Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"That might (have been) our worst game of the year,"

...said Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

I once taught Lou's son Derek, and have met him a few times back then.

But I am a Florida Marlins fan and so I was happy to be at Wrigley Field to witness what Lou calls "their worst game of the year!"

There is no better place to watch a baseball game, then Wrigley. The fans are into baseball, there is electricity to the place. There is no video scoreboard or much of anything else to distract you from the game.

I sat a few seats away from where Bartman sat when he became the billy(scape) goat for the Cubs losing to the Marlins the last time that the Marlins ultimately won their second World Series Championship.

A pleasant visit if you are like me, one of the very few faithful Florida Marlin's fans!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Motu Proprio This Week?

I know we've heard this before, but this actually makes sense--to link it to the Letter to China as an outreach to the traditionalist church there...

Father Z has the goods:

Der Spiegel: Motu Proprio THIS WEEK

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back to Ordinary Time (8th Week)

But not so in the old days, as Father Mark points out, in an excellent post on the "suppression" of the "Octave of Pentecost" (similar to the Octave of Christmas and Easter) that was celebrated up unto 1969, He includes this anectdote:

The story goes that on the Monday after Pentecost in 1970 His Holiness Pope Paul VI rose early and went to his chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red vestments he expected, green ones were laid out for him. He asked the Master of Ceremonies, "What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?" "Your Holiness," replied the Master of Ceremonies, "this is now The Time Throughout the Year. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost is abolished." "Green? That cannot be," said the Pope, "Who did that?" "Your Holiness, you did." And Paul VI wept.

Paul VI did not weep alone. Many wept with him. It was reported that Catherine de Hueck Doherty of Madonna House was inconsolable. Faithful the world over were speechless at the brutal removal of one of the Church Year’s most cherished moments. In some countries the hierarchy were frightfully embarrassed: the civil calendar had retained the Monday and Tuesday after Pentecost as holidays, while the Church had erased them from hers. Little by little, the voices of those seeking the restoration of the Pentecost came to be heard in high places.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Pope's New Book

Our Sunday Visitor will release the new book--The Apostles: The Origin of the Church and Their Co-Workers sometime this summer (July or August). It takes up where Jesus of Nazareth leaves off, but unlike that book which the Pope did not want to be considered part of his magisterial office--this one is and contains some of the same teachings as well as many others concerning the origins of the church and the Apostles. It will please any reader of Jesus of Nazareth. The cover of the book has a tie in with this week's feast. Here is the image that is used:

Solemnity of Pentecost



Those lacking in understanding

find themselves standing under tongues of fire.

Those once dark are illumined from within;

the flame over every head dances its way into every heart

and faces once abashed shine as they have never shone before.

Unveiled now, they “behold the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18)

and in every mouth there is the taste of new wine

and the sound of a new song: “Alleluia!”

Pentecost at the Pantheon in Rome

Red roses fall from the sky!


Father Z has the details and pictures:


There is a tradition in Rome on Pentecost Sunday. At the Church S. Maria ad Martyres, the Pantheon, at the end of Mass red rose petals are let fall in great abundance through the oculus, the dome’s "eye" which is completely open to the sky. Fireman from Rome’s fire department scale the exterior of the dome and let the petals fall.

Open Book/Annunciation's Bestseller's List

For May 2007
(as of May 27, 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.A Pocket Guide to the Mass (A Pocket Guide to)

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

5. The Feast of Corpus Christi

Pope's Regina Coeli Message for Pentecost

From Asia News Italy:

“In this extraordinray event – he continued – we find the essential and qualifying characteristics of the Church: the Church is one, as was the community of Pentecost gathered in prayer and 'agreement': ‘the community of believers was of one heart and mind' (Acts; 4,32). The Church is holy, not because of its own merits, but because it is animated by the Holy Spirit, it keeps its gaze fixed on Christ, so as to become one with Him and his love. The Church is Catholic, because the Gospel is destined for all peoples, thus from the very begining, the Holy Spirit makes it so it is announced in all tongues. The Church is apostolic, because it has been built upon the cornerstone of the Apostles, and is the faithful custodian of their teachings down through the unbroken line of episcopal succession”.

Moreover, the “Catholic” characteristic of the Church, capable of reaching out to all peoples in all languages, also renders it “missionary”. “The Church – continued the pontiff – is in its very nature a missionary Church, and since the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit has ceaselessly propelled it and continues to guide it along the world's paths, to the very edges of the earth and the end of all time”.

The pope then added a further, “essential point”: the Church is also “Roman”, not in the context of geographical limitations, but as an expression of its catholic and missionary nature : “In the Acts of the Apostles - explained the pope - … the passage of the Gospel from the Jews to the pagans, from Jerusalem to Rome is described. Rome represents the pagan world, thus all of the nations of people who are beyond the circle of God's ancient people. In fact, the Acts conclude with the arrival of the Gospel in Rome. Thus we can say that Rome is synonymous of Catholicism and Mission, it expresses faithfulness to the origins, to the Church of all times, to a Church which speaks all languages and to all cultures”.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mary and the Muslims

From the National Rosary Crusade, written many years ago by the Servant of God Bishop Fulton Sheen:

MARY
The Qu'ran, which is the Bible for the Muslims, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Qu'ran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Qu'ran places the history of Mary's family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Qu'ran's description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Qu'ran: "O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me."

When Mary is born, the mother says: And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord, against Satan!"

The Qu'ran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Muslim tradition knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered:

Do you not know that God, when he created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by his power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say, 'So be it, and it was done.'

The Qu'ran was also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: "Oh, Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth." In the nineteenth chapter of the Qu'ran there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Qu'ran, in the fourth book, attributed the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

FATIMA
Mary, then, is for the Muslims the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all women in Paradise, after Mary." In a variation of the text, Fatima is made to say, "I surpass all the women, except Mary."

This brings us to our second point: namely, why the Blessed Mother, in the 20th century, should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as "Our Lady of Fatima." Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the blessed Virgin chose to be known as "Our Lady of Fatima" as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Muslims occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Muslim chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Muslims left, but even embraced the faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where our lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Muslims is the enthusiastic reception which the Muslims in Africa, India, and elsewhere gave to the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Muslims attended the church services in honor of our Lady, they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique, the Muslims who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cardinal Martini Praises Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

From Catholic World News:

Cardinal Martini, an influential and outspoken prelate who has sometimes clashed with the Vatican because of his liberal views, described Jesus of Nazareth as "a great and ardent testimony to Jesus of Nazareth and his significance for the history of mankind."

Noting that the Pope had asked readers to consider his book "in a spirit of freedom" rather than as an authoritative teaching, Cardinal Martini observed that the book is not the work of a Scripture scholar, and has "little faults." But he balanced that criticism by saying that the Pope writes as a theologian "who moves easily through the exegetical literature of his time." Cardinal Martini pointed to what he saw as three strengths in the Pope's work: a willingness to examine the life of Jesus in the context of all human history; a determined effort to "anchor the Christian faith in its Jewish roots;" and a skepticism about the historical-critical approach to Scripture, which in turn means "rejecting any contradiction between faith and history."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quote from the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

In a word, the true morality of Christianity is love, an exodus out of oneself, and yet this is precisely the way in which man comes to himself. (page 99...emphasis mine)

This quote occurs in the section on the Sermon on the Mount. I thought the play on the word "exodus" was brilliant and much needed in a time when the meaning of love (the subject of Deus Caritas Est)is so self-absorbed that it often rings hollow to the modern audience.


Atheist Wilson Gives $22.5 Million for Catholic Fund

From Bloomberg:

Wilson, 80, said in a phone interview today that although he is an atheist, he has no problem donating money to a fund linked to Catholic schools.

``Let's face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization,'' Wilson said. ``Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent. Keep in mind, I'm helping to pay tuition. The money isn't going directly to the schools.''

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bishop Testifies Immigration Reform 'Crucial'

Orlando's Bishop Wenski, from the Orlado Sentinel:

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, representing the U.S. Catholic Church and its immigrant tradition, testified to a House committee today that reform of the system is crucial.

Wenski appeared before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration as the topic gathered momentum and the Senate debated a compromise bill negotiated in part by Sen. Mel Martinez, R- Fla.

"As providers of pastoral and social services to immigrants throughout the nation, we in the Catholic Church witness the human consequences of a broken immigrant system every day in our parishes, social services programs, hospitals and schools," Wenski said in written testimony. "Families are divided, migrant workers are exploited and abused, and human beings unnecessarily die in the American desert."

Pope Recalls Injustices Done to Indigenous Peoples

In his weekly audience, from Asia News Italy, (I actually watched this audience live this morning on EWTN without any commentary--which was like being there and even though I know next to no Italian, I knew from the words that he was addressing this issue):

In his address, Benedict XVI re-evoked various highlights of his journey, during which he said he aimed to impress the theme of the relationship between faith and culture, which in the Latin American continent has created history, life experiences and art. But, he added, “Memories of the glorious past cannot ignore the shadows which accompany the history of evangelization. We cannot ignore the suffering and injustices imposed on the indigenous populations”, as already condemned, he recalled, by theologians such as Bartholomew de Las Casas. Thus within the continent the Gospel became “has expressed and continues to express the identity of the peoples in this region and provides inspiration to address the challenges of our globalize era”. “The Catholic identity is the most adequate because it is animated by the principals of the Churches Social Doctrine” and the Church in order to contribute to resolving socio-economic problems, “must mobilize all of its strength to converge with others who work for the common good”. In fact, “Brazil is an example for other countries of this new model for development” and “Christian culture can animate ‘reconciliation’ between mankind and creation, starting from a recovery of human dignity in relation to God the Father”.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Pope's Answer to Islam: Quotes from Jesus of Nazareth

It is in Jesus that the promise of the new prophet is fulfilled. What was true of Moses only in a fragmentary form is now fully realized in the person of Jesus.: He lives before the face of God, not just as a friend, but as a Son; he lives in the most intimate unity with the Father.(page 6)


Ultimately the Introduction of the pope's book is an apologetic to make this point that Jesus is the prophesied prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18-19 and he comes back to this point throughout the book.

I was mentioning this to a friend, who on hearing this said that this struck him as a direct response to Islam that often uses this passage, as well as Jesus' prophesies of sending the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) as pointing to "the Prophet" meaning Muhammad. There are number of examples of this on the internet, I quote from one of them...From the Islamic Voice, which has a detailed apologetic for Muhammad being the prophesied prophet(I qoute only the beginning, go to the web site for the fuller treatment):

An clear cut biblical prophecy for Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is found in the fifth Book of Moses. Though much has been written about it, always useful to mention it whenever the subject occurs. The prophecy (in the words of New International Version) reads as follows:

"I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers: I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the Prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account." (Devt. 18:18-19)

The following points of the prophecy are worth elaborations with the point of view of comparative religious study, as the Christian brethren are led to be believe that the above prophecy was for Jesus Christ.

I will raise for them: Raising up "is the exact terminology Qur'an has repeatedly used for a prophet: The Arabic equivalent is 'Ba-asa'. Nowhere in the new Testament these words have been used for 'Jesus Christ'.



St. Rita of Cascia

From The Church's Most Powerful Novenas:

Rita Lotti was born near Cascia in Italy in the fourteenth century, the only child of her parents, Antonio and Amata. Her parents were official peacemakers in a turbulent environment of feuding families.
At an early age Rita felt called to religious life; however, her parents arranged for her to be married to Paolo Mancini. Rita accepted this as God’s will for her, and the newlyweds were soon blessed with two sons.
One day while on his way home, Paolo was killed. Rita’s grief was compounded with the fear that her two sons would seek to avenge their father’s death, as was the custom of the time. She began praying and fasting that God would not allow this to happen. Both sons soon fell ill and died, which Rita saw as an answer to her prayers.
Now alone in the world, Rita sought to enter religious life, feeling that God had cleared the path for her to fulfill the vocation that she had felt was hers from childhood. Yet she found that the convent she so desired to enter was reluctant to accept her due to fears that the political rivals that had killed her husband would bring violence on them.
She finally brought peace between the rivals and was able to enter the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene of the Augustinian Nuns. In religious life, Rita was noted for her holiness. She spent her days not only in prayer and contemplation but also in service to the sick and the poor.
One day while kneeling in prayer and contemplating the passion of Jesus, she received the wound of one thorn from the crown of thorns that she bore until her death some fifteen years later.
Devotion to St. Rita was almost nonexistent for five hundred years, but with her canonization in 1900, all of that has changed. She is truly a saint for every state in life, having spent her life as a married woman, a mother, a widow, and a religious.

Bishops’ Conference Responds To 18 Democrats Critical Of Pope

From the USCCB:

In an unfortunate May 10 statement, 18 of the 88 Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks concerning Mexican lawmakers legalizing abortion. The Representatives’ statement misrepresents the Holy Father’s remarks and implies that the Church does not have a right to voice its teaching in the public square.

The Holy See has made clear that neither the Mexican bishops nor the Holy Father have excommunicated any legislator. Rather, the Holy See reiterated longstanding Church teaching that anyone who freely and knowingly commits a serious wrong, that is, a mortal sin, should not approach the Eucharist until going to confession.

“The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision of society.” (United States Catechism for Adults, p. 442) Consequently, every Catholic is obliged to respect human life, from conception until natural death.

To suggest that the Church should not clearly voice its teaching and apply it in a pluralistic society is to attack freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Catholic Church always will and must speak out against the destruction of innocent unborn children. The right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution that all legislators are elected to uphold. Speaking and acting against abortion is not a matter of partisan politics. It is a matter of life and death.

The bishops urge all Catholics, especially those who hold positions of public responsibility, to educate themselves about the teaching of the Church, and to seek pastoral advice so that they can make informed decisions with consistency and integrity.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Mundelein Psalter


An interesting project with connections to an old friend Fr. Samuel Weber O.S.B. who I know from my Saint Meinrad College days and who I once gave a six hour ride to in Florida many moons ago.

The Mundelein Psalter

Plus a review at the New Liturgical Movement.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

There is a Line in the Big Lebowski...

Your "revolution" is over...,
Condolences!
The bums lost!


This thought comes to mind when I read reviews by critics of the scholarship of the pope.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Quotes from the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

Luke transmits to us the same saying, but at the end he adds: "And no one after drinking old wine desires new; for he says, 'The old is good'" (Lk 5:39). There do seem to be good grounds for interpreting this as a word of understanding for those who wished to remain with the "old wine." (page 181)


Now, to anyone who claims this is going back to before the Council, I challenge them to find this kind of interpretation back then (by a conservative that is). One of the things that bothers so many progressives in the Church is that both Pope John Paul II and the current pope defy the limitations of the labels placed upon them--they are seekers of the Truth, and not some ideology created in their own image and likeness rather than the image and likeness of the one true God. Another reason, why this is truly a "great book"...


Friday, May 18, 2007

Immitation

Quotes from the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

"Both Evangelists designate Jesus' preaching with the Greek term evangelion--but what does that actually mean?" (page 46).

"The term has recently been translated as "good news." That sounds attractive, but if falls far short of the order of magnitude of what is actually meant by the word evangelion. This term figures in the vocabulary of the Roman emperors, who understood themselves as lords, saviors, and redeemers of the world. The messages issued by the emperor were called in Latin evangelion, regardless of whether their content was particularly cheerful and pleasant. The idea was that what comes from the emperor is a saving message, that it is not just a piece of news, but a change of the world for the better.

When the Evangelist adopt this word, and it thereby becomes the generic name for their writings, what they to tell us is this: What the emperors, who pretend to be gods, illegitimately claim, really occurs here--a message endowed with plenary authority, a message that is not just talk, but reality, (pages 46-47)."

Now, there is something to think aboutthe next time you here the Gospel--the evanglion proclaimed at Mass...


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"

From WDTPRS:



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.

Amen.

In ESPAÑOL


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.


Amén.

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 Jesus...in 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

From Newsday.com:

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 09, 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



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.)