Friday, May 18, 2007

Cardinal Clarifies His Comments in Time Interview

From Catholic News Agency:

Nevertheless, in statements to Carlos Polo, reproduced exclusively by the Catholic News Agency, Cardinal Maradiaga, who is in Aparecida participating in the V General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, said his comments to Time magazine should be reformulated “in light of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith teaches in its document, ‘Worthiness to Receive Communion’.”

“A politician who publicly supports abortion, he excommunicates himself. It’s not question of receiving Communion or not; he has already done serious harm to the communion of faith of the Church, to the communion of moral life, and therefore that person himself is doing an act that is inconsistent with what he says he believes,” the cardinal said.

“That is, we’re talking about a person who has become a broken-off branch of the tree of life of the Church, a dry branch that has lost its vital sap and is doing something that is a lie. One who is against life and who is clearly opposed to the message of the Lord Jesus, as is an abortion supporter, cannot be in Communion with Holy Mother Church,” he stated.

“Therefore, if one uses the desire to receive Communion as a justification, it is the worst manner of doing so, because one is doing an act that contradicts what one says he believes,” the cardinal said.

“In addition,” he continued, “a recent declaration of the Holy See clearly states that when
all precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

“This is the current law of the Church and it would be best if these people who know it do not try to receive Holy Communion because they are committing an act that is completely immoral and inconsistent with truth,” he said in conclusion.

Left at Caution Light to Abbey Entrance

Congratulations to my friend Father Seamus Malvey who was solemnly professed yesterday at the Abbey of Gethsemane. Directions to the monastery always include the last direction...either left or right at caution light--depending upon what direction you are coming from...very symbolic. When you leave the Monastery you have to turn left or right at the red light, depending upon where you are going.

What the piece below doesn't mention about the former "Jim" Malvey is that he arrived at the monastery on September 11, 2001.

I know him from the days we were in school together between 1983-1986 before he was ordained a priest for Palm Beach. I ran into him a few years ago when I was messing with the video equipment in the welcome center--neither of us recognized each other at first (time has a way of doing that) but both recognized the other's voice.

From the Palm Beach Post:

When Seamus Malvey takes his final vows as a Trappist monk today, he will be entering a third phase of his religious evolution.

The first phase consisted of 20 years in the Christian Brothers order. Then he became a priest in the Diocese of Palm Beach, serving nearly two decades at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens, in other parishes and in several diocesan appointments.

His imagination was captured back in high school when he read The Seven Storey Mountain, the memoir of Thomas Merton, probably the most famous Trappist monk of the 20th century. Merton's combination of mysticism and outspoken political activism galvanized the post-World War II generation of spiritual seekers, many of whom followed him to the Abbey of Gethsemani in the hills of Kentucky.

But it wasn't until after his retirement from the diocese that Malvey finally made it to Gethsemani.

"I had always thought of being a contemplative, so I said, let me just write them and at least be rejected."

The monks at Gethsemani range in age from 30 to 92 and usually do not take postulants as old as Malvey, but the monks of the order voted to accept him.

There is a decidedly egalitarian streak at the abbey, where a priest or a Ph.D. may be assigned to do manual labor and abbots are elected by a community vote.

Still, he was surprised when the abbot transferred him from working in the laundry to running the abbey's busy visitor center and bookstore, where busloads of day-trippers and retreat-goers arrive year-round.

The abbey was established in 1848 by the French Cistercian order. From the beginning the abbey was self-sustaining, even built from bricks made by the monks. They still grow their own vegetables and make their own shoes and other necessities. The monastery does a brisk year-round business in its signature cheeses, bourbon-laced fudge and fruitcakes.

With 2,300 acres to oversee, the order even has its own forester monk.

Besides their daily duties in the kitchens and the fields, the monks chant the Psalms seven times a day, starting at 3 a.m., as they have every day since the abbey was founded.

Long periods of solitude produce interesting results, said Malvey.

"I can't pretend I'm humble and holy," Malvey says. "Eventually, it will break down and finally you become yourself. That's when grace takes over. God calls a person, the real you, not the person you would like to be."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quote's From the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

"The sign of God is overflowing generosity.We see it in the multiplication of the loaves; we see it again and again--most of all, though, at the center of salvation history, in the fact that he lavishly spends himself for the lowly creature, man." (page 252).

This quote reminds me of another quote from another book, recently published in English which actually would reflect the thought of Father Joseph Ratzinger in the 1960's. There is a quote that actually gives insight into a theory of the cosmos that is tied into scientific fact at a more basic level. Here is the quote:

"The miracle at Cana and the miracle of feeding the five thousand are signs of that superabundance of generosity which is essential to God's way of acting, that way of doing things which in the process of creation squanders millions of seeds so as to save one living one. That way of doing things that lavishly produces an entire universe in order to prepare a place on earth for that mysterious being, man." What It Means to Be a Christian: Three Sermons, (pages 79-80)

Motu Proprio News from CELAM

In an address given by Cardinal Hoyos (Ecclesia Dei):

Intervención sobre Ecclesia Dei-16 de mayo de 2007

Fr. Z has an English translation of the address, I quote one paragraph from his translation:

In Latin America, since it is well-known, we must be grateful to the Lord for the return of a whole Diocese, that of Campos, earlier a Lefebvrian one, that now after five years, presents good fruits. It has been a pacific comeback and the faithful who have registered in the Apostolic Administration are glad to be able to live in peace in his parochial communities; even more, in fact some Brazilian dioceses have made contacts with the Apostolic Administration of Campos that has put at their disposal priests for the pastoral care of the traditionalist faithful in local churches. The project of the Holy Father has been already partially proved in Campos, where the pacific cohabitation of two forms of the only Roman rite in the Church is a beautiful reality. We have the hope that such a model produces good fruits, also in other places of the Church where both catholic faithful live with liturgical diverse sensibilities. And we hope, also, that such a way of living together should attract also those traditionalists who are still far.

Father Euteneuer Invites Congressional Gang of 18 to Leave

The Catholic Church...

From The Christian Wire:

Father Euteneuer said, "It is an embarrassment that a Catholic, much less a member of Congress should make such an absurd statement. Even if this statement were true, the Holy Father answers to a Higher Power than Rep. DeLauro and the Gang of 18."

"The truth is," Father Euteneuer said, "nothing threatens the American experiment more than the legal but unjust killing of human beings by abortion which stands in stark contrast to the very first right enumerated by our Declaration of Independence: The Right to Life. The humanity of the unborn child is no longer even debated. It is a scientific fact. Abortion is murder, and murder is against the law. Like Dred Scott before it, which violated certain citizens' Right to Liberty, Roe v. Wade is bad, dishonest law and will eventually fall."

"Excommunication is a pastoral and medicinal penalty, not a political one. The Pope is well within his free expression of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution—and his pastoral duty—to warn any Catholic when their eternal salvation is jeopardized by their actions" Father Euteneuer said. "This is what the Catholic Church teaches and what Catholics believe. If the Gang of 18 believes otherwise, honesty and integrity requires they find another church that tells them what they want to hear. If they have that much of a problem being Catholic, no one is forcing them to stay. We certainly don't need their hypocrisy."

What is an Acquisitions Editor?

I often get asked this, since it is my job title. Michael Hyatt the President and CEO of Thomas Nelson has a blog and in his description of the publishing process he defines what an "acquisition editor" is and does--thank you Michael!

From Where I Sit:

Hurdle 1: The Acquisitions Editor

Acquisitions editors are the people inside the publishing house specifically charged with finding and developing authors and books that are congruent with the publisher’s mission. Over time, they have developed a “nose” for the right projects. They usually see hundreds of proposals every year. Good editors can review a proposal and decide in sixty seconds or less whether it merits further consideration. If it doesn’t, then it gets tossed into the rejection pile.

Typically, an acquisitions editor has unlimited authority to say “no.” They can reject a proposal without approval from anyone. Conversely, they don’t usually have the absolute authority to approve a proposal for publication. The most they can do is shepherd the proposal through the next step in the process.

This is why your first objective as an author is to sell the acquisitions editor. He’s the “gatekeeper” to the publishing house. If you can’t do that, you’re dead in the water. This is the one place where you have the most control. You must develop a compelling book proposal that gets the acquisitions editor’s attention. You must show that the content is compelling and there is a viable market for it.

I recommend you start with two sources: my article, How to Write a Winning Book Proposal (a PDF), and Terry Whalin’s Book Proposals That Sell. Both of these will help you clear the first hurdle.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quotes from the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

"The burning bush is the cross," (page 349).

Now, there is something you can think about long and hard. It'll also help you to understand why this book is so good...

Fr. Z's "Prayer to Say Before Logging on to the Internet"


A prayer before logging onto the internet

Almighty and eternal God,who created us in Thine imageand bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,grant, we beseech Thee,that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor,during our journeys through the internetwe will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Theeand treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.Through Christ our Lord.



Oración antes de una conexión a la red internet

Oh Dios omnipotente y eterno que nos has creado a tu imagen,
y nos has mandado buscar todo lo que es bueno, verdadero y bello,
especialmente en la persona de tu Hijo Unigénito
y Señor nuestro Jesucristo,
te rogamos, que por intercesión de
San Isidoro, Obispo y Doctor de la Iglesia,
hagas que durante nuestras peregrinaciones en la red internet
dirigimos nuestros ojos y nuestras manos solamente a lo que te es grato
y que tratemos con caridad y paciencia a todas las almas que encontremos.
Por Cristo nuestro Señor.


Catholic Dems protest Pope's Abortion Comments

It is time to for a clear, unambigous teaching on this matter...

From USA Today:

A group of 18 Catholic House Democrats publicly disputed Pope Benedict XVI's recent condemnation of politicians who support abortion rights, saying that "such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment."

Some Athletes Choose Abortion Over Losing a Scholarship

This is horrible. Is this the country that we've become, the land of the free?
What does this say about the real price that is being paid by athletes (females, obviously) to play for the NCAA?

From AOL Sports:

A report on ESPN's Outside the Lines this morning contains news that could generate some major controversy regarding NCAA policies with respect to female athletes. According to the report, some schools have written policies saying any student-athlete who becomes pregnant will lose her athletic scholarship, and that many athletes have abortions because they don't want to lose their scholarships.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This is a Great Book

Jesus healing the possessed.

I think with the release of this book (which I got yesterday and read straight through) the pope is positioning himself to be the St. Thomas Aquinas of our age. How or why do I say this? Because like St. Thomas who answered the objections to the Faith in his day, this pope is doing the same.
A few months ago someone asked me what book I would recommend that they give to their adult children who no longer practiced the faith, without hesitation I named this book as the one. At the time I had only read some excerpts available online from Germany and Italy. It was an act of faith then, now that I have the book I know that my recommendation was justified.
This is a great book, magisterial (even though the pope doesn't want it thought of in that way). It is not just another book about Jesus, it a revolutionary book about that it recaptures why people have had their lives changed by their belief in Jesus for over 2,000 years.
What makes this book so special? It is like a modern Summa (those who know St. Thomas Aquinas will understand me here) in that it answers modern questions of doubt, skepticism and even inquiry on not only who Jesus is, but why Jesus is the most important person anyone has ever or can ever know.
The pope's methodology is to take a scene from the Bible, like the Lord's baptism and then to draw on that scene from the entire Bible, to show what modern scholarship has done to help us to understand the historical context of the scene, tell us how the early Church fathers interpreted the scene, how would it have been viewed in Judaism (he uses the reflections of a Rabbi when discussing the Sermon on the Mount) and then to give the reader the meaning of this event for them. Along the way he answers questions to the many objections modern people bring to their encounter with Jesus.
As someone who has studied theology for a number of years and been exposed to every screwball theology out there, I found this book to be a corrective lens to refocus and correct my vision of who Jesus is and what following him means. What impresses me (and I'm not easily impressed) is that the Pope takes on the "screwball (my term, not his)" theologies in such a way as to making them seem silly (although he is incredibly charitable in his approach).
This book will have a great effect on renewing the Church and centering it on an image of Christ that is Biblical and credible, erasing years of poor and faulty preaching and teaching.
If you are not Catholic, but a Christian you will love this book too. In fact I predict you will be come a big fan of Joseph Ratzinger and will want to read his many published works to encounter someone rooted in Scripture and conversant with modern attacks on it. If you are a non Christian I think you will find in the book an excellent introduction to what Christians believe about the God-man from Nazareth. To all you parents out there who sent your kids to Catholic schools and now wish they would practice their faith, give them this book and reintroduce them to Jesus of Nazareth.

Interview: A Rising Latin American Cardinal

With Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, who was high on many lists to be the pope during the last conclave and he is young enough that he'll be high on most lists for the next one if Benedict doesn't live to be over 100 (which given his current stamina could well happen--and hopefully will).
I've met the Cardinal and he is very charismatic, he would bring the good charism of the Latin American church to the universal church. The interview is in Time Magazine, here is a snipet:

Q. Do you agree with the Pope's statement that pro-choice Catholic politicians merit excommunication.

A. It is canon law that everyone who works for abortion is excommunicated. It's not something the Pope invented. If you favor abortion, you are outside the communion of the Church. And it was necessary to say that. There are people in Mexico saying I am Catholic and I support abortion rights. This is a contradiction in its very essence. As a teacher of the Church, the Pope has a responsibility of teaching when something happening is wrong.

Q. Do you agree with bishops who deny giving Holy Communion to the these politicians?

A. This is a different point. For who am I to deny Holy Communion to a person? I cannot. It's in the tradition of moral theology that even if I know a person is living in grave sin, I cannot take a public action against him. It would be giving scandal to the person. Yes, he should not seek (communion), but I cannot deny it from him.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pope: Make the Word of God Known!

From Zenit:

As a first step, we can respond to this question with another: what is this "reality"? What is real? Are only material goods, social, economic and political problems "reality"? This was precisely the great error of the dominant tendencies of the last century, a most destructive error, as we can see from the results of both Marxist and capitalist systems. They falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God. Anyone who excludes God from his horizons falsifies the notion of "reality" and, in consequence, can only end up in blind alleys or with recipes for destruction.

The first basic point to affirm, then, is the following: only those who recognize God know reality and are able to respond to it adequately and in a truly human manner. The truth of this thesis becomes evident in the face of the collapse of all the systems that marginalize God.

Yet here a further question immediately arises: who knows God? How can we know him? We cannot enter here into a complex discussion of this fundamental issue. For a Christian, the nucleus of the reply is simple: only God knows God, only his Son who is God from God, true God, knows him. And he "who is nearest to the Father’s heart has made him known" (John 1:18). Hence the unique and irreplaceable importance of Christ for us, for humanity. If we do not know God in and with Christ, all of reality is transformed into an indecipherable enigma; there is no way, and without a way, there is neither life nor truth.

God is the foundational reality, not a God who is merely imagined or hypothetical, but God with a human face; he is God-with-us, the God who loves even to the Cross. When the disciple arrives at an understanding of this love of Christ "to the end", he cannot fail to respond to this love with a similar love: "I will follow you wherever you go" (Luke 9:57).

We can ask ourselves a further question: what does faith in this God give us? The first response is: it gives us a family, the universal family of God in the Catholic Church. Faith releases us from the isolation of the "I", because it leads us to communion: the encounter with God is, in itself and as such, an encounter with our brothers and sisters, an act of convocation, of unification, of responsibility towards the other and towards others. In this sense, the preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith in the God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9).

Yet before we consider what is entailed by the realism of our faith in the God who became man, we must explore the question more deeply: how can we truly know Christ so as to be able to follow him and live with him, so as to find life in him and to communicate that life to others, to society and to the world? First and foremost, Christ makes his person, his life and his teaching known to us through the word of God.

At the beginning of this new phase that the missionary Church of Latin America and the Caribbean is preparing to enter, starting with this Fifth General Conference in Aparecida, an indispensable pre-condition is profound knowledge of the word of God. To achieve this, we must train people to read and meditate on the word of God: this must become their staple diet, so that, through their own experience, the faithful will see that the words of Jesus are spirit and life (cf. John 6:63). Otherwise, how could they proclaim a message whose content and spirit they do not know thoroughly? We must build our missionary commitment and the whole of our lives on the rock of the word of God. For this reason, I encourage the Bishops to strive to make it known.

An important way of introducing the People of God to the mystery of Christ is through catechesis. Here, the message of Christ is transmitted in a simple and substantial form. It is therefore necessary to intensify the catechesis and the faith formation not only of children but also of young people and adults. Mature reflection on faith is a light for the path of life and a source of strength for witnessing to Christ. Most valuable tools with which to achieve this are the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its abridged version, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In this area, we must not limit ourselves solely to homilies, lectures, Bible courses or theology courses, but we must have recourse also to the communications media: press, radio and television, websites, forums and many other methods for effectively communicating the message of Christ to a large number of people.

Our Lady of Aparecida

Some history behind the image, from Wikopedia:

The history of Our Lady of Conception Aparecida begins in 1717, when news arrived that the Count of Assumar, Dom Pedro de Almeida e Portugal, Governor of the Province of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, would be passing by the village of Guaratinguetá on his way to Vila Rica, today the city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais.

Three fishermen, Domingos Garcia, Filipe Pedroso and João Alves were sent out by the local authorities to find fish in the Paraíba River. They went down the river and found nothing. After many unsuccessful attempts they arrived at a place called Porto Itaguaçu.

João Alves threw his net into the water and brought back a statue of Our Lady of Conception, but the head was missing. He threw his net in again and soon reeled in the head of the statue. After that, according to the legend, the fish arrived in abundance for the three humble fishermen and their nets were full.

According to most sources the image had been sculpted by Frei Agostino de Jesus, a monk from São Paulo known for his sculpture. The image was less than three feet tall, was made around 1650, and must have been underwater for years. It is a dark brown color, is covered by a stiff robe of richly embroidered thick cloth, and wears an imperial crown which was added in 1904. Only her face and hands can be seen.

Vatican Denies Hiding Part of Secret of Fatima

From the Times Online:

The Vatican tried yesterday to draw a line under a conspiracy theory that has dogged the Catholic Church for decades – that it was harbouring details of the predicted apocalypse.

The Pope’s second-in-command, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, denied that the Church was suppressing a vision of the end of the world said to have been revealed by the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on a hillside at Fatima in Portugal exactly 90 years ago.

The three “Secrets of Fatima” were written down by one of the children, Lucia Dos Santos – who became a Carmelite nun – and sent to the Vatican in a sealed envelope. Two of the “secrets” were made public, apparently predicting the inferno of 20th-century world war and totalitarianism and the eventual reconversion of Communist Russia to Christianity.

Pope John Paul II suggested that the third “secret” predicted the 1981 attempt on his life. He failed to satisfy conspiracy theorists however, with many accusing the Vatican of disclosing only part of the last Fatima secret.

Pope Receives Invitation to Visit China

From AKI:

Pope Benedict XVI has received an invitation to visit China later this year - possibly in September - Vatican sources have told Adnkronos. Speaking on condition of anonimity the sources said the pontiff had received the invitation from the organisers of an art exhibition "Leanardo da Vinci at Tienanmen. If the visit were to take place it could mark a major breakthrough in relations between the Vatican and Beijing's Communist authorities. Ongoing disputes include the Vatican's diplomatic relations with Taiwan - regarded as a renegade province by China - and the appointment by the Chinese governement of bishops in the Catholic Patriotic Association - the only Catholic institution allowed to operate in the country.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Excerpt From Jesus of Nazareth

In Newsweek, here's a taste:

The Eastern Church has further developed and deepened this understanding of Jesus’ Baptism in her liturgy and in her theology of icons. She sees a deep connection between the content of the feast of Epiphany (the heavenly voice proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of God: for the East the Epiphany is the day of the Baptism) and Easter. She sees Jesus’ remark to John that “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15) as the anticipation of his prayer to the Father in Gethsemane: “My Father ... not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt 26:39). The liturgical hymns for January 3 correspond to those for Wednesday in Holy Week; the hymns for January 4 to those for Holy Thursday; the hymns for January 5 to those for Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

These correspondences are picked up by the iconographic tradition. The icon of Jesus’ Baptism depicts the water as a liquid tomb having the form of a dark cavern, which is in turn the iconographic sign of Hades, the underworld, or hell. Jesus’ descent into this watery tomb, into this inferno that envelops him from every side, is thus an anticipation of his act of descending into the underworld: “When he went down into the waters, he bound the strong man” (cf. Lk 11:22), says Cyril of Jerusalem. John Chrysostom writes: “Going down into the water and emerging again are the image of the descent into hell and the Resurrection.” The troparia of the Byzantine Liturgy add yet another symbolic connection: “The Jordan was turned back by Elisha’s coat, and the waters were divided leaving a dry path. This is a true image of Baptism by which we pass through life” (Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon, p. 296).

Jesus’ Baptism, then, is understood as a repetition of the whole of history, which both recapitulates the past and anticipates the future. His entering into the sin of others is a descent into the “inferno.” But he does not descend merely in the role of a spectator, as in Dante’s Inferno. Rather, he goes down in the role of one whose suffering—with—others is a transforming suffering that turns the underworld around, knocking down and flinging open the gates of the abyss. His Baptism is a descent into the house of the evil one, combat with the “strong man” (cf. Lk 11:22) who holds men captive (and the truth is that we are all very much captive to powers that anonymously manipulate us!). Throughout all its history, the world is powerless to defeat the “strong man”; he is overcome and bound by one yet stronger, who, because of his equality with God, can take upon himself all the sin of the world and then suffers it through to the end—omitting nothing on the downward path into identity with the fallen. This struggle is the “conversion” of being that brings it into a new condition, that prepares a new heaven and a new earth. Looked at from this angle, the sacrament of Baptism appears as the gift of participation in Jesus’ world—transforming struggle in the conversion of life that took place in his descent and ascent.

The book:

Is Harry Potter Bad or Good?

Nancy Carpenteir Brown, a homeschooling Catholic mom has an answer for you:

Open Book/Annunciations Bestseller's List

For May 2007
(as of May 13, 2007)

What Books People who Read Amy's Open Book blog and Michael's Annunciation blog are buying this month.

1. Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI

2. The DVD: Into Great Silence (Two-Disc Set)

3. An Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order

4. Loyola Kids Book of Saints (Loyola Kids)

5. A Pocket Guide to the Mass (A Pocket Guide to)

Happy Mother's Day!!!

To my mother and all mothers, including the Mother of all of those who are in Christ!

To the Next Generation

The Three Massketeers reflect

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pope's Comment on the Mexican Situation in Context

John Allen hunts down the Mexican bishops....from John Allen:

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, the place where recent debates over communion for pro-choice Catholic politicians formed the background to Benedict XVI’s Wednesday comments aboard the papal plane, said today that the pope “only repeated what we bishops already had said.”

...Rivera told NCR that he did not know what impact the pope’s comments have had in Mexico City, because he’s been in Brazil since the story broke. He insisted, however, that Benedict’s statement did not amount to “anything new,” but was rather a repetition of the position taken in Mexico City.

On April 24, legislators in Mexico City voted to legalize abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in the city’s public hospitals. The law does not require private hospitals or clinics to perform abortions.

At the time, the Archdiocese of Mexico City issued a statement indicating that doctors and nurses who perform abortions, as well as the lawmakers who support abortion, were to be considered excommunicated. Pressed by reporters at the time, Rivera said that he had not excommunicated anyone, nor did he plan to do so.

Sources said what Rivera meant is that by virtue of their involvement in abortion, the doctors, nurses and lawmakers had instead excommunicated themselves.

By way of inference, Rivera's response today seemed to mean that Benedict had affirmed this position.

(Now Saint) Friar Galvao's RIce-paper Pills

From the Papa Ratzinger Forum:

Both of these women spoke of their faith with the Associated Press, claiming that their children would not be alive today were it not for the tiny rice-paper pills that Friar Galvao handed out two centuries ago.

Although the friar died in 1822, the tradition is carried on by Brazilian nuns who toil in the Sao Paulo monastery where Galvao is buried, preparing thousands of the Tic Tac-sized pills distributed free each day to people seeking cures for all manner of ailments. Sandra Grossi de Almeida, 37, is one such believer. She had a uterine malformation that should have made it impossible for her to carry a child for more than four months. But in 1999, after taking the pills, she gave birth to Enzo, now 7.

"I have faith," Grossi said, pointing to her son. "I believe in God, and the proof is right here."

Nearly 10 years before that, Daniela Cristina da Silva, then 4 years old, entered a coma and suffered a heart attack after liver and kidney complications from hepatitis A.

"The doctors told me to pray because only a miracle could save her," Daniela's mother Jacyra said recently. "My sister sneaked into the intensive care unit and forced my daughter to swallow Friar Galvao's pills."

A few days later, a cured Daniela was discharged from the hospital.

Benedict to Brazilian Bishops: Save Souls!

From Asia News Italy:

“The mission entrusted to us as teachers of the faith,” the Pope said, “consists in recalling, in the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, that our Saviour “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). This, and nothing else, is the purpose of the Church: the salvation of individual souls. For this reason the Father sent his Son, and in the Lord’s own words transmitted to us in the Gospel of Saint John, ‘as the Father has sent me, even so I send you’ (Jn 20:21). Hence, the mandate to preach the Gospel”.

And he points out a fundamental problem that exists within the Church,

This means paying special attention to the preparation of the faithful. “Those who are most vulnerable to the aggressive proselytizing of sects—a just cause for concern—and those who are incapable of resisting the onslaught of agnosticism, relativism and secularization are generally the baptized who remain insufficiently evangelized; they are easily influenced because their faith is weak, confused, easily shaken and naive, despite their innate religiosity.” In this case, “no effort should be spared in seeking out those Catholics who have fallen away and those who know little or nothing of Jesus Christ”.

It is a great embarassment to me that someone can be a Catholic and know, as the Pope says "little or nothing of Jesus Christ"--this is the crisis that has invaded Catholicism, throughout the world. Do you think those pro-choice politicians who are Catholic know who Jesus Christ is? I doubt it.

In his talk the pope reiterated the concern that church has for the poor and also for the retention of priests.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rabbi Asks Pope to Bless Him...

Then asks the pope if he wants to be blessed by him...(pope says "yes")

By the way, this is why blogs rule and traditional media is on the decline...

From Rorate Caeli:

Rabbi Henry Sobel, president of the rabbinate of the São Paulo Israelite Congregation (CIP) said yesterday, after leaving the ecumenical and interreligious meeting with the Pope in the Monastery of Saint Benedict, that he was not only blessed by Benedict XVI, but also had the opportunity to bless him."With great humility, I asked for a blessing and was blessed. I also asked the Pope's permission to bless him, a permission which was granted to me".

He declared himself "light and happy" and he mentioned that he had no opportunity to show regret for the necktie shoplifting episode [Say what? Oh... this], for which he was arrested last March 23, in Florida.

Pope to Youth: Don't Go Away Sad--Give Yourself to Christ

I listened to the talk and have searched in vain for a translation of it, but the gist of it was the above--what you are apt to see reported is the "sad" part...going away from Jesus like the rich young man "whose possessions were many" and investing your life in the false idols of drugs, sex and material goods....but in reality the focus was more on the joy of accepting Christ and this was delivered in an animated way toward the end of the talk.

The young man in the Gospel understood that his youth was itself a treasure. He went to Jesus, the good Teacher, in order to seek some direction. At the moment of the great decision, however, he lacked the courage to wager everything on Jesus Christ. In consequence, he went away sad and downcast. This is what happens whenever our decisions waver and become cowardly and self-seeking. He understood that what he lacked was generosity, and this did not allow him to realize his full potential. He withdrew to his riches, turning them to selfishness. Jesus regretted the sadness and the cowardice of the young man who had come to seek him out. The Apostles, like all of you here today, filled the vacuum left by that young man who went away sad and downcast. They, and we, are happy, because we know the one in whom we believe (cf. 2 Tim 1:12). We know and we bear witness with our lives that he alone has the words of eternal life (cf. Jn 6:68). Therefore, we can exclaim with Saint Paul: Rejoice always in the Lord! (cf. Phil 4:4).

My appeal to you today, young people present at this gathering, is this: do not waste your youth. Do not seek to escape from it. Live it intensely. Consecrate it to the high ideals of faith and human solidarity.

You, young people, are not just the future of the Church and of humanity, as if we could somehow run away from the present. On the contrary: you are that young man now; you are that young man in the Church and in humanity today.

You are his young face. The Church needs you, as young people, to manifest to the world the face of Jesus Christ, visible in the Christian community. Without this young face, the Church would appear disfigured.

Then concluding:

My dear young friends, like the young man in the Gospel who asked Jesus: “What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”, you are all seeking ways to respond generously to God’s call. I pray that you may listen to his saving words and that you may become his witnesses for the peoples of today. May God pour out upon all of you his blessings of peace and joy.

My dear young people, Christ is calling you to be saints. He himself is inviting you and wants to walk with you, in order to enliven with his Spirit the steps that Brazil is taking at the beginning of this third millennium of the Christian era. I ask the Our Lady of Aparecida to guide you with her maternal help and to accompany you throughout your lives.

Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!

On another note...

I wish someone would revise the nature of these youth meetings with the pope. I'd like to see something that focused more on presenting the pope with what the youth know he likes, rather than "this is what we like" which granted they could do all day long while they are waiting for him to show up....celebrating solemn vespers with the pope which could be prepared by the youth groups that join him for these occaisions would be an excellent way to expose young people to the riches of Catholic liturigcal prayer--something they would never forget. What these events essentially are now is dancing and singing before the pope reminiscent of "Up With the People" of years ago--also makes one think of King Herod... Given a chance to meet the pope...why not have represenatives ask him questions after a Vespers service, engage him on issues that they think are important to following Christ in the Church. Why wait all day to meet him, only then to sit passively with him watching a bad talent show?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Strange Luminous Image on Image of O.L. of Guadalupe

Michael Brown reports that a similar light was viewed in the image in 1999, but the recent appearance of the light (in the shape of a fetus) after Mexico's recent abortion ruling has people talking....

Crowds and Solitude in Brazil

Both at a Monastery that I know of from a Jewish friend who some twenty years ago, walked into and asked out loud in the Chapel, "Tell me if it is true, are you the messiah?" What happened next, he would never say, but today he is a Catholic priest.

Crowds greet the pope as he arrives at the Monastery:

In prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Monastery:

Fatima and Pope's Trip to Brazil

Which concludes on the anniversary of the first Marian apparition at Fatima in Portugal on May 13th 1917 (90 years ago this Sunday). The pope was asked about this coincidence of being in a country where Portugese is spoken...

From Papa Ratzinger Forum via John Allen:

Tenth Question (from Catholic radio in Portugal):
Your Holiness, good morning. I’m from Portugal. The Portuguese are following and praying for this trip, which coincides with May 13, the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima. Do you want to offer us a word about this coincidence, also for the Portuguese people?

Yes, for me it’s really a sign of providence that my visit to Aparecida, the great Marian sanctuary of Brazil, coincides with the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of the Madonna of Fatima.

In this way, we see that the same Mother, this Mother of God and Mother of the church, Our Mother, is present to the various continents, that she shows herself to be a mother to the various continents, always in the same way but with a closeness for every people. To me, this is quiet beautiful.

It’s always the Mother of God, always Mary, and yet in a certain sense she’s ‘inculturated,’ with her specific face wherever she is – in Aparecida, in Fatima, in Lourdes, in all the countries of the earth. Thus, she reveals herself as a mother who is close to everyone, and everyone can come close to one another through her maternal love.

This connection which the Madonna creates among the continents, among the cultures, because she’s close to every culture and yet she unites them all, seems important to me – this specificity of the cultures, all of which have their riches, yet leading to communion in the one family of God.

Memorial of Blessed Damien of Molokai

From Vultus Christi, who sees in Damien the patron for all whose lives don't turn out as they planned:

When Providence Writes One's Life

Blessed Damien is, I think, a very suitable patron for those who lives have not turned out as they planned. By the time a child has reached adolescence, he has already dreamed dreams and nourished hopes for his life. The vivid reveries of little boys and girls take shape in a kind of autobiography written in the imagination and lived ahead of time in a world of fantasy. In that world no desire is broken, no hope dashed, no dream unfulfilled, but rarely do the life stories we write for ourselves correspond to those written for us by Providence. Events and circumstances — illness, loss, changes in fortune, failure — shatter dreams, close some doors and open others. The chance encounter with one person or the discovery of a particular book can change the direction of a life, leading to unexpected twists and turns.
The Designs of the Heart of Jesus

God intervenes in a thousand little ways, and sometimes dramatically, to realize in every generation “the designs and thoughts of His Heart” (cf. Ps 32:11). “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:8-9).

Yes to the Plan of God

The life story of each of us written in the Heart of God surpasses by far anything we could have imagined or written for ourselves. When one realizes that one’s life is not unfolding as one thought it would, two responses are possible. One can refuse the path opened by God, “kicking against the goads” (Ac 26:14), or one can say “Yes” to it.

Blessed Damien said “Yes” to God’s astonishing plan for him, a plan that led him from Belgium to Hawaii and, after ten years, to the dreaded leper colony of Molokai. The suffering Christ called Damien to a costly, sacrificial love, and to configuration with himself. He became “as one from whom men hide their faces” (Is 53:3), identified fully with the suffering Christ and with the lepers he served.

A Benedictine Without A Monastery

As a religious of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Father Damien’s life was based on the Rule of Saint Benedict. Without living in a monastery and without the benefits and protection of the cloister, Father Damien found himself living the Rule of Saint Benedict on Molokai in ways prepared for him by the Providence of God. “To relieve the poor. To clothe the naked. To visit the sick. To bury the dead. To give help in trouble. To console the sorrowful. To avoid worldly behaviour. To set nothing before the love of Christ” (RB 4:14-21). “The care of the sick,” says Saint Benedict in another place, “is to be given priority over everything else, so that they are indeed served as Christ would be served, since he himself said, ‘I was sick and you visited me’” (RB 36:1-2).

Rudy Won't Talk of Pope, Abortion


Giuliani himself declined to respond directly to the pope's comments and wouldn't answer questions about whether he believed his support for abortion rights could damage his standing in the church.

"I don't get into debates with the pope," Giuliani told reporters.

"Issues like that for me are between me and my confessor. ... I'm a Catholic and that's the way I resolve those issues, personally and privately," he said. "That's what religion is all about -- it's something that's between you and your conscience and God and then whoever your spiritual advisers are.

"The Giuliani campaign Wednesday night deflected questions about Giuliani's spiritual advisers and whether he takes Communion -- saying, as the mayor did, that those are private issues.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

DeStefano's "Yes" Prayer Set to Music

On You Tube so with video also! From his new book...Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers to Life's Most Difficult Problems

Aboard the Papal Plane to Brazil by Michael Dubruiel

Michael Dubruiel

On politicians who support abortion (from the Washington Post):

The Pope was asked whether he supported Mexican Church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City.

"Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," he said.

"They (Mexican Church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church... which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)."

About The Church and Latin American problems (From the Papa Ratzinger Forum):

"The Church as an institution does not do politics, we respect secularity, but the Church indicates the conditions in which social problems can be resolved....The Church's mission is religious, but it opens the way for the solution of important social problems."

About liberation theology (From the Papa Ratzinger Forum):

"There is room in the Church for a legitimate debate on how to create the conditions necessary for human liberation, how to make Church social doctrine effective, and how to indicate the social and human conditions in which the right values can grow."

He added that "The situation has changed profoundly from when liberation theology was born...It is clear that the facile millenarisms that thought they could realize a complete revolution of human life were wrong. Now everyone knows this. Ut the point is what role should the Church play inthe struggle for justice - theologians and sociologists are divided over this."

He noted that when he was at the CDF, "we tried to discern how the church could get rid of these false millenarisms and of politicization."

About El Salvador's martyr bishop Oscar Romero (From the Papa Ratzinger Forum):

"I have no doubt he will be beatified. I know that the cause is proceeding well at the Congregation for the Cause of Saints," but said he did not have precise information.

"He was certainly a great witness for the faith, a man of great Christian virtue who was committed to peace anad against dictatorship." Recalling that Romero was assassinated during the Consecration of the Host, he said it was 'an incredible death.'

On this last comment a note, for those who don't know the Greek word "martyr" means "witness" which hightlights what the pope is saying in regard to Archbishop Romero.

Alligator Alley Closed for Wildfire Smoke

I watched a little of the Marlins game last night and it was so smokey there that I thought they had set off a ton of fireworks...but I guess it was this. Fires all over the country.

Who are Christians?

From the Office of Readings:

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonour, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

From an Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (Second Century A.D.)

Mother Angelica's Nuns in the Desert

In the diocese of Phoenix....desertnuns

Magister: Benedict XVI Is in Brazil. But Meanwhile, the "Latinos" Are Invading the North


But the boundaries between Latin America and the northern hemisphere are no longer so clear. With 37 million Hispanic immigrants, the United States is now the fourth nation in the world – and soon will be the fourth – by Latin American population, after Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, and ahead of all the other countries in Central and South America. One out of every three Catholics in the United States comes from Latin America, speaks Spanish or Portuguese, and prefers to attend churches where there are other faithful from the South.

Furthermore, almost half of the Hispanic immigrants in the United States identify themselves as Charismatics, exactly as in their countries of origin. And this is perceptibly changing the religious landscape in the United States, and also in regard to the Catholic Church. The Latin Americans are not only revolutionizing the numbers, but they are changing the way in which Catholicism is lived in the leading country in the West.

A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public life, published in the United States on the eve of Benedict XVI's trip to Brazil, is the first in-depth study of this powerful transformation, which will have repercussions on the future of Catholicism worldwide.

For the report go to Magister's page...

From the Secular Press: Is Phil Spector Possessed?

From Yahoo News, Woman says Phil Spector turned 'demonic' :

Ogden testified Monday that Spector seemed to undergo a personality change as she tried to leave another Spector mansion in Pasadena after a party in 1989.

"He was screaming at me, the F-word," she said. "He wasn't my Phil, not the man I loved. It wasn't him. He was demonic. It scared the hell out of me."

She said he first approached her with a rifle, then picked up a pistol and "he put it all over me, yelling things."

Ogden pointed to various parts of her face to indicate where the gun was pointed.

"It was like he was taken over by something. It wasn't Phillip."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Into the Great Silence

We began watching this last night (movie totals close to 3 hours)and it would be hard to describe it accurately, but I'll try. I think what this movie does, not with words (because there are hardly any) is to immerse you into the silence of the Carthusians. I think you will get more out of this beautiful movie if you first read the excellent book written about the English Carthusians at Parkminster,An Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order. This book will make the movie very intelligible to those who do not understand even the basics about monasticism....on the other hand you might watch the movie and then read the book to answer the questions that will inevitably arise from the experience.
And watching this film is an experience. Joseph who watched the early part of the film with me (which takes place during the winter) said, "there isn't much color" and I replied, "not much talking either." He was intrigued as the monks prayed, "kept vigil--watch" in the middle of the night...waiting for the Lord who will return "like a thief in the night"when we least expect so "keep watch" and wondered "do they ever sleep?" This is truly a film unlike any I've ever seen. I joked with Amy that she was about to see the monk's interviews--the camera focuses on them for a few minutes individually, they say nothing and in saying nothing they speak volumes.
Looking for a short retreat?

I once thought and still think that an encounter with monasticism challenges everything that we think about life and our purpose here in the great exile.

Update: Some have questioned how we have this when it hasn't been released yet, the answer is that we have the one-disc version that was available from the Canadians. However...this two disc version that will be available contains a great additional disc that will have some of the things that I felt I wanted to see and didn't in the actual how they make that liquor they are famous for....

Feast of Our Lady of Pompei

From Vultus Christi:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 is the Feast of Our Lady of Pompei. In Italy and in places all over the globe the feast will be marked by the solemn recitation at noon of Blessed Bartolo Longo's moving prayer, the Supplica, meaning supplication or petition.

The Prayer of People the World Over

The Supplica is, of Blessed Bartolo Longo's published prayers to the Mother of God, the most famous. Its incandescent words have opened countless souls to the grace of Christ through the all–powerful intercession of His Mother.

The Supplica is a prayer that people have made their own. It is known on every continent; it has been translated into hundreds of languages. No authority ever imposed it, it is not part of the liturgy of the Church, it was never submitted to revision by ICEL, and yet, it has become universal. Sociologists of religion, take note! Translators of liturgical texts, wake up and smell the Italian coffee!

A Prayer of the Heart

Certain rationalistic types disdain the Supplica. They see it as representative of an unenlightened, sentimental, southern Italian piety bordering on superstition. They find its emphases embarrassing, its display of emotion unnerving.

The literary style of Blessed Bartolo Longo is the expression of his own character. He was capable of gentleness and of passion. He was, like all meridionals, rich in sentiment and quick to express it both in song and in tears. He was moved, before all else, by the reason of the heart.

Blessed Longo was a lover of Truth; but his particular grace was the discovery of Truth through love. He found Truth, not in syllogisms and in concepts, but in the Heart and on the Face of the Word Made Flesh in the womb of the Virgin, and held in her arms.

The Prayer of One Delivered From Evil

The Rosary was the means by which, at the age of twenty–eight, a confused and desperate Avvocato Bartolo Longo — a practicing Satanist and medium at the time — was converted to the Truth and delivered from the powers of darkness. He vowed that he would spend his life proclaiming to others the Rosary's liberating and healing power. This is why, at the end of the Supplica, he exclaims: "O blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we shall never abandon you."

Bound to Mary by the Rosary

The Supplica may not be everyone's cup of tea. Even pious folks may find it a bit too baroque, a bit overdone. It may be the southern Italian blood (mixed with Irish) that runs hot in my veins, but I love the Supplica and I plan on saying it with thousands of other people at noon on Tuesday. It is the prayer of a man very like myself: a poor sinner who fears nothing when he holds the Rosary in his hands, knowing that the Mother of God holds her end of the chain, and will not let it go.

I include the Supplica in my book The Church's Most Powerful Novenas, beginning on page 175, you can also find the text of it at Vultus Christi.

Fr. Z has information on the Indulgences that can be gained by praying this prayer as well as an MP3 of the Supplica.

Israeli Archaeologist Finds Tomb of King Herod

From Fox News:

Haaretz said the tomb was found by archaeologist Ehud Netzer, a Hebrew University professor who has been working at Herodium since 1972. The paper said the tomb was in a previously unexplored area between the two palaces Herod built on the site. Herod died in 4 B.C. in Jericho.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Four New Offerings from Doubleday

Not the Pope book more week until that is out!

So far, I've only had a chance to browse these four books...but all are very interesting and different in there own way....

1. Mother Angelica's short pithy sayings (compiled by Raymond Arroyo) is an excellent little book that can be read in chunks--or whenever you feel you need a boost in relation to a particular area of your life. By now everyone knows about the little nun from Canton, OH who built an international Catholic network (where many more powerful entitities have failed)...and how she did it with a great deal of Faith in God. So there has to be a lot we can learn from her and there is...for example:

"If you are following God, He never shows you the end. It’s always a walk of faith.”

If you know Mother's story you can see the wisdom in that saying...

2. Anthony DeStefano's Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers to Life's Most Difficult Problems is an excellent little book that could serve as a primer on what is really important to pray about--namely how God wants me to live my life with all the reality that it brings. Too often prayer is addressed to God in a way that is asking God to make me something else, rather than make me what I am and give me the tools to do it with joy. DeStefano gives a good foundation here and then neatly ties it all together with a prayer at the end of the book that incorporates the "ten" prayers all into one.

3. The Physics of Christianity by Frank J. Tipler would not be a book that I normally would even pick up, but I when I did--I found a wealth of very accessible answers to the big questions that people's faith often hinges the problem of evil and free will (something that Einstein rejected). I have to think that this book is a must read for anyone involved in apologetics--explaining the faith to a modern world. Great insights here and the possibility of seeing the world in a different light.

4. Scott Hahn's latest offering is an apologetic book, but as he told me a few monthis ago when I asked him about it, not your typical apologetics book. This is a book that helps you through Scott's own story to learn to look for answers as to why do we believe as we do (you might want to also check out Father Benedict Groeschel's little book Why Do We Believe?). Written in the very accessible way that all Hahn books are this will please both longtime fans and those who haven't been exposed to him yet. Faith is not unreasonable, and here Scott gives you a reason to believe!

Catholic Author Karl Schultz

I have worked with Karl Schultz on a number of projects: a pamphlet on the Bible, The How-To Book of the Bible and Praying with the Bible. There is one project that he had been after me to publish ever since I first had contact with him back in the late 1990's--a book that extolled the teachings of Pope Paul VI We never took him up on this offer, but thankfully the book is now published.
Last week the former Univeristy of Michigan basketball player (6'7") presented me with a copy that he autographed. It is a great overview of the teachings of Paul VI, check it out--as well as Karl's new book on Lectio Divina:

Time Magazine's Top 100 Influential People: Pope Benedict

No President Bush in the list...

In the magazine the Pope is on the same page as Osama Bin Laden and Angela Merkel (which makes some sense). I can't help but wonder at the conversation that went behind putting him underneath those two.

The picture they chose is a good one that caused one reader of this blog to ask, when Amy and I had posted the picture last year if it was a picture of George Steinbrenner.

It was never going to be easy to follow a man like Karol Wojtyla, a "Technicolor" Pope, with his unmatched skills as a preacher and an actor. Everyone thought that when Joseph Ratzinger, 80, became Pope, the crowds in St. Peter's Square would greatly diminish and the mass interest in the papacy would disappear. But just the opposite has happened. And therein lies the enigma of Pope Benedict XVI: Why are the faithful (and others) drawn to an intellectual who concedes nothing to the show, who says difficult things (like his September speech about faith and violence in Regensburg, which touched off anger among Muslims), who doesn't bargain with the Gospel? What makes people rush to this fragile man who speaks softly and politely without moving his hands, without ever acting? Evidently, there is a sort of secret attraction, as if many can sense the fascination of the sacred through the witness of Benedict's thoughts and his modest and humble life. After the Slavic sentiment arrives German seriousness—different charismas that confirm that the Catholic Church knows how to make room for every kind of temperament, letting the human qualities of such different men shine through.

Hispanics Bring Catholicism to Its Feet the United States. There is something very natural and reverent about these liturgies...something that when mimiced doesn't work in Anglo parishes. There is a natural flow, where everyone is doing the same thing, the music is of one kind, as well as the preaching.

From the Washinton Post:

"Everyone on their feet!" cried Gladys Cardenas, a stout and fiery Puerto Rican, as a band struck up behind her. "Come on," she shouted in Spanish. "Get ready to celebrate God!"

Sunday, May 6, 2007


For the next Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

Pope: We Walk with Mary

From the Regina Caeli:

“After Vatican Council II, which underlined the role of the Most Holy Mary in the Church and in the history of salvation, the Marian cult underwent a profound renewal. And the month of May, coinciding at least in part with the Easter season, is highly propitious to illustrate the figure of Mary as a Mother who accompanies the Community of disciples gathered in unanimous prayer, waiting for the Holy Spirit (cfr Acts 1: 12-14). This month, therefore, could be an opportunity to return to the faith of the early Church, and together with Mary, to understand that today too, our mission is to announce and testify with courage and joy to the crucified and risen Christ, the hope of mankind.”

Pope: We Walk with Mary

From the Regina Caeli:

“After Vatican Council II, which underlined the role of the Most Holy Mary in the Church and in the history of salvation, the Marian cult underwent a profound renewal. And the month of May, coinciding at least in part with the Easter season, is highly propitious to illustrate the figure of Mary as a Mother who accompanies the Community of disciples gathered in unanimous prayer, waiting for the Holy Spirit (cfr Acts 1: 12-14). This month, therefore, could be an opportunity to return to the faith of the early Church, and together with Mary, to understand that today too, our mission is to announce and testify with courage and joy to the crucified and risen Christ, the hope of mankind.”

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Power of the Rosary Against the Devil

From Vultus Christi:

Concerning the Holy Rosary, once while the priest placed a rosary around the neck of the person who was being exorcised, all of a sudden the demon began crying out, "It is crushing me, it weighs on me, it is crushing me, this chain with the Cross on the end of it." The exorcist exclaimed, "From this day forward this sister of ours will pray the Rosary every day."

Immediately the demon replied, "But you are so few who say it (the Rosary), compared to the whole world!" It is just as well for me that it should be so, because it (the Rosary) harms me. You invoke That One (referring to our Lady), you make me remember the life of That One (referring to the life of Jesus meditated in the mysteries of the Rosary).

Another day, while exorcising the demon, the exorcist pulled a rosary out of his pocket; immediately the demon cried out: "Take away that chain, take away that chain!" "What chain?" "The one with the Cross on the end. She whips us with that chain." This, of course is metaphorical language; it makes us understand, all the same, in very concrete terms, the power of the Rosary and how much the devil fears it.

Translated from Possessioni diabolici ed esorcismo by Father Francesco Bamonte (Paoline, 2006)

Was Cho Possessed by the Devil?

Updated: Fr. Tom asked that I include the last paragraph in my excerpt.

From Father Tom Euteneuer at Spirit & Life:

Well, first let me say that, as a Catholic priest, I have seen and worked with my share of possessed and obsessed individuals. It’s entirely possible for someone to be at once responsible for his own acts and totally under the influence of the devil in committing them. In this case, Cho pulled the trigger, but the devil was the author of the deed. Does not Jesus call him “a murderer from the beginning”? The devil is the prime mover of all evil in the world, but human beings freely cooperate with him in their evil decisions. No one gets off the hook of responsibility by blaming the devil, but we can’t say that the devil is a detached observer to crimes like this.

The evil work that Cho perpetrated bears the classic marks of a possession that he cooperated in. Four clear signs of serious demonic influence were evident in his life and virtually assured that he would commit some kind of heinous crime against humanity in time. These are the devil’s tactics for the destruction of body and soul: isolate, distort, excite, plot—and then kill.

First, it is not always clear how a demon enters someone, but it is sure that once a demon enters a person, that demon bends all his efforts of mind and will to overtake his host’s life and make it his own. Isolation is the best technique. By all accounts, Cho was an isolated loner whose belonging to his demon was very far advanced. He had no friends to speak of, no significant associates or relationships and certainly no religious practice.

Second, with time and permission, the demon totally perverts all the person’s mental processes in order to translate them into demon-think. Cho’s writings leading up to the crime, and Cho’s now-famous video manifesto, all exhibited signs that the process of demonic perversion of mind and values was complete. He was verbally fantasizing in front of his classmates and teachers about killing people in the most horrible ways. In the end he even blasphemously claimed to be dying like Jesus Christ for the sins of others: this is perverse thinking in the extreme.

Third, a crime of this immensity cannot be accomplished without a person’s total emotional commitment. After reprogramming a person’s thought patterns, the demon excites his passions to do what he wants. Others have very credibly explained how Cho’s pathetic video images imitating the Korean flick, Old Boy, were evidence of his heightened emotions influenced by violent images. He even ranted in imitation of the Columbine killers Harris and Klebold in solidarity for the deed he was about to commit. In other words, it’s very difficult to sustain such an emotional intensity about the evil he planned and carried out without some direct force multiplier. Graphic images provided it.

Finally, he plotted—like all demons from Satan to the perpetrators of the World Trade Center attacks. He bought guns and ammo, he planned the date and times and places of the murder, and he even went regularly at night to work out at the campus gym in order to look the part of a mass murderer. The devil must have been very happy to witness his prey blast his brains out after perpetrating the bloody murders of 32 innocents. That is the ultimate victory for the devil.

As sad as the physical deaths of innocent people are, perhaps the saddest element of the story is the likely loss of Cho Seung-Hui’s immortal soul by this demonic action. The rabbis used to say that the angels weep at the loss of a soul that God created to share in His eternal blessedness; I am sure the angels are weeping now. Let us all commend the innocent victims of this crime, their families and the possessed perpetrator to the Mercy of God and then re-commit ourselves to proclaiming Christ and His victory over evil so that none of God’s children will ever be lost.

Friday, May 4, 2007

You Tube: HUnting Fishing Priest

And Catholic author Father Joe Classen....

Soon to be Ordained Priest Jeff Kirby's Website

With a blog and other interesting stuff included Currently Deacon Jeff is the contributor is this two-volume offering:

New Father Benedict Groeschel Book

Released this month:

Rediscovering Jesus

From Asia News Italy:

Christianity is not a theory but an encounter with a person. This principle, which Benedict XVI restated so often, is at the origin of Jesus of Nazareth, the book in which he describes “my personal search for the ‘face of the Lord,” in order to “favour the development of an intense relationship between the reader and Him.”

Which Jesus does the Pope present us with?

Since the 1950s “advances in critical research in history led to increasingly subtler distinctions between the various strata of the tradition,” blurring the image on which the faith stands. Various views of Jesus emerged ranging from the “anti-Roman revolutionary” to the “soft-hearted moralist.” But for Ratzinger the theologian, they reflect more the “views and ideals of their authors than any revelation about an icon, however faded it might have been.”

The “historical facts” about Jesus’ life and the unforeseeable growth of Christianity just a few years after his death show how extraordinary He was. And He cannot be understood without starting from “truly historical” facts, i.e. Jesus’ relationship to God and His union with Him.” “My book is based on this, i.e. on the fact that Jesus is in communion with the Father. This is the core of His personality. Without this communion one cannot understand anything and it is from that that He becomes real to us even today.”

The Gospel Jesus is the Jesus of ‘History’

Since we are talking about an actual living human being, we must rely on the historical method to know him. For Benedict XVII, “faith is based on history as it unfolded on the surface of this earth.” Otherwise, “the Christian faith is eliminated and becomes another religion.” For this reason, the Jesus of the book is necessarily the Jesus of the Gospels: “the ‘historical Jesus’ in its truest sense.”

“I am convinced,” writes Benedict XVI, “and I hope readers realise that this is more logical and more understandable from an historical point of view than any of the reconstructions” offered in the last few decades.

This Jesus is also the “last prophet” as announced in the Old Testament, the “New Moses” to be more precise, who leads His people to “true liberation.” More than Moses who “as a friend spoke face to face with God” but without the power to see Him, Jesus “lives in the presence of God, not only as friend but also as son. He lives in profound unity with the Father.” It is from this that come the answer to questions like “Where did Jesus get His doctrine? Where does the key that explains his behaviour lie.” The Beatitudes are confirmation of this. From the “Sermon on the Mount,” Benedict draws many a detail like the “Mount” itself, whose location is not given in the Gospels, but which is simply the “mount,” the “New Sinai” to the crowd that came from the Galilee to hear Him, i.e. “a strip of land still viewed as half pagan,” but which “is in fact proof of His divine mission” to all the peoples; or the address “the New Torah brought by Jesus,” which “starts again from the commandments on the second tablet and goes deeper into the text without abolishing it.” Indeed, the “paradoxes” that Jesus presents in the Beatitudes—‘Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, those who are persecuted, those who are reviled’—express “what discipleship means.” The Beatitudes’ meaning “cannot be explained by theory alone; they must be proclaimed in the life, suffering and mysterious joy that the disciple experiences when he has fully donated his life to the Lord.”

Torre Loses Job

Sister Torre that is, Joe's sister and a Catholic nun...

From the NY Daily News:

Say it ain't so, Joe - a Torre is about to get a pink slip, but it's not who you think.

Sister Marguerite Torre will soon be out of work after 26 years as the beloved principal of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School in Ozone Park, Queens.

Her elementary school is being merged with another school - and the sister of Yankees skipper Joe Torre was passed over for the top job overseeing the new school, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn.