Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Archbishop Nienstedt Staunchly Opposes ‘Travesty’ of Obama Invite to Notre Dame Commencement

His Excellency John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, has joined a growing list of US bishops in opposition to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor and host President Barack Obama at commencement in May. The petition organized by The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) urging Notre Dame President Father Jenkins to rescind the invitation has grown to more than 220,000 signatures.

“The faithful owe a debt of prayerful thanks to Archbishop Nienstedt for his statement calling on Notre Dame to reconsider its planned honor for President Obama,” said Patrick Reilly, President of CNS.

In his letter dated last Thursday, March 26, and provided today to The Cardinal Newman Society, Archbishop Nienstedt wrote to Father Jenkins to “protest this egregious decision on your part,” calling the honor a “travesty.” Nienstedt wrote that President Obama is an “anti-Catholic politician” and whose “deliberate disregard of the unborn” does not deserve Notre Dame’s “public support.”

The following is the complete text of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt’s letter to Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins:

March 26, 2009

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear Father Jenkins:

I have just learned that you, as President of the University of Notre Dame, have invited President Barack Obama to be the graduation commencement speaker at the University’s exercises on May 17, 2009. I was also informed that you will confer on the president an honorary doctor of laws degree, one of the highest honors bestowed by your institution.

I write to protest this egregious decision on your part. President Obama has been a pro-abortion legislator. He has indicated, especially since he took office, his deliberate disregard of the unborn by lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research, by promoting the FOCA agenda and by his open support for gay rights throughout this country.

It is a travesty that the University of Notre Dame, considered by many to be a Catholic University, should give its public support to such an anti-Catholic politician.

I hope that you are able to reconsider this decision. If not, please do not expect me to support your University in the future.

Sincerely yours,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bultmann and Padre Pio

From Standing on my Head:

"I'm reading Bernard Ruffin's biography of Padre Pio, and love this juxtaposition:

Padre Pio was almost an exact contemporary of Rudolf Bultmann the German Lutheran theologian who, out of a regard for the difficulty modern men and women have in accomodating the traditional teachings of Christianity to their twentieth century perceptions, devised a theology that 'demytholigized' the gospels, stripping awar such uncomfortable baggage as miracle and other accoutrements of a 'first century woldview' in order to get at what he believed to be the essential kernel of truth underlying al the 'mythological' paraphernalia...how different was Padre Pio in style and results! Wihtou publish a book or deliver a single uniervsity lecture, he convinced thousands, even in the age of 'historical criticism' of the Bible and the 'Death of God 'theologians, that miracles are not mythology but reality. Through his life and ministry thousands came to accept the Bible and all the historical doctrines of Christianity.

It might be added that Bultmann succeeded in doing just the opposite.

There is a delightful detail in Paul Thigpen's modern re working of Dante's Inferno called My Visit to Hell. There is a circle in which the modernist theologians are all consigned to eternity in a diabolical seminary being tortured by demons. They have to eat burning books, and the books they have to eat are their own. A maniacal demon--force feeding Bultmann screams in crazed delight, 'de-mythologize that if you can...'"

The Secret of Benedict XVI's Popularity. In Spite of Everything

Despite being rocked by criticism, this pope continues to enjoy the trust of the masses. His trip to Africa and a survey in Italy prove this. The reason is that he speaks of God to a humanity in search of direction

by Sandro Magister

ROME, March 27, 2009 – On the flight back from his trip to Cameroon and Angola, Benedict XVI told the journalists that two things in particular had been ingrained in his memory:

"On the one hand, the almost exuberant hospitality and the joy of a festive Africa. In the pope, they saw the personification of the fact that we are all children of God and his family. This family exists, and we, with all of our limitations, are in this family, and God is with us.

"On the other hand, there was the spirit of recollection at the liturgies, the strong sense of the sacred: in the liturgies, there was no self-representation of groups, no self-promotion, but the presence of the sacred, of God himself. Even the movements, the dances, were always respectful and cognizant of the divine presence."

Popularity and presence of God. The interweaving of these two elements is the secret of Joseph Ratzinger's pontificate.


That Benedict XVI is a popular pope might seem to be contradicted by the storm of hostile criticism rained down on him daily by the media all over the world. Over the past month, these criticisms have reached an unprecedented crescendo. Even official government representatives no longer hesitate to accuse the pope.

But the impression gathered from looking at the big numbers is different. On his voyages, Benedict XVI has always demonstrated levels of popularity beyond expectations. Not only in Africa, but also in difficult venues like the United States or France. In Rome, at the Angelus on Sunday at noon, St. Peter's Square is more packed, every time, than during the years of John Paul II.

This does not mean that these same crowds consistently accept and practice the teachings of the pope and of the Church. Countless surveys show that on marriage, sexuality, abortion, euthanasia, contraception, the views of a large number of people are more or less distant from the Catholic magisterium.

At the same time, however, many of these same people demonstrate a deeply rooted respect for the figure of the pope and the authority of the Church.

Italy is a case in point. On March 25, in "la Repubblica" – the leading progressive newspaper, and very caustic in criticizing Benedict XVI – the sociologist Ilvo Diamanti provided yet another confirmation of the high levels of confidence that Italians continue to show toward the Church and the pope, in spite of widespread disagreement on various points of their teaching.

For example, when asked to say whether they are for or against the pope's statement that condoms "do not resolve the problem of AIDS, but aggravate it," three out of four say they are against.

But the same respondents, when asked whether they trust the Church, respond "greatly" or "very much," to the tune of 58.1 percent. And confidence in Benedict XVI is also very high, at 54.9 percent.

Not only that. From the same survey, it emerges that trust in the Church and in Benedict XVI has not fallen, but has risen since a year ago.

This is how professor Diamanti explains the apparent contrast:

"The Church and the pope speak out on sensitive topics of public and private ethics in an open and direct way. They offer answers that are debatable, and are often debated, contested by the left or by the right. Nonetheless, they offer certainty to an unsure society, in search of points of reference and values. For this reason, 8 out of 10 Italians, among the non-practicers, consider it important to give their children a Catholic education, and enroll them in the hour of religious instruction. For this reason, a very large majority of families, close to 90 percent, choose to direct 0.8 percent of their income taxes to the Catholic Church."

And it is for this same reason – one might add – that Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has not joined in the recent chorus of criticisms against the pope from representatives of France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, etc. On the contrary, he has taken the opposite approach.

On March 21, he said that the Church must be respected, and that its freedom of speech and action must be defended "even when one finds it proclaiming principles and concepts that are difficult and unpopular, far from the fashionable opinions." With this, Berlusconi simply expressed the view shared by many Italians.


So the facts outlined above already provide a glimpse of the substance of the question: that Benedict XVI's popularity has its source precisely in the way in which he carries out his mission as successor of Peter.

This pope is respected and admired for one fundamental reason. Because he has placed above all else this priority, which he formulated in the letter to the bishops last March 10, one of the essential documents of his pontificate:

"In our time, during which in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of being extinguished like a flame that has run out of fuel, the priority that stands above all others is that of making God present in this world, and revealing to the eyes of men the path to God. And not to any sort of god, but to that God who has spoken on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in love to the end (cf. John 13:1), in Jesus Christ crucified and risen. The true problem at this moment in history is that God is disappearing from the horizon of men, and that with the extinguishing of the light that comes from God, humanity is seized by a lack of direction, the destructive effects of which are becoming increasingly clear."

On Sunday, March 15, two days before he left for Africa, Benedict XVI did not say anything different in explaining the reason for his trip to the crowd that had come to St. Peter's Square for the Angelus:

"I leave for Africa with the awareness that I have nothing else to offer and give to those I will meet except for Christ and the good news of his Cross, the mystery of supreme love, of divine love that overcomes all human resistance and makes it possible even to forgive and love one's enemies. This is the grace of the Gospel that is capable of transforming the world; this is the grace that can also renew Africa, because it generates an irresistible force of peace and of profound and radical reconciliation. The Church does not pursue economic, social, and political objectives; the Church proclaims Christ, certain that the Gospel can touch to hearts of all and transform them, thus renewing persons and societies."

In Cameroon and Angola, the heart of the pope's message was effectively this. Not the denunciations – which he nonetheless voiced in strong words – of the evils of the continent and the responsibilities that they generate. But in the first place, that which was the announcement of Peter to the crippled man in chapter 3 of the Acts of the Apostles: "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, arise and walk!"

It would be interesting to present an anthology of the most significant passages from the nineteen speeches, messages, interviews, and homilies that Benedict XVI gave during his seven-day trip to Cameroon and Angola.

But in order to understand the profound meaning of his mission, it is enough to present here a single emblematic text: the homily given by Benedict XVI at the Mass on Saturday, March 21, in Luanda, in the church of St. Paul.

The spirit of recollection, the strong sense of the presence of God that remained impressed on the pope's memory at the sight of the crowds that followed the liturgy, and also the exuberant celebration with which they welcomed and surrounded him, are explained in part in this homily from pope Ratzinger, in a remote church of Africa:

"Let us make haste to know the Lord"

by Benedict XVI

Dear brothers and sisters, beloved labourers in the Lord’s vineyard, as we have just heard, the children of Israel said to one another, “let us make haste to know the Lord” (Hos 6:3). They encouraged one another with these words amid their many tribulations. These misfortunes had overtaken them – the Prophet explains – because they lived without knowledge of God; their hearts were poor in love. The only physician capable of healing them was the Lord. Indeed, he himself, as a good physician, opened their wounds so that the sore might heal. And the people made up their mind: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us” (Hos 6:1). Thus human poverty was to intersect with divine mercy, which desires only to embrace the poor.

We see this in the Gospel passage that we have just heard: “Two men went up into the temple to pray”; the one “went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Lk 18:10, 14). The latter had paraded all his merits before God, virtually making God his debtor. Deep down, he felt no need for God, even though he thanked him for letting him become so perfect, “not like this tax collector”. And yet it was the tax collector who went down to his house justified. Conscious of his sins, and so not even lifting his head – although in his trust he is completely turned towards Heaven – he awaits everything from the Lord: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Lk 18:13). He knocks on the door of mercy, which then opens and justifies him, for, as Jesus concludes: “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 18:14).

Saint Paul, the patron saint of the city of Luanda and of this splendid church built some fifty years ago, speaks to us from personal experience about this God who is rich in mercy. I wanted to highlight the second millennium of the birth of Saint Paul by celebrating the present Pauline Year, so that we can learn from him how to know Jesus Christ more fully. This is the testimony which Paul has bequeathed to us: “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Tim 1:15-16). In the course of the centuries, the number of people touched by grace has continually grown. You and I are among them. Let us give thanks to God because he has called us to be part of this age-long procession and thus to advance towards the future. In the footsteps of all Jesus’ followers, let us join them in following Christ himself and thus enter into the Light. [...]

The decisive event in Paul’s life was his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: Christ appeared to him as a dazzling light, he spoke to him and he won him over. The Apostle saw the Risen Jesus; and in him he beheld the full stature of humanity. As a result Paul experienced an inversion of perspective; he now saw everything in the light of this perfect stature of humanity in Christ: what had earlier seemed essential and fundamental, he now considered nothing more than “refuse”; no longer “gain” but loss, for now the only thing that mattered was life in Christ (cf. Phil 3:7-8). Far from being merely a stage in Paul’s personal growth, this was a death to himself and a resurrection in Christ: one form of life died in him, and a new form was born, with the Risen Christ.

My brothers and sisters, “let us make haste to know the Lord”, the Risen One! As you know, Jesus, perfect man, is also our true God. In him, God became visible to our eyes, to give us a share in his divine life. With him a new dimension of being, of life, has come about, a dimension which integrates matter and through which a new world arises. But this qualitative leap in universal history which Jesus brought about in our place and for our sake – how is it communicated to human beings, how does it permeate their life and raise it on high? It comes to each of us through faith and Baptism. This sacrament is truly death and resurrection, transformation and new life, so much so that the baptized person can say together with Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). I live, but no longer I. In a certain way, my identity has been taken away and made part of an even greater identity; I still have my personal identity, but now it is changed and open to others as a result of my becoming part of Another: in Christ I find myself living on a new plane. What then has happened to us? Paul gives us the answer: You have become one in Christ Jesus (cf. Gal 3:28).

Through this process of our “christification” by the working and grace of God’s Spirit, the gestation of the Body of Christ in history is gradually being accomplished in us. At this moment I would like to go back in thought five centuries, to the years following 1506, when, in these lands, then visited by the Portuguese, the first sub-Saharan Christian kingdom was established, thanks to the faith and determination of the king, Dom Alphonsus I Mbemba-a-Nzinga, who reigned from 1506 until his death in 1543. The kingdom remained officially Catholic from the sixteenth century until the eighteenth, with its own ambassador in Rome. You see how two quite different ethnic groups – the Bantu and the Portuguese – were able to find in the Christian religion common ground for understanding, and committed themselves to ensuring that this understanding would be long-lasting, and that differences – which undoubtedly existed, and great ones at that – would not divide the two kingdoms! For Baptism enables all believers to be one in Christ.

Today it is up to you, brothers and sisters, following in the footsteps of those heroic and holy heralds of God, to offer the Risen Christ to your fellow citizens. So many of them are living in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers. In their bewilderment they end up even condemning street children and the elderly as alleged sorcerers. Who can go to them to proclaim that Christ has triumphed over death and all those occult powers (cf. Eph 1:19-23; 6:10-12)? Someone may object: “Why not leave them in peace? They have their truth, and we have ours. Let us all try to live in peace, leaving everyone as they are, so they can best be themselves.” But if we are convinced and have come to experience that without Christ life lacks something, that something real – indeed, the most real thing of all – is missing, we must also be convinced that we do no injustice to anyone if we present Christ to them and thus grant them the opportunity of finding their truest and most authentic selves, the joy of finding life. Indeed, we must do this. It is our duty to offer everyone this possibility of attaining eternal life.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us say to them, in the words of the Israelite people: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us.” Let us enable human poverty to encounter divine mercy. The Lord makes us his friends, he entrusts himself to us, he gives us his Body in the Eucharist, he entrusts his Church to us. And so we ought truly to be his friends, to be one in mind with him, to desire what he desires and to reject what he does not desire. Jesus himself said: “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn 15:14). Let this, then, be our common commitment: together to do his holy will: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15). Let us embrace his will, like Saint Paul: “Preaching the Gospel... is a necessity laid upon me; woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).


All of the speeches and homilies from Benedict XVI's trip to Africa, on the Vatican website:

> Apostolic journey to Cameroon and Angola, March 17-23, 2009


The previous article from www.chiesa on the pope's statements about how to combat AIDS:

> Drifting Mines. In Africa the Condom, in Brazil Abortion (23.3.2009)


The pope's reservations about the effectiveness of condoms have found some prominent supporters. One of these is Edward Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard School of Public Health and Center for Population and Development Studies. This is what he said in an interview with ilSussidiario.net:

> "As a liberal, I say the Pope is right"


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.


Vale, O valde decora!

The last image to be veiled.
The Mother of God of Perpetual Succour remained unveiled
for Her Novena of Prayers this evening.
After Night Prayers the veil came down
and with all the other sacred images
She will remain enpurpled
and, as it were, mourning
until Resurrection night,
now fourteen days away.
Lent has ended.
Tonight we enter
Vale o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.
Farewell, O most comely!
Prevail upon Christ to pity us.

Busted Compromising

Eleison Comments XC

Between the crisis of the Church, still compounding, and the economic crash now, as Americans say, barreling down the pike, there is an interesting parallel to be drawn. Only those who think religion and economics have nothing to do with one another, need be surprised. Both are seated in the same human beings and societies.

In both cases, according as, say over the last 300 years, man has moved further and further away from God, so he has made more and more compromises with the Truth and Laws of God and nature. But the nature of God and man and things cannot be changed, so that the moment comes when the compromising stretches too far from reality, and breaks down.
That moment is today.

In economics, the founding of the Bank of England in 1694 was a major step on the way towards modern finance: central banks taking control of the money supply and therefore of the real government of the nations, by progressively replacing real deposits as the foundation of credit with fictitious credit as the foundation of "deposits". Fake finance became global in the 20th century, and is being crashed in the 21st century to give to the money-men final control of world government. Alas, the sense of economic realities may have been lost too far back in the past for even real suffering and real riots to wrest that control from those who are masters of the mass of minds by their vile media.

In the Church, the steady diminution of the Faith over the 17th and 18th centuries gave rise to Concordats in the 19th and 20th centuries, by which the Church would renounce certain of her natural privileges in order to establish her most important rights by at least a contractual agreement with States where those privileges were no longer believed in. So it came to seem that instead of the human resting on the divine, the divine rested on the human, with the result that Catholic dogma may have remained for the 19th century anchored in God's Truth, but when with the 20th century's modernism and Vatican II the same shift towards man took over even Catholic doctrine, then the Church's very structures immediately began to fall in ruins, today still piling up.

In both economics and religion, the remedy can only be to go in time forward by going back to healthy basics, and by giving up on trying to extend the series of unhealthy compromises with a world that has run itself onto the rocks. However, whereas in economics the enemies of mankind may win, in religion we have God's own promise (Mt. XVI, 18-20) that they will not prevail over the Catholic Church. So we prepare to suffer, but we pray, especially for the Pope, with an unshakable trust in God. Kyrie eleison.

London, England

Cardinal: Liberalized use of Tridentine Mass already is bearing fruit

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's outreach to traditionalist Catholics by liberalizing the use of the Tridentine Mass already is bearing fruit, said Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos.

The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which coordinates care for traditionalist Catholics, said that thanks to the pope's action "not a few have asked to return to full communion, and some already have returned."

In an interview published in the March 28 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Cardinal Castrillon said the Oasis of Jesus the Priest monastery of 30 cloistered nuns in Spain "has already been recognized and regularized" by his office and "there are cases of American, German and French groups" who have begun the process.

The cardinal insisted that the only traditionalists excommunicated were the four bishops ordained by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 without Vatican permission.

The priests who have followed those bishops, he said, "are only suspended," and so the Masses they celebrate "are without a doubt valid, but not licit." The religious who have followed the schismatic bishops need to have their congregations or monasteries recognized by the Vatican, he said.

In addition, he said, "there are individual priests and many laypeople who contact us, write to us and call us for a reconciliation and, on the other side, there are many other faithful who demonstrate their gratitude to the pope" for his July letter authorizing widespread use of the liturgy according to 1962 Roman Missal.

In his letter, the pope said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form.

Cardinal Castrillon said wider use of the pre-Second Vatican Council rite "is not a matter of returning to the past, but is a matter of progress," because it gives Catholics the richness of two liturgical forms instead of one.

Asked whether he was worried that bringing back into the church "men and women who do not recognize the Second Vatican Council" would alienate some of the faithful who see the council's teaching as a compass for the church, Cardinal Castrillon said he did not think the problem "is as serious as it could seem."

The excommunicated leaders of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Lefebvre, "have expressly recognized Vatican II as an ecumenical council," he said, but they disagree with the way the documents have been interpreted and put into practice.

"These are theological discussions that could take place within the church where, in fact, there exist different interpretive discussions about the council texts, discussions that could continue also with the groups who return to full communion," the cardinal said.

The eucharistic celebration is a sign and source of the unity of the church, he said, and Pope Benedict's decision to keep alive the older form of the Mass is an effort to preserve a rich tradition while promoting unity.

"We must never forget that the supreme point of reference in the liturgy, as in life, is always Christ. Therefore, we should not be afraid, including in the liturgical rite, to turn toward him, toward the crucifix, together with the faithful to celebrate the holy sacrifice," he said.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Which Star Wars Character Are You?

You are Obi-Wan Kenobi
You are civilized, calm, and
have a good sense of humor,
even when those around you don't.
You can hold your own in a fight,
but prefer it when things
don't get too exciting.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Princess Leia
Luke Skywalker
Qui-Gon Jinn
Boba Fett
Han Solo

Which Star Wars Character Are You?

Hillary Clinton leaves flowers for Our Lady of Guadalupe, asks ‘Who painted it?’

.- During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay.

Mrs. Clinton was received on Thursday at 8:15 a.m. by the rector of the Basilica, Msgr. Diego Monroy.

Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.

After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”

Clinton then told Msgr. Monroy that she had previously visited the old Basilica in 1979, when the new one was still under construction.

After placing a bouquet of white flowers by the image, Mrs. Clinton went to the quemador –the open air area at the Basilica where the faithful light candles- and lit a green candle.

Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”

This evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to receive the highest award given by Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization's founder, a noted eugenicist. The award will be presented at a gala event in Houston, Texas.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A model displays a creation designed by Agatha Ruiz De La Prada ...
A model displays a creation designed by Agatha Ruiz De La Prada of Spain at Miami Fashion Week in Florida March 22, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES FASHION IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

Yoda - Weird Al

ESPN Sportscenter - Y2K Test

Some scenes in the wadi of Mount Carmel

From FatherGeorgeBloggingLourdes:

"Coming out of the wadi of Mount Carmel, what is it that we see?"


Let’s take a closer look:


When I walked up into the wadi I was pursued by the sound of the loudspeakers, whose sound filled the entire wadi and beyond. If you’re thinking nasty thoughts, don’t. That’s useless. Pray that the truth in charity will conquer hearts and souls.

Anyway, much further up into the wadi, we come to the original foundation of the Carmelites, which was almost immediately destroyed by Islam. Here’s the chapel, partially rebuilt for you to get the idea. That’s the main entrance. Quite impressive architecture, really.


Here’s what’s left of the ad orientem altar and smaller side chapels. They didn’t like the sanctuary of the chapel either. If you’re thinking nasty thoughts, don’t. That’s useless. Pray that the truth in charity will conquer hearts and souls.


Here’s the new chapel, a fortress. There is constant vandalism. What’s that I see written on the side of the chapel? If you’re thinking nasty thoughts, don’t. That’s useless. Pray that the truth in charity will conquer hearts and souls.


Don’t forget, we are in the Holy Land here. The land is holy because of the blood of the martyrs and the blood of Christ which the land drank in.

As I write this, one of the O.C.D. fathers who has been here forever told me the pictures of the dove which accompanied me the other day is the first time he’s seen that kind of bird here. And he’s been here for a long time. Let’s see if we can find another picture of our friend:


Now, if you’re thinking good thoughts with that… Good! Please, continue!

Now, what would a wadi be without water? Here’s a short film:

More to come…"

Church leader sparks Georgian baby boom

By Tom Esslemont
BBC News, Tbilisi

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II
The patriarch is revered by many in Georgia

Two years after having one of the lowest birth rates in the world, Georgia is enjoying something of a baby boom, following an intervention from the country's most senior cleric.

At the end of 2007, in a move to reverse the Caucasian country's dwindling birth figures, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, came up with an incentive. He promised to personally baptise any baby born to parents of more than two children.

There was only one catch: the baby had to be born after the initiative was launched.

The results are, in the words of the Georgian Orthodox Church, "a miracle".

Easy decision

The country's birth rate increased by nearly 20% during 2008 - a rate four times faster than the previous year.

Many parents say they took the decision to have another child on the basis of the Patriarch's incentive...


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Media effort draws 92,000 inactive Catholics back home to church

By Ambria Hammel
Catholic News Service

PHOENIX (CNS) -- Maybe TV isn't so bad after all.

An estimated 92,000 inactive Catholics in the Phoenix Diocese have come back to the church in the last year thanks in large part to a groundbreaking television advertising campaign called Catholics Come Home.

The promotional spots featured people and locations from around the Phoenix Diocese to promote the church during prime-time television. The cornerstone of the campaign, the Catholics Come Home Web site, addresses often misunderstood aspects of the faith.

"For those who had fallen away from the practice of their faith, it let them know that we want them to come home," Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said.

The commercials, which ran during Lent in 2008, detail the good works of the Catholic Church throughout history. They also offer real-life testimonials of local fallen-away Catholics explaining what turned them away and what drew them back.

"Phoenix was supposed to be this quiet little test," said Tom Peterson, a former resident of Phoenix who is president and founder of Catholics Come Home, which is now based in Georgia.

"Word went worldwide as soon as you launched," he said in an interview with the Phoenix diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Sun.

More than half a million different visitors from all 50 states and 80 countries have visited the Web site catholicscomehome.com since the spots first aired.

The response was so positive that other dioceses around the country are looking to Phoenix for ideas on bringing Catholics back to the church.

The Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas recently launched different versions of the television spots in English and Spanish. Each parish supplemented the commercials at Ash Wednesday services with a brochure for everyone answering common faith-related questions and listing Mass times and ministries.

The Catholics Come Home spots will appear in more than a dozen other dioceses around the country later in 2009 or early 2010. By the time Advent rolls around in 2010, organizers say they'll go national on major networks.

"Our family is made up of every race," begins the longest of the spots. "We are young and old, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints."

The two-minute ad highlights the vital part the Catholic Church has played in establishing hospitals, orphanages and schools in addition to its role in science, marriage, family life, Scripture and sacraments.

"If you've been away from the Catholic Church, we invite you to take another look," the announcer says toward the end. "We are Catholic; welcome home."

Another two-minute ad shows men and women alone watching the best and the worst scenes from their lives play back before them on an old movie reel.

The final ad that aired -- Peterson has dozens more like it ready to go -- featured snippets of testimonials about why Catholics left the church and what they found upon their return.

Peterson said the Catholics Come Home campaign has "the potential of re-Christianizing our society and even catechizing the world."

A lot of pro bono production, nearly $1 million from various donors and foundations, and a grant from the Catholic Community Foundation helped put the ads on the air.

The Diocese of Phoenix has witnessed increased interest in the church, which leaders are attributing to last year's campaign.

"It's exciting to see the fruits that continue to grow from this," said Ryan Hanning, coordinator of adult evangelization for the diocese. According to Hanning, a number of the faithful have found a renewed passion for the church, while fallen-away Catholics rejoined parish life.

Hanning worked closely with Peterson on the Catholics Come Home campaign and ensured that parish leaders, especially those in faith formation, were ready to welcome back Catholics and resolve sacramental and doctrinal issues. More than 25 parishes created programs to welcome Catholics back to the church.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Tempe was one of them. It showed a video before Easter Masses and held a six-week program for returning Catholics.

"The commercials helped (fallen-away Catholics) realize that they were missing something in their lives," said Father John Bonavitacola, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He noticed that Catholics who had grown lax in their faith or who felt hurt by the church, or who had divorced and remarried, returned. Many had their marriage validated in the church while others joined for the first time.

Six months after the media campaign ended, a comprehensive analysis of its impact revealed a 22 percent increase in Mass attendance at nine sample parishes. Throughout the diocese, the average increased Mass attendance -- returned and new Catholics -- was 12 percent. That's despite a flat population growth in the diocese during that period.

"Wherever they've been, they can come back home. It's a message that resonates," Hanning said. "I never thought I'd have thousands of Catholics calling and e-mailing me and saying, 'I'm proud to be Catholic and I want to help others.'"

Sunday, March 22, 2009


"They are begging for our prayers. Ever so quietly. Do you hear them? Pray for those in purgatory. They will certainly pray for you and, then, welcome you with great joy and gratitude into the eternal habitations. Hail Mary…"


Wash. Times: Bishop to shun Steele's address

Interview in magazine triggers snub

Ralph Z. Hallow
Sunday, March 22, 2009


A Roman Catholic bishop in Indiana will shun a pro-life banquet if Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele addresses the sold-out event, The Washington Times has learned.

The other honoree at the April 16 Vanderburgh County Right to Life (VCRL) banquet is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and the snub by Bishop Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger of Evansville over Mr. Steele could embarrass Mrs. Palin, a hero to pro-lifers, and reverberate throughout the movement.

"At this point, the bishop's intention is not to attend the dinner he would normally attend," Paul Leingang, communications director for the diocese and editor of its weekly newspaper, the Message, said. "The bishop has had a conversation with Mr. Steele and has informed [VCRL Executive Director Mary Ellen] Van Dyke that his early decision not to attend still stands."

Mrs. Palin, an evangelical, is twinned with Mr. Steele, a Roman Catholic, as the featured attractions at the banquet, billed as the biggest such event in the nation and expected to attract more than 4,500 people.

Nor will Bishop Gettelfinger be the only prominent area pro-lifer to shun the banquet over Mr. Steele. Evansville Catholic Charities Director Jim Collins also plans to boycott the gathering, saying he was "shocked" by Mr. Steele's answers on abortion during a recent interview.

In an interview with GQ, published in the latest issue of the magazine, the reporter asked, "Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?" According to GQ, Mr. Steele said, "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice." The reporter then said, "You do?" and Mr. Steele said, "Yeah. Absolutely."

However, he also said the Supreme Court "wrongly decided" the 1973 case that struck down state limits on abortion and made it a matter of individual choice. And on the day after GQ posted the article on its Web site, Mr. Steele backtracked, saying "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be" and reiterating his statement that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling was flawed.

"No pro-life person could have answered the way he did," Mr. Collins said. "I don't care how he dances around it afterward, he is not a pro-lifer," he added, contending that Mr. Steele's presence would thus tarnish the event.

"The banquet has always been the high point because the speaker was always someone who had impeccable pro-life credentials - who had actually accomplished something to protect human life in the womb," Mr. Collins said, adding that he has "not found one credible achievement by Michael Steele" on pro-life issues.


The expected attendees have yet to learn of the decision by Bishop Gettelfinger, 73, to shun the banquet as all sides have labored to keep secret the decision, and private negotiations were held involving the banquet organizers, the bishop and the local Catholic Charities director.

But the talks collapsed after a Thursday afternoon meeting of the Vanderburgh County Right to Life board when the panel secretly voted, after contentious debate, to honor the speaking contract it had made with Mr. Steele, which predated not only the GQ remarks but even his Jan. 30 election as chairman of the Republican National Committee, the GOP's 168-member governing body.

"Mr. Steele was contracted to speak last fall," Mrs. Van Dyke said.

A last-ditch conversation between Mr. Steele and the bishop failed to reach an agreement, making final the bishop's decision to avoid the gathering.

Bishop Gettelfinger had written a warning letter to Mrs. Van Dyke that laid out his objections to Mr. Steele's scheduled appearance at the banquet. The bishop has repeated publicly to politicians in his own diocese Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 worldwide warning to Catholic politicians that they risk excommunication from the church and should not receive Communion if they support legal abortion.

When Mr. Steele learned his planned appearance had become an issue, he telephoned Mrs. Van Dyke and convinced her that he was genuinely pro-life.

"We have done our due diligence," Mrs. Van Dyke said. "Michael Steele has made the board of directors more than satisfied with his response regarding the GQ article. He told us he always has been and will be pro-life and against abortion in all cases."

Having publicly stated his intention to try to heal differences between pro-life and pro-choice Republicans, Mr. Steele has belonged to two pro-choice groups - the Main Street Republican Coalition and the Republican Leadership Council. He has variously maintained that he has been unintentionally imprecise on the abortion issue, that GQ distorted his answers and that he supports the GOP platform's call for a constitutional ban on abortion.

But Bishop Gettelfinger said in his letter to VCRL that "the principled answer for us is that there can be no equivocation: Intentional abortion is an act of killing the unborn. There is no room for choice in this deadly matter. Mr. Steele assiduously avoids such strong language."

The bishop's letter, parts of which were read by Mr. Leingang to The Times, balances condemnation with some praise for other things that the GOP leader said in the GQ article, including highlighting his mother's decision not to abort him.

"Mr. Steele is to be applauded for drawing attention to the other side of a woman's choice in detailing for us his mother's choice to put him up for adoption," the bishop says in his letter.

Mr. Leingang also said he has told VCRL that he is "writing an article in our diocese's weekly newspaper opposing Mr. Steele's appearance."

The deadline for articles is Wednesday morning, and the newspaper will be printed and distributed Friday.

The banquet, which had Cal Thomas as its main speaker last year, is testimony to the drawing power of Mrs. Palin among pro-lifers. Almost immediately on the announcement that she would appear, tickets promptly sold out, even though a majority of them are not in the banquet room.

"We expect 2,180 people to attend the banquet," Mrs. Van Dyke said. "Another 2,500 tickets are available for a live feed broadcast in the auditorium."

Pro-life Republicans informed by The Times of the developments in Vanderburgh County agreed Mrs. Palin's appearance could tie her to a fuss in which she played no part. They also called the bishop's boycott an indication of how both the church and the pro-life community might continue to react to Mr. Steele's leadership of a political party with a platform that stands firmly against abortion.

But at least one pro-life conservative opposed Bishop Gettelfinger's no-show plans.

"The bishop would be foolish to a fault if he carries through with his threat to boycott because it has never been clearer how committed the Democratic Party's leadership is to opposing the pro-life community," said Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, which describes itself as a public policy group promoting traditional values. "While the bishop and others may be unhappy with what Michael Steele has said, the bishop and other Steele critics are profoundly naive if they think dividing the pro-life community is a good idea."

Besides, said Mr. Hanna, "I am not sure Steele's unfortunate phrasing quite constitutes the support for abortion that would warrant the bishop's staying away from the banquet."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Notre Dame Switchboard Overwhelmed


Catholic PRWire

Notre Dame Grads Condemn Obama Decision

Detroit/South Bend (March 21, 2009) - As of late Friday night, hundreds of callers had overwhelmed the switchboard at Notre Dame as news began to circulate that Obama had been invited to give the commencement address at Notre Dame on May 17th. Sources at Notre Dame as well as the White House late Friday afternoon confirmed the invitation had been extended and accepted.

ND operators said the calls simply became too much to handle. Voice mails of the University President, Vice-President, Provost, assistant-provost and PR director were all full by 10pm EST. Operators were suggesting that callers try again on Monday when university officials would be back in their offices.

All the calls were expressing outrage. None supported the decision.

Two Notre Dame alumni who own and operate the world’s first Catholic internet TV station www.realcatholictv.com both immediately denounced the university’s decision to award Barack Obama honors and give him a stage from which to speak.

Marc Brammer, ND Class of ’74 and MBA’76 and Michael Voris ’83 each called the move a disgrace and a smear on the University’s reputation of being a Catholic school.

Voris discovered the news while live on the air with Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariana while he was being interviewed about the week’s news. “While I was actually on the air with Drew”, Voris said, “I shot off an email to Fr. Jenkins (ND President) expressing my deep anger that the carnage done to the Faith by Notre Dame is continuing.”

Voris shared the text of his email – It is beyond sinful that a University dedicated to the Mother of God, in whose womb the salvation of the world became incarnate, would give a platform to the biggest enemy of life in the womb this country has ever seen.

“This is a direct slap in the face to all who venerate the Mother of God. To be honoring a man who continues to do everything in his power to destroy the fundamental essence of motherhood through abortion,” said Brammer, “shows just how much the University has lost its moral bearings.”

RealCatholicTV.com has pledged its support to encouraging protests and condemnation of the Obama visit.

Promoting the Glamour of Evil

From Alan Keyes:

"Apparently the Catholic folks at Notre Dame University have no more respect for the Baptismal vows they renew every Easter than their invited Commencement Speaker this year has for the Presidential Oath of Office. At this moment in time, Barack Obama is the living incarnation of the glamour of evil. His smiley tones and non-threatening manner mask a studied commitment to the promotion of the most deadly form of evil in the world today- the cult of abortion centered on the ritual of child sacrifice. Obama has moved with impetuous determination to prove his claim to the mantle of High Priest of the Worldwide Abortion cult. With Executive orders he has shifted the resources of the U.S. government behind the global implementation of abortion. He has declared open season on embryonic human life. He has appointed enthusiastic political and judicial acolytes of this cult of death to high positions in the Executive and Judicial branches.

Even before these actions there was no rational basis for pretending to doubt his absolute commitment to the evil of abortion for its own sake. There can be no other explanation for his opposition, while an Illinois state Senator, to the bipartisan effort in the legislature to end the heinous practice of infanticide against innocent babies- delivered in the course of an abortion attempt; wrapped in soiled linens; and left on a cart to languish without medical care or any human comfort until they died. His only real explanation for refusing to support an end to this abominable practice was the cold-blooded logic that any interference with the mother's intention to kill the child would damage so-called abortion rights.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is objective evil of the most deadly spiritual kind. Obama embraces this evil for its own sake, without even the specious calculus of cost and benefit to cloak the true nature of his devotion. Except the Notre Dame University community consciously wishes to promote similar devotion in its students, there can be no valid explanation for their willingness to extend a platform to such a man. They cannot plead respect for his supposed High Office, unless they mean to suggest that it is consistent with Catholic teaching or the Lord's example to put such worldly reverence above the reverence for God, and the sacred laws commanding respect for innocent human life. Human honor cannot redeem that which God abhors. It cannot clear away the stain and curse that mars it. Vox Populi, Vox Dei is no maxim for the Body of Christ.

Nor can apologists at Notre Dame point to any positions he takes, or worldly programs he promises that can offset the sacrifice of spiritual integrity his unapologetic support for the cult of child sacrifice entails. It may be that he has gained the whole world's momentary adulation and tinsel honor. But as Christ spoke true, his soul is forfeit in the bargain, and the gain is as nothing compared to the cost.

Neither can they plead respect for the historic breakthrough his election supposedly represents. How can one who withdraws the protection of God's ordained equality of rights from innocent, helpless children claim to represent the triumph of justice over the very evils, born of greed and passion, unleashed by disregard for that equality? The vicious heart of selfish passion that perverted the souls of slave masters or self-worshiping lynch mobs, is the same heart offered in service to the Father of lies and evil in the abortion cult.

In the literal sense therefore, Barack Obama is the incarnation of what the Catholic Church identifies as the epitome of evil in the world today. What Notre Dame has done puts the stamp of Catholicity upon him, as if there is no absolute contradiction between what he advocates and represents and what can honorably be presented from platforms that benefit from the auspices of the Church. A Commencement speech represents a word spoken at the beginning of a new stage of life. In the literal sense it represents a principle for thought and action. Are we seriously to believe that some morally truthful argument can be made that justifies presenting Barack Obama in a Catholic context, as one who speaks for decent moral principle? It is sophomoric to suggest that any good thing he promises, promotes or even implements can compensate for his declared war upon the very principle of goodness, which is nowhere more clearly at stake than in the law of love that shrouds, protects and sanctifies our reverence for innocent human life. What Catholic theology makes good the rationalization that good works somehow supply the deficiency of a spirit and will that in the innocent person of the child, defile and abuse the very image of God Himself?

Given the evil he represents, Notre Dame's invitation to Obama is a slavish capitulation to the glamour of evil. Across America there are people of many different hues and denominations who devote themselves to the protection of innocent life, respect for the God-ordained family, and promotion of social justice in ways that conform with the principle of subsidiarity that respects human responsibility before God for the exercise of freedom His will for us makes possible. The world does not elevate them to platforms of power. Indeed it threatens them with punishment; ridicules and reviles their single-hearted devotion to Christ's example; relegates them to what it believes are the dingy fringes of respectability and esteem. Yet where is Christ to be found more than in those willing to bear with him the cross of human anguish on the long climb toward Calvary and the sacrifice that redeems mankind from the burden of sin? Rather than give an honorable platform to an evil man the world admires, a Catholic institution would do better to offer students a voice that speaks from the depths of this redemptive anguish, with a heart that sees past the glamour and power of evil, to the truth that will someday repel and triumph over it.

In an era when the Catholic Church in America still reels from the damaging effect of leaders who seem to connive at what gives scandal to the faithful, this scandalous gesture of admiration and respect toward the man who best represents the temporary triumph of evil over America's public life is a renewed scandal. As the first reeked of worldly fear and selfish licentiousness, this reeks of death and the prideful embrace of the doctrine that rejects the sovereignty of God in order to make man the master of life and death, right and wrong, hope and salvation. Catholics who abhor such scandal need to speak out. With one voice we should say to Notre Dame what Joshua said to the people of Israel: "If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve…" (Josue 24:15)

As a Catholic I earnestly pray to God, and ask of our Church leaders, that they make clear that this invitation cannot stand. If it stands, the scandalous lesson of subservience to human pride and power will lengthen the shadow of spiritual corruption that still haunts the Church. But if it is rebuked and withdrawn, every Catholic and Christian heart submissive to the sovereignty of God, as they bear witness to the affirmation of its truth, will be emboldened to speak and act with courage, even in the teeth of the whole world's scornful power.

This may also be an opportunity to begin the work that may someday turn Obama's heart from evil. Rather than confirm him in his present heedless service to objective evil, confront Him with the truth that there are Christian hearts that honor God above any man or human office. The seed planted by that confrontation will remind him of the true spirit of liberty. And it might someday grow up to impel him to repent of evil, who knows? With God, all things are possible"

Mission: it is our duty to offer everyone the possibility of attaining eternal life


At this moment I would like to go back in thought five centuries, to the years following 1506, when, in these lands, then visited by the Portuguese, the first sub-Saharan Christian kingdom was established, thanks to the faith and determination of the king, Dom Alphonsus I Mbemba-a-Nzinga, who reigned from 1506 until his death in 1543.

The kingdom remained officially Catholic from the sixteenth century until the eighteenth, with its own ambassador in Rome. You see how two quite different ethnic groups – the Bantu and the Portuguese – were able to find in the Christian religion common ground for understanding, and committed themselves to ensuring that this understanding would be long-lasting, and that differences – which undoubtedly existed, and great ones at that – would not divide the two kingdoms! For Baptism enables all believers to be one in Christ.

Today it is up to you, brothers and sisters, following in the footsteps of those heroic and holy heralds of God, to offer the Risen Christ to your fellow citizens. So many of them are living in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers. In their bewilderment they end up even condemning street children and the elderly as alleged sorcerers.

Who can go to them to proclaim that Christ has triumphed over death and all those occult powers (cf. Eph 1:19-23; 6:10-12)? Someone may object: “Why not leave them in peace? They have their truth, and we have ours. Let us all try to live in peace, leaving everyone as they are, so they can best be themselves.” But if we are convinced and have come to experience that without Christ life lacks something, that something real – indeed, the most real thing of all – is missing, we must also be convinced that we do no injustice to anyone if we present Christ to them and thus grant them the opportunity of finding their truest and most authentic selves, the joy of finding life. Indeed, we must do this. It is our duty to offer everyone this possibility of attaining eternal life.
Benedict XVI
Mass with religious of Angola and São Tomé
Luanda, Angola
March 21, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a mass at the Sao Paulo church ...

Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful during his visit in Luanda ...

Pope Benedict XVI greets people during his visit in Luanda March ...

Pope Benedict XVI speaks during a mass at the Sao Paulo church ...

Pope Benedict XVI greets children during his visit in Luanda ...



Pope Benedict XVI salutes the crowd as he arrives in his white ...


Is the throne of the Bishop of Linz wobbling?

From DiePresse.com via Catholic Church Conservation:
"Is the seat of Bishop Schwarz wobbling?

Arch-conservative circles place Linzer Bishop Schwarz in a serious situation. Schwarz himself has just completed a particularly stressful week of meetings.

Is the seat of Bishop Schwarz wobbling?
Will he be appointed to Rome? To the Curia? Or will he go back to a leading position in his Salesian Order? Will the Vatican send him an "assistant" in the form of a coadjutor, who then has the right to follow him? One thing is certain: Influential arch conservative circles are presently attempting to - from the public until now unnoticed - remove the Bishop of Linz.

Problems with Friedl and Wagner
The situation is serious for Schwarz. So serious that even Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn is involved. He wants to keep his former Auxilliary Bishop (2001-2005). Only recently, the chairman of the Bishops' Conference hurried to the side of Schwarz with a remarkable appearance. Schoenborn was personally travelled to a meeting of the Bishops Consistory in Linz. The body of the 20 highest officials of the Diocese of Linz had considered in his presence (Schoenborn is Metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province which Upper Austria belongs to) the situation after the "voluntary" resignation of the Windischgarsten parish priest Gerhard Maria Wagner. The conservative wing of Upper Austria was particularly hard hit by the resignation before the inauguration. It is powerful - and now seeks to strike back.

Schwarz himself has just completed a particularly stressful week of meetings. On Monday with Father Josef Friedl, who confessed that he lives with a woman in the rectory. On Thursday with the deans, who no longer believe in the maintenance of celibacy. Just yesterday, Friday, with the priests’ council who have little to no understanding of the events surrounding the almost Bishop Wagner...."

Special honors

From DOR Catholic:

"Two prominent members of the Women's Ordination Conference are currently in charge of Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Rochester. Sister Joan Sobala, SSJ is heading up the Our Lady of Lourdes - St. Anne Church Cluster, while Nancy DeRycke is in charge at Good Shepherd Parish.

Both of these women have now been granted what seems to be a special honor in DOR. Last September Bishop Clark visited Our Lady of Lourdes and formally installed Sister Joan as the cluster's Pastoral Administrator and this past weekend he was at Good Shepherd to lead the installation of Ms. DeRycke as its PA. (The latter must have been more challenging, as it seems the bishop needed 3 Masses to get the job done.)

It is no secret that Bishop Clark has said that he would be happy to ordain women as priestesses, if only Rome would allow it. Well, Rome has emphatically said that it lacks the power to allow it and so the bishop now seems reduced to these public displays of his support for their leadership.

To the best of my knowledge our bishop had never traveled to a parish to formerly install a pastoral administrator until last fall.

Isn't that special?"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Prayer Request for Swissmiss

She's still in bad shape - please take a few moments to pray for her.

"Please keep us all in your prayers...a Chaplet of Divine Mercy would be wonderful!!"

Vatican clamps down on Killala Latin Mass move

Michael Kelly

Bishop John Fleming

A high-profile Vatican office has ordered Bishop John Fleming to make provision for the traditional Latin Mass in his Killala diocese. The move, from the powerful 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission comes after the Killala Council of Priests decided that no provision should be made for the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

In July 2007, Pope Benedict's letter, Summorum Pontificum, eased restrictions on the pre-Vatican II Mass, the so-called Tridentine Rite and established that any Catholic priest can celebrate the traditional Latin Mass without first seeking the permission of his bishop. Prior to the coming into force of Summorum Pontificum bishops had the right to restrict access to the Latin Mass.

Initially, the Killala Council of Priests, an advisory body made up of both elected members and priests appointed by Bishop Fleming, advised that no provision should be made for the Latin Mass pending a request for clarification from the Vatican on aspects of the Pope's letter. This advice was accepted by Bishop Fleming and an announcement made that the Mass would be unavailable in the Killala diocese.

However, The Irish Catholic has learned that the matter came to the attention of the Holy See as a number of people in Killala wrote to the Vatican to express their frustration at the lack of provision. The Irish Catholic also understands that a number of diocesan priests who believed the decision countermanded papal legislation, contacted Bishop Fleming to register discontent.

The 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission, headed by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, then wrote to Bishop Fleming insisting that the restriction was forbidden under Church law since Pope Benedict had made universal provision for the availability of the Mass in the extraordinary form. In its letter, the Commission insisted that neither Bishop Fleming, nor the Council of Priests, had the right to place a restriction on a right approved by the Pope. Bishop Fleming has now designated the Church of the Assumption, Ardagh, Crossmolina, Co Mayo as the centre for the traditional Mass in the Killala diocese and the celebrant will be Fr John Loftus, a priest of the diocese.

h/t to Ulster Taig

Find Your Career in the Church -- The Scientific Way

By Anonymous

Anonymous is a priest who is very familiar with the contemporary Catholic scene in America.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a long-standing psychological instrument used to identify personality types. It is often administered to prospective employees by business, government -- and the Church -- as a screening device. The MMPI lists a series of statements, and the applicant must indicate whether the statements apply to him or not. Many adult professionals may be familiar with the test.

Have you ever wondered how the MMPI categorizes people? I have broken the code! If you are correctly identified by the following assertions (which are actual statements taken from the "Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory" by Hathaway and McKinley, Group Form Test Booklet), you are a good candidate for the following positions:

Vocations Director:

22. At times I have fits of laughing and crying that I cannot control.

298. If several people find themselves in trouble, the best thing for them to do is to agree upon a story and stick to it.

284. I am sure I am being talked about.

554. If I were an artist I would like to draw children.

393. Horses that don't pull should be beaten or kicked.

35. If people had not had it in for me I would have been much more successful.

Youth Minister:

437. It is all right to get around the law if you don't actually break it.

101. I believe women ought to have as much sexual freedom as men.

142. I certainly feel useless at times.

10. There seems to be a lump in my throat much of the time.

231. I like to talk about sex.

Liturgical Design Consultant:

39. At times I feel like smashing things.

476. I am a special agent of God.

538. I think I would like the work of a dress-maker.

358. Bad words, often terrible words, come into my mind and I cannot get rid of them.

49. It would be better if almost all laws were thrown away.

200. There are persons who are trying to steal my thoughts and ideas.

Chancery Official:

462. I have no difficulty starting or holding my urine.

106. Much of the time I feel as if I have done something wrong or evil.

14. I have diarrhea once a month or more.

19. When I take a new job, I like to be tipped off on who should be gotten next to.

151. Someone has been trying to poison me.

510. Dirt frightens or disgusts me.

87. I would like to be a florist.

Bishop of an Average American Diocese:

481. I can remember "playing sick" to get out of something.

28. When someone does me a wrong I feel I should pay him back if I can, just for the principle of the thing.

73. I am an important person.

121. I believe I am being plotted against.

236. I brood a great deal.

158. I cry easily.

360. Almost every day something happens to frighten me.

Possible Priest (who will first need lots of therapy):

1. I like mechanics magazines.

113. I believe in law enforcement.

133. I have never indulged in any unusual sex practices.

249. I believe there is a Devil and a Hell in the afterlife.

294. I have never been in trouble with the law.

302. I have never been in trouble because of my sexual behavior.

488. I pray several times a week.

Pontiff Notes Africa's Vocation to Know Christ

Pope Benedict XVI waves after giving mass in the Amadou Ahidjo ...

Highlights Need for Reconciliation Among Peoples

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, MARCH 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Africa has a particular vocation to know Christ, and that's something all Africans should be proud of, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon meeting with the Special Council of the Synod for Africa at the apostolic nunciature of Yaoundé. The meeting took place to mark the publication of the "instrumentum laboris" (working document) of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

The synod will be held Oct. 4-25 in the Vatican on the theme "The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: You Are the Salt of the Earth; You Are the Light of the World."

"Your continent has been blessed by our Lord Jesus himself," the Pontiff began. "At the dawn of his earthly life, sad circumstances led him to set foot on African soil. God chose your continent to become the dwelling-place of his Son.

"In Jesus, God drew near to all men and women, of course, but also, in a particular way, to the men and women of Africa. Africa is where the Son of God was weaned, where he was offered effective sanctuary."

Noting the continent's long history of Christianity, the Holy Father recalled that "God himself brought salt and light to Africa. From that time on, the seed of his presence was buried deep within the hearts of this dear continent, and it has blossomed gradually, beyond and within the vicissitudes of its human history.

"As a result of the coming of Christ who blessed it with his physical presence, Africa has received a particular vocation to know Christ. Let Africans be proud of this!"


In reflecting on the events since the Second Vatican Council, which coincided with the emergence of new democracies on the continent, Benedict XVI noted the progress of the Church in Africa, which "accompanied the building of new national identities and, at the same time, sought to translate the identity of Christ along its own ways."

"As the hierarchy became increasingly African following Pope Pius XII’s ordination of Bishops from your continent, theological reflection began to ferment quickly," the Pope continued. "It would be well for your theologians today to continue to probe the depth of the Trinitarian mystery and its meaning for everyday African life.

"This century will perhaps permit, by God’s grace, the rebirth, on your continent, albeit certainly under a different and new form, of the prestigious School of Alexandria. Why could we not hope that Africans today and the universal Church might thereby be furnished with great theologians and spiritual masters capable of contributing to the sanctification of those who dwell in this continent and throughout the Church?"

Turning toward the themes to be addressed by the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI spoke of the need for reconciliation "between peoples, ethnic groups and individuals" on the continent.

"Your continent," he said, "has been and continues to be a theatre of grave tragedies which cry out for true reconciliation between peoples, ethnic groups and individuals."

For Christians, the Pope said, "reconciliation is rooted in the merciful love of God the Father, and it is accomplished through the person of Christ Jesus who, in the Holy Spirit, has offered the grace of reconciliation to all. Its consequences will be shown, then, in the justice and peace which are indispensable for building a better world."

"If it is true," he added, "that in Jesus Christ we belong to the same family and share the same life -- since in our veins there flows the Blood of Christ himself, who has made us children of God, members of God’s Family -- there must no longer be hatred, injustice and internecine war."


Benedict XVI also spoke of the need of fostering a deeper eucharistic life and a "profound listening to the word of God and meditative reading of sacred Scripture."

"The word of life and the Bread of life offer light and nourishment as medicine and food for our journey in fidelity to the Teacher and Shepherd of our souls, so that the Church in Africa can carry out the service of reconciliation, justice and peace," the Pope explained.

"If they are truly to be this, the faithful must undergo conversion and follow Jesus Christ; they must become his disciples in order to be witnesses of his saving power," he added.

"No ethnic or cultural difference, no difference of race, sex or religion must become a cause for dispute among you," the Holy Father concluded. "You are all children of the one God, our Father, who is in heaven. With this conviction, it will then be possible to build a more just and peaceful Africa, an Africa worthy of the legitimate expectations of all its children."