Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Feast Of The Visitation

"As soon as the angel had visited Mary, she went with haste to her cousin Elizabeth, who herself was expecting a child. And the child to be born, John the Baptist, leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. How marvelous! The all-powerful God chose a child yet to be born to announce his Son’s coming!

In the mystery of the Annunciation and the Visitation, Mary is the very model of the life we should lead. First of all, she welcomed Jesus in her existence; then, she shared what she had received. Every time we receive Holy Communion, Jesus the Word becomes flesh in our life – gift of God who is at one and the same time beautiful, kind, unique. Thus, the first Eucharist was such: Mary’s offering of her Son in her, in whom he had set up the first altar. Mary, the only one who could affirm with absolute confidence, “this is my body”, from that first moment offered her own body, her strength, all her being, to form the Body of Christ.
Our mother the Church raised women to a great honor before the face of God by proclaiming Mary as Mother of the Church. "

-Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"The essential characteristic of great theologians is the humility to remain with the Church, to accept her weaknesses and their own, because only God is truly holy."

-Pope Benedict XVI, today in his weekly audience.

The Death Of The Albigensian Heresy

"Muret is a little town to the southwest of Raymond’s capital, standing on the Garonne above stream, a day’s march from Toulouse itself. The huge Spanish host, which had no direct interest in the heresy itself but a strong interest in weakening the power of the French, was encamped in the flat country to the south of the town of Muret. As against them the only active force available was one thousand men under Simon de Montfort. The odds seemed ridiculous— one to one hundred. It was not nearly as bad as that, of course, because the thousand men were picked, armed, mounted nobles. The mounted forces in the Spanish host were probably not more than three or four times as great, the rest of the Spanish body being footmen, and many of them unorganized. But even so the odds were sufficient to make the result one of the most astonishing things in history.

It was the morning of the 13th of September, 1213. The thousand men on the Catholic side, drawn up in ranks with Simon at their head, heard Mass in the saddle. The Mass was sung by St. Dominic himself. Only the leaders, of course, and a few files could be present in the church itself where all remained mounted, but through the open doors the rest of the small force could watch the Sacrifice. The Mass over, Simon rode out at the head of his little band, took a fetch round to the west and then struck with a sudden charge at the host of Peter [of Aragon], not yet properly drawn up and ill-prepared for the shock. The thousand northern knights of Simon destroyed their enemies altogether. The Aragonese host became a mere cloud of flying men, completely broken up, and no longer in being as a fighting force. Peter himself was killed......

As for the Albigensian heresy itself, it was attacked politically both by civil and by clerical organizations, as well as by arms. The first Inquisition arose from the necessity of extirpating the remnants of the disease. (It is significant that a man pleading his innocence had only to show that he was married to be acquitted of the heresy! It shows what the nature of the heresy was.)

Under the triple blow of loss of wealth, loss of military organization, and a thoroughly organized political rooting out—this Manichean thing seemed in a century to have disappeared. But its roots ran underground, where, through the secret tradition of the persecuted of from the very nature of the Manichean tendency, it was certain to re-arise in other forms. It lurked in the central mountains of France itself and cognate forms lurked in the valleys of the Alps. It is possible to trace a sort of vague continuity between the Albigensians and the later Puritan groups, such as the Vaudois, just as it is possible to trace some sort of connection between Albigensian and the earlier Manichean heresies. Bit the main thing, the thing which bore the Albigensian name—the peril which had proved so nearly mortal to Europe—had been destroyed."

-Hilaire Belloc in The Great Heresies.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Divine Calls

"In truth we are not called once only, but many times; all through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in Baptism; but afterwards also; whether we obey His voice or not, He graciously calls us still. If we fall from our Baptism, He calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfil our calling, He calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us.

Abraham was called from his home (Gn 12:1), Peter from his nets (Mt 4:18), Matthew from his office (Mt 9:9), Elisha from his farm (1 K 19:19), Nathanael from his retreat (Jn 1:47); we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting-place, but mounting towards our eternal rest, and obeying one command only to have another put upon us.

He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again, - and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us. It were well if we understood this; but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by His hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow Him. We do not understand that His call is a thing which takes place now. We think it took place in the Apostles' days; but we do not believe in it, we do not look out for it in our own case."

-Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"There is no more excellent way to obtain graces from God than to seek them through Mary, because her divine Son cannot refuse her anything."

-St. Philip Neri

Friday, May 25, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"Even from the earliest years, the bishop of Rome had -and everyone recognized that he had- a special primacy and authority in the Church. Anyone who says the papacy is a 'medieval Roman invention,' is either ignorant of history or dishonest. Either way, it's a sham argument."

-Patrick Madrid in Pope Fiction.

Christ Makes Peter The Shepherd Of His Church

"Surprisingly, the shepherd discourse does not begin with the words: 'I am the Good Shepherd' (Jn 10:11), but with another image: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep' (Jn 10:7). Jesus has already said: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheep-fold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep' (Jn 10:1f). This can only really mean that Jesus is establishing the criterion for those who will shepherd his flock after his ascension to the Father. The proof of a true shepherd is that he enters through Jesus as the door. For in this way it is ultimately Jesus who is the Shepherd -the flock 'belongs' to him alone.

In practice, the way to enter through Jesus as the door becomes apparent in the appendix to the Gospel in chapter 21 -when Peter is entrusted with Jesus' own office as Shepherd. Three times the Lord says to Peter: 'Feed my lambs' (or sheep -cf. Jn 21:15-17). Peter is very clearly being appointed as the shepherd of Jesus' sheep and established in Jesus' office as shepherd. For this to be possible, however, Peter has to enter through the 'door.' Jesus speaks of this entry -or, better, this being allowed to enter through the door (cf. Jn 10:3)- when he asks Peter three times: Simon, son of John, do you love me? Notice first the utterly personal aspect of this calling: Simon is called by name -both by his own personal name, Simon, and by a name referring to his ancestry. And he is asked about the love that makes him one with Jesus. This is how he comes to the sheep 'through Jesus': He takes them not as his own -Simon Peter's- but as Jesus' 'flock.' It is because he comes through the 'door,' Jesus, it is because he comes to them united with Jesus in love, that the sheep listen to his voice, the voice of Jesus himself -they are following not Simon, but Jesus, from whom and through whom Simon comes to them, so that when he leads them it is Jesus himself who leads.

The whole investiture scene closes with Jesus saying to Peter, 'Follow me' (Jn 21:19). It recalls the scene after Peter's first confession, where Peter tries to dissuade the Lord from the way of the Cross, and the Lord says to him, 'Get behind me,' and then goes on to invite everyone to take up his cross and 'follow him' (cf. Mk 8:33ff). Even the disciple who now goes ahead of the others as shepherd must 'follow' Jesus. And as the Lord declares to Peter after conferring upon him the office of shepherd, this includes accepting the cross, being prepared to give his life. This is what it means in practice when Jesus says: 'I am the door.' This is how Jesus himself remains the shepherd."

-Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth.

Discourses And Festivals

"All Jewish festivals....have a triple basis. The initial stratum is composed of feasts of nature religion, which connect with creation and with man's search for God through creation; this then develops into feasts of remembrance, of the recollection and making-present of God's saving deeds; finally, remembering increasingly takes on the form for the coming definitive saving deed that is still awaited. Clearly, then, Jesus' discourses in John's Gospel are not disputes occasioned by metaphysical questions, but they contain the whole dynamic of salvation history and, at the same time, they are rooted in creation. They are ultimately pointers to the One who can simply say of himself: 'I am.' It is evident that Jesus' discourses direct us toward worship and in this sense toward 'sacrament,' at the same time embracing the questioning and seeking of all peoples."

-Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Where Rome Is, There Is The Church!

"[A]ll the churches throughout the known world, from Arabia, Osrhoene, and Cappadocia to the extreme west, felt the incessant influence of Rome in every respect, whether as to faith, discipline, administration, ritual [i.e. liturgical matters], or works of charity. She was, as St. Irenaeus says, 'known everywhere and respected everywhere, and her guidance was universally accepted." No competitor, no rival stands up against her; no one conceives the idea of being her equal. Later on there will be patriarchs and other local primates, whose first beginnings can be but vaguely perceived during the course of the third century. Above these rising organizations, and above the whole body of isolated churches, the Church of Rome rises in supreme majesty, the Church of Rome represented by the long series of her bishops, which ascends to the two chiefs of the apostolic college; she knows herself to be and is considered by all, the center and organ of unity. Her position is so evident that even pagans themselves remark [about] it..."

-L. Duchesne in The Churches Separated from Rome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"All Mary's honors have been summarized in one word, namely, when we call her God's mother. No one can say anything greater about her or to her, even if he had as many tongues as there are leaves and grass, stars in the sky, or sand by the sea. But one must also reflect with one's heart what it means to be God's mother."

-Martin Luther

I Wouldn't Part With Mine!

"It is an unhistorical legend that Luther burned the Summa Theologica along with the papal bull in the marketplace at Wittenberg. The true story of that incident, however, makes a more telling point. A recently uncovered report of that auto-da-fe testifies that there was the intention of burning the Summa along with the papal document, but no one could be found who was willing to part with his copy!"

-Josef Pieper in The Silence of Saint Thomas.


I've been thinking a bit lately about Martin Luther's innovation (read heresy) of Sola Scriptura. If you think about it, you can logically see how he came up with it. In proposing the innovation (read heresy) of Sola Fide, he had to find a way to justify it. Looking back at the Church's Tradition, Luther would have seen that no one had ever taught that we are saved by Faith Alone, so he had to find a way to discredit the Living Tradition of the Church. Hence, the innovation (heresy) of Sola Scriptura. Yet in doing so, Luther misses the fact that the Bible doesn't teach Sola Scriptura. It does however talk alot about Tradition. Luther also misses the fact that the Bible itself was formed out of the Living Tradition of the Church! Without Tradition, there would be no Canon of the Bible.

Tradition isn't the only thing Luther threw out to justify his innovation (heresy) of Sola Fide. He also threw out the entire Letter of James because it directly contradicted his heresy (innovation) by stating (and keep in mind that this is the only place in the Bible where the words "Faith" and "Alone" are together) that we are indeed NOT saved by "Faith Alone". Luther had to later add James back into the Bible because the people would not stand for him messing with the Word of God (as if he was God Himself or something). Luther also had to put back in the Book of Revelation (which he threw out with James). Maybe, he was afraid of the curse at the end of the book that says: "...if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book" (Rev 22:19). I wonder what the penalty for taking out the entire book would be!

So you see it was quite logical for Luther to come up with the innovation (heresy) of Sola Scriptura to justify the heresy (innovation) of Sola Fide. It's funny though, that all these so called (and well intentioned) "Bible Christians" take Luther as their guide, when Luther had so little respect for the Word of God. Luther wanted to mutilate the written Word of God and abolished the spoken Word of God. One might just as well follow a king who thought he was God and started his own church so he would be able to divorce and kill several of his wives. Been there, done that. Anyone can see the fruits of that innovation (heresy) as well.

....Or one could follow Our Lord and Savior and his appointed vicar in the One Church that He Himself established for our salvation. The choice really isn't a very difficult one. Do you follow Christ or man. Choose this day which one you will follow. As for me and my household, we will follow Christ.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Catholic? University

When will it actually mean something again for a university to be labeled as "Catholic"?

As of now, there are too many so called "Catholic" universities that do not hold the Catholic Faith. As a student of a Catholic (in the true sense) University, it is not enough to tell people that I attend a "Catholic" University. The word "Catholic" no longer separates a school like Franciscan University from schools such as Duquesne, Georgetown, University of San Francisco, etc.

As it stands there is nothing different from saying that I attend a "Catholic" university than saying that I attend a school such as Florida State University (where I attended as an undergrad). Rather I must clarify that I attend a school that is Catholic and actually affirms the teaching of the Magisterium.

Somehow I am not surprised that the above mentioned University of San Francisco is run by Jesuits. (Before anyone throws a fit, I am not attacking Jesuits. I am merely pointing out a reality.) There are many great orthodox Jesuits who defend the Faith boldly. Unfortunately it seems as though none of those orthodox Jesuits are in charge of the universities.

The message needs to be made clear that the Catholic Faith is not reducible to social justice! It also needs to be made clear, especially at "Catholic" universities that killing babies is not social justice! It is murder plain and simple and it is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church and all of Christianity.

I pray for the day when calling a university "Catholic" is sufficient.

Build Up The Family

The consideration of the Church as God’s family also brings to mind the need to spread the truth about the family, founded on the marriage “of one man and one woman, forever.” As the Pope said in Valencia a little less than a year ago, “the family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love.” We can never do enough to spread the Church’s teaching on this point, when in many countries people are undermining, by means of unjust laws and customs, the natural foundations of the family. A few weeks back, I had the joy of meeting in Rome with a large group of married couples who were taking part in an International Conference on the Family. Following the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium, I encouraged them to continue strengthening, by their words and their lives, the roots of the institution of the family, which is “a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great and lifelong treasure for couples.”

The family is rightfully called the domestic church, “because the family manifests and lives out the communal and familial nature of the Church as the family of God. Each family member, in accord with their own role, exercises the baptismal priesthood and contributes toward making the family a community of grace and of prayer, a school of human and Christian virtue and the place where the faith is first proclaimed to children.”

An essential characteristic of this institution, as a community founded and built on love—a disinterested self-giving to others—is that its members are called to spend themselves daily in an effective and affectionate concern for one another. No one there can act as if the others did not exist; each has to be concerned about the needs of the others: praying for one another, helping one another, suffering and rejoicing over the sorrows and joys of the others. Thus all will contribute to carrying out the most sweet precept, which brings with it Christian fraternity, a sowing of peace and joy that necessarily ends up influencing society.

The duty to “build up the family” in each home is something very pleasing, which falls on everyone: the father and mother, the brothers and sisters, the grandparents, anyone who contributes with their work to the care of the home. It is a task that affects everyone, because all of us have to fight against a “spoiled child” mentality, a clear manifestation of self-centeredness. Logically, this duty especially binds the parents, who have to direct their entire life, before other noble goals, to modeling their own family, as perfectly as possible, on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Although some disagreements will inevitably occur, Christian spouses have to make an effort to overcome them quickly, asking for and granting forgiveness.

St. Josemaría understood and excused those weaknesses: “since we are human beings, sometimes it’s okay to argue; but not a lot. And afterwards, both of you have to recognize that you are at fault, and tell each other, “Forgive me!” And give each other a big hug, and then, keep going! But make it clear that you are not going to have any more fights for a long time. And never argue in front of the children, whether they are young or older. Even when very small, children notice everything.”

This marvelous panorama, daughters and sons of mine who are living your divine vocation within marriage, is also seen in sacrifices that are generally small, although at times they may seem great to you. The responsibility of bringing forward the home falls integrally on the father and mother, in every area. Perhaps one of the spouses, because of work demands, spends most of their time outside the home; but on returning home, after a day of hard, and even exhausting, work, one cannot dispense oneself from striving to make the life of the other family members pleasant, or dedicate oneself to thinking selfishly about one’s own relaxation. You have to give your spouse the affection and attention to which they have a right, and your children—especially in crucial periods of their physical and emotional development—the time and affection that they need.

Therefore, my daughters and sons who are married, examine your behavior at home. Think about how you can help out more in the tasks at home (which also fall to the men). Consider whether you speak calmly amongst yourselves about each of your children, so as to guide them by common agreement, and whether you are ready, when necessary, to cut back in your activity outside the home, in order to take better care of your family, which is always, as St. Josemaría insisted, the “best business.” Especially, when the children are very young, help the other spouse to fulfill their Christian duties, such as attending Holy Mass or the means of Christian formation. Seek out the opportune means, certain that your effort and sacrifice will redound to the good of the whole family.

In the preceding paragraphs I have spoken more specifically to married people, but I want to stress that these duties and the main points of these counsels can apply to everyone, for we are all responsible—each in his or her own personal circumstances—for creating and maintaining around us a true family atmosphere. How do you pour yourself out for the others? What interest do you show in bringing peace and joy to the others? How do you show your availability for whatever needs to be done at home? At the office, in the workshop, during moments of relaxation, how do you foster fraternity, the environment of a home?

As I write these lines, I am also thinking in a very special way of the Administration of our Centers. Precisely because you carry out work very similar to that of our Lady in the home of Nazareth, how greatly you can influence, my daughters, the good of each person, each Center, each apostolic endeavor, the entire Work, all of society, by your hidden and silent service that creates the savor of a Christian family!

With regard to this marvelous family that is the Work, I have given thanks to God for two recent experiences. Fifteen days ago in Milan; and the day before yesterday when I returned from Berlin. These two stays brought to mind many recollections of the life of St. Josemaría, who wants each and every one of us to “build up the family” at every moment.

Let us go frequently to the Mother of the Church and the Work, asking her to teach us to spread the ideals of the Christian family everywhere, with its various practical, and necessary, consequences. If this should ever entail sacrifice, let us not forget that it is also an inexhaustible source of joy: the joy of those who don’t think about themselves but who give themselves in generous dedication to the others, for God, as Jesus did.

-Bishop Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei, in his May letter to the faithful of the Prelature of Opus Dei.

Quote Of The Day

“Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the Mystical Body and more united to its visible head, the Pope.”

-St. Josemaria Escriva

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It Has Arrived!

Jesus of Nazareth has just arrived at my doorstep!

I finished The Footprints of God yesterday and this morning I started reading The Silence of Saint Thomas by Josef Pieper to keep me busy until Pope Benedict's book came. I have 20 more pages to go and then I'm off to read Papa's new book!

Needless to say.....posting may be light for a few days.

The Feast Of Saint Brendan

Today is the feast day of one of my favorite saints; St. Brendan the Voyager! He is also the co-patron saint of this blog.

Thanks to the efforts of Brendan, the Irish actually discovered America long before Leif Erickson or that Columbus guy!

Here is a post I did on this day last year and here is also a great post on Brendan's voyage.

Happy St. Brendan's day everybody!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"The worst rosary is the one that doesn't get said."

-Pope John XXIII

Pray The Rosary!

"To say the Holy Rosary, considering the mysteries, repeating the 'Our Father' and 'Hail Mary', with the praises to the Blessed Trinity and the constant invocation of the Mother of God, is a continuous act of faith, hope, and love, of adoration and reparation."

-St. Josemaria Escriva in Holy Rosary.

A Quote For Fr. David

"It is orators the people want, not priests!"

-St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Alas, not much has changed since 381 AD!

Although, maybe if St. Gregory were alive today he would proclaim:
"It is Oratorians the people want, they are great priests!"

Well, What Do You Think About That!

I've been tagged by Matt Walker from Thermidor Rising! for a Thinking Blogger Award. I'm truly honored!

To see who makes me think, click on any of the blogs in my sidebar.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Quote Of The Day

“Mary Most Holy, the pure and immaculate Virgin, is for us a school of faith destined to guide us and give us strength on the path that leads us to the Creator of Heaven and Earth…take inspiration from her teachings, seek to welcome and to preserve in your hearts the enlightenment that she, by divine mandate, sends you from on high.”

-Pope Benedict XVI today at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil.

Pope Benedict has been entrusting everyplace he goes to Our Blessed Mother and he has already dedicated his Pontificate and the Church to her motherly hands. His devotion and love of Mary is following right behind the example set by his beloved predecessor, John Paul the Great. Consequently, I wrote a paper on the Mariology of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) which is going to be published in the near future. I will keep you informed when it happens.
Until then, keep Our Lady in your hearts where she so earnestly desires to be and heed her request to do whatever Christ tells you!

The Importance Of Sacraments

"There can be no religious society, whether the religion be true or false, without some sacrament or visible symbol to serve as a bond of union. The importance of these sacraments cannot be overstated, and only scoffers will treat them lightly. For if piety requires them, it must be impiety to neglect them."

-St. Augustine

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wise Advice

"Education will never be as expensive as ignorance."

-This is the message that was in my fortune cookie today. Hopefully it holds my wife over until I finish school....which will be in about.....6 years......or so......

No Greater Love

In today's Gospel we hear Jesus Christ say, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13).

Before Mass, I was meditating on this verse (which happens to be my favorite), and hear is what I came up with:

This occurred during the Last Supper. John doesn't have the institution of the Eucharist (because it was already well known by the time he wrote his Gospel), rather he gives us the deeper meaning behind Christ's action of instituting the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Christ is establishing (or rather restoring) the Kingdom. And Just like the Davidic Kingdom (of which Christ is the eternal heir of), the Kingdom Christ brings is established by a covenant. Christ gives us a New Covenant of his Body and Blood. This covenant is to be everlasting.

Yet, Christ's Kingdom is unlike all the other kingdoms that the world knows. His is one of service. Earlier Christ showed His disciples this by washing their feet. Now Christ tells them that they are His friends and that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend. And that is exactly what Christ does. He offers His life on the Cross for each one of us and calls us His friends. And the Sacrifice at Calvary is the same sacrifice Christ mysteriously made present at the Last Supper, and which is represented in every Catholic Church in the world. Christ performs the ultimate act of service by feeding us with His own Body and Blood. The Eucharist is the greatest Love that Christ gives to us because it is Christ Himself. Christ is the Sacrament of Love. The Sacramentum Caritatis that Pope Benedict wrote about in his Apostolic Exhortation. All of the power of the Kingdom flows forth from the Eucharist!

The Eucharist is at the center of the Kingdom of God, and yet so many take it for granted! So many fail to honor Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. They say it is just a piece of bread. A mere symbol. If only they would see that it is our very own Lord and Savior giving Himself to His friends in the ultimate act of charity. It is Christ who sacrificed Himself for us. And now, through His priests acting in persona Christi, He gives Himself as the life giving bread, the heavenly manna. He fills us with His Divine Life and Love. Why would anyone say no to that?! Even Satan and his followers know that Christ is Really and Truly present in the Eucharist. Satan worshipers break into Catholic churches to desecrate the hosts. They don't bother with Protestant churches because they want the real thing!

Christ calls us His friends and sacrifices His life for us, and then feeds us with that same sacrifice. We need to return that favor, if we truly hold Christ to be our friend, by humbly visiting Him in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and worthily receiving Him in the Eucharist. We also need to imitate Him by sacrificing our lives for God and also for one another. That is the moment of Christian Witness that Balthasar talks about. When we give our lives, in imitation of Christ, for our fellow man without any expectation of repayment or reward. When we love one another as Christ has loved us.

Ask A Father

Q: St. Augustine, why do we no longer offer sacrifices like they did in the Old Testament? Did those sacrifices serve any purpose at all?
A: While we consider it no longer a duty to offer sacrifices, we recognize sacrifices as part of the mysteries of Scripture, by which those things prophesied were foreshadowed. For they were our examples, and in one and various ways they all signified the one sacrifice which we now celebrate. Now that this sacrifice has been revealed, and has been offered in due time, those are no longer binding as an act of worship, but retain their authority as a sign.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Divine Pedagogy

"Jacob [of Sarug], like Aphrahat, maintains that there were five covenants in human history: The first with Adam concerned forbidden fruit; the second with Noah concerned the manner of killing animals; the third with Abraham concerned circumcision; the fourth with Moses concerned the Law; and the fifth, last, and most instructive covenant with Christ marked a radical break with the past. Even though the Lord enacted five covenants at different times for different purposes, the Jews stubbornly obey all save the last. For Jacob, the overriding purpose of the covenants was didactic.

God uses history pedagogically:

'(As a master) does not at first grant a complete book to a youth
To read, but first commences with the syllables;
He starts with the letters, to write them, and show them (to the youth)
with the syllables he progresses to words and then further,
And when he reads well, and has formed the letters fully, then he gives him
The large tome where one may find all wisdom.
God also, Who is a good teacher for humanity
Raises them up, little by little, to perfection.'"

-from The Footprints of God by Stephen D. Benin

*unfortunately, Jacob of Sarug leaves out the Davidic Covenant, but his concept of God using the covenants in history as divine pedagogy is spot on!

Chrysostom A Klingon?

Chrysostom certainly was a warrior against heretics.

Ask A Father

Q: St. John Chrysostom, what was it like giving homilies in your day?
A: "If his sermon does not match the great expectation formed of the speaker, he will leave the pulpit the victim of countless jeers and complaints. No one ever takes into consideration that a fit of depression may cloud the clarity of his mind, and prevent his production from coming forth unalloyed....Being a man he cannot invariably reach the same standard or always be successful but will naturally make many mistakes and obviously fall below the standards of his real ability. People are unwilling to allow for any of these factors...but criticize him as if they were sitting in judgment on an angel."

.....okay. I think maybe somebody needs a nap!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Show Our Mother You Love Her In May

Below is an article by Dr. Mark Miravalle concerning the petition drive to have Our Lady's role as Spiritual Mother of all Peoples solemnly defined under the three aspects of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate. Show Our Blessed Mother that you love her by asking our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to declare the fifth and final Marian Dogma that Our Lady has so fervently asked for!

On June 3, 2006, His Eminence, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo of Ranchi, India was received in private audience by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. During the audience, Cardinal Toppo formally presented to His Holiness a petition on behalf of approximately forty cardinals and bishops for the solemn papal definition of Our Lady’s doctrinal role as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples under its three essential aspects as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.

This monumental presentation to our Holy Father was the fruit of a 2005 international Marian symposium on Marian Coredemption which was conducted at Fatima and co-sponsored by six cardinals: their Eminences, Edouard Cardinal Gagnon of Canada; Telesphore Cardinal Toppo of India; Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez of Puerto Rico; Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil of India; Ernesto Cardinal Corripio Ahumada of Mexico; and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of the Philippines. The participating cardinals and bishops from all parts of the world discussed Our Lady’s privileges as the Co-redemptrix of humanity with and under Jesus Christ, our divine Redeemer, and her subsequent roles as Mediatrix of all graces and universal Advocate for humanity. The symposium led to the formulation and signing of a formal petition by the cardinals and bishops present to our Holy Father for the proposed fifth Marian dogma of Our Lady’s role as Spiritual Mother of all humanity and its three unique maternal functions.

The formal petition presented to Pope Benedict XVI in the name of these cardinals and bishops also specified that the solemn papal definition of Our Lady’s spiritual motherhood would constitute a significant contribution to the Church’s mission of ecumenism. The proposed papal definition would clearly specify on the highest level of Church authority, and with the greatest theological precision, that the human participation of Mary Most Holy in the work of Redemption is completely subordinate and dependent upon the role of Jesus Christ, who alone as our divine and human Redeemer could satisfy God’s infinite justice and remove the true burden of sin. This solemn declaration and clarification would end any mistaken notion that the title, "Co-redemptrix," which popes, saints, and Church writers have used for Our Lady for over 600 years, places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, but would rather explain that it denotes her unique cooperation with Jesus in the work of Redemption.

Most recently, our beloved Holy Father beautifully articulated the Church doctrine of Our Lady’s Coredemption in his 2007 Post-Synodal Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis. Here Pope Benedict quotes the Second Vatican Council’s principal teaching on Marian Coredemption (Lumen Gentium, 58), and confirms that Our Mother was "completely involved in the redemptive mission of Jesus":

Mary is the great Believer who places herself confidently in God’s hands, abandoning herself to his will. (102) This mystery deepens as she becomes completely involved in the redemptive mission of Jesus. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, "the blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son until she stood at the Cross, in keeping with the divine plan (cf. Jn 19:25), suffering deeply with her only-begotten Son, associating herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim who was born of her. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus, dying on the Cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: 'Woman, behold your Son.'" (103) From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary is the one who received the Word, made flesh within her and then silenced in death. It is she, lastly, who took into her arms the lifeless body of the one who truly loved his own "to the end" (Jn 13:1).

… She is the Immaculata, who receives God’s gift unconditionally and is thus associated with his work of salvation (SC, 33).

Now, my friends in Jesus and Mary, it is our turn to manifest our love for our Mother and our desire to see her solemnly crowned on earth for what she is already crowned in heaven.

Following the example of these heroic Marian cardinals and bishops, let us manifest our minds and hearts to our Holy Father for the solemn papal definition of Our Lady’s spiritual motherhood as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate. Please send a brief personal note to Pope Benedict, expressing your own heartfelt desire for the fifth Marian Dogma of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples. Your personal petition can be in any form that you would like to express, from your heart, concerning your desire to have our Holy Father solemnly proclaim Our Lady as the world’s Spiritual Mother. The Holy Father’s postal address is:

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

For those who do not feel comfortable writing their own brief note to Pope Benedict, they may use a lay version of the petition that the Fatima symposium cardinals and bishops presented to the Holy Father (which can be found at the end of this article). You may also obtain this petition form by downloading it from the home page of either or

During this upcoming Marian month of May, please consider dedicating the month, out of love for our common Mother, to the spreading of this movement for petitioning our Holy Father for the fifth Marian dogma to your friends, parishes, your prayer groups, or at any appropriate Eucharistic or Marian celebration.

My friends, our Holy Father is truly the Vicar of Jesus on earth. Open your hearts to him as a spiritual child. Let him know that you continue to pray and long for the Dogma of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. If you previously signed a petition to Pope John Paul II, you can tell him that, too, but that you also want him to know personally that your desire for our Mother’s roles to be solemnly proclaimed remains present in your heart and in your prayers.

Without the papal definition of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples, the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate, the historic and universal Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which was prophesied at Fatima, will not, we believe, take place. The Heavenly Father wills that his Immaculate Virgin Daughter be properly recognized by humanity for the role which she played with Jesus in the Redemption—then, and only then, will the full bountiful graces of an "era of peace" be granted to the world.

Moral degeneration, natural disaster, and regional war and terrorism increase in our world experience by the year. We need a new Pentecost. We need a new heavenly release of grace and peace. We need the peace that only God can provide for our world through our Lady. We need the Dogma.

Please take just a few minutes during the month of May which honors our Most Blessed Mother and send a petition, personal or form, to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and with the utmost filial respect and love ask him to prayerfully consider proclaiming the fifth Marian Dogma for the sublime benefit of the Church and of the world, which remains in a state of serious crisis.

Spread the word of this international petition effort for Our Lady as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Thank you for your potential "fiat" to Our Mother, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. May She forever keep you and yours tightly wrapped in her Immaculate mantle of grace, redemption, and peace.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
April 25, 2007Feast of St. Mark

To His Holiness,
Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State

Your Holiness:
In a spirit of filial love and obedience, we, as members of the People of God, wish to humbly bring before you our petition and prayer for the solemn papal definition of the revealed role of Mary most holy as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples under its three principal aspects as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.

We firmly believe, Holy Father, that the solemn papal declaration of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all humanity in her roles which God has given her as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate will bring great graces to the Church and the world by an explicit solemn recognition of her maternal role on the part of the Church, and thus allowing her to exercise fully the motherly gift which Jesus Christ gave to humanity from the cross: "Woman, behold, your son!… Behold, your mother!" (Jn. 19:26-27). We believe that this dogmatic proclamation will also further the authentic ecumenical mission of the Church by proclaiming the revealed truth about Mary, who collaborated in an altogether unique way in the work of our redemption in a manner that was completely subordinate to and dependent upon Jesus Christ, the one divine Redeemer of the human race.

In view of the many serious crises presently facing the entire human family, including war, terrorism, moral decline, and natural disaster, we humbly request that you solemnly declare the dogma of Mary as the Spiritual Mother all peoples, specifying that she is the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate, and thus to provide for the full actuality of her motherly roles of intercession for humanity, which we believe will effect a profound historic and continuing grace for the Church and for the world.


Monday, May 07, 2007

One Full Year Completed!

I just took my last exam of the semester! This completes a full year of study at Franciscan University in the Masters Theology program. It truly has been a fantastic year!

Now that exams are finished, I can start my summer reading, beginning with The Footprints of God by Stephen D. Benin which I plan on finishing before Pope Benedict's book arrives.

Then it's on to study Greek for the summer.....

I also plan on reading Jesus, The Tribulation, and the End of the Exile by Brant Pitre (finally), Reasons to Believe by Scott Hahn (again), and St. John Chrysostom's commentary on the Letter to the Hebrews. If I can fit it in (wishful thinking), I also plan to read Matthias Scheeben's two volume work on Mariology.

We'll see how much of this actually gets accomplished.....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mary, Co-Redemptrix And Saint Irenaeus

There is sometimes an objection put forth that the Fathers of the Church do not provide any support for the doctrine of Mary as Co-redemptrix. Yet we clearly see that there is evidence for it as early as St. Irenaeus, the first true Mariologist. The actual title may not be there, but the teaching and doctrine is!

Irenaeus presented two concepts of looking at Christ:
1) Recapitualtion
2) Recirculation

-Recapitulation (to re-head) means that Jesus becomes the New Head in the new creation. He is the head of salvation and humanity as the New Adam.

-Recirculation deals with the reversal that happens between the first Adam and Eve and the second Adam and Eve. It means that God used the same instruments in opposite ways to bring about salvation.
This tells us 2 things:
1) The role of a New Eve wasn't optional! You can't have a reversal of Adam, Eve, and the Tree without a New Adam, a New Eve, and a New Tree.

2) It is also appropriate that you have a New Eve for Recapitulation. A New Adam presupposes a New Eve. That is, you have the active human participation of a woman in the re-heading of the human race.

Irenaus taught: "By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way Mary, though she also had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race....Thus the knot of Eve's disobedience was undone by Mary."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Reason #3,987,240 Why Women Cannot Be Priests

I had to take time out from my studying to comment on this article (instead of commenting out loud to my cats). My comments will be in bold.

City woman to be 'ordained' a Catholic priest; Crusader for change in the church defies Vatican rules

It starts with the same tired headline. When will they learn that women cannot be ordained priests in the Catholic Church? So no, this city woman will not be ordained a Catholic priest. Putting quotation marks around the word ordained doesn't change the reality. The quotation marks would be better suited around the words "Catholic priest."

A Sudbury woman will take her struggle for what she calls equality for women in the Catholic Church to a new level May 27.

Someone should tell her that there is already equality for women in the Catholic Church. Just because women cannot be priests and because women are not the same as men (that's right!) doesn't mean that they are not equal. Both men and women are equal in dignity. This does not mean that men and women are the same! Oh, how I wish people would stop distorting the meaning of words!
After all, you don't hear men complaining about equality for men because they cannot be consecrated virgins. It is a matter of metaphysics. Men and women are different!

Marie Bouclin says she will be one of three women who will be ordained Roman Catholic priests in Toronto in a ceremony that will not be recognized by the church.

Here we go again. They may be ordained something, but it won't be as "Roman Catholic priests."

"My gesture is a justice issue. I am passionate about my faith and I want it to survive," Bouclin said. "I see a wide gap between the teachings of the Gospel and the legalism of the current church leadership. I want to help renew the church from within."

She admits that her motive is about justice. Social justice. Then she throws in some nonesense about being passionate about her faith. If she were passionate about her faith, she would not want to be a priest because the faith that she is supposedly passionate about has affirmed again and again that it will not go against the teachings of Christ who did not ordain women.
As for the "wide gap" she supposedly sees, I'd like her to show me where in the Gospel she sees Christ ordaining women or saying that women could be priests. I could show her where Christ does this with men.
....Maybe she has a different Gospel than me.

Bishop Patricia Fresen from Germany will ordain Bouclin and the others, who are from the United States. "I am doing this because the Roman Catholic Church needs priests and the Vatican thinks it is more important to have only unmarried men - rather than fulfilling its pastoral needs," Bouclin said.

I don't want to assume anything, but it seems as though Patricia is a woman. If this is the case, then she is not a bishop. If Patricia is a man, he still doesn't have the authority to ordain women. He can go through the motions, but it still won't make her a priest.

She may be right that the Catholic Church needs priests. So, lets have men be ordained. Pretending to ordain women is not going to solve the problem.

She said the Eucharist (receiving communion) is the most important aspect of church life. However, "we are losing the Eucharist for lack of priests."

True. So lets get more priests. Why waste time pretending women can be priests. Her social justice movement isn't solving anything.

Bouclin said she hopes her ordination will send a message that God calls men and women from all states of life to minister to people.

Now, Bouclin, is God calling you, or are you calling you. I'm 100 percent it's the latter. Actually, I may not be 100 percent sure. It could be Satan calling her.

"I want to reach the people where they are at on their faith journey."

That's nice. And why can't you do that now?

Bouclin said she also believes the image of women at the altar may help end violence against women.

Is she insinuating that there is violence against women in the Catholic Church?

Women at the altar ending violence against women.....has she heard about the Episcopal/ Anglican Church? According to her logic, violence against women should have been wiped out in the 70's.

"I hope it will also send a message that oppression and discrimination against women is not the will of God."

No, it's not. And no, pretending to be a priest will not send that message.

Oh, and the Catholic Church neither oppresses or discriminates against women. See above comments and do a google search for "Catholic Church and the Blessed Virgin Mary".

Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe, bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, said he respects Bouclin's passion for her faith.

Passion for her faith or passion for social justice? Women priests are against the faith, so it must be social justice.

But he said ordaining women breaks from church teachings.

"I know Marie and have known her to be involved in her parish and it is difficult for me to understand why she would exclude herself from the church," Plouffe said.

"I cannot consider this as a valid ordination since it goes against the teachings of the church, which is that only lay men can be ordained."

The May 27 event is the first ordination ceremony of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement in Canada to take place on land and in a church. Officials with Roman Catholic Womenpriests would not say exactly where the ceremony will be held.

Except it's not an ordination ceremony, since no one will be ordained at it. Or at least they won't be ordained as priests. It doesn't matter where it happens, it still won't make them priests.....even if they pretend to be so in the title of their movement. Also, if they are supposedly doing this "event" in a church, then it must not be a Catholic Church (if it is, then that would be another whole issue). And if it is not at a Catholic Church, how do they reconcile their pretending that they are "Roman Catholic"?

Its previous public ceremonies have taken place on boats, usually in international waters, to avoid jurisdictional conflict with diocesan bishops.

What about jurisdictional conflict with God?

Also, for the first time, a married man will be ordained in a public ceremony by the movement.

Uh, oh. Now they have to change their name to "Roman Catholic Womenpriests (and sometimes Marriedpriests).

I wonder if the "married man" is aware that he will not be a priest either if it is being done by a woman who claims to be a bishop. Repeat after me: "If the person is not a man, they are not a bishop."

"The movement is making history in the Roman Catholic Church," said Francois Brassard, a media representative for the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement in Canada.

Actually, it's not since the "movement" isn't changing anything.

Brassard said the group started in 2002 and since then, 14 women priests in the United States and one in Canada have been ordained and more are on the way.

Ordained to what? Not the Catholic Church.

"There are over 100 candidates in training worldwide," he said.

During the Toronto ceremony, two women from Canada and one from the United States will be ordained deacons, in addition to the three female priests. Brassard said none of the women will seek a parish. "We do not want to cause conflict with members of the hierarchy; therefore, they will minister in another way - by going to the people instead of having the people come to them," he said.

If they did not want to cause conflict with members of the hierarchy, they wouldn't be doing this and there would be no "movement."
I often wonder if people listen to the absurd contradictions they utter?

For more reasons why a woman cannot be a priest see:
Reason #3,987,239, Reason #3,987,238, Reason #3,987,237, Reason #3,987,236, Reason #3,987,235, Reason #3,987,234, Reason #3, 987, 233.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I Still Exist....

Two exams down, now only two more to go.

Posting will resume at full speed on Monday (at least until June when Greek starts).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Anti-Convert Mentality

Something that I've noticed since converting to the Catholic Church a little over a year ago, is that there is by some people a distrust of converts and even a kind of anti-convert mentality.

I've seen this quite a bit on the web and saw it again just recently. On a certain website there was a question about a certain Catholic theologian who is a convert and whether his books are "too Protestant."

Now this question would never have been thought of if the author had been a cradle Catholic. In fact, the book's of the author in question are more Catholic than some of the cradle Catholics I've seen. I'm not at all saying that converts are better than cradle Catholics or vice-versa. Instead I'm suggesting that people should not be biased just because an author is a convert.

Some of the greatest and most influential Catholic theologians have been converts. Such as St. Augustine, John Henry Newman, and others.

In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), who is a cradle Catholic, in his book The Nature and Mission of Theology says that we all are called to be converts:

"...both faith and rational reflection are integral to theology. The absence of either principle would bring about theology's demise. This implies that theology is based upon a new beginning in thought which is not the product of our own reflection but has its origin in the encounter with a Word which always precedes us. We call the act of accepting this new beginning 'conversion'. Because there is no theology without faith, there can be no theology without conversion. Conversion takes many forms. It need not always be an instantaneous event, as it was in the case of Augustine or Pascal, Newman, or Guardini. In one form or another, however, the convert must consciously pronounce in his own name a Yes to this new beginning and really turn from the 'I' to the 'no-longer-I'. It is thus immediately obvious that the opportunity for creative theology increases the more that faith becomes real, personal experience; the more that conversion acquires interior certainty thanks to a painful process of transformation; the more that it is recognized as the indispensable means of penetrating into the truth of one's own being. This is why in every age the path to faith can take its bearings by converts; it explains why they in particular can help us to recognize the reason for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and to bear witness to it."

The thing to realize is that if someone converts to the Catholic Church, they don't do it on a whim. It is no light matter for a Protestant to become Catholic, especially when they grew up being taught that the Catholic Church was evil. No, when a Protestant becomes Catholic, they know exactly why they are doing so. They know and understand what the Catholic Church teaches and they know these things to be Truth. They take great pains to find out why their former Protestant beliefs were the wrongs ones. They embrace the Truth that the Catholic Church has to offer, which is the fullness of the Truth. They make a vow to defend and safeguard this Truth. And they also want to spread that Truth to others. A convert to the Catholic Church wants nothing more than to bring non-Catholics to the fullness of the Truth, especially if that convert is a theologian. They do so precisely by articulating clearly what the Catholic Church teaches. Their theology is one hundred percent Catholic and not "too Protestant."