Scandal Time

: "The Catholic Church in America suffered another grave scandal this weekend. As was the case in the priestly abuse crisis, it was centered in Boston. If you are a Catholic and did not feel distressed and scandalized watching Senator Kennedy’s funeral at Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Boston Saturday, I have to ask in all frankness: why not?
The scandal has nothing to do with his personal sins. I hope he confessed them and was forgiven, as I hope myself to be forgiven. The Church is always generous to sinners who make even the slightest gesture of repentance. In that, she shows that she is not a merely human society bound by certain rules, but the living communion of saints and the presence in this world of the merciful heart of God.
The scandal likewise has nothing to do with partisan politics. If you think it does, as some of the Commentors on Brad Miner’s gentlemanly Friday column believe, you should compare Brad with the New York Times obituary, which felt obliged to record that Ted’s shoulders were “sometimes too narrow” for the task he inherited. And that, contrary to the eulogies, he could be savagely unjust and demagogic, as even some followers admitted (e.g., in the Bork hearings), tarring mere opponents as racists, sexists, and elitists. All such shenanigans are an unfortunate feature of partisan passions, but only of passing importance.
The distress – and the scandal – arise from only one thing: the Church’s failure to show the slightest reservation about the man who, more than any Catholic and perhaps more than any American political figure, has led the pro-abortion forces in Washington. Even worse, his longstanding pro-abortion leadership gave political cover to other Catholic politicians and confused simple lay people. That’s what scandal (in the theological sense) does: it becomes a stumbling block for the faithful about the very truths of the faith.
The American bishops have been admirably clear that the defense of life is not like their other concerns about the poor and social justice. Defense of life occupies a different level. It is the basis for everything else.
Yet most people watching the Kennedy funeral have never heard a word of our bishops’ teachings, except that Catholics are “not single issue voters.” They might with justification believe that you can be a notorious pro-abortion Catholic and still be publicly honored by the Catholic Church. No one mentioned the issue, let alone took steps to make it clear that the Church means business about life.
Some have argued that now is not the time to criticize Edward Kennedy. There will be time enough later. But this is not a matter of criticism. This involves a widespread public misperception of Catholicism – or is it a true perception now? Television coverage of the Mass has spread the image of the Church honoring a well-known Catholic, passionately disrespectful of life. The damage may be irreversible. -Read More

Ontario Catholic High Schools Promote Modesty in Dress Code

: "By Thaddeus M. BaklinskiMISSISSAUGA, Ontario, August 28, 2009 ( - Most of the twenty-five Catholic schools in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board have opted to phase out the kilt skirt as part of the uniform worn by girls in the schools in a move to teach and encourage..." -Read More

L'Osservatore Romano Recalls Edward Kennedy's Support for Abortion, Chappaquiddick Incident

: "By Matthew Cullinan HoffmanROME, August 28, 2009 ( - The Vatican's flagship newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has publicly taken note of Edward Kennedy's public misbehavior during the last 40 years of his life, in a brief obituary published on August 26.Crediting Kennedy..." -Read More

Pro-Abort, Homosexual, Human Stem-Cell Groups Mourn Loss of "Greatest Champion" Kennedy

: "By Kathleen GilbertWASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2009 ( - A survey of statements from various pro-abortion, embryonic stem-cell research (ESCr), and homosexualist groups responding to the death of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy shows a unified salute to a man they say fully engaged his..." -Read More

Pro-Life Leaders: Tell Cardinal O'Malley Not to Honor Pro-Abortion Kennedy with Public Catholic ...

: "By Kathleen Gilbert

7:30 p.m. addition to story below - The Boston  Globe reported today that "Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will preside at the funeral of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy tomorrow at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the Mission Church). The Rev...." -Read More

HLI Priest-President Re: Kennedy Funeral Scandal: "Private funeral, family only - period"

: "By Kathleen Gilbert and Peter SmithHYANNIS PORT, Massachusetts, August 28, 2009 ( - The public Catholic funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy - whose long career of abortion advocacy helped sever the American Catholic identity from the Church's pro-life teaching - will be a source of..." -Read More

Valedictorian Forced to Apologize for Speech Thanking Jesus Appeals to US Supreme Court

: "WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2009 ( - A high school graduate, forced by public school officials to apologize for expressing her religious beliefs in her valedictory address or lose her diploma, has asked the US Supreme Court to review her case and reverse a lower court's..." -Read More

Abortion Informed Consent Law

: "BRATISLAVA, August 25, 2009 ( - President Ivan Gašparovic signed into law on Tuesday an amendment to Slovakia's abortion act that establishes mandatory counselling, requires a 2-day wait, and increases the age until which parental consent is required from 16 to 18.The amendment..." -Read More

Defend Traditional Marriage

: "NEW YORK, August 28, 2009 ( - This week the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, okayed the Chicago-based Thomas More Society to file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the New York State Catholic Conference to defend traditional marriage in the case of..." -Read More

Pope's Comment on Condoms Was Right

: "By Patrick B. CraineRIMINI, Italy, August 27, 2009 ( - Once again, the director of Harvard's AIDS Prevention Research Project has publicly affirmed that the Pope was right on AIDS and condoms, as Zenit reports.Dr. Edward Green affirmed the Pope's teaching in an address this..." -Read More

Catholics Come Home "Movie"

Beatitudes for students

Where did the summer go? With colleges and universities beginning to gear up for a new academic year, it is time to review some beatitudes for college students:

Blessed are the students who stay in touch with God during their academic life, they will always have a friend by their side. So many times students see college as a good way to escape from church. It is important and very fruitful to pray daily and to be involved in one’s parish or campus ministry. Don’t wait until you have a test. It is amazing how thoughts of God come at exam time. When I was a campus minister I could always tell it was exam time when daily Mass was overflowing with students.

Blessed are the students who study and go to all their classes, they will become educated. Unlike high school teachers, very few college professors watch what students do. Most students are free to go to class or not. College calls for greater responsibility. Those who waste their education regret it later. They are often left with big loans and little knowledge to show for them.

Blessed are the students who get involved in extracurricular activities, they usually develop into well-balanced people. Study alone does not make for an educated person. It is very enriching to become part of campus ministry and other student organizations. It helps a student become a well-rounded individual. -Read More

KennedyCare strategy won't work

Supporters of the government takeover of health care -- replete with funding for abortion, euthanasia counseling, and sex-change operations -- have predictably seized on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy to raise the flag of the "Kennedy Legacy" to push the legislation through the Congress.

From a Catholic perspective, the "Kennedy Legacy" is the reason abortion is in the health care legislation in the first place.

As I argued in my 2008 book, Onward Christian Soldier: The Growing Power of Catholics and Evangelicals , Ted Kennedy became the pro-abortion acolyte of Rev. Robert Drinan, S.J. who pioneered the bogus arguments leading Catholic politicians into open dissent with the Church.

Kennedy and Drinan, both now deceased, are directly responsible for a Congress where the majority of Catholic members serve the culture of death rather than the Church whose faith they profess. -Read More

Oppose Tax-Funded Abortion

: "

LOS ANGELES, CA (MetroCatholic) -  Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, a Southern California based pro-life group, will be present at the Congressional Send-off Rally on Thursday, September 3rd at 6:00PM in Los Angeles. The event, which is currently scheduled to take place at Cornfield Park in China Town, is meant to communicate constituents wishes about health care reform to their congressmen who are leaving from their recess.

“Abortion is not healthcare,” Charles Cox, a representative of Survivors stated emphatically. “No health care reform bill has any business mandating that we should pay for abortion.”

Obama’s health care reform bill, HR 3200, has come under fire by pro-life groups who feel that abortion should not be funded by tax dollars. Additionally, the bill will allow for elective abortion to be required coverage for all Americans, and has no clause to protect the Conscience Rights of physicians who believe that by performing abortions they would be violating their Hippocratic oath.

“To date, 80% of all hospitals do not generally provide abortions,” stated Timmerie Millington, a volunteer with Survivors. “Any public option should be sure to protect the Conscience Rights of all health care providers.”

Additionally, the group points out that a recent Zogby poll showed 71% of those asked oppose tax-funding for abortion.

Cox said, “When our elected officials in congress leave for DC, we want them to know that their constituents do not want this bill as is. We want a guarantee that our congressmen will vote ‘no’ on any bill that does not specifically exclude abortion.”

" -Read More

Change in Adult Catechism

: "

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - The Vatican has given its “recognitio” to a change in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which is set to go into a second printing.

The change clarifies Catholic teaching on God’s covenant with the Jews. The first version, in explaining relations with the Jews, stated, “Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.”  The revised text states, “To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his Word, ‘belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.’ (Romans 9: 4-5; cf. CCC, no 839)

The change was approved by the U.S. bishops following the bishops’ 2008 June meeting in Orlando, Florida.

The clarification is not a change in the Church’s teaching.

The clarification reflects the teaching of the Church that all previous covenants that God made with the Jewish people are fulfilled in Jesus Christ through the new covenant established through his sacrificial death on the cross. Catholics believe that the Jewish people continue to live within the truth of the covenant God made with Abraham, and that God continues to be faithful to them. As the Second Vatican Council taught and the Adult Catechism affirms, the Jewish people “remain most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues.” (Lumen Gentium, no.16).

The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2004 as a basic and concise introduction to the Catholic faith. It is a catechetical text rather than a theological textbook.

A “recognitio” is a statement from the Vatican that a document is in keeping with Catholic teaching.

" -Read More

Amazing Video About Being Catholic

TOO MANY Sisters!

Problems with Health Care Reform is Elections

: "

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, the Catholic Church’s largest pro-life ministry, stated today, “The reason for the mess we are in with the health care reform debate is the elections of 2008, and the way out of the mess will be the elections of 2010 and 2012.”

Priests for Life has announced the formation of “Political Responsibility Teams” in communities across America. The purpose of such teams will be to educate and activate citizens to exercise their responsibility to participate in the electoral process in a way that is informed rather than impulsive, and based on principle rather than mere personal advantage.

“Churches provide our greatest opportunity to mobilize and educate voters,” Fr. Pavone explained, “and activating Churches for the pro-life cause is the primary mission of Priests for Life. But Churches can also become the biggest obstacle if they choose the path of fear and hide behind paranoid interpretations of the Internal Revenue Code as an excuse for not talking about politics. We have a lot more to fear from our silence than we do from speaking out.”

-Read More

Attacks Against Nicaragua

: "By Aracely Ornelas


(NEW YORK – C-FAM)  One of the world’s largest abortion advocates joined the onslaught against Nicaragua’s decision to ban abortion in two recently published Spanish language reports. Ipas, known for distributing the manual vacuum aspirator – a device used to perform early term abortions, particularly in countries where it is illegal – is claiming that Nicaragua is violating women’s human rights.  
The Ipas reports claim that the abortion ban is unconstitutional and a "setback" for human rights. Nicaraguan lawmakers, on the other hand, say the ban is a step forward since the law which permitted “therapeutic” abortion violated the country’s understanding of its international obligations.  Nicaragua is party to the American Convention on Human Rights which states in Article 4 that life shall be protected by law "from the moment of conception."" -Read More


: "First President Obama appointed Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who supports limitations on end-of-life care, as his top medical advisor. Now he has named John Holdren, another culture-of-death stalwart, as his top science advisor.
This newest Obama czar openly stated his support for mandatory abortions in Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, a book Holdren co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich some years ago:

There exists ample authority under which population growth could be regulated. It has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe ...

Ecoscience also casually mentions sterilants in drinking water or staple foods of those who “contribute to social deterioration,” the implantation of long-term birth control devices in women who have already given birth to two or three children, and an international monitor empowered to enforce population limits on any nation under scrutiny. (The Ehrlichs and Holdren have claimed, quite implausibly, that they were just listing possibilities then under discussion.)
Grilled by Senator David Vitter about these and other disturbing views last month, Holdren stated that it was “no longer productive” to think about optimal population size – but conceded little else. The media, as has become their custom when some Obama appointee is revealed to have an outrageously radical past, merely noted the hysteria of Holdren’s opponents but did not explore his positions.

The Obama Administration’s social planners stand in a long tradition of progressives who reject the Judeo-Christian belief in the sanctity of human life. Many people still doubt that liberal-minded people actually hold such beliefs, but, as history shows, American progressives have often endorsed eugenics and other morally repugnant practices. Eliminating inferiors, they argued, is permissible in the name of preserving society as a whole. Holdren and his allies wouldn’t put it that way, because it plays badly – even to an adoring media. But they don’t hesitate to talk about restraining population in the name of preventing climate change – one of Dr. Holdren’s recent preoccupations.
And media acquiescence in progressive eugenics has its own long and “distinguished” past. E.L. Godkin, founder of the Nation, Herbert Croly, founder of the New Republic, and William Allen White, editor of the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette, endorsed population-control programs, because, they believed, America should be governed and populated by its “superior classes.” -Read More

Necessity of Baptism

: "Today most Catholics are in no great hurry to have their children baptized. In the past, the practice was to baptize children as soon as possible after birth. Now, medical technology has decreased danger for newborns, seemingly removing the urgency for immediate baptism. Add to this the widely publicized recommendation by the International Theological Commission to abolish the doctrine of limbo, a place of natural happiness, but deprived of the vision of God for unbaptized infants, and suddenly there seems no compelling reason to rush to the baptismal font.

Yet even without fears of imminent danger, baptism remains an urgent sacrament that should be conferred upon infants as soon as possible after birth. In the words of St. Peter on the first Pentecost, baptism both forgives sins and imparts the gift of the Holy Spirit. These are spiritual gifts par excellence that all Catholics of all ages and sizes require to live their respective vocations in the world. Therefore, baptism remains vital and relevant even in the lives of adults who were baptized decades ago.
Baptism, followed by confirmation and the Eucharist, is the first of the sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church. As noted in the first column of this series, the sacraments are necessary for salvation; baptism is the foundation of this promised salvation since through it recipients are born spiritually and given a share in the inner life of the Trinity. Sacraments are physical signs of God’s invisible grace of salvation. In baptism, the physical matter of water combines with the formal prayer “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” to confer the grace of the sacrament.
Many wonderful gifts are imparted by baptismal grace, but baptism itself is a gift God freely bestows on those whom He wills. Infant baptism highlights the sheer gratuity of God’s generosity, as infants obviously do not ask for the sacrament themselves. But even when parents have their children baptized, or when converts approach the baptismal waters at the Easter Vigil, they have done so only because God has called them first. -Read More

some kind of comment

: "

Sen. Edward ('Ted') Kennedy (D-MA) is dead. He died last night from brain cancer.

Ooookay - where do we begin?

Or, rather, where do we not begin? Because I have seen many people (some of them my friends) begin in completely the wrong way;

'Well, I don't agree with everything that he did or stood for, but he did some wonderful things for his State, and he was always positive towards the military, and he supported a lot of good causes. And his family has had such tragedy.'

That begins at the wrong place.

So, to be fair, does the other sort of obituary;

'Sen. Kennedy burns in Hell! Hahahahahaha!'

Neither of these begin, or end, at the right place. And they tend to go off a bit in the middle as well.

So, how should I begin?

Firstly, it is a simple fact that Sen. Kennedy spent most of his professional career in a state of unrepentant mortal sin. His support for abortion, the homosexual agenda and a whole host of other issues make that clear. There is no case to be made that he might have supported these things and then confessed his sins so he was, actually, alright with God. His constant support of these matters show that, even if he did confesses his support for abortion (which is highly unlikely) his confession lacked the required contrition. If he asked for forgiveness, it was clear he was not asking for it with genuine contrition (if you are sorry, why do you never say so publicly, Senator?)

Secondly, it is a simple fact that if he died in this state of unrepentant mortal sin, tonight his soul basks in Hell. That is something my Church teaches me. It is something simple logic teaches me. This is justice - those who die shaking their fists at God will burn forever. Kennedy lived shaking his fist at God.

Thirdly, it is not certain Kennedy died in a state of unrepentant mortal sin. He might have sought forgiveness (with the correct sort of contrition) before he died. I hope and I pray he did. Frankly, I find it very unlikely - he never said he was sorry during his life, so why would he say so at the very end? But, we can hope and pray for him - and I urge you to do so.

Fourthly, and most importantly ....

(this is so important it gets its own paragraph)

.... there is no way we can say 'Well, I might not have agreed with everything he did, but ...' or, as a friend of mine said, 'I don't think he can be reduced to a couple of issues [abortion and the gay agenda]'.

-Read More

Dominican Sisters of Mary

Just a Picture?

New Pro Life Film

Our Hearts Are Restless

So Many Tears

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Marriage, Scripture

: "Some of the readers of this blog are aware that Brant, Michael, and I—along with Peter Kreeft—were all involved in a large Catholic Bible conference in New Orleans a few weekends ago, the Word of God conference sponsored by Catholic Productions.

The conference was focused on the sacraments of service—matrimony and orders. After an introductory lecture by Brant, I delivered a talk on the Catholic view of marriage, based on reason and revelation. My first major point was that Catholic teaching on marriage is in agreement with reason—social scientific data supports the view that the two-parent, heterosexual marriage is superior to all other arrangements for the raising of children. Since the state has a vested interest in the welfare of the next generation, the state justifiably identifies and protects the life-long mutual commitment of a man and woman—marriage.

After making this point, I went into a biblical narrative theology of marriage starting from Genesis 2 and moving through the Pentateuch and even into the Historical Books, pointing out how the narrative implicitly valorizes monogamy and critiques other arrangements—i.e. polygamy and homosexuality. My students will remember this as the “implicit critique of polygamy” in the Old Testament. Of course, this view is not original with me. It has deep roots in the Jewish interpretive tradition, and my eyes were opened to it by reading the superb Jewish biblical commentator Umberto Cassuto on Genesis.

I also mentioned the concept of marriage as the climax of the creation story (Genesis 1-2) and the iconic significance of marriage vis-à-vis the creation of mankind in the image of God. Marriage is two persons whose love becomes hypostasized (personified) in a third; inasmuch as this is true, it is iconic of the relations of the persons of the Trinity.

In any event, after the talk was over, an officer of the local secular humanist society, who happened to be in attendance, approached me cordially and shared with me that he disagreed with “everything” I had said, and invited me to debate the issue of marriage in a forum provided by his organization. I declined to debate, but offered to arrange someone else to do so. I contacted Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who has since accepted the offer to debate. We will see how that develops.

In any event, the encounter led to some self-reflection, and I began to wonder if I had overstated the case for the importance of the two-parent family, with biological father and mother present, for the raising of children. That led me to do some searching on the internet, which turned up a remarkable link to none other than that bastion of Catholic dogma, Time Magazine. -Read More

St. Louis of France

Louis was born on April 25, 1214. His father was King Louis VIII of France and his mother was Queen Blanche. The story is told that when Prince Louis was small, his mother hugged him tightly. She said, "I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child. But I would rather see you dead at my feet than ever to have you commit a mortal sin." Louis never forgot those words. He grew to cherish his Catholic faith and his upbringing. When he was twelve, his father died and he became the king. Queen Blanche ruled until her son was twenty-one.

Louis became a remarkable king. He married Margaret, the daughter of a count. They loved each other very much. They had eleven children. Louis was a good husband and father. And as long as his mother, Queen Blanche lived, he showed her full respect. Busy as he was, the king found time for daily Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office. He was a Third Order Franciscan and lived a simple lifestyle. He was generous and fair. He ruled his people with wisdom, charity and true Christian principles. There was no separation between what he believed as a Catholic and how he lived. He knew how to settle arguments and disputes. He listened to the poor and the underprivileged. He had time for everybody, not just the rich and influential. He supported Catholic education and built monasteries.

The historian, Joinville, wrote a biography of St. Louis. He recalls that he was twenty-two years in the king's service. He was daily in the king's company. And he could say that he never heard King Louis swear or use any kind of profanity in all those years. Nor did the king permit bad language in his castle.

St. Louis felt an urgent obligation to help the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. He wanted to be part of the Crusades. Twice he led an army against the Turks. The first time, he was taken prisoner. But even in jail, he behaved as a true Christian knight. He was unafraid and noble in all his ways. He was freed and returned to take care of his kingdom in France. Yet as soon as he could, he started back to fight the enemies of the faith again. On the way, however, this greatly loved king contracted typhoid fever. A few hours before he died, he prayed, "Lord, I will enter into your house, worship in your holy temple, and give glory to your name." St. Louis died on August 25, 1270. He was fifty-six years old. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297.

Reflection: "Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can." - St. Louis
-Read More

St. Louis of France

: "St. Louis IX, (1215-1270) who became King of France at the age of twelve, had been religiously brought up by his mother, Blanche of Castile. Throughout his life he remained deeply devout and as a king his conduct was that of a real saint. He devoted himself to the affairs of his kingdom and to those of Christendom and was a great peacemaker -- kings and princes constantly sought his aid in settling disputes. He was humble and upright, helpful to the needy and in person nursed lepers and the sick. St. Louis gave to all the example of a life overflowing with charity and sovereign justice. He was a Franciscan Tertiary. He died near Tunis, lying on a bed of ashes, during a crusade for the deliverance of the Holy Land." -Read More

The Little Office of Our Lady

: "This article by William J. Lallou, from August 1949, takes a closer look at the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, a popular private devotion as well as a liturgical prayer, which is believed to have been instituted by the Dominicans and fervently recommended by St. Peter Damian in the eleventh century." -Read More

Obama's brick wall: the American people

: "(David Limbaugh) - President Barack Obama has run into a brick wall: the American people, who cherish their liberty and revere their nation and do not want it remade in Obama's socialist image. Obama's free-falling poll numbers are not the result of a misinformation campaign from a small sliver of unruly conservative opponents, as the administration wants you to believe..." -Read More

No ignoring protests

: "(David Shribman) - President Obama will return from his island idyll to a political landscape completely remade. He still will be greeted by swooning crowds and enthusiastic cheers. But his signature domestic policy is weakened, the result of a resurgent Republican Party that only months ago was on life support..." -Read More

'We The People'

: "(Marie Jon, RenewAmerica analyst) - 'When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty' -- Thomas Jefferson. President Barack Obama, you've overwhelmed 'We The People.' Since you were given the prestige of the highest office in the land, there has not been one day of peace or tranquility for the citizens of our country..." -Read More

Protections for Health Care Workers

Health Care Reform

Vision of Health Care

Interesting site

Somehow I stumble on this site which is truly in fidelity to the Catholic Church. Take a look on this:

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Health Reform

: "

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 17, 2009 ( As the U.S. president and Congress continue to consider health care reform, the nation's bishops are offering a Web page to support a package that protects human dignity.

The site includes letters from bishops to Congress, videos, facts and statistics, frequently asked questions, and links for contacting legislators.

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, describes how abortion relates to the health care reform debate. Kathy Saile, director of Domestic Social Development, outlines the bishops' general position and concerns.

The page also contains facts and statistics about Catholic health care in the United States, which includes 624 hospitals, 164 home health agencies, and 41 hospice organizations.

Bishops' health care reform site:


" -Read More

Aug. 24 Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle, Feast

: "St. Bartholomew, a doctor in the Jewish law, was a dear friend of St. Philip the Apostle. Because Bartholomew was a man 'in whom there was no guile,' his mind was open to the truth. He went willingly with Philip to see Christ, and recognized the Savior immediately as the Son of God. After having received the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, Bartholomew evangelized Asia Minor, northwestern India, and Greater Armenia. In the latter country, while preaching to idolaters, he was arrested and condemned to death." -Read More

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, August 23, 2009: Liturgy Reflection from JP Catholic University on Vimeo.

Pro-life groups organize prayer and protest in response to ‘abortion mandate’

: "

Washington D.C., Aug 23, 2009 / 07:06 pm (CNA).- Responding to President Barack Obama’s efforts to rally sympathetic religious groups to back his proposed health care legislation, pro-life groups have organized prayer campaigns and issued protests of the proposal’s “abortion mandate.”

During a Wednesday teleconference sponsored by the left-leaning religious organizations Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Faith in Public Life, both White House Director of Domestic Policy Melody Barnes and President Obama denied that the health care bill would allow for federally funded abortions.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), charged that Obama “brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted.”

The NRLC said that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Capps-Waxman Amendment explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.

In response to the situation Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has announced an effort to build the “largest prayer group in history” by promoting membership in a “Pray to End Abortion” cause on the social network site Facebook.

At present the effort has posted a special prayer regarding the health care reform debate.

The prayer, addressing Jesus as the “Divine Physician,” intercedes for elected officials and asks that they have both “the humility to know that they are servants, not masters” and also “the wisdom to realize that every life has equal value.”

“Let every reform in our public policy be based on the reform of our hearts and minds,” the prayer concludes.

The prayer site is accessible at

The group Concerned Women for America has joined the large coalition known as Stop the Abortion Mandate, which opposes the coverage of abortion in proposed federal health care legislation.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, claimed that “liberal religious leaders” of a dwindling population are siding with the dwindling numbers of those who support the “Obama/Reid/Pelosi government takeover of health care” that she says would require Americans to fund abortions.

Wright noted liberal Evangelical leader and Obama supporter Rev. Jim Wallis’ July 22 statement in which he said that the prohibition on federal abortion funding should be maintained.

“This last-minute rally for legislation that includes taxpayer funding for abortion and special privileges for abortionists to have access to school children (with Planned Parenthood in position to run school-based clinics) reveals that liberal religious leaders and Obama are not sincere in their claim to ‘reduce abortions’ and ‘find common ground’,” she charged.

“The vast majority of Americans, even those who call themselves pro-choice, do not want to fund abortions because they know that what the government funds, we get more of,” she said.

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) was also critical of the health care legislation.

“Nationalized health care is a recipe for disaster, for our country, for the unborn and for the elderly. The Party of Death cannot be trusted with such profound life decisions,” C-FAM told CNA in an e-mail.

" -Read More

Accept challenge of Jesus’ hard teachings, Pope Benedict urges

: "

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 23, 2009 / 09:45 am (CNA).- Before Sunday’s Angelus prayer with pilgrims in the courtyard of Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about today’s Gospel, in which Jesus’ teaching about his presence in the Eucharist is met with resistance from the Jews and his own disciples. Followers of Christ must respond to his challenging teachings with lifelong commitment instead of trying to adapt his teachings to the fashions of the times, the Pope said.

“The fourth Evangelist,” Pope Benedict explained, “relates the reaction of the people and disciples, shocked by the words of the Lord to the point that many, after having followed him until then, exclaim, ‘This saying is hard, who can accept it?’”

Benedict XVI continued reading, reciting, “And from that moment on ‘many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.’”

The Pope then noted, “Jesus, however, does not lessen his claim. Indeed, he directly addresses the twelve saying, ‘Will you also go away?’”

“This provocative question,” the Pope taught, “is not only addressed to listeners of the time, but to believers and men of every age. Even today, many are shocked by the paradox of the Christian faith.”

Because “Jesus’ teaching seems too hard, too difficult to accept and put into practice,” Pope Benedict  observed that, “As a result there are those who reject and abandon Christ, those who attempt to adapt his teachings to the fashions of the times distorting its meaning and value.”

“Will you also go away?’ This unsettling provocation resounds in our hearts and awaits a response from each one of us. Jesus in fact is not contented by a merely superficial or formal belonging, an initial and enthusiastic adhesion is not enough for Him. On the contrary, we must take part in ‘his thinking and his will’ throughout our entire life,” the Holy Father said.

Drawing his words to a close, the Pope said, “Faith is God’s gift to man and is, at the same time, man’s free and total trusting of himself to God.”  “Docile faith, listening to the word of the Lord, that lamp for our feet, light for our path…We ask the Virgin Mary to keep alive in us this faith steeped in love, which has made her, a humble maiden of Nazareth, Mother of God and mother and model for all believers,” he prayed.

After the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted participants of the lay movement Communion and Liberation, who are gathering for their 30th annual Friendship Among Peoples meeting, which opened today in Rimini, Italy. Commenting on this year’s theme, “Knowledge Is Always An Event,” he referred to his recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”: “’Learning is not only a material act, because…In all knowledge and in every act of love the human soul experiences something ‘over and above,’ which seems very much like a gift that we receive, or a height to which we are raised.”

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Wisconsin requiring Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives coverage

: "

Madison, Wis., Aug 23, 2009 / 02:13 am (CNA).- The bishops of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) have issued a statement to the state’s Catholic faithful expressing their “deep concern” about a state provision that requires providers of health insurance include contraceptive services. The rule will force Catholic dioceses and other agencies to pay for a “gravely immoral” service, the conference says.

A provision in the new state budget mandates the coverage as a “benefit.”

Signatories of the August 20 WCC letter were Bishop of Green Bay David L. Ricken, Bishop of Madison Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of La Crosse Jerome E. Listecki, Bishop of Superior Peter F. Christensen and Bishop William P. Callahan, the Administrator for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

“This mandate will compel Catholic dioceses, parishes, and other agencies that buy health insurance to pay for a medical service that Catholic teaching holds to be gravely immoral,” the Wisconsin bishops explained. “Contraception prevents the full and reciprocal self-giving that is essential to Christian marriage and diminishes the role of God, the giver of life, within marriage.”

The statement explained that only dioceses or agencies that are self-insured, such as the dioceses of La Crosse and Superior, will not be covered by the mandate.

“As Catholic teachers and pastors, we strongly object to this blatant insensitivity to our moral values and legal rights,” the bishops continued, noting that most other states provide accommodations for those whose religious or moral values are compromised by such mandates.

The bishops charged that the state government’s mandate violates constitutional rights as well as religious values, citing the right of conscience established in the Wisconsin Constitution. Religious freedom also includes the ability to publicly witness to one’s values in what one does and in what one declines to do, they explained.

“Nowhere does the Constitution say that the right of conscience is protected except in matters related to human reproduction,” their statement said. “Whatever course we pursue in this matter, we want all Catholics in Wisconsin to know that we will also continue to affirm and communicate the teachings of our faith.”

The bishops of the WCC also objected that the mandate was not a matter of open debate and “due deliberation.”

Acknowledging that many Catholics find Catholic teaching on contraception “difficult to accept or live out in practice,” the bishops emphasized that the immorality of artificial contraception is not a “Catholic issue.”

“Rather, the prohibition of artificial contraception is a principle of the natural moral law, which is inscribed in the mind and heart of all human beings,” the statement said. “The bond between husband and wife, in their inseparable love-making and life creating Vocation, is evident to human reason itself – another powerful consideration which should lead our legislators to take very seriously our conviction.”

The WCC statement suggested that this truth is not recognized because the “fashionable proposition” that there is no objective truth renders human reason “directionless.”

“We commit ourselves to continue listening to your objections and to explaining the Church’s understanding of human sexuality in such a manner that you may discover a greater understanding and appreciation of this teaching and the reasons for it,” the Wisconsin bishops pledged.

They added that Catholic teaching only seems overly restrictive of human freedom and in reality serves a “greater freedom” for both individuals and society.

“Our faith always challenges us,” the bishops said in conclusion. “We are measured by how we respond to those challenges. We ask for your support and prayers as we respond to this one.”

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New Our Lady of Guadalupe book makes national bestseller lists

New York City, N.Y., Aug 22, 2009 / 06:07 pm (CNA).- A new book on Our Lady of Guadalupe intended to explore her history and her message of love has debuted on major U.S. bestseller lists.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love” debuted at number six on the August 14, 2009 release of the New York Times bestseller list. It has also appeared on the bestseller list of the Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly.

The book is authored by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and Guadalupe expert Msgr. Eduardo Chávez. It traces her history as a religious and cultural symbol from the sixteenth century to the present.

The Knights of Columbus held their First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe in Phoenix on August 6-8. The festival drew a crowd of 20,000 in what was said to be the largest Catholic celebration of the year in that area.

Carl Anderson is also the author of the bestselling 2008 book “A Civilization of Love.”

Msgr. Chávez was the postulator of Guadalupe visionary St. Juan Diego’s cause for canonization and is one of the most prominent experts on the Guadalupe apparitions. He is the first dean of the Catholic University Lumen Gentium of the Archdiocese of Mexico.

The web site for “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of a Civilization of Love” is at

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Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) Votes to Allow Homosexual Clergy

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – The media is filled with reports concerning the slide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) into heresy. Yes, that is exactly what occurred when the leadership of that community “voted” to abandon Christian orthodoxy. The Associated Press in an article entitled “Lutherans’ gay clergy vote hints at major shift”, led with these loaded words “In breaking down barriers restricting gays and lesbians from the pulpit, the nation's largest Lutheran denomination has laid down a new marker…. The ELCA — the nation's seventh-largest Christian church — reached its conclusion after eight years of study and deliberation. That culminated Friday when the church's national assembly in Minneapolis struck down a policy that required any gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate.”

Read the whole story from Catholic.Org by Deacon Keith Fournier.

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“God’s Partners in Life and Death”

screen-capture-4Thus says the president! We might be fellowworkers in the gospel (1 Th 3:2) but to suggest that we are God’s “partners” in matters of life and death is audacious beyond belief. These words imply that President Obama considers himself at the right-hand of God as a partner, an equal, to decide matters of Life and Death.

You can read more on this here and here.

I thought liberals wanted a separation between church and state, religion and politics. So, it is OK for Obama to be prancing around the religious arena to garner support for  his “life and death” policies? It is also acceptable for Reverend Jackson too. It is only the rest of us, especially Catholics who are told to shut up.

As Ben Smith said, “Obama’s call with the rabbis today . . . freights health care reform with a great deal of religious meaning, and veers into the blend of policy and faith that outraged liberals in the last administration.”

Commentator James Taranto says in the Wall Street Journal Opinion page, “We are God’s partners”?! Hmm, God & Obama? No, wait! Obama & God. Yeah, that’s much better!” (Excellent article; read the whole thing!)

As Tevi Troy notes at National Review Online, “The reference to the ‘who shall live and who shall die’ prayer was strange. . . . Is this really the context in which he wishes to discuss health reform–a powerful and unseen being making determinations of life and death? One would think that he would want to avoid anything that could raise the specter of rationing, death panels, or the like.”

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Health Care Reform

Oregon Law Bans Teachers from Wearing Religious Attire

BEAVERTON, OR (MetroCatholic) -  Oregon will join Pennsylvania as the only states that forbid teachers from wearing religious attire.

The nationwide debate over religious observances in schools and the workplace made its way to Oregon. During the 2009 legislative session, leaders in Salem passed the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act. The act requires employers to accommodate employees’ observance of religious holidays and allows them to wear religious garments as long as it does not pose a significant difficulty or expense to the businesses.

On the surface, the bill appears to be a step toward diversity. However, a clause in the bill specifically singles out public schools as workplaces where religious freedoms do not apply. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) joined forces with the Sikh community in Portland and argued against the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act. Their efforts failed.

When the law goes into effect on January 1, 2010, Oregon will join Pennsylvania as the only states in the country that forbid teachers from wearing religious attire on school grounds.

This bill is troubling for some Muslims residing in Oregon because they view their religious attire as a part of their identity, not an expendable piece of clothing or an accessory. The Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act seeks to assure public schools remain neutral. Yet, some argue that this can be done through other means such as establishing a particular code of conduct.

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San Diego Public School Dance Teacher Fired for Playing Song with Christ in it

Kathy Villalobos was a dance teacher for two San Diego Public Middle Schools. For five years she taught young teens how to dance. One day in class she played a song to her students that had the name “Christ” in it. Within five days, she was fired. That event transpired 4 1/2 years ago.

This Monday August 24, jury selection and her trial begins at the El Cajon East County Courthouse - along with a lively protest beforehand of the rights that were violated as a result of this firing.

“This is a tremendous injustice and violation of religious liberties” said Mary Kuper, Protest Organizer “Our Country was founded upon ‘In God we Trust’ and ‘One Nation Under God’, mentioning the name of Christ is an honor and a blessing, certainly not a reason for termination of employment. We hold the public school system accountable for this unreasonable act of injustice.”


SAN DIEGO, CA (MetroCatholic

Committee on Divine Worship Introduces Roman Missal Formation Website

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - A new Website from the U.S. Conference of Catholic will educate Catholics about the forthcoming English translation of the new Roman Missal.


The site,, launched August 21, includes background material on the process of development of liturgical texts, sample texts from the Missal, a glossary of terms and answers to frequently asked questions. Content will be added regularly over the next several moths. The bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship hopes the site will be a central resource for those preparing to implement the new text.


“In the years since Vatican II we have learned a lot about the use of the vernacular in the liturgy and the new texts reflect this new understanding,” said Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ, in a welcome-to-the-site video.


“The new texts are understandable, dignified and accurate,” said Bishop Serratelli, who chairs the Committee on Divine Worship. “They not only strive to make the meaning of the text accessible for the listener, but they also strive to unearth the biblical and theological richness of the Latin text.”


After more than five years of consultation, study and reflection, the bishops are expected to conclude their review and approval of the final portion of the translated texts at the end of this year. Final approval (recognitio) of the text from the Holy See for the complete translation will be the last step before the publication of the texts for use in the liturgy.
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‘Cardinal Justin Rigali: Abortion Is Not Health Care’

There is a great deal of attention being given to current government proposals surrounding health care. While it is not the Church’s intention or desire to enter into politics, when moral principles are at stake it is part of her mission to defend the dignity of the human person. In that spirit, we approach this week’s topic.

A basic moral principle

There is a basic principle of morality which states: “The end does not justify the means.” Just what is the meaning of this statement? Each of us can be faced with an array of problems. Our goal may be to solve those problems. That, in itself, is a good thing. However, simply because we wish to bring about a good solution, or end, as it is more technically called, does not mean that we can use any and every way, or means, to bring that about. To give a simple, and somewhat exaggerated example, let us propose the following: “I would like my family to have a nice vacation.” In itself, that is a good and praiseworthy end. However, if I then go out and rob a bank in order to pay for that vacation, I am not using a legitimate means!

The confusion of a praiseworthy end, along with the blurring or justifying of any means to attain that end, is not a new problem. Satan tempted our first parents in the garden by promising them great knowledge if they gave in to his temptation. Knowledge is a good thing. Disobeying God’s commands in order to achieve such knowledge is not.

Saint Paul also addresses this in his Letter to the Romans (3:8), in which he answers those who accuse him of claiming that the end does justify the means.

Saint Augustine reminds us that no morally wrong action may be taken, even if we seem to have a good reason for that action, and even if we have a good intention motivating us (Contra mendacium, chapters 1 and 7).

Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) was always conscious of giving clear direction in the midst of a society which was undergoing great upheaval after the Second World War. He restated the Church’s traditional moral teaching on this question in these words: “God desires us always to have, above all, an upright intention, but that is not enough. He also requires that the action be a good action. It is not permissible to do evil in order to achieve a good end” (Address, 18 April 1952).

Appeal to emotions



Evangelical Lutheran Church backs away from Christian chastity

Minneapolis, Minn., Aug 21, 2009 / 07:41 pm (CNA).- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on Wednesday approved a new policy that no longer declares marriage as “the appropriate place” for sexual relations, but rather calls for “social trust” in associations that are “loving” and “committed.” One critic characterized the move as an embrace of moral relativism.

The ELCA claims about 4.6 million members. Its numbers have declined by 1 million over the past forty years.

The ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly, meeting from August 17 to 23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, formerly said that marriage is “the appropriate place for sexual intercourse.” Such language is absent from the new policy, which says that heterosexual relationships are “best served through binding commitment, legal protections, and the public accountability of marriage.”

“Some cohabitation arrangements can be constructed in ways that are neither casual nor intrinsically unstable,” the policy adds.

The policy calls for “social trust” in relationships that are “loving,” “life-giving,” “fulfilling,” “nurturing,” and “committed.”

On the issue of homosexuality, the ELCA claimed that “consensus” does not exist and recognized four “conscience-bound beliefs” ranging from disapproval of all homosexual relations to honoring them as equally valid marriages.

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Pro-Life Leader Blasts Planned Parenthood President for Dishonest Attack on US Bishops

Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International (HLI), today blasted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for her scathing and error-filled attack on the U.S. Catholic Bishops who have called for abortion to be excluded from all proposed national health care legislation.

“Ms. Richards has done a favor to all pro-lifers and people of good faith in her hate-filled rant against the shepherds of our beloved Church,” said Fr. Euteneuer. “First, she has reminded everyone that, despite President Obama’s recent statements to the contrary, abortion is absolutely going to be covered in any health care reform legislation that crosses his desk. He and his cronies in Congress are much too beholden to the abortion lobby for any different outcome.”

“Second, she again highlights the extreme position of the organization she leads, and their hostility to the Catholic Church. No Catholic Organization should be comfortable finding themselves on the same side of the table as this hateful anti-woman outfit,” said Fr. Euteneuer.


FRONT ROYAL, VA, (MetroCatholic

Genesis One 9

Walton.jpgWe are in a conversation and discussion about John Walton's (professor at Wheaton) new book, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.

Proposition 9 is another big one:

The seven days of Genesis 1 relate to the cosmic temple inauguration.

Put this differently: the seven days are not about the duration of bringing matter into existence, but a period of time devoted to inaugurating the various functions of the temple. That is, they prepare the cosmos for God's dwelling and humans as those who are to worship the God in whose temple they dwell.

As with Solomon's temple, the temple was not built until God indwellt it -- so Genesis 1's seven days (Solomon's took seven years) indicates the completion of the temple when God indwells. Genesis 1 could be an enthronement-of-God text used annually.
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Obamacare: The Co-op Proposal

ObamaGrav.jpgLet's say the analysis is accurate: that insurance premiums are too high, that drug prices are too high, that medical expenses in general are too high. Let's also agree that these costs are hurting our country's health care plans and the availability of medical care to some 45 million. Let's agree that this approaches the biggest problems we are facing.

Now let's agree on one more: that competition with those insurance and drug companies could and would make a difference. 

Is the co-op the best competitive alternative?

Here are a few paragraphs from Timothy Egan in a piece I read today on the Co-op alternative:

But if you get sick in that land of deep lakes and ponderosa pines,
a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care provider -- Group Health
Cooperative of Puget Sound -- offers extensive coverage at some of the
lowest premiums in the nation. And if you need advice on bailing twine
or baby chicks, the Co-op Country Store, now in its 75th year, can
provide service that the nearby Home Depot cannot.

I mention these successful member-owned businesses in a deeply red
state because as the public health care option gets hammered by a
campaign of disinformation, the co-op model deserves a fair hearing.

Plus, co-ops are built around something that's been missing thus far
in a debate dominated by ill-informed shouters: the consumer.

Read Morel

Mickey Rourke

Pro-life law struck down in Oklahoma

Women in Oklahoma will no longer be required to get an ultrasound before having an abortion. A state judge struck down a pro-life law that required doctors to do an ultrasound along with describing the fetus to the woman before the abortion begins..."Read More

Susan B. Anthony List on President Obama’s Health Care Conference Call

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser released the following statement in response to President Obama’s remarks on his health care reform conference call with faith leaders today:

“Public support for abortion is on decline, and the President knows that openly advancing an abortion mandate in health care reform is unpopular with the American people. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Obama’s statements conflict with the proposed legislation. Americans demand an explicit exclusion of abortion coverage, not more obfuscation and confusion from the President and his allies.”

Susan B. Anthony List on President Obama’s Health Care Conference Call: "


Local Students Join in Reaction as Religious Liberty, Conscience Protections Placed at Risk


WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) -  Students at Catholic universities across the nation are banding together with students at Belmont Abbey College in a stand for religious liberty and conscience rights.

Students from the University of Dallas, Franciscan University of Steubenville, De Sales University and Catholic University of America are fighting back as one private school in North Carolina is being forced to fund contraception and chemical abortion under the Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC ignited the First Amendment firestorm when it ruled Belmont Abbey College must include coverage for contraception in its employee health insurance plan. Hormonal contraceptives often function as abortifacients.

“People need to wake up!” said Michael Barnett, American Life League’s director of leadership development and its LiveCampus college outreach program. “Under Obama, the federal government is forcing a religious institution to commit an act that violates its core values. This is religious persecution and a clear signal of what Obamacare would bring. This is the government imposing its will against the people’s will.”

In a letter to the Belmont, the EEOC claimed that it is discriminating against women by not covering contraceptives: “By denying prescription contraception drugs, [the college] is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives. By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.”

In a letter subsequently sent to EEOC chairman Stuart Ishimaru, Judie Brown, president of American Life League, pointed out, “The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is an evil and certainly not the sort of ‘treatment’ one would expect to find in a health insurance plan designed for staff at a Catholic facility. Your discriminatory actions against the college are unfounded and unconstitutional.”

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Aug. 21 Memorial of St. Pius X, pope, Sunday

Joseph Sarto was born in humble circumstances at Riese, a small village in Venetia, on June 2, 1835. He was successively curate, parish priest, bishop of Mantua, Patriarch of Venice -- offices to which his keen intelligence, hard work and great piety caused him to be quickly promoted. He was elected Pope on August 4, 1903, and took the name of Pius X. As chief pastor of the Church he displayed untiring self-sacrifice and great energy; he was an intrepid defender of the purity of Christian doctrine. He realized to the full the value of the liturgy as the prayer of the Church and the solid basis that it furnishes for the devotion of Christian people; he worked for the restoration of the worship of the Church, especially plainchant, so that Christian people, as he put it, might find beauty in their public prayer. He spared no effort to propagate the practice, so great an aid to holiness, of early, frequent and daily communion. He died August 20, 1914 and was canonized on May 29, 1954.Read more

Matthew 20:1-16

How we react to the way the landholder paid the men he hired to work in his vineyard depends on the state of our own hearts. We could respond, “Oh, what a generous employer!” or we could say, “Isn’t that terribly unfair?”

In giving so liberally to those who had worked only a short time, the landowner was taking nothing away from the laborers who had worked all day. “I am doing you no wrong,” he reminded those who felt cheated. “Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?” (Matthew 20:13). Then he got at the heart of the problem by asking the grumblers, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (20:15).

As he so often did during his public ministry, Jesus once again turned customary rules and expectations upside down. He was not concerned here with labor relations or market-based economics. Rather, with this story and its surprising twist, Jesus exposed the canker of envy in the human heart and vividly illustrated the mercy and generosity of God—generosity so unstinting that it confounds not only our logic but also our sense of justice.Read more

Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mary, Queen of Heaven: "

August 22: Feast Day of Mary Queen of Heaven

A while ago a man called in to say my argument for the Assumption of Mary from the Old Testament was wrong. I had quoted 1 Kings 2:19 where Solomon had raised his mother to Queen of the Kingdom was the ONLY case of a mother being queen in the Old Testament. He prefaced his comment by saying he knew the Old Testament. Well, it seems he is incorrect.

In the Old Testament, the queens of the Judean kings were their mothers — with one exception of the queen being a grandmother. Solomon had 1,000 wives and concubines — but he only had one mother. Click here to read the section on The Great Lady or Queen Mother in Roland de Vaux’s book Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institution.

AncientIsrael.jpgThe Queen Mothers of the earthly kings of Judah were not always good queens. Many of them were sinners and would make improper intercessions to the king. But, this takes nothing away from the perfect King and Queen –Jesus and his mother Mary.  It is the pattern and the office that is important.

Jesus is a king sitting on the throne of his fathers David and Solomon and all the subsequent kings of Judah. They all had queens and the queens were not their wives, they were their mothers. This is the pattern and ultimately Christianity and the Kingdom of God are based on the Old Testament model.

Follow the logic: 1) The Solomon and subequent kings of Judah raised their mothers to Queenship which became established as an official office; 2) the mothers were referred to as the Queen Mothers or the Great Lady; 3) they sat on a throne near their sons (1 Ki 2:19); 4) Jesus is the quintessential Jewish King with an eternal kingdom; 5) Jesus is the fulfillment if the Israelite offices of Prophet, Priest & King; 6) As the Davidic king, Jesus would honor his mother more than earthy kings honored their mothers; 7) It is biblical, historical, and reasonable to expect the perfect Jewish king to follow in the stead of the kingdom and his fathers by assuming his mother to a throne at his right hand. 8) It is proper and biblical to consider Mary in a position of intercessor.


Belief or Faith?

Belief in God is rather widespread, at least in America. Various surveys show that over 90% of Americans “believe in God.”

But belief and faith are not quite the same thing.

When many people say “I believe in God” they mean that they believe that God exists, that “there is a God” somewhere up there. Nothing wrong with having such a conviction, of course. But bear in mind that Satan has no doubts about the existence of God. He just refuses to serve him. -Read More

Prayer for priests

Cain's Sacrifice Rejected

One question that arises out of the Cain and Abel story that is not explicitly addressed in the text is why God rejected Cain's offering but accepted Abel's. I personally think the reason is inferred in the text; whereas Abel brought from his firstlings, Cain simply brought sacrifices--he did not offer God the best he had to offer.

Apparently, I am not alone in this view. Below are some various ancient interpretive takes.

Philo, The Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, 52: “[Cain’s offering] was ‘of the fruit’ but not ‘of the first fruit.'"

Genesis Rabbah 22:5: “[Cain’s offering] was from the refuse. The matter may be compared to the case of a wicked sharecropper who ate from the first fruits of the figs and handed over to the king the late figs.

Ephraem, Commentary on Gen. 3:2: “Abel chose and brought for sacrifice from the firstborn and the fattest, but Cain brought [merely] the fruits he found at the time . . . [God] chose not to accept his sacrifice from him in order to teach him how it was to be offered up… [Cain] did not bring these on the day of the first fruit offering, but brought the fruit of his land.” -Read More

Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

Nothing disturbs my union with the Lord, neither conversation with others nor any duties; even if I am to go about settling very important matters, this does not disturb me. My spirit is with God, and my interior being is filled with God, so I do not look for Him outside myself. He, the Lord, penetrates my soul just as a ray from the sun penetrates clear glass. When I was enclosed in my mother's womb, I was not so closely united with her as I am with my God. There, it was an unawareness; but here, it is the fullness of reality and the consciousness of union. My visions are purely interior, but the more I understand them, the less I am able to express them in words.

Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 883

Jesus, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this terrible wilderness, that my heart may bear patiently this longing for You, O my Lord! I always remain in holy amazement when I sense that You are approaching me, You, the Lord of the awesome throne; that You descend to this miserable exile and visit this poor beggar who has nothing but misery! I do not know how to entertain You, my Royal Prince, but You know that I love You with every beat of my heart. I see how You lower yourself, but nevertheless Your majesty does not diminish in my eyes. I know that You love me with the love of a bridegroom, and that is enough for me. Although we are separated by a great chasm, for You are the Creator and I am Your creature, nevertheless, love alone explains our union. Without it, all is incomprehensible. Only love makes it possible to understand these incomprehensible intimacies with which You visit me. O Jesus, Your greatness terrifies me, and I would be in constant astonishment and fear, if You yourself did not set me at peace. You make me capable of communing with You before each approach.

Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 885

Ad Orientem

Because the Mass is so necessary and fundamental to our Catholic experience, the liturgy is a constant topic in our conversation. That is why when we get together, we so often reflect upon the prayers and readings, discuss the homily, and – likely as not – argue about the music. The critical element in these conversations is an understanding that we Catholics worship the way we do because of what the Mass is: Christ’s sacrifice, offered under the sacramental signs of bread and wine. -Read More

Take Care, Agent DiNozzo . . .

It is not news to anyone that I am a fan of N.C.I.S. Nor is it a great reveal that my favorite character is Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, the Italian-American ex-Baltimore homicide 'tec who is Senior Field Agent on the Major Crimes Squad. He is played by Michael Weatherly, and is pretty awesome.

Why is this relevant? It's not - but N.C.I.S. returns to our screens in September! And I have been in communication with an Italian-American gentleman today and I want to talk about him, but not use his real name. So, in honor of Agent DiNozz0, I am going to call him "Tony". -Read More

Canadian Prime Minister Communion Fiasco

August 20, 2009 - Recently the Canadian paper, Telegraph-Journal, published a retraction on the Stephen Harper Communion story. On July 8th that paper reported that Prime Minister Harper received Communion at a Catholic funeral although he is not a Catholic. The article cites witnesses who claim Harper put the consecrated host in his pocket. The actual moment is captured in a video that has been repeatedly taken down and then re-posted on Youtube. In the segment the PM seems to hesitantly accept Communion in the hand but does not consume it. The Telepraph-Journal article quotes a New Brunswick priest who demanded that Harper explain what he did with the host. -Read More

This may be the only time you see me blogging news from the tabloids (I hope) -- but the recent People Magazine story about reality TV starlet Kourtney Kardashian's surprise pregnancy and decision to keep the baby is worth a look:

Kardashian discussed abortion with her physician, and then headed to the Internet to do further research.

"I looked online, and I was sitting on the bed hysterically crying, reading these stories of people who felt so guilty from having an abortion," she recalls. "I was reading these things of how many people are traumatized by it afterwards." -Read More

Nicaragua for Abortion Ban

Amnesty International is slamming yet another Latin American country for its pro-life laws. In a recently released report , Amnesty has called Nicaragua's total ban on abortions a "cruel, inhuman disgrace" and charged that the new law has led to an increase in maternal deaths. As in the cases of Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Peru, Amnesty's latest report on Nicaragua incorrectly argues that international law requires countries to permit abortion, and, according to critics, it misrepresents the facts which actually show a decrease in the maternal death rate. -Read More

stop abortion

Their Former Way of Life

Obama Double-Talk on Abortion

President Obama implied the Catholic bishops are liars today on his conference call with leftwing religious leaders.

Tom McFeely from the National Catholic Register has filed a report of the conference call on which both Obama and his domestic policy advisor, Melody Barners, former head of Emily's List, denied that abortion funding is included in the pending health care legislation. -Read More

Another Prop 8 Win in Court

The legal team won another victory today in its latest defense of Prop 8. Efforts by other players to intervene in the case were turned down by Judge Vaughn Walker in Federal District Court in San Francisco.

An equal protection suit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples, one from Berkeley and one from Burbank. They are represented by two high-profile attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies -- famous for representing George Bush and Al Gore, respectively, in the post election lawsuit that decided the 2000 Presidential election. -Read More

Doctrine of the Eucharist Important

The past three weeks in Mass the gospel readings have been from John 6 and the homilies have focused on the Eucharist. So it is very timely that commenter Anette asked "Regarding the bread and the wine really becoming flesh and blood. Why is this important? Isn't the presence of Christ what matters?" -Read More

St. Bernard, abbot and doctor

St. Bernard (1090-1153) was born near Dijon and died in Clairvaux, France. He was of a noble family and received a careful education in his youth. With his father, brother and thirty noblemen he entered the Benedictine monastery of Citeaux. Two years later he led a group of monks to establish a house at Clairvaux, and became its abbot. The monastic rule which he perfected at Clairvaux became the model for 163 monasteries of the Cistercian reform. He was a theologian, poet, orator, and writer. He is sometimes considered as a Father of the Church.

A Bishop Defends Private Health Care

Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa has published a column on the diocesan Website which explicitly defends the need for private health care. His column, by the way, reads very well -- it was obviously written by someone with a real command of the subject matter.

Bishop Nickless first distinguishes between a "natural right" and a "political right," the former derives directly from God's "bounty," like the air we breathe. Political rights, he says, come from "human efforts, creativity, and compassion." -Read More

Aug. 19 Optional Memorial of St. John Eudes, priest, Opt. Mem.

St. John Eudes (1601-1680) was born in Ri and died in Caen, France. Despite the prevailing rigors of Jansenism, he received First Communion when only a child. He studied in Paris and was ordained a priest in 1625. He soon became an outstanding missionary among his plague-stricken countrymen, living an irreproachable life and devoting all his energies to the cause of Christ. In 1643 he founded the Society of Jesus and Mary to preach missions to the people, direct seminaries, and conduct retreats for the clergy. He was a great opponent of the Jansenistic heresy, and always showed an unchanging devotion to the Holy See. -Read More

The Split between the Gospel and Culture

"Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate was written for the fortieth anniversary of Paul VI’s landmark social encyclical, Populorum Progressio. As such, Benedict is at considerable pains to call attention not only to Populorum Progressio but to the other documents issued by Paul VI which, taken together, make up his entire contribution on social questions." -Read More

Catechism of Church

Abortion Testimonies at Supreme Court

Ways to Improve the Liturgy

Boredom during the liturgy is something all Catholics have felt from time to time, and it's never justifiable. No matter how mundane the architecture, how dull the homily, or how bad the music, what's taking place on the altar is a miraculous sacrifice that gives us the grace for salvation. That reality should be enough to keep our attention.

And yet boredom is a reality that good liturgy can help fight. Many parishes try to do so by inventing every manner of new enticement: brighter and larger banners, forced attempts to create an upbeat environment of friendliness and community, big bowls of incense carried by special ministers, and Donahue-style homiletics. -Read More

Is Mary Placed Too High

HELP!!!!! I have been seeing devotions to Mary lately, everywhere I turn. I've been reading a book I've had for a year, "True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin," by de Montfort. . . . the Montfort book says that it's better to go to Jesus through a mediator because it's more humble: Here's what it says:

It is more perfect [to have Mary as our mediator to Jesus] because it supposes greater humility to approach God through a mediator rather than directly by ourselves. . . It is certain that our good works will be tainted and carry little weight with [Jesus]. They will not induce him to unite himself to us or answer our prayers. -Read More

Episcopal Mottos

A New Heart

'How American Health Care Killed My Father'

There's been a lot of talk about health care around here recently, but I had to add David Goldhill's article in the latest copy of The Atlantic to the mix. This is definitely one you want to read.

Goldhill's father passed away two years ago as the result of a hospital-borne infection he contracted in the ICU, an experience that prompted Goldhill to begin a closer examination of our health-care industry. Looking at his father's experience in the hospital from the perspective of a businessman "left him befuddled" -Read More

Asking Mary and the Saints to Pray for Us Rather Than Going Straight to God: An Introductory Explanation

HELP!!!!! I have been seeing devotions to Mary lately, everywhere I turn. I've been reading a book I've had for a year, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, by [St. Louis] de Montfort. . . . I honestly am wondering where the belief is -- that the Holy Spirit dwells in me as a Christian, that I have been forgiven and belong to God, that I have direct access to Jesus who loves me and wants me to talk to him and wants to be intimately with me? And the Montfort book says that it's better to go to Jesus through a mediator because it's more humble . . . -Read More:

email tracking

Well, that didn't last very long. Just two weeks after the White House requested that supporters send them any "fishy" emails critical of the president's healthcare efforts, they've shut down the program.

The "flag" service was introduced Aug. 4, with a White House blog post saying: "There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. The rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.govThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ." -Read More

Mary, Seat of Wisdom

St. Francis is, without a doubt, to be numbered among the all-time most loved Saints. The “Poverello” of Assisi draws us with his simplicity and his universal love, which is extended not only towards men, but even towards irrational creatures. However, both as regards their true content and their origin and end, St. Francis’ simplicity and love are unknown to most people. -Read More