Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pope: Present Moment Marked by Not a Few Shadows

From Today's Regina Caeli Message:

Christ's resurrection is the central event of Christianity, a fundamental truth that must be reaffirmed with vigor at all times, as to deny it in different ways, as has been attempted and continues to be attempted, or to transform it into a merely spiritual event is to make our faith vain. "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).

In the days that followed the Lord's resurrection, the apostles remained gathered together, comforted by the presence of Mary and, after the Ascension, persevered with her in prayer, awaiting Pentecost. The Virgin was for them mother and teacher, a role she continues to carry out for Christians of all times. Every year, during Eastertide, we live this experience more intensely and, perhaps, precisely for this reason, popular tradition has consecrated the month of May, which normally falls between Easter and Pentecost, to Mary.

Therefore, the month that begins tomorrow helps us to rediscover the maternal role that she carries out in our lives so that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the risen Lord.

Let us entrust the needs of the Church and of the world to Mary, especially at this moment marked by not a few shadows. Invoking also the intercession of St. Joseph, who we remember particularly tomorrow, thinking of the labor world, we address her with the Regina Caeli prayer, which enables us to relish the comforting joy of the presence of the risen Christ.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Great Crowd in Kalamazoo

Thanks to Kurt Lucas, who is a real blessing to his diocese and their people.

Learn Chant

EWTN Podcasts

Most of their shows and some extras.


From Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor:

The rosary can be a nourishing prayer or it can be somewhat exasperating, with the decades going by with little or no comprehension of the mysteries. I've found a helpful book aid of late, helpful in the sense that it's pocket-sized and includes icons to help focus on particular mysteries. (The art is to my taste, with a Byzantine bent.) I'm speaking of Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn's Praying the Rosary. It also helped open up the Joyous mysteries to me. Before they seemed tinged with non-joy (i.e. the loss of Jesus and presumed dismay of Mary, the sword that would pierce her heart, the lack of inn, or hearts, the Holy Family found). But the book emphasizes the positive side of each mystery, which pessimists need, and there was also the helpful reminder on every page: "Ask Our Lady to help you pray this mystery." I've become increasingly mindful of the help I need to do just that.

The book (which you can look through on Amazaon):

Soon, Another American Saint

The story behind Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin, and a side note--I was taught by Sr. Marie Kevin Tighe (the postulator of her cause).

Changing Face of the Catholic Church

From The Wichita Eagle:

At a time when priesthood ranks in the United States have been shrinking -- down 26 percent from 57,317 in 1985 to 42,528 in 2005 -- the number of Asian-Americans in seminary schools is growing, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

From 2000-2005, the number of seminarians in the U.S. dropped 5 percent, with whites falling from 69 percent to 65 percent. Black seminarians increased from 4 percent to 5 percent; Hispanics held steady at 15 percent.

And while exact numbers by ethnicity are not available, church officials say Vietnamese and Filipinos make up the largest segment of the Asian seminarian population.

The Urgency of Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy and the Second Coming of Christ

Friday, April 28, 2006

Call From Vatican Official for Catholics to Boycott DaVinci Movie

From Yahoo News:

Amato, addressing a Catholic conference in Rome, called the book "stridently anti-Christian .. full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church."

He added: "I hope that you all will boycott the film."

New Saints and Blesseds

Quite a list, one American--in fact an Indianan or Hoosier if you wish, from the Vatican Information Service:

Today, during a private audience with Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorized the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

- Blessed Filippo Smaldone, Italian, diocesan priest, founder of the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart (1848 - 1923).
- Blessed Rafaele Guizar Valencia, Mexican, bishop of Veracruz, Mexico (1878 - 1938).
Blessed Rosa Venerini, Italian, foundress of the Congregation delle Maestre Pie Venerini (1656 - 1728).
- Blessed Teodora Guerin, ne Anna Teresa, French, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods in the United States. (1798 - 1856).
- Venerable Servant of God Basile Antonio Maria Moreau, French, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1799 - 1873).
- Venerable Servant of God Mariano de la Mata Aparicio, Spanish, priest of the Order of Saint Augustine. (1905 - 1983).
- Venerable Servant of God Margarita Maria Lopez de Maturana, Spanish, foundress of the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of Mercy (1884 - 1934).
- Servants of God Cruz Laplana y Laguna, Spanish, bishop of Cuenca, Spain (1875 - 1936) and Fernando Espanol Berdie, Spanish, diocesan priest (1875 - 1936).
- Servant of God Narciso Estenaga Echevarria, Spanish, bishop of Ciudad Real, Spain (1882 - 1936).
- Servant of God Libero Gonzalez Nombela, Spanish, diocesan priest (1896 - 1936).
- Servant of God Eusebio del Bambino Gesu, Spanish, professed priest of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites (1888 - 1936).
- Servant of God Felice Echevarria Gorostiaga, Spanish, professed priest of the Order of the Minor Friars (1893 - 1936).
- Servant of God Teodosio Rafael ne Diodoro Lopez Hernandez, Spanish, professed religious in the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian School (1898 - 1936) and three brothers from the same institute.
- Servant of God Sara Salkahazi, Hungarian, of the Institute of the Sisters of the Assistance (1899 - 1944).
- Servant of God Ciriaco Maria Sancha y Hervas, Cardinal of S.R.C., Spanish, archbishop of Toledo, Spain, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha (1833 - 1909).
- Servant of God Vincenza Maria Poloni ne Luigia, Italian, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Verona (1802 - 1855).
- Servant of God Maria Bucchi ne Maria Matilde, Italian, foundress of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood of Monza (1812 - 1882).
- Servant of God Esperanza Gonzalez Puig, Spanish, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (1823 - 1885).
- Servant of God Cataline Coromina Agusti, Spanish, foundress of the Institute Josephine Sisters of Charity (1824 - 1893).
- Servant of God Maria Dolores Marquez Romero de Onoro, Spanish, foundress of the Congregation of the Philippian Daughters of Sorrowful Mary (1817 - 1904).
- Servant of God Maria Rosa Flesch, German, ne Margherita, foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Mary of the Angels (1826 - 1906).
- Giuseppina Nicoli, Italian, of the Society of the daughters of Charity (1863 - 1924).

"And the Love of Many Will Grow Cold"

Pope Benedict says "lovelessness" reason for low birthrates, from CNN International:

Pope Benedict has said the growing number of loveless relationships may be behind declining birthrates in the developed world.

The pope also said on Friday that an "eclipse of love" and lack of moral guidance threatened the intellectual and spiritual development of future generations of children.

"Perhaps the lack of such creative and forward-looking love is the reason why many couples today choose not to marry, why so many marriages fail, and why birthrates have diminished," the pope said in a message to a meeting of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

"It is children and young people who are often the first to experience the consequences of this eclipse of love and hope. Often, instead of feeling loved and cherished, they appear to be merely tolerated."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Excellent Conference

I think this is open to anyone and includes an excellent line-up of Catholic speakers, including:

Cardinal Arinze, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Christopher West (costs extra to hear him), Fr. Richard Hogan and others. In July, in Jacksonville, FL on a Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd.

The Family Honor Conference

Father Corapi--No Confessions and Bodyguards

Thanks to Spirit Daily for this link... rather strange, especially since I don't find Father Corapi all that "dangerous." But there are plenty I guess who do. Read the thread, its interesting and mostly from people who have heard or seen Father speak in person.

One commentor says that he isn't allowed to say Mass in several dioceses. Very strange.

Catholic Digest Poll on DaVinci Code

Strange one...Catholics not "fazed" by it, mainly because those polled haven't read it or only read part of it.

From USA TODAY, today:

But most Catholics view the brouhaha with a big yawn, according to the survey released Tuesday by Catholic Digest, the 70-year-old monthly magazine.

Most (73%) say The Da Vinci Code has had "no effect on their faith."

And 92% say they don't know of anyone leaving the church after reading the book, says the March 23-27 survey of 443 Catholics, by Yankelovich Inc. Margin of error was ±4.7 percentage points.

"Catholics know this is fiction," and they're "smart enough and strong enough not to let a book or movie bother them," says Dan Connors, editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest.

Other findings:

• 28% have read all or part of the book; 63% did not read it, chiefly, they say, because they lack time, interest or inclination to read fiction.

Bonnie Owens RIP

Four weeks after the death of Buck Owens, her one time husband. Married to Merle Haggard and to a third husband, divorced all...had Alzheimer's for the past six to seven years.

From the LA Times:

Bonnie Owens, a cocktail waitress-turned-singer who was married at different times to country music giants Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, died Monday in Bakersfield after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 76.

Her death came four weeks after that of Buck Owens, but she may have been too deeply gripped by Alzheimer's to know that he was gone, according to Jim Shaw, a close family friend.


I think someone is pulling John Allen's leg, can you imagine Father counseling the unrepentant mob boss thus?

"Hey Vito, don't kill him--just rough him up, and while your at it Vito wear a condom when you're out on the town--it's self defense you know!"

From NCR:

Traditionally, confessors and pastors have long been permitted to counsel a "lesser evil" to prevent greater harm. For example, if a mob boss tells a priest he intends to kill an enemy, and if the mob boss can't be persuaded to change his mind, the priest could advise him to beat up the enemy instead. Under those circumstances, the priest is not approving the beating, merely tolerating it to avoid an even worse outcome.

Da Vinci Code Resources

Give Answers about the book and the movie!

Tradition Lives

From the Pope's General Audience today:

Ecclesial communion, in the words of Benedict XVI, “does not only extend to all believers in a given moment in time, which unites all believers in all parts of the world (synchronic communion); it also embraces all times and all generations of believers in the past and future (diachronic communion).”And so the “experience of the Risen Lord of the apostolic community at the beginnings of the Church, can always be lived by successive generations, in that it is transmitted and actualized in faith, in worship and in communion of the People of God, pilgrim in time. The apostolic Tradition of the Church consists of this transmission of the virtues of salvation, which makes the Christian community the permanent realization of the original community, in the strength of the Spirit. It is called so because it was born from the testimony of the Apostles and of the community of disciples at the beginning, it was handed down under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the writings of the New Testament and sacramental life, and the Church continually refers to it as its foundation and norm through the uninterrupted succession of the apostolic ministry.” And it is the Spirit who “actualizes” the “saving presence of the Lord Jesus through the ministry of the apostles – leaders of the eschatological Israel (cfr Mt 19:28) – and through the life of all the people of the new covenant”.

“This permanent actualization of the active presence of the Lord Jesus in his people, by the work of the Holy Spirit and expressed in the Church through the apostolic ministry and brotherly communion, is what is meant, in a theological sense, by the term Tradition: it is not the simple material transmission of things and words, of what was given to the Apostles at the beginning, but the effective presence of the Lord Jesus, crucified and risen, that accompanies and leads the community gathered around him in the spirit”.

Magister Gives Full Text of Cardinal Martini Interview

Calls it the "first great act of opposition to this pontificate from the upper levels of the Church."

A conversation between Carlo Maria Martini and Ignazio Marino

We Visited This Church--DaVinci Controversy

It is one I couldn't find the name of when doing my travelogue, but I recognized it immediately:

From Christianity Today:

The advertisement was an enormous poster which featured the Mona Lisa, arguably Da Vinci’s most famous painting. The poster, which has the title of the upcoming film on it, has been up already for a few weeks outside the St Pantaleo Church in Rome.

Rev. Marco Fibbi, a spokesman for Rome’s Vicariate reported that the poster was “causing a problem.”

He added, “This movie is not reputed to be particularly appreciated by ecclesiastic circles.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Search is Over!

For the Holy Grail, that is...found at Mike Aquilina's and Chris Bailey's new blog

Their book is out too!

Feast of Saint Mark--Evangelist to the Rest of Us

This year's (Cycle B) Sunday Gospel readings are from the Gospel of Mark whose full name was John Mark a combination of a Jewish and Roman name. To me Mark is a patron of those who set out in ministry and for whatever reason turn their hand back from the plow. The Church evangelizing (symbolized by St. Paul) have little use for the John Mark's of the Church (Acts 15:38), but the institutional Church (symbolized by St. Peter and here I think we glimpse the Divinity of Jesus in choosing Peter to head up the church) take in John Mark and uses him to interpret and present the Gospel in a language that the lapsi (the lapsed) can understand.

A friend remarked the other day, how different Jesus is when he appears to the disciples in Mark's Gospel after the Resurrection. Jesus does not offer them "Peace" but focusing on their disbelief "he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen,"(Mark 16:14). Here we have a Gospel for those who like Peter and Mark have failed and failed again and need the "tough" Gospel!

Some with the intensity of St. Paul embrace the Faith and set out never to look back, others like John Mark and St. Peter "take account of the winds" and sink but reach out to the Lord to save them, once again. To some "Peace" is what is needed, to others "Why do you persecute me?" and to still others a rebuke. Count me among those who need to hear that latter. Thanks to Saint Mark, Jesus awakes me from my slumber.

Read about Saint Mark in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Reality--Freeze Watch Here Tonight

After a few weeks of highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's (and this is still April), reality sets in as the highs for today have already passed and the lows tonight could bring a frost.

Summer is over!

Product Placement and the Pope

In today's Wall Street Journal:

A senior Vatican official who asked not to be named says that when it comes to worldly goods, Benedict XVI's choice of personal accessories is "completely arbitrary."

The official adds: "He's aware of the buzz, but mostly he laughs about it, because it's so absurd. What does he really have to choose? He doesn't wear a tie or coat. The glasses he wears are the same glasses he wore as a cardinal, as is the pen he writes with."

But because the pope is so lightly accessorized, brands like to be associated with him all the more. This was relatively easy for Italian shoe company Geox SpA, whose founder, Mario Moretti Polegato, is a friend of papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. (Mr. Navarro-Valls is a member of Geox's ethics committee.) Following Benedict XVI's election in April of last year, Geox gave Mr. Navarro-Valls several pairs of Geox Uomo Light loafers -- featuring the brand's trademark antifoot-sweat system -- as a present for the new pope.

When the pope wore the shoes, Geox chose not to promote the event through advertisements or press materials. But the company was delighted when word got out. "If the pope uses our product that means it works. He's out in public under the sun for hours in a heavy tunic, so he risks becoming sweaty," says Geox spokesman Eros Scattolin. "What better testimony could you ask for?"

Co-Adjutor Bishop Named for Venice (Florida)

Monsignor Frank Dewayne of Green Bay, Wisconsin who has been with the Pontifical Council of Peace and Justice.

Is Bishop Nevins ill?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Gas Prices Across the USA

A Neat Map...

Why is gas least expensive in the Upper Mid-West?

A Can of Worms?

Amy posted on this story a few days ago and the comments spelled out the dire consequences if such a relaxation of the rule were to be allowed. Now the story is starting to get a wider reporting, although still nothing official. I would point out that at least what moral theologians (usually liberal ones) have always pointed out was that the Vatican allowed certian religious sisters to use artificial contraception to prevent pregnancy by rape in warring countries where that was likely to happen--now I'm just reporting that I was taught that in a Catholic seminary some twenty years ago and that I've never seen any documentation to back it, but I'll bet someone online knows where to point us if such was the case.

From the BBC Online:

Cardinal Barragan told the newspaper: "Soon the Vatican will issue a document about the use of condoms by persons who have grave diseases, starting with Aids."

He said his department was studying the document, along with the scientists and theologians who wrote it.

"It is Benedict XVI who asked us for a study on this particular aspect of using a condom by those afflicted with Aids, and by those with infectious diseases," he added.

Asked whether he agreed with Cardinal Martini's views, Cardinal Barragan said: "It is a very difficult and delicate subject which warrants prudence."

He said he preferred not to comment on Cardinal Martini's remarks, so as "to not anticipate the study".

It is not clear when the document will be published.

The Vatican has made no official comment.

Further info on the "nuns in the Congo" referred to in my comments above:

Father Gonzalo Miranda, who lectures at the Pontifical Academy of the Regina Apostolorum, and is Secretary of the Institute of Bioethics at Rome's Catholic University, said that the use of the Pill is sanctioned in such cases if the women ran "a serious and imminent risk of rape".

In an interview published by the Italian Bishops' Conference official news agency, SIR, which lends his views extra weight, the theologian said: "Contraception is morally illicit when it accompanies a desired sexual act, but when a sexual act is imposed, and not wanted, then contraception represents the only form of protection."

He added: "In such cases the act of taking the Pill . . . is not a true act of contraception from the moral point of view, but only an act of defence."

The question of nuns taking the Pill as a defence in trouble spots around the world was openly authorised long ago in the case of the Congo by Cardinal Pietro Palazzini - even if the Pope's authorisation of the prelate himself was never publicised.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

In Defense of St. Thomas ...the doubter

Originally posted on this blog on April of 2002:

This Sunday which now is the Feast of Divine Mercy is also the Sunday where we hear the story of the so called doubting Apostle Thomas. The lone Apostle who is not locked in the Upper Room with the other surviving Apostles. It strikes me that he always gets a bad rap, undeservedly so, I would say.

Remember on the way to Jerusalem, one of the Apostles pointed out to Our Lord that a certain death awaited Him if He went to Jerusalem.

Jesus undeterred continues to journey toward Jerusalem.

It is then that John's Gospel records the Apostle Thomas as saying, "Let us also go, that we may die with him," (John 11:16). These are the words not of a doubter (in the mission of the Lord) but rather a proclamation of a believer, ready to take up his cross and to die with and for Jesus Christ.

As they journey along and Jesus says, "You know the way that I am going," and Thomas doesn't understand Jesus he says so, "Lord we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?" (John 14). Jesus replies, "I am the way."

So now we reach the moment after the crucifixion has passed when Scripture tells us, "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews," (John 20:19). We find that Thomas is not with them.

Why not?

Remember that the Apostles were in the room for "fear" of the Jews, they were afraid that the same ones who had handed Jesus over to death might come after them next, but Thomas had said "let us go to die with him." He was not afraid, he was out and about his business, if they came after be it!

Is it any wonder then that when he returns to enconter the disciples still locked in the room, that he does not believe them. Why should he? If the Lord were alive, why were they so filled with fear? If they really had experience the Resurrected Lord why weren't they proclaiming it with their lives? Why weren't they back out on the streets?

When Jesus appears to Thomas, he believes!

Our Lord tells him and us that "Blessed are those who have not seen and believe."

It is very easy to doubt that the Lord lives when we see modern day Apostles locked behind clerical doors for fear of the press, or scandal, or law suits, or the laity. It is easy to wonder if they really believe in the power of the risen Lord.

But what about us? Are we out in the streets ready to die with Him or are we too locked behind our own fears?

Saint Thomas, pray for us!

Lord have mercy on us!

Divine Mercy Sunday

What is Divine Mercy?

Holy Fire and Tempers Flare at Orthodox Pascha


Security was tight as visitors from around the world flocked to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition says Jesus was crucified and buried.

Tempers flared as thousands of worshippers waited to pass through security barricades into Jerusalem's Old City. Some priests and pilgrims shoved and punched police. Inside the church, people scuffled with each other and with officers as they waited for the ceremony to begin.

The Greek and Armenian Orthodox patriarchs in the Holy Land descended into the church's underground tomb to bring out the flame. Worshippers clutching bundles of unlit tapers and torches waited in the darkened church for the church leaders to emerge.

When they reappeared with lighted torches, church bells pealed. Worshippers cheered, shrieked "Christ, Christ," and ululated. The flames were passed around to the thousands of faithful and light and smoke filled the cavernous church within seconds.

Divine Mercy Sunday Mega Page


Indulgences Attached to Divine Mercy Sunday

Decree on Indulgences

Regina Caeli Message--Divine Mercy Sunday

From Asia News Italy:

Thanks to the Polish pope the traditional Low Sunday or Dominica In Albis, the Octave Day of Easter, became the ‘Sunday of the Divine Mercy’, “making the most of the spiritual experience of a humble nun, St Faustina Kowalska”, canonised by John Paul.

Benedict XVI also mentioned that “Providence decided that he [John Paul II] should die right on the eve of that day in the arms of Divine Mercy.”

The theme and experience of the Divine Mercy refer to this Sunday’s Gospel (Jn, 20: 19-31), which mentions the apparition of the Risen Jesus to the circle of disciples to show his nail marks and side.

“The holy marks in the hands, feet and side are inexhaustible source of faith, hope and love that each can draw from, especially the souls most thirsty for Divine Mercy,” said the Pope.

Benedict XVI also stressed that from the apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples on “the evening of that first day of the week” (Jh, 20: 9), and then again “a week later” (Jh, 20: 2), comes the weekly cycle of Sunday mass we now know as the “Lord’s day” and “encounter with the Risen Lord”.

Relaxed and calm, the Pope sang the Regina Caeli, perhaps impressed by the very many pilgrims, estimated to be around 45,000 people.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Nine

Ninth Day

"Today bring to Me The Souls Who Have Become Lukewarm and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."

Go here for instructions.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Eight

Eighth Day

"Today bring to Me The Souls Who Are Detained in Purgatory and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only know the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.

Go here for instructions.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Euro with Benedict to be Released

From Catholic News.Com:

The first Vatican euro coins bearing a bust of Benedict XVI will be released next week, according to information from the Vatican's numismatic bureau.

Catholic World News reports that the Bureay will release a full set of coins, denominated in euros, bearing a bust of the Pope on one side, with the inscription "Citta del Vaticano" and 12 stars representing the European Union.

The other side of the coin will be the same as the obverse of coins minted by other member-states of the European Union.

"Little Saint Peters" Keep St. Peter's Clean

From the Washington Post: Gum battle marks St Peter's 500th anniversary:

Visitor numbers have swelled further since the death of Pope John Paul II last April and thousands daily queue for hours to visit his tomb deep in the bowels of the church -- some of them dropping gum and scribbling on the marble as they wait.

An army of Vatican workers, known as "sanpietrini" (little St Peters), work full time trying to repair the damage and remove the stains left by visitors.

Marchisano said upkeep was not cheap. Although he declined to give a precise figure, he said most of the funds were met by tickets sold to those wanting to visit the giant dome or "cupola."

Bishop of Charleston on Immigration

When I was a stranger you welcomed me... (check out my Good Friday reflections on April 14th)

From his Good Friday Homily:

In Matthew's gospel, chapter 25, we learn that attaining the kingdom of heaven will depend on how well we welcomed the stranger. The stranger was Jesus in our midst. (Matt. 25:35- "I was a stranger and you welcomed me.") is the stranger suffering, lonely, or lost? That is Jesus suffering, lonely, and lost. From Jesus, especially from Jesus on the cross, we receive a summons to welcome the stranger when and as we can, to absorb the stranger into our community, when and as we can.
What length does this stranger go to receive a welcome from us? Economic conditions make the stranger go to extremes that occasionally result in death. Not long ago eleven decomposed bodies were found in a locked railroad car about 60 miles northwest of Omaha, Nebraska, in a town called Denison. The bodies were so badly decomposed it was difficult to determine whether the victims were men, women, or children. Bodies were found huddled together. There was no evidence of water or food inside, and the car was latched firmly on the outside. They couldn't escape a cruel, torturous death.
The railcar had left Matamoras, Mexico in the month of June and had been parked for a long time in Oklahoma before being brought to Denison, where the bodies were discovered. It was unclear whether the people had been smuggled or had hopped on the freight car themselves. It doesn't matter how they got there. We know why. They were looking for work, for a better life, for a livelihood. People in need of work to survive go to such extents just to survive.
People may argue, "they are here illegally from Mexico. Let other people worry about them. Let other people welcome them." but the Christian knows better. It was our lord who suffered and died in that freight car, as he suffered and died on Calvary. And he would want us to treat these people better. He would want us to find a way to address the plight they find themselves in.
He suffered and died to help suffering humanity.
We have many reasons to turn and walk away from this situation. These people are taking other people's jobs we may say. There is not enough work to keep them gainfully employed. Well, maybe but maybe not.
We might argue that we cannot possibly absorb this group of people. They will be on the welfare roles. They will be unproductive citizens. And yet in response to those legitimate concerns, don't they seem by their work habits to have answered those fears we may have about them already?
And what about the need for borders and protective measures against terrorist threats? Many of these people are here illegally. Obviously these concerns need serious attention and cannot be overlooked. But there are ways that are humane and fair that are being proposed in congress that can regulate what must be regulated. Borders between countries cannot be ignored, nor can the laws of a country. But the Judeo-Christian teaching about welcoming the stranger stands as a summons to be headed by all who take their Jewish and Christian faith seriously. This also seems to be a summons from the cross of Christ this Good Friday to us Christians of South Carolina, inviting us to respond to the plight of those who suffer great hardship, like the stranger in our midst.

Robert Novak on Walled Off Christians in the Holy Land


On Good Friday, I stood atop the remnant of the Santa Barbara shrine, destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and observed a panorama of the picturesque village of Aboud. I could see properties confiscated to make room for the Israeli security wall, at the cost of centuries-old olive trees. Nearby are two enclosed, heavily guarded Israeli settlements, with four times Aboud's Palestinian population.

Defenders of Israeli policy claimed my facts were wrong Feb. 16 when I wrote that the wall threatens Israel's tiny Christian minority and particularly Aboud's Christian roots going back two millennia. Coming here for a firsthand look, I found the plight of the village's Christians worse than I had reported.

But this is no Christian problem. During Easter Week, I visited Palestinian territory in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Gaza as well as Aboud. Christians share the harsh fate of Palestinian Muslims in the wake of the disastrous Second Intifada. The blunt-spoken head of Roman Catholic Palestinians, Latin Patriarch Michael Sabbah, told me: "The world has abandoned the Palestinians."

If the world is uninterested in Palestinians generally, the plight of their co-religionists attracts the attention of Roman Catholics -- with Aboud a striking example. Of the village's 2,200 residents, 418 are Catholics and 375 Greek Orthodox. Thirty Catholic families have moved out, and more are expected to follow.

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Seven

Seventh Day

"Today bring to Me The Souls Who Especially Venerate and Glorify My Mercy and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death."

Go here for instructions.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Getting the Most Out of the Eucharist

The radio series...Podcast of KVSS's Weekly Radio Series

The book:

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Six

Sixth Day

"Today bring to Me The Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is capable of receiving My grace I favor humble souls with My confidence."

Go here for instructions.

Audience--Gentle but Firm

We've experienced the gentle, is the firm to come?

From the Vatican:

On this, the first anniversary of my election as the Successor of Saint Peter, I thank the Lord for his unfailing help, and I express my gratitude to all those who have supported me by their prayers. I ask you to continue praying that, by God’s grace, I may always be a gentle and firm Shepherd for Christ’s flock. During these days of Easter, the Church proclaims the Good News of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. The Paschal Mystery is the core of our faith! Our yearly celebration of Easter is a foretaste of the eternal joy of heaven. This joy is renewed each Sunday at the celebration of the Eucharist, when we proclaim "the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come", and celebrate the new life received in Baptism. During these days of Easter, all Christians are called to encounter the Risen Lord, to renew their faith in him, to be transformed by the power of his grace, and to share with the men and women of our time the Good News that Christ is truly risen!

I offer a warm welcome to the newly-ordained deacons of the Pontifical Irish College and their families. I also greet the pilgrims from the Diocese of Kerry. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, especially those from Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and the United States, I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Risen Lord.

Can't say anything, but in his greeting he is offering a direct welcome to a famous Roman blogger, to whom I offer a hearty congratulations!

Pope Benedict XVI Begins His Second Year

Sandro Magister..What’s New

Answering questions off the cuff, including this one on "How to Read the Bible":

First of all, it must be said that Holy Scripture cannot be read like just any historical book, as we read, for example, Homer, Ovid, or Horace. We must read it as truly the Word of God, placing ourselves in conversation with God. We must pray first, and talk to the Lord: “Open the door for me.” St. Augustine says this frequently in his homilies: “I knocked at the door of the Word in order to find at last what the Lord wanted to say to me.” [...]

A second point is this: Sacred Scripture brings us into communion with the family of God. So we cannot read Sacred Scripture on our own. Of course, it is always important to read the Bible in a very personal way, in a personal conversation with God, but at the same time it is important to read it in the company of persons who are on the journey with us. We must let ourselves be aided by the great masters of “lectio divina.” We have, for example, many wonderful books by cardinal Martini, a true master of “lectio divina,” which help us to enter into the living world of Sacred Scripture. [...]

A third point: if it is important to read Sacred Scripture with the help of teachers and in the company of our friends, our companions on the way, it is particularly important to read it in the great company of the pilgrim People of God, the Church. Sacred Scripture has two subjects. In the first place, there is the divine subject: it is God who is speaking. But God wanted to involve man in his Word. While the Muslims are convinced that the Qur’an was inspired by God word for word, we believe that one of the characteristics of Sacred Scripture – as the theologians put it – is “synergy,” God’s collaboration with man. He involves his People in his word, and thus the second subject – as I have said, God is the first subject – is human. The authors are individual, but there is the continuity of a permanent subject: the People of God that walks with the Word of God and is in conversation with God. In listening to God, one learns to listen to the Word of God, and also to interpret it. And thus the Word of God becomes present, because individual persons die, but the vital subject, the People of God, is always alive, and remains the same down through the ages: it is always the same living subject in which the Word lives.

This also explains many of the structures in Sacred Scripture, especially the so-called “rereading.” An ancient text is represented in another book, let’s say a hundred years later, and then there is a profound understanding of what had previously been inscrutable, even though it had been contained in the earlier text. Then it is reread again some time later, and new aspects are understood, other dimensions of the Word. And so, in this ongoing rereading and rewriting in the context of a profound continuity, while the time of expectation wore on, Sacred Scripture grew. Finally, with the coming of Christ and the experience of the apostles the Word was made definitive, so that there can be no more rewritings, although our understanding always must be deepened. The Lord has said: “The Holy Spirit will bring you into depths that you cannot bear now.” [...]

I think that we must learn these three elements: reading in personal conversation with the Lord; reading in the company of instructors who have the experience of the faith; reading in the great company of the Church, in whose liturgy these events continuously become present anew, such that we gradually enter more and more into Sacred Scripture, in which God really speaks to us today.

Fr. Fession in the Washington Post, This is the Year to watch!:

The Rev. Joseph Fessio, a former student of Benedict's and the publisher of his books in English, said he understands the impatience among fellow conservatives for a more active papacy but is not worried because "it's early yet."

When the encyclical on love appeared, "a lot of people said it wasn't the condemnation we expected, it was very open to others. That's true. He talks about the love of Eros. Here's the 'Panzer Cardinal' talking about erotic love!" he said.

But, Fessio noted, the encyclical also says that when erotic love is purified, it leads to exclusiveness and permanence. "And what does that mean? He's saying that that kind of love is only between a man and a woman, so he's rejecting homosexual unions. And he said it's exclusive and permanent, so he's excluding divorce and promiscuity."

"So on the surface it was non-controversial -- but underneath he was laying the groundwork, the principles, for conclusions that are controversial," Fessio said, adding: "I think this second year is going to be the one to look it."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI: The First Year

From Time Magazine:

Even in the first weeks, it was clear that he was not a chilly and unbending bureaucrat, but a basically gentle man with excellent listening skills and a gift with words.

From Me:

I reject those (like George Weigel) who say that the crowds coming to St. Peter's for this pope are coming not to see him but to listen to him. As one of those who has come to St. Peter's since his election, I came not to hear him teach in Italian but to see him in person and I dare say that the mass of people that surrounded me were there for the same reason.
What I agree with Weigel on is that this Pope is very readable and I do visit the Vatican website to read all of his addresses which are like attending a great class on the Christian faith...he can communicate through the written word in a way that wasn't true for Pope John Paul II...but he also comes across great in person in a dignified way.
He has been a surprise, because a year later while John Paul the Great is still thought of in that way, Benedict is on his way to leaving what I predict will be a suprisingly great mark on the Church as well.

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Five

Fifth Day

"Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion."

Go here for instructions.

Easter Bunny Charged

Easter Bunny charged with punching angry customer at Fort Myers mall

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Holy Father Sends His Greeting!

Not on the Feastday...

Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people...

Some musings on why there was no release of the document liberalizing the use of the Tridentine Rite at Rorate Caeli. All very interesting, I might add--including a biting piece on John Allen's reporting of the episode (perhaps a little too harsh given that this pope is clearly about "hearing" the discussion before making decisions).
I must say that the same quote entered my mind when the document wasn't released, but then I thought of who says the quote--the high priests and of course the intention they have is not a good one.
A great book to read about this whole issue for the confused is:

Regina Coeli Message

During the Easter season, the Regina Coeli replaces the Angelus as the Marian Prayer:

Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia: Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia. Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia,
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus: Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.R. Amen.

In English:

Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray: O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

From Asia News Italy:

Explaining the invocations Regina Caeli, Benedict added that “Mary kept in her the heart the ‘Good News’ of the resurrection, source and secret of the true joy and real peace that the Dead and Risen Christ conquered for us with the sacrifice on the Cross. Let us call on Mary, who accompanied us in the days of the Passion, to continue guiding our steps in this time of spiritual joy so that we may always grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord and become witnesses and apostles of His peace.”

In the festive atmosphere of Easter, the Pope also mentioned the “joy of an important anniversary. Five hundred years ago—April 18, 1506, to be exact—Pope Julius II laid the first stone of the new Basilica of St Peter, [a structure] that the entire world admires for the powerful harmony of its forms”.

“With admiration,” Benedict XVI mentioned, “the artists who contributed with their genius to building and decorating” the basilica, people like Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Bramante. He said he was grateful to popes like Julius II who devoted themselves to erecting the basilica on top of the tomb of St Peter. He also thanked the staff of the [Reverenda] Fabbrica di San Pietro, [the church agency] that maintains and safeguards such a masterpiece of art and faith.”

Finally, the Pontiff stressed that this anniversary should reawaken “in every catholic the desire to be like living stones (1 Pt: 2,5) to build the Holy Church in which the ‘light of Christ’ is brightly visible through charity that is lived and witnessed before the world.”
Following the prayer, Benedict XVI greeted in different languages the pilgrims who had gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. When he came to greet them in Italian, a group of young people from Naples (Italy) began to sing a well-known Neapolitan song, Ohi vita, Ohi vita mia. Amused and cheerful, the Pope responded saying: “I see there is no lack of Easter joy” among you.

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Four

Fourth Day

"Today bring to Me Those Who Do Not Believe In God and Those Who Do Not Yet Know Me. I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."

Go here for instructions.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Song of Solomon used in Prayers of the Faithful

At the Easter Mass today in the Vatican.

I was half-asleep while listening, but I think in the Holy Father's introduction to the prayers he made reference to the risen Jesus being the Bridegroom and that "we the bride of Christ" await Him with our needs...then each petition began with a quote from the Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs, including the following:

"Upon my bed at night
I sought him who my soul loves"


"I went down to the nut orchard,
to look at the blossoms of the valley."

If someone knows where the whole text of the prayers of intercession is online, please let me know.

Fr. Groeschel--"Happy Easter from Judas!"

From the CFR Website:

Let’s take this beautiful feast of Easter and celebrate it by praying in our hearts, “ Jesus is Lord.” That’s the shortest and most succinct Christian creed, “ Jesus is Lord.” Let us joyfully celebrate the resurrection. For years The New York Times has ignored the celebration of Easter entirely. I wrote to them some time ago and they told me they would change, but they didn’t. I’m happy to say that The New York Sun, which is owned by Jewish people and not published on the Sabbath or Sunday, had a beautiful photograph of the Pope on Good Friday morning and also recognition of the Christian message of Easter. Let’s look at where our friends really are. May I ask you to take a look at the New York Sun if you live in our area? In any event keep reminding people, “ Jesus is Lord.”

Divine Mercy Novena--Day Three

Third Day

"Today bring to Me All Devout and Faithful Souls and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness."

Go here for instructions.

To the City and the World--"Easter Peace"

As the Risen Lord breathed upon the anxious Apostles saying, "Peace be with you!", Pope Benedict XVI on his 79th birthday greets the City of Rome and the World in 62 languages with a message of peace.

From Asia News Italy:

“May the Risen Lord grant that the strength of his life, peace and freedom be experienced everywhere. Today the words with which the Angel reassured the frightened hearts of the women on Easter morning are addressed to all: "Do not be afraid! ... He is not here; he is risen (Mt 28:5-6)". Jesus is risen, and he gives us peace; he himself is peace. For this reason the Church repeats insistently: "Christ is risen - Christós anésti." Let the people of the third millennium not be afraid to open their hearts to him. His Gospel totally quenches the thirst for peace and happiness that is found in every human heart. Christ is now alive and he walks with us. What an immense mystery of love!”

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Blessed Easter to All!

I live, no not I, but Christ lives within me!

I Am Risen

by Brother Sylvain, of Taize

Holy Saturday


By Michael O'Brien

From the Office of Readings:

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all”. Christ answered him: “And with your spirit”. He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light”.

From an Ancient Homily.

Divine Mercy Novena-Day 2

Second Day

Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Go here for instructions.

Spectator's at the Cross

"And the people stood by by, watching"
Luke 23:35

This is a poignant statement made by Luke in his gospel as to what the people of Jesus' time did as they followed him to Calvary and then to his crucifixion.

We spent our Good Friday at a parish that once served the Irish immigrants and now serves the Hispanic and Asian communities that have come into this country. A somber yet festive recreation of the Passion of Jesus with the Stations of the Cross that led us out of the compound of the parish and into the streets of one of the more crime heavy areas of the city. A slow moving procession of about three hundred souls chanting: "Lord have mercy on your people!"as Jesus carrying his cross went through the streets being beaten by Roman soldiers as though he were a beast carrying a load for them--of course he was carrying the load of our sins on that cross!

Along the way the people of the neighborhood gathered at their doors--people of all types, some scantily clad (it was close to 80 degrees--summer like here), some on cell phones :"and they watched"--and of course I too "watched"--they the recreation of the passion in their streets, me the ongoing passion that no doubt is being lived in their lives.

God save us all, we who watch as your Son is crucified. We who stand by as He passes through our streets, offering us mercy that we dare not rise up to receive. We who receive that mercy and do not reach out to share it with those in need.

The local media records the event:

Photo by Cathie Rowland

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Ninth Station of the Cross

The Crucifixion
by Michael O'Brien

From The Way of the Cross celebrated by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, composed by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, © Copyright 2006 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana:

As Pascal insightfully observed:
“Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world;
and we cannot sleep during this time”.[1]

Where is Jesus in agony in our own time?
In the division of our world into belts of prosperity
and belts of poverty ... this is Christ’s agony today.
Our world is made of two rooms:
in one room, things go to waste,
in the other, people are wasting away;
in one room, people die from surfeit,
in the other, they die from indigence;
in one room, they are concerned about obesity,
in the other, they are begging for charity.

Why don’t we open a door?
Why don’t we sit at one table?
Why don’t we realize that the poor
can help the rich?
Why? Why? Why are we so blind?

Good Friday

The Crucifixion
by Michael O'Brien

Divine Mercy Novena-Day 1

First Day

"Today bring to Me All Mankind, especially all sinners and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me."

Go here for instructions.

Kung--Expect Big Surprises from Pope

From Ansa Italy:

But, in an article which appeared in Italian daily La Stampa on Thursday, he seemed convinced that change would come, referring confidently to "the surprises of a conservative" .

"He is the supreme shepherd who proceeds with slow, small steps. He takes his time and prefers to promote small changes which trigger other bigger ones," he said. When Benedict was elected a year ago, Kung described the cardinals' choice as a "huge disappointment". But he also said he would suspend judgment and wait to see what the new pontiff did .

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Holy Thursday

Christ in Gethsemane
by Michael O'Brien

Annual Footwashing Controversies

First a note from the Vatican, via Zenit:

No. 51 of the circular letter states: "The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve.' This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained."

About a year ago, however, the Holy See, while affirming that the men-only rule remains the norm, did permit a U.S. bishop to also wash women's feet if he considered it pastorally necessary in specific cases. This permission was for a particular case and from a strictly legal point of view has no value outside the diocese in question.

The Pope will wash the feet of 12 laymen (not priests)

Oratory Priest won't wash anyone's feet

Catholic's United for the Faith give their view

Charlotte priest apologizes to women for not washing their feet

While I'm like Peter, I don't want my feet washed and can't imagine who would--including most of the women I know who have very clean feet.

Talk about distractions in the liturgy, why does everything have to take the focus off of Christ? He's about to be crucified and the modern disciples (unlike the original ones) are all worried about who is going to be allowed to have their feet washed!

National Geographic and Gospel of Judas

Actually my favorite part of the presentation was how they mimiced Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ when do the re-enactments of the Last Supper.

Emergence of the Gospel of Judas Offers a Tangled Tale of Its Own

William Sloane Coffin dead at 81

Former Yale Chaplain.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Latest

A short note, one commentor on the Good Friday for Liberals wondered about my "headline" for it, saying they identified themselves as a "liberal" anything it is a little tongue in cheek as was my choice of a resurrected Christ for the image...there are those who'll pick up on it right away and those who've entered the game rather late who won't have a clue...obviously it'll be Good Friday for everyone this week, but for some the participation in Our Lord's crucifixion may be felt a little easier.

From Catholic World News:

The silence from Rome is getting downright noisy.

The rumor mills have provided dozens of reports that Pope Benedict will soon issue a document regarding the Latin Mass. But the stories are invariably laced with words like "could" and "perhaps." There has been no confirmation from the Vatican, nor any denial.

Vatican officials who might ordinarily provide useful insights are ducking questions. They are not saying that the reports are wrong. They are simply... not saying.

In his own blog Father John Zuhlsdorf has neatly summarized the circumstantial evidence pointing to the likelihood that the Holy Father will soon confirm the right of every priest to use the 1962 Missal. To his impressive collection of evidence, let me add this: the Congregation for Clergy is still leaving open the possibility that Pope Benedict will issue a statement on Holy Thursday-- which is now less than 36 hours away!

Taken all together, the evidence suggests that Church leaders know there is a statement ready for release, but the exact nature of that statement, and its timing, is known only to Pope Benedict and his closest associates, who (as we already know) don't leak stories to the media.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Good Friday for Liberals?

Could this signal the crucifixion of those in the Church of "what's happening now"?

From Catholic News Agency:

According to the source, the announcement could come “between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday,” but the exact day has not yet been set. Nevertheless, the source said the decision has already been made by the Holy Father and that it’s “only a matter of time” before it is publicly announced.

“A minor official gesture by the Holy Father would be enough to allow the Mass according to the 1962 Missal to celebrated by whoever desires to do so, thus reiterating that this rite is still valid today simply because it was not abolished,” the source told CNA.

The announcement would be in the context of “the reform of the reform” that Pope Benedict XVI is promoting, which includes norms and principles that will be made public in the upcoming post-synod Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Truly Great "Yes"--Pope on Palm Sunday

From Asia News Italy:

The Cross, a sign of contradiction and of life, was at the heart of the pope’s homily, given after the dramatic account of the Passion by the evangelist Mark. Benedict XVI said: “There was a time, and it is still not entirely over, when Christianity was rejected precisely because of the Cross. The Cross talked about sacrifice, it was said, the Cross is a sign of denial of life. We, on the other hand, want life without restrictions and without renunciation. We want to live, nothing more than to live. Don’t let’s be limited by precepts and bans: we want richness and fullness – this is what was said and is still being said. All this sounds convincing and seductive, it is the language of the serpent, who tells us: ‘Don’t let yourselves be afraid! Eat serenely from all the trees in the garden!’ Palm Sunday, however, tells us that the truly great ‘Yes’ is precisely the Cross, that the Cross is the true tree of life. We are not alive to become masters of life, but to give it. Love is a giving of self, and this is why it is the way of true life, symbolized by the Cross.”

The Cross is “the road”, the “way” along which Jesus wants to lead us, a royal way at odds with the mentality of the world. Meditating on the episode of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, astride a donkey, Benedict XVI said: “Jesus entered the Holy City riding a donkey, that is, the animal of simple peasants, and what’s more, a donkey that did not belong to him, but one He borrowed for the occasion. He does not turn up in an opulent, royal carriage, or astride a horse, like the world’s great men, but on a borrowed donkey.”

Thus, in him is fulfilled the promise made by the prophets of Israel, the “king of the poor”, the king of peace”, the king “of universality”. Even these terms contradict the prevailing overstated mentality.

Judas a Tailor?

Gnostic gospel will be all the rage this weekend...Gospel of Judas, dating back to 300 A.D., probably mentioned (condemned) by Irenaeus in 182...

Judas was doing Jesus a favor by helping him get rid of his earthly cloak. In an age of "no one is bad" this is the gospel people want to hear. Unfortunately it's a false one.

Update: Watched a pre-release version last night and those who watch this will definitely need to be catechized. It paints a murky picture that if you aren't aware of early Church history you'd be easily misled by the tone and suspense of the documentary. Although if you are aware, you easily pick up on all the ways they phrase statements, etc. If you watch it, take it as an invitation to read a primer on the history of the early church.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Jesus--an Ice Surfer?

Don't have time to link the story, but this one really is stupid...from a prof at FSU no less.

Questions for the prof to ponder...

Were the Apostles in an ice breaking ship?

Did Peter slip off the ice?

Was Jesus wearing skates?

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Spring Football in Williams Bryce Stadium

With the Ole Ball Coach and his SC Gamecocks:

Removing whatever curse that cost the Gator's a trip to the SEC championship last year:

Joseph at Five

Celebrating with five candles (day before his birthday):

Michael finds another way to celebrate:

The Church, Love and Division

Pope's Angelus which seems like his catechetical series will be based on 1 John, a sort of continuation on his Encyclical but dealing with the more difficult issues, like today's discussion on division, from Asia News Italy:

The Church is “love”, but it is also “truth”: faithfulness to these two features that have co-existed since the times of the Twelve mean that, faced with the danger of losing faith, there is the “clear duty of whoever believes the Church of love, and who wants to live within it, to interrupt communion with he who has distanced himself from the saving doctrine”.

Continuing with his reflection about the mystery of the Church, Benedict XVI addressed 30,000 people who attended the general audience in St Peter’s Square on this windy day. The weather brought forth a joke from Benedict XVI about “wind that could make one think of the Holy Spirit”, of the “service to communion”. Right from the time of the apostles, he said, the community of the disciples “was no stranger to trials, arising above all from clashes about truths of the faith, with subsequent divisions in communion. Just as fellowship in love has existed from the beginning (cfr 1 Jn 1:1ff), so has division taken over from that time: “They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us” (1 Jn 2:19). How great is the danger of losing one’s faith! It is a clear duty of those who believe the Church of love and who want to live within it, to interrupt communion with those who distance themselves from the saving doctrine (cfr 2 Jn 9-11)

The growing Church was “well aware of the possible tensions in the experience of communion”.

But “the Church of love is also the Church of truth, understood above all to be faithfulness to the Gospel entrusted to the Lord Jesus to his own. Christian brotherhood arises out of being made children of the same Father by the Spirit of truth: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Rom. 8:14).

But to live in unity and peace, the family of children of God needs someone to watch over it in truth, and to lead it with wise and authoritative discernment: this is what makes the ministry of the Apostles”.

Visit Requiem Press

Requiem Press

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

New Bishop of Cleveland

The former rector of St. John's... From Vatican Information Service:

The Holy Father appointed Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Boston, U.S.A., as bishop of Cleveland (area 8,842, population 2,853,155, Catholics 802,767, priests 583, permanent deacons 191, religious 1,446), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Anthony Michael Pilla, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.



Monday, April 3, 2006

First Hand Account from Rome

From the Roamin Roman...nice picture of the tomb from Sunday as well.

Father's of the Church Blog

By one of my favorite authors, Mike Aquilina!

John Paul's Presence Remains Great

From English News from Korea:

Thousands gathered in Saint Peter's square on the first anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death to pay tribute to the man who led the world's Catholics for 26 years. During the day, many visited his tomb in the crypt underneath Saint Peter's basilica.

By early evening the square was filled with pilgrims holding candles and many waving red and white polish flags. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian bishops conference, led the evening vigil with prayers, hymns and selected readings from John Paul's writings: his poetry, books and homilies.

Pope Benedict XVI appeared at his study window and joined the pilgrims in the recitation of the rosary. It was a reminder of the solemn prayers of the faithful at the same time last year underneath John Paul II's apartments.

At 21.37, the exact time of Pope John Paul's death, pope Benedict addressed the faithful saying that a year has gone by since the death of his predecessor, but his memory continues to be very alive.

The pope said John Paul II continues to be present in our mind and in our heart, he continues to communicate his love for god and his love for man.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

"Well done good and faithful servant."

From Pope Benedict today:

Towards the end, Benedict XVI recalled the last days of John Paul II, sick and in silence. The pope said the Lord “stripped him of everything to assimilate him with himself… His gestures and proclamations were reduced to the bare essential: to the gift of himself to the last”. The pope added: “His death was the fulfillment of a testimony of faith that touched many men of goodwill”.

Introducing the Angelus prayer, Benedict stressed that John Paul II died on Saturday, “the day dedicated to Mary”, to who we ask to “make ours that which this great pontiff showed and taught us”.

Pope Calls for Days of Prayer and Fasting for Iraq

For this Monday and Tuesday...

During the Angelus:

The pope launched an appeal for two days of prayer and fasting for peace in Iraq, on 3 and 4 April. The appeal, made by Benedict XVI, was the desire of the Patriarch of Baghdad, Emmanuel Delly and the Iraqi bishops, and it has been made to all believers, including Muslims.