Saturday, February 28, 2009

Msgr. Guido Marini on the Liturgy, Its Forms and Its Importance

From NLM:

In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano, you have highlighted the key changes since taking the post of Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations. Could you recall and explain what I mean?

I was just saying that the changes to which you refer are to be understood as a sign of a development in continuity with the recent past, and I remember one in particular: the location of the cross at the center of the altar. This positioning has the ability to confer, also by external sign, the proper orientation at the time of the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy, that the celebrant and the assembly do not look upon each other but together turn toward the Lord. As well, the unity of the altar and cross together can better show forth, together with convivial appearance, the sacrificial dimension of the Mass, whose significance is always essential, I would say it springs from it, and therefore, always needs to find a visible expression in the rite.

We have noticed that the Holy Father, for some time, now always gives Holy Communion upon the tongue and kneeling. Does he want this to serve as an example for the whole Church, and an encouragement for the faithful to receive our Lord with greater devotion?

As we know the distribution of Holy Communion in the hand remains still, from a legal point of view, an exception [indult] to the universal law, granted by the Holy See to the bishops conferences who so request it. Every believer, even in the presence of an exception [indult], has the right to choose the way in which they will receive Communion. Benedict XVI, began to distribute Communion on the tongue and kneeling on the occasion of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi last year, in full consonance with the provisions of the current liturgical law, perhaps intending to emphasize a preference for this method. One can imagine the reason for this preference: it shines more light on the truth of the real presence in the Eucharist, it helps the devotion of the faithful, and to introduce with greater readiness the sense of mystery.

The Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" is presented as the most important activity in the papacy of Benedict XVI. What is your opinion?

I do not know whether it is the most important but it certainly is an important document. It is not only so because it is a very significant step towards a reconciliation within the Church, not only because it expresses the desire to arrive at a mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman Rite, the ordinary and extraordinary, but also because it is the precise indication, in law and liturgy, of that theological continuity which the Holy Father has presented as the only correct hermeneutic for reading and understanding of the life of the Church and, especially, of Vatican II...

Bishop Fellay: apology "an important step"

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:32pm GMT

Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) told a German weekly that the apology from British Bishop Richard Williamson, also a member of SSPX, was honest.

"It is a first request for forgiveness and an important step in the right direction," Fellay told Der Spiegel...

Fellay reiterated that Williamson had damaged the SSPX and sought to put distance between himself and the bishop.

Asked why the SSPX did not exclude Williamson, Fellay said:

"If he denies the Holocaust again, that will happen. It is probably better if he stays quiet and stays in a corner somewhere." He added it was, in his view, unlikely that the Vatican would excommunicate Williamson again.


St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Stamford CT

Last Night's Convergence of the Moon and Venus



"Jesus told me that I please Him best
by meditating on His sorrowful Passion,
and by such meditation
much light falls upon the soul."

Saint Maria Faustina,,,,,

Meltdowns, detachment and the future - part II

From Fr. James Farfaglia:
"As I wrote last week, we all know that upheaval and collapse are all around us. The structures that have given us support are falling apart. Most people no longer find support from their families. It is difficult to find a true friend. Most parishes are dysfunctional. Our country has been taken over. We are living in a dictatorship of the liberal elite. Institutions that provided a lot of hope for many people are in meltdown mode.

Pride, arrogance, sin, corruption, denial and complicity all combine to cause the rise and the fall of nations, institutions and people.

Many innocent people get hurt. Many people are angry, anxious and discouraged.

The Church and the entire world are going through what St. John of the Cross called the dark night of the spirit.

In this time of intense spiritual warfare and purification, I would like to turn your attention to a text from a spiritual writer. The text is very important, although the author has written some things that were off the mark; nevertheless what he writes here is very important for our spiritual journey. The Holy Spirit is calling us to the desert. We need to be detached from all human support and immerse ourselves in God.

“Think of a life in which you depend on no one emotionally, so that no one has the power to make you happy or miserable anymore. You refuse to need any particular person or to be special to anyone or to call anyone your own. The birds of the air have their nests and the foxes have their holes, but you will have nowhere to rest your head in your journey through life. If you ever get to this state, you will at last know what it means to see with a vision that is clear and unclouded by fear or desire. Every word there is measured. To see at last with a vision that is clear and unclouded by fear or desire. You will know what it means to love. But to come to the land of love, you must pass through the pains of death, for to love persons means to die to the need for persons, and to be utterly alone.

How would you ever get there? By a ceaseless awareness, by the infinite patience and compassion you would have for a drug addict. By developing a taste for the good things in life to counter the craving for your drug. What good things? The love of work which you enjoy doing for the love of itself; the love of laughter and intimacy with people to whom you do not cling and on whom you do not depend emotionally but whose company you enjoy. It will also help if you take on activities that you can do with your whole being, activities that you so love to do that while you’re engaged in them success, recognition and approval simply do not mean a thing to you. It will help, too, if you return to nature. Send the crowds away, go up to the mountains and silently commune with trees and flowers and animals and birds, with sea and clouds and sky and stars…

At first this will seem unbearable. But it is only because you are unaccustomed to aloneness. If you manage to stay there for a while, the desert will suddenly blossom into love. Your heart will burst into song. And it will be springtime forever; the drug will be out; you’re free. Then you will understand what freedom is, what truth is, what God is. You will see, you will know beyond concepts and conditioning, addictions and attachments. Does that make sense?” (Anthony de Mello, Awareness pp. 173-174)

My dear friends, there is no doubt in my mind that we are in the middle of an intense period of purification. Everything around us is crumbling. Something new will emerge from the rubble. Pope Benedict has spoken about a Church which is smaller, but more faithful.

This is why I have been inviting you to incorporate into your spiritual life contemplative prayer. My Electronic Parish website has a new section on contemplative prayer that can help you to get started.

Satan has launched an intense attack on the Church; in fact he has launched an assault on the entire world. This is why a powerful spiritual life is so vital in order to persevere. Pray the Rosary every day.

Remember that the real name for Our Lady of Guadalupe is not Guadalupe. Her real name is Our Lady of “quatlasupe”. “Quatlasupe” is the Aztec word for “she who crushes the serpent”. Stay close to Mary. She will protect you.

Remember, use the sacramentals: holy water, blessed salt, miraculous medals and the St. Benedict medal. God has provided us with an arsenal of weapons to fight Satan.

“Put God’s armor on so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness of this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. That is why you must rely on God’s armor, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground” (Ephesians 6: 1-13).
The world economy will continue to spin out of control. A corrupt and sinful people cannot sustain an ordered society. There will be further economic turmoil, maybe even a total collapse of the world economy. The President’s economic policy will not work.

The economy could fall quickly and loudly. There will be a moment of intense violence. Order will be imposed by a police state. Peace will emerge, but our world will change dramatically. We will be forced to return back to basics.

Gone will be the credit cards, the malls, corporations and a global economy. Gone will be the abortion industry, the contraception industry and the pornography industry. Gone will be the drug cartels. Gone will be the Trilateral Commission, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Bildenbergers, the World Bank and the United Nations. Gone will be the corruption within the Catholic Church – entire religious orders and dioceses will go out of business because there will be no money to feed them.

When Nazi troops and tanks were marching through Poland, what did the young Karol Wojtyla do? Did he buy gold? Did he store food? Did he take up a gun?

Providentially, a mystic by the name of Jan Tyranowski introduced the future Pope to the works of St. John of the Cross and invited him to participate in a Catholic men’s group that he had formed.

The Living Rosary, created by Tyranowski, consisted of teams of fifteen young men, led by a more mature young person who received personal spiritual direction from Tyranowski. The Polish mystic, who was a simply tailor, met with the entire Living Rosary organization the third Sunday of every month. Tyranowski was able to instill in his young followers a deep spiritual life and a profound zeal for the salvation of souls.

Tyranowski’s Living Rosary organization is exactly what we need to be doing now during this intense occupation of the culture of death. Form small groups in your parish, your school or in your home. Let these small groups inspire you to go deep into the spiritual life. Let these small groups instill in you a profound zeal for the salvation of souls.

Abandon yourself into the loving hands of an awesome God that loves us unconditionally. Allow yourself to be purified. Do not let yourself be consumed by anger, fear, anxiety, frustration, discouragement or resentment. Enter into the dark night of the spirit. Do not be afraid. If you persevere, “the desert will suddenly blossom into love. Your heart will burst into song. And it will be springtime forever”.
h/t to Sanctus Belle

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Franciscan Father Kevin Tortorelli distributes ashes to a man standing in the St. Francis Breadline outside St. Francis Church in Manhattan Feb. 25. The bread line serves coffee and sandwiches to about 200 people every morning. It's been in operation since 1929. (CNS/Octavio Duran)
Franciscan Father Kevin Tortorelli distributes ashes to a man standing in the St. Francis Breadline outside St. Francis Church in Manhattan Feb. 25. The bread line serves coffee and sandwiches to about 200 people every morning. It's been in operation since 1929. (CNS/Octavio Duran)

God will forgive, bless those who seek conversion, pope says,
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- If people act on God's call to conversion, he will forgive them everything and bless them, Pope Benedict XVI said just before receiving ashes and distributing ashes to mark the beginning of Lent.

"As we prepare to receive the ashes on our foreheads as a sign of conversion and repentance, let us open our hearts to the life-giving action of the word of God," the pope told people gathered in Rome's Basilica of St. Sabina Feb. 25.

The evening Mass was preceded by a penitential procession from the nearby Church of St. Anselm.

In his homily, Pope Benedict said the readings chosen by the church for Ash Wednesday are meant to give guidance to Christians for the 40 days of Lent and to provide them with encouragement to follow the Lenten journey of conversion with courage.

The call to conversion is loud and clear in each part of the Ash Wednesday Mass from the opening prayer to the readings and hymns, he said.

"The promise of God is clear: If we listen to his invitation to convert, God will make his mercy triumph and his friends will be filled with innumerable blessings," the pope said.

The Gospel reading from Matthew, he said, puts Christians on guard against "ostentation and hypocrisy, superficiality and self-satisfaction, reaffirming the need to nourish an uprightness of heart."

At the same time, the Gospel explains that the way to grow in the purity of heart is to cultivate a closer relationship with God the Father, he said.

Pope Benedict said that during the year of St. Paul, marking the 2,000th anniversary of the apostle's birth, he wanted to focus in a special way on Paul's writings and conversion story.

"Paul experienced in an extraordinary way the power of the grace of God," which is also the grace of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he said.

Catholics do not pretend during Lent that they do not already know that Jesus rose from the dead, the pope said, but as they prepare for Easter they are "already enlightened by the brightness of the paschal mystery" of Jesus' death and resurrection.

A Christian's Lenten journey of conversion must be, like St. Paul's, a call from the risen Christ to change, to accept the forgiveness won by Jesus on the cross and to dedicate one's life to following him, the pope said.

St. Paul's call to refuse to allow sin to reign in one's life is an affirmation that while salvation is a free gift of God an individual must take the step of accepting that gift, he said.

"On the one hand, this affirms the victory of Christ over sin once and for all with his death and resurrection," he said, and on the other hand, Christians are exhorted to not let sin re-enter their lives.

"So that Christ may reign fully in him, the baptized person must faithfully follow his teachings; he must never let down his guard so as to ensure the adversary cannot win back any territory," Pope Benedict said.

The Lenten emphasis on prayer, almsgiving and fasting highlights the three most effective defenses against evil, he said.

The pope prayed that a more frequent reading of the Bible, more intense prayer and "an austere and penitential style of life will be a stimulus to conversion and sincere love toward our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest and neediest."


Fat Tuesday

"To heck with fat Tuesday! Today is Pyro-Tuesday; the day I burn the palms for ashes. Great fun..." - Fr. Richtsteig

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hands of a priest

"Priests who dwell upon earth and make their abode therein have been commissioned nonetheless to dispense things which are in heaven, and have received an authority such as God has not given either to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them: All that you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Matthew 18:18). Those who rule upon earth, indeed, have authority to bind, but bodies only, whereas the binding done by priests takes hold of the soul itself and reaches to heaven. What priests execute below, God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the judgment of His servants."
~ St. John Chrysostom

Vatican liturgical official makes new plea for 'reform of the reform'

Feb. 23, 2009 ( -

A key Vatican official has called for "bold and courageous" decisions to address liturgical abuses that have arisen since the reforms of Vatican II.

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, cites a flawed understanding of Vatican II teachings and the influence of secular ideologies are reasons to conclude that-- as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in 1985-- "the true time of Vatican II has not yet come." Particularly in the realm of the liturgy, Archbishop Ranjith says, "The reform has to go on."

Archbishop Ranjith, who was called to the Vatican personally by Pope Benedict to serve as a papal ally in the quest to restore a sense of reverence in the liturgy, makes his comments in the Foreword to a new book based on the diaries and notes of Cardinal Fernando Antonelli, who was a key figure in the liturgical-reform movement both before and after Vatican II.

The writings of Cardinal Antonelli, Archbishop Ranjith says, help the reader "to understand the complex inner workings of the liturgical reform prior to an immediately following the Council." The Vatican official concludes that implementation of the Council's suggested reforms often veered away from the actual intent of the Council fathers. As a result, Archbishop Ranjith concludes, the liturgy today is not a true realization of the vision put forward in the key liturgical document of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (doc).

Specifically, Archbishop Ranjith writes:

Some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass versus populum, Holy Communion in the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favor of the vernacular and songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of "active participation."

The Sri Lankan prelate argues that it in order to carry out a "reform of the reform," it is essential to recognize how the liturgical vision of Vatican lI became distorted. He praises the book on Cardinal Antonelli for allowing the reader to gain a better understanding of "which figures or attitudes caused the present situation." This, the archbishop says, is an inquiry "which, in the name of truth, we cannot abandon."

While acknowledging "the turbulent mood of the years that immediately followed the Council," Archbishop Ranjith reminds readers that in summoning the world's bishops to an ecumenical council, Blessed John XXIII intended "a fortification of the faith." The Council, in the eyes of Pope John, was "certainly not a call to go along with the spirit of the times."

However, he continues, the Council took place at a time of great worldwide intellectual turmoil, and in its aftermath especially, many would-be interpreters saw the event as a break from the prior traditions of the Church. As Archbishop Ranjith puts it:

Basic concepts and themes like Sacrifice and Redemption, Mission, Proclamation and Conversion, Adoration as an integral element of Communion, and the need of the Church for salvation--all were sidelined, while Dialogue, Inculturation, Ecumenism, Eucharist-as-Banquet, Evangelization-as-Witness, etc., became more important. Absolute values were disdained.

Even in the work of the Consilium, the Vatican agency assigned to implement liturgical changes, these influences were clearly felt, the archbishop notes:

An exaggerated sense of antiquarianism, anthopologism, confusion of roles between the ordained and the non-ordained, a limitless provision of space for experimentation-- and indeed, the tendency to look down upon some aspects of the development of the Liturgy in the second millennium-- were increasingly visible among certain liturgical schools.

Today, Archbishop Ranjith writes, the Church can look back and recognize the influences that distorted the original intent of the Council. That recognition, he says, should "help us to be courageous in improving or changing that which was erroneously introduced and which appears to be incompatible with the true dignity of the Liturgy." A much-needed "reform of the reform," he argues, should be inspired by "not merely a desire to correct past mistakes but much more the need to be true to what the Liturgy in fact is and means to us and what the Council itself defined it to be."

Archbishop Ranjith's 10-page Foreword appears in the English-language edition of a book entitled True Development of the Liturgy is written by Msgr. Nicola Giampietro, who serves on the staff of the Congregation for Divine Worship. It will be available in September from Roman Catholic Books.


h/t to the New Liturgical Movement

Pope's "Lectio Divina" on Paul's Letter to Galatians

Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd gathered in Saint Peter's ...

"Only a Shared Freedom Is Human Freedom"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the "lectio divina" Benedict XVI delivered Friday during a visit to Rome's Major Seminary on the eve of the feast of the seminary's patroness, Our Lady of Confidence. The "lectio divina" is a reflection on St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians.

* * *

Lord Cardinal,
Dear Friends,

For me it is always a great joy to be in my seminary, to see the future priests of my diocese, to be with you under the sign of Our Lady of Confidence. We go forward with her, who helps and accompanies us, and who really gives us the certainty of always being helped by divine grace.

Let us now see what St. Paul says to us with this text: "You were called to freedom." At all times, freedom has been humanity's great dream, since the beginning, but particularly in modern times. We know that Luther was inspired by this text of the Letter to the Galatians, and his conclusion was that the monastic Rule, the hierarchy, the magisterium seemed a yoke of slavery from which he had to free himself. Subsequently, the age of the Enlightenment was totally guided, penetrated by this desire for freedom, which it was thought had already been attained. However, Marxism also presented itself as the path to freedom.

Tonight we ask: What is freedom? How can we be free? St. Paul helps us to understand the complicated reality which freedom is by inserting this concept in a context of fundamental anthropological and theological divisions. He says: "Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another." The rector has already told us that "flesh" is not the body, but, in St. Paul's language, it is the absolutizing of the I, of the I that wants to be all and have everything for itself. In short, the absolute I, which does not depend on anything or anyone, seems really to possess freedom. I am free if I do not depend on anyone, if I can do everything I wish. However, precisely this absolutizing of the I is "flesh," namely, the degradation of man, it is not the victory of freedom: libertinism is not freedom, instead, it is the failure of freedom.

And Paul dares to propose a strong paradox: "Through charity, be of service " (in Greek "douleuete"); in other words, paradoxically, freedom is realized in service: We are free if we become one another's servants. And so Paul puts the whole problem of freedom in the light of the truth of man. To reduce oneself to the flesh, apparently raising oneself to the rank of divinity -- "I, man alone" -- introduces a lie. Because in fact, it is not like this: Man is not an absolute, being able to isolate himself and behave according to his own will. This goes against the truth of our being. Our truth is, above all, that we are creatures, creatures of God and we live in relationship with the Creator. We are rational beings, and only by accepting this relationship do we enter into truth, otherwise we fall into falsehood and, in the end, are destroyed by it.

We are creatures, hence dependents of the Creator. In the age of the Enlightenment, especially for atheism, this dependency seemed like something from which it was necessary to free oneself. In reality, however, it would be a fatal dependency only if this Creator God was a tyrant, not a good Being, only if he was as human tyrants are. If, however, this Creator loves us and our dependence implies being in the realm of his love, in this case, in fact, dependency is freedom. Thus, we are, indeed, in the love of the Creator, we are united to him, to the whole of his reality, to all his power. This, therefore, is the first point: To be a creature means to be loved by the Creator, to be in this relationship of love that he gives us, with which he provides for us. From this derives above all the truth about ourselves, which at the same time is a call to love.

And because of this to see God, to orient oneself to God, to know God, to know the will of God, to insert oneself in his will, that is, in the love of God is to enter increasingly into the realm of truth. And this path of knowledge of God, of the relationship of love with God, is the extraordinary adventure of our Christian life: Because in Christ we know the face of God, the face of God who loves us even to the cross, to the gift of himself.

However, the creaturely relationship also implies a second type of relationship: We are in relationship with God but, at the same time, as human family, we are also in relationship with one another. In other words, human freedom is, on one hand, to be in the joy and great realm of the love of God, but it also implies being only one thing with the other and for the other. There is no freedom in being against the other. If I absolutize myself, I become the other's enemy, we can no longer coexist on earth and the whole of life becomes cruelty and failure. Only a shared freedom is human freedom; in being together we can enter the symphony of freedom.

Hence, this is another point of great importance: Only by accepting the other, by accepting also the apparent limitation that respect for the other implies for my freedom, only by inserting myself in the network of dependencies that makes us, finally, only one human family, will I be on the way to common liberation.

A very important element appears here. What is the measure of this sharing of freedom? We see that man needs order and law, to be able to realize his freedom, which is a freedom lived in common. And how can we find this just order, in which no one is oppressed, but each one can make his own contribution to form this sort of concert of freedom? If there is no common truth of man as it appears in the vision of God, only positivism remains and one has the impression of something imposed even in a violent manner. Hence the rebellion against order and law as if it was a question of slavery.

However, if we can find the order of the Creator in our nature, the order of truth that gives each one his place, order and law can be in fact instruments of freedom against the slavery of egoism. To serve one another becomes an instrument of freedom, and here we can include a whole philosophy of politics according to the social doctrine of the Church, which helps us to find this common order that gives each one his place in the common life of humanity. The first reality that must be respected, therefore, is truth: Freedom against truth is not freedom. To serve one another creates the common realm of freedom.

And then Paul continues, saying: "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" After this affirmation the mystery of the Incarnate God appears, the mystery of Christ appears who in his life, Death and Resurrection becomes the living law.

Immediately, the first words of our reading -- "You were called to freedom" -- point to this mystery. We have been called by the Gospel, we have really been called in baptism, to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ, and in this way we have passed from the "flesh," from egoism, to communion with Christ. And so we are in the fullness of the law.

You probably all know St. Augustine's beautiful words: "Dilige et fac quod vis -- Love and do what you will." What Augustine says is the truth, if we have truly understood the word "love." "Love, and do what you will," but we must really be penetrated by communion with Christ, having identified ourselves with his death and resurrection, being united to him in the communion of his body. By participation in the sacraments, by listening to the Word of God, the Divine Will, the divine law really enters our will, our will identifies with his, they become only one will and thus we are really free, we can really do what we will, because we love with Christ, we love in truth and with truth.

Therefore, let us pray to the Lord that he will help us on this path that began with baptism, a path of identification with Christ that is always realized again in the Eucharist. In the third Eucharistic Prayer we say: "To be one body and one spirit in Christ." It is a moment in which, through the Eucharist and through our true participation in the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, we become one spirit with Him, we identify with his will, and thus we truly attain freedom.

After this word -- the law has been fulfilled -- after this unique word that becomes reality in communion with Christ, all the figures of the saints who have entered into this communion with Christ appear behind the Lord, in this unity of being, in this unity with his will. Above all, the Virgin appears, in her humility, her goodness, her love. The Virgin gives us this confidence, she takes us by the hand, guides us and helps us on the path of uniting ourselves with the will of God, as she was from the first moment, expressing this union in her "Fiat."

And, finally, after these beautiful things, the letter points out once more the rather sad situation of the community of the Galatians, when Paul says: "But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another ... walk by the Spirit." It seems to me that in this community -- which was no longer on the path of communion with Christ, but in the external law of the "flesh" -- naturally controversies also emerged and Paul says: "You become wild beasts, one bites the other." He refers thus to the controversies that arise when faith degenerates into intellectualism and humility is substituted by the arrogance of being better than the other.

We see clearly that also today there are similar things when, instead of being inserted in communion with Christ, in the Body of Christ which is the Church, each one wants to be better than the other and with intellectual arrogance wants to be regarded as the best. And thus controversies arise which are destructive, born is a caricature of the Church, which should be one soul and one heart.

In St. Paul's warning we should find today a reason to examine our conscience: not to think of being better than the other, but to meet one another in the humility of Christ, in the humility of the Virgin, to enter into the obedience of the faith. Precisely in this way the great realm of truth and freedom in love is really opened also for us.

Finally, we want to thank God because He has shown us his face in Christ, because he has given us the Virgin, the saints, because He has called us to be only one body, one spirit with him. And let us pray that He will help us to insert ourselves ever more in this communion with his will, so as to find love and joy in freedom.

[At the end of the dinner with the community of the Roman Seminary, the Holy Father said]

I am told that yet another word is expected from me. I have already spoken perhaps too much, but I would like to express my gratitude, my joy at being with you. In my conversation now at table I have learned something more about the history of the Lateran, begun by Constantine, Sixtus V, Benedict XIV, Pope Lambertini.

So I have seen all the problems of the history and ever-new rebirth of the Church in Rome. And I have understood that in the discontinuity of external historical events lies the great continuity of the unity of the Church at all times. And also in regard to the composition of the seminary, I have understood that it is an expression of the catholicity of our Church. From all the continents we are one Church and we have the future in common. Let us only hope that vocations will grow because, as the rector said, there is a need for laborers in the Lord's vineyard. Thank you all!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mel Gibson's New Movie

Archbishop Dolan prays for future ‘full of hope’ in New York City

“...The obedience I freely and enthusiastically promised to Jesus Christ, His Church, and His vicar on earth, our Holy Father, is a very liberating act. So, I place my future in the hands of the Lord, whose grace and mercy endure forever, and I go.”


The Tablet Tries to Silence Father Finigan's Response

From Father Z:

"This is hilarious. His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Tim Finigan, who was recently the object of a mean-spirited hit-piece by Elena Curti in the pages of The Tablet, writes:


The Tablet have asked me to remove this post because it is a breach of copyright for me to quote their article in full. A new copyright-compliant version is available at the post: Responding to the Tablet – legally compliant version

It is hilarious to see the Tablet failing utterly to grasp the concept of publishing on the internet.
During a recent cordial phone chat about this sad affair, Fr. Finigan and I predicted that The Pill would come after him for responding in detail.

Right on schedule.

This says a great deal about The Tablet.

First, they drag him on a hurdle through the liberal parishes and chanceries willing to swallow the their message.

Then they whine when he frees an arm and bloodies their noses with his bonds.

They want him to go quietly.

Bullies are ever craven.

Second, they are stuck not only in the washed-up ecclesiology of the ‘70’s, they are stuck in the ‘70’s tools of social communication.

They think they are going to contain what they did to Fr. Finigan.

I checked Wikipedia for The Tablet and found that in 2006 it had a circulation, if the number is accurate, of 23,628. I suppose most of that involves the copies off-loaded in parish churches.

I get more readers than that every day.

And I hope everyone of them will visit Fr. Finigan’s site!

You know… if they all sent Fr. Finigan £ 1.00 ... just to, you know, offset the expense of his ultra-right wing clerical garb …. imagine what The Pill could write about next? Imagine how irritating that would be to the progressivists. "

"We shall go with thee!"

From The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, (F.SS.R.):

sub + Petro
Quinquagesima Sunday
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
Ecce ascendimus Ierosolyman, et consumabuntur omnia...
Behold we go up to Jerusalem; and all things shall be accomplished...
Last May,
Brother Maximilian,
born near the Redemptorist monastery of Tuchow, Poland,
who had been a member of the Society of St. Pius X since 1999,
had his religious vows formally dispensed by his Parish Priest
in order to live in full communion with the Chair of Peter.

Following his dispensation,
in a certain hermenutic of continuity,
Brother Maximilian has been living on Papa Stronsay
as a postulant.
Today, seven months later,
on the feast of the Chair of St. Peter,
he was clothed in the habit
the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Priest: Receive, my Son, the image of the crucifix,
image of Thy Master and Redeemer,
who suffered for thee and offered Himself for thee.
Place it as a standard upon thy heart,
as a seal upon thy arm.
Novice: I will die O Lord for the love of Thy love
who has deigned to die for the love of my love.

He took the religious name:
Brother Bernard
In honour of
The Servant of God,
Father Bernard Lubienski, C.SS.R.(1846 – 1933)

Dum esset Summus Pontifex,
Terrena non metuit,
Sed ad caelestia regna
Gloriosus migravit.
While he was Supreme Pontiff
He feared no earthly powers,
But went his way in glory
To the heavenly kingdom.
Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto
Dominus conservet eum,
Et vivificet eum,
Et beatum faciat eum in terra,
Et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Let us pray for our Holy Father Pope Benedict.
May the Lord preserve him
and give him life
and make him blessed upon earth.
And deliver him not up
to the will of his enemies.

Mind the crevasse: The amazing 3D pavement art that has pedestrians on edge

Conservative Episcopal bishop resigned to become Roman Catholic priest

By Olivier Uyttebrouck

The Albuquerque Journal - As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, the Rev. Jeffrey Steenson came down on the conservative side of many issues.

He opposed the election of the first openly gay bishop, and he did not allow the blessing of same-sex unions in his diocese.

Steenson said those conflicts made it impossible for him to pursue his ultimate goal of helping the Anglican Communion unite with the Roman Catholic Church.

On Saturday, both Catholics and Episcopalians celebrated Steenson's ordination as a Roman Catholic priest. Steenson, a married father of three, said he is the first sitting Episcopal bishop since 1852 to resign to become a Roman Catholic.

"Jeffrey and I have been in conversation for a number of years," Archbishop Michael Sheehan told several hundred who attended the ordination ceremony at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Rio Rancho.

"Of course, I have to say, that he has the greatest respect for his Episcopal and theological roots."

Steenson served as bishop of the Rio Grande diocese from 2004 to 2007 at a divisive time for Episcopalians, both in New Mexico and nationally.


Steenson said his decision to choose Catholicism while serving as a sitting Episcopal bishop was "extremely difficult."

"I would say it was an agonizing decision, because of the pastoral responsibilities I think I had," he said.

But the "democratic" nature of the Episcopal Church led him to sever ties with the protestant denomination, he said.

"The Episcopal Church is purely a democratic organization," Steenson said. "It governs itself democratically, and it doesn't have to answer to anyone for the decisions it makes. I just felt that I didn't believe in that view of the church."

Pope Benedict XVI: to follow Peter is a High Duty

From Infused Knowledge:

"I'm the only Catholic in my family, but I'm proud to say I've taught my relatives to have proper reverence for the holy Faith. They demonstrated their abiding respect just last Christmas when one of them gave me this dignified calendar:"

"And as if we needed more proof that they're in awe of my religion, here's another Christmas gift they gave me:"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pontiff Requests Prayer for Fulfillment of Mission,

Says Rome's Primacy Protects Unity and Diversity in Church

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is asking for prayers, on this feast of the Chair of Peter, for a successful fulfillment of his mission as the Bishop of Rome.

The Pope made this request today in an address to those gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus.

He affirmed that the "chair of Peter symbolizes the authority of the Bishop of Rome, who is called to perform a special service for the whole People of God."

The Pontiff noted that the "primacy of the Church of Rome in the Catholic community was recognized" immediately after the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul.

He underlined the fact that within the Church, "particular Churches hold a rightful place" and "retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity."

This Chair, the Holy Father added, "protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it."

He asked for the prayers of the Church in order to be able to "faithfully carry out this great task, entrusted [...] by Providence, as successor to the Apostle Peter."

Spiritual healing

Benedict XVI also dedicated some words to reflect on the Gospel account of Jesus' healing of the paralytic.

He affirmed the story's proof that "Jesus has the power not only to heal the sick body but also to forgive sins."

The Pope added: "The physical healing is a sign of the spiritual healing that his forgiveness produces.

"In effect, sin is a kind of paralysis of the spirit, from which only the power of the merciful love of God can liberate us, allowing us to pick ourselves up and set out again along the path of goodness."

James MacMillan: Tablet attack on Fr Tim Finigan is a 'disgrace'

From Damian Thompson :

"James MacMillan, Britain's foremost Catholic composer and a long-time contributor to The Tablet, has written to the magazine's deputy editor Elena Curti describing her article about Fr Tim Finigan and Our Lady of the Rosary, Bleckfen, as a "disgrace" that may be actionable.

"I hope the good parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary can find it in their hearts to forgive you and pray for you," he tells her.

This week's Bitter Pill contains a hatchet job by Curti on Fr Tim - one of this country's finest priests - for offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form alongside the new rite. In one place, Curti implies that Fr Tim is less than open about parish expenditure on vestments – a disgraceful imputation that he is able to refute easily.

Over the last few days, I've sensed that The Tablet has seriously blundered by allowing its most biased writer to stir up trouble in one of the few parishes which is putting Summorum Pontificum into practice. Fr Finigan is a formidable and holy priest – and a nice bloke with friends across the Catholic world. In a properly run Church he would be a bishop.

Now Dr MacMillan - whose masterpiece, the St John Passion, has just been recorded by Sir Colin Davies and the LSO - has written to Ms Curti to express his fury at the trashing of Fr Finigan. He writes;

Dear Ms Curti,

I am a Scottish Catholic composer who has on many occasions contributed articles to your magazine, The Tablet. I have always seen the journal as an important and sensible Catholic voice in the media. Nevertheless, I have been alarmed at the drift of the paper in recent months, especially relating to matters to do with the liturgy, which is a special interest of mine. Your latest article on Fr Tim Finigan has unfortunately plumbed new depths that I thought I would never see in a Christian publication. The whole tone was disrespectful, mischief-making and opportunistic, lacking no palpable sense of Christian charity. The Tablet has a special responsibility not to allow these issues to develop into a "civil war" between Catholics. Our liturgy is in a deplorable state and, in the spirit of Vatican II, it is imperative that steps are taken to reform the reform for the good of the faithful. There is no attempt by the Pope, or Fr Finigan for that matter, to turn back the clock. The limited reappearance of the Extraordinary Rite will contribute to a renewal and blossoming in our wider liturgical education and awareness, and in the process advance the faith of Catholics starved of good practice in this regard.

The implied assaults on the character of Fr Finigan were a disgrace, and at one point, when you suggest financial impropriety, may be actionable. I hope the good parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary can find it in their hearts to forgive you and pray for you.

Yours sincerely,

James MacMillan CBE

I agree with every word of that; and I've also suggested that Holy Smokers might want to contribute to the expenses of Our Lady of the Rosary in staging a dignified liturgy: the details are here."

Obama the masterful orator COLOR

Rebel Australia priest defies sacking: reports

SYDNEY (AFP) – A rebel Catholic priest in Australia, who was sacked for blessing gay couples and allowing women to preach, defied his archbishop and led mass on Sunday, media reports said.

Father Peter Kennedy preached in front of hundreds of parishioners gathered to show support after his dismissal last week, national news agency AAP reported.

The Catholic church said Kennedy's nominated replacement did not attend Sunday service in Brisbane on police advice following a bomb threat against Archbishop John Bathersby, who sacked the 71-year-old Kennedy.

Kennedy does not dispute breaching church rules but argues his actions are in line with the Vatican's call for people to take full and active participation in the liturgy.

"It's sad the archbishop is not here because if he was, he could not turn away from this community," Kennedy told the congregation, denying that any of his followers were behind the bomb threat.

He told AFP last week he had blessed about 10 gay and lesbian unions during his time at St Mary's parish and welcomed women preachers, describing the Catholic Church as "the biggest boy's club in the world."

The congregation reportedly chanted "we shall not be moved" at the end of the service, with parishioner Allaway Allan telling the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he was not surprised by the show of support.

"This just demonstrates what a damn good job Father Peter Kennedy is doing," Allan said.

Archbishop Bathersby said an independent mediator would most likely be called to solve the impasse.

"The Church is fully entitled to have this decree obeyed and to have its ownership of the St Mary's church respected," he said Saturday.

"Enough is Enough!"

From Fr. Ray Blake of Saint Mary Magdalen, Brighton, U.K.:

"I know he is the chairman and not the delivery boy but I wrote to Sir Michael Quinlan at the Tablet telling him I could not in good conscience continue to be seen giving my support or that of my parishioners to the Tablet, therefore after selling it for a century at the back of the Church we would no longer do so. I asked to ensure it was no longer sent to us.

The reasons I cited were Robert Mickens' disrespectful treatment of the Holy Father, about which I have previously exchanged correspondence with the editor. I agreed then to give The Tablet a second chance, I must confess I enjoy their arts pages.

However with the shoddiness of Elena Curti's piece on Fr Tim and Blackfen, enough is enough.

I know of two other priests who have made the same decision today from my own diocese.
I think The Tablet might well begin to look at itself a little more critically after this weekend, especially if half the people who have commented on the blogosphere actually write to the Tablet.
We actually do need a good journal like The Tablet but it needs to be Catholic and have mainstreams orthodox Catholics on its editorial board and as contributors, the days of reactionary hippies are coming to their end and so must The Tablet in its present form. Its contributors are aging, as are its readers, if it is to survive it has to attract new readers, it will not without a clear Catholic identity."

Saturday, February 21, 2009


"One new idea thought up by the producers that will be seen Sunday? Trophy boys. The result is that very handsome young men will now join very beautiful young women on stage carrying out the Oscar statuettes. If that's not an acknowledgement that the viewership for the Academy Awards these days is limited to only females and gays, I don't know what is." - Nikki Finke

Blessed Noel Pinot

From Fr. Tim Finigan of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen:

"Jane Teresa of the blog My heart was restless passed on to me the story of a martyr priest from the time of the French Revolution who went to his death on this day in 1794. He refused to take the oath of allegiance to the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy", a law passed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution which subjected the Church to the civil government.

Many priests and religious understandably fled the country and did great work elsewhere - including the USA. A brave few actually stayed on to minister to their flock - among them Blessed Noel Pinot. After refusing to take the oath he had to go into hiding but he came back publicly after the initial success of the rising in the Vendée.

During the brutal suppression of the rising (with atrocities amounting to genocide) Fr Pinot was captured while fully vested for Mass. He was dragged through the streets to the jeers of hostile spectators and soldiers and thrown into prison. After twelve days, he was sentenced to death for refusing to take the oath.

He went to the guillotine still vested for Mass and repeatedly praying the words that begin the Mass: "Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam.

Whenever we suffer, we should always remember that our trials are puny compared to those of the heroic martyrs of the faith."

Pope Leo XIII Reciting the Ave Maria

Beer Drinking Monkey

Pope gives Pelosi pre-excommunication warning

By Michael Gaynor

By visiting Pope Benedict and then issuing the public statement she issued after the meeting, Pelosi has made it imperative for her bishop to begin excommunication proceedings against her and distributors of Holy communion to refuse her under canon law, to avoid sin themselves.

The title of that Catholic News Service (CNA) article on their meeting is "Pope Benedict strongly rebukes Pelosi over abortion," but it may as well have been "Pope Prepares for Pelosi Ex-communication, if She Won't Repent."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi regularly claims to be an ardent Catholic while ardently supporting abortion. She has supported even taxpayer funded abortions and opposed a partial-birth abortion ban.

CNA highlighted that Pelosi was rebuked for her abortion advocacy and denied a photo-op by his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI:

"House speaker Nancy Pelosi's photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI turned sour when the Pontiff used the 15-minute meeting to reaffirm the teachings of the Catholic Church on the right to life and the duty to protect the unborn.

"No photo of Nancy Pelosi and the Pope will be forthcoming, since the meeting was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room in the Vatican just after the Pope's weekly public audience."

Immediately after the meeting, the Vatican press office released this statement:

"Following the general audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage."His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Pelosi should humbly heed the words of Pope Benedict that she heard and repent.

If not, Pope Benedict paved the way for her excommunication.

Bishops, priests and distributors of Communion, take note:

Failure to excommunicate Pelosi if she does not repent would be a huge public scandal that would undermine the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

Giving Pelosi Holy Communion if she does not repent would be a sacrilege as well as a public scandal that would undermine the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

The day before the Speaker met the Pope, Jon O'Brien, president of "Catholics for Choice," told The Hill that their meeting would be an opportunity to highlight that one can be pro-choice and Catholic, and that there are much bigger issues out there to discuss, such as the fate of the poor in the global economic downturn.

That is patent nonsense and the fact that the Pope spent his time talking with Pelosi on the right to life and the need to defend the unborn demonstrates it.

Last year Pelosi said on "Meet The Press": "I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, [when life begins] is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition ... St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose."

Pope Benedict personally explained to Pelosi that life begins at conception.

Previously the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had issued a public statement correcting Speaker Pelosi and stating: "Since the first century the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."

Pelosi's office eventually released a statement on her papal visit that completely ignored life issues.

Pelosi said in her statement:

"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's' dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel.

"I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's Papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."

George Weigel, a distinguished senior fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, cleverly titled his article on the meeting "Were They at the Same Meeting?" and deemed Pelosi both shameless and confused.

Mr. Weigel:

"Charity requires that one concede the possibility that genuine piety was a part of Pelosi's (rather boorish, and certainly irregular) insistence on being given a private moment with the pope during her current taxpayer-funded junket to Rome. But her office's statement on today's meeting makes it clear something else was afoot: that Pelosi, who shamelessly trumpets her 'ardent' Catholicism while leading congressional Democrats in a continuing assault on what the Catholic Church regards as the inalienable human rights of the unborn, was trying to recruit Benedict XVI ('Joseph Ratzinger, D., Bavaria'?) to Team Nancy.

"His Holiness wasn't buying it.

"He told Pelosi, politely but unmistakably, that her relentlessly pro-abortion politics put her in serious difficulties as a Catholic, which was his obligation as a pastor. He also underscored — for Pelosi, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Mikulski, Rose DeLauro, Kathleen Sebelius, and everyone else — that the Church's opposition to the taking of innocent human life, at any stage of the human journey, is not some weird Catholic hocus-pocus; it's a first principle of justice than can be known by reason. It is a 'requirement of the natural moral law' — that is, the moral truths we can know by thinking about what is right and what is wrong — to defend the inviolability of innocent human life. You don't have to believe in papal primacy to know that; you don't have do believe in seven sacraments, or the episcopal structure of the Church, or the divinity of Christ, to know that. You don't even have to believe in God to know that. You only have to be a morally serious human being, willing to work through a moral argument — which, of course, means being the kind of person who understands that moral truth cannot be reduced to questions of feminist political correctness or partisan political advantage."


Mr. Weigel opined that "Pelosi is deeply confused about what her church teaches on the morality of abortion, and why" and speculated that Pelosi "may have come to her bizarre views on her own." but "it's far more likely that she has been un-catechized, so to speak, by Catholic intellectuals and clerics who find Catholic teaching on life issues an embarrassment among their high-minded friends and colleagues of the progressive persuasion."

Mr. Weigel certainly was charitable, and may be right, that Pelosi actually is "deeply confused." But history shows that Democrat politicians with national aspirations like former 1980 Democrat presidential hopeful and still Senator Ted Kennedy, former Senator now Vice President Joe Biden, 2004 Democrat presidential candidate and Senator John Kerry and Pelosi adopted a pro-abortion view that has served their political interests instead of being faithful to fundamental Catholic teaching, confusion is the most charitable explanation and rank political opportunism seems to be a more plausible explanation in at least some cases.

Be that as it may, it is wonderful that Pelosi met with Pope Benedict, because now there is absolutely no question that she has been admonished by the Roman Catholic Church's highest authority that she has separated herself from what she still claims to be her Roman Catholic faith.

Mr. Weigel:

"Whatever the source of her confusion, Pelosi has now been informed, and by a world-class intellectual who happens to be the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, that she is, in fact, confused, and that both her spiritual life and her public service are in jeopardy because of that.

"Moreover, it is reasonable to assume that Pope Benedict did not have only Pelosi in mind when he said what he had to say about the obligations of moral reason and the duties of statesmanship. President Obama is not a Catholic, but he should understand that he will get the same message if, as expected, he meets with His Holiness later this year."

It is noteworthy that contrary to normal protocols for such meetings with dignitaries, no photos of Pelosi with the Pope have been released and that, diplomatic language notwithstanding, Pope Benedict firmly rebuked Pelosi.

Vatican correspondent John Allen, who writes for National Catholic Reporter, noted that "routine Vatican declarations after diplomatic meetings also generally sum up the range of issues discussed rather than concentrating on a particular point. In that sense, the statement can only be read as a rejection of Pelosi's statements last summer, and, in general, of her argument that it's acceptable for Catholics in public life to take a pro-choice position."


By visiting Pope Benedict and then issuing the public statement she issued after the meeting, Pelosi has made it imperative for her bishop to begin excommunication proceedings against her and distributors of Holy communion to refuse her under canon law, to avoid sin themselves.

Finally, given the widespread misreporting and confusion in the American media on Mrs. Pelosi's audience with the Holy Father, here are some helpful facts from a learned priest:

1) The Holy Father receives in formal audience — apart from hierarchs and member of the diplomatic corps — only heads of state and heads of government. (E.g. Queen Elizabeth II is received as head of state, and wears black with court jewels — Catholic queens regnant or consort wear white with Papal decorations; male monarchs and royal consorts wear court dress and decorations. Mr. Brown as PM would be received less formally as head of government.) These audiences are in the Apostolic Palace. The Pope wears a red mantaletta trimmed with fur in audience with a head of state — red satin in summer, red velvet in winter trimmed with ermine, and white silk trimme with ermine in Paschal tide, on top of a rochet, and wering the Papal stole embroidered with figures of SS. Peter and Paul — and meets the visting head of state (who has been greeted at in the Damacen court by the Master of the Papal Household and other domestic prelates and chamberlains) at the lintel of his private apartments.

(As Prince of Princes, the Pontiff receives no one, except a Patriarch, at the front entrance to his residence as heads of state normally greet each other; notable exceptions to this have been Constantine in 800 and President Bush last year, when the Pope met him at the door to the Tower of the Winds. This was an historic gesture and one which stunned Europeans although our media in its ignorance had no grasp of its significance. But President Bush was informed ahead of time by the Vatican that the Pope would do this and he thanked the Pope for this "historic honor." In Bush's instance, the Pope was clearly making a sign of his special regard for him.)

Often, as a courtesy, the Pontiff will receive in the Apostolic Palace the spouse of a head of state or government without the above protocols. In every instance, the Pope does not appear until the visitor has arrived, since no one may be late for a Papal audience. Pope Pius XII once received Eva Peron as a gesture to the Argentinian people (the Argentinian government had given a large donation for the new main building of the Gregorian University.) She was 20 minutes late, so the Papal chamberlains kept her waiting 21 minutes before the Pope received her, and she was given a minor decoration instead of a customary higher order.

Mrs. Pelosi has no protocol rank equivalent to the above. In all papal ceremonies, monarchs take precedence over elected heads of state (eg. the President of the United States would sit behind the king of Tonga or the Archduke of Luxembourg).

2) Mrs. Pelosi was given the lowest ranking audience possible: a "baciamano" — which is granted to thousands of people, usually after they have been standing behind a barrier. It lasts only a few minutes and was not in the state reception rooms. She and her small group were lined up with various civil figures and representatives of lay groups and pilgrimage party and had to wait her turn after the general audience (attended by thousands of people in the Paul VI Audience Hall).

3) The Pope made the unusual gesture of giving a brief talk to her and her entourage on the right to life, which by its exceptional nature was an instruction and admonition.

4) This Pope rarely invites anyone to his private Mass. Mrs. Pelosi was not invited and she certainly did not receive communion from the Pope.

5) Contrary to some hysterical reports, she was given no award. She was not even given a papal decoration or gift, which is interpreted as a sign of disapproval. She may have been given a rosary, but everyone who speaks to a Pope is given one (children, the infirm, etc.).

6) The Vatican issued a statement making clear that Mrs. Pelosi was given an admonition. Rarely does this happen at a baciamano.