremy Foley announced Thursday.

"Coach Zook is building a solid base within our program," said Foley, who had the contract extension approved by new UF president Dr. Bernard Machen in a meeting earlier in the week. "His honest, hard-working approach has paid dividends in attracting quality student athletes that are laying the foundation for future success both on and off the field. Consistency and stability play a key role in the success of any organization and we want that in our program."

The Amazing Story of Cornelia Connelly

Whose cause for sainthood has been introduced.

Here is a story of intrigue. An American woman married to an episcopal priest, they both become Catholic. He decides he wants to be a priest--the bishop dictates that she then must live in a convent (even though she is five months pregnant), he later leaves the priesthood, wants her and the children back, she refuses, he takes the kids and leaves the faith behind, she becomes the foundress of a religous community.

In 1992, the Catholic Church proclaimed Cornelia as Venerable.

Check it out atCornelia Connelly, Foundress

Free Holy Card

Archbishop Fulton Sheen holy card with prayer for his intercession.

For details...Free Holy Card

More Dead in Iraq

From - Top Stories - U.S. Black Hawk Crashes in Iraq; 8 Dead:

A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter (search) went down west of Baghdad on Thursday, killing all eight people on board, the U.S. military confirmed.

At least four of the victims were soldiers. It was the deadliest helicopter incident for Americans in Iraq since Nov. 15, when two Black Hawks collided under fire in Mosul, killing 17 soldiers.

UFO's Over Huntington

Strange, I hadn't heard anything about this locally (I work in Huntington).

From WorldNetDaily:

Cops baffled after sighting UFO
: "Three police officers in Huntington, Ind., claim to have seen an Unidentified Flying Object the day after Christmas hovering over a Catholic church, and UFO investigators now are looking into the incident.

Officer Chip Olinger was warming up his car Dec. 26 about 2:30 p.m. when he reported seeing a circular object in the sky and radioed fellow officers Greg Hedrick and Randy Hoover, who also saw it, reported the Huntington Herald-Press.

The trio then watched the object move over a Catholic church and toward its steeple. The object reportedly was the size of a hot air balloon or trampoline. The cops say it stopped a few times, spun slowly, changed shapes and at one point turned orange. "

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

New Bookstore Opening in Fort Wayne

Good news for us locals.

From News Sentinel | 01/06/2004 | New bookstore opening in former Million Story Book Co. spot to feature screening room, cafe:

"The store, tentatively scheduled to open this summer, will replace the Million Story Book Co., which closed at the end of July 2003. But the new bookstore will be more than twice the size of the old, and will incorporate a full-service cafe, a screening room for children's and independent films, and a 6,000-square-foot children's section.

Peter Bobeck, son of Covington Plaza developer Duane Bobeck, is the originator of the new-concept store, which will take his middle name and be known as Mitchell Books. The younger Bobeck moved back to Fort Wayne from Las Vegas in November to tackle the project."