Wednesday, March 31, 2004

New Bishop of Richmond

Pope John Paul II has named Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, who has headed the Diocese of Honolulu for the past 10 years, to be bishop of Richmond, Va.

He succeeds Bishop Walter F. Sullivan, who retired last September.

Update on Terri Schiavo

From Father Rob Johansen 's blog Thrown Back:

"And, unfortunately, the news isn't good.

Yesterday, Judge George Greer handed down a ruling denying a motion filed by Bob and Mary Schindler, Terri's parents. The motion requested that Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and guardian, be held in Contempt of Court for failing to comply with a 1996 order issued by another judge. That order required Michael to keep Bob and Mary apprised of Terri's medical condition. "

Pope Urges Weekly Confession

From Pope urges weekly Confession:

"Pope John Paul II has called attention to the importance of sacramental Confession in the spiritual lives of all Catholics, especially priests.

The Holy Father recommended the practice of weekly confession, which he follows himself. He said that 'those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make process' will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives.

'It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation,' he said.

He said it provides spiritual assistance other than the remission of sins. Penance, he said, 'involves purification, in both the act of the penitent, who lays bare his conscience because of the deep need to be pardoned and reborn.' "

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Amy in the Orlando Sentinel

From Lifestyle:

"'Readers are naturally intrigued by codes and puzzles and conspiracy,' said Amy Welborn, author of April's de-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code, one of several new or forthcoming books about the novel and its controversial plot.

'I treat issues of Christian origins, but I also take a look at questions about Leonardo, the Priory of Sion, the Holy Grail, the sacred feminine and Opus Dei,' she said. 'It's really a handbook for understanding the claims made in the novel.'

The Da Vinci Code is on its way to the big screen, with Ron Howard as director. It already has been the subject of a prime-time TV special on ABC."

The book comes out tomorrow...

de-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code

Why Would an Episcopal Female Priest Become a Catholic?

Why would Lutheran female ministers convert to a church that doesn't ordain women? In all fourteen well educated women tell their stories in the most remarkable "convert" book ever.

Available now...

The Catholic Mystique: Fourteen Women Find Fulfillment in the Catholic Church

U.S. Ad limina Visits with Pope Continue

The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Six prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop John Clement Favalora of Miami, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez.

- Bishop John Kevin Boland of Savannah.

- Bishop Norbert M. Dorsey, C.P., of Orlando, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop Thomas Gerard Wenski.

- Bishop Gerald Michael Barbarito of Palm Beach.

- Bishop-elect Alberto Ricardo da Silva of Dili, East Timor.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Defiant Kerry to Archbishop Burke...

From A Test of Kerry's Faith:

"If anything, the church is getting tougher. The Vatican issued last year a 'doctrinal note' warning Catholic lawmakers that they have a 'grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.' When Kerry campaigned in Missouri in February, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke publicly warned him 'not to present himself for Communion'—an ostracism that Canon Law 915 reserves for 'those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin.' Kerry was scheduled to be in St. Louis last Sunday, and told TIME, 'I certainly intend to take Communion and continue to go to Mass as a Catholic.' "

Man Disturbs Mass to Defend Gay Marriage

Writes for NCR...while I disagree with what he did, I do agree with one statement that he makes in this a Catholic he is free to attend any Mass--its what makes us Catholics...

From Yahoo! News - Man Disturbs Mass to Defend Gay Marriage:

"'I just found it to be such a scurrilous, scandalous piece of misinformation,' Colbert said. 'For me to sit there and take it is out of the question.'

Colbert is a freelance writer who contributes stories to the National Catholic Reporter, an independent weekly newspaper that has endorsed same-sex marriage.

'My life is very similar to the people in there,' Colbert told New England Cable News outside the church. 'I want to be married, I have a wonderful partner, we're building a life together, it in no way threatens anyone else.'

Archdiocese spokesman the Rev. Christopher Coyne said it was appropriate to show the video and said only Colbert objected.

'He's not even a member of that parish,' he said. 'He doesn't even worship in Canton. He was obviously alerted and decided to disrupt that Mass.' "

American Ad Limina Visits Began Today

The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Six prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop John Francis Donoghue of Atlanta.

- Bishop Robert Joseph Baker of Charleston, accompanied by Bishop emeritus David Bernard Thompson.

- Bishop Peter Joseph Jugis of Charlotte, accompanied by Bishop emeritus William George Curlin.

- Bishop Francis Joseph Gossman of Raleigh.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Saginaw Bishop Dies

Although a liberal, he was a likeable man. I attended a Day of Recollection that he gave some years ago, his most impressive feat besides having a wooden leg and walking relatively normal was that he memorized the Gospel for every Mass. Please offer your prayers for him...

From Saginaw bishop dies from complications with leukemia - 3/28/04:

"The Rev. Kenneth E. Untener, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw since 1980, died Saturday, March 27, 2004, from complications with leukemia, the diocese said. He was 66.

A native Detroiter, Rev. Untener died at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Infirmary in Monroe.

Cardinal Adam Maida, Detroit's archbishop, released a statement Saturday night saying Rev. Untener will be fondly remembered.

"Priests in Michigan, and around the country, are familiar with Ken Untener's writings, his retreats, his theological and pastoral talks," Maida said. "My brother bishop had a fervor for ministry. His smile and sense of humor will be deeply missed by us all. "

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Archbishop, "No More Letter Writing Campaigns"

The early draft of the liturgy abuse document referred to below had a provision for writing the bishop or Vatican to report abuse, but I guess you won't be able to do that in St. Paul. While being sympathetic to the Archbishop, how can you disregard your flock?

From Archbishop urges group to halt e-mails:

"For several years, Catholic Parents Online, a group that says it promotes the church's 'Absolute Truth,' has filled the e-mail box of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with messages from members imploring Archbishop Harry Flynn to address certain church issues.

The group is particularly concerned about acceptance of gays and lesbians in some parishes, which it opposes.

It says it succeeded in getting his ear in at least two cases.

But that apparently changed Tuesday when the group's president, Colleen Perfect, received a letter from Flynn asking that the 'assault' on his office be stopped. Included in the mailing were copies of 34 e-mails he recently received from group members.

'From now on I am sending to you all the letters which assault my office because of communications which you have made,' Flynn wrote. 'I must remind you that I am the archbishop and choose to influence in a different manner than you and many of the people who would write to me. I think it is totally unfair of you to engage others in these letter writing, e-mail campaigns. So, since it is you who have contacted these people, you are the one who will receive all of their responses.'"

Liturgical Abuse Document Signed by Pope

Will be released next month...

From CNS STORY: VATICAN LETTER Mar-26-2004 (770 words) Backgrounder. xxxi:

"A long-awaited Vatican document on liturgical abuse has been signed by Pope John Paul II and is expected to be published after Easter.

The Latin text is being translated into various languages, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in late March. Other Vatican sources said the document probably would be ready for release toward the end of April."

Oil is Seeping from Icon in Bethlehem, PA

From - Believers say oil is seeping from icon in Bethlehem:

"The metropolitan said the oil would serve to draw attention to the cross and its meaning. He did not call it a miracle, though some in this church of 700 families are inclined to believe it is one.

''What message is trying to send us?'' wondered Varvarelis's wife, Maria, discerning a divine hand at work behind the oil. ''Sometimes a little sign like this makes you nervous, because you don't know what might happen. But we are excited about it.''

Christian history is rich with accounts of icons and statues bleeding or weeping, communion hosts defying gravity, dried saint's blood liquefying on holy days.

Some have been debunked as natural occurrences -- condensation, for example -- or outright hoaxes. Others are unexplained.

This month, at a Roman Catholic church in Medford, Mass., parishioners reported seeing a statue of the Virgin Mary shedding tears."

Friday, March 26, 2004

Sheen Cause Continues to Advance

I am a big supporter of this cause and have free holy cards available to those who desire them. For more info click here.

From Northwest Indiana News: - News:

"Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, an Illinois native, is one step closer to becoming the first American-born male saint in the Catholic Church. Roman church officials have renewed formal contact with the nonprofit Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation and its local co-founder, Gregg Ladd of Highland.

In a Jan. 23 letter, Roman Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, wrote that the Vatican's internal inquisition regarding Sheen's vices and virtues has been given holy confirmation to proceed to the next step.

'Exploring his background, we find him excellent ...' Martins wrote.

Ladd, lay director of Sheen's cause, said he's been in contact with sources close to the Vatican informing him that the cause is moving at a faster pace than expected.

'This is a giant step,' said Ladd, who's dedicated himself the past eight years to getting Sheen canonized."

Oh, Oh

I guess that would mean no more NFL or Sunday night television...

From Yahoo! News - Pope says Sundays for God, not sports:

"Pope John Paul (news - web sites) says Sunday should be a day for God, not for secular diversions like entertainment and sports.

'When Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes subordinate to a secular concept of 'weekend' dominated by such things as entertainment and sport, people stay locked within a horizon so narrow that they can no longer see the heavens,' the pontiff said in a speech to Australian bishops.

John Paul criticised the 'culture of the 'here and now'', urging Church leaders to 'lead men and women from the shadows of moral confusion and ambiguous thinking'. "

Diocese Sued By Devout Catholic

Injured while playing Bingo, threatened with excommunication if she sued...who can make this stuff up?

From Diocese Sued By Devout Catholic - from

"Robert was attending a night bingo session at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinellas Park on June 11, 2003, when, according to the lawsuit, she was seriously injured by a negligently maintained bathroom stall that collapsed on her as she was leaving the restroom.

About six weeks later, Robert received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as a ``monsignor from the chancery,'' the lawsuit states. The caller warned her not to file a lawsuit or otherwise seek compensation for her injuries, and threatened her with excommunication if she did, the lawsuit states.

``Due to the monsignor's threat of excommunication from her lifelong devotion to the Catholic Church, [Robert] was caused to receive severe emotional distress that has caused angina attacks and a series of minor strokes with a serious concern for a major stroke which may be life threatening,'' the lawsuit states.

Robert is a sensitive woman and a witness to her end of the telephone exchange can verify that it left her very upset, her attorney, Thomas M. Woodruff, said Wednesday. "

Former Vocation Director of Syracuse Discloses He's Gay

I have a good friend who is a priest in this diocese, Fred Daley was his vocation director-I've met him a few times and I doubt anyone is surprised by this announcement.

From Rev. Daley discloses he's gay:

"The Rev. Fred Daley, longtime pastor at St. Francis DeSales Church on Eagle Street, trusts the community will continue to accept him after his acknowledgment that he is gay.

He made the disclosure during an interview with the Observer-Dispatch Thursday. The interview was in advance of Daley's 'Real Hero' award, which he accepted from the United Way of the Greater Utica Area Thursday evening. The award was in recognition of his social ministry on Hospitality Row, where many of Utica's poor are served.

'I'm the same person today as I was yesterday,' he said. 'My expectation and prayer is that people will continue to love and respect me.'

Daley said he shared this information with the bishops of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse as well as a few close friends and family members.

Celibacy is a 'charism,' or a gift for some people, he said.

'I myself am gay, and I am committed to living a celibate life,' he said.

Despite a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety about coming out publicly, Daley said he feels called by God to do so and is ready to accept whatever 'rejection or misunderstanding surrounding this.' "

Sentencing Today for Bishop O'Brien

From Sentencing is today for Bishop O'Brien in hit-run case:

"Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien learns today whether he will spend time in jail for leaving the scene of a fatal car-pedestrian accident. He was convicted Feb. 17 in the hit-and-run death of Jim L. Reed. He faces up to 45 months in prison and a $150,000 fine.

Prosecutors have asked Judge Stephen A. Gerst of Maricopa County Superior Court to sentence O'Brien to at least six months in county jail, four years of probation and 500 hours of community service. The bishop's attorneys countered by crediting O'Brien with a 'mountain of good works' in years as a priest and bishop. They asked for probation.

If O'Brien is sent to jail, Gerst has discretion to decide whether the bishop is taken away in handcuffs or allowed to return home for a time to prepare for incarceration. Regardless of the punishment, O'Brien will lose his driving privileges."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Passion of the Christ Leading Some Back to Church

Something that I've been saying in this blog since its inception is that the renewal of the Catholic Church will not come about from some the institution of any program but from a renewed exposition of Jesus as he is presented in the Gospels.

From - Renewed passion for faith:

"Though many moviegoers say they were profoundly moved by the graphic scenes of Jesus' torture and crucifixion, for Mohan it was the seemingly small moments in the movie — seeing Jesus with his mother, seeing him forgive Mary Magdalene, the brief resurrection scene at the end — that added up to a big change.

When she emerged from the theater, something in her was shifting.

She realized that her anger over the sexual abuse scandal was directed at 'a small group of men, the bishops and some of the priests — and not really the whole Catholic Church. Because that's really the people.'

She also realized she was holding onto hurts that didn't seem to matter in the bigger picture. The discomfort she felt with relatives after her mother's death was keeping her away from the only place where she truly felt spiritually comfortable.

'I realized that worshiping God is the important thing. I opened myself up to God again.'

Mohan also says she is changed in other ways.

'I find myself being nicer to people. Just smiling more. Not yelling at people in the car. Letting people just go ahead and turn in front of me.'"

From Saint Augustine...

"Love of self until God is forgotten or love of God until self is forgotten."

From today's Lenten meditation. You can access the full meditation by clicking on the gate to the right.

Father Groeschel on Suffering

I spoke with a member of Father's community yesterday and he told me that Father is in non stop pain--saying at one point that it continues to be a miracle that the pain isn't killing him. With this as a backdrop these words of Father Groeschel's today mean all the more:

"If you went to Catholic school in the old days, one of the most powerful spiritual messages that the sisters gave us was to unite our own pains and troubles with the Church. The famous phrase 'offer it up' was an important part of the spirituality of devout Catholics and the students who it was hoped would become devout Catholics.

The idea was never quite clear; in fact it was mysterious how our sufferings and pains would have anything to do with the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of the world. But none the less, like many mysteries, we believed it. As we grew older, the great text in Colossians 1:24 began to mean more to us: 'I am now rejoicing in my suffering for your sake and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the Church'. Therefore those of us who still believe that you can 'offer it up' have a great motive to try to put up with our sufferings. It would be wonderful if we could always do this bravely and with a smile, but that may not be realistic or necessary. The mere fact that we try, that we don't give up, that we go on in the darkness is sufficient indication that we are trying to please God, and surely He must see it this way. "

Patronal Feast of this Blog

Saint Leo the Great on the incarnation.

From Universalis: Office of Readings:

"Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.

He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.

He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.

As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfils what is proper to the flesh.

One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.

One and the same person - this must be said over and over again - is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."

Priest and Seminarian Arrested for Murder

Of another Brazil.

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

"A Brazil priest and a seminarian were arrested in the city Goiania on Tuesday and charged with poisoning another priest who threatened to reveal their homosexual relationship and financial misdeeds. Father Moacir Bernardino da Silva, 60, and seminarian Dairan Pinto de Freitas, 23, were charged with murdering Father Adriano Moreira Curado, who was 28 when he was killed in 2002.

Police said that had evidence that Father Curado threatened to expose the relationship between da Silva and de Freitas and da Silva's mismanagement of the parish at which they were stationed together and that the two men planned to kill Curado. A police official said the police found pornographic magazines and videos where da Silva appeared in the company of young men, including de Freitas, on a beach. Police said they also had taped telephone conversations showing the church phone had been used to set up dates between the priest and homosexual men."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Archbishop Rembert Weakland Launches Website

Evidently wants to stay current...

Archbishop Rembert Weakland

Pope Recalls Worldwide Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Twenty years ago...when the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were still communist.

From the VIS:

John Paul II recalled three moments in his pontificate when he entrusted the Church, the world and mankind to Mary: December 8, 1978 when he entrusted the Church and world to her; June 4, 1979, renewing this vow at the shrine of the Black Madonna in Poland and again in 1984. “I remember especially March 25, 1984, the Holy Year. Twenty years have gone by since that day when in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world I entrusted all of mankind to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in response to Our Lady’s plea in Fatima.”

After emphasizing that “in those moments humanity was living difficult times of great apprehension and uncertainty,” he added. “Twenty years later, the world is still marred by hatred, violence, terrorism and war. Among the many victims that make the news every day, there are so many innocent people who are killed while they carry out their work. Today, which is dedicated to commemoration and prayer for the ‘martyr missionaries’, we must also commemorate the priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who died in mission territory in 2003. So much blood continues to be shed in many regions around the world. It is still urgent that men open their hearts to a courageous effort of reciprocal understanding. The wait for justice and peace becomes longer and longer in every part of the world. How can we respond to this thirst for hope and love if not with Christ through Mary?”

The Pope concluded by repeating his petition to Our Lady in 1984: “Mother of Christ, may the infinite saving power of the Redemption, power of divine love, reveal itself once again in the history of the world! May it stop evil! May it transform our consciences! May the light of hope in your Immaculate heart be revealed to us all!”

Daily Lenten Meditations

Continue to be posted, click on the gate to the right.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

New Bishops for Camden and Helena

Surprised that a co-adjutor would be appointed to another diocese.

From VIS, The Holy Father has:

- Appointed Bishop Joseph Anthony Galante, coadjutor of Dallas, U.S.A., as bishop of Camden (area 6,967, population 1,337, 476, Catholics 450,271, priests 353, permanent deacons 115, religious 406 ), U.S.A.

- Appointed Bishop George Thomas, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Seattle, U.S.A., as bishop of Helena (area 134,426, population 509,439, Catholics 67,693, priests 82, permanent 34, religious 49), U.S.A.

Fr. Aidan Nichols

I attended a lecture last evening by Fr. Aidan Nichols at the Josephinum in Columbus. Here are a few caveats:

Father wondered aloud if we might be close to a time when techology reaches its limits. When there is no further advances and what would the void of the "new" create within modern humanity?

He spoke on evangelization and highlighted three areas:

Intellectual life....showing how the faith is reasonable, he bemoaned the decline in Catholic education as truly "Catholic" and unique, pointed out that some institutions of higher learning should just be shut down because they had become so secular that they were no longer of any real service to the world as a Christian institution.

Mystical life...focusing on the Mass as the chief way that we encounter the Divine while here on earth, he spoke of the need for the liturgy to communicate the transcendant. Again he bemoaned that the celebration of the liturgy had been negatively influenced by those who secularize it both in the way they preach and preside.

Institution...focusing on two different areas the way the Church as an institution lives within itself and looks outside of itself. Within he talked about the hierarchal nature and how each has element in the Church has its unique function. He bemoaned the dirth of priests and religous, but quiped there is no shortage of vocations to the episcopacy something that got a good laugh from the seminarians present.

A book that I worked with Fr. Aidan on...very good...

Monday, March 22, 2004

Expect a Bloody Week in Israel

From My Way News:

"Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and leader of the Hamas militant group that targeted Israelis in suicide bombings, was killed by missiles fired from Israeli helicopters as he left a mosque at daybreak Monday, witnesses said.

Hamas confirmed the death in an announcement broadcast over mosque loudspeakers and vowed revenge against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired three missiles at the wheelchair-bound Yassin and two bodyguards as they left the mosque, killing them instantly.

A total of four people were killed and 12 were wounded in the attack, witnesses said."

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Please Pray for Johnnette Benkovic's Family

Johnnette Benkovic's son Simon was tragically killed inan accident, he was twenty-five and had only recently finished a tour in the U.S. Army and in Iraq. I've been praying for his safety for some time and was relieved when about six months ago Johnnette called to say that he had arrived back to the States okay, now this.

There is nothing more tragic than the loss of a child and in the presence of such grief I am struck dumb. Please pray for the entire Benkovic family and if you can have a mass said for Simon, I know this would mean a lot to them.

Pope Declares Feeding Tube Removal Immoral

One wonders if this will have any effect on those who hide behind moral language...

From Yahoo! News - Pope Declares Feeding Tube Removal Immoral:

"The pope said even the medical terminology used to describe people in so-called 'persistent vegetative states' was degrading to them. He said no matter how sick a person was, 'he is and will always be a man, never becoming a 'vegetable' or 'animal.''

In a vegetative state, patients are awake but not aware of themselves or their environment. The condition is different from a coma, in which the patient is neither awake nor aware. Both, however, are states in which the patient is devoid of consciousness.

If the vegetative state continues for a month, the patient is said to be in a persistent vegetative state; after a year without improvement, the patient is said to be in a permanent vegetative state.

Providing food and water to such patients should be considered natural, ordinary and proportional care --not artificial medical intervention, the pope told members of the conference, which was organized by the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and the Pontifical Academy for Life, a Vatican advisory body.

'As such, it is morally obligatory,' to continue such care, he said. "

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Relics of the Cross to Tour US

From WorldNetDaily: Relics of crucifixion coming to U.S. cities:

"Venerated relics of Christ's Passion, from pieces of the cross, to replicas of the nails believed to have been used 2000 years ago to crucify Jesus-- will be put on rare public display next month during Easter.

The relics will be shown at the Cathedral in St. Louis on Palm Sunday, April 4, and at the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., from April 4-18.

'As the recent success of films on the final days of Christ's life show, people of faith still feel a deep connection to his death after 2000 years, and we hope that allowing people to see these relics will make that connection even stronger,' said Andrew Walther, vice president of the Apostolate for Holy Relics, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that is organizing the events.

Last year, over 140,000 people reportedly attended nationwide displays, organized by AHR, of a 16th century relic of St. Juan Diego. "

Friday, March 19, 2004

Wonder if the Evangelicals will Flock to This One?

Since it isn't in their Bibles?

From New York Daily News - Daily Dish & Gossip - Chanukah - by Mel:

"He has portrayed the Crucifixion - now Mel Gibson has his sights set on the tale that led to Chanukah.

'The Passion of the Christ' director told WABC's Sean Hannity yesterday that he's planning a movie based on a Jewish rebellion nearly 200 years before the birth of Christ.

'The story that's always fired my imagination ... is the Book of Maccabees,' Gibson said in the radio interview.

'It's about Antiochus, the king who set up his religion in the Temple, and forced them all to deny the true God and worship at his feet and worship false gods.

'The Maccabees family stood up, and they made war, they stuck by their guns, and they came out winning,' he continued. 'It's like a Western.'"

Solemnity of Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus

From a Sermon by Saint Bernadine of Sienna found in today'sOffice of Readings:

"Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honour which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.

Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to Saint Joseph: “Enter into the joy of your Lord”. In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: “Enter into joy”. His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that it surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.

Remember us, Saint Joseph, and plead for us to your foster-child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen."

Religious Warned Against Internet Sex Addiction

From Religious warned against Internet sex addiction:

"Fr Joseph Crea, who teaches at the Pontifical Athenaeum Salesian in Rome, described the problem as 'affective dependence'. His analysis is published in the latest issue of the Italian bimonthly publication Consecrated Life.

He says that the 'lure of the Net', when it occurs, 'becomes more urgent than that of the community' and 'the reinforcement of social support that a person succeeds in getting on the Internet overcomes the need of relationships'.

He said religious are most vulnerable when their interpersonal relationships are conflictual, or when there is not an inadequate climate of friendship in their own religious community.

Fr Crea said the religious drawn to the chat rooms experience 'deeper contact' through 'virtual sexuality' made by exchange of images or of 'confessions and imaginations', and arrive at 'real illegitimate and pathological behaviours.'

He suggested the best response is not a surface 'eradication of the evil'. Instead he advocates sounding an 'alarm bell of something that is not acceptable in the person's way of living, his affective and community life'. "

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Fr. Benedict--By Medical Miracle I'm Still Alive

From Letter 3/17/04:

"If you have followed my preaching and writing over the years, you know that the most significant part of my application of the Gospels to everyday life has been the acceptance of God's Will and Divine Providence. I've tried personally to live this out, but I had no idea that in my later years I would be confronted with so great a challenge as now faces me.

Apparently, by a medical miracle, I am still alive - having really been considered dead. One can't miss the conclusion that when this happens, God still wants us here. Consider how many times in the course of life we are in danger of death and not even aware of it!

I don't know what God has in store for me, nor do you know what He has in store for you; yet a conviction that must guide us both is 'Your will be done'. This conviction should be the ultimate intention of all of our prayers - along with finding our peace in the acceptance of that will. Certainly to pray like this is a gift of the Holy Spirit. "

Therese Movie Needs Your Help

From CNS STORY: THERESE-MOVIE Mar-17-2004 (690 words) xxxn:

"Absent the star power of Mel Gibson, who directed, produced and co-wrote 'The Passion of the Christ,' other privately funded Christian films are struggling to get into theaters. One such movie is 'Therese,' the story of St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower, who lived a short life in a French Carmelite monastery doing little things with great love.

'Therese' had been scheduled for release last autumn, but it's been postponed until October to drum up public and monetary support.

''Therese' is a different kind of film, filled with the innocence of simplicity and reveals the incredibly rich interior life of the human soul,' said director Leonardo Defilippis, whose nonprofit firm, St. Luke's Production Co., produced the film.

Although the 19th-century period production garnered a standing ovation from Catholic dignitaries associated with mission work at a private Vatican screening last May, it has not yet created a stir among the public.

'There have been difficulties,' said Defilippis. He estimates the company still needs $2 million to open in select theaters. 'This movie is a total work of charity. It has been done the 'Little Way' with all these little people scattered all over the world, trusting in this project.'

'Therese' is relying heavily on publicity from a Web site called and efforts from grass-roots religious volunteers to push the film into theaters."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Great New Books!

Former NFL coach and player Danny Abramowicz gives men a way to build their Catholic muscle in a Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint. Plenty here for both men and women, filled with interesting anectodes about the faith and football!

Do you think a woman ordained in the Episcopal or Lutheran Church could ever leave that and become a Catholic, giving up their career in the process? Read the incredible modern tales of conversion of truly remarkable women in The Catholic Mystique: Fourteen Women Find Fulfillment in the Catholic Church!

Being sexually abused by a priest was just another nail in the cross for little Virginia Cyr. If you look for a diary to lift your spirits this Lent, read this amazing story of a soul who suffered and died with incredible faith! Virginia Cyr, God's Little Hobo

Looking for the perfect Catholic quote? Look no further, Leo Knowles gives thousands of Catholic quotes from everyone from the Apostles to Pope John Paul II in Catholic Book of Quotations.

Teaching youth to pray? Father Stan Fortuna has a prayer for every occaision, going on a date, remaining chaste, keeping God at the center of school, work and play in U Got 2 Pray!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

You may notice it is a lot longer than the popular version.

From the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Patrick's Breastplate:

"I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:

I believe the Trinity in the Unity

The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today

The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,

The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,

The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,

The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today

The virtue of the love of seraphim,

In the obedience of angels,

In the hope of resurrection unto reward,

In prayers of Patriarchs,

In predictions of Prophets,

In preaching of Apostles,

In faith of Confessors,

In purity of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today

The power of Heaven,

The light of the sun,

The brightness of the moon,

The splendour of fire,

The flashing of lightning,

The swiftness of wind,

The depth of sea,

The stability of earth,

The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today

God's Power to guide me,

God's Might to uphold me,

God's Wisdom to teach me,

God's Eye to watch over me,

God's Ear to hear me,

God's Word to give me speech,

God's Hand to guide me,

God's Way to lie before me,

God's Shield to shelter me,

God's Host to secure me,

Against the snares of demons,

Against the seductions of vices,

Against the lusts of nature,

Against everyone who meditates injury to me,

Whether far or near,

Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues

Against every hostile merciless power

Which may assail my body and my soul,

Against the incantations of false prophets,

Against the black laws of heat"

2004 New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade NYC -- NYC Grand Marshal Edward J. Malloy

In response to Amy's query about the Parade...2004 New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade NYC -- NYC Grand Marshal Edward J. Malloy

Amy's Book Gives My Book a Big Boost

The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught Youjumped some 14,000 places yesterday to rank in the 2,000's, this at the same time that Amy's new de-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code went from 2,000,000 to 3,000!

From Father Benedict

From Letter 3/16/04:

"And finally there is the presence of God. In the several weeks of strong pain medication, it is hard to focus your mind; but you become aware that faith is not a human accomplishment, but rather a response to a gift. Through all the haze I recall a presence, sometimes like a person standing in the wind and rain saying: 'Do not be afraid, I will be with you'."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Man Tries to Crucify Himself

He had not seen The Passion, and realized after nailing one hand to the cross that he could nail the other hand to the cross...

From Man treated after attempting to nail himself to cross:

"Lt. Pierre Boucher said the man took two pieces of wood, nailed them together in the form of a cross and placed them on the floor. He attached a suicide sign to the wood and then proceeded to nail one of his hands to the makeshift cross using a 14-penny nail and a hammer.

'When he realized that he was unable to nail his other hand to the board, he called 911,' Boucher said.

It was unclear whether the man was seeking assistance for his injury or help in nailing down his other hand.

Hartland Fire Department members responded, said Boucher, and cut off the wood while it was still attached to the man's hand. The wood and the victim were taken to Sebasticook Valley Hospital, where the nail was removed."


Here is a book that slipped under my radar. Done by Peter Kreeft but for IVP publishers, although a glance at the TOC shows it to be a very Catholic book.

Speaking of Cuture Wars...David Lang gives you some great reasons why Marriage can only be between a man and a woman in Why Matter Matters:

And Amy gives you the real truth behind the fiction of The Da Vinci Code:

De-Coding Da Vinci

Jesuit Liturgist Removed from Ministry

I met him once and immediately didn't like him. He was cocky, the kind of person who if you didn't agree with him on one point--would laugh at you like there was something wrong with you. Now it turns out that he was a troubled individual...


"An award-winning expert on the liturgy - the public worship of the church - Father Gallen served as editor of Hosanna Magazine, wrote numerous books and articles on liturgy and worship, and in the 1970s was director of the pastoral liturgy center at the University of Notre Dame. He has continued to write about liturgy, publishing articles as recently as June, 2003, in the national Catholic magazine The Tidings.

Father Gallen arrived in Sylvania in March, 1980, to lead a week-long parish retreat at St. Joseph's - where then-Auxiliary Bishop James R. Hoffman was pastor - and stayed at the church rectory.

'He was a very charismatic, very friendly man, and would call me into his room to talk to me and stuff,' Kevin told The Blade. 'That's when the ...'

Kevin's voice faded, finding the allegations difficult to discuss even after 24 years. Married for 12 years and the father of one daughter, Kevin has been undergoing counseling both individually and with his spouse, for more than a decade.

'First it started out with a hug, and then, you know, he'd be rubbing his leg up against [me]. Then he was kissing me,' Kevin said.

'And it was all very, very, very confusing to me. I was completely taken up by his speech, by his talking, the respect that he had from the other priests and the bishop, and what do I do with that? In my mind, I was very, very confused.'

Shortly after Father Gallen returned to his home in Phoenix, Ariz., he called Kevin's parents in Sylvania and asked if their son could help him move to California.

'He didn't even talk to me, he got permission from my parents to help him move from Phoenix to Sacramento,' Kevin said.

He said he was afraid to go but also was afraid to tell his parents "

Monday, March 15, 2004

Hospital Notes from Father Benedict

Did he have a near death experience?

From Letter 3/14/03:

"People have asked me if I had one of those life-after-death experiences. I can honestly say no; but medically there is no doubt that I had walked in the shadow of death. It makes life very precious - all sorts of things start to fall into a profound perspective: pro-life, euthanasia, even the general question of how we treat those who are needy or incapacitated. "

Episcopalians Exclude Bishop

We live in tumultuous times. There is breakdown in churches, society and one wonders what the future holds?

From Episcopalians exclude bishop:

"But one person was missing from the festive, Episcopal gathering in Fairlawn Sunday afternoon - the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.

Six area congregations unhappy with Bishop J. Clark Grew II's support of the election and consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire broke church protocol and brought in retired bishops from outside the diocese to conduct the confirmation service.

They secretly planned the service and held it in an Orthodox church so that Grew could not stop it and they later could not be accused of holding an improper service in an Episcopal Church.

'We don't know what repercussions there will be, but we certainly expect some,' said Cynthia Brust, a spokeswoman for the conservative American Anglican Council that helped arrange the service at Presentation of Our Lord Orthodox Church. She said about 800 people attended. "

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Daily Lenten Meditations by Michael Dubruiel

I continue to post these at a separate site, that you can reach by clicking on the "gate"in the right column. The Sunday posts are based on the readings for Cycle A because in parishes with the Rites for Christian Initiation these readings are used every year.

For excellent Lenten reading, see Michael Dubruiel's book
The Power of the Cross, available for FREE .pdf download here. Also available at the site are podcasts Michael Dubruiel made about the book.

Pope's Reign the Third Longest in the Church's History

If you take Peter out of the mix, his reign is the second longest!

And while many were prepared for his death last Fall, in recent days the pope's health is continues to improve to the point that he may start walking again.

Twenty-five Percent of Boston Catholic Churches to Close

Hearing the percentage puts the depth of the crisis that exists in the Church in context. Its not just about the clergy crisis, it is about the faith of people who have lost any real moorings about why they should go to church on Sundays. This is the fault of religious education that has not taught fundamentals, it is the fault of pastors who do not preach Christ but in an attempt to entertain and not challenge leave people looking for something more entertaining and more challenging and ultimately it is the fault of the hierarchy who in the Catholic Church are the leaders and sadly in many cases have refused to lead but have been led by forces that often are against them.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Same Sex Marriages

I had kind of forgotten that a few years ago when I acquired a fascinating work by author David Lang that one of the items that he addressed in the book was same-sex marriages. The book is entitled "Why Matter Matters" and is about the "matter" of the sacraments...why wheat bread and grape wine should be used for the Eucharist, why olive oil should be used in annointings, why a male is the appropriate "matter" for the priesthood and why a male and a female are the right matter for marriage. If you are looking for something on this subject, I highly recommend David's book that includes a preface by Peter Kreeft.

Friday, March 12, 2004

The Blockbuster Answer to The Da Vinci Code

Father Benedict Reflects on His Accident

From Letter 3/11/04:

"Today is an anniversary for me - the second month after my accident. It also is an important day because I began to be able to speak. This makes life easier and in many ways, more enriching. Speech permits us to not be locked up in our little room of self.

We just had Mass offered by Father Luke, a young friar of our community. We welcomed someone from down the hall, Professor Alice von Hildebrand, a distinguished Catholic writer and the wife of the late Dietrich von Hildebrand. Alice and I have been close friends for many years and you may have seen our series on suffering on EWTN. She reminded me of a very important line which I had forgotten. It was a statement by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: 'Nothing is worse than wasted suffering'. Of course one is tempted to ask, 'Why did this accident occur?' While I am being tempted to ask this, I am looking at a picture of Saint Padre Pio who said 'Don't ask why, ask what - what am I supposed to do?' That's rather obvious except one must admit a deficiency of virtues and throw oneself before Christ crucified and the Holy Spirit.

We all suffer. Some suffer well, some poorly, some bitterly, some in union with Christ, some in union with Our Lady and the Saints, some in union with God as they know Him, some only in union with the other people in the hospital, and some all alone - but we suffer. How much better it is to suffer even poorly and inconsistently in union with Christ. Let's keep praying for each other.

Father Benedict"

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Cardinal Law...The Play

Entitled simply "Sin"...

From the NY Times..Priests and Sexual Abuse Ignite a Stage in Chicago:

"A searing new play that opened here last week offers a vivid look at how Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston reacted to the sex abuse scandal in his archdiocese.

Most of the dialogue in this play, 'Sin: A Cardinal Deposed,' is taken from testimony that Cardinal Law gave in pretrial depositions in 2002 and 2003. The rest is from letters and public statements by Roman Catholic priests, doctors, victims of abuse and their parents."

Praised be Jesus Christ! Father Groeschel Speaks

Here is his message...

From Letter 3/10/04:

"'Dear Friends,

This is the first opportunity I have to personally thank the people who have been caring for me since my accident. I was deeply moved by the amount of prayer cards and e-mails from many, many people. I don't know how to repay you for your expressions of support and letters of encouragement.

I am going to be laid-up for a while healing and hopefully getting stronger. I am thankful to God that I did not sustain any serious head injuries or facial disfigurement. God must be telling me to get back to work.

Today I spoke for the first time in 2 months. I am so grateful for the brothers who have attended to my needs, especially Br. Daniel and Br. Peter. They have shown infinite patience to a person in a desperate situation. I can't tell you how happy I am to be so well cared for by the staff of two very fine hospitals. I will be forever grateful to these generous people for the rest of my life. When we say love and faith are dying away in this country, here we see so much dedication and care - the attendants, nurses, specialists, and of course, the doctors.

I want to share with you two principles upon which I have built my life. The first is from Saint Augustine: 'God does not cause evil, but that evil should not become the worst'. Second: 'There are no accidents. Evil things occur because of bad will or stupidity or fatigue, yet whatever the cause God will bring good out of it if we let Him'.

I had seen the movie, 'The Passion' before I had my accident. How many times the haunting scenes (of Christ's agony) brought me consolation and hope when things were very dark.

Each day I will try to write a little something to the many people who have supported me. This can become a wonderful way we can grow and support one another and together grow in faith, hope, and love. God bless and keep you."

Fr. Benedict

What do you think of this?

You won't see this on Court TV...

I sort of remember the charges brought up by the priest, don't remember exactly what happened after that, but it looks like he might have been involved with someone, forgiven that person of a sin that they committed together and then threw out charges against the bishop and some priests. Being guilty of the first two doesn't necessarily negate the charges he was making....

Wonder if we'll hear anymore about it?

From Priest targeted after testifying in suit - The Washington Times: Metropolitan:

"A Catholic priest who exposed the sexual misdeeds of fellow clergy at three parishes in the Diocese of Arlington is being prosecuted by his own bishop on five ecclesiastical charges.

The Rev. James R. Haley, an Arlington priest, will appear before a church tribunal to answer charges brought against him by the Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, bishop of Arlington. Presiding as judge will be the Most Rev. Thomas G. Doran, bishop of Rockford, Ill.

The hearing is set for Wednesday at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.

The charges against Father Haley include sexual misconduct; absolution of an accomplice in sexual sin; and the 'use of instruments of social communication [the media] to injure good morals, to express insults and to excite hatred or contempt against the Church.' "

Amy's has the Cover Story on The American Spectator Online Today!

She's off to Indianapolis to give a talk and I'm not sure if she blogged this before she left or not (her site wouldn't come up for me this morning)...but check the story out atThe American Spectator. And pre-order the book and you might even consider ordering a pkg of pamplets to give to all you family and friends.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Lenten Meditations on the gate to the right...

New Bishops for Springfield, Worchester, Ogdensburg

...and a Co-Adjutor for Kansas City

From the Vatican Information Service:

- Appointed Bishop Robert Joseph McManus, auxiliary of the diocese of Providence, U.S.A., as bishop of Worcester (area 3,966, population 762,207, Catholics 390,207, priests 373, religious 650), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Daniel Patrick Reilly whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Robert Joseph Cunningham, pastor of St. Louis Parish and diocesan administrator of the diocese of Buffalo, U.S.A. as bishop of Ogdensburg (area 31,161, population 462,000, Catholics 143,700, priests 143, permanent deacons 55, religious 175), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Buffalo in 1943 and was ordained a priest in 1969.

- Appointed Bishop Timothy Anthony McDonnell, auxiliary of the archdiocese of New York, U.S.A., as bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts (area 7,306, population 790,000, Catholics 251,311, religious 195, permanent deacons 58, religious 619), U.S.A.

- Appointed Msgr. Robert W. Finn, of the clergy of the archdiocese of St. Louis, and director of the diocesan magazine “St. Louis Review,” as coadjutor bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (area 39,946, population 1,394,054, Catholics 141,900, priests 204, permanent deacons 53, religious 437), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in St. Louis in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1979.


I know this was done by Paulist films and I only watched about twenty minutes of it--but is this the worst Jesus film ever made?

Jesus: " Here you take the money, I'm no good with it."

Jesus was like a surfer dude, his hair curly and light (all the others were dark haired and very Jewish)--talk about anti-Semitic.

I might also say that Jesus was a little too sweet, not at all the like the Christ Pantocrater that is looking at me right now as I write this...and Judas and Jesus wrestling?

Sadly, I think this is the kind of Jesus a modern Catholic comes up with...this Jesus would have said "ow" and fled Jerusalem when he stubbed his foot on a rock getting of the donkey.

It's Not the Economy...

It is scary to think that anyone invovled in the Church these days would even think about using that as an excuse...

This is happening across the country, some dioceses are reporting it others aren't. In some ways this may in the end be another purification process, although one friend I know who has had his job cut is the wrong person for them to let go, while the disenters are being retained.

Tampabay: Donations down, diocese cuts jobs:

After three years of declining contributions, the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg is planning to substantially cut administrative jobs in an attempt to preserve programs.

A severance package has been offered to all of the diocese's 120 full- and part-time employees at its pastoral center in St. Petersburg. The diocese has 75 parishes and 380,000 parishioners in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

The administrative employees have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to decide whether to take the offer, which was initially made last month.

Church leaders have no set goal for reducing employees, said the Rev. Alan Weber, vicar general and Bishop Robert N. Lynch's second in command. He said the diocese would rather cut jobs and rework staff responsibilities than cut into support programs

Monday, March 8, 2004

Parish Protests Weakland Confirmation Plans

Interesting. What is most interesting is that Archbishop Weakland would even put himself in this position. What is even sadder is that the associate pastor is making his parishioners to be the bad guys because they are unforgiving! Unforgiving? How about the Archbishop showing a little penitence by staying in a monastery and not performing publicly? Forgiveness is a Christian mandate but so is penitence...If those accused of misusing church funds and carrying on sexually want to stand up in front of the congregation to model their piety let them do it as penitents!

Don't blame the parishioners, Father...have you read the papers lately?

From Post-Crescent - Former archbishop decides to withdraw from service:

"A Brookfield Catholic church has canceled plans to have retired Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland administer the sacrament of confirmation after parishioners objected and threatened to protest.

The Rev. Leonard Van Vlaenderen, an associate pastor at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, said the parishioners were still upset over a $450,000 settlement the Milwaukee Archdiocese paid a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Weakland.

Weakland, who had reached the Vatican's mandatory retirement age of 75 when the deal became public in 2002, later admitted an inappropriate but consensual sexual relationship with a man.

In a letter to the parents of about 130 teenagers preparing for confirmation, Van Vlaenderen said he was disappointed by the lack of Christian forgiveness that was shown.

Feast of St. John of God--Paton of Booksellers

Why? Because that is one of the things that he did...from Catholic Online - Saints - St. John of God:

"In Spain he spent his days unloading ship cargoes and his nights visiting churches and reading spiritual books. Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others. He quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards. A vision at age 41 brought him to Granada where he sold books from a little shop. (For this reason he is patron saint of booksellers and printers.) "

In honor of his feast, let me recommend a few books...

If you want to get more out of Mass or you aren't sure what is going on at Mass, let me recommend my bestselling book:

The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You

Also if you are new to the Rosary or want an aid in helping you meditate on the traditional mysteries and the luminous, again a book that I wrote with Amy:

Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, & Glorious Mysteries

If you're tired of hearing the "Jesus Seminar" view of the NT then let me recommend this very readable book on Following Jesus by N.T. Wright:

Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship

If you would like to know more about what it means to have a patron saint, read Rick Medina's excellent little book on having Saint Philomena as a patron saint:

I Ask St. Philomena: The Power of Praying with Saints

Confused about who Jesus was? The perfect overview of who Jesus is and how his passion saved us:

Jesus the Christ

Read The Da Vinci Code and confused about the view of Christianity it presented? Amy's new book answers all of your questions:

De-Coding Da Vinci

Throught the intercession of St. John of God, may you be led to purchase the book that'll meet your spiritual needs for this Lenten season!

It Wasn't the Americans who Kidnapped Aristide...

The locals think it was the "spirits"...

I am reminded of a protestant pastor in Jacksonville who showed me a picture that his son had taken in Haiti (this would have been 20+ years ago) in which there was a beast of some sort amongst the people...he claimed it was a demon--it was strange looking, whatever it was...

From Telegraph | News | Voodoo spirits get credit for Aristide's flight:

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide did not flee Haiti because he lost his nerve. Neither did the United States blackmail him. No, the most satisfying explanation for the country's recent upheavals is that the spirits were offended and taking their revenge.

Voodoo, an exotic synthesis of African, Caribbean and Roman Catholic beliefs, with freemasonry mixed in too, pervades every facet of life in Haiti, so its role in the downfall of Mr Aristide is, for most, beyond dispute.

Just as its flags, murals, shrines, rum, rattles and images of madonnas and saints lurk, invisible from the outside, in slum temples, the religion underlies each momentous event in the nation's history.

The rise and fall of Mr Aristide, its first democratically elected leader and an ordained Catholic priest who adopted as his symbol the cockerel, a voodoo icon, illustrates this. Mr Aristide, whose library contained many books on the national religion, was guilty of the voodoo equivalent of hubris and then struck down by its version of nemesis, several voodo priests said this week.

Comparing himself to the heroes who won Haiti's slaves freedom from the French two centuries ago was a fatal mistake, they said, one that the heroes, by now spirits themselves, punished.

Think The Passion of the Christ was Violent?

On Saturday two Christian men were axed to death in Egypt...

From Yahoo! News - Egypt Deploys 1,000 Police After Christians Killed:

Egyptian authorities deployed some 1,000 police around a southern town on Saturday to forestall any Muslim-Christian clashes after two Christian men were killed in a street brawl, security sources said.

The Christians were axed to death after a donkey being ridden by a Muslim man slipped on the wet roadway outside their house in the town of Salamoun, about 350 km (220 miles) south of Cairo, they said.

The donkey rider was later arrested and questioned. Witnesses in the town said there had been no further violence but the situation was tense.

Salamoun, a Nile valley town of about 40,000 people, is close to 40 percent Coptic Christian but was also a stronghold of militant Islamists who fought the government in the 1990s. "

The Passion--$212,034,000

They say the second weekend is the real test for whether a movie is good or not. Well, The Passion of the Christ has passed that test...

From Box Office Mojo > Box Office By Movie: "Total as of Mar. 7, 2004: $212,034,000 (Estimate)"

It's been the #1 movie, everyday since its release.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Cross Meditations

Jesus said if anyone wanted to follow him, they should take up their cross and get behind him...currently you have two movements going on:

The presentation of the horrid suffering of the Cross


The denial that there is any cross in life.

I continue to post a daily look at how the cross of Christ is a beacon to the way we approach our lives, click on the gate to the right to view today's entry.

If Britany Can--Why Can't He?

There are reports out there that the current rush of same sex marriages is part of a campaign to legitimize same sex relationships in the minds of the "average" person. One comment that I've seen quoted over and over, two examples come to mind--one being below, the other in "My Turn" in the current issues of Newsweek, is the comment that relates to the cheapened way marriage was treated by Brittany Spears (this makes me suspicious if even that isn't a part of this overall scheme).

Now, Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinson who is the "pope" of this whole movement and is at the forefront of moving this agenda into the public eye wants to be married--and you know what? The same Episcopal bishops who elected him a bishop ought to do the ceremony and then declare themselves followers of bishop Robinson and publicly declare that they are followers of the Son of Robin rather than the Son of God...


Robinson, whose election as the US church?s first openly gay bishop last year had divided Anglicans throughout the world, said yesterday ? , two days before he was due to become the Episcopal Church?s leader in New Hampshire ? that the gay marriage issue was one of civil rights.

?It is very irritating to me that Britney Spears, when she traipsed off to be married in Las Vegas, instantly had what my partner and I of 15 years do not have,? he said.

Robinson takes over tomorrow from retiring Bishop Douglas Theuner at a time when the debate over gay rights, including marriage, is making headlines nationwide.

Saturday, March 6, 2004

Mel Gibson's Triumph

From Mel Gibson's Triumph:

"On coming away from a first, full viewing of Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ,' among the questions that came to mind was: What in heaven's name was all the howling about?

For the all-powerful impression this emotionally draining film leaves one with is that this is what the Son of God went through for our sins and our salvation. Those who called 'The Passion' anti-Semitic without seeing it, who tried to censor it and keep it out of theaters, and who trashed it as pornographic as soon as it appeared on Ash Wednesday have made perfect fools of themselves.

For Catholics, this first week of Lent was a decidedly mixed one. The magnitude of the scandal of pedophile and pervert-priests, now fully documented, testifies that Pope Paul VI was right when he warned, post Vatican II, that the smoke of Hell had entered the vestibule of the Church.

But Gibson's 'Passion' gives us a Lenten masterpiece, a beautiful moving work of art. To cradle Catholics who can recite the lines of each episode before they are uttered, it is faithful to the Gospels, to the Stations of the Cross, to the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

But what you come out of this film with depends on what you took in. If you are looking for evidence of Jewish villainy, you can find it in Caiphas, the sinister high priest of the Sanhedrin who was the driving force in the mob's demand for the crucifixion and death of Jesus. And in the pathetic figure of Judas the betrayer. But almost all the heroines and heroes are also Jews.

For this is, after all, a Jewish and Roman story, though Caiphas appears as a cartoon villain alongside Pilate, the more interesting figure. For Pilate is gripped by a moral dilemma, and takes the weakling's way out, ordering Christ crucified --though he believes Christ to be innocent"

Friday, March 5, 2004

Martha Stewart Convicted of All Counts

Guess she should have taken the stand.

From Martha Stewart Convicted of All Counts (

Martha Stewart was convicted Friday of obstructing justice and lying to the government about a superbly timed stock sale, a devastating verdict that probably means prison for the woman who epitomizes meticulous homemaking and gracious living.

Let Us Exalt the Lord!

From The Orthodox Page:








Thursday, March 4, 2004

Weeping Statue of Mary at Church Due to Close

Now overwhelmed with crowds... in the Boston Archdiocese.

From The Boston Globe:

Two weeks ago, a delivery man told a rectory worker that the life-sized statue outside the red-brick church near Tufts University was weeping. By yesterday at noon, the devout and the curious were arriving at the statue every few minutes.

"I think she's crying because this church may close," said Stephanie Pucillo of Medford, who visited the statue yesterday during her lunch break after her mother told her about it. "Is it real? I don't know. But the timing is ironic, with everything that's going on."

Last month, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley informed all the 357 parishes that due to dwindling Mass attendance, a shortage of priests, and financial constraints, some churches would be forced to close by the end of the year. He instructed priests and parish officials to meet and identify which parishes ought to be slated for closing.

The five Catholic parishes in Medford have decided that if one of them must close, it should be St. James Parish, and if two churches must close, then Sacred Heart Church has been recommended, according to Sacred Heart's church bulletin.

The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, the archdiocesan spokesman, was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

But Sacred Heart's pastor, the Rev. Robert Doherty, said: "The statute is not weeping. It's just an outdoor statute."

He said that streams of water have been rolling down the statue's face from one or both eyes. Doherty said that given all the troubles that the Catholic churches has faced lately, from the sex-abuse scandal to the proposed church closings, it makes sense that devout Catholics believe the statue is weeping. "I think the Blessed Mother is crying, but I don't think the statue is," he said.

Doherty said the statue has been in front of the church for years, and until recently, it was entirely white. About two years ago, a parishioner added blue hues to the icon's robe, and flesh colored paint to its face.

The Meaning of Suffering

Why?” by John F. Downs is the true story of one man’s battle with suffering as a quadriplegic, and Mother Teresa’s advice to him to “be more visible”.

It is a testimony of the life and faith journey of the author, who became a quadriplegic after a trampoline accident in high school. The main theme of this autobiography, the spirituality of suffering, is not necessarily an attractive topic. In fact, the notion of suffering is scary for many. We wonder why God allows suffering, especially for the innocent.

John Downs captures the truth about the meaning of suffering: the only way to salvation is through the cross. Suffering is not meaningless. It has purpose. In fact, would you believe that it is a “gift”? This book shows how seeking God’s plan for our lives can change an angry “Why?” to an interior union with Christ crucified.

Mother Teresa once told John Downs that he should “be more visible.” I heartily agree. When you read his story, you are drawn to the sacrifices of love by this one man, John Downs, and through it, you grow closer to God. The book is truly, as the author hoped it would be, “a doorway to the discovery of life’s true purpose: a right relationship between creature and Creator.”

John Down's book “WHY?” has been in progress for the past 5 years and is finally ready for release. It is only fitting that his book be released at the beginning of Lent. Be among the first to experience this power book.

They are offering a FREE copy of Chapter 4 – “An End and A Beginning”. Click here to get the FREE chapter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Slight Setback for Father Groeschel

From Letter 3/2/04:

"Believe it or not, today we had a bit of a setback. Yes, at eight o'clock this morning Father's heart began to race, things began to beep and blink, and they had to roll in Father's old friend - the ventilator. The brief but startling ordeal frightened Father who called for a priest to receive the sacrament of the sick. He also asked that the Blessed Sacrament be reserved in his room. The doctors and other professionals on the scene were not terribly shaken; they've seen this many times. No doubt, getting off the ventilator after so many weeks is tricky business. So, instead of tap dancing, Fathers' doing the 'one step forward, two steps back' routine. "

More Hate Crimes Against Christians in Florida

This time in St. Augustine...

From Local News: Vandals strike, uproot hundreds of crosses at church 03/02/04:

"When Al Wolff saw more than 200 uprooted crosses Monday morning at the Mission of Nombre de Dios, he wasn't enraged.

Instead, he felt sorry for the people who did it.

Wolff is the caretaker of the 4,500 white 18-inch crosses that have been placed at the church annually for the past 16 years. The crosses signify the number of fetuses aborted each day, he said. The exhibit is sponsored by St. Augustine's St. Gerard Campus, an agency aimed to help pregnant, unwed mothers.

Along with the uprooted crosses, Wolff said he saw about 20 wire coat hangers around some of the crosses and in the ground.

'They're not educated,' Wolff said about the vandals. 'They don't understand. I pray for them.'

It is clear that pro-abortionists made the statement, Wolff said.

'They were prepared. They had the hangers,' he said. 'They're trying to show they're view.'"

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Lenten Meditations

I continue to post Lenten Mediations on the page that you can access by clicking on the image of the gate to the right. I've changed the focus a bit. The post will be reflective of the day's Gospel reading, on Sundays it will be reflective of the Gospel for cycle A. The overall focus is the "power of the cross." All of this eventually will be a book, so comments, critiques of various entries are appreciated.

Image of Jewish Woman Destroyed in Clearwater, FL

Might this act of anti-Semitism be the result of the movie The Passion of the Christ? I'll bet when they catch the culprit they'll find a connection.

Believers, believe that the image will reappear if the window panes are replaced. Now, if that happens, let me say that I'll also believe!

From the Tampa Tribune:

Reed said a group of a half- dozen of the faithful were at the site until about 9 p.m. Sunday, leaving the site unattended for roughly 10 hours until the volunteer arrived.

Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said investigators discovered among the shards of glass one with the imprint of a ball bearing.

They are surmising from this and other evidence that the bearings did not cause the panes to shatter immediately. Rather, they caused weblike cracks in the three panels, which over time caused the glass to fall to pieces.

All three ball bearings have been recovered, Shelor said. Because there are no signs of black powder on the ball bearings, or any evidence of rifling, detectives don't think a firearm was used, Shelor said.

``The operating premise is it is something like a slingshot,'' Shelor said. It is also believed, Shelor said, that the culprit fired the bearings from the site, where many have come to say the rosary, light a candle, or leave flowers or donations.

Investigators have viewed images from a Web camera on the property that is aimed at the image of Mary so the faithful can view the visage on computers worldwide. But at least until 5:15 a.m., the image is intact, Shelor said. That means the vandal took his shots afterward, or the glass hadn't disintegrated yet, Shelor said.

Investigators also are aware that neighboring businesses at the busy intersection of Drew Street and U.S. 19 have surveillance cameras that might provide clues, he said.

Behind the panes was a prayer room where Shepherds of Christ holds occasional religious services. Visitors witnessing the destruction Monday from the outside could look in and see the altar from which the services have been held. A piano also stood in the room, one of its legs partly buried by shards of glass.

Reed called the panes of glass ``irreplaceable.'' Still, the broken pieces of glass will be preserved, she said.

``Only God can replace the window,'' she said. ``If he wants it replaced, it will happen.'' Some at the site Monday speculated that if the mirrored glass were replaced, Mary's head would instantaneously reappear and attach itself to the rest of the image.

Monday, March 1, 2004


From - News:

"Someone has defaced an internationally known religious landmark.

The top three panels of the nine-panel glass window were broken at the Clearwater building with the Virgin Mary image. Police believe it happened between 5:15 and 6:45 Monday morning.

The damage was discovered by a woman who came to pray. Clearwater police say they think a vandal used a sling shot to propel ball bearings at the window, causing the glass to splinter and break. "

Clearwater Image of Mary Destroyed

Not sure what happened...but its clear that three window panes have been knocked out where the image once was...some are claiming to see the image of Jesus in the missing panels.

The Shepherds of Christ were at the Christian Bookseller's Association book show last year in Orlando handing out cards that showed pictures of the image that they say went dark days before 9/11 and then returned to their normal appearance.

This appears to be vandalism.

Live web cam image

Accused Clergy had Influential Posts

In Springfield, Mass. Of course, this is one of the greatest dangers in a system that is modeled more on the monarchies of the middle ages then the Church of the first millenium.

From Accused clergy had influential posts:

"The vast majority of 14 local priests recently accused of sexual misconduct held positions of considerable power in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, some ascending steadily through the ranks while they allegedly engaged in sexual misdeeds with minors.

Among them were the recently retired bishop, a secretary to two bishops, the executor of one bishop's estate and the head of diocesan schools. Another was the chief recruiter of young seminarians, a man who was later entrusted with diocesan records.

The exceptional proximity to power - and documents that may show some clerics abused it - have triggered questions about whether personnel files and other paperwork that may have revealed a pattern of abuse were destroyed or mishandled.

And, while their numbers represent just a fraction of the 120 priests in the diocese, the accused provide evidence that a powerful 'cabal' of abusers had free reign to prey on victims over decades, according to lawyers for alleged victims. "

Cardinal Mahony's Cross

Quo vadis?

I'd say he's done a pretty good job of fleeing it.

From Southwest Florida's Information Leader:

"Cardinal Roger Mahony called on parishioners Sunday to accept their personal crosses, noting he has accepted the sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church as his burden.

During Mass on the first Sunday in Lent at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, Mahony called the allegations of sex abuse against some clergy 'a horrible chapter in the life of the church' and said he often wished God had sent him a different challenge.

'In my own life, the last couple of years have been very difficult because of the sexual conduct problems of some clergy,' he said. 'Very often I (say) 'Anything but that, Lord. Change this cross to something easier to bear, change this cross for me.''

Mahony, 68, made no reference to a report released Friday that found the Los Angeles archdiocese had 656 sexual abuse claims and 244 clerics accused of abuse - the highest numbers in both categories in California.

The cardinal did not mention a related report that called Los Angeles a 'troubled diocese' and singled Mahony out for resisting subpoenas seeking priest personnel files.

The reports were both released by the National Review Board, a panel of Catholic lay people charged by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with investigating the abuse crisis.

Mahony was one of only four bishops - there are 195 bishops who run dioceses in the United States - criticized by name in the report. The others were former Boston Cardinal Bernard F. Law, Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York and Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien of Phoenix."