Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Holy Family Compass

Saint Joseph is the compass of the Holy Family. The angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and directs him to fly with his family to Egypt, and again later, revealing to him the time of the return from Egypt. And, on the return, Saint Joseph weighs the new political situation and decides where to settle the family: Nazareth.

God did all of that through the head of the Holy Family: Saint Joseph. His adoptive Son was perfect as was his wife (the Immaculate Conception and ever Virgin Mary) and yet both needed to obediently follow Saint Joseph for, as the husband and putative father, he was chosen to lead them. (cf. Matthew 2:13-23 [the Gospel for today's Mass: The Feast of the Holy Family])

Every husband and every father is called by God to lead his family under God; and his wife and children should follow him in everything except sin; for God himself has placed him as the family compass, as is so clear in the Holy Family.

God Offers Us Freedom From Whatever Weighs Us Down


On the morning of Christmas Eve the BBC of London transmitted a radio message, recorded last Wednesday, by the Holy Father Benedict XVI for the "Thought of the Day" program, in which, recalling his September visit, the Pope sends Christmas greetings to the citizens of the United Kingdom and to all listeners. Here is the transcript of the message.


Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.

God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life.

Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales, and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days. I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful and joyful Christmas. May God bless all of you!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fight Banal Sex (No al Sexo Banal)

That would make a great bumper sticker to summarize the in-context meaning of the Holy Father's recent statement on the harmful trivialization of sexuality, which recently brought so much publicity.

"...[T]he sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being..." (Light of the World, p. 119)

Immediately after comes the distorted message.

"Merry Christmas" Apostolate

Just say it!

Say it loud and clear, with cheer, and for all to hear!

Don't be defensive. Take the initiative! Beat them to the punch line! Greet them before they greet you. See how many times you can say it in a day! Say it especially after the 25th of December (at least until the day of the Circumcision [octave day of Christmas: 1 January; and after until the feast of the Three Kings--6 January)! And, actually, 2 February is the final feast of Christmas (the Presentation of the first born in the temple on the 4oth day!). Christmas is 40 days!

Say it even after people think it's gone in the hopes to perplex and elicit questions to instruct about the octave day (his naming and Circumcision according to the Jewish law--New Year's is Christmas!) or about the Three Kings' feast (which is the day for presents in many national traditions.

Merry Christmas!

If someone says "Happy Holidays" look him intently and lovingly in the eye and serenely respond with a less cliche Christmas greeting. Say, for example:

"Jesus Christ is born."

"Emmanuel: God is with us."

"The Virgin conceived and bore the Son of God."

"Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth."

"Praised be Jesus Christ."

"Long live Christmas and the Christ child!" (My personal favorite.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Regina Prophetarum

Luke 1:46-56

Mary, giving God to the world, is the Queen of the Prophets. They brought the Word to the world, she brings the Word made Flesh through her virginal womb. She gives us God! just like the Church.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pedophilia's Ideological Foundations

In his 20 December annual Christmas review of the year address to the Roman Curia the Holy Father indicated the perverse theory which provides the basis for widespread abuse: viz. relativism.

"In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a "better than" and a "worse than". Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, indicated with prophetic force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential and permanent foundations of moral action. Today, attention must be focused anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience. It is our responsibility to make these criteria audible and intelligible once more for people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount concern for mankind."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Constant in Prayer

"Real prayer begins when you pray when you don't want to."

I think the point is that great habits (virtues) are formed by overcoming one's whims. is expressed in fidelity.

Make your vows to the Lord and keep them! Then you will prove that you believe in Him.

Homosexuality: Worse than Rape and Incest

Homo-sex is entirely repugnant to God, even more than the rape of virgins ("I have two daughters..." Gen. 19:8) and incest ("So the two daughters of Lot were with child by their father" Gen. 19:36).

"And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." (Gen. 19:24) He destroyed them all, while saving Lot: the incestuous ravisher of virgins!

What a statement on the immeasurable evil of homosexuality! (See also Romans 1 for Saint Paul's assessment of homo-sex).

Thought for the day (based on the Mass reading)

The unique and prophetically specific sign of Christmas is that the Virgin is with Child. (cf. Is. 7:14) [That is why the preferred icon of Christmas is the Virgin and Child: i.e. Virgo ante, in et post partum.]

Saint Joseph the Chaste's role is to guarantee it! (cf. Matt. 1:18-24: yesterday's Gospel)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Celibacy and Homosexuality

Four quotes from Light of the World.

"Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation." p. 152

"Respect for man (including men with homosexual inclination) is absolutely fundamental and decisive. At the same time, though, sexuality has an instrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual." p. 151

"I believe that celibacy becomes a very meaningful sign, and above all becomes possible to live, when priests begin to form communities. It is important for priests not to live off on their own somewhere, in isolation, but to accompany one another in small communities, to support one another, and so to experience, and constantly realize afresh, their communion in service to Christ and in renunciation for the sake of the Kingdom." p. 149

"Celibacy is always, shall we say, an affront to what man normally thinks. It is something that can only be done, and is only credible, if there is a God and if celibacy is my doorway into the Kingdom of God. In this sense, celibacy is a special kind of sign. The scandal that it provokes consists precisely in the fact that there are people who believe these things..." p. 149

Perhaps one safeguard against the present isolation of priests might be stricter adherence to (and enforcement by the competent ecclesial authority of) the present norms on priestly attire. Priestly fraternity would be greatly increased if priests publicly--socially--dressed always as priests. They would have a visible and strong bond with each other.

For example: just imagine if all of the priests in New York City began today to religiously wear their public clerical attire! How it would transform the dignity of the priesthood and of Catholicism and of New York, the nation and the world. It would greatly strengthen each priest in his commitment to God. Just that simple habitual act of priestly obedience and solidarity. It would also more effectively keep priests out of places they should not go ==> thereby buttressing their celibate commitment on the practical level. By never being "off", priests would strengthen each other and the world beyond measure.

Something else that would help is getting rid of the ubiquitous confessional rooms and bring back the traditional confessional with a wall between priest and penitent. You have heard of the "protecting God's children" campaign. We need a parallel "protecting God's priests" campaign by not putting priests in the most precarious situation of being repeatedly and regularly behind closed doors in the most intimate confessional conversations with people. How is it that the bishops, who are supposedly so concerned with eliminating priest sexual misconduct have not addressed the very dangerous situation of the closed confessional room. Previous to the 1960's it was forbidden for a priest to hear to confessions of women, for instance, in a closed room! The confessional is the proper place for priestly counsel of women and children according to the age old wisdom of the Church.

The adage coined by Saint Teresa of Avila regarding the distance and necessary precautions in spiritual direction and confession is: entre santa y santo paredes de cal y canto. Which means that for nothing to happen (even between saints!) you need a very deep stone wall between them!!! Why are our bishops so out of touch with the real pastoral dangers for priests in their daily ministry. In the present climate it is foolish and presumptuous for a priest to habitually use a confessional room! It is a problem waiting to happen. No one seems to really care about our priests in this regard. Something needs to be done to safeguard priests against unchastity in that setting and against any possible accusations.

The bishops (or perhaps the pope) need to outlaw confessional rooms and insist on traditional confessionals in every parish as the habitual place for hearing confessions and spiritual direction of women and children.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

De Lectione Sanctarum Scripturarum

1. Truth is to be sought for in Holy Scripture, not eloquence.
All Holy Scripture ought to be read with that spirit with which it was made.
We must rather seek for profit in the Scriptures than for subtlety of speech.
We ought as willingly to read devout and simple books, as those that are high and profound.
Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he was of little or of great learning; but let the love of pure truth lead thee to read.
Inquire not who said this; but attend to what is said.

2. Men pass away; "but the truth of the Lord remaineth forever." (Ps. 116:2)
God speaks many ways to us, without respect of persons.
Our curiosity often hinders us in reading the Scriptures, when we attempt to understand and discuss that which should be simply passed over.
If thou wilt receive profit, read with humility, simplicity and faith; and seek not at any time the fame of being learned.
Willingly inquire after, and hear with silence the words of the saints; and be pleased with the parables of the ancients, for they are not spoken without cause. (Ecclus. 32:9)

Of Reading the Holy Scriptures (From the Imitation of Christ, Thomas A Kempis Book I, Chapter 5)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Professor Pope

"[A] peculiar feature of a German cultural history is thoughtfulness...I think that God, if he was going to make a professor Pope in the first place, wanted this element of thoughtfulness and precisely the struggle for the unity of faith and reason to come to the fore."

That was Pope Benedict's answer in Light of the World (p. 78) to Mr. Seewald's question regarding a special charism a German Pope might bring to the Papacy.

This Holy Father's particular charism is his primary concern that the modern mind (including that of the theologian) should seek and find God and that men of faith should also embrace, promote and employ the greatest intellectual rigor in their service of God and man. Faith in God is and must be both relevant and reasonable especially today. Human reason rejecting God is not truly human nor is it reasonable! Our beloved German Scholar Pope highlights these truths. By his life and teaching he shows the true dignity of scholarship and, above all, of true religion.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pope Benedict's Books

In Light of the World Pope Benedict explains his legitimate attachment to his personal library. Every intellectual knows and loves and, as far as possible, keeps, his books!

"[I moved into the papal appartamento with] my study at least. It was important for me to have my study the way it has developed over the course of many decades. In 1954 I bought my desk and the first bookshelves. Gradually there were additions. In them are all my advisors, the books; I know every nook and cranny, and everything has its history. Therefore I brought the whole study along with me. (15) ...The beauty of the faith shines forth as I read the Church Fathers." (16)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Condoms are for Dogs

In the wake of the new international media distortion campaign against His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's clear and consistent condemnation of contraception it is necessary to clarify that his reference to a possible amoral use of condoms referred to a male prostitute in sodomastic activity in which case the condom would have absolutely no contraceptive role: an inherently impotent and sterile act.

In other words, condoms might be OK for dogs! In that vein here are three pro-marital act slogans.




The only loving sexual activity is heterosexual and faithfully monogamous and holy, always open to procreation; otherwise it is merely selfish lust in disguise, not fully human: the stuff of dogs! Cf. Deus Caritas Est, 6 ff.

Incidently, this was the media's dirty way to announce the publishing of the Holy Father's new Interview Book which he produced this Summer with the excellent journalist Mr. Peter Seewald his biographer.

You will find an exhaustive and updated response to all the excitement at Young Jesuits. That article is very much worth reading. It is well balanced and very sympathetic of everyone involved, beginning with the secular journalists.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hebrew Catholics in the Holy Land

In light of my last article I should like to highlight the presence of Catholics in the Holy Land, especially of the small but very significant Vicariate of Hebrew Catholics under the care of the Patriarchal Vicar Father David Neuhaus, a Hebrew Catholic himself. I have added their website to my great links.

In light of the recent Synod on the Middle East, here is an article on the various communities of Catholics in the Holy Land with special emphasis on the Hebrew Vicariate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Promised Land not Exclusively for the Jews

Archbishop clarifies synod remarks condemned by Jewish organizations
November 12, 2010
Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, the Melkite Greek Catholic bishop of Newton (Massachusetts), has clarified remarks made during an October 23 press conference presenting the final message of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.

Archbishop Bustros was quoted as saying, “The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” adding, “we Christians cannot speak of the 'promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people-- all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.” The archbishop’s remarks were condemned by Jewish organizations.

Archbishop Bustros told Jihad Watch:

During the press conference which was held at the end of the Synod, I presented this message in my role as president of the commission that drafted the message. I was then asked by a journalist: "What do you mean by this sentence: 'Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable'?" I answered: "Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land to justify its occupation of Palestinian territory and the expulsion of Palestinians who have been living there for centuries. We Christians cannot now speak about the Promised Land for the Jewish people. With Christ the Promised Land became the Kingdom of God": Jesus referred to this land in His sermon on the mount and gave it a spiritual interpretation: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God... Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land." (Mt. 5:3.5)

In my answer I was thinking in particular of Jewish settlers who claim their right to build on Palestinian territory by saying it forms part of biblical Israel, the land promised by God to the Jews according to the Old Testament. I also warned against the risk of Israel becoming an exclusively Jewish state, with a consequent threat to the 1.2 million Muslim and Christian Arabs living in Israel. The Synod is acknowledging the separation between religion and politics, in stating that recourse to the Bible cannot be used to justify political events: "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." (Mt. 22:21)

As a Christian, and especially as a Middle-Eastern Christian-- and this is the unanimous opinion of the Middle-Eastern Christians, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants-- I see that the concept of the Promised Land cannot be used for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948-- after the resolution of the UN in 1947 regarding the partition of Palestine which was under the British mandate between Arab and Jews-- is a political issue not a religious one. It is a fact of history like other facts: Jews who were persecuted in Europe and suffered the horrors of the Shoah decided to come to Palestine and build a country for their own. They chose Palestine because of the memory of the Jews who lived there 2000 years ago. They came in great numbers; a war arose between them and the Arabs living there, and they won the war; hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and flee to the surrounding Arabic countries: Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Some of the Israelis based their return on the Old Testament theme of the Promised Land. But this does not mean that God is behind their return and their victory against the Arabs …

As for the idea of the chosen people, it is clear, according to Christian theology and especially to St. Paul, that after Christ there is no longer one particular chosen people! With Christ and in Him all men and women of all countries are called to become children of God and unite in one body, the Body of Christ.

Now in the Israeli-Palestinian issue we are in presence of two opposed religious extremist ideologies: from one part extremist Jews who say that Palestine is the Promised Land given to them by God, and that they cannot give up any part of it to the Arabs; and from the other part extremist Muslims who say that Palestine is a Muslim land given to them by God during the Arabic conquests, and that they cannot give up a part of it to the Israelis. With these two opposed religious ideologies it is impossible to find a compromise in order to reach a lasting peace.

The message of the Synod for the Middle East takes a moderate position and clearly advocates, regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the two-State-solution … Then the message explicitly condemns all kinds of violence and religious extremism … By dialogue only-- a dialogue which requires compromises from both sides, not by war, and especially not by a war based on religious assumptions-- can the Holy Land reach a just and lasting peace.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pilgrim Shell and Papal Coronation Campaign

Last Saturday The Holy Father made his Jacobean Year pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain to the shrine of Saint James Major, the Apostle. The scallop shell is the symbol of the "Camino" (Saint James Trail) and is also a symbol in Pope Benedict's coat of arms. During the in flight interview to Santiago Pope Benedict spoke of the shell's pilgrimage significance and Santiago's place in Christian pilgrimages.

Father Lombardi: Your Holiness, in the message for the recent congress on shrines that took place, in fact, at Santiago de Compostela, you said that you are living your pontificate with the sentiments of a pilgrim. On your coat of arms there is also the scallop shell of the pilgrim. Would you like to tell us something about your perspective on this pilgrimage, in your personal life too and in your spirituality, and about the thoughts you have as you travel as a pilgrim to Santiago?

Benedict XVI: Hello! I can say that being on a journey is already inscribed in my biography. But this is perhaps something external; nevertheless, it makes me think of the instability of this life, of being on a journey. Of pilgrimages one could say: God is everywhere, there is no need to go to another place, but it is also true that faith, according to its essence, is being a pilgrim.

The Letter to the Hebrews shows [this] in the figure of Abraham, who leaves his land and remains a pilgrim toward the future all of his life, and this Abrahamic movement remains in the act of faith, it is being a pilgrim above all interiorly, but it must also express itself exteriorly. Sometimes, leaving behind the everyday, the world of the useful, of practical goals, leaving it behind only to be truly on the path to transcendence, transcending oneself and the everyday and thus also finding a new freedom, a time of interior rethinking, of identifying oneself, to see the other, God, and in this way it is also always being on a pilgrimage: not only a leaving behind of self but also a traveling together. The pilgrimage reunites, we are going together to the other and thus we both rediscover each other.

Let me just say that the trips taken to Santiago de Compostela are an element in the spiritual formation of the European continent. Making a pilgrimage here constitutes, has constituted the common European identity, and today too this movement is being reborn, these dreams of being in spiritual and physical movement, of this person or that finding himself and thus to find silence, freedom, renewal, and to find God.

The second topic, also related to the papal coat of arms, check out the campaign to crown Pope Benedict XVI with the Papal Tiara, last used by Pope Paul VI. Here is the original campaign website.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sanctorum Communionem and the Discarded "Communion Table"

Ratzinger points out that in the "communion of saints" sanctorum refers first of all to "the holy things", i.e. the sacraments--the principle means of holiness, especially the Holy Eucharist. Only secondarily does the ninth article of the creed (Credo in sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem) refer to the people who are sanctified by the worship of the holy mysteries.

"The saying about the communion of saints refers first of all to the Eucharistic community which through the body of the Lord binds the Churches scattered all over the earth into one Church. Thus originally the word "sanctorum" ("of the holy ones') does not refer to persons but means the holy gifts, the holy thing, granted to the Church in her Eucharistic feast by God as the real bond of unity. Thus the Church is not defined as a matter of offices and organizations but on the basis of her worship of God..." (Introduction to Christianity, Herder and Herder, NY, 1970, p. 257-8) [viz., what He effects in Her: unity in His communion of charity]. The communion of saints comes from Holy Communion! at the communion Table! Which brings me to my point.

Misguided bishops, priests and liturgists threw out the so called "altar rail" which is really properly called "the communion rail." They changed the name of the communion rail (read "the communion table") and collapsed it into the altar, calling the altar the table. But it is important to emphasize that the rail is, properly speaking, "the table", the proper place for the laity to receive the sacred species; and that kneeling reverently at the rail is a normative place for communion (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, 160), and a much more proper manner than the rushed "fast food" and cumbersome communion line, not to mention the forbidden sitting or gathering around the altar and receiving together with the priest.

Notice the traditional German name for the communion rail: Der Kommuniones Tisch, and the Spanish: el comulgatorio (the communion place!). Isn't it ironic that in their quest for the communion table they threw it out! Bring back our communion rails to increase the dignity of our sanctorum communionem.

There is one more point to be made in this reflection for All Saints, and that is that that most confusing instruction of the NCCB mandating standing for communion as being normative for USA (if it ever had any force in its inherent ambiguity and contradictions) is certainly nullified by Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio permitting and encouraging the 1962 form of the Mass. If the people can kneel to receive in our parishes for one form of the Mass they can certainly do so for the other. It is, after all, the same eternal Lord we worship and receive in either form of the Mass, is it not! Should we not receive Him with the same majesty in both forms!

All you holy Saints of God, pray for the increased dignity of our Holy Communions to effect the Church's unambiguous Holy Communion with Our Blessed Lord in every way and in everything.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Justification by Penitence

Here is the closing sentence of my homily for today on Luke 18:9-14: the pharisee and the publican.

May the Most Holy Virgin, Help of Christians, in this month of the Holy Rosary, obtain for us the humility and supernatural vision to truly know ourselves and to live a truly penitent life and to transform ourselves in the face of God in Christ Jesus in the Church.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thirteenth Century Women Mystics

In his past three Wednesday Audiences the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has given a short biography and sampling of the thought of three prominent feminine medieval holy women who reached the highest degrees of holy love: Blessed Angela of Foligno, Saint Gertrude the Great, and Saint Matilde.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Santiago de Compostela

In the sacristy of the greatest non-Marian piligrimage destination after Rome and Jerusalem this morning I noticed in the priest Mass register that America is way under represented here! Why is "New Spain" so ignorant of it´s original mother and of the Apostle of that same fatherland? Perhaps we are still very much under the cloud of the Black Legend which historically demonizes all things Spanish and glorifies all things English. It is interesting that I am here as the Holy Father flies over me to England right now!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Interview-Book of Ratzinger Pope

Pope Benedict had a series of interviews this Summer with his German biographer, the journalist Peter Seewald, for a new interview-book to be published in the near future. It shall be the first such work of Ratzinger as Pope.

There are three Cardinal Ratzinger interview-books of which Seewald produced the last two (viz. God and the World, 2001; and Salt of the Earth, 1997; The Ratzinger Report, 1985, by Vittorio Messori, was the first).

God and the World is the least original and simplest of the three, often reading like basic catechesis. Salt of the Earth is a fine sort of autobiography, rich in personal details and spiritual and theological depth. And The Ratzinger Report is an excellent account of the status of the faith in the present world with an acute appraisal (still very necessary 25 years hence) of the major modern religious and moral dilemmas, in accord with it's original Italian title: Rapporto sulla fede (The Report on the Faith).

Il Blog di Andrea Tornielli was the source for the news on the upcoming volume.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why I Wear the Cassock

Here is an interview of a Mainz priest who tells that wearing the cassock is an act of obedience, Catholic continuity and priestly service and authentic zeal.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI UK Schedule


Live Broadcast by CTV
(Vatican Television Center)

Thursday, 16 September 2010
08:10 Departure from Ciampino Airport for Edinburgh

10:30 Arrival at Edinburgh International Airport
State welcome at Edinburgh International Airport
11:00 Welcoming Ceremony in the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Courtesy Visit to Her Majesty Elisabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, in the Palace of Holyroodhouse
11:40 Meeting with State Authorities in the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse Address of the Holy Father
13:00 Luncheon with Papal Entourage at the Archbishop's House

17:15 Mass at Bellahouston Park Homily of the Holy Father
20:00 Departure from Glasgow International for London

21:25 Arrival at Heathrow International Airport (London Borough of Hillingdon)

Friday, 17 September 2010
08:00 Private Celebration of Mass in the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon (London Borough of Merton)
10:00 Meeting with the world of Catholic Education in the Chapel and Sports Arena of St Mary’s University in Twickenham (London Borough of Richmond) Greeting and Address of the Holy Father
11:30 Meeting with Religious Leaders in the Waldegrave Drawing Room of St Mary’s University College in Twickenham (London Borough of Richmond) Address of the Holy Father
16:00 Courtesy Visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace (London Borough of Lambeth) Address of the Holy Father
17:10 Meeting with representatives of civil society, academic, cultural and entrepreneurial world, diplomatic corps and religious leaders at Westminster Hall (City of Westminster) Address of the Holy Father
18:15 Ecumenical Celebration at Westminster Abbey (City of Westminster) Address of the Holy Father

Saturday, 18 September 2010
09:00 Meeting with the Prime Minister in the Archbishop's House (City of Westminster)
09:20 Meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister in the Archbishop's House (City of Westminster)
9:30 Meeting with the Opposition Leader in the Archbishop's House (City of Westminster)
10:00 Mass in the Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (City of Westminster) Homily and Greeting of the Holy Father
17:00 Visit to St Peter's Residence for the elderly (London Borough of Lambeth) Address of the Holy Father
18:15 Prayer Vigil on the Eve of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, Hyde Park (City of Westminster) Address of the Holy Father

Sunday, 19 September 2010
08:00 Farewell to the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon (London Borough of Merton)
08:45 Departure by helicopter from Wimbledon Park (London Borough of Merton) for Birmingham

09:30 Arrival at the heliport near Cofton Park of Rednal
10:00 Mass with the Beatification of Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman at Cofton Park of Rednal Homily of the Holy Father
Recitation of the Angelus Domini Words of the Holy Father
13:10 Private Visit to the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Edgbaston
13:45 Lunch with the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales and the Papal Entourage at the Francis Martin House in Oscott College
16:45 Meeting with the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland in the Chapel of the Francis Martin House, Oscott College Address of the Holy Father
18:15 Farewell Ceremony at the International Airport of Birmingham Address of the Holy Father
18:45 Departure from the International Airport of Birmingham for Roma

22:30 Arrival at Ciampino Airport

Time lag
Rome: + 2 UTC
United Kingdom: + 1 UTC

Monday, August 16, 2010


That is my assessment of the diocesan priesthood. The diocesan priest is neither a monk in a monastery nor an social activist. He must have deep interior life (a firm sacramental life of prayer and mortification) and must learn to love being often alone with God and to be interrupted at any time by men (and women!), with great joy. He is happy to be a quasi-hermit!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Munificentissimus Deus

On the 1 November 1950 the Venerable Pope Pius XII declared that “by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Munificentissimus Deus, 44

This solemn dogmatic definition indicates the bodily nature of the after life and thereby strengthens our hope in eternal life.

The creedal dogmas of the final judgment, heaven, hell and the intermediate state of purgatory are presupposed by the doctrine of the bodily assumption of the Mother of God. Venerable Pius in his dogmatic document showed how death and judgment are punishments due to sin stating: “God does not grant to the just the full effect of victory over death until the end of time has come.” (Ibid., 4) “…The bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each in its own glorious soul.” The body and soul are separated for a time at death and the body normally undergoes corruption.

However, Mary was preserved, by a special grace, from original sin and the consequent law of corruption. She is granted special exemption from the law of death and the usual waiting for the last day. Her exemption is proven in three moments: in the Immaculate Conception and in the angelic salutation “full of grace” and in the Virginal Birth. “God, who by an entirely unique privilege, preserved Mary from sin by her Immaculate Conception [and kept her a virgin through childbirth] exempted her from the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and so she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body. (Ibid., 5, 18) And since she is proclaimed “full of grace” one realizes that there is no corruption in her. Death and corruption are punishments due to sin, which punishments this Immaculate Virgin never deserved, she alone always being truly worthy of uninhibited union with the Most High God.

Moreover, Mary Immaculate’s glorious assumption, being the assumption of a woman, body and soul, is an early fulfillment of the last two articles of the Christian Creed (and even a cause of the knowledge of those truths of faith): “I believe in the resurrection of the body” and “I believe in the life everlasting.” A mere mortal man is in heaven in the person of the perfect Woman Maria. Our hope for our bodily incorruption on the last day is greatly strengthened today as we are assured in this ancient feast and modern definition of faith that together with Christ, the heavenly King, is also the soul and body of [the heavenly Queen—the Woman] who has already obtained the reward of heavenly glory in her flesh.

Optimam Partem

Luke 10:38-42 is the Gospel of the ancient Assumption Mass Gospel (1962 Missal) which ends "Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her," that also being the communion antiphon for that same Mass: Optimam partem elegit sibi Maria, quae non auferetur ab ea in aeternum.

This is a very legitimate analogical use of sacred scripture. One might legitimately ask: might not our Lord have also intended to mean the greatest Mary when he said that "Mary" has chosen the best part which would not be taken from her? In any case, God is the primary Author of scripture and he intends several levels of understanding in every text. Lazarus' and Martha's sister is here a type, a shadow, of The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Assumpta.

A similar application is made in reference to Saint Joseph using the Exodus passage referring to the patriarch Ite ad Joseph. Joseph the Patriarch is a type of Saint Joseph of Nazareth.

Personally, I think this Gospel is a better choice for the Assumption Mass than the entirely too often repeated Annunciation Gospel because at least it alludes to Mary's eternal reward which is the meaning of this feast.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Virtue of Intolerance

God is intolerant and requires all believers to be intolerant of all errror, false worship and of immorality in all it's forms. Just consider the first commandment:

"I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishments for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation but bestowing mercy, down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments." Deuteronomy 5:6-10

The first necessary principle of respect for the human person and of right reason is to have solid ideas: i.e. to acknowledge the Absolute.

The truth imposes itself with apodictic force upon the intelligence and everyone who possesses or think he possesses it tries to spread it, to impose it on the rest of men and to remove the darkness of error which blinds them. And it happens, by the hidden relation and harmony which God has given to our faculties that intolerance of the will should follow this fatal intolerance of the understanding; and when it is firm and entire and the manly spirit of peoples has not been extinguished or whithered these should fight for an idea, at the same time with the weapons of reason and logic as with the sword and fire.

So called tolerance is an easy virtue ; it is a sickness of sceptical ages or of no faith. He who believes nothing, nor hopes in anything, nor neither strives for the salvation nor is concerned about the damnation of souls, can easily be tolerant. But such meekness of character cannot depend except upon a weakness and emasculation of the power of understanding.

The second principle of respect of the human person is to acknowledge and promote the equality and liberty and supreme dignity of all men under God. Any proper principle of "tolerance" is based on the antecedent principle of intolerance (i.e. the truth must first of all be unshakable for any other principle to apply universally and to therefore have any meaning at all for the true good of each person and of humanity). "Tolerance" is therefore not tolerance at all but it's opposite: the intransigent upholding and defense of the inviolable dignity of each person, not tolerating any unjust opposition to that necessary respect for the person and for the truth on which his dignity depends!

The third principle of respect of the human person is union among believers. Catholics must be true and loyal to Christ and to the Church and so influence society by their love and commitment to the truth. They will thus live the virtue of intolerance and save themselves and all who would be saved.

cf. Antologia General de Menendez Pelayo, I Tomo: Madrid 1956 (pp. 49-51).

Ernesto Lecuona

Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963), arguably the greatest Cuban musician of the twentieth century, produced some very fine classical Cuban music for piano, orchestra, opera and cinema.

The "Andalucia" (from his Suite Espanola) is magnificent piano!

His "Siempre en mi corazon" (1942) got a Grammy nomination and was beat that year by "White Christmas".

"Maria la O" (1930) is from his famous zarzuela opera of that name.

P.S. Please excuse this little Summer diversion into my Cuban heritage!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


My 1907 first edition of some French plays by Corneille, with notes in English, published by Henry Holt and Company, has the Paris coat of arms impressed on the front cover with the motto: fluctuat nec mergitur ("It will toss but will not sink").

It is a motto which applies a fortiori to the bark of Peter:


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christian Certainty

An essential characteristic of Catholic belief is the certainty that it is indeed "Catholic," i.e. "universal:" for every man in every place, time and circumstance.

In other words, it is true: the Truth. The Catholic faith alone fully presents Christ to the world: the Way, the Truth and the Life.

If it did not always apply it would not really be true, and therefore, would not be Catholic!

Compare this claim with the claim of Christ Himself: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, noone comes to the Father but through me." John 14:6

The Church is simply passing on that same absolute certainty in the Absolute.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

South African World Cup

As we approach the final games of the 2010 World Cup Soccer Championship in which Holland is still an underdog contender (having beaten highly favored Brazil), could we not see this as a victory for the South African European elite which is predominantly of Dutch descent?

A Holland win, in this sense, is a South African win (the triumph of the South African upper class). The landed gentry of South Africa must be very pleased so far and should be quite gratified to win the cup.

So, it is not true that all "African" teams are out! The team of the majority of the European settlers of the republic is indeed Holland!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Secular Humbuggery

Those who say the Church should not tell people how to act are actually presuming to tell the Church how to act. Shall we call it secular humbuggery, a key to the contradictions of "the age of reason."

Indeed, the age of reason has proven quite irrational in it's sundry supposedly foundationless dogmatisms. That is why every man needs the Pope! That is why the Pope is called "Peter" (Rock); he provides the only sure foundation in the world: Christ.

The Widow of Zarephath's Wealth

The moral of today's first reading (1Kings 17:7-16) is that God will take care of His faithful prophets/priests through others and He will care also for those who generously provide for His prophets/priests in his name.

Noone is too poor to share nor too rich to need to share.

Everyone needs to share with God in providing for those whom He sends.

Faith is the greatest wealth.
As Abraham said to Isaac: Deus providebit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Heretical Lauda Sion Translation

The official Mexican translation of the Corpus Christi sequence makes several references to bread an wine which are absent in the original Latin of Saint Thomas.

Stanza 3
Laudis thema specialis,
panis vivus et vitalis
hodie proponitur.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving,
Is the quick'ning and the living
Bread today before you set.
(From the official English translation, which does not have the inaccurate content of the Spanish)

Gustosos hoy aclamamos
a Cristo, que es nuestro pan,
pues el es el pan de vida,
que nos da vida inmortal.

In this verse, in addition to the text's reference to the living and life-giving bread (pan de vida que nos da vida inmortal [both scriptural terms]) it adds, Christ is our bread (Cristo, que es nuestro pan). That expression is unfamiliar to the Christian tradition and confuses the truth about the Eucharist. Christ is not "our bread!" He is "the living bread come down from heaven" and "the bread of life" both in a metaphorical sense. But never "our bread." Why? Well, the Eucharist is not bread at all!

Stanza 14
Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
manet tamen Christus totus,
sub utraque specie.
The flesh food, the blood drink:
Yet under each species
what remains is all Christ.
(My own translation, the official English being very loose.)

Su sangre es nuestra bebida;
su carne, nuestro alimento;
pero en el pan o en el vio
Cristo esta todo completo.

The Latin does not mention the bread and the wine explicitly but just the word specie (a clear doctrinal term referring specifically to the accidents of bread and wine as opposed to the substance which is completely Christ. The point being made is that, while the flesh is food and the blood is drink under the appearances of bread and wine, none of their reality is present but only Christ, Who fully replaces the bread and the wine with his flesh and blood self: Christus totus. The totus is in reference to the filling of the reality of the species of bread and wine. They are fully taken over by Christ. They are entirely Christ! And that it is the complete Christ present under either of the forms.

The Spanish text should read, instead of "pero en el pan o en el vino" (a heretical statement: Christ is in the bread and the wine) "pero bajo cada forma".

Stanza 21
Ecce panis angelorum,
factus cibus viatorum:
vere panis filiorum,
non mittendus canibus.

El pan que del cielo baja
es comida de viajeros.
Es un pan para los hijos.
No hay que tirarlo a los perros!

Panis angelorum is "the bread of angels", not simply "the bread which descends from heaven," which could be confused with the manna of the desert. The "bread of angels" is a distinctive Thomistic term for the Eucharist and should be translated literally and presented to the faithful as part of this extraordinary hymn.

Stanza 22
In figuris praesignatur,
cum Isaac immolatur,
agnus Paschae deputatur,
datur manna patribus.

Isaac el inocente,
es figura de este pan,
con el cordero de Pascua
y el misterioso mana.

The Latin does not mention "this bread" (este pan) at all!!! The implicit subject of the sentence is panis angelorum, "the bread of angels!"

This is a casual observation by a parish priest who over the past decade has seen a gradual but sure deviation from doctrinal clarity in the texts being published for Spanish worship music, especially in the eucharistic hymns. They often sing the praises of bread and wine!!! We do not adore bread and wine. We do not worship bread and wine. The Eucharist is not bread and wine at all! And that is what we need to sing, worship and adore, the absence of bread and wine!

May the worshipper beware of bread and wine idolatry which is being pushed down the throat of the hispanics in America, in place of the worship of the Flesh and Blood of the living God. Behold one of the insidious snares of vernacular worship. If we simply used Saint Thomas' Latin text we would all be better off.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Symbolism of the New Pastoral Staff

There is a blog on papal clothing which tells the significance of the new staff.

A New Year a New Pastoral staff – Alleluia!
11/28/09 01:18:38

At last Pope Benedict has his own pastoral staff which has been donated by the Circolo San Pietro. It will be used during the First Vespers of Advent in the Vatican Basilica on Saturday evening, the service which marks the beginning of the new liturgical year.

Monsignor Guido Marini made the announcement on Friday in L'Osservatore Romano. He said it is similar in shape to the staff of Pius IX, which the Pope currently uses, and this can be considered the papal staff of Pope Benedict XVI. It is 184 centimetres high, weighs about 2.5 kilos and is easier to handle than the staff of Pius IX, because of its smaller size. It is also lighter by 140 grams than the silver staff with a crucifix made by Lello Scorzelli, which was used by Pope Paul VI, and later by Pope John Paul I and John Paul II. It was also used by Pope Benedict for the first three years of his papacy.

From Palm Sunday 2008, he began to use the gold Greek cross, which belonged to Pius IX, also donated to the Pope by St. Peter's Circle in 1877. This ancient Roman association now renews its tradition of loyalty to the Pope since its foundation in 1869.

On the front of the new staff there is a paschal lamb at the centre and at the four points of the cross symbols of four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The gold is etched with the pattern of a net -a reference to St Peter the fisherman. Engraved on the back in the middle is the Chi Rho, the first two Greek letters for the word Christos, which is the monogram of Christ. At the four points are the faces of the fathers of the Eastern and Western Church, Augustine and Ambrose, Athanasius and John Chrysostom. His coat of arms is on the top of the cross. "The lamb and the monogram of Christ at the centre - says Monsignor Marini - reflect the unity of the paschal mystery: the cross and resurrection."

Thank goodness the Pope will no longer have to wrestle with the Pius IX staff which was always far too big and unwieldy for him. It is a pity that he did not go immediately from using the Scorzelli staff - so deeply associated with Papa Wojtyla, and which was a potent symbol of the transition from one great Pope to another - to his own staff. Using the staff of Pius IX gave the impression that the Scorzelli staff was being "abandoned" and that this abandonment signified something far more than a mere change in style. For those who vividly recalled the way the Scorzelli staff served as a visible support for Papa Wojtyla during his years of suffering, it was hurtful to see it replaced by the brash and brassy staff of Pius IX.

Now at last Papa Ratzinger has his own staff. I hope he lives many long years so that it becomes indelibly associated with him.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The New Papal Cross

Here is a fine photo of Pope Benedict with his third papal crosier. It seems to fit his character and liturgical bent most appropriately because it is elegant, traditional and subtle (of a rich simplicity).

I got the picture from a Spanish traditional liturgical website:

Giovannipaulomagno blog has some closer observations on the subject, viz. that his first papal staff was passed down to him from Paul VI, JPI and JPII; and his second (used from 16 March 2008 until 28 November 2009) was previously used by Pius IX and Pius XII. As far as we can tell this one is finally uniquely his own.

Here is an article from the Bulletin of the Circolo San Pietro, the official journal of the organization which has been the benefactor of all the papal crosses.

Il Santo Padre ha inaugurato l’anno liturgico utilizzando un nuovo
pastorale, simile a quello che usava il Beato Pio IX. La particolarità è
insita nel fatto che entrambi i pastorali sono un omaggio del Circolo S.
Pietro: il primo fu donato dallo storico Sodalizio a Papa Mastai nel
1877, in occasione del cinquantesimo anniversario della Sua ordinazione
sacerdotale. Papa Ratzinger lo aveva ricominciato ad utilizzare in
occasione della domenica delle Palme del 2008. Il Circolo rinnova così
la tradizionale fedeltà al Successore di Pietro, testimoniata in tutti i 140
anni della sua storia.

“Sabato pomeriggio, durante i primi vespri di Avvento nella basilica Vaticana, il Papa userà un nuovo pastorale”.

Lo annuncia monsignor Guido Marini, alla vigilia della celebrazione con cui si apre l’anno liturgico.

“Simile nelle fattezze alla ferula di Pio IX finora in uso - aggiunge il maestro delle Celebrazioni liturgiche pontificie - questo può essere considerato a tutti gli effetti il pastorale di Benedetto

Donato dal Circolo San Pietro, è alto 184 centimetri, pesa 2 chili e 530 grammi e ha una miglior
maneggevolezza rispetto a quello di Papa Mastai Ferretti, grazie alle più ridotte dimensioni del
bastone e della croce. Ed è anche più leggero di 140 grammi, addirittura di 590 rispetto a quello di Giovanni Paolo II.

Va infatti ricordato che Papa Ratzinger ha utilizzato inizialmente il pastorale argenteo ormontato dal crocifisso – realizzato da Lello Scorzelli – introdotto da Paolo VI e poi usato anche da Giovanni Paolo I e da Papa Wojtyla. Successivamente, dalla domenica delle Palme del 2008, ha cominciato ad adoperare la ferula dorata a forma di croce greca, appartenuta a Pio IX, anch’essa donata al Pontefice dal Circolo San Pietro nel 1877. L’antico sodalizio romano rinnova così la propria tradizione di fedeltà al Papa, testimoniata sin dalla fondazione risalente a 140 anni fa, nel lontano 1869.
Nella parte anteriore del nuovo pastorale di Benedetto XVI sono raffigurati al centro l’agnello pasquale e ai lati della croce i simboli dei quattro evangelisti Matteo, Marco, Luca e Giovanni. Il motivo della rete riprodotto sui bracci della croce richiama quella di Pietro il pescatore di Galilea. Sul retro sono incisi: al centro, il monogramma di Cristo – formato dalle prime due lettere della parola Christòs in greco, la X e la P intrecciate insieme – e alle quattro estremità, i volti dei
padri della Chiesa di Occidente e di Oriente: Agostino e Ambrogio, Atanasio e Giovanni Crisostomo. “L’agnello e il monogramma di Cristo posti al centro – commenta monsignor Marini – riflettono l’unità del mistero pasquale: croce e risurrezione”.
Soffermando lo sguardo sull’anello sottostante la croce, si notano: nella parte superiore, il nome di Benedetto XVI “che lo personalizza e lo rende suo” spiega il maestro; in quella inferiore, quello dei donatori, cioè il Circolo San Pietro. Un ultimo elemento significativo, infine, si ritrova nella parte alta del bastone, dov’è impresso lo stemma di Papa

Here is the original article is from the Vatican announcing the introduction of the new pastoral staff at the beginning of last Advent.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Priestly Character

The bishop, when anointing the hands of a priest at ordination says

"...That you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God."

The character of orders enables the priest to make people holy and to connect earth with heaven with the Holy Mysteries of the sacraments, especially the offering of the Mass (Christ on the Cross to the eternal Father for the forgiveness of sins and for the love of the Father).

In the presentation of the chalice and the paten the bishop then says

"...and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord's cross."

In other words, be holy yourself. Live the holiness, the holy sacrifice, of Christ. May the offering of holy things spur you to personal holiness, that you too may attain the grandeur of Christ's communion with the Father.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two Classic Hymns to the Holy Spirit

Come, True Light

Come, true light. Come, eternal live. Come, hidden mystery. Come, treasure without name. Come, ineffable reality. Come, inconceivable person. Come, happiness without end. Come, light without sunset. Come, infallible hope of all who must be saved. Come, awakened of all who sleep. Come, resurrection of the dead. Come, O powerful one who ever make and remake everything and transform everything with your power alone. Come, O invisible one, totally intangible and impalpable. Come, you who always remain still and at the same time are constantly moving. Come to us who languish in the nether regions, you who are above all the heavens. Come, O beloved name, everywhere invoked, whose being it is absolutely impossible for us to express, whose nature we can never know. Come, eternal joy. Come, incorruptible crown. Come, O scarlet robe of the great king. Come, crystalline belt clustered with jewels. Come inaccessible sandal. Come, royal purple. Come, truly sovereign right hand. Come, you whom my miserable soul has always desired. Come, the Alone to the alone, for you see that I am alone. Come, your who have separated me from everything and made me a solitary person in this world. Come, you who have become your desire itself in me, you who have caused me to want your, you, the absolutely inaccessible. Come, my breath and my life. Come, consolation of my poor soul. Come, my joy, my glory, my delight for ever. (Simeon the New Theologian, Hymns 949-1022)

Come, O Come

Come, O come, most excellent counsellor of the suffering soul...Come, you who cleanse from ugliness, you who cure plagues. Come, strength of the weak, supporter of the fallen. Come, doctor of the humble, conqueror of the proud. Come, O tender father of the orphans...Come, hope of the poor...Come, star of sailors, port of the shipwrecked. Come, O shining glory of all the living...Come, your who are the holiest of the spirits. Come and take pity on me. Conform me to yourself. (John of Frescamp, 1060 To the Holy Spirit)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Elementary Classic Latin Texts

Gesta Romanorum is among the fine selection of classic latin texts provided at this Saint Louis University website which is very user friendly.

Here is a blog
that specializes in Latin classics.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Custody of the Eyes

Priestly Purity has at least three aspects:

Custody of the eyes (an essential form of modesty) is the moat,

Celibacy is the solid ground,

Chastity is the castle fortress.

It all starts with the eyes, we must focus and constantly refocus on Christ (God)!

Monday, May 10, 2010

El Gran Catecismo de Deharbe

The Baltimore Catechism is the best English language catechism for its didactic method and its concise content of all of the basic truths of the Catholic faith. It is by far the easiest and the best. And, to my knowledge, it has never been translated into Spanish.

Now, half of the Catholic population of the U.S. (and of the world if you include those who speak Portuguese) are Spanish speakers! Someone should consider undertaking the translation and the publication in economical editions of the various levels of that excellent catechism.

Furthermore, I have found a public domain Spanish edition of an even better (more comprehensive and more precise) Catechism (El Gran Catecismo de Deharbe) which was published and heavily used during the time of Vatican Council I and may have been one of the sources for the Baltimore Catechism for all I know. Check it out! Could someone publish it as is? That would be a great service to the country, to the Church and to the world!!! It is most necessary in the present "educational emergency", as Pope Benedict calls our present modern situation.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Motherhood is Based on Holy Marriage and Virginity

Great mothers are first of all holy and devoted and chaste wives.
And holy and faithful wives are first humble and chaste virgins until their holy marriage. (Notice Eve's virginal serenity with the Father and completely directed toward her future husband).

It is no accident that the greatest Woman, the Woman of all women, is the Ever Virgin Spouse of Saint Joseph. She brings holy marital dedication and virginal integrity to divine maternity.

May is the month of Mary and today is Mother's Day, to honor Her, first of all, the Mother of all Maternity, the humblest and most faithful daughter of Almighty God, the very Mother of God.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

World's Bishops' Conferences' Links, etc.

My Austrian Catholic News Link, Oesterreich, has a list of very high quality authoritative links to bishops, principal dioceses and bishop conferences around the world, which I have included in my list of Great Links under the title of Kathlinks.

Particularly interesting are the links for various Eastern Catholic Rite Churches, e.g. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Newman Conference

Portsmouth Abbey School of Portsmouth Rhode Island is hosting it's second annual conference featuring several experts in the thought of Newman 10-13 June. Looks interesting.

The timing is good because the Holy Father is scheduled to beatify the Cardinal later in the year in England.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stone Throwing for Dummies

A Guide to Assessing Child Abuse

In response to the media and society's enthusiasm to rid the world of pedophilia I think the Church should begin a mandatory child abuse survey (for adults) and hotline in every parish to identify all of the predators in our society, to expose them and to expose all of the covering up in our neighborhoods, in our schools and in every social context, not just in Church. It is hypocritical and self-serving for us just to look for victims of priestly abuse when we all know that the problem is in every family (e.g. internet pornography), neighborhood, school and anywhere young people are.


1. Are you male or female?

2. How old were you when you were first sexually stimulated.

3. What was the context? Alone. Pornography. Other person. Same sex. Opposite sex. Multiple other persons.

4. Where did it take place?

5. If pornography, what was the medium (e.g. magazine, internet, TV) and who provided it? e.g. relative, friend, etc.

6. How many times (or how often) did you participate in sexual activity before your eighteenth birthday? Give the type act(s) and roughly the number of times (or frequency) and whether others were involved in each encounter and your and their ages at the time, and their status or relationship to you (e.g. relative, teacher, doctor, non-Catholic clergyman [indicate denomination], Catholic clergyman, a person personally unknown to you), and their gender.

7. Have you yourself ever sexually stimulated and/or had genital contact with a minor (even while you yourself were under 18)?
A. If so, how old were you and how old was the minor involved?
B. What was the gender of the minor?
C. What was the type of act and how many times (or how frequently) did you do it?

8. Have you reported any of this abuse to the authorities?
If so, have the proper measures been taken to protect the children involved or to redress the wrong?

9. What is your level of same-sex attraction? (Circle only one please)
None. Exclusively attracted to the opposite sex; same sex has never aroused me.
Mild. I have been sexually aroused by the same sex on some rare occasions and never taken the initiative in a same sex encounter.
Medium. I have had same sex arousal on various occasions and continue to occasionally experience it and have enjoyed same sex encounters on some rare occasions even taking the initiative in some of those encounters.
Strong. I have frequent same sex arousal and have frequently aroused others of the same sex.
Exclusively same-sex. I have been and continue to be very much aroused only by the same sex and have never had any inclination toward the opposite sex.

10. What is your assessment of the society’s treatment of the Catholic Church over the societal problem of child sexual abuse? Unfair. Fair. Somewhat exaggerated. Grossly exaggerated.

Relativism is Tyranny


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the way yesterday's New York Times marked the 5th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI:

The news story is remarkable, even for the New York Times. Readers learn that the sexual abuse scandal is "growing" and is "quickly defining his papacy." Furthermore, the pope has "alienated Muslims, Jews, Anglicans and even many Roman Catholics."

In point of fact, the scandal ended about a quarter century ago: the timeline when most of the abuse took place was the mid-60s to the mid-80s. The only thing "growing" is coverage of abuse cases extending back a half-century, something the Times has contributed to mightily. To say his papacy is being defined by old cases may be the narrative that suits the Times, but it most certainly is not shared by fair-minded observers.

Yes, many Muslims were alienated by the pope's brutal honesty in calling out Islam for its subordination of reason, and indeed many proved his point by resorting to violence. The heroics of Pope Pius XII in saving as many as 860,000 Jews during the Holocaust is a stunning record, especially as compared to the editorial silence that the Times exhibited in addressing the Shoah at the time. It is not correct, as the Times says, that the pope attempted "to rehabilitate a Holocaust-denying bishop," rather he attempted to reconcile a break-away Catholic group which unfortunately had as one of its members a Holocaust-denying bishop. Anglicans unhappy with the pope's outreach to the disaffected in their ranks represent an embarrassing chapter for them, not Catholics. And it is hardly surprising that those Catholics who intensely disliked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger are, for the most part, the same ones who reject Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope can be justly criticized for missteps in governance and communications, but to paint him as a divider is a cruel caricature being promoted to hurt him, in particular, and the Church, in general.

Contact public editor Clark Hoyt:

For more from The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pedophilia Negligence

There is quite a bit of rhetoric about protecting young people in the context of Church neglect. However, Church neglect is a small part of the widespread neglect in the entire society, the government, the public education system, the media and law enforcement, to address and correct the epidemic problem of the corruption of our youth.

It is, by now, common knowledge that there are adult predators in every youth hangout in America "cruising" and looking for young people, and very little is done to stop or even curb that trend.

A great part of the problem is that we turn a blind eye to consensual sex among minors themselves (which itself is child abuse!). Once you approve sexual immorality (in any form) and even promote it, the boundaries (including age boundaries) necessarily get blurred. For example, what is the difference in maturity between a girl on her eighteenth birthday and the same girl the day before! And the man in the world who most iconically promotes and defends her virtue, at every age, is Pope Benedict XVI.

The institution which is young people's greatest defence is the Catholic Church because she promotes the only real sanctuary of purity--the family--built on the chastity of true marriage. Increasingly the family is defended and promoted exclusively by the Catholic Church and the celibate priests and virginal nuns we so love to malign. It takes a holy marriage (i.e. a family) to raise and defend a virgin! All the courts and journalists in the world will never achieve that!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vatican Blog

Did you know that the Vatican has a daily blog service? It is called Vatican Information Service.
I have added it to my blog list!
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