Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy and Healthy New Year to All!

2011 May we be strengthened to know and do His Perfect Will!


Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year

O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, 
and upon our enemies, if we have any; assist the poor and the sick; have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us; and do Thou be merciful to those who during the coming year will be summoned before Thy judgement seat. May all our actions be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance, so that all our prayers and works, having been begun in Thee, may likewise be ended through Thee. Amen.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki Admonishes His Governor

Bishop Thomas Paprocki
Admonishes His Governor

Catholic Politicians . . . “Are
Accountable to Catholic Authority”


Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki Bishop of Springfield –

“This is a an official press release by the Most Reverened Bishop Thomas John  Paprocki.”

After the Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation that would require the state to recognize same-sex unions, Governor Pat Quinn was quoted as saying, “My religious faith animates me to support this bill.” He did not say what religious faith that would be, but it certainly is not the Catholic faith. If the Governor wishes to pursue a secular agenda for political purposes, that is his prerogative for which he is accountable to the voters. But if he wishes to speak as a Catholic, then he is accountable to Catholic authority, and the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.

Let us keep Bishop Paprocki in prayer as he stands straight and tall for the TRUTH and God's Law.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do you know What YOUR Diocese Believes and TEACHES?

I wonder what would happen if we ALL went to our Bishops or even the Arch Bishops asking point blank where they stand on things ... the important controversial topics that are being accepted under the guise of social justice and pushing us forcefully through the gates of hell. WE the LAITY need to ASK these questions and IF we are told by someone with ANOINTED HANDS that these things are *alright* and we're being too *radical* and *judgemental* ... well then WE need to (WITH CHARITY) tell them how wrong they are and REMIND them that they will account for the souls that were led astray on their watch!! I'm sure many of them have been duped by the world, popularity and position, but if they've got a lick of honesty left in them, these reminders will (by the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT) make them rethink their ethics and perhaps with much prayer, worry more about God loving them than man liking them. PLEASE PRAY FOR YOUR PRIESTS, NUNS, BISHOPS & ALL CLERGY .. and of course for each other. We need to be STRENGTHENED in the Faith, we need to beg grace so that those lukewarm catholics may be RENEWED, that the fallen away may be RESTORED and most importantly, for the PROUD to be CONVERTED!
GOD SAVE US!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What More Does the Pope Have to Say to Wake Us UP?

The Holy Father has been, for quite some time now, dropping a few phrases here and there, perhaps a few sentences and certainly a strong word or two regarding the state of the world and our souls. It actually began with JPII easing us into it, but Benedict certainly is putting it more to the point and the urgency seems very close. These are the things that the ole boy doesn't want you to hear because it just MIGHT make you rethink things and begin taking your life and the state of your soul a bit more seriously.
God bless Michael Voris and his crew for not letting these things slip through the cracks!

WE MUST PRAY FOR OUR PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS AND ALL CLERGY!!
Do not point fingers ...
POINT YOUR HEARTS TO JESUS IN PRAYER for THEM and for us all!



His full speech: (emphasis- mine)


Sala Regia
Monday, 20 December 2010

Dear Cardinals,
Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It gives me great pleasure to be here with you, dear Members of the College of Cardinals and Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governatorato, for this traditional gathering. I extend a cordial greeting to each one of you, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for his sentiments of devotion and communion and for the warm good wishes that he expressed to me on behalf of all of you. Prope est jam Dominus, venite, adoremus! As one family let us contemplate the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us, as the Cardinal Dean has said. I gladly reciprocate his good wishes and I would like to thank all of you most sincerely, including the Papal Representatives all over the world, for the able and generous contribution that each of you makes to the Vicar of Christ and to the Church.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Repeatedly during the season of Advent the Church’s liturgy prays in these or similar words. They are invocations that were probably formulated as the Roman Empire was in decline. The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun was setting over an entire world. Frequent natural disasters further increased this sense of insecurity. There was no power in sight that could put a stop to this decline. All the more insistent, then, was the invocation of the power of God: the plea that he might come and protect his people from all these threats.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Today too, we have many reasons to associate ourselves with this Advent prayer of the Church. For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure.

Excita – the prayer recalls the cry addressed to the Lord who was sleeping in the disciples’ storm-tossed boat as it was close to sinking. When his powerful word had calmed the storm, he rebuked the disciples for their little faith (cf. Mt 8:26 et par.). He wanted to say: it was your faith that was sleeping. He will say the same thing to us. Our faith too is often asleep. Let us ask him, then, to wake us from the sleep of a faith grown tired, and to restore to that faith the power to move mountains – that is, to order justly the affairs of the world.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni: amid the great tribulations to which we have been exposed during the past year, this Advent prayer has frequently been in my mind and on my lips. We had begun the Year for Priests with great joy and, thank God, we were also able to conclude it with great gratitude, despite the fact that it unfolded so differently from the way we had expected. Among us priests and among the lay faithful, especially the young, there was a renewed awareness of what a great gift the Lord has entrusted to us in the priesthood of the Catholic Church. We realized afresh how beautiful it is that human beings are fully authorized to pronounce in God’s name the word of forgiveness, and are thus able to change the world, to change life; we realized how beautiful it is that human beings may utter the words of consecration, through which the Lord draws a part of the world into himself, and so transforms it at one point in its very substance; we realized how beautiful it is to be able, with the Lord’s strength, to be close to people in their joys and sufferings, in the important moments of their lives and in their dark times; how beautiful it is to have as one’s life task not this or that, but simply human life itself – helping people to open themselves to God and to live from God. We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.

In this context, a vision of Saint Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, a vision which describes in a shocking way what we have lived through this past year. “In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, I had been lying on my sick-bed for a long time when, fully conscious in body and in mind, I had a vision of a woman of such beauty that the human mind is unable to comprehend. She stretched in height from earth to heaven. Her face shone with exceeding brightness and her gaze was fixed on heaven. She was dressed in a dazzling robe of white silk and draped in a cloak, adorned with stones of great price. On her feet she wore shoes of onyx. But her face was stained with dust, her robe was ripped down the right side, her cloak had lost its sheen of beauty and her shoes had been blackened. And she herself, in a voice loud with sorrow, was calling to the heights of heaven, saying, ‘Hear, heaven, how my face is sullied; mourn, earth, that my robe is torn; tremble, abyss, because my shoes are blackened!’

And she continued: ‘I lay hidden in the heart of the Father until the Son of Man, who was conceived and born in virginity, poured out his blood. With that same blood as his dowry, he made me his betrothed.

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

And I heard a voice from heaven which said: ‘This image represents the Church. For this reason, O you who see all this and who listen to the word of lament, proclaim it to the priests who are destined to offer guidance and instruction to God’s people and to whom, as to the apostles, it was said: go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15)” (Letter to Werner von Kirchheim and his Priestly Community: PL 197, 269ff.).

In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again. This is also the moment to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help victims and to restore their trust in the Church, their capacity to believe her message. In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always found people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have been damaged. This is also the occasion to thank the many good priests who act as channels of the Lord’s goodness in humility and fidelity and, amid the devastations, bear witness to the unforfeited beauty of the priesthood.

We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity. The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it.

In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. 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 focussed 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.

As my second point, I should like to say a word about the Synod of the Churches of the Middle East. This began with my journey to Cyprus, where I was able to consign the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod to the Bishops of those countries who were assembled there. The hospitality of the Orthodox Church was unforgettable, and we experienced it with great gratitude. Even if full communion is not yet granted to us, we have nevertheless established with joy that the basic form of the ancient Church unites us profoundly with one another: the sacramental office of Bishops as the bearer of apostolic tradition, the reading of Scripture according to the hermeneutic of the Regula fidei, the understanding of Scripture in its manifold unity centred on Christ, developed under divine inspiration, and finally, our faith in the central place of the Eucharist in the Church’s life. Thus we experienced a living encounter with the riches of the rites of the ancient Church that are also found within the Catholic Church. We celebrated the liturgy with Maronites and with Melchites, we celebrated in the Latin rite, we experienced moments of ecumenical prayer with the Orthodox, and we witnessed impressive manifestations of the rich Christian culture of the Christian East. But we also saw the problem of the divided country. The wrongs and the deep wounds of the past were all too evident, but so too was the desire for the peace and communion that had existed before. Everyone knows that violence does not bring progress – indeed, it gave rise to the present situation. Only in a spirit of compromise and mutual understanding can unity be re-established. To prepare the people for this attitude of peace is an essential task of pastoral ministry.

During the Synod itself, our gaze was extended over the whole of the Middle East, where the followers of different religions – as well as a variety of traditions and distinct rites – live together. As far as Christians are concerned, there are Pre-Chalcedonian as well as Chalcedonian churches; there are churches in communion with Rome and others that are outside that communion; in both cases, multiple rites exist alongside one another. In the turmoil of recent years, the tradition of peaceful coexistence has been shattered and tensions and divisions have grown, with the result that we witness with increasing alarm acts of violence in which there is no longer any respect for what the other holds sacred, in which on the contrary the most elementary rules of humanity collapse. In the present situation, Christians are the most oppressed and tormented minority. For centuries they lived peacefully together with their Jewish and Muslim neighbours. During the Synod we listened to wise words from the Counsellor of the Mufti of the Republic of Lebanon against acts of violence targeting Christians. He said: when Christians are wounded, we ourselves are wounded. Unfortunately, though, this and similar voices of reason, for which we are profoundly grateful, are too weak. Here too we come up against an unholy alliance between greed for profit and ideological blindness. On the basis of the spirit of faith and its rationality, the Synod developed a grand concept of dialogue, forgiveness and mutual acceptance, a concept that we now want to proclaim to the world. The human being is one, and humanity is one. Whatever damage is done to another in any one place, ends up by damaging everyone. Thus the words and ideas of the Synod must be a clarion call, addressed to all people with political or religious responsibility, to put a stop to Christianophobia; to rise up in defence of refugees and all who are suffering, and to revitalize the spirit of reconciliation. In the final analysis, healing can only come from deep faith in God’s reconciling love. Strengthening this faith, nourishing it and causing it to shine forth is the Church’s principal task at this hour.

I would willingly speak in some detail of my unforgettable journey to the United Kingdom, but I will limit myself to two points that are connected with the theme of the responsibility of Christians at this time and with the Church’s task to proclaim the Gospel. My thoughts go first of all to the encounter with the world of culture in Westminster Hall, an encounter in which awareness of shared responsibility at this moment in history created great attention which, in the final analysis, was directed to the question of truth and faith itself. It was evident to all that the Church has to make her own contribution to this debate. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by the purely instrumental rationality of which I spoke earlier. In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will.  
The very future of the world is at stake.

Finally I should like to recall once more the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Why was he beatified? What does he have to say to us? Many responses could be given to these questions, which were explored in the context of the beatification. I would like to highlight just two aspects which belong together and which, in the final analysis, express the same thing. The first is that we must learn from Newman’s three conversions, because they were steps along a spiritual path that concerns us all. Here I would like to emphasize just the first conversion: to faith in the living God. Until that moment, Newman thought like the average men of his time and indeed like the average men of today, who do not simply exclude the existence of God, but consider it as something uncertain, something with no essential role to play in their lives. What appeared genuinely real to him, as to the men of his and our day, is the empirical, matter that can be grasped. This is the “reality” according to which one finds one’s bearings. The “real” is what can be grasped, it is the things that can be calculated and taken in one’s hand. In his conversion, Newman recognized that it is exactly the other way round: that God and the soul, man’s spiritual identity, constitute what is genuinely real, what counts. These are much more real than objects that can be grasped. This conversion was a Copernican revolution. What had previously seemed unreal and secondary was now revealed to be the genuinely decisive element. Where such a conversion takes place, it is not just a person’s theory that changes: the fundamental shape of life changes. We are all in constant need of such conversion: then we are on the right path.

The driving force that impelled Newman along the path of conversion was conscience. But what does this mean? In modern thinking, the word “conscience” signifies that for moral and religious questions, it is the subjective dimension, the individual, that constitutes the final authority for decision. The world is divided into the realms of the objective and the subjective. To the objective realm belong things that can be calculated and verified by experiment. Religion and morals fall outside the scope of these methods and are therefore considered to lie within the subjective realm. Here, it is said, there are in the final analysis no objective criteria. The ultimate instance that can decide here is therefore the subject alone, and precisely this is what the word “conscience” expresses: in this realm only the individual, with his intuitions and experiences, can decide. Newman’s understanding of conscience is diametrically opposed to this. For him, “conscience” means man’s capacity for truth: the capacity to recognize precisely in the decision-making areas of his life – religion and morals – a truth, the truth. At the same time, conscience – man’s capacity to recognize truth – thereby imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it. Conscience is both capacity for truth and obedience to the truth which manifests itself to anyone who seeks it with an open heart. The path of Newman’s conversions is a path of conscience – not a path of self-asserting subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was gradually opening up to him. His third conversion, to Catholicism, required him to give up almost everything that was dear and precious to him: possessions, profession, academic rank, family ties and many friends. The sacrifice demanded of him by obedience to the truth, by his conscience, went further still. Newman had always been aware of having a mission for England. But in the Catholic theology of his time, his voice could hardly make itself heard. It was too foreign in the context of the prevailing form of theological thought and devotion. In January 1863 he wrote in his diary these distressing words: “As a Protestant, I felt my religion dreary, but not my life - but, as a Catholic, my life dreary, not my religion”. He had not yet arrived at the hour when he would be an influential figure. In the humility and darkness of obedience, he had to wait until his message was taken up and understood. In support of the claim that Newman’s concept of conscience matched the modern subjective understanding, people often quote a letter in which he said – should he have to propose a toast – that he would drink first to conscience and then to the Pope. But in this statement, “conscience” does not signify the ultimately binding quality of subjective intuition. It is an expression of the accessibility and the binding force of truth: on this its primacy is based. The second toast can be dedicated to the Pope because it is his task to demand obedience to the truth.

I must refrain from speaking of my remarkable journeys to Malta, Portugal and Spain. In these it once again became evident that the faith is not a thing of the past, but an encounter with the God who lives and acts now. He challenges us and he opposes our indolence, but precisely in this way he opens the path towards true joy.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. We set out from this plea for the presence of God’s power in our time and from the experience of His apparent absence. If we keep our eyes open as we look back over the year that is coming to an end, we can see clearly that God’s power and goodness are also present today in many different ways. So we all have reason to thank Him. Along with thanks to the Lord I renew my thanks to all my co-workers. May God grant to all of us a holy Christmas and may He accompany us with His blessings in the coming year.

I entrust these prayerful sentiments to the intercession of the Holy Virgin, Mother of the Redeemer, and I impart to all of you and to the great family of the Roman Curia a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing. Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Somali Insurgents: Obama Must Convert to Islam or Attacks on U.S. Will Come

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN AMERICA? HOW DARE THEY SAY "YOU BE LIKE US OR WE'LL KILL YOU"? THIS IS A RELIGION OF PEACE? IS THIS CONTRIVED TO GIVE OBAMA A "REASON" TO "SAVE" THE USA BY MAKING A "SACRIFICE" TO CONVERT TO ISLAM "FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY"? AND WHAT THEN IF HE DOES? DOES SHAHIRA LAW BECOME THE LAW OF THE LAND? WILL WE BE FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN OUR FAITH AND OUR LIVES? HOW DID "WE THE PEOPLE" LET IT GET THIS FAR????

COMPLACENCY

TOLERANCE
RELATIVISM

GOD HELP US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Published December 27, 2010
MOGADISHU, Somalia -- A leader of Somalia's Islamist insurgency threatened to attack America during a speech broadcast Monday.

"We tell the American President Barack Obama to embrace Islam before we come to his country," said Fuad Mohamed "Shongole" Qalaf.

Al-Shabab has not yet launched an attack outside Africa but Western intelligence has long been worried because the group targeted young Somali-Americans for recruitment. About 20 have traveled to Somalia for training and at least three were used as suicide bombers inside Somalia. Al-Shabab holds most of southern and central Somalia and has the support of hundreds of foreign fighters, mostly radicalized East Africans.

It seeks to overthrow the weak U.N.-backed government, which is protected by 8,000 Ugandan and Burundian African Union peacekeepers.

The al-Shabab militia launched coordinated attacks in Uganda in July that killed 76 people. It has also announced its allegiance to Al Qaeda and is believed to be harboring a mastermind of the twin 2008 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
The radio message was recorded in the town of Afgoye, near the Somali capital, during a meeting of Shongole and Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, formerly the leader of insurgent group Hizbul Islam. The two insurgent groups had clashed several times previously but announced a merger last week. Aweys said his group will fight under al-Shabab's command.


"We have united for the sake of our ideology and we are going to redouble our efforts to remove the government and the African Union from the country," said Aweys on Monday.

In an unrelated development, the Somali information minister said the new Cabinet had approved the use of a private security contractor to train forces in the capital of Mogadishu and the program would start "soon".

Saracen International would train forces for VIP protection, said Abdulkareem Jama. He said he did not know exactly when training would start, what the men's duties would include or how many men would be trained but he said the program included the renovation of a hospital and government buildings.

Somali officials are frequently killed by insurgents, both in single assassinations and en masse in suicide bombings and attacks. The Somali ambassador in Kenya previously said that up to 1,000 men could be trained in the capital for an anti-piracy force and 300 for a presidential guard.
Saracen is already training 1,000 men for an anti-piracy force in the semiautonomous northern region of Puntland.

The program has been criticized by U.S. officials who say it is unclear who is funding it, what its objectives are and whether it breaks a U.N. arms embargo.

Jama said the Somali cabinet had discussed those issues and were satisfied the embargo was not being broken but he did not say who was funding the program.

"There is a need for training," he said. "There was an effort to slow down the project (in Mogadishu) because of those concerns."

The arid Horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government since a socialist dictatorship collapsed in 1991. Its position on the Horn of Africa means pirates can use its long coastline to capture shipping.

Analysts fear that Al Qaeda-linked insurgents are also gaining ground across the Gulf of Aden in the unstable nation of Yemen. If Yemen fell, that would mean failed states on either side of the shipping route leading into the strategically vital Suez Canal, the route taken by a substantial portion of the world's oil shipments.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/27/somali-islamist-insurgents-threaten-attack-627018837/#ixzz19QpCek6l

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Pope Benedict XVI delivers his annual Christmas Day blessing from the Vatican. He urged peace in the Middle East.
Rome, Italy (CNN) -- In his traditional Christmas message delivered Saturday to crowds braving winter's chill, Pope Benedict XVI urged peace in the Middle East and asked for God's comfort upon beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.
The annual "To the City and the World address, known in Latin as "Urbi et Orbi," mentioned other global hot spots.
The pope wished for security in places overcome by conflict like Somalia, Sudan's Darfur region, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula and those nations like Haiti that are grappling with the consequences of disease and natural disaster.
Christmas at the Vatican
"May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence," Benedict said in the speech delivered in 64 languages, from English and Latin to Maori and Maltese.
"May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East," he said.
Violence targeting Christians in Iraq in recent months forced some Iraqi churches to tone down Christmas observances, even canceling Christmas Mass. Many fear an exodus of Christians from that part of the world.
In his message of hope, Benedict also prayed for the perseverance of Christians in communist China.
"May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope," he said.
Tens of thousands of people clutched umbrellas under drizzle and rain to hear the 83-year-old pontiff at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
"May the birth of the Saviour open horizons of lasting peace and authentic progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast); may it promote political and social stability in Madagascar; may it bring security and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and in Pakistan; may it encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula," he said.
This year's Christmas festivities appeared uneventful compared to last year when a woman jumped a barrier and lunged at the pope during Christmas Eve Mass.
Benedict was quickly helped to his feet by his aides and not injured in the incident. The service resumed as the woman was detained by Vatican police and taken to a mental institution.





Pope's Homily for Christmas Eve Mass
The song says: "A Child, A Child shivers in the cold, let us bring Him silver and gold ... " Let us all, on this Christmas Eve and throughout our lives, not give Him what the WORLD considers valuable, but let us give Him what TRULY IS VALUABLE and that which He desires MOST ... our love for Him and for each other. We have but to open our hearts to invite Him in .. He waits always ready to enter! God bless us, yes ... EVERYONE! ;) Merry Christmas and may the New Year be especially kind to us!

The Christmas Birds





Friday, December 24, 2010

What Really Matters?? - Fr. John Corapi

As The World Spins Out Of Control, Remember To Stay Close To Jesus And His Blessed Mother At Christmas Time And At All Times.

The blessed and joyous time of Christmas is here again. Christmas is, of course, the best time to recall that Jesus, the Son of God, in fact was born in a poor stable or cave on a cold night -“for us men, and for our salvation.” Amidst the escalating uncertainty and chaos of the modern world we must sit still for a moment and remember what really matters.

In recent years major corporations have been vaporized in the twinkling of an eye. It’s a sign of the times, but recall that what really matters is that it was the twinkling of a star that led shepherds and wise men to the One who is the Light of the world.

In recent years the biggest accounting firm in the world ceased to be over night. They don’t account for anything today, but it honestly doesn’t matter. What really matters is that on a cold night two millennia ago the God who loves us was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger by the Mother who loves Him.

In recent years the unthinkable has happened–major banks and financial institutions have ceased to be. That doesn’t matter either because the truly unthinkable happened on the first Christmas Eve long ago when the God who always was and will never cease to be came to show us the depth and breadth of His love.

In recent years I have been accused of being a “prophet of doom, and a pessimist.” I can understand this criticism, but it really isn’t true. I am a realist, and as a priest and Catholic/Christian of necessity must share in the prophetic dimension of Christ. The United States, and the entire world for the most part, is in many ways precipitating its own demise. That matters, and we must do all we can to “fight the good fight,” but what truly matters is that state of your soul and mine because in the end that will determine how we live forever, and compared to that nothing else really matters.
Things may go from bad to worse. It may well go from uncomfortable to dangerous to live your Catholic/Christian faith in a world unraveling rapidly due to one bad moral choice after the other. Remember that it will not be the first time if Christians are persecuted, even imprisoned and executed. The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. The Western world is too fat and lazy, in the secular order and even in the religious. Perhaps a jolly good persecution may be what it takes for people to decide to live their faith, rather than go along with what they know to be a sick society.

In any event, don’t let it get you down. Whatever happens, stay close to Jesus and Mary. Remember that our God is not against you. He is for you, and He will be with you through all of the ups and downs of life. He will be with you in sickness and in health; in good times and in bad; and when death comes knocking at our door He will be there to comfort you and lead you safely home. Having fought the good fight and run the race to the finish line, you will surely hear those beautiful words:
“WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT! NOW AT LAST ENTER INTO THE JOY OF YOUR FATHER’S HOUSE.”

A most blessed and merry Christmas and a holy, happy, and healthy New Year to each and all of you!

Fr. John Corapi

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fort Worth transit agency bans faith-based ads

Fort Worth transit agency bans faith-based ads

By Katie Glaeser, CNN
The message from Fort Worth, Texas: no more religious advertisements allowed, at least on its transit system.The pro and anti-religious ad battle has been front and center this holiday season. Atheist groups and the Catholic League had a billboard brawl in New York late last month, and now the fight has reached Texas.
The Board of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) voted unanimously last week to formally adopt an advertising policy for all T property which includes a ban on faith-based ads.
The vote was prompted after a recent ad purchased by The Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason which caused a lot of commotion in town. The ad posted on four buses reads "Millions of Americans are good without God."
Joan Hunter, communications manager for The T, said the decision for the ban was not based on the content of the Coalition's ad, but rather the amount of resources the department had to spare to field concerns in reaction to it.
"The demands on our time to respond and trying to engage us as a public forum was pulling us from focus on the operation of a transit agency and that is our business," Hunter said in an e-mail message to CNN.
The T already had guidelines in place against tobacco and alcohol ads, some local political ads, and those deemed obscene. In a news release, The T says the new policy will "exclude any ads with religious, non-theistic, or faith-based content and all political ads."
"Our policy regarding belief ads that we had was impartial and had worked without interruptions to our time and resources in the past," Hunter said. She also noted there are several other ads posted on their bus fleet right now, including one that says "Jesus is the reason for the season" and another paid for by a Catholic organization.
Terry McDonald, coordinator of the Coalition, said the group's campaign was not scheduled to come out during December. It was being worked on last summer to coincide with a book signing by Harvard humanist chaplain Greg Epstein. When the event fell through, the Coalition thought the title of Epstein's book, "Good Without God," still held an important message.
"The reason for our campaign is to let people who are nonbelievers know about the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason and that has succeeded very, very well," McDonald said.
He said the group didn't expect there to be anywhere near this much publicity but with the media coverage of the controversy the Coalition's affiliates are seeing their memberships increase and they've received donations from across the country.
Kyev Tatum, pastor of Friendship Rock Baptist Church in Fort Worth, called The T Board's vote "a dangerous precedent" because it only took a matter of days for religion to be taken out of public policy. Tatum had called for a boycott of the buses when the controversy began.
"The compromise was worse than what we had before," Tatum said, "because the compromise says Christians can no longer advertise and we don't like that."
Tatum, president of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said his organization's response to the ad is a new campaign called "Better with God." They're hoping to get one million supporters behind the cause.
"They may be good without him," Tatum said, "but we can say they're better with him."
Any current advertising with The T that falls into a banned category will be allowed to remain in place through the remainder of the contract. The Coalition's ads will expire in early January.

Father Bozada: Pray To Be Open To Emmanuel In Our Midst.


My Dear People,

Emmanuel translates, “God with us”. What a beautiful reminder that Our Father in Heaven never leaves us, even when we abandon Him. Jesus, present in all the tabernacles of the world, reigns in our midst. The Holy Spirit comes to live in our very soul. How blessed are we to have the Trinity come to dwell with us. In the manger, the Virgin presents Her Child to us. As we draw close to the stable of Our Lord, may we have a great desire to embrace Him with great love. Such intense love, Our Lady has for Her Son Jesus. Mary teaches us how to cradle the Child Jesus in the manger of our hearts. Pray to be open to Emmanuel in our midst.
Ask Our Blessed Mother to teach you how to welcome the Saviour in our presence.

Entrusting you to the care of Our Lady,
Fr. Mark

As our celebration of Christmas draws nearer, may we be more deeply aware that every gift is from God, and He alone is the owner and ruler of all things.

Phoenix bishop strips hospital of Catholic status over abortion, other ethics violations

 By Benjamin Mann, Staff Writer

.- Citing numerous and ongoing violations of Catholic teaching, including performing an abortion, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has declared that St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center can no longer call itself a Catholic institution.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix
The bishop announced his decision in a press conference at diocesan headquarters Dec. 21. It follows months of negotiations with officials for St. Joseph’s and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West.
These talks, aimed in part at getting the hospital to admit its ethical wrongdoing in performing the abortion, reached an impasse last month. The bishop had given officials a Dec. 17 deadline to reach an understanding. When that date passed, he extended the deadline to Dec. 21.
“They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion,” Bishop Olmstead said in making his announcement.
“Unfortunately,” he said, the talks “have only eroded my confidence about their commitment” to the Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. These directives are a set of standards drawn up by the U.S. bishops to guide treatment in Catholic institutions.
St. Joseph’s continues to maintain that it did nothing wrong in performing an abortion on a woman in November 2009. The woman was 11 weeks pregnant and doctors contended that she had a heart and lung condition that could threaten her life if she carried the child to term. Some of the hospital's medical advisers, including Mercy Sister Margaret McBride, who served on the hospital's ethics board, approved the abortion.
Catholic teaching forbids direct and intentional abortion as the deliberate taking of innocent human life. It holds that abortion is never medically necessary or morally permissible. While a woman may undergo a necessary treatment that could have the unintended effect of killing an unborn child, abortion is never permitted as a form of medical treatment.
Bishop Olmsted declared in May that Sister McBride had incurred an automatic excommunication for her role in recommending the abortion.
At that time, he also entered into negotiations with St. Joseph’s seeking to convince the hospital to admit its wrongdoing and to commit to complying with the Church’s ethical guidelines in the future.
In a letter he wrote this past November that was leaked to the press on Dec. 15, Bishop Olmstead voiced frustration with the hospital’s continued justification of the abortion and its refusal to cooperate with him.
“In effect, you would have me believe that we will merely have to agree to disagree,” he told Catholic Health Care West president Lloyd Dean. “But this resolution is unacceptable, because it disregards my authority and responsibility to interpret the moral law and to teach the Catholic faith as a successor of the Apostles.”
The bishop had been insisting that St. Joseph’s admit to its ethics violation, commit to avoiding abortion under all circumstances, and retrain staff members through an institution of his choosing.
Ultimately, the negotiations failed and Bishop Olmstead said he had concluded that St. Joseph “is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church [and] therefore, this hospital cannot be considered Catholic.”
He said that in the process of the negotiations he had discovered a pattern of serious ethical violations at both St. Joseph’s and in the wider Catholic Healthcare West system in Arizona.
He said the abuses had been going on “throughout my seven years as bishop of Phoenix and far longer.”
He faulted the institutions’ participation in the so-called “Mercy Health Plan,” through which it receives federal and state monies to provide health care services to the poor — including abortion, birth control, and sterilization.
Although St. Joseph's does not provide these services itself, by setting up and managing the conditions under which other hospitals provide these services, St. Joseph’s was “formally cooperating” in these unethical procedures, the bishop charged.
The bishop said that representatives of St. Joseph's and Catholic Healthcare West had acknowledged they understood that their administration and participation in the Mercy Health Plan made them morally responsible for its actions.
In his press conference, Bishop Olmsted also questioned the hospital’s motivations and priorities, noting that revenues from its participation in the Mercy Health Plan will reach nearly $2 billion this year.
For the past 26 years that the plan has been in existence, he said, St. Joseph’s hospital has made more than $100 million per year.
In a statement, St. Joseph’s president Linda Hunt said the hospital was “deeply disappointed” by the bishop’s actions. She again justified the abortion and said the hospital  “will continue through our words and deeds to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus."
With its Catholic identity stripped, St. Joseph will be forced to remove the Eucharist from its chapels, and is prohibited from celebrating Mass at the hospital.
“For seven years now, I have tried to work with St. Joseph's,” the bishop said, “and I have hoped and prayed that this day would never come, that this decree would not be needed.  However, the faithful of the diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice.”
The diocese has launched a new informational website at www.arizonacatholic.org, "to provide information and resources" on St. Joseph's ethics violations and Bishop Olmsted's decision to declare the hospital "no longer Catholic."

BRAVO Bishop Olmsted!!! As sad as it is to have to see this happen it's a joyous occasion to see a Bishop with a strong backbone that loves GOD more than POPULARITY!! Please keep Bishop Olmsted and all other clergy that LIVE THE TRUTH in your prayers, they're in for a rough ride :-(  

12/23/10

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Father Corapi: Do Not Waste Time Or Opportunities This Christmas!

“Be Thankful For The Bread Of Life Who Was Laid In A Manger”

Another Christmas is here. I don’t know about you, but with each passing season I think more of my mortality, and wonder how many Christmas days or any days are left in my allotted time in this life. One of the greatest sorrows, I believe, is to have missed opportunities, to have wasted time. When we think of the unfathomable gift of God’s only Son given to us as a Gift surpassing all gifts, we have to take a moment or two to be thankful. Some days it’s more difficult to be thankful than others. Every November I speak and/or write about our American holiday of Thanksgiving, reminding myself and others of the need to be thankful. Then a few weeks later along comes Christmas. Jesus, the Bread of Life, is laid in a manger (a place where food is placed by higher creatures for lower creatures). Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist, performs this sacred act. It all takes place in Bethlehem, a word that means “House of Bread.”

Eucharist is a word that basically means “thanksgiving” or “to give thanks.” So, every year after Thanksgiving I recall that the ultimate thanks to the Father is Jesus in the Eucharist. This miracle of thanksgiving is foreshadowed in a mysterious way at Christmas when the Mother of Thanksgiving (the Eucharist) lays her only Son (the Bread of Life) in a manger (place where food is set) in the House of Bread (Bethlehem).

For a sad and somewhat mysterious reason an incredible amount of sadness and depression descends upon no small number of people during the holidays. I don’t know if it’s the Devil’s revenge, or just a natural emotional response of millions of people who once knew the warmth of a family and traditional values, but now feel isolated, desolate, lonely, and alienated. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the fragments of broken families are strewn far and wide over the landscape of modern society. We do the best we can, but even I have to admit the holidays are a challenge. Some years I have to consciously and strenuously ignore the secular facet of the holidays and look only at the religious and spiritual. You might say that’s what we expect of a priest. You wouldn’t be wrong, but you have to remember priests are just as human as anyone else.

This year, for the first time in ten years, I will celebrate Christmas without old Sage, my loyal and loving Chesapeake Bay Retriever. There will be one red bow less to put on dogs’ collars, and the empty space in the house and around the house still aches without his presence. Yet, we give thanks for all things great and small, for all creatures great and small, for all blessings and gifts, great and small. Especially we thank God our Father for the greatest gift of all–the gift of His only Son, Jesus in the Eucharist. Emmanuel, God is with us, at Christmas, and forever.

God Bless You,

Father John Corapi, SOLT

Holy Family Radio: Donald De Marco Discusses Ayn Rand

Posted By Lisa Graas on December 18, 2010

Many thanks to Mike Janocik of WLCR 1040, Holy Family Radio, and WLCR marketing director Jennifer Dillman, for sending me the audio file of Mike’s interview with Dr. Donald de Marco. I have put together a video, below. Many times on this blog, I have mentioned Dr. De Marco’s book Architects of the Culture of Death in which twenty-three famed modern philosophers, including Ayn Rand, are noted for their ‘contributions’ to Western culture’s rejection of human dignity. I strongly recommend the book.
In this interview, Dr. De Marco spends thirty minutes explaining the philosophy of Ayn Rand as expressed in her books, public life and personal relationships. The interview took place just two days ago, December 16, 2010, and is presented in the context of the growth in interest for Rand’s philosophy, particularly as a response to the government overreaches of the Obama Administration.
This is a very important interview, particularly for Catholics who may be interested in Ayn Rand. As Dr. DeMarco explains, Rand’s philosophy stands in direct opposition to Christianity, but particularly in stark opposition to the Catholic Faith’s teachings on suffering and redemption, not to mention our role in bringing about a culture of life. That is, a culture that exhibits a profound respect for human dignity.
Mike mentions that he has come into contact with conservative Catholics who appreciate Ayn Rand’s philosophy. The question is, should we reject Ayn Rand outright? Or should we consider her works something worthy of consideration? Dr. De Marco answers the question by merely pointing out the sharp contradictions between Rand’s philosophy and the Catholic Faith.
The video is in four parts, in a YouTube playlist. Click the ‘Play’ arrow and when the first video finishes, click the arrow on the right of the screen to start the next part, if it does not auto-play.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Bishop Olmsted: A Bishop With A Backbone!

“There Cannot Be A Tie In This Debate”

By Susan Brinkman, OCDS
Women of Grace- Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix is planning to strip a local medical center of its Catholic status tomorrow if it does not meet his demands to guarantee compliance with Church teachings.
The Arizona Republic is reporting that Bishop Olmsted sent a letter on Nov. 22 to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, the same hospital where Sister Margaret McBride gave approval for an abortion to be performed on a woman allegedly suffering from pulmonary hypertension last year. In the letter, the bishop is demanding that the hospital comply with Catholic health-care rules, educate its medical staff on those rules, and acknowledge what is the correct Church position on the abortion that took place. If the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), does not agree to these demands by tomorrow, he will strip the facility of its Catholic status.
“There cannot be a tie in this debate,” Olmsted wrote. “Until this point in time, you have not acknowledged my authority to settle this question…”
“Your actions communicate to me that you do not respect my authority to authentically teach and interpret moral law in this diocese,” he writes. (Emphasis added.)
If our bishops had shown such firm resolve dealing with predator priests who raped adolescent boys, there is no telling what better repair Holy Church would be in these days. God grant us more bishops like Olmstead.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Does Jesus Offend Anyone you know?

Everyone knows someone that is offended by our Lord .. many today refuse to even discuss His Holy Name. Michael lends some insight as to why ... we need to pray and do penance for our family, friends and all those we hold dear, that they may be made to see, hear and LIVE the TRUTH that is JESUS!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How Tragic” That Many Catholic Universities “Exemplify Secularism


Cardinal Raymond L. Burke
Boston, Mass (CNA)- The authentically Catholic university helps students resist “secularist dictatorship” by keeping Jesus Christ at the center of its mission and by exposing the moral bankruptcy of contemporary culture, Cardinal Raymond Burke said Dec. 4.
The cardinal’s comments came in an address at St. Thomas More College’s annual President’s Council Dinner, held Dec. 4 at the Harvard Club of Boston.
In a lengthy discussion of the nature of Catholic higher education, he said that a Catholic university faithful to its identity will help students give an account of their faith and help them resist “the secularist dictatorship which would exclude all religious discourse from the professions and from public life in general.”
He also declared Jesus Christ, the “fullness” of God’s revelation, as “the first and chief teacher at every institution of Catholic higher education.”
“A Catholic college or university at which Jesus Christ alive in His Church is not taught, encountered in the Sacred Liturgy and its extension through prayer and devotion, and followed in a life of virtue is not worthy of the name,” he told attendees.
Jesus’ presence is not something “extraneous” to the pursuit of truth because he alone inspires and guides professors and students to remain faithful in their pursuits and not “fall prey to the temptations which Satan cleverly offers to corrupt us.”
Cardinal Burke lamented the fall of many American Catholic colleges and universities that have become “Catholic in name only.”
Citing Pope John Paul II’s ad limina address to the U.S. bishops of New York, he said that the service of Catholic universities “depends on the strength of their Catholic identity.” The Catholic university was born from “the heart of the Church” and has been “critical” to meeting the challenges of the time.
The Catholic university is needed more than ever in a society “marked by a virulent secularism which threatens the integrity of every aspect of human endeavor and service,” he said.
How tragic that the very secularism which the Catholic university should be helping its students to battle and overcome has entered into several Catholic universities, leading to the grievous compromise of their high mission,” he commented.
The American-born cardinal said that rather than exemplifying secularism, the Catholic university’s manner of study and research should “manifest the bankruptcy of the abuse of human life and human sexuality � and the bankruptcy of the violation of the inviolable dignnity of human life, of the integrity of marriage, and of the right order of our relationship to one another and to the world.”
This bankruptcy is “the trademark of our culture, a culture of violence and death,” he charged. Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, he said the mission of the Catholic university is “to develop a society truly worthy of the human person’s dignity.”
The Bishop’s Role
Cardinal Burke also described the kind of relationship that should exist between the local bishop and a Catholic university. The “noble mission” of the university, he said, can only be accomplished within the Church, and the local bishop should be able to depend upon the Catholic university as a partner in meeting the challenges of evangelization, in teaching the faith, and in celebrating the liturgy.
He criticized as “totally anomalous” the situation in which the Catholic university views the bishop as “a suspect or outright unwelcome partner in the mission of Catholic higher education.”
On the issues of creating curricula and hiring professors, Cardinal Burke advised “special care,” noting the poor religious formation of many young Catholics.
Given the religious illiteracy which marks our time and in fidelity to the seriousness with which university studies should be undertaken, there is really no place for engaging in speculative theology and certainly no time to waste on superficial and tendentious theological writings of the time,” the cardinal contended.
He questioned why students should be engaged in discussions about the ordination of women as priests when they already have little knowledge of the “consistent teaching” of the Holy Scriptures and Catholic Tradition on the priesthood.
He closed his remarks by praying that St. Thomas More College will form its graduates to cultivate “the divine wisdom and truth” and always to place truth and love first.
“My reflection is offered to assist us all in seeking always first the truth and love by which we serve others and our world well by serving God first,” he said.
In an e-mail to CNA, St. Thomas More College president William Fahey characterized Cardinal Burke’s speech as “a kind of authoritative gloss on Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” John Paul II’s encyclical on Catholic higher education.
In his own remarks at the President’s Council Dinner, Fahey characterized the New Hampshire college as “small by design” like the U.S. Marine Corps. He stressed the college’s Catholic identity and its commitment to the New England region, asking for help and prayers to support a growing student body.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Father Bozada: Make Your Heart A Living Stable For The Infant Christ

Gaudete Sunday reminds us that we are to “rejoice” because the Lord’s coming is at hand. In a very short while, we will behold Our Saviour in the manger. Jesus comes to save us from our sins. As a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, Jesus reaches out to all of us. Who could reject a little infant, warm and inviting? This warm welcome from Our Saviour is extended to all mankind. This Christmas, take time to come before the Christ Child. Even better yet, pray the eight day novena to the Infant in the Manger as a preparation for Christmas. In this beautiful novena, ask Jesus to reign in your home and heart. What better way to begin the New Year, than to have the Child Jesus living in the stable of your heart. Like the Holy Shepherds, be pure and simple. Your Christmas can then be one to remember for years to come.

Entrusting you to the care of Our Lady,
Fr. Mark
May we always welcome the Child Jesus into the manger of our heart and soul. Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Eight Day Novena prayer to the Christ Child


O Holy Son of God, You became a man, in order to make Yourself known by mankind. But where is the love that men give to You in return?
You have given Your Precious Blood to save our souls. Why then is that man is so ungrateful for such a gift? And I, too, have returned such ingratitude.
I love you, O precious Infant in the Manger, O Word Incarnate, make me grateful for Your Infinite and Divine Mercy. Allow me to look upon You in the crib surrounded by such simple gifts of nature. Grant that I may always have the desire to be so pure and simple of heart. AMEN
(1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Glory Be to be prayed after each novena offering)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catholic colleges must combat secularism, says Cardinal Burke in Boston



BOSTON -- "The name 'Catholic' accepts no qualifiers," Cardinal Raymond Burke said in his first public address since elevated to join the College of Cardinals on Nov. 20.

His comment was met with resounding applause from supporters of Thomas More College in Merrimack, N.H. at their annual President's Council Dinner. The event was held at the Harvard Club in Boston on Dec. 4th.

Cardinal Burke has served as prefect of the Vatican's supreme court, the Apostolic Signatura, since 2008 and was archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis before that.

Known for speaking with conviction about moral issues, most often the protection of the dignity of human life, Cardinal Burke has announced publicly that he would deny Communion to Catholic politicians who take positions contrary to Church teaching. He has also stated that Catholics can never vote for a candidate who advocates an absolute right to abortion.

To a culture full of ambiguity and moral relativism, Burke speaks decisively about right and wrong.

He told those gathered at the Thomas More College dinner to be wary of Catholic organizations that brand their names with adjectives and modifying phrases. He lamented the practice of many colleges qualifying their identity, calling themselves things like "Catholic university in the Franciscan or Jesuit tradition." This 'tradition' has little to do with the great tradition of the universal Church, he said.

The name Catholic has its full authentication, he added.

Secularism in the United States has created a "culture of violence and death" that denies the dignity of human life, integrity of marriage and right order of relationships between people. Now more than ever, the Church needs Catholic institutions of higher learning to form their students in the faith properly, he said.

"At the Catholic university, the very manner of study and research should manifest the bankruptcy of the abuse of human life and human sexuality which has come to be standard on many university campuses," he said. "How tragic that the very secularism which a Catholic university should be helping its students to battle and overcome has entered into several Catholic universities, leading to the grievous compromise of their high mission."

One of the first things every Catholic college must address is the "prevalent and utterly destructive error of our time that somehow faith is contradicted by reason," he said.

Students must be equipped to address the truth in their personal lives and society so that they will be able to resist the "secularist dictatorship" that seeks to exclude all religious discourse from the professions and from public life, he said.

In a time marked by religious illiteracy, when many young Catholics are poorly catechized, Catholic schools must teach scripture and tradition. Students must study the fathers of the Church and approved theologians -- above all St. Thomas Aquinas.

"There is really no place for engaging in speculative theology and certainly no time to waste on superficial and tendentious theological writing of the time. What sense does it make, for example, to engage students in the discussion of the possibility of the addition of women to Holy Orders when the students have little or no knowledge of the consistent teaching of the scriptures and tradition on the holy priesthood and on the reservation of priestly ordination to men?" he said.

Cardinal Burke stressed that the primary instructor at every Catholic university must be Jesus Christ. Christ who is alive in his Church must be taught, encountered in the liturgy and followed by leading a life of virtue. Otherwise, the school is not worthy of the name Catholic, he said.

"The presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the campus of the college and university is not something additional to or even extraneous to the pursuit of truth. It is rather he alone who can inspire, guide and discipline the professors and students so that they remain faithful in the pursuit and do not fall prey to the temptation which Satan cleverly offers to corrupt us every time we set out to obtain a great good," he said.

Burke said Catholic colleges "nurture the soul of our nation" and praised the great work of Thomas More College in particular. The school imparts a truly Catholic education to which "students and professors grow in their love of Christ."

Dr. William Fahey, president of Thomas More College, spoke with pride about the institution. The college was ranked 7th in the category "most Catholic institutions" out of the nation's 235 Catholic universities by the journal First Things. It is number one in New England.

Fahey added that it is one of 20 Catholic undergraduate institutions in the United States that conform to all requirements of Canon Law, including maintaining a majority of Catholics on the board and requiring faculty to make a profession of faith and fidelity.
By courtesy of The Pilot

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Conception


There are very few people I've heard speak more eloquently than this Brother :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

China to choose Catholic heads; Vatican ties tense

BEIJING (AP) — China's bishops opened a meeting Tuesday to choose leaders of the government-backed Catholic church amid tensions with the Vatican after it denounced the recent ordination of a bishop who did not have the pope's approval.
The meeting in Beijing to elect new heads of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the Council of Chinese Bishops will be another source of friction because the Vatican disapproves of such assemblies, saying both organizations run counter to Catholic doctrine.
If clerics more interested in shoring up Communist Party control are elected into top positions, it will likely hinder the tentative efforts at outreach made by Pope Benedict XVI.
Chinese authorities also are pressuring some bishops to attend the Beijing meeting, a Vatican-affiliated agency said.
Ties between China and the Vatican already were strained because of a dispute over the Nov. 20 ordination of Rev. Joseph Guo Jincai as bishop. The Vatican also slammed Chinese authorities for forcing Vatican-approved bishops to attend that ordination ceremony.
Communist China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, although millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome.
The National Congress of Chinese Catholic Representatives runs until Thursday and will be attended by bishops, priests and believers, said Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Patriotic Association, which supervises the Catholic church, including overseeing the appointment of all of China's bishops.
"It's just an election of a new round of leadership, like the election of the leadership of the National People's Congress," Liu said, referring to the country's rubberstamp legislature. He declined further comment.
The Patriotic Association has for years been a stumbling block to formal ties between the Holy See and Beijing. Run by hard-liners, it does Beijing's bidding, not the Vatican's.
The last chairman of the Patriotic Association, Bishop Fu Tieshan, was a hard-liner who clashed with Rome over Beijing's right to independently appoint bishops without papal approval and the Vatican's diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.
Ahead of the conclave, Chinese police sought out at least two bishops in an effort to ensure their attendance, according to AsiaNews, a Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency that closely covers the church in China.
Monsignor Feng Xinmao, bishop of Hengshui, a city in Hebei, was removed from his official residence despite efforts by parishioners and priests to hold back officers, AsiaNews said. He was then taken to an isolated location outside the city southwest of Beijing, it said.
Separately, the bishop of Hebei's Cangzhou city, Monsignor Li Lianggui, had gone into hiding, leading police to say they may issue a nationwide arrest warrant, AsiaNews said.
The meeting has been put off a few times in recent years, perhaps due to the Vatican's objections, said Anthony Lam, a researcher at the church-affiliated Holy Spirit Study Center in Hong Kong. "They know they cannot postpone it forever, so they are trying to do it now as a low-key event," he said.
The two organizations' top positions have been vacant since Bishop Fu's death in 2007. He was head of the Patriotic Association from 1998 and served as acting head of the Bishops' Conference for about two years. Fu's simultaneous control of both bodies underscored the government's tight grip on the official church.
Lam said that despite the recent setback, Beijing still wants to normalize ties with the Vatican.
"For them, a harmonious situation is one of the most important things now in China and so if they can give certain degree of freedom to the church people in return for their loyalty, they would like to do that," Lam said.
Calls to police, government religious affairs bureaus, and Catholic churches in Hengshui and Cangzhou either rang unanswered or were answered by people who said they either had no information or were not authorized to comment. Staff at the Patriotic Association in Beijing said they could not receive telephoned inquiries and Vice Chairman Liu's mobile phone was shut off.
The meeting also comes as about 100 Catholic students at a seminary in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei, ended a two-week strike over the appointment of a government official as vice rector of the school, the Bangkok-based Union of Catholic Asian News said. Provincial authorities withdrew the appointment, prompting students to return to classes.
In recent years under Benedict, China-Vatican relations have improved and Benedict has said that restoring diplomatic relations with Beijing is a priority. Disputes over appointments in China's official church have been avoided by quietly conferring on candidates, leading to several ordinations of bishops with the Holy See's blessing.
The ordination of Rev. Guo was the first without papal approval in almost five years, and the Holy See had warned reconciliation efforts would be set back if bishops were forced to attend.
The Vatican blasted the government for allowing the Patriotic Association, and in particular vice chairman Liu, "to adopt attitudes that gravely damage the Catholic Church."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saint Anthony of Saint Anne Galvão


Last October, a Catholic mother of four was ecstatic when she learned she was pregnant with her fifth child.  However, when she went to the doctor to get an ultrasonic first glimpse of the child, she received the dreaded news that there was no baby in her womb. Furthermore, hormonal tests seemed to indicate that she was no longer with child.

Devastated, she returned home. Her pro-life doctor was so certain of a miscarriage, he told her to come back in a week to schedule a D&C.

At home, she called her oldest brother and told him the sad news. Her brother had traveled many times to Brazil and knew the story of the then-Blessed Galvão. He knew that during the saint’s life, he had cured a woman who was dying in child birth by having her swallow a small piece of paper, on which he had written: “Post Partem Virgo, Inviolata Permansisti, Intercede Pro Nobis Sancta Dei Genetrix.” (It is a Latin phrase taken from the hour of Sext in the Little Office of Our Lady, meaning: “After giving birth, O Virgin, Thou remained inviolate, Intercede for us Holy Mother of God.”)

He told his sister the story, explaining that it had become customary for devotees to swallow similar parchments, when asking favors from the saint. In fact, the nuns of Saint Galvão’s convent still make little parchments with the same text printed on them, put them in capsules and distribute them to the faithful. (In fact, during 2006, 90,000 such pills were consumed each month. After the announcement of the saint’s canonization, that number increased to 140,000.)

She was little consoled, but decided to give it a try. Since she did not have time to order the “pills” from Brazil, she simply wrote the phrase on a small piece of paper and swallowed it.

The next week, when she went in for a final check up and to schedule the D&C, her doctor, being pro-life, decided to take another ultrasonic look. Happily he looked up at the mother and asked: “Do you believe in little miracles?”

“I believe in little miracles and big ones too,” she replied.

He said: “Good, because you have a perfectly healthy and full-size baby boy in your womb.”

Overcome with emotion, the mother returned home. A couple of weeks later, she learned that Father Galvão was due to be canonized shortly before her delivery date. Full of gratitude, the family celebrated the saint’s canonization and decided to name the child Anthony, in honor of the saint they believe saved him.

Such stories are common. The nuns at Saint Galvão’s convent keep a tally of the written testimonials of special graces received through the saint’s intercession. The numbers for the years 1930 to 1990 are as follows:

37,673 graces received
7,028 cures
2,702 safe births
332 kidney stones safely passed
123 conversions

Saint Galvão’s prodigious assistance from Heaven is not surprising to those familiar with his life.

The Story of a Saint
Friar Galvão as priest, painting by
unknown author (circa 1850)

Anthony Galvão was born in 1739 in the village of Guaratinguetá. His father, also named Anthony, belonged to an illustrious Portuguese family and was well educated, as evidenced by his writings. He excelled in business, the military and public administration, leading him to serve well as the village mayor.

His mother, Doña Isabel Leite de Barros, came from Pindamonhangaba in São Paulo State, Brazil. She descended from aristocratic stock on both her paternal and maternal sides. Her great-great grandfather was a famous leader named Fernão Dias Paes Leme, known as the “Emerald Governor.”

Homelife
Anthony was the forth of ten children. Three died in their infancy and the other six married and left many descendents.

However, Anthony always felt inclined to the religious life. At the young age of 13, he left the family home to pursue priestly studies at the Jesuit “Belém Seminary” in Bahia, where he remained for the next five years. While there, he received an excellent formation.

Shortly thereafter, he became a novice in the Franciscan monastery of Saint Bonaventure of Macacu, in the capital of Rio de Janeiro. In religious life, he adopted the name: Friar Anthony of Saint Anne Galvão, as a sign of his devotion to Our Lady and because Saint Anne was his family’s patroness.

Priestly Ordination and Slavery to Mary
He was ordained a priest in 1762, even before he had finished the regular courses of philosophy and theology. This showed the confidence his superiors placed in his virtues and cultural formation.

After ordination, he was sent to São Paulo, where he spent several years finishing his studies and graduated, with highest honors.

As he grew and matured, his devotion to Our Lady increased. In 1766, he consecrated himself as a slave of Mary. Although this devotion was systematized and developed by Saint Louis de Montfort, who had died fifty years earlier, his writings were not yet known.

Nevertheless, the same devotion had been practiced by Sister Agnes of Saint Paul, a Spanish Conceptionist nun, and had gained papal recognition a century before Saint Louis de Montfort.

Almost immediately, many famous historic figures began practicing slavery to Our Lady, such as: Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II and his wife, King Philip III and his wife Margarida, Austrian archduke Albert and his wife Elizabeth and, of course, Father Anthony Galvão.

Preacher, Confessor and Apostle
In 1768, he finished his obligatory studies and the provincial chapter of his order named him “preacher, confessor of the people and porter of Saint Francis’ Monastery in São Paulo.”

He extended his apostolate, by walking to all the cities surrounding São Paulo. Throughout the region he was known and admired for his virtues.

In 1770, he was named confessor of the Retreat House of Saint Theresa. While there, he met Sister Helen Mary of the Blessed Sacrament, who had spent many years living in austerity with the community.

During this time, she received visions from Our Lord, Who commanded her to found a new retreat house in São Paulo, where ladies would live as religious, without taking vows. She confided this to Father Anthony and asked his advice.

Balanced and prudent, he was slow to approve of the project. He carefully examined all the circumstances surrounding the supposed apparitions, analyzed Sister Helen’s psychology and recommended that she take much care, so as not to be fooled by the devil.

After much study and thought, he concluded that Sister Helen’s visions were authentic and therefore that the construction of the new house was the will of God. Since he was suspicious of his own judgment, he consulted other clerics who were well known for their wisdom and learning. Unanimously, they agreed with Father Galvão’s decision.

Foundation of the Retreat House Despite Difficulties
However, construction of a new retreat house seemed impossible. The impious Marquis of Pombal was then a highly influential minister of the Portuguese King Joseph I. He influenced the sovereign to prohibit the foundation of any new convents in all Portugal’s lands, which of course included Brazil.

Neither Sister Helen nor Father Anthony recoiled before these seemingly insuperable obstacles, but rather both busied themselves in the project, convinced that if it were truly God’s will, the retreat house would eventually become a reality.

Sister Helen wrote a letter to the Governor of São Paulo, Dom Luiz Antonio de Souza Botelho e Mourão, a noble and pious man. In it, she outlined her plans for the retreat house and asked for his support.

A month later, he responded and pledged all the construction costs. He saw the project as a means of honoring his family’s two special patrons, Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Delight.

Thus, his pledge was made on the conditions that: the retreat house would have perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Delight would be made the institution’s patroness and the “nuns” would pray for two intentions: the eternal salvation of he and his family and that he would always remain in the service of God, the King and those for whom he was responsible.

A Shrewd Governor
Attaining Portuguese approval for the project was the next challenge the governor faced. The way he conducted himself, demonstrated the flexibility and shrewdness for which Brazilians are known. He drafted the proposal and sent it to Portugal in a package full of other governmental documents, hoping it would be overlooked.

His hopes were realized when the response came with no mention of the retreat house. Unknowingly, the government in Lisbon had given tacit approval for the project.

Even before governmental permission had been secured, however, the community had been informally established. Sister Helen came to be called Mother Helen Mary of the Holy Ghost and eight young ladies lived a conventual life with her on the site of the future retreat house.

One year later, Mother Helen died in the odor of sanctity. It was a great blow for the aborning community.

The Retreat House Is Closed
Losing their foundress was by no means the least of the “nuns’” problems, but neither was it the worst. In June, Governor Luiz’s administration came to an end and a wicked man named Martim Lopes de Saldanha replaced him. Governor Saldanha despised the new community.

One of his first acts as governor was to persuade the bishop to order its closure. The weak bishop conceded to his wishes and ordered Father Galvão to board up the building. Everything seemed lost.

Father Galvão, always obedient to his superiors, celebrated Mass for the “nuns” on June 29, 1775 and after giving them Holy Communion, told them the sad news with calm and resignation. His attitude, in face of the apparent ruin of his life’s work, justifies the epitaph that describes him on his tombstone, which reads: “He always held his soul in his hands.”

Heroic Resistance
Nevertheless, true obedience does not mean one must be a drone. Perhaps it was the formation Father Galvão had given the “nuns” that taught them this lesson. They analyzed the Bishop’s order and, seeing that it only commanded them to close the house, but not disband, all but three secretly continued to live as religious behind the boarded windows and doors.

Doing so required heroic confidence. They had no food or water on the premises and could not ask help from anyone outside their walls lest their presence be betrayed, which would almost certainly provoke the bishop to disband them.

They lived in this desperate situation for over a month. During this time, Providence provided for them in a spectacular manner that is described in the convent’s chronicles:

    The amount of work was tremendous. They endured hunger and miseries, maintaining the absolute resolve to remain…They ate without flour or salt, abandoning themselves entirely to Providence. After some time, even their benefactors from the city gave up hope that they were there, since all the doors were shut and the convent showed no signs of life.

    However, God, Whose Providence especially protects those who serve Him with constancy, manifested His love, sustaining them with His grace and working miracles, two of which are described below.

    The first was when the “nuns,” having spent several days without water, resolved to implore God’s mercy. They met in the choir and began to pray, fervently. Immediately, the sky clouded over and began to thunder. A torrential rain began and continued until all the vessels they had in the house were filled. Shortly afterwards, the rain stopped.

    The other miracle involved a strawberry patch that was within the walls. The “nuns” ate all the tender leaves and shoots that grew, since they had no other food. Nevertheless, the patch grew so much and produced such an amount of fruit that the “nuns” were not able to eat it all…many strawberries were left out to rot.

   Our Lord did not leave them in this state of desperation for long. In less than two months, the bishop lifted the ban on the retreat house and the community again began to prosper.

Providential Help: The Viceroy’s Support
The retreat house, which became know as the “Convent of Light,” was not destined to suffer persecution for the whole of Father Galvão’s life. The Portuguese viceroy, who had jurisdiction over São Paulo’s governor, was favorable to the convent. When he heard of its closing by Gov. Martim, he immediately sent a letter, reprimanding the politician.

While this eased the pressure against the retreat house, it hardly assuaged the persecution the governor waged against Father Galvão. Shortly thereafter, the minister unjustly condemned a soldier to death. Saint Anthony pointed out the injustice and united his voice to many others in protest. The proud governor condemned Father Galvão to exile and ordered him to leave immediately for Rio de Janeiro.

As always, Father Anthony held his soul in his hands and immediately prepared for departure, without a word of complaint. However, before he left the city, the citizens of São Paulo rose up to defend him.

They threateningly circled the governmental palace and obliged Gov. Martim to rescind Father Anthony’s sentence. When he did so, the saint calmly unpacked and continued his ministry in São Paulo. In 1782, Governor Martim left office and the public authorities never again persecuted the Convent of Light.

Saint Anthony, the Miracle Worker
No report on Saint Galvão’s life would be complete without narrating some of the many miracles he performed. These marvels were often subtle. For example: on a trip he made through the Brazilian countryside, he arranged to stay the night with a couple he had befriended.

This couple was having marital problems and argued incessantly. When time for bed arrived, the couple directed the saint to his room, but when he approached it he stopped and refused to enter. Pointing to the master bedroom, he said: “I must sleep in that room.”

Taken aback, the couple agreed, all went to sleep and the next morning, Saint Galvão moved on to another city. Much to the couple’s delight, from that day on they never argued again.

Other wonders were less subtle. As is often the case with founders, he was gifted with discernment of the thoughts and souls of others. Once, going to procure donations for the convent, he traveled to the house of a well-known rich man in another city. A drifter, who knew of the saint, but was not yet convinced of his virtue, saw him approach the house and thought silently to himself: “Father Galvão just arrived and already he is going to adulate the rich.”

Immediately, Saint Anthony turned around and said: “My brother, do not rash judge me. I am not going to adulate the rich, but merely ask this man for a donation for my convent.”

The astonished transient left, no longer doubting the priest’s sanctity.

In addition, Saint Anthony was known to levitate during prayer and bi-locate to bring the sacraments to the dying.

Architect, Engineer, Superintendent and Manual Worker
After the persecutions of the Convent of Light ceased, Saint Anthony dedicated himself to finishing construction on the convent and its chapel and spiritually forming the community.

He wrote the “nuns” a rule of life that they continued to use until 1929, when they received official Vatican approval and joined the Conceptionist order.

The construction work was another matter. All in all, Saint Anthony dedicated 48 years to building the chapel and convent. During that time, he served as architect, engineer, superintendent and manual laborer.

Saint Anthony died in 1822, before the completion of the church’s tower. While suffering in his final illness, he designed the tower and wrote its architectural plans on the wall of his sickroom.

He was buried in the beautiful chapel of the Convent of Light that he had spent his life constructing. During life, he maintained strict poverty for himself and his “nuns.” However, he spared no expense in building the House of God. He constructed the Church of the finest materials and richly decorated it.

The magnificent complex still stands today, where pilgrims visit the shrine and beg favors while venerating the saint’s remains.

This article is a summary of an article published in the monthly Brazilian magazine Catolicismo by Armando Alexandre dos Santos. It was translated, edited and summarized by Michael Whitcraft, who also added several sections and facts. All this was done without the author’s revision. All facts herein contained come from this Catolicismo article and the book, Frei Galvão, Bandeirante de Cristo (Portuguese), written in 1954 by Maristela.

Some Facts about the "Pills" and the Novena

These tiny pills, made out of rice paper, bear words that read, in Latin, “Post partum Virgo, inviolata permansisti, Dei Genitrix, intercede pro nobis” (After birth, the Virgin remained intact, Mother of God, intercede on our behalf) and are associated with numerous miraculous healings as well as the intercession of Friar Galvao. They are the prime devotional example of Friar Galvao's significant reputation as a healing saint, and for that reason they deserve some study and background.

[The pills are] assembled in five locations around Sao Paulo state, including by women in Galvao's hometown of Guaratingueta, who gather every afternoon in a room above the local cathedral. The pills also are made by cloistered nuns at the Convent of Light in Sao Paulo, where Galvao died in 1832 at age 83.

Believers swallow three seed-sized pills over nine days, during which they recite the prayer printed on the paper.

The monk started the tradition of the pills in the late 18th century when he wrote his famous prayer on three pieces of paper in Sao Paulo and asked a woman who was having a difficult pregnancy to eat them. She reportedly went on to give birth to a healthy child. Demand for the pills surged.Things get even more interesting because both of the two documented cases of miraculous healings that were used in Galvao's canonization process involved the consumption of the his pills.

NOVENA TO FRIAR GALVÃO
Prayer to the Holy Trinity:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore, praise and thank Thee for the benefits which Thou hast done for me. I beseech Thee, for all that thy Servant Friar Antonio de Santanna Galvão suffered and accomplished, that Thou increase my faith, hope and charity and deign grant me the grace that I ardently desire. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.
Say the Prayer to the Holy Trinity for nine days. Take three pills during the novena: one on the first day, another on the fifth day, and another on the last day of the novena.

Saint Friar Galvão
Born 1739
Guaratinguetá, Brazil
Died December 23, 1822
São Paulo, Brazil
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 8 April 1997, Rome by Pope John Paul II
Canonized 11 May 2007, São Paulo by Pope Benedict XVI
Major shrine Monastery of Light, São Paulo
Feast 11 May