Thursday, May 29, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for a friend whose home was devastated by a flood. Thank you!


From the Cathedral of the Risen Christ - Lincoln, Nebraska

Fri 5/30/08 11:00 AM ET & 8 AM PT
Sat 5/31/08 12:00 PM ET & Fri 9 PM PT

Ordinations for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to be Televised on EWTN

DENTON, Nebraska – MARCH 18, 2008 – On Friday, May 30th, 2008, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, four men will be ordained priests for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, the President for the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. To be televised live on EWTN at 11:00AM (EST), the ordinations will take place at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

About the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
Established in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is an international society of Catholic priests entrusted with the preservation and administration of the Catholic Church's ancient Latin liturgical traditions. Nearly 200 priests belong to the Fraternity and over 100 seminarians are studying in its two seminaries in Bavaria, Germany and Denton, Nebraska.

EWTN, Global Catholic Network About EWTN
Founded by Mother Angelica, EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 27th year, is available in more than 146 million television households in 144 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.

Watch this Mass Live Online!

Father Joseph Lee, FSSP
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary
7880 West Denton Road
Denton, NE 68339 U.S.A.
Tel. +1 402 797 7700

Vatican decrees excommunication for participation in 'ordination' of women

.- The Vatican declared today that any women who attempt “ordination” or any bishops who attempt to “ordain” women are automatically excommunicated from the Church by their actions. The decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is said to be absolute, universal and immediately effective.

The decree which was published in the Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, comes in the wake of several women attempting to be “ordained” as Catholic priests.

The most recent attempt to ordain a woman occurred on May 4 in Winona, Minnesota when Kathy Redig, participated in a ceremony of ordination.

Bishop of Winona Bernard Harrington responded to the news of Redig’s purported ordination by saying it made him “very, very sad.” The bishop also said that “She, by her actions, has excommunicated herself.”

Another occurrence of attempted ordination occurred in St. Louis, Missouri on November 11, 2007. The ceremony involved a German woman named Patricia Fresen conducting a would-be ordination ceremony at a St. Louis synagogue. Fresen used the formula and rite of a Catholic ordination to “ordain” as priests two St. Louis-area women, Rose Hudson and Elsie McGrath.

The attempted ordination caused Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to declare the three women excommunicated for taking part in an attempted ordination of women to the priesthood. The archbishop said the excommunication was part of his “solemn duty” to protect the faith and unity of the Church.

Archbishop Burke, who is regarded as one of the foremost experts on canon law, explained that this type of situation has been addressed before. In August 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also excommunicated two women who had taken part in an invalid ordination ceremony, he said.

Patricia Fresen, the archbishop said, had “formally and directly engaged” in founding a “new and separate sect” called Roman Catholic WomenPriests USA.

The decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also mentions that it applies to all people in communion with the Catholic Church, including any bishops or women who are members of the Eastern Churches. Anyone who incurs this excommunication can only be received back into the Church by the Apostolic See, the decree says.

The declaration, which is signed by Cardinal William Levada, concludes by saying that it is absolute, universal and immediately effective upon its publication in L’Osservatore Romano.

Translated text of the Decree:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
General Decree

Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders, in virtue of the special faculty conferred to it by the supreme authority of the Church (see canon 30, Canon Law), in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007, has decreed:

Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman or if the woman who has attempted to receive holy orders, is a member of the faithful subject to the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1443 of the same Code, they will be punished with major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See (see canon 1423, Canon Law of the Eastern Churches).

The current decree will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the 'Osservatore Romano' and is absolute and universal.

William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

Church Should Get Voice Too, Pontiff Affirms

Urges Prelates to Participate in Public Debate

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2008 ( In the framework of a healthy laicism, bishops also have a right to participate in public debates, Benedict XVI recalled.

The Pope affirmed this today when he met with the participants at the 58th Plenary Assembly of the Italian episcopal conference. The meeting is under way in the Vatican through Friday.

"As heralds of the Gospel and guides of the Catholic community, you are also called to participate in the exchange of ideas in the public domain, to help mold adequate cultural attitudes," he stressed to the prelates.

Benedict XVI noted how Italy wants to "begin a new stage of economic, but also of civil and moral growth," saying that "as bishops we cannot fail to make our specific contribution [to this endeavor]."

In this context, "we must above all say and witness with frankness to our ecclesial communities and to all the Italian people that, although the problems that must be addressed are many, the fundamental problem for the man of today continues to be the problem of God."

"No other human or social problem will truly be resolved if God does not return to the center of our lives," since he is the "source of hope that changes one's interior and does not disappoint" and, therefore, gives "consistency and vigor to our plans for good," the Pontiff stressed.

Not private

He emphasized to the Italian bishops that "in the framework of a healthy and well-understood laicism, it is necessary to resist every tendency that regards religion, and Christianity in particular, as only a private affair."

Instead, "the prospects that stem from our faith can make a fundamental contribution to clarify and solve the major social and moral problems of Italy and of Europe today," Benedict XVI affirmed.

"Strong and constant likewise must be our efforts" to defend "the dignity and tutelage of human life in all moments and conditions -- from conception and the embryonic phase, through situations of illness and suffering, until natural death," he added.

Along with his brothers in the episcopate, the Pope rejoiced over the opportunity the Church has in Italy to make use of the media in order to present its point of view and concerns "daily in the public debate," in a free and autonomous manner, "but with a sincere spirit of sharing."

What a bunch of Muppets: The celebrities and their fuzzy doppelgangers

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:45 PM on 29th May 2008

Watching TV classic The Muppets, do you ever think the furry puppets remind you of someone?

While most of Jim Henson's creations are based on creatures from the animal kingdom, their strikingly human characteristics and quirky personalities are remarkably similar to many of our favourite celebrities.

The most obvious likeness was between Big Brother 3 contestant Jade Goody and feisty Miss Piggy.

The former dental nurse was likened to Kermit's love interest by the press during her time on the reality show in 2002.

Jade Goody Embassy nightclub 22 Sep 2007
Miss Piggy

Feisty females: Reality star Jade Goody is just as feisty at Miss Piggy

Troubled rocker Pete Doherty is the spitting image of Muppets character Crazy Harry.

The Babyshambles frontman appears to share personality traits with the pyrotechnics expert, who famously blew things up at the climax of a Muppets episode - he's known for his wild, unpredictable behaviour.

Down to his unkempt, scraggy hair, indie-style wardrobe, heavy bags under his eyes and a pale demeanour, Pete is a dead ringer for Crazy Harry.

Pete Doherty
Crazy Harry Muppets

Attention-seeking: Pete Doherty and Crazy Harry

Meanwhile, Chancellor Alistair Darling shares a remarkable amount of personality traits with Sam The Eagle, despite the obvious similarity of their heavy-set, black eyebrows - or a mono brow in Sam's case.

As the national symbol of the United States, Sam the Eagle feels a great deal of responsibility for his country and tries to keep order amongst his unruly Muppets - just as Alistair would do in his position of Chancellor.

Weight on their shoulders: Alistair Darling and Sam The Eagle

With his cuddly appearance and friendly demeanour, Gavin & Stacey star James Cordon can be likened to one of the most popular Muppets Fozzie Bear.

Just like James, Fozzie is a comedian. But while James has fans in hysterics in the BBC comedy, Fozzie is subjected to heckling by disgrunted audiences listening to his terrible jokes.

Lovable lads: James Corden and Fozzie Bear

Benidorm star and comedian Johnny Vegas reminds some of Junior Gorg - the youngest of the Gorg family from Muppets spin-off Fraggle Rock.

Both Johnny and Junior share a wide girth and a prominent chin and a scraggy hairstyle.

As prince of the universe, dim-witted Junior Gorg spends his days doing chores for his parents and planting radishes - a distant lifestyle from beer-swilling Johnny.

Johnny Vegas 17 May 2008
Muppets Junior Gorg

Larger than life: Johnny Vegas and Junior Gorg

Troubled singer Amy Winehouse shares a few characteristics with The Electric Mayhem drummer Animal.

Both have musical talent, have a distinctive style and are known be quite vocal about their feelings.

While Amy's behaviour has been erratic over the last few months, the singer would stop short of eating her drums, as Animal is often predisposed to munch on his instruments.

Musical mayhem: Amy Winehouse and Animal

Alan Carr 29 MAy 2008
Rizzo the Rat Muppets

Scene stealer: Comedian Alan Carr and Rizzo The Rat

Friday Night Project host Alan Carr shares a few physical attributes with Rizzo The Rat.

While Rizzo's eyesight appears to be just fine, the pair are noted for their prominent front teeth.

Other Muppets who share facial features with celebrities include Kermit The Frog and Coronation Street actress Helen Worth; Scooter and Chris Evans, Dr Bunsen Honeydrew and U.S. actor Willie Garson; daredevil Gonzo and Adrien Brody and The Electric Mayhem guitarist Janice and fashion designer Donatella Versace.

Helen Worth Coronation Street Gail Platt
Kermit The Frog Muppets

TV stalwarts: Coronation Street actress Helen Worth (Gail Platt) and Kermit The Frog

Ginger and proud: Bespectacled radio host Chris Evans and backstage gofer Scooter

Willie Garson Sex And The City film premire New York 27 May 2008
Dr Bunsen Honeydew Muppets

Sex And The City star Willie Garson and resident Muppets scientist Dr Bunsen Honeydew

Adrien Brody Conde Nast Traveler 8th Annual Hot List Party 17 Apr 2008
Muppets Gonzo

Romantic and daring: Adrien Brody takes on daring acting roles, while Gonzo prefers to go one step further and shoots himself out of cannon balls

Janice Muppets
Donatella Versace March 2007

Blonde-haired and luscious lipped: Hippy guitarist Janice has the same make-up style and hair at Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace

Texas high court says sect kids should go back

By MICHELLE ROBERTS Associated Press Writer
© 2008 The Associated Press
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SAN ANTONIO — In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents.

The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.

"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the justices said in their ruling issued in Austin.

The high court let stand the appellate court's order that Texas District Judge Barbara Walther return the children from foster care to their parents. It's not clear how soon that may happen, but the appellate court ordered her to do it within a reasonable time period.

The ruling shatters one of the largest child-custody cases in U.S. history. State officials said the removals were necessary to end a cycle of sexual abuse at the ranch in which teenage girls were forced to marry and have sex with older men, but parents denied any abuse and said they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

The case before the court technically only applies to 124 children of the 38 mothers who filed a complaint that prompted the ruling, but it significantly affects nearly all the children since they were removed under identical circumstances.

The ranch is run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which teaches that polygamy brings glorification in heaven. It is a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Texas officials claimed at one point that there were 31 teenage girls at the ranch who were pregnant or had been pregnant, but later conceded that about half of those mothers, if not more, were adults. One was 27.

Under Texas law, children can be taken from their parents if there's a danger to their physical safety, an urgent need for protection and if officials made a reasonable effort to keep the children in their homes. The high court agreed with the appellate court that the seizures fell short of that standard.

Sabine Farm

Prayer for Priests

By Congregation for Clergy

Lord Jesus, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
and living perpetually among us through Your Priests,
grant that the words of Your Priests may be only Your words,
that their gestures be only Your gestures,
and that their lives be a true reflection of Your life.

Grant that they may be men who speak to God on behalf of His people,
and speak to His people of God.
Grant that they be courageous in service,
serving the Church as she asks to be served.

Grant that they may be men who witness to eternity in our time,
travelling on the paths of history in Your steps,
and doing good for all.

Grant that they may be faithful to their commitments,
zealous in their vocation and mission,
clear mirrors of their own identity,
and living the joy of the gift they have received.

We pray that Your Holy Mother, Mary,
present throughout Your life,
may be ever present in the life of Your Priests. Amen

Hillary Hitting the Sauce

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Meme Massacre

"I firmly believe that portable basketball stands were created by Satan to drive me out of my mind and tempt me to do violence. I have dreams of taking chainsaws to them-really." - Cathy of Alex

Roman Mausoleum Under St. Peter's Restored

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In this undated photo provided Tuesday May 27, 2008 by the 'Fabbrica ...

In this undated photo provided Tuesday May 27, 2008 by the 'Fabbrica ...

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2008 ( One of the most important monuments of the Roman necropolis located under the Vatican Basilica is restored and ready for viewing.

During a press conference today, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter's, presented the results of the recently-completed restoration of the Valerii Mausoleum.

The crypt, which dates from the second century and is famous for its stucco decorations, is located in the middle of the route through the old necropolis that leads to the tomb of St. Peter. The stuccowork was in need of restoration because it had been damaged by the instability of the microclimate in the necropolis and by earlier restoration using inappropriate materials.

The 10-month operation was carried out using scalpels, mini drills and, for the most delicate areas, laser equipment. Furthermore, by studying stucco fragments conserved in the storerooms of the Fabric of St. Peter's, it was also possible to recompose three hermae, square pillars of stone topped by a bust or head.

Finally, the monument was enclosed within a glass cover, so it may be viewed without affecting the delicate balance of the internal microclimate, which is constantly monitored by a high-precision computerized system. New illumination, using fiber optic cables, makes it possible to admire the colored surfaces, frescoed to imitate polychrome marble, and the white stucco decorations, modeled to replicate marble statues.

Oprah checks out the vegan diet: Will America follow?

By Susan Levin
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

"One of the best things to ever happen to public health happened this month when Oprah Winfrey announced she was starting a 21-day vegan makeover. If anyone can inspire positive change in America, it's someone as influential as Oprah.

The healthy vegan diet, which is free of meat, chicken, eggs, dairy and other animal products - but rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans - is finally coming into its own.
Two irreverent vegan advice books, Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, have both scored big on the best-seller lists. And they're hardly the only meat-free books flying off the shelves. Quantum Health, which promotes the three-week diet makeover that Oprah is following, recently hit No. 2 on Amazon.

Every few months, we hear of a new celebrity or sports star who's ditching meat. (Last month, it was Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers.) Vegan story lines have worked their way into episodes of "Boston Legal" and other top TV shows. The most conservative newspapers in the country offer columns on how to work more vegetarian foods into one's diet. Even Dunkin Donuts is offering soymilk at some locations.

What's going on? Have we reached a critical mass - where the average American might consider trying a vegan or vegetarian diet? As a dietitian, I certainly hope so..." (more)

I hope that this takes off with the Oprah-audience (more meat for me!)

Photo by Fr. Z

Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go Gos

I Love Rock N Roll - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Faithfully - Journey

Don´t stop believin´ - Journey


Please pray for the Sober Sophomore's intentions.

New Edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church

VATICAN CITY, 27 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Vatican Publishing House has recently released a new edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, comprising information on the main aspects of Catholic Church activity in various countries for the period 2000-2006.

Over these seven years, the Catholic presence in the world has remained stable at around 17.3 percent of the total population. In Europe, despite the fact that 25 percent of all Catholics live there, the growth in the number of faithful was less than one percent. In the Americas and in Oceania their numbers grew, respectively, by 8.4 percent and 7.6 percent; in Asia they remained more or less stable with respect to population growth, whereas in Africa they increased from 130 million in 2000 to 158.3 million in 2006.

The number of bishops in the world went up from 4,541 in 2000 to 4,898 in 2006, an increase of 7.86 percent.

The number of priests also increased slightly over this seven-year period, passing from 405,178 in 2000 to 407,262 in 2006, an overall rise of around 0.51 percent. In Africa and Asia their numbers increased (respectively, by 23.24 percent and 17.71 percent), in the Americas they remained stable, while they fell by 5.75 percent in Europe and 4.37 percent in Oceania.

The number of diocesan priests increased by two percent, going from 265,781 in 2000 to 271,091 in 2006. By contrast, the number of regular priests showed a constant decline, down by 2.31 percent to 136,000 in 2006. Of the continents, only in Europe was there a clear reduction in priests: in 2000 they represented 51 percent of the world total, in 2006 just 48 percent. On the other hand, Asia and Africa together represented 17.5 percent of the world total in 2000 and 21 percent in 2006. The Americas remained steady at around 30 percent, and Oceania a little more than one percent.

Non-ordained religious numbered 55.057 in the year 2000 and 55,107 in 2006. Comparing this data by continent, Europe showed a strong decline (down by 12.01 percent), as did Oceania (16.83 percent), the Americas remained stable, while Asia and Africa increased (respectively, by 30.63 percent and 8.13 percent).

Female religious are almost double the number of priests, and 14 times that of non-ordained male religious, but their numbers are falling, from 800,000 in 2000 to 750,000 in 2006. As for their geographical distribution, 42 percent reside in Europe, 28.03 percent in America and 20 percent in Asia. The number of female religious has increased in the most dynamic continents: Africa (up by 15.45 percent) and Asia (up by 12.78 percent).

The Statistical Yearbook of the Church also includes information on the number of students of philosophy and theology in diocesan and religious seminaries. In global terms, their numbers increased from 110.583 in 2000 to more than 115.000 in 2006, a growth of 4.43 percent. In Africa and Asia their numbers went up whereas Europe saw a reduction of around 16 percent.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Austrian monks ride high in charts

Sun May 25, 2008 7:01pm BST

LONDON (Reuters) - A group of Austrian monks have entered the British album charts with a recording of Gregorian chants, the Official UK Charts Company said on Sunday.

The Cistercian monks of the Stift Heiligenkreuz monastery are Universal Classics' latest unlikely stars, entering the British album charts at number nine with their debut "Chant -- Music for Paradise".

It also clinched the top spot in the classical chart.

"We're overjoyed, and really did not think that so many people would like the album so much," said the order's Father Karl on Sunday.

"We hope that all who listen to it find calm and strength in those thousand-year-old melodies."

The money made from the album will be used to train priests from Vietnam and other poor countries, he said.

The monks were signed up by Universal -- the same record label as Amy Winehouse and Eminem -- after beating more than 200 entries from around the world with their YouTube video submitted in response to the label's advertisement for a choir.

The brothers' chants -- the oldest written form of music in the world -- are already believed to be a favourite of Pope Benedict...


Hat tip to the NLM.

Eucharist should make us attentive to needs of the poor, Benedict XVI teaches

.- Speaking to pilgrims about the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Benedict XVI said "the Eucharist reveals the true beauty of Christianity" and is "the school of charity and solidarity that should make us more attentive to the many people who struggle to procure their daily bread."

"One week ago our gaze was on the mystery of the Trinity; today we are invited to fix our gaze on the holy Host: and thus on God, the same Love. This is the beauty of true Christianity: The Creator and Lord of all things was made a grain of wheat in order to be sown on our earth, in the furrows of our history. He was made bread to be broken, shared, eaten; he was made our food to give us live, his own divine life.”

Pope Benedict also pointed to the fact that Jesus was, “Born in Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means ‘house of bread’.” From these origins, Jesus’ desire to feed his followers became even more explicit in his preaching. He revealed to the people that “the Father had sent him into the world as the ‘living bread descended from heaven,’ as the ‘bread of life’.”

The Holy Father elaborated on this feast of the Eucharist, calling it "a wonderful gift of Christ, who at the Last Supper wanted to leave us with this memorial of Easter, the sacrament of his Body and Blood, a token of his immense love for us."

The Eucharist, he said, is "the school of charity and solidarity. He who eats of the bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent before those, who also in our day, are deprived of their daily bread."

Addressing the problem of rising food costs and poor distribution, he said, "Many parents can hardly procure enough food for themselves and their children. It is a growing problem that the international community is making great efforts to resolve. The Church not only prays ‘give us this day our daily bread,’ but the example of the Lord who in so many ways ‘multiplies five loaves and two fish’ with countless initiatives to promote humanity and sharing, so that no one is lacking in what is necessary to live."

The Holy Father added that Christians are called to be attentive in concrete ways to the many who go without food.

"Dear brothers and sisters, let this feast of Corpus Domini be an occasion to grow in the in this concrete attention to our brothers, especially the poor."

"We obtain this grace from the Virgin Mary, from whom the Son of God took flesh and blood, as we repeat in a celebrated Eucharistic hymn, set to music by the one of the greatest composers, Ave verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine… Mary, who brought forth from her womb Jesus, who was the ‘tabernacle’ of living, imparts to us her own faith in the holy mystery of the Body and Blood of her divine Son, since he is truly the center of our lives."

At the end of his address, the Pope invited all those present to join him in Rosary in St. Peters Square next Saturday evening.

Memorial Day

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Christianity is the most profound revolution in history, Pope declares

.- On Thursday evening Pope Benedict led a series of liturgical events dedicated to the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. In his homily, the Pontiff declared that the unity brought about in the Eucharist shows that the Christian revolution is the most profound revolution in human history.

The Corpus Christi events began at seven o’clock in the evening on Thursday with the Pope celebrating Mass on the square in front of Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran. He then led a Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major and concluded the evening with a time for the adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Benedict XVI dedicated his homily at St. John Lateran to explaining how the significance of Corpus Christi can be seen in the three events of the evening. Firstly "our coming together around the altar of the Lord to be together in His presence," secondly "the procession, walking with the Lord," and finally "kneeling before the Lord in adoration."

Beginning with the gathering around the altar of the Lord, the Holy Father quoted St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians, where it is written that "there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.' ... In these words," said the Pope, "we feel the truth and the power of the Christian revolution, the most profound revolution in human history, which we may experience in the Eucharist where people of different ages, sexes, social conditions and political ideas come together in the presence of the Lord.”

“The Eucharist can never be a private matter,” explained Pope Benedict. “The Eucharist is public worship, which has nothing esoteric or exclusive about it. ... We remain united, over and above our differences, ... we open to one another in order to become a single thing in Him."

"Walking with the Lord" was the second aspect of the celebrations that the Pope discussed. The chance to accompany Jesus in the Eucharist allows us to reflect on how He in fact, “raises us up again ... and puts us on the journey with the power of this Bread of life. ... The procession of Corpus Christi teaches us that the Eucharist wants to free us from all distress and discomfort ... so that we can resume the journey with the strength God gives us in Jesus Christ," the Holy Father said.

Moreover, "Without the God-with-us, the God Who is near, how can we sustain the pilgrimage of life, either individually or as a society or a family of peoples?" asked the Pope.

"The Eucharist is the Sacrament of the God who does not leave us to journey alone, but puts Himself at our side and shows us the way. Indeed, it is not enough to keep going, it is important to see where we are going! Progress is not enough if there are no criteria of reference."

Finally, the third element of Corpus Christi, that of "kneeling in adoration before the Lord", is "the most valuable and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and today, ... it is a profession of freedom: those who bow to Jesus cannot and must not prostrate themselves before any earthly power, however strong," said the Pope.

As Christians "we prostrate ourselves before God, Who first bowed down towards man ... to save him and give him life, who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet. Adoring the Body of Christ means believing that there, in that piece of bread, Christ is truly present and gives real meaning to life, to the vast universe as to the smallest of creatures, to the whole of human history as to the briefest of lives."

At the conclusion of Mass in front of St. John Lateran, Pope Benedict XVI led a Eucharistic procession along Rome's Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The route was lined with thousands of people who prayed and sang, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Father knelt in adoration in an open vehicle carrying the Eucharist in a monstrance.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is...


Your Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

His Eminence the Very Lord Vincenzo the Bovine of New Invention

Benedict XVI, As Seen Up Close

Vatican Officials Give Insider's Look

By Marta Lago

ROME, MAY 23, 2008 ( If you want to understand Joseph Ratzinger, the man and the Pope, the starting point is the love of God, affirmed a cardinal who has worked closely with him.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, gave an inside look at the personality of Benedict XVI when he participated Tuesday in the book launch of "Benedictus," by Giuseppe de Carli.

"The key to the person and the ministry of Benedict XVI is the love of God," the cardinal said, affirming that the Pontiff's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est," "represents the particularity of this Pontiff."


But the cardinal clarified what that love of God means: "Love is not a static attitude," but "a dynamism that, by definition, is something that spreads.

"It tends to continuously bring into play new energies," he affirmed. "Thus, love provokes the great questions, and therefore engenders philosophy and theology."

Pope of the people

According to Cardinal Saraiva Martins, "Benedictus" documents "the development of the presence of Benedict XVI on the international scene of the third millennium, and shows how, step by step, the Pope is entering, with his reserved, stately style, into the hearts of the people."

The cardinal added that without leaving aside his intellectual depth, the Holy Father is "becoming the Pope of the people, because the people clearly perceive his message, even when it is full of uncomfortable truths, that is, demanding [truths] that call for a commitment."


The prelate continued: "He is always guided by a fatherly love that does not resign itself to seeing his children drown in mediocrity.

"And what, if not love, is his constant urging to combat the dictatorship of relativism, so thoroughly saturating our society?"

Regarding his presence on the international scene, the Holy Father's "role is not along the lines of appearing, but of being," Cardinal Saraiva Martins contended. "His very presence, even before his teaching, is for everyone a constant calling to live in love and in the search for truth."

His way of presenting himself "to the Church and the world is never invasive: his tone of voice lacks the slightest element of arrogance, his discreet, humble, cordial approach manages to open the hearts of many to his proposals."


Offering another view, Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, recalled how the Pope, two days after his election, called him urgently to ask help with the design of the papal coat of arms. The Italian prelate is an expert in ecclesiastic heraldry.

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"I immediately discovered his fundamental characteristics," the cardinal said, "which the book amply points out: the aspect of the man's simplicity, humanity, sincerity, spontaneity, but also the timidity. And I noted that this is accompanied right away with an element of decisiveness, matured in reflection."

Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and thus one of Cardinal Ratzinger's closest collaborators just before the election to the See of Peter, described the pontificate as a continuation of his previous style.

He explained: "That which we see now in the Holy Father in reality is that which Ratzinger was as the prefect of our congregation.

"The same intellectual lucidity, the same zeal for the defense of doctrine, the same simplicity in human relationships, the same humility in his person."

A smile

Paging through "Benedictus," the archbishop said, one sees four outstanding qualities. "[The Pope's] radiant, spontaneous, good-hearted and contagious smile" was first on the list.

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Then, Archbishop Amato noted, the Holy Father is characterized by "his willingness to dialogue, matured in his years of university teaching and sharpened in his meetings with bishops from around the world," who visited him in his role as prefect of the Vatican congregation.

"He is a man of dialogue, woven together not with frigidity or indifference, but with an interior passion, because he is an intellectual with heart," he said.

The prelate proposed that the "communicative strength of the Pope proceeds from the reasonableness of his speech -- as much when he speaks of Christ or illustrates the truth of the faith, as when he critiques the pathologies of postmodern mentality."

And since "faith and reason are the two wings that raise us to the truth," Archbishop Amato concluded, "it is precisely the truth, love for the truth and the proposal of truth that is the common thread giving continuity to Ratzinger, before as prefect, now as Pope."