Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pontiff Hails Mary as Mother and Teacher


VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2006 ( Benedict XVI proposes May to be a time to rediscover the role of the Virgin Mary in Christian life.

After Christ's resurrection, when the apostles gathered with her, Mary was for them both "mother and teacher, a role she continues to carry out for Christians of all times," the Pope said today before praying the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"Every year, during Eastertide, we live this experience more intensely and, perhaps, precisely for this reason, popular tradition has consecrated the month of May, which normally falls between Easter and Pentecost, to Mary," the Holy Father said.

The Bishop of Rome invited the faithful to rediscover in the coming month "the maternal role she carries out in our lives, so that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the risen Lord."

Benedict XVI entrusted to Mary "the needs of the Church and of the world, especially at this moment marked by not a few shadows."

The Pope invited those present to invoke the intercession of St. Joseph, whom the Church will remember on Monday as worker, especially for the labor world.

The Holy Father will begin the month of May by praying the rosary Monday afternoon at the Shrine of Divine Love, near Rome.
You Can't Be Catholic And Pro-Choice!

This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.

To these problems there are those who presume to offer dishonorable solutions indeed; they do not recoil even from the taking of life. But the Church issues the reminder that a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to authentic conjugal love.

For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.

All should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of men.

-Gaudium Et Spes #51
Minute Meditations From The Popes

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and have appointed you that you should bear fruit.
-1 Cor 15:16

Our Church is the Sacrament of God's love. She is a communion of faith and life. She is a mother and a teacher.
She is at the service of the whole human family as it goes forth toward its ultimate destiny.
-Pope John Paul II

O Lord, You have given us the Church to help us transform our human society into the family of God. May I realize that the Church is my family, and thus always treat it with due love and respect.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Minute Meditations From The Popes

For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ crucified.
-1 Cor. 2:2

With Catherine of Siena and so many other "Saints of the Cross" let us hold on tightly to our most sweet and merciful Redeemer, Whom Catherine called Christ-Love.
In His pierced Heart is our hope.
-Pope JOhn Paul II

Teach me the logic of Your Cross, O Lord. Help me to understand the astounding love that You expressed through this act, and enable me to respond to that love with all my heart, soul, and strength.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Appropriation Of Christ's Redemption By The Church

"The redemption of Christ is imputed, in principle, to all men.
Christ’s merit and satisfaction have been accepted by God in such a way that they can be reckoned for all men. They are capable of saving all. They are imputed, in principle, to all men. All have from Christ the right, even the obligation, to claim them. If they neglect that obligation, they rob Christ of something.

The valid foundation and the error of the Lutheran doctrine of appropriation.
If we were to proceed no farther than the above statements, we would have to say that Christ is equally the Head of all men, that he forms with them all one single juridical person of which they are the body and he the head. And how would one speak of this juridical person? It would be necessary to say both that this person is justice in Christ and sin in men; that this person is saved if one regards the satisfaction offered for him, but condemned if one considers the condition of those for whom the satisfaction is offered. One could even attribute to the Head what is immediately true of the Body alone: so that one would say that Christ, remaining forever just, has been made sin for us (2 Cor 5:21) and that he has become a curse (Gal 3:13). One also could attribute to the Body what is immediately true of the Head: That men are already saved (in Christ) while they are still condemned (in themselves); that they are already justified while they are still sinners, simul peccatores et justi, to use an expression of Luther.

Under this aspect and at this first instant of the work of redemption, the Lutheran teaching of justification would be true- and everyone knows that the greatest errors have never been anything but truths displaced. Let us not forget, however, that the work of redemption has, at this moment, just begun and that to stop at this stage would mean a break in its normal development. That is precisely what happens in the case of obstinate sinners. The doctrine of a purely juridical solidarity between men and Christ applies in reality only to those who refuse to welcome redemption into their hearts, who refuse to appropriate it to themselves.

According to the classic Protestant thesis, this appropriation of Christ’s redemption is made by faith, which explains how a trust in Christ necessarily brings for the believer and absolute conviction of his own salvation. Men who are so appropriated to the redemption of Christ continue to be really and intrinsically sinners in themselves, while God only imputes to them the justice of Christ, covering them with the mantle of Christ. In a word, God regards them as just. Hence, the Church and Christ together, according to the Protestant, form one juridical person, and the justice of Christ passes to the Church just as the sin of the Church passes to Christ, who was made ‘sin’ and ‘accursed’ for us.

The Catholic doctrine of appropriation.
The traditional teaching of the Church is very different. There is, indeed, an appropriation of Christ’s justice that incorporates men into Christ; but the direct effect of this justification is the bringing down of the justice of Christ, the grace and the truth of Christ, into the hearts of men. The sin of men passes juridically to Christ, in the sense that he has agreed to suffer in order to expiate sin, but the justice of Christ passes really to his Church, so that, where sin abounded, grace abounds all the more. St. Paul, who wrote, ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin’, also wrote ‘so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Cor 5:21), as well as ‘But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness’ (Rom 8:10; emphasis added).

And so, around the prayer, adoration, and offering of Christ are gathered all the prayer, adoration, and offering of the Church. On the supreme supplication and supreme suffering of Christ are suspended the supplication and suffering of the Church, his Body and his Bride. Consequently, one ought to say that the entire Church forms with Christ one sole mystical person, who adores, offers, and makes supplication.

The merit of Christ is diffused in his members.
The great supplication addressed by Christ to God in order to merit our salvation has drawn down for us (without any right or previous merit of our own) a shower of grace that abounds in Christ and burst forth in him. This grace that we have not merited depends on our openness to it. And if we welcome it into our hearts, we will be able, in turn, to merit before God, certainly not with a merit comparable to Christ’s or a ‘rival’ to Christ’s (this is what Protestant theology never ceases to attribute to us Catholics), but a merit dependant on that of Christ. The deeds we will accomplish, nourished by the divine life of a first grace freely conferred by God, will blossom into the fruits of grace. God orders them to obtain in this life a growth in charity and, in the world to come, the full blooming of a life of glory. It is a reward for such works that heaven is promised in the Gospel: ‘Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven’ (Mt 5:12).

It is clear, says St, Thomas, that there is an infinite distance between man and God, and man receives from God all that he is able to render to God. Hence, between man and God there cannot be, strictly speaking, an equality, justice, a right recompense, or merit; all such notions can only be used relatively or proportionately, so that man ought to offer to God, insofar as he is capable, the things that God himself never ceases to place in his heart.

Our merits are God’s gifts.
Only because God himself has willed it to be so can our acts, performed in grace, draw down upon us, as a reward that God cannot refuse to give, an increase in charity and a life of glory. If, therefore, God is obliged ‘in justice; to reward our merits, it is by reason of his own arrangement; and it is duet to himself, not to us, that he is so bound: hence the words of St. Augustine, ‘what we call our merits are the gifts of God’ and ‘when God crowns our merits, he is only crowning his own gifts.’ Indeed, the merits of Christians in the state of grace are nothing but the merits of Christ, who is their Head, of whom they are the living members. As Cajetan writes:

The action by which we merit eternal life is less our work than the work that
Christ, as Head, accomplishes in is and by us…Hence the words of the Apostle: ‘I
live, no not I, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20). The Christian may say in all
truth: ‘I merit, no not I, but Christ in me; I fast, no not I, but Christ in
me.’ So it is with all the voluntary actions that the true members of Christ
accomplish for God. Hence, the merit of eternal life is attributed, not so much
to our works, but to the works that Christ as Head accomplishes in us and by us."

-Charles Cardinal Journet

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pius Slander

Over at Society That Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules, I have posted a article that is insanely slanderous and devoid of all facts. I have never heard of Fr. Pizzabala before, but this first impression is definitely not in his favor!
An Email From My Wife

So get this:
Today is "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day." This program was started as "Take Your Daughters to Work Day" by the Ms. Foundation for Women (, but they eventually had to be equal and include the boys. This seems like a good enough program- encourage youth to explore different job opportunities (much more enticing if the parent has an exciting job...). Want to know what else the Ms. Foundation supports? Oh yes, reproductive "rights," namely, the Pro-Choice(Abortion) movement. Three of their "accomplishments" are:

-distributing over $6 million in the last decade to pro-choice organizations
in the U.S. and Puerto Rico;

-bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of reproductive rights

-supporting and growing pro-choice organizations through technical
assistance, networking and training to strengthen the reproductive rights

So, assuming you didn't use their help to get an abortion, you may be able to take your daughter or son to work with you. Ah, I love it.

Thought you might enjoy the irony.
Minute Meditations From The Popes

Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away.
-Song 8:7

Do not be afraid of the demands of the love of Christ. On the contrary, be afraid of being fainthearted, of taking things lightly, of seeking your comfort, of being selfish.
Be afriad of everything that seeks to silence the voice of Christ Who addresses each person.
-Pope John Paul II

Embolden my heart, O Lord, to love as You have loved. Let me not count the cost but rather trust that You will always make up what is lacking in me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Minute Meditations From The Popes

You shall be witnesses for me...even to the very ends of the earth.
-Acts 1:8

Every believer ought to be an active member of the Church.
Every Catholic lay person is invested with the right and has the duty to work in order to testify to and spread the Kingdom of God.
-Pope Paul VI

O Lord, guide me so that I may know the work to which You call me to build up Your Church on earth. Let me respond to Your call with complete readiness and much generosity.

Because brevity is the soul of wit, I was thinking of the most concise way to explain my reason for converting. I came up with this:

Q: What do you do as an Anglican, when your favorite theologian becomes the Pope?

A: Convert to Catholicism!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mary And The Church

"Mary is figured in the Church, and the Church is figured in Mary."
-Serlo of Savigny

"Everything we find in the sacred books concerning the magnificence, splendor, and sanctity of the Church is justly appropriated to the glorious Virgin in all parts of the universe; for she is the most holy of all the members of the Catholic Church; she whom God our Lord has laden with as many graces as he has distributed among all the other members together. And that is why- in accordance with old custom- we sing in honor of our Lady those passages of Holy Scripture which, in their natural sense, should be interpreted with reference to the Church of Jesus Christ."
-St. Ambrose

"The glorious Virgin Mary stands for the Church, who is also both virgin and mother. She is mother because every day she presents God with news sons in baptism, being made fruitful by the Holy Spirit. At the same time she is virgin because she does not allow herself to be in any way corrupted by the defilement of heresy, preserving inviolate the integrity of the faith. In the same way Mary was mother in bringing forth Jesus and virgin in remaining intact after bearing him.

The one gave salvation to the peoples, while the other gives the peoples to their Savior. The one carried Life in her womb, while the other carries him in the wellspring if the Sacrament. What was once granted in the flesh to Mary is now granted spiritually to the Church; she conceives the Word in her unfaltering faith, bears him in a spirit freed from all corruption, and contains him in a soul overshadowed by the power of the Most High."
-Honorius of Autun

"[Our Lady and the Church] both give to God the Father a posterity; Mary, sinless, gave the body its Head; the Church, in the remission of all sins, gives the Head its body. Both are thus Mother of Christ, but neither of the two bears him wholly, without the other."
-Isaac of Stella

"As Mary bore the earthly Christ, so the Church bears the eucharistic Christ. As the whole life of Mary is centered upon the bringing up and protecting Christ, so again the deep life and solicitude of the Church are centered on the Eucharist. As Mary gives the earthly Christ to the world...and from this gift are born children of God, so also the eucharistic flesh and blood produced by the Church should form living children of God. As Mary offered up Christ together with him at the foot of the Cross, so the whole Church, at each Mass, offers the sacrifice with him. As Mary received at the foot of the Cross the whole treasury of grace in order to administer it spiritually, so the Church received it and in a certain sense receives it anew at each Mass for its ministerial administration and distribution. As Mary is in heaven, at her Son's side, a true suppliant, so aslo the Church makes effective prayer for her children...Where subjective redemption is concerned, the Church signifies what Mary stood for in the accomplishing of objective redemption."
-Carl Feckes

"At the moment when Mary appeared to have brought to perfect completion her life as Mother of Christ, she became, in reality, the Mother of all Christians. And then was realized for the second time the angel's greeting- 'all genereations shall call thee blessed.' There will be no further mention of Mary in the Gospels, but the Acts of the Apostles are to show her to us as the great art of the West is to paint her later- reunited with the disciples at Jerusalem to await the outpouring of the Spirit. At the foot of he Cross Mary realized for the second time the blessing of the Gospel salutation; on the morning of Pentecost she was visited for the second time by the Holy Spirit. The Mother of Christ became the great maternal figure of the Mother Church."
-Gertrud von le Fort
Minute Meditations From The Popes

Through my mouth the Gentiles should hear the Word of the Gospel and believe.
-Acts 15:7

The dynamism of the new life is at work throughout history in apostolic service and in the mandate to pass on the Gospel.
In order to touch everyone's heart it must be translated into understandable and easily accessible language.
-Pope John Paul II

Lord Jesus, when St. Mark wrote his Gospel, he spoke of You in simple terms, presenting us with a Jesus Who truly shared in our humanity. Help me to have a simple faith, so that I may encounter You Who are both God and Man.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Minute Meditations From The Popes

Ride on triumphant in the cause of truth and for the sake of justice; and may your right hand show you wondrous deeds.
-Ps. 45:4-5

Let no one in your land be at ease while anyone whose human and Christian dignity is not respected and loved.
This is true whether that person is a man, a woman, a child, an elderly or sick person, or any child of God!
-Pope John Paul II

You taught us, Jesus, that whatever we do to the least of Your brothers and sisters we do to You. May I see and judge all persons as You do, and may I treat them with the same respect with which I would treat You.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New And Improved!

Mike Liccione's blog Sacramentum Vitae has a new look. Check it out!

I only wish I could get my blog to look that good!
Minute Meditations From The Popes

What I tell you in darkness, speak it in the light. And what you hear whispered, proclaim it from the housetops.
-Mt 10:27

Christians of these last years of the Second Millennium, you have an honorable yet burdensome task.
You must be bearers of the Word to those who have lost its full meaning and importance.
-Pope John Paul II

Make me a missionary of you Word, O Lord. Let me not be ashamed of being a Catholic, but rather enable me to see my faith as something so precious that I want to share it with everyone whom I meet.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


An elite squad of commentators with no qualifications whatsoever read through the Bible in one year and discuss along the way.
Newman Edges Closer To Sainthood

From BBC News.

A second so-called miracle cure by a British Catholic priest has been reported in the US strengthening the cause for him to be made a saint.

Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory in 1848, has long been championed as a future saint.

A case for his beatification, the stage before sainthood, needs a miracle by the cardinal to be complete and claims of one in Boston are being looked into.

Now a 16-year-old boy's emergence from a coma is also being investigated.

The oratory's current provost, Father Paul Chavasse, explained the second claims of a miracle: "After prayers and the application of a relic of Newman's he emerged to the astonishment of his family and the doctors from the coma."

The first reported miracle came from a canon in Boston who said his spinal problems had been cured after praying to Cardinal Newman.

Investigations in America are due to end later this year, when the evidence will go to Rome for the meticulous scrutiny of Pope Benedict.

Peter Jennings, from the oratory, said: "He's a great lover of Newman and uses Newman and quotes Newman frequently in his writings and speeches and now as he has become pope we very much hope he'll be the pope that will beatify, then eventually canonise John Henry Newman."

The two claims follow 50 years of work to introduce Cardinal Newman's cause for canonisation - a process which includes collating more than 20,000 of his letters and evidence from personal witnesses of his suitability to become a saint.

No English person who has lived since the 16th Century, when many Catholics were killed during the Reformation, has been canonised.

Hat tip to Quenta Nârwenion.
Minute Meditations From The Popes

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
-Mt 5:8

All the pure in heart are, in a certain sense, mystics, because, as Christ proclaimed, they are candidates to "see God."
But we should all be pure in heart, all good, simple, and childlike. We should all be able to want, be able to yearn, be able to receive.
-Pope Paul VI

Lord Jesus, this world so often teaches us to become complicated and cynical. Enable me to enjoy the simple things that are so easy to take for granted.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Top Ten Signs That You Have Read A Book By Or Heard A Lecture From Scott Hahn

10)You feel like you've taken a sip from a fire hydrant.

9)You vow never to make corny jokes about Scripture like Scott does, but know that in reality you will the first chance you get! (For example: When Jesus drove the demons into the herd of swine, it was the first case of deviled ham.)

8)You know that Sheba in Hebrew means "an oath" or literally to "seven one's self."

7)You think of everything in terms of covenants.

6)You don't stop talking about Scott Hahn.

5)You apply to the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

4)You mention the Shekinah Glory Cloud in random conversations.

3)You are able to defend your faith a thousand times better.

2)Did I mention that you don't stop talking about Scott Hahn?

1) You convert!
Minute Meditations From The Popes

Anywhere two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.
-Mt. 18:20

In prayer the Church concentrates on Christ; she possesses Him, savors His friendship, and is therefore in a position to communicate Him.
But by exercising faith, hope, and charity in prayer, she reinforces her power to communicate Christ.
-Pope John Paul II

O Lord, it can be so difficult to find time to pray. Give me the courage to set aside other things that keep me from prayer, and grant me the love to want to spend more time with You.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Love Story Of God And Man

"Creation moves toward the Sabbath...The Sabbath is the sign of the covenant between God and man; it sums up the inward essence of the covenant....Creation exists to be a place for the covenant that God wants to make with man. The goal of creation is the covenant, the love story of God and man"

-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI)
In Us Lies The Inadequacy

"Scripture is entirely adequate to teach us all things" but "it is in us that there lies the inadequacy since, without Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, we should not be able to determine the meaning that it ought to have."

-St. Francis de Sales.
Ecclesia Mater

May this great Mother be praised for the divine mystery that she communicates to us through the twofold and ever-open door of her doctrine and her liturgy! May she be praised for the centers of religious life that she brings into being and protects and whose fervor she keeps aflame! May she be praised for the interior universe that she discovers to us, in the exploration of which she gives us her hand as guide! May she be praised for the desire and the hope that she sustains in us! May she be praised, too, for unmasking and dispersing the illusions that deceive us, so that our adoration may be pure! May this great Mother be praised!

This chaste Mother pours into us and sustains a faith that is always whole and that neither human decadence nor spiritual lassitude can touch, however deep they may go. This fruitful Mother continually presents us with new brothers; this universal Mother cares equally for all, little and great alike- the ignorant and the wise, the ordinary parishioner and the picked body of consecrated souls. This venerable Mother makes sure for us the inheritance of the ages and brings forth for us from her treasure things new and old. This patient Mother is always making a fresh start, untiringly, in her slow work of education and gathering together again, one by one, the threads of unity that her children are always tearing apart. This careful Mother protects us against the enemy who prowls around us seeking his prey; this loving Mother does not hold us back for herself but urges us on to the encounter with God, who is all love. Whatever the shadows the Adversary casts, this clear-sighted Mother cannot help but recognize one day for her own the children whom she has borne, and she will have the power to rejoice in their love while they in their turn will find security in her arms. This zealous Mother sets in the hearts of her best children zeal that carries them all over the world as the messengers of Christ; this wise Mother steers us clear of sectarian excesses and the deceptive enthusiasm that is always followed by revulsion; she teaches us to love all that is good, all that is true, all that is just, and to reject nothing that has not been tested. This sorrowful Mother with the sword-pierced heart relives from age to age the Passion of her Bridegroom; this strong Mother exhorts us to fight and bear witness to Christ; and she does not hesitate to make us pass through death- from the first death, which is baptism, onward- in order to bear us into a higher life. For all these benefits we owe her our praise; but we owe it to her above all for those deaths she bring us- the deaths that man himself is incapable of and without which he would be condemned to stay himself indefinitely, going round and round in the miserable circle of his own finitude.

Praised may you be, Mother of love at its most lovely, of healthy fear, of divine knowledge, and holy hope! Without you our thoughts are diffuse and hazy; you gather them together into a strong body. You scatter the darkness in which men either stumble or despair or- pitifully- “shape as they please their fantasies of the infinite.” Without discouraging us from any task, you protect us from deceptive myths; you spare us from the aberrations and the aversions of all churches made by the hand of man. You save us from destruction in the presence of our God! Living Ark, Gate of the East! Unflawed mirror of the activity of the Most High! You who are the beloved of the Lord of the Universe, initiated into his secrets, and who teach us what pleases him! You whose supernatural splendor never fades, even in the darkest hours! It is thanks to you that our darkness is bathed in light! You through whom the priest goes up every day to the altar of God, who gives joy to his youth! The Glory of Libanus is in you, under the obscurity of your earthly covering. Each day you give us him who is the Way and the Truth. Through you we have hope of life in him. The memory of you is sweeter than honey, and he who hears you shall never be put to confusion. Holy Mother, unique Mother, immaculate Mother! O great Mother! Holy Church, true Eve, sole true Mother of all living!

-Henri De Lubac
Hip-Hop Community Endorsing Pro-Life?

Thomas the American Papist has the story.
Quote of The Day

“I … take my stand upon the Fathers, and do not mean to budge. The history of their times is not yet an old almanac to me … The Fathers made me a Catholic”

-John Henry Newman in his Letter to Pusey.

Hat tip to Mike Aquilina.
Minute Meditations From The Popes

The Work of each will be manifested, for the Day of the Lord will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire.
-1 Cor 3:13

How essential it is for the life of society that people not lose faith in their own work.
How essential it is that they not suffer disillusionment because of this work.
-Pope John Paul II

Lord Jesus, help me to see my work as a calling from You. Enable me to regard my coworkers as people whom You have sent into my life for a reason.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Exalted And Abashed

"In [the Church of the Father's] triumphant zeal on behalf of that Primeval Mystery, to which I had had so great a devotion from my youth, I recognized the movement of my Spiritual Mother. 'Incessu patuit dea.' The self-conquest of her Ascetics, the patience of her Martyrs, the irresistible determination of her Bishops, the joyous swing of her advance, both exalted and abashed me."

-John Henry Newman
The Magisterium

“The Magisterium of the Church- which was set up in this world by divine wisdom in order to preserve perpetually intact and to hand on the deposit of revealed doctrine- is exercised each day by the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. But he also has the duty- when there is question of putting up effective resistance to the errors and attacks of heretics or imprinting with greater clarity and precision on the minds of the faithful certain explanations of sacred doctrine- of proceeding to opportune definitions by means of decrees and solemn decisions. The employment of this extraordinary Magisterium does not introduce any invention and does not add any novelty to the sum of the truths that are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of revelation divinely handed on to the Church; but it declares truths which might perhaps appear obscure to some, or bids us to regard as of faith those that others would still submit to debate.”

-Pius XI, in his encyclical Mortalium animos.
Quote Of The Day

"Do Not separate yourself from the Church! No power is as powerful as she. The Church is your hope; the Church is your salvation; the Church is your refuge. She is higher than heaven and bigger than earth. She never ages, and her vitality is eternal."

-St. John Chrysostom
The One True Bride Of Christ

The Church is the sacrament of Christ. This means, to put it another way, that there is between her and him a certain relationship of mystical identity. Here again we encounter the Pauline metaphors and the rest of the biblical images, which the Christian tradition has continually explored. One and the same intuition of faith is expressed throughout. Head and members make one single body, one single Christ; the Bridegroom and the Bride are one flesh. Although he is the Head of his Church, Christ does not rule her from without; there is, certainly, subjection and dependence between her and him, but at the same time she is his fulfillment and “fullness”. She is the tabernacle of his presence, the building of which he is both Architect and Cornerstone. She is the temple in which he teaches and into which he draws with him the whole Divinity. She is the ship and he the pilot, she the deep ark and he the central mast, assuring the communication of all those on board with the heavens above them. She is paradise and he its tree and well of life; she is the star and he the light that illuminates our night. He who is not, in one way or another, a member of the body does not receive the influx from the Head; he who does not cling to the one Bride is not loved by the Bridegroom. If we profane the tabernacle, we are deprived of the sacred presence, and if we leave the temple, we can no longer hear the Word. If we refuse to enter the holy house or take refuge in the ark, we are contemptuous of paradise, we are neither fed nor given drink. And if we persuade ourselves that we can do without this received light, we remain perpetually plunged in the night of ignorance…

-Henri De Lubac
Chinese Martyrs

"Today, a movement which has grown up outside the Catholic hierarchy is urging us on to attack him who represents the Pope, who represents, Jesus Christ...Gentleman: I have only one soul and I cannot divide it up; but I have a body which can be divided up. It seems to me that the best thing to do is to offer my whole soul to God and the holy Church, and my body to my country...Since I cannot remedy [the conflict in which Church and State are opposed], there is nothing I can do better than offer my soul to one side and my body to the other, in sacrifice in the hope of promoting understanding between them...I am a Chinese Catholic. I love my country, just as I dissociate myself from everything that is opposed to the laws of my Church, and above all things I dissociate myself from everything that can sow discord. But if the Church and Government cannot come to an agreement, sooner or later every Chinese Catholic will have nothing left to do but die. Then why should one not offer one's body at once to hasten the mutual understanding of the parties concerned?"

-Fr. Tong Che-Tche, June 2, 1951.

The Church is still being persecuted in China and the blood of martyrs is still being spilt today. Please pray for all Christians in hostile countries!

Minute Meditations From The Popes

The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.
-Mk 1:15

A sincere and zealous reformer will avoid extremes and never overstep the bounds of true reform. The true reformer will always be united in the closest bonds with the Church and Christ, her Head.
-Pope Pius X

O Lord, we have heard that virtue lies in the middle, and that extremes bring diversion. Teach me to balance my opinions so that I may serve love and not my own pet theories.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cardinal Newman's Thoughts On The Papal-Antichrist Theory

If any part of the Church be proved to be antichristian, all of the Church is so, the Protestant branch inclusive.

The Papal-Antichrist theory was gradually developed by three historical bodies: the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and the Fraticelli, between the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries: are these the expositors from whom the Church of Christ is to receive the true interpretation of the prophecies?

The defenders of the Papal-Antichrist theory have made several signal blunders in their arguments; they cite St. Bernard as identifying the Beast of the Apocalypse with the Pope, though St. Bernard speaks in the passage of the Antipope; they appeal to the Abbot Joachim as believing that Antichrist will be elevated to the Apostolic See, while the Abbot really believes that Antichrist will overthrow the Pope and usurp his See; finally, they appeal to Pope Gregory the Great as asserting that whoever claims to be Universal Bishop is Antichrist, whereas the great Doctor really speaks of the Forerunner of Antichrist who was, in the language of his day, nothing but a token of an impending great evil.

Protestants were driven to the Papal-Antichrist theory by the necessity of opposing a popular answer to the popular and cogent arguments advanced by the Church of Rome for her Divine authority.

Warburton, Newton, and Hurd, the advocates of the Papal-Antichrist theory, cannot be matched against the saints of the Church of Rome.

If the Pope be Antichrist, those who receive and follow him cannot be men like St. Charles Borromeo, or Fénelon, or St. Bernard, or St. Francis de Sales.

If the Church must suffer like Christ, and if Christ was called Beelzebub, the true Church must expect a similar reproach; thus, the Papal-Antichrist theory becomes an argument in favor of the Roman Church.

The gibe, "If the Pope is not Antichrist, he has bad luck to be so like him", is really another argument in favour of the claims of the Pope; since Antichrist simulates Christ, and the Pope is an image of Christ, Antichrist must have some similarity to the Pope, if the latter be the true Vicar of Christ.

Catholic Humor

No Trespassing: violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

-Sisters of Mercy

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI!

May God bless you and grant you many more!

The Lord Is Risen!

It is Easter and the Lord has risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

I can now finally add "Catholic" to my moniker "Irish and Dangerous." The Easter Vigil service was great! What an amazing feeling it is to have all the priests standing around you, praying for the Holy Spirit to come upon you at confirmation.

As you might be able to guess, I took "Patrick" as my confirmation name.

Laura took "Anne" as her confirmation name.

It's great to be Home!

Happy Easter to everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Origen's Meditation On The Passion

But it is likely, because of the verse “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mt. 26:39), that someone who does not accurately understand the intent of Scripture will suppose that the Savior proved a coward at the night of the Passion. And if He proved a coward, someone might say, who will ever prove to be noble? First, let us inquire of those who entertain such suppositions about the Savior whether He is inferior to the one who said, “The Lord is my light and my Savior; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my persecutors and enemies grew weak and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” (Ps. 27:1-3). But it may be that these words are spoken by the prophet of no one else but the Savior, who feared no one because of the light and salvation given from the Father, and who was afraid of no one because of the protection with which God shielded Him. And His heart was not at all fearful when the entire host of Satan encamped against Him. His heart, filled with sacred teachings, hoped in God when war rose up against Him. Therefore, it would be contradictory if it was from cowardice that He said, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mt. 26:39) and yet said with courage, “Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear” (Ps. 27:3).

Perhaps, then, something in the passage has escaped our notice, and you will find it out by noting how the cup is mentioned in the three Gospels. Matthew writes that the Lord said, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mt. 26:39). Luke writes, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me” (Lk. 22:42). Mark writes, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this cup from me” (Mk. 14:36). Therefore, since every martyrdom completed by death for whatever motive is called a “cup,” see whether you cannot say that when He says “let this cup pass from me,” He does not refuse martyrdom in general, but only one kind. (Otherwise, He would have said, “let the cup pass from me.”) Consider carefully whether it is not possible that the Savior saw, so to speak, what the different kinds of cups were and what would happen because of each of them, and that when He had considered their differences by some vast depth of wisdom, He refused one kind of martyr’s death, while in secret He asked for another kind that was probably harder, so that some more general benefit that would overtake a greater number might be accomplished through that other cup. But this was not at all the Father’s will, which was wiser than the Son’s will, since He was ordering events by a way and an order beyond what the Savior saw. At any rate, clearly “the cup of salvation” in Psalms is the death of the martyrs. That is why the verse “I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” is followed by “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:13, 15). Therefore, death comes to us as “precious” if we are God’s saints worthy of dying not the common death, if I may call it that, but a special kind of death, Christian, religious, and holy.
Good Friday

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol'gotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, "Do not write, `The King of the Jews,' but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the scripture, "They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst." A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness -- his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of him shall be broken." And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced." After this Joseph of Arimathe'a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. Nicode'mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:17-42)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Maundy Thursday

And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand." Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you." For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean." When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me." (John 13:2-20)

And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!" (Luke 22:14-22)

And they went to a place which was called Gethsem'ane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I pray." And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt." And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand." And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard." And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said, "Master!" And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled." And they all forsook him, and fled. (Mark 14:32-50)

A Parable

Five men got together and decided to form the alphabet. When it was completed, it was a great thing. They could spell any word they wanted and communicate a lot better.

Ten years later, one guy decided to leave the group, because he didn't like some of the spellings of the words with the original alphabet. Instead of using a hard C to spell words, he wanted to use a "K."

Five years went by and one of the guys from the original group decided that he didn't like the letter "C" being both a soft C and a hard C, so he left the group and had his own alphabet, only there were no hard C's.

At the same time, two other guys left the original group, because they no longer agreed with the original alphabet. They felt that the first half of the alphabet up to “M” was no longer necessary. So they were left with “N” to “Z.”

Two years later, one of the guys from the “N” to “Z” group realized that they couldn’t spell as many words as they used to with the original alphabet, so he wanted to start a reform. He added “H” to “M” back in, but got rid of “T” through “Z.” The two men parted ways, one with an alphabet of “N” to “Z,” and the other with an alphabet of “H” to “S.”

The four guys who broke away from the original group and started their own had lots of problems trying to spell words that they could easily spell at the beginning.

Only the guy who kept all of the letters as originally intended had the fullness of the alphabet and had no problems spelling and communicating.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

An Amazing Conversion

Steve Ray tells of his first meeting with Alex Jones, a Pentecostal Preacher who converted to Catholicism and brought with him 54 members of his congregation, in the forward to Jones's book No Price Too High: A Pentecostal Preacher Becomes Catholic.

From the back cover of his book:

Alex Jones was an "on-fire" Pentecostal minister in Detroit who was a completely dedicated shepherd of his flock. He greatly loved his people and they loved him. In seeking to give his flock the most genuine experience of the early Church prayer and worship services, he carefully read Scripture, the Fathers of the Church and writings of the early saints. The more he read, the more Alex came to the startling conclusion that the present day Catholic Church - and the Holy Mass - is the same exact "worship service " from the very early Church. Alex began to share his findings with his parish, and eventually Alex, and most of his parish, joined the Catholic Church. This is his incredible story of a black Pentecostal minister's challenging and dramatic spiritual journey, and the flock that followed him. Today he preaches with his usual passion about Christ - as a Catholic deacon! This book tells the story of Alex's life from his childhood all the way to his conversion to Catholicism in 2001. It simultaneously tells the story of his wife, Donna, and her spiritual journey as well, which shows how they were not always on the same path during Alex's preparation for entering the Catholic Church. Each had to be personally, deeply convinced that this momentous, life-changing and career-changing spiritual decision was God's will for them.
No Prophecy Of Scripture Is A Matter Of One's Own Interpretation

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

- 2 Peter 1: 20-21
Quote Of The Day

"To want to define the unifying form of the Church as from below-that is to say, from sinners-is an error. Sinners and just are not members of the Church ex aequo. Sinful Christians could not manifest in their uniting the unity of the Church; a Church composed exclusively of sinners and without charity is an idea contrary to the Gospel and impossible from the Christian point of view, but a Church composed entirely of the just is not impossible and will in fact be the Church of heaven."

-Msgr. Charles Journet

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why Kids Need Married Mothers And Fathers

From Zenit News

Maggie Gallagher on Child Well-being Studies

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 10, 2006 (

Children who are raised by parents who are not married are at a greater risk of depression, suicide, child abuse, domestic violence, academic failure, criminal activity and poverty.

So says Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and contributor to the book "The Meaning of Marriage."

Gallagher shared with ZENIT findings from studies on children with parents who never married or divorced, and the importance of traditional marriage for a child's well-being and the common good.

Q: Why should Catholics be concerned about marriage in the public square?

Gallagher: For Catholics, marriage is a sacrament. But the Catholic tradition has always understood marriage as a natural relation as well. People of all faiths can get married and their marriages matter to God, children, each other and the community.

Marriage helps create and care for the next generation, helping to satisfy men and women's deep human longings for connection with each other, and children's longing to know and be known by their own mother and father.

Q: You say marriage is important for children. What's the evidence?

Gallagher: A large body of social science research now affirms the importance of marriage for the common good.

For example: Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities. The majority of children whose parents don't get or stay married experience at least a year of poverty.

Fatherless households increase crime. Boys whose parents divorced or never married, for example, are two to three times more likely to end up in jail as adults.

Marriage protects children's physical and mental health. Children whose parents get and stay married are healthier and also much less likely to suffer mental illness, including depression and teen suicide.

Parents who don't get or stay married put children's education at risk. Children whose parents divorced or never married have lower grade point averages, are more likely to be held back a grade and to drop out of school. They are also less likely to end up college graduates.

When marriages fail, ties between parents and children typically weaken, too. Adult children whose parents divorced are only half as likely to have warm, close ties to both their mothers and their fathers. For example, in one large national survey, 65% of adult children of divorce reported they were not close to their fathers -- compared to 29% of adults from intact marriages.

Caring about marriage is thus part of our shared Catholic concern for children, the common good and social justice.

Q: Does it matter whether mothers and fathers actually marry? Can't they just live together?

Gallagher: Yes, marriage matters. Just living together is not the same as marriage.

Married couples in the United States who cohabit first are 30% to 50% more likely to divorce. People who just live together do not get the same boost to health, welfare and happiness, on average, as spouses.

Neither do their children. Children whose parents cohabit are at increased risk for domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. Children born to parents who were just living together are also around three times more likely -- in both the United States and Great Britain -- to experience their parents' breakup by age 5.

Q: What about same-sex couples? Should marriage be redefined to include them?

Gallagher: Same-sex marriage teaches the next generation that there is nothing special or unique about husbands and wives who can become mothers and fathers. It separates marriage from its great, historic, cross-cultural task of bringing together male and female to make and raise the next generation together.

A loving and compassionate society comes to the aid of motherless and fatherless children, but no compassionate society intentionally deprives children of their own mom or dad. Same-sex marriage announces that society has repudiated this goal and has placed adult desires for diverse family forms as its core goal.

Q: How do you respond to people who say our marriage laws are discriminatory?

Gallagher: Laws against interracial marriage were about keeping two races apart, so that one race could oppress the other -- and that is wrong.

Marriage is about bringing male and female together, so that children have mothers and fathers, and so that women aren't stuck with the enormous, unfair burdens of parenting alone -- and that is right.

Q: How would same-sex marriage hurt any one's marriage?

Gallagher: This is not just a discussion of benefits. If it were, we could come to some accommodations.

The logic of gay marriage is that there is no difference between same-sex and opposite sex unions, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is either irrational or bigoted.

Same-sex marriage advocates thus seek to use the law to force everyone to dramatically and permanently alter our definition of marriage and family. The law will teach your children and grandchildren that there is nothing special about mothers and fathers raising children together, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a bigot.

It's going to be extremely hard to raise, say, young men to be good family men in a society that teaches the idea that anyone who thinks fathers and mothers should raise children together is a bigot.

And anyone who says otherwise may get subjected to legal punishments of various kinds.

Q: What do you mean by that? And what is the threat to religious liberty posed by same-sex marriage?

Gallagher: It's very real. Right now in the state of Massachusetts, for example, the government is set to strip Catholic Charities of its adoption license unless Catholics agree to place children with same-sex couples.

If you follow the racial analogy being made here -- that opposing gay marriage is akin to racial bigotry -- then ultimately the law is going to pressure Catholic and other religions' institutions and punish those that fail to conform to its new vision of marriage. I'm talking about things like broadcasting licenses and ultimately tax exempt status for Catholic schools and other faith-based organizations.

This may sound incredible. But who would ever have imagined that here in the United States a government would prevent Catholics from helping poor, abandoned, needy babies, unless they agree with the government's position on gay adoptions?

Q: What can we do in the United State to support marriage and protect religious liberty on these issues?

Gallagher: First, the Senate is going to vote on a Marriage Protection Amendment, protecting marriage as the union of husband and wife. Write or e-mail your senators.

Second, ultimately I think we are going to need some kind of "conscience" legislation from Congress on marriage, similar to that which protects facilities, organizations and individuals from being punished by state governments for refusing to participate in abortions.
Since Before The Creation Of The World

"Do not believe that the Bride-that is, the Church-has existed only since the Savior's coming in the flesh; she exists since the beginning of the human race and even since the creation of the world: even-I call St. Paul to witness-since before the creation of the world. For the Apostle said: 'Since he has chosen us in Christ since before the creation of the world, that we might be holy and immaculate before him, predestining us in love to the adoption of the Son.' And it is written in the Psalms: 'Remember, Lord, thy Church, which thou hast gathered together from the beginning.' So, the foundations of the Church have been laid from the beginning. And that is why the Apostle also says that the Church is founded not only on the Apostles but also on the Prophets, and Adam himself is reckoned among the number of the Prophets."

Quote Of The Day

"The Church, which had already been conceived and which issued, as it were, from the loins of the New Adam when he slept on the cross, was dazzlingly manifested to men for the first time on the solemn day of Pentecost."

-Pope Leo XIII, from his encyclical Divinum Illud.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Catholic Humor

Q: What happens when you don't pay your exorcist?
Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy

I heard about this on Relevant Radio today:

Adoremus - Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy is an association of Catholics established on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul 1995, to promote authentic reform of the Liturgy of the Roman Rite.

The mission of Adoremus is to rediscover and restore the beauty, the holiness, the power of the Church's rich liturgical tradition while remaining faithful to an organic, living process of renewal. The purpose of such a renewal cannot be stated more eloquently than this statement by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

Christian Liturgy is cosmic Liturgy, as Saint Paul tells us in the Letter to the Philippians. It must never renounce this dignity, however attractive it may seem to work with small groups and construct homemade liturgies. What is exciting about Christian Liturgy is that it lifts us up out of our narrow sphere and lets us share in the Truth. The aim of all liturgical renewal must be to bring to light this liberating greatness. -- Feast of Faith
All Catechism, All The Time!

I've been waiting anxiously to post this, and now that Moneybags over at A Catholic Life has announced it, I guess I can as well!

This Easter Sunday, will be the start of a great new project called the Catholic Catechism Dialogue Blog. We will be going through the whole Catechism in one year and writing meditations on the CCC. The site is hosted by Owen from Luminous Miseries II.

Be sure to check it out and comment frequently!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is a "standard among all nations," as the [First] Vatican Council puts it, following Isaiah. She is a rallying point for all, "inviting those who as yet have no faith, and assuring her own children that the faith which they profess has the fimest of foundations." She is the mountain visible from afar, the radiant city, the light set in a candlestick to illuminate the whole house. She is the imperishable building of cedar and cypress, which defies the passage of time in its awe-inspiring massiveness and gives to our ephemeral individualities their measure of confidence. She is the "continual miracle," always announcing to men the coming of their Savior and manifesting his liberating power in examples without number; the magnificent vaulting under which the saints, like so many stars, sing together of the glory of the Redeemer. Through the depth and cohesion of the doctrine she puts forward, her experience of men, and the fruits the Holy Spirit continually ripens in her, the Church exercises over people of spiritual integrity an attraction that is witnessed to throughout history by a vast number of conversions, which are, humanly speaking, startling in the extreme. As the depositary and guardian of Scripture, she is the diffusion point for its illuminating power, which alone can make our history intelligible. And thus she leads us to Christ by many ways, all of which converge. In her, God makes himself continually visible to the eyes of those "who see wisdom"; anyone who has given himself to her with his eyes open proves it for himself again and again:

Haec est cymba qua tuti vehimur,
Hoc ovile quo tecte condimur,
Haec columna qua firmi nitimur

To a man who lives her mystery, she is always the city of precious stones, the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, as she was to St. John; and seeing her thus, he feels that very joy which bursts through the light-split skies of the Apocalypse and glows in its visions of serenity. One begins to understand what makes him cry, like St. Augustine: "When I talk about her, I cannot stop."

-Henri De Lubac

Friday, April 07, 2006


Last night at work, I was reading "A Shorter Summa: The essential philosophical passages of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica edited and explained" by Peter Kreeft. When my break was over I got up to return to work, when the man next to me (a regular customer) asked what I was reading. I told him it was selections of St. Thomas's Summa Theologica. I wasn't sure if he knew who St. Thomas was, so I explained that the Summa was his great work on theology and philosophy.

He then asked if I had ever heard of Alan Watts. I said no. Then he told me that he read one of his books when he was 29 (he is 65 now) and he was very lucky to do so. He then said, "St. Thomas doesn't hold up."

At which point I thought, "oookaaay."

As I started to go back to work with a shrug of my shoulders, he kept repeating, "St. Thomas doesn't hold up, St. Thomas doesn't hold up."

Now, at this point I'm thinking, "hmm...I bet you that Alan Watts was either an atheist or something of the sort."

Well, upon further research, it was discovered that he was an Episcopal priest (see, atheist or something of the sort) who was educated at Seabury-Western (red flags all around!).

Then I found out that he was a Buddhist since the age of 16.

It appears that the only reason he went to Seabury-Western was because he didn't have a profession and he wished to sidestep the draft for World War II (Yes, for all the non-Epsicopalians out there, they let anyone into their seminaries to be ordained priests; buddhists, witches, mormons, name it).

He left the priesthood in 1950 after having an affair. (Sounds typical of liberal Episcopal priests. Only, most don't leave the priesthood. Some get elected Bishop of New Hampshire!)

Gotta love the culture of relativism that pervades the world these days...NOT!
Benedict's Call

From the Star-Telegram

Pope Benedict XVI became convinced that he should become a priest to help confront the "anti-human culture" of the Nazis in his native Germany, he said during a meeting with thousands of youths in St. Peter's Square on Thursday.

Asked by one student how he realized his own priestly vocation, the pope said that when he was young in Germany it was more "normal" to accept faith and vocations than it is today.

"There was the Nazi regime," said Benedict, 78. "We were told very loudly that in the new Germany 'there will not be any more priests, there will be no more consecrated life, we don't need this anymore, find another profession.'"

"But actually hearing these loud voices, I understood that in confronting the brutality of this system, this inhuman face, that there is a need for priests, precisely as a contrast to this anti-human culture," he said.

Benedict was enrolled in the Hitler Youth as a teen and deserted from the German army near the end of World War II.

The pope acknowledged that he had doubts about the commitment required for joining the priesthood and whether his love for theology was enough reason to be ordained.

"I asked myself if I really had the capacity to live an entirely celibate life," he said.

"Being a theoretical and not practical man, I also knew it wasn't enough to love theology to be a good priest, but I also needed to be available to young people, old, sick and poor people."

He said that in the end, God as well as friends and other priests helped him to decide.

The meeting was the second in which he has publicly fielded questions from young Catholics.

h/t for picture American Papist

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Whether man has free-will?

Objection 1: It would seem that man has not free-will. For whoever has free-will does what he wills. But man does not what he wills; for it is written (Rm. 7:19): "For the good which I will I do not, but the evil which I will not, that I do." Therefore man has not free-will.

Objection 2: Further, whoever has free-will has in his power to will or not to will, to do or not to do. But this is not in man's power: for it is written (Rm. 9:16): "It is not of him that willeth"---namely, to will---"nor of him that runneth"---namely, to run. Therefore man has not free-will.

Objection 3: Further, what is "free is cause of itself," as the Philosopher says (Metaph. i, 2). Therefore what is moved by another is not free. But God moves the will, for it is written (Prov. 21:1): "The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever He will He shall turn it" and (Phil. 2:13): "It is God Who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish." Therefore man has not free-will.

Objection 4: Further, whoever has free-will is master of his own actions. But man is not master of his own actions: for it is written (Jer. 10:23): "The way of a man is not his: neither is it in a man to walk." Therefore man has not free-will.

Objection 5: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5): "According as each one is, such does the end seem to him." But it is not in our power to be of one quality or another; for this comes to us from nature. Therefore it is natural to us to follow some particular end, and therefore we are not free in so doing.

On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. 15:14): "God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel"; and the gloss adds: "That is of his free-will."

I answer that, Man has free-will: otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards, and punishments would be in vain. In order to make this evident, we must observe that some things act without judgment; as a stone moves downwards; and in like manner all things which lack knowledge. And some act from judgment, but not a free judgment; as brute animals. For the sheep, seeing the wolf, judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural instinct. And the same thing is to be said of any judgment of brute animals. But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments. Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will.

Reply to Objection 1: As we have said above (Question [81], Article [3], ad 2), the sensitive appetite, though it obeys the reason, yet in a given case can resist by desiring what the reason forbids. This is therefore the good which man does not when he wishes---namely, "not to desire against reason," as Augustine says.

Reply to Objection 2: Those words of the Apostle are not to be taken as though man does not wish or does not run of his free-will, but because the free-will is not sufficient thereto unless it be moved and helped by God.

Reply to Objection 3: Free-will is the cause of its own movement, because by his free-will man moves himself to act. But it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither for one thing to be cause of another need it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, Who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates in each thing according to its own nature.

Reply to Objection 4: "Man's way" is said "not to be his" in the execution of his choice, wherein he may be impeded, whether he will or not. The choice itself, however, is in us, but presupposes the help of God.

Reply to Objection 5: Quality in man is of two kinds: natural and adventitious. Now the natural quality may be in the intellectual part, or in the body and its powers. From the very fact, therefore, that man is such by virtue of a natural quality which is in the intellectual part, he naturally desires his last end, which is happiness. Which desire, indeed, is a natural desire, and is not subject to free-will, as is clear from what we have said above (Question [82], Articles [1],2). But on the part of the body and its powers man may be such by virtue of a natural quality, inasmuch as he is of such a temperament or disposition due to any impression whatever produced by corporeal causes, which cannot affect the intellectual part, since it is not the act of a corporeal organ. And such as a man is by virtue of a corporeal quality, such also does his end seem to him, because from such a disposition a man is inclined to choose or reject something. But these inclinations are subject to the judgment of reason, which the lower appetite obeys, as we have said (Question [81], Article [3]). Wherefore this is in no way prejudicial to free-will.

The adventitious qualities are habits and passions, by virtue of which a man is inclined to one thing rather than to another. And yet even these inclinations are subject to the judgment of reason. Such qualities, too, are subject to reason, as it is in our power either to acquire them, whether by causing them or disposing ourselves to them, or to reject them. And so there is nothing in this that is repugnant to free-will.

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I,83,1

...And in case one doesn't want to take St. Aquinas's word for it, here's what the Church Fathers say:

St. Justin Martyr (First Apology):
We have learned from the Prophets and we hold it as true that punishments and chastisments and good rewards are distributed according to the merit of each man's actions. Were this not the case, and were all things to happen according to the decree of fate, there would be nothing at all in our power. If fate decrees that this man is to be good, and that one wicked, then neither is the former to be praised nor the latter to be blamed.

Furthermore, if the human race does not have the power of a freely deliberated choice in fleeing evil and in choosing good, then men are not accountable for their actions, whatever they be. That they do, however, by a free choice, either walk upright or stumble, we shall now prove...God did not make man like the other beings, the trees and the four-legged beasts, for example, which cannot do anything by free choice.

Neither would man deserve reward or praise if he did not of himself choose good; nor, if he acted wickedly, would he deserve punishment, since he would not be evil by choice, and could not be other than that which he was born. The Holy Prophetic Spirit taught us this when He informed us through Moses that God spoke as follows to the first created man: "Behold, before your face, the good and the evil. Choose the good."

St. Justin Martyr (Dialogue With Trypho The Jew):
"Because God knew that it would be good, He created both angels and men free to do what is righteous; and He limited the times up to which He knew it would be good for them to have the exercise of free choice."

Tatian the Syrian (Address to the Greeks):
The heavenly Word, who is Spirit begotten by the Father, and Word from the rational potency, made man an image of immortality in imitation of the Father who begot Him. In that way, as incorruption pertains to God, so man, sharing in the portion of God, might have immortality too. Indeed, the Word, before ever men were made, was the Creator of the angels. Each of these species of creatures was created free, not having the nature of good, which pertains only to God, and which is brought to perfection by men through their freedom of choice. Thus, the wicked man is justly punished, having become depraved of himself; and the just man is worthy of praise for his honest deeds, since it was in his free choice that he did not transgress the will of God.

St. Theophilus of Antioch (To Autolycus):
Someone, however, will say to us, "Was man made by nature mortal?" Certainly not. "Was he, then, immortal?" Neither do we say that. But someone will say, "Was he, then, made nothing?" Not so, I reply. By nature, in fact, he was made neither mortal nor immortal. For if God had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, it would seem as if God were the cause of his death. He made him, then, neither mortal nor immortal, but, as we said above, capable of either. Thus, if he should incline to the ways of immortality, keeping the command of God, he should receive from God the reward of immortality, and become God. If, however, he turn aside to the ways of death, disobeying God, he should become for himself the cause of death. For God made man free and self-determining.

St. Irenaeus (Against Heresies):
Those words, however, in which he says: "How often would I have gathered your children together, but you would not," make clear the ancient law of human liberty; for God made man free from the beginning, so that he possessed his own power just as his own soul, to follow God's will freely, not being compelled by God. For with God there is no coercion; but a good will is present with Him always. He, therefore, gives good counsel to all. In man as well as in angels -for angels are rational- He has placed a power of choice, so that those who obeyed might justly possess the good things which, indeed, God gives, but which they themselves must preserve.

Those who have not obeyed will not be found worthy to possess the good, and will receive deserved punishment; for God did kindly bestow the good upon them, but they did not guard it carefully, nor regard it as something precious, but were contemptuous of His most eminent goodness...God, therefore, has given good, .... and they who work with it will receive glory and honor, because they have done good when they were able to do otherwise. But those who do not do it will receive God's just judgment, because they did not do good when they were able to do it.

Origen (The Fundamental Doctrines):
This also is clearly defined in ecclesiastical teaching, that every rational soul has free will and choice; also, that it has a struggle against the devil and his angels and opposing powers, in which they strive to burden it with sins, while we, if we live rightly and properly, should endeavor to shake ourselves free of any such disgrace. Whence it follows also that we do not understand ourselves as being subject to necessity, so as to be entirely compelled, even against our will, to do either evil or good. For while we make our own decisions, some powers may perhaps impel us to sin, and others help us to salvation.

We are not, however, forced by necessity to act either rightly or wrongly, as is maintained by those who say that the course and movement of the stars is the cause of human actions, and not only of those events which take place apart from the freedom of choice, but of those also which are place within our power.

Arnobius of Sicca (Against the Pagans):
"But if Christ came as the Preserver of the human race," you say, "why does He not, with equal kindness, free all without execption?" Well, does He not free all alike, when He calls all alike? Or does He repel and thrust anyone away from the supreme benevolence, when He gives to all alike the power of coming to Him -to men of rank, to common folk, to slaves, to women and boys? "The fountain of life," He says, "is open to all; nor is anyone turned away or denied the right to drink."

If you are so fastidious as to spurn the kindness of the offered gift -nay, if you are of such superior wisdom that you term what Christ offers ridiculous and absurd, why should He keep on inviting you, when it is but His part to expose the fruit of His bounty to your own free choice? Plato says that God is not the cause of any man's choosing his lot in life; nor can anyone's will be rightly imputed to another, since the freedom of will is placed within the power of the very one who wills.

Eusebius Pamphilus (Proof of the Gospel):
For when God willed it, seeing that He is the only good of good and the source and beginning of everything, many participants of His treasures were produced. It was just then that every rational creature was about to be sent forth; some as incorporeal, intelligent and divine powers, -Angels, indeed, and Archangels,- immaterial and entirely pure spirits; and besides these, there were the souls of men supplied with a nature that is independent and of free will in respect to the choosing of what is noble or its opposite.
Great News For The Liturgy

From the Universe Newsroom

Signs are growing that Pope Benedict XVI intends to bring the liturgy back to a more traditional form after a top Vatican official protested the use of “Do-it-Yourself” services. In a keynote speech delivered at Westminster Cathedral recently, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, also said that individual priests should not add to or subtract from the approved rites, mentioning the practice of playing background music in particular as one practice that should stop. “The Mass is the most solemn action of the sacred liturgy, which is itself the public worship of the Church,” the cardinal said. "'Liturgy', says Pope John Paul II, 'is never anyone's private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated. Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church'. “It follows that individuals, whether they be priests or lay faithful, are not free to add or subtract any details in the approved rites of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of nobody-will-tell-me-what-to-do, or a defiant sting of if-you-do-not-like-my-Mass-you-can-go-to-another-parish, is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense. Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity, in his case personal idiosyncrasy, as the guide to the celebration of Holy Mass. Our faith guides us and our love of Jesus and of his Church safeguards us from taking such unwholesome liberties. Aware that we are only ministers, not masters of the mysteries of Christ.” The cardinal's comments come a week after proposals were announced by a Vatican commission to outlaw the use of drums and electric guitars from church services. The commission outlined 50 proposals on reforming the liturgy, with Vatican insiders saying that the commission also proposed to increase the use of Latin during Mass. But Fr Tom Jordon from the National Conference of Priests, said he was unaware of any deviation from the Rubrics provided by the Roman Missal in the nation's churches but added that since Vatican II in was inevitable that the personality of priests shone through during Mass.
Knowledge Of Truth Is Power

Envoy Magazine: The bane of Protestants and Anti-Catholics!

H/T: Holy Whapping

H/T also to Northland Catholic Roundtable for providing individual pictures. (I am too technologically inadvanced to figure out how the Shrine got theirs to rotate.)