Sunday, November 25, 2012

Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Plenary Indulgence if recited publicly today on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe ... a partial Indulgence if recited piously:

Most Sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united to Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates ourselves today to Thy Most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known Thee; Many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful children, who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children, who have abandoned Thee; Grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by the erroneous opinions of whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound  from pole to pole with one cry; praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; To It be glory and honor forever.  Amen.

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. It is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. On this day, we contemplate the kingship of Jesus our Redeemer. Blessed John Paul II said that “if it is assessed according to the criteria of this world, Jesus’ kingship can appear ‘paradoxical’. Indeed, the power he exercises does not fit into earthly logic. On the contrary, his is the power of love and service that requires the gratuitous gift of self and the consistent witness to the truth (cf. John 18, 37).” In this Sunday’s Gospel, we will hear Saint John’s account of Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus before the sentence of crucifixion. Pontius Pilate asks Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers: “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” He then goes on to answer Pilate’s subsequent question “Then you are a king?” by stating “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 

This dialogue between Pilate and Jesus reminds us that Our Lord’s kingship is real, yet it is unlike political kingship. He did not come to rule over peoples and territories. For Him, to reign was to serve! His throne was the cross where He revealed His power, the power of love. 

With this power, Christ the King set people free from the slavery of sin and reconciled them to God the Father. 
Throughout His earthly life, Jesus witnessed to the truth that God is love. On Calvary, He witnessed this truth to the full with the sacrifice of His own life. He conquered Satan, the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has spoken of the power of Christ the King in this way: “It is not the power of the kings or the great people of this world; it is the divine power to give eternal life, to liberate from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of Love that can draw good from evil, that can melt a hardened heart, bring peace amid the harshest conflict and kindle hope in the thickest darkness.” Jesus told Pilate that He came into the world to bear witness to the truth. During this Year of Faith, we are called to embrace this truth more deeply. When we embrace this truth, the truth of the Gospel, the truth of Jesus, the truth of Love, we are not guaranteed success in this world. Remember, Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world. But we are assured of the peace and joy that only Christ can give us. 

This is a lesson we learn from the lives of the saints and martyrs of the Church. In this Year of Faith, the Church invites us to be renewed in our faith in Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, and to be authentically converted to Him. He alone gives us true life. He alone is our salvation. We need to be ardent witnesses of the faith to those who do not believe or whose faith has grown lukewarm. We are witnesses when we follow and imitate the King who reigned through self-giving love and service. Following Christ in our increasingly secularized world can entail great sacrifices, but our faith in Him strengthens us and frees us from all our fears and insecurities so that we can live in freedom and happiness. We gather in our churches this Sunday, as we do every Sunday, to worship Christ our King. We celebrate the memorial of His death and resurrection. The King of the Universe comes to us under the humble forms of bread and wine to nourish us with His true Body and Blood. 

Our Eucharistic King strengthens us to overcome evil with good, and hatred and violence with forgiveness and love. It is our choice whether or not we wish to accept and serve a king whose kingship is not based on human power, but on loving and serving others. When Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925, he wanted to remind Christians that their allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly supremacy claimed by dictators at that time. In our day, we need this reminder that our first allegiance must be to Christ the King, especially as we face the temptations of our growing culture of secularism and relativism. Our promotion and defense of religious liberty is also vitally important so that we are indeed free to serve our King through the Church’s many ministries of service in society. From the Cross, our King pours out his gifts upon humanity of all times and places. We praise and thank Him for freeing us from the slavery of sin and the dominion of death. May we serve, honor, and obey Him in our daily lives! May Christ’s peace reign in your hearts! 

taken from: Today's Catholic News

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On the Coming of the Son of Man

"He is the Central Event That, in the Midst of the Troubles of the World, Remains the Firm and Stable Point"

Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before and after praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square.
Dear brothers and sisters!

On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, Jesus’ discourse about the end times (in technical terms, his “eschatological” discourse) is proclaimed at Mass (cf. Mark 13:24-32). This discourse is also found, with some variations, in Matthew and Luke, and it is probably the most difficult text in the Gospels.
This difficulty derives both from the content and the language: Jesus speaks of a future that is beyond our categories, and because of this Jesus uses images and words taken from the Old Testament, but, importantly, he inserts a new center, namely, himself, the mystery of his person and his death and resurrection. Today’s passage too opens with some cosmic images of an apocalyptic nature: “The sun will be darkened, the moon will no longer give its light, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers in the skies will be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25); but this element is relativized by what follows: “Then the Son of Man will come upon the clouds in the sky with great power and glory” (13:26). The “Son of Man” is Jesus himself, who links the present with the future; the ancient words of the prophets have finally found a center in the person of the Messiah of Nazareth: he is the central event that, in the midst of the troubles of the world, remains the firm and stable point.
Another passage from today’s Gospel confirms. Jesus says: “The sky and the earth will pass away but my words will not pass away” (13:31). In fact, we know that in the Bible the word of God is at the origin of creation: all creatures, starting with the cosmic elements – sun, moon, sky – obey God’s Word, they exist insofar as they are “called” by it. This creative power of the divine Word (“Parola”) is concentrated in Jesus Christ, the Word (“Verbo”) made flesh, and also passes through his human words, which are the true “sky” that orients the thought and path of man on earth. For this reason Jesus does not describe the end of the world and when he uses apocalyptic images he does not conduct himself like a “visionary.” On the contrary, he wants to take away the curiosity of his disciples in every age about dates and predictions and wishes instead to give them a key to a deep, essential reading, and above all to indicate the right path to take, today and tomorrow, to enter into eternal life. Everything passes – the Lord tells us – but God’s Word does not change, and before this Word each of us is responsible for his conduct. It is on this basis that we will be judged.
Dear friends, even in our times there is no lack of natural calamities, nor, unfortunately, of war and violence. Today too we need a stable basis for our life and our hope, much more because of the relativism in which we are immersed. May the Virgin help us to accept this center in the Person of Christ and in his Word.
[Following the recitation of the Angelus the Holy Father greeted those gathered in St. Peter’s Square in various languages. In Italian he said:]
Dear brothers and sisters!
Yesterday in Pergamino, Argentina María Crescencia Pérez of the Congregation the Figlie di Maria Santissima dell’Orto (Daughters of Mary Most Holy of the Garden) was declared blessed. She lived in the first half of last century and is a model of evangelical sweetness animated by faith. Let us praise the Lord for her witness!
[In English he said:]
I greet all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present for today’s Angelus. This Sunday, as the liturgical year draws to a close, Jesus tells us that although heaven and earth will pass away, his words will remain. Let us pledge ourselves to build our lives more and more on the solid foundation of his holy word, the true source of life and joy.
[Concluding in Italian he said:]
I wish everyone a good Sunday. Thank you. Have a good Sunday. Have a good week. Goodbye.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]

Festive Christmas Rosary

This is not up on the website. If you are interested in this rosary, or perhaps would like to discuss some modifications, please let me know. If you would like this rosary, please message me your email so I can send a paypal request. (Credit cards OK even with no paypal account!) About 22" long. Just $20 + S&H while supplies last! :)
Another idea for Christmas might be this Life of Jesus Bracelet

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Olive Wood Beads Arrived!

I finally received the olive wood beads from Jerusalem! They are VA VA VA VOOM GORGEOUS! :) Well worth waiting for! I'll be ordering more from this source for sure! The initial order will only provide for about a dozen rosaries, so if you're at all interested, let me know. I have some beautiful olive wood centers and Crucifixes to go with them too if you want a complete 'look' :) 

I have an abundance of black onyx and hematite semi precious stones that are itching to be turned into someone's family heirloom rosary! 

Don't forget, BattleBeads isn't just silver and gold plated ... it's also Sterling Silver, Gold & Silver Filled, Bronze, Brass, Copper, Crystal, Pearls so much more! 

And, if it says STERLING SILVER from BattleBeads, you can be CERTAIN that EVERY SINGLE PART IS STERLING, not just the Crucifix and center, like many other sellers!!!! 

Thought I would show you just how beautiful they are ... 

Christmas is coming ... let's design that perfect gift together! :) 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Says The New York Times: 666 Is Coming

Mark Of The Beast

Revelation 13:16-18

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

The Mark of the beast is real and it is coming.It will be forced upon us all sometime in the very near future.Already in some Public Schools They are Installing Biometric Hand Scanning for the Lunch Systems. A NY Times reporter was coerced into having her hand scanned and her picture taken at the doctors office only to find out it was not mandatory YET.You can bet it will be pretty soon though.That is the elite’s goal is to have everyone chipped as was told to Film Director Aaron Russo By Rockefeller.

“PLEASE put your hand on the scanner,” a receptionist at a doctor’s office at New York University Langone Medical Center said to me recently, pointing to a small plastic device on the counter between us. “I need to take a palm scan for your file.” I balked.
As a reporter who has been covering the growing business of data collection, I know the potential drawbacks — like customer profiling — of giving out my personal details. But the idea of submitting to an infrared scan at a medical center that would take a copy of the unique vein patterns in my palm seemed fraught.

The receptionist said it was for my own good. The medical center, she said, had recently instituted a biometric patient identification system to protect against identity theft.

I reluctantly stuck my hand on the machine. If I demurred, I thought, perhaps I’d be denied medical care.

Next, the receptionist said she needed to take my photo. After the palm scan, that seemed like data-collection overkill. Then an office manager appeared and explained that the scans and pictures were optional. Alas, my palm was already in the system.

No longer the province of security services and science-fiction films, biometric technology is on the march. Facebook uses facial-recognition software so its members can automatically put name tags on friends when they upload their photos. Apple uses voice recognition to power Siri. Some theme parks take digital fingerprints to help recognize season pass holders. Now some hospitals and school districts are using palm vein pattern recognition to identify and efficiently manage their patients or students — in effect, turning your palm into an E-ZPass.

But consumer advocates say that enterprises are increasingly employing biometric data to improve convenience — and that members of the public are paying for that convenience with their privacy.

Fingerprints, facial dimensions and vein patterns are unique, consumer advocates say, and should be treated as carefully as genetic samples. So collecting such information for expediency, they say, could increase the risks of serious identity theft. Yet companies and institutions that compile such data often fail to adequately explain the risks to consumers, they say.

“Let’s say someone makes a fake ID and goes in and has their photo and their palm print taken as you. What are you going to do when you go in?” said Pam Dixon, the executive director of the World Privacy Forum, an advocacy group in San Diego. “Hospitals that are doing this are leaping over profound security issues that they are actually introducing into their systems.”

THE N.Y.U. medical center started researching biometric systems a few years ago in an effort to address several problems, said Kathryn McClellan, its vice president who is in charge of implementing its new electronic health records system. More than a million people in the New York area have the same or similar names, she said, creating a risk that medical personnel might pull up the wrong health record for a patient. Another issue, she said, was that some patients had multiple records from being treated at different affiliates; N.Y.U. wanted an efficient way to consolidate them.

Last year, the medical center adopted photography and palm-scan technology so that each patient would have two unique identifying features. Now, Ms. McClellan said, each arriving patient has his or her palm scanned, allowing the system to automatically pull up the correct file.

“It’s a patient safety initiative,” Ms. McClellan said. “We felt like the value to the patient was huge.”

N.Y.U.’s system, called PatientSecure and marketed by HT Systems of Tampa, has already scanned more than 250,000 patients. In the United States, over five million patients have had the scans, said Charles Yanak, a spokesman for Fujitsu Frontech North America, a division of Fujitsu, the Japanese company that developed the vein palm identification technology.

Yet, unless patients at N.Y.U. seem uncomfortable with the process, Ms. McClellan said, medical registration staff members don’t inform them that they can opt out of photos and scans.

“We don’t have formal consent,” Ms. McClellan said in a phone interview last Tuesday.

That raises red flags for privacy advocates. “If they are not informing patients it is optional,” said Joel Reidenberg, a professor at Fordham University Law School with an expertise in data privacy, “then effectively it is coerced consent.”

He noted that N.Y.U. medical center has had recent incidents in which computers or USB drives containing unencrypted patient data have been lost or stolen, suggesting that the center’s collection of biometric data might increase patients’ risk of identity theft.

Ms. McClellan responded that there was little chance of identity theft because the palm scan system turned the vein measurements into encrypted strings of binary numbers and stored them on an N.Y.U. server that is separate from the one with patients’ health records. Even if there were a breach, she added, the data would be useless to hackers because a unique key is needed to decode the number strings. As for patients’ photos, she said, they are attached to their medical records.

Still, Arthur Caplan, the director of the division of medical ethics at the N.Y.U. center, recommended that hospitals do a better job of explaining biometric ID systems to patients. He himself recently had an appointment at the N.Y.U. center, he recounted, and didn’t learn that the palm scan was optional until he hesitated and asked questions.

“It gave me pause,” Dr. Caplan said. “It would be useful to put up a sign saying ‘We are going to take biometric information which will help us track you through the system. If you don’t want to do this, please see’ ” an office manager.

Other institutions that use PatientSecure, however, have instituted opt-in programs for patients.

At the Duke University Health System, patients receive brochures explaining their options, said Eliana Owens, the health system’s director of patient revenue. The center also trains staff members at registration desks to read patients a script about the opt-in process for the palm scans, she said. (Duke does not take patients’ photos.)

“They say: ‘The enrollment is optional. If you choose not to participate, we will continue to ask you for your photo ID on subsequent visits,’ ” Ms. Owens said.

Consent or not, some leading identity experts see little value in palm scans for patients right now. If medical centers are going to use patients’ biometric data for their own institutional convenience, they argue, the centers should also enhance patient privacy — by, say, permitting lower-echelon medical personnel to look at a person’s medical record only if that patient is present and approves access by having a palm scanned.

Otherwise, “you are enabling another level of danger,” said Joseph Atick, a pioneer in biometric identity systems who consults for governments, “instead of using the technology to enable another level of privacy.”

At my request, N.Y.U. medical center has deleted my palm print.
The New York Times: 666 Is Coming

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pope Benedict Calls for Worldwide Prayer Against Abortion

Pope Benedict XVI has issued what Catholic pro-life advocates are calling an unprecedented request for prayers worldwide from all pro-life people against abortion.

The head of the Catholic Church will begin Advent by celebrating a solemn “Vigil for all nascent human life” at St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday, November 25th,
the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, and is requesting "all diocesan bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements," a communiqué  from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reported. Benedict XVI is calling on all Catholics to join in a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, to be celebrated in local parishes and dioceses November 27th.

The call is not limited to Catholics as the Pope is asking that “all Diocesan Bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements.”
Mary McClusky, the Special Projects Coordinator at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says the call is especially important at a time when attacks on the dignity and worth of human life seem to be at an all-time high.
“At this moment in history, when societies are now endorsing the killing of humans as a perceived solution to social, economic, and environmental problems, the Holy Father is reminding us of the necessity and power of prayer to protect human life,” she said. “Despite the challenge of these events being held on Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, Catholics should not miss this opportunity to pray for unborn life.”
She said the Pope’s call “may help increase awareness among family and friends about abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and other threats to children in their earliest days and weeks of life” while women who have had abortions “may be inspired to learn more, or to begin a much-needed conversation about healing from a past abortion.”
Human Life International is calling on pro-life people to join in the historic event.

“We hope that Catholics understand the historical significance of Pope Benedict’s invitation,” said Joseph Meaney, HLI’s director of international coordination.

He told today: “The Holy Father for the first time in history has asked the Universal Catholic Church to gather together in a common liturgical event and pray for our preborn brothers and sisters who are being slaughtered around the world by abortion and other attacks of the culture of death.”
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, interim president of HLI, says Christians of all stripes can find unity in the call to prayer against abortion.
“We recognize with the Holy Father that as the assaults on human life that are accelerating around the world have evil as their root cause, the most powerful response we in the Church can make is to pray in unity for an end to the assault,” he says. “Prayer grounds us in the only Power that can ultimately defeat the one behind the culture of death, so we are grateful to be united with the Holy Father in this historic event.”
Barreiro will be present at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome with Pope Benedict to pray for the protection of human life on November 27th.
McClusky says she hopes the call will motivate pro-life people to do more and to not grow frustrated with the slow pace of change

“Many threats to human life are embedded deeply within our modern culture, and attending a vigil could remind others that God is the source of all blessings and will provide comfort and guidance in challenging times,” she said. “It is easy to become frustrated and weary in our efforts to advance protection for the unborn, support for expectant mothers, and healing for post-abortive women and men.”

“The Holy Father’s Vigil and his invitation to join with him in prayer is an important and inspiring example to all about the importance of uniting in faith to ask God’s protection and help for human life,” she said.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Benedict XVI and the Pathologies of Religion

popebenedict 4
It passed almost unnoticed, but last month Benedict XVI significantly upped the ante in an argument he’s made one of his pontificate’s centerpieces. To the horror, one suspects, of some professional interfaith dialoguers and wishful-thinkers more generally, the pope indicated the Church should recognize that some types of religion are in fact “sick and distorted.”
This message isn’t likely to be well-received among those who think religious pluralism is somehow an end in itself. Their discomfort, however, doesn’t lessen the force of Benedict’s point.
The context of Benedict’s remarks was the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s opening. In an article published in the Holy See’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Benedict reflected upon his own memories of the Council. Characteristically, however, he used the occasion to make subtle but pointed observations about particular challenges presently confronting the Church and orthodox Christianity more generally: difficulties that no amount of interfaith happy-talk and ecumenical handholding will make go away.
One of Vatican II’s achievements, the pope argued, was the Declaration Nostra Aetate, which addressed the Church’s relationship with non-Christian religions. This document focused on the most theologically-important relationship—Judaism and Christianity—but also ventured remarks about Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Without watering down Christianity’s truth-claims, Benedict wrote, Nostra Aetate outlined how Catholics could engage in “respectful dialogue and collaboration with other religions.”
Then, however, Benedict made his move. With the passage of time, he noted, “a weakness” of Nostra Aetate has become apparent:it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion.”
Plainly Benedict wasn’t referring to the choice of Christians to sin. The Catholic who, for instance, intentionally chooses to kill innocent life is, after all, acting contrary to the Church’s teaching. Instead Benedict appears to have in mind religions which seemingly legitimize gross violations of human dignity or inhibit its members from condemning their co-religionists’ actions.
One example is the pre-Christian pagan religions. Their view of the gods as mere hedonists who treated humans as toys, their deification of the state, their profound contempt for human life, and their conception of women as virtual sub-humans made such religions, from a Jewish and Christian standpoint, irredeemable. Then there are particular practices that indicate profound dysfunctionality in a religion’s core beliefs, such as the Aztec ritual of human sacrifice.
Which brings us to the burning interreligious question of our time. And it is this. Those people who drive trucks filled with explosives into Catholic churches in Nigeria; who torture and murder Orthodox priests in Syria and detonate bombs at their funeral; who decapitate teenage Indonesian Christian schoolgirls; who shoot teenage Pakistani girls in the head for suggesting that women should be educated; who regularly describe Jews as “pigs and apes”; or who are pursuing what Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk recently described as an effort to exterminate the Christian presence in the Middle-East—are they acting in ways that reflect distortions of Islam, or are their choices consistent with Islam’s central beliefs?
The jury, I’m afraid, remains out—way, way, way out—on this one. Certainly there is the Qur’anic passage: “Let there be no compulsion on religion” (2:256). But this concerns allowing non-Muslims to convert freely to Islam. It was never traditionally understood as applicable to Muslims wanting to embrace another faith. Nor is it presently inhibiting some Muslims from engaging in forced conversions or slaughtering former Muslims who have chosen different paths.
Then there are the numerous verses from the Qu’ran and Hadith that seemingly justify violence against pagans, non-believers, and “polytheists” (which includes Trinitarian Christians). Their meaning has been debated by some Muslims for centuries. Alas, Islam doesn’t possess an equivalent of Catholicism’s magisterial teaching authority that can definitely resolve disputed questions in ways that binds all Catholics.
What isn’t, however, in question is the invocation of such passages by contemporary jihadists to justify violence. Nor is this a new phenomenon. As the French historian Sylvain Gouguenheim pointed out in his Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel (2008), even as apparently an enlightened twelfth-century Muslim thinker as Averroes didn’t hesitate to preach jihad against Christians in what was (contrary to popular mythology) a not-so-tolerant Islamic Spain.
That’s not to suggest Christianity has always remained distortion-free. In our own time, we can recall those now largely-defunct liberation theologies that sought an absurd synthesis between Christianity and Marxism and, in some instances, tried to rationalize leftist violence.
One problem that took centuries to overcome was Christians’ entanglement with state power as secular rulers tried to reduce the Church to a mere government department. In many instances, this helped facilitate cruelty by Christians against Christians and non-Christians alike. Catholicism, Benedict notes in his article, was eventually able to escape this trap precisely because Christianity itself “had come into being claiming that the State could neither decide on the truth nor prescribe any kind of worship.”
But having diagnosed the sickness, Benedict didn’t shy away from outlining how the Church should tackle it. His Osservatore Romano article devoted considerable attention to another Council declaration which, like Nostra Aetate, Benedict described as having assumed even greater importance after Vatican II: the text on religious liberty, Dignitatis humanae.
So how does Dignitatis humanae help address distorted religiosity? First, Dignitatis humanae affirms as a matter of natural law that religious liberty properly understood is a fundamental human right and precondition for human flourishing. Hence it is unreasonable for anyone—Christian, secularist, or Muslim—to harass or coerce those who don’t share their religious faith or want to change their religion.
Benedict has been hammering away at this message since his 2006 Regensburg address. Yet while it’s obviously relevant for countries like Communist China, the most systematic and ferocious violations of religious liberty today are occurring in the Islamic world. To grasp just how awful things are, everyone should read Rupert Shortt’s just-published Christianophobia.
Unfortunately the problem goes beyond jihadists. As the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran observed in a recent interview: “the great problem lies in the fact that in countries where Muslim law is that of the majority, as of now no Muslim accepts that the freedom to change religion, or to choose it, should be inscribed in a legal text.” Somewhat ominously, Tauran then commented: “In all of my conversations with Muslims, many of them well-disposed, this has been a taboo subject.”
There is, however, a second dimension of Dignitatis humanae which Benedict considers critical for addressing sick religiosity. Here we should recall that the Declaration’s argument for religious liberty is not based upon the type of pluralism-for-the-sake-of-diversity babble that’s corrupted most universities. Instead it is grounded upon religious liberty as a precondition for the honest search for and embrace of religious truth.
Just as the Church sees the truth about man as the foundation for religious liberty, Catholicism also regards truth as the end of religious liberty. Dignitatis Humanae was never about putting error and truth on the same footing. In fact, it explicitly disavowed that claim. For why else would you rationally choose to be a Catholic unless you’re convinced that orthodox Christianity’s claims are true and all other religions are therefore either incomplete to varying degrees or deeply erroneous? To that extent, Dignitatis Humanae was always concerned with creating the conditions for the Church to propose the truth of Christianity in a context in which everyone was free to argue about the truth without killing each other.
As Benedict wrote in his Osservatore Romano piece, “the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.” If, as reported, Benedict is preparing an encyclical on faith to complete what would be a trilogy of encyclicals on love and hope, he may well use the occasion to illustrate how faith can become positively pathological, just as he’s shown how love can be distorted into liberal sentimentalism, and hope into secularist utopianism.
And as every single Christian living in the Middle East today knows, that’s a warning about faith which today’s world desperately needs to hear.

 by Samuel Gregg

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Public Witness and Catholic Citizenship

US Flag

Public witness on issues of public concern is natural for Catholics because we have a commitment to the common good and to the dignity of each human person. Those two pillars—the common good and the dignity of every human person—come right out of Scripture. They underpin all of Catholic social thought.
That includes politics. Politics is where the competing moral visions of a society meet and struggle. And since a large majority of American citizens are religious believers, it makes sense for people and communities of faith to bring their faith into the public square.
As a result, if we believe that a particular issue is gravely evil and damaging to society, then we have a duty, not just a religious duty but also a democratic duty, to hold accountable the candidates who want to allow that evil. Failing to do so is an abuse of responsibility on our part, because that’s where we exercise our power as citizens most directly—in the voting booth.
The “separation of Church and state” can never mean that religious believers should be silent about legislative issues, the appointment of judges or public policy. It’s not the job of the Church to sponsor political candidates. But it’s very much the job of the Church to guide Catholics to think and act in accord with their faith.
So since this is an election year, here are a few simple points to remember as we move toward November.
1. “Catholic” is a word that has real meaning. We don’t control or invent that meaning as individuals. We inherit it from the Gospel and the experience of the Church over the centuries. If we choose to call ourselves Catholic, then that word has consequences for what we believe and how we act.  We can’t truthfully call ourselves “Catholic” and then behave as if we’re not.
2. Being a Catholic is a bit like being married. We have a relationship with the Church and with Jesus Christ that’s similar to being a spouse. If a man says he loves his wife, his wife will want to see the evidence in his fidelity. The same applies to our relationship with God. If we say we’re Catholic, we need to show that by our love for the Church and our fidelity to what she teaches and believes. Otherwise we’re just fooling ourselves. God certainly won’t be fooled.
3. The Church is not a political organism. She has no interest in partisanship because getting power or running governments is not what she’s about, and the more closely she identifies herself with any single party, the fewer people she can effectively reach.
4. Scripture and Catholic teaching, however, do have public consequences because they guide us in how we should act in relation to one another. Again, Catholic social action, including political action, is a natural byproduct of the Church’s moral message. We can’t call ourselves Catholic, and then simply stand by while immigrants get mistreated, or the poor get robbed, or—even more fundamentally—unborn children get killed. If our faith is real, then it will bear fruit in our public decisions and behaviors, including our political choices.
5. Each of us needs to follow his or her own conscience. But conscience doesn’t emerge miraculously from a vacuum. The way we get a healthy conscience is by submitting it to God’s will; and the way we find God’s will is by listening to the counsel of the Church and trying honestly to live in accord with her guidance. If we find ourselves frequently disagreeing, as Catholics, with the teaching of our own Church on serious matters, then it’s probably not the Church that’s wrong. The problem is much more likely with us.
In the end, the heart of truly faithful citizenship is this: We’re better citizens when we’re more faithful Catholics. The more authentically Catholic we are in our lives, choices, actions and convictions, the more truly we will contribute to the moral and political life of our nation.

This column by Archbishop Chaput first appeared October 18, 2012 on, the website of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Matter Of Integrity

Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt

Catholic Politicians Who Cooperate With Grave Moral Evil, Publicly Contradict Who They Say They Are!

The right of the Catholic institutions to exist with integrity is threatened by the Health and Human Services contraception and sterilization mandate, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg said in a pastoral letter to his diocese.

The mandate “relegates religious freedom to the sacristy, and will not allow it to exist or be operative outside of the Church and in the public square,” the Pennsylvania bishop
wrote in “Integrity and the Political Arena,” which was issued on Oct. 11.
This corresponds to a conception of religious freedom which means only freedom of worship. But those who share the same faith also have the right to a collective or institutional religious freedom which is public,” he stated.

Bishop Brandt’s comments come with the elections only two weeks away, and Pennsylvania is expected to play a key role as a battleground state. Though Democrats won the last three presidential votes there, the Republican Party won the governorship and Senate elections in 2010.

Under the contraception mandate, “religious freedom becomes just a type of privacy right which can be given, restricted or withdrawn as the government sees fit,” wrote Bishop Brandt.

“The founding documents of this country, however, clearly indicate that religious freedom is an inalienable right which comes not from government but from the Creator Himself.”

Much of the letter was dedicated to the importance of integrity among politicians, particularly on the issue of abortion. Bishop Brandt said citizens can use their right to vote to “bring our faith perspective to evaluate thhe integrity of the candidates and the validity of the positions they advance or support.”

The bishop said that a Catholic politician who has “an established pattern of voting in favor of abortion legislation and an established pattern of public rejection of a core teaching of the Church” is “engaged in public cooperation with a grave moral evil.”

The bishop said he also believes that Catholic politicians who continue to receive Communion “should be challenged to take ownership of the consequences of a lack of integrity by publicly acknowledging that what they do contradicts who they say they are,” he said.

“Any individual who says he can advocate for and enable the practice of abortion and claims that he can still be a Catholic in good standing, has a very serious problem with integrity which any community can ignore only at its own peril.”

Politicians who live in such a disintegrated way are a matter of concern not only to Catholics, but to “society itself,” Bishop Brandt said.

“It is a cause of very serious concern for all the citizenry about a matter of integrity. It is a very serious concern about placing public trust in a person who has demonstrated public misrepresentation.”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sister Mary Rose's Friendly Reminder ....

Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML, M.Ed.
Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML, M.Ed.

Hello Sister Mary Rose Here!

Imagine our horror on the day that one of our Sisters returned with several of our children to our Children’s Home and told us that a woman had come up to her in a Boston museum and after looking at our children had said to her, “These children should have been aborted.”

Each one of these children is a beautiful unique, irreplaceable person just as every other human is.  And yet these same children could have been legally aborted just a few years before this museum conversation took place, and the horror of that loss would have been hidden from our eyes.  During the nearly forty years that abortion has been legal in the United States we have lost more than 50 million of these beautiful children to this gruesome action which is euphemistically called “women’s right to choose.”

Please consider as you vote that if you are supporting candidates who support this “right,” then you are participating in the crime which is causing this once beautiful, vibrant country founded on the premise that the Creator has endowed us with the inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” to continue to slowly, yet inexorably, commit suicide.  And suicide is never “death with dignity.”

May God bless you,

Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML, M.Ed.
19 Grant St.
Rochester, NH 03867

You can *catch* .. ahem .... Sr. Mary Rose at:

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Souls Day

There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Catholics forestall that last death by seeing the faithful dead as members of the Church, alive in Christ, and by praying for them -- and asking their prayers for us -- always. 

Cardinal Wiseman wrote in his Lecture XI:
Sweet is the consolation of the dying man, who, conscious of imperfection, believes that there are others to make intercession for him, when his own time for merit has expired; soothing to the afflicted survivors the thought that they possess powerful means of relieving their friend. In the first moments of grief, this sentiment will often overpower religious prejudice, cast down the unbeliever on his knees beside the remains of his friend and snatch from him an unconscious prayer for rest; it is an impulse of nature which for the moment, aided by the analogies of revealed truth, seizes at once upon this consoling belief. But it is only a flitting and melancholy light, while the Catholic feeling, cheering though with solemn dimness, resembles the unfailing lamp, which the piety of the ancients is said to have hung before the sepulchres of their dead.
Though we should daily pray for the dead in Purgatory, above all for our ancestors, today is especially set aside for hanging that "unfailing lamp before the sepulchres of our dead" as we are told to do by Sacred Scripture:
II Machabees 12: 43-46
And making a gathering, [Judas] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
At the three Masses offered today, the glorious Sequence "Dies Irae" (also used in Requiem Masses, i.e., Masses for the Dead) will be recited after the Epistle, Gradual, and Tract ("Dies Irae" means "Day of Wrath").

Between Noon of November 1 and Midnight tonight, a person who has been to confession and Communion can gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, for the poor souls each time he visits a church or public oratory and recites the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be to the Father six times. This is a special exception to the ordinary law of the Church according to which a plenary indulgence for the same work can be gained only once a day. Because of this, some of the customs described below may be begun on All Saints Day.

Also, the faithful who, during the period of eight days from All Saints Day, visit a cemetery and pray for the dead may gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, on each day of the Octave, applicable only to the dead. Here is a simple invocation for the dead, called the "Eternal Rest" prayer:
Eternal rest grant unto him/her (them), O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them). May he/she (they) rest in peace. Amen.

Latin version:
Réquiem ætérnam dona ei (eis) Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei (eis). Requiéscat (Requiéscant) in pace. Amen.
Catholics also pray this prayer for the dead anytime throughout the year, and whenever they pass a cemetery. Many families pray a Rosary nightly for the dead throughout the Octave of All Saints, replacing the Fatima prayer with the Eternal Rest prayer.

.... more

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day 2012

In a very real sense, both Feasts–All Saints; All Souls could are like Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Day in Church Life. This is a Mass of remembrance so we can give thanks to God for the lives of those who have labored in our behalf as colleagues, family and friends with joyful triumph. This is a time for us to remember and celebrate those who still touch our lives in many different ways. They are "invisible onlookers" as we continue noble traditions they’ve bequeathed to us. We gather here today because of their faith. 

Each year we have this opportunity to recall the ones who believed, preached, taught and lived the Gospel. You and I have FAITH, because they were faith-filled; faithful. We are here because they gathered together vast experience over many years, and many of them tough years of hardships, low salaries, sacrifices, self-denial. Some of those years had seasons when the fields bore no fruit, and when needed rain was scarce and the harvest was scant, the budget meager, and paying bills a virtual nightmare. Yet, they didn’t give up Faith. They passed it on to us. 
Some of those whom we remember today, and whose lives we render thanks to God for, lived through the depression and the lean years of soup and bread lines, wars in Europe, the deserts, remote mountains, on the seas, islands, in the air and in jungles. Some of them lived through the years of a broken and splintered church, a church who struggled and continues to struggle with the compelling and critically important issues of race, ethnicity, gender and justice. Some of our Saints lived through and survived a period of a hostile and divided nation, and yet they kept faith, and labored toward the day when their faith would be their eyesight.
Remember the saints in your lives who have given your life meaning and purpose, and given you the ability to believe in yourself and to believe in God. We believe in the communion of saints who gather with us at the Lord's table today. Jesus reminds us through all the Beatitudes that we try to live, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be among them." Name your saints, and render to God thanksgiving for their faith. May we be united with them today.
Not too far from here, we’ve seen how millions of people will need to re-build their lives. Some of us may have suffered some losses. This hasn't anything to do with the degree of loss...ANY loss is great. Many will be starting over from scratch. Faith is a very important component in life. Faith must be what gives us eyesight. Let’s pray that today can be a reminder that we’ve each been given a lot more than we might normally think deal with life’s bumpy roads. Our Saints may be with the Lord above, as they deserve that reward, but they, and many others like them now, are with us here below!

This was, I think, sent to me in error ... but I wanted to pass it on ... it remains anonymous because I'm not exactly sure of the source.