Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Sunday Visitor on Medjugorje : Patrick Madrid Interviewed

'I [Patrick Madrid] was one of several American Catholics interviewed recently for this Our Sunday Visitor newspaper article on the vexing subject of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje." - read more...

Burgers go way of booze as US general Stanley McChrystal bans junk food
Jerome Starkey, Kabul

First he banned booze in his Kabul headquarters. Now the notoriously austere commander of US and Nato forces has a new target in his war on terror: ice cream and fast food.

General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of Special Forces in Iraq, who runs eight miles a day, eats one meal and sleeps for only four hours a night, has given orders to close the junk food concessions on Nato bases.

No longer will the fighter pilots at Bagram or Kandahar airfields be able to ring Pizza Hut to deliver. Once General McChrystal has his way, the Whoppers will be off the menu: Burger Kings at both locations are to close. Even the newly opened TGI Friday’s on the boardwalk in Kandahar is to close its doors once its contract expires.

“This is a war zone, not an amusement park,” wrote Command Sergeant-Major Michael T. Hall in a military blog.

Pope Benedict Favorable Rating Drops to 40% in U.S.

18 If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. 19 If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. - John 15:18

Matthew Modine

"Imagine if somebody were to really sit down with Osama Bin Ladin and say, ;listen man, what is it that you’re so angry at me about that you’re willing to have people strap bombs to themselves, or get inside get inside of airplanes and fly them into buildings.' That would be the miracle if we can get, sit down and talk to our enemies and find a way for them to hear us."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mystery Science Theater 3000: A Date With Your Family

The Passion of the Christ - Part 3

McDonald's Customer Crawls Through Drive-Thru for Fish Sandwich

McDonald's might need to enlist its Big Mouth Billy Bass Singing Fish, made famous in its TV ads, to "bring back" that fish one impatient customer took at its restaurant in South Brunswick, N.J.

Police said the customer crawled out of his car and into the drive thru window to get his fish sandwich, after slapping the McDonald's employee in the face.

"His Filet-O-Fish was taking too long at 4:30 in the morning," said South Brunswick Police Detective Sergeant James Ryan to NBCNewYork.

According to Ryan, the customer yelled at the employee and pushed him against the counter.
"After he slaps him, he takes his food," said Ryan.

Perhaps suggesting how hungry the suspect was, Ryan said he then threatened the employee by telling him "I'll be waiting for you when you get off work."

The police report said the suspect "then walked out of the store with his fish filet sandwich," went to his car, still parked in the drive thru lane and left.

However, he never came back for the employee, leaving McDonald's and Bill Bass to wonder if the suspect had ever seen or heard the words to its TV ad "Give me back that Filet-O-Fish, Give me that fish."

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Passion of the Christ - Part 2

Salted caramel crunch brownies
"Don't stop with a great boxed brownie mix. Keep going till you get a brownie that makes you yell OMG. Salted caramel crunch brownies ooze caramel between a top layer of pretzel and peanut-filled chocolate and a bottom layer of moist brownie.
" (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From Fr. Ray Blake:

"The problem is there is going to be no end to this, it is going to get worst, journalists smell blood, there are going to be more revelations. In England the sophisticated now come out with the same rants against the Church, as the Orange Order or the Protestant Truth Society might have done 50 years ago. It is open season on the “whore of Rome”. In other parts of Europe the old anti-clericalism will arise again.

In Germany and Austria marginal members of the Church are leaving in their thousands, by declaring they will no longer pay “Church Tax”. In Ireland there is a campaign to remove names from baptismal certificates by signing a formal declaration of “opting out”. The faithful are shaken, they will gather in the shadow of the Cross or leave.

During his time as Prefect of the CDF the Pope often spoke of the Church of the future being smaller but more faithful. It looks very much as if that is happening at the moment, the faithful remain, the weak in faith and the unfaithful will depart..."

Closing Liturgy of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress 2010


The Maronite Catholic Church Throughout the World

A child lights a candle at St. Charbel Church in Lebanon’s Kadisha Valley. (photo: Armineh Johannes)

As Christians went forth from Jerusalem they encountered different traditions, cultures, customs and languages, soon the Church became a communion of Churches united in love with each other, looking to the See of Peter in Rome as the first among them all. The Gospel of Christ has reached the four corners of the world.

Jesus prayed for their unity, “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). For Catholics united with the Pope in Rome, there is already an amazing unity even within the reality of cultural diversity. The Catholic Church, comprised of twenty-one Eastern Churches and one Western Church, is a communion of Churches, with the Pope as the visible head, “gathered in the one spirit, breathing as though with two lungs - of the east and of the west - and burning with the love of Christ in one heart - having two ventricles” (Sacri Canones; Pope John Paul II).

One of the Eastern Catholic Churches is the Maronite Church. She has Her own hierarchy composed of a Patriarch who is Her father and head, and over forty Bishops who shepherd the many Eparchies (Dioceses) in Lebanon, the Middle East and throughout the world. The Patriarch governs the Church in a synodal manner with his body of bishops as is customary in the Eastern Churches.

Eastern Catholic Churches

There are six major traditions of the Catholic Church:
1. Alexandrian
2. Antiochene
3. Armenian
4. Chaldean
5. Constantinopolitan (Byzantine)
6. Latin (Roman)

Each Catholic Church practices a common faith according to one of the six major traditions. The Maronite Church follows the Antiochene Tradition.  All Churches within the communion of Catholic Churches share the same:

·         Dogmatic Faith
·         Seven Mysteries (Sacraments)
·         Moral Teachings
·         Unity with the Pope of Rome

All Catholics believe the same truths of the faith yet worship differently. One could say they share the same essence of faith, but have a different expression of that faith. Each Church embraces its own culture and tradition to express Her faith in Jesus the Risen Lord. Each of the Catholic Churches:

·         Encompasses a unique liturgy, theology, spirituality and discipline;
·         Is characterized by Her own cultural and linguistic tradition;
·         Is guided by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, Metropolitan or other Hierarch, who along with
      their Synod of Bishops are in full communion with the Pope, the Successor of Saint Peter in Rome.

The Maronite Church

The Maronite Church dates back to the early Christians of Antioch where “they were called Christians for the first time” (Acts 11:26). She still uses as Her liturgical language, Syriac, a dialect of the Aramaic that Jesus Himself spoke, and takes Her name from the hermit-priest, Saint Maron, who died in 410 AD.

Within a few years after Saint Maron’s death, over 800 monks adopted his way of life and became known as the Maronites. Later, the Muslim invasions (7th -10th Centuries), coupled with conflicts from within the Byzantine Empire, caused the Maronites to flee the plains of Syria and their churches and monasteries to the natural protection of the mountains of Lebanon where they first lived in caves and grottos, and then later built small churches and monasteries. By 687, Maronites organized themselves around Saint John Maron, whom they elected Patriarch of the vacant See of Antioch, and thus developed as a distinct Church within the Catholic Church.

The Maronite Church has been enriched by three centers of learning and culture:

1) Antioch:
A city in West Syria (now Turkey) that served as a center of commerce and education and was known for its Greek and Syriac culture. Antioch gave the Maronite Church much of her unique liturgical life.

2) Edessa:
A prominent city in ancient Mesopotamia, which had a Semitic culture and influenced the prayers and hymns of the Maronite Church. It was also the home of Saint Ephrem, Doctor of the Church, who gave the Maronite Church much of Her poetry and prayer.

3) Lebanon:
The land that provided a safe haven to establish a stable monastic and parish life, as well as schools to educate the children of the close knit and devout Maronite families. Maronites have been a positive force for the development of Lebanon as a country of peaceful coexistence for all peoples. Maronites now live in many cultures, their Mother Church is in Lebanon and daughter communities exist throughout the world.

Five Distinguishing Marks Of The Maronite Church

The Maronite Patriarchal Assembly (2003-2004), made up of over 500 Maronite participants – clergy, religious and laity - from throughout the world, described the identity of the Maronite Church by five distinguishing marks:

First and foremost Maronites are Antiochene – where Christ’s followers “were called Christians for the first time” (Acts 11:26). Maronites share an historical, liturgical and spiritual heritage with all the other Catholic and Orthodox Antiochene Churches. Maronites are also heirs of Syriac cultural and religious heritage, whose language, poetry, and hymnody were the means used to express the mystery that God is beyond all descriptions yet has come close to us in Christ.

Second, Maronites are Chalcedonian, meaning they were staunch supporters of the Council of Chalcedon, convened in 451 A.D., which taught that Jesus was true God and true man. In this formula, Maronites found a balance and way of life that placed them forever in the communion of the universal Church.

Third, the Maronite Church is Patriarchal and Monastic. Saint Maron was a hermit-priest. The first Maronites were monks, priests and laity associated with the monasteries of Saint Maron in the 5th - 8th centuries. Her first Patriarch, Saint John Maron, was chosen from among the monks. Maronites have a cherished history known for an ascetical life of sacrifice and devotion.

Fourth, the Maronite Church is known for Her love and devotion to the See of Peter in Rome. This relationship has allowed Maronites to fully express the Catholic faith held from the beginning, and at the same time be part of the balance between East and West.

Fifth, the Maronite Church is tied to Lebanon, Her spiritual homeland and the land of Her Patriarch and people.

The Maronite Church at a Glance

The command of Jesus continues to find partial fulfillment in the missionary work of the Maronite Church: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). Today there are millions of Maronite Catholics throughout the world. The Patriarch, in communion with the Pope of Rome, resides in Bkerke, Lebanon, with a summer residence in Dimane.

Patriarchal See:
Bkerke, Lebanon
Egypt and Sudan
Holy Land and Jordan
Lebanon (13)
Mexico and Venezuela
Syria (3)
United States (2)

Countries & Regions Without Maronite Eparchies:

Europe: Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland
Africa:South Africa, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tago, Nigeria

Latin America:
Uruguay, Santo Domingo, Colombia
Arab Countries
United Arab Emirates, Kuwait

·         Ain Saade, Ghazir and Karm Sadde in Lebanon;
·         Washington, D.C., in the United States;
·         Maronite religious orders and communities have houses of formation in Rome and in Lebanon.
·         The Maronite College in Rome houses student priests who seek advance degrees. 
 The United States is home to two Maronite Eparchies with over eighty (80) parishes and missions, along with a Seminary, Monastery, Convent and Shrine to Our Lady of Lebanon.

Monks, Religious and Consecrated Life
Religious life, in all its forms, was and still is an important part of the Maronite Church. Hermetic and communal monastic life accompanied the birth of the Maronite Church from the beginning, thus linking the history of the Church to the monks of the Monastery of Saint Maron.

Toward the end of the seventeenth century, religious life became more organized, new orders were founded and their mission expanded. Monks, nuns and religious priests and brothers serve in schools, universities, hospitals, parishes, missions, orphanages, and nursing homes in Lebanon, the Middle East, and in many places throughout the world.

Today there are several religious orders and congregations for men and women numbering hundreds of religious. Some are of Pontifical right, some Patriarchal and some are Eparchial, which means they are dependent upon the Pope, Patriarch or Eparchial Bishop respectively. Each order and congregation has its own rule of life and focuses on living the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the charisma of their founders.

Theology, Spirituality and Liturgy
A monastic spirit permeates Maronite prayer and liturgical life making asceticism and sacrifice an important part of the relationship with God. The effects of this spirituality are seen in the Maronite family, the first school of love where each finds his or her own vocation to love God and serve others.

Since all language about God is limited by finite human nature, poetry is a natural means for the Maronite Church to express the proper awe and humble reverence due to God in worship.

In the Maronite Church, the celebration of the Eucharist is known by several names: Qurbono (Syriac), Quddas (Arabic), Sacrifice of the Mass, Divine Liturgy, and the Service of the Holy Mysteries.

In this celebration, Christ is offered to the Father for our salvation and we also offer ourselves, with Him, as a spiritual sacrifice. By the actions and Words of Institution of the priest and the Invocation of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, the sacrifice at the altar is made holy, and so are we.

Before the Holy Mysteries are celebrated, the priest and people prepare themselves. The priest, deacon or subdeacon prepares the bread and wine on a side altar. The Divine Liturgy begins, first with the Service of the Word and then the Service of the Eucharist (Anaphora).

Service of the Word

The Service of the Word stems from the ancient Jewish Synagogue service. It is composed of hymns, psalms, the burning of incense, Scripture readings and a homily.

A unique feature of the Service of the Word in the Maronite Church is the Hoosoyo or Prayer of Forgiveness. During this time the priest or deacon incenses the altar, cross and all present, as a prayer is recited or chanted, recalling God’s mercy to sinful man in times past, and asking His mercy again for today. The Trisagion (Qadishat) is then chanted in Syriac, followed by three verses of poetry referring to the feast. Then a passage from the New Testament is read and the Gospel is proclaimed.

The structure of the Service of the Word remains the same for every Divine Liturgy but the prayers themselves change to reflect the feast. These prayers serve as great catechetical texts.

Service of the Eucharist

After the Profession of Faith, the Eucharistic prayer or Anaphora begins. The bread and wine are processed to the main altar where the priest prepares to offer the sacrifice. He prays for God’s pardon for himself and all the faithful. He offers the gifts, prays for the needs of the people and then extends to them a sign of peace from the altar. Peace is exchanged from the altar without words by a simple gesture of hands open to receive and hands joined to give. It takes place before the sacrifice is offered in keeping with Jesus’ warning recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5:23-24)

Then, a prayer of praise to the Holy Trinity is offered and the Eucharistic narrative of the Last Supper is chanted in Syriac. During this time, by the word of the priest and the invocation of the Holy Spirit which follows, the bread and wine are transformed into Sacred Mysteries: the Body and Blood of Christ. The people sing Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy), and the consecratory part of the Anaphora is complete.
The intercessions for the intentions of the Church and world are then offered. This is followed by the Breaking of the Body of Christ, the Signing of the Chalice, and the Elevation of both species as the congregation stands.

The “Our Father” is prayed with hands extended. A prayer of forgiveness follows as all bow their heads before the Sacred Mysteries. The faithful are then invited to communion with the words: “Holy gifts for the holy”. The Sacred Mysteries are then offered to the faithful who receive the Body and Blood of Christ on the tongue by intinction.

After Communion, prayers of thanksgiving are then followed by the last blessing. The final prayer of the Anaphora is one of farewell to the altar. The priest prays silently, “Remain in Peace Holy Altar of God, I hope to return to you in peace…I know not whether I will return to you again to offer sacrifice… This special prayer reminds the priest of his own mortality and just how sacred divine communion actually is.

The Liturgical Year

During the year, the different seasons celebrate the moments of the saving plan of Christ, following every aspect of His life and ministry. The Liturgical Year begins the first Sunday of November with a consecration and rededication of the Church. The Seasons are:
                  • Glorious Birth
                  • Epiphany
                  • Lent
                  • Holy Week
                  • Resurrection
                  • Pentecost
                  • Holy Cross
Special rituals accompany each of the feasts. The faithful are invited during each liturgical celebration to conform their lives to that of Christ and His Church.

Music and Art

The core of the present day Divine Liturgy dates back to before the 5th century. The monastic spirit of asceticism and simplicity penetrates the entire Divine Liturgy - its prayers, gestures, music, art and architecture.

The purpose of Maronite art, music and ritual is worship of the Trinity and repentance from a life of self-centeredness to a life centered on God. In the words of the 10th century Syriac monk Rabban Isho, when told of the beautiful ceremonies and music of other churches, he said: “unless it brings one to repentance, what good is it?”

Music animates the words of the prayers and serves as a teaching tool and memory aid. Saint Ephrem, James of Serugh and others greatly influenced the ancient simple chant still used today.

Syriac art, the oldest source being the Rabbula Gospel Book (560 AD), portrays human figures, and manifests them with divine mystery. The great churches of ancient Syria were beautifully adorned. Today, however, they are in ruins. The small chapels and monasteries of the mountains of Lebanon, with their arches, ceilings, walls of hand-cut stone, and their modest wall paintings, became the heirs of this artistic tradition. 


Earthly things take on a spiritual significance during special feasts and rituals throughout the liturgical year. Water, for instance, is blessed in various ways to give it a spiritual dimension.

At Epiphany water is blessed with a lighted coal to signify the fire of the Spirit who entered the Jordan River at Christ’s baptism.

At Pentecost water is blessed with the priest’s breath to signify the Divine Breath over the waters at creation and at the first Pentecost.

At the Holy Cross water is blessed with a hand cross to signify the divine power that flows from the saving cross.

Funeral Ritual

Prayers of the funeral liturgy (Ginnaz) take place in the home or the funeral parlor, the Church and finally the cemetery. These prayers are chanted in Syriac, Arabic and English to enable the faithful, the deceased and all in the ‘communion of saints’, to enter into a dialogue with God. The departed are remembered as they make their way home.

Death, the end of our earthly pilgrimage, is the beginning of a passage from life in this world to life in the next. The Mother of God, our Patroness, in both worlds, is beseeched to offer safe passage for the departed as they begin their journey to paradise.

The Maronite Church has always been a Marian Church. From the beginning, Maronites have claimed a special devotion to the Mother of God. In the small villages, homes, mountains, hills and streets of Lebanon are found shrines of all types to Our Lady. Hymns, feast days and the liturgical life of the Maronite Church clearly express this great devotion to the Blessed Mother.  The common weekday Divine Liturgy for Wednesdays honors Mary:

“O radiant Lily and fragrant Rose,
The aroma of your holiness fills the whole universe.
Pray for us, O Mother of God,
that we may be the sweet perfume of Christ,
Reaching throughout the whole world….”

Our Lady of Lebanon, pray for us, and enable your Maronite Church to be an everlasting gift for the universal Church and for the world.

Nihil obstat:
Chorbishop Michael Thomas, J.C.D.
Vicar General of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn

Imprimatur:The Most Reverend Gregory J. Mansour, S.T.L.
Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
Contributors: Monsignor Ron Beshara, Father Abdallah Zaidan, M.L.M, Chorbishops Seely Beggiani and Michael Thomas and Bishops Roland Aboujaoude and Bechara Rahi  

Local man invents Cosmic Cornhole

Charles Caperton/Greene County Dailies

Staff Writer

FAIRBORN — Though Ohio’s unemployment rate has almost reached 11 percent, one man recently laid off — on his birthday, no less — did not let his situation keep him from pursuing his passions.

“It was either that or give up. I just had to apply myself,” said Mike Deal of Fairborn.

Deal said that he tried to get his first patent when he was nine years old for a remote-controlled camera.

“I couldn’t get the funding for a patent, though. No one would give a 9-year-old the funding for a patent,” said Deal, laughing.

Deal’s latest patent idea, however, went through: he is the inventor of Cosmic Cornhole, a black-light, clear set for cornhole, a popular — at least in the Midwest — outdoor bean bag toss game.

Deal spent most of his childhood in Fairborn but moved to St. Petersburg, Florida when he was 17, where he worked odd jobs and eventually ended up buying and renting out black light games, like volleyball, chess and even a bowling lane.

He ended up back in Ohio several years ago and, when he was laid off from his job in September, decided that he would spend his time working on Cosmic Cornhole, an idea he had when he worked in Florida but hadn’t gotten a patent on.

“This would be the third business that I’ve owned. I’ve always been a business-minded person,” said Deal.

Deal offers Cosmic Cornhole for sale at his website,, and will soon offer them for rent, he said.

The sets are $499.99 and include glow-in-the-dark bean bags.

The Plexiglas and ultraviolet light-emitting cornhole boards have removable back panels that customers can customize with any design, said Deal, from a sports team logo to a business name to an artistic design, for an extra fee.

Soon he hopes to have an inventory of backs that customers can purchase ala carte to switch out as they want, he said.

He’s marketed the cornhole set to local bars and said he hopes that Dayton bargoers will begin to see them as early as this summer. He also plans to hit up resorts, campgrounds and other venues soon.

“You just really have to believe that you can do it. You have to believe that you can get it done. Set goals for yourself and don’t be afraid to set the goal high and don’t get discouraged when times get tough. It seems like you can be rich one day and poor the next.”

A Response to the New York Times ( Re: Father Lawrence Murphy, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, Pope Benedict XVI )

(National Review) The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.

Before addressing the false substance of the story, the following circumstances are worthy of note:

 • The New York Times story had two sources. First, lawyers who currently have a civil suit pending against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. One of the lawyers, Jeffrey Anderson, also has cases in the United States Supreme Court pending against the Holy See. He has a direct financial interest in the matter being reported.

 • The second source was Archbishop Rembert Weakland, retired archbishop of Milwaukee. He is the most discredited and disgraced bishop in the United States, widely known for mishandling sexual-abuse cases during his tenure, and guilty of using $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to pay hush money to a former homosexual lover who was blackmailing him. Archbishop Weakland had responsibility for the Father Murphy case between 1977 and 1998, when Father Murphy died. He has long been embittered that his maladministration of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee earned him the disfavor of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, long before it was revealed that he had used parishioners’ money to pay off his clandestine lover.  He is prima facie not a reliable source.

 • Laurie Goodstein, the author of the New York Times story, has a recent history with Archbishop Weakland.  Last year, upon the release of the disgraced archbishop’s autobiography, she wrote an unusually sympathetic story that buried all the most serious allegations against him (New York Times, May 14, 2009).  

 • A demonstration took place in Rome on Friday, coinciding with the publication of the New York Times story. One might ask how American activists would happen to be in Rome distributing the very documents referred to that day in the New York Times. The appearance here is one of a coordinated campaign, rather than disinterested reporting.

It’s possible that bad sources could still provide the truth. But compromised sources scream out for greater scrutiny. Instead of greater scrutiny of the original story, however, news editors the world over simply parroted the New York Times piece. Which leads us the more fundamental problem: The story is not true, according to its own documentation.

The New York Times made available on its own website the supporting documentation for the story. In those documents, Cardinal Ratzinger himself does not take any of the decisions that allegedly frustrated the trial. Letters are addressed to him; responses come from his deputy. Even leaving that aside, though, the gravamen of the charge — that Cardinal Ratzinger’s office impeded some investigation — is proven utterly false.

The documents show that the canonical trial or penal process against Father Murphy was never stopped by anyone. In fact, it was only abandoned days before Father Murphy died. Cardinal Ratzinger never took a decision in the case, according to the documents. His deputy, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, suggested, given that Father Murphy was in failing health and a canonical trial is a complicated matter, that more expeditious means be used to remove him from all ministry.

To repeat: The charge that Cardinal Ratzinger did anything wrong is unsupported by the documentation on which the story was based. He does not appear in the record as taking any decision. His office, in the person of his deputy, Archbishop Bertone, agreed that there should be full canonical trial. When it became apparent that Father Murphy was in failing health, Archbishop Bertone suggested more expeditious means of removing him from any ministry.

Furthermore, under canon law at the time, the principal responsibility for sexual-abuse cases lay with the local bishop. Archbishop Weakland had from 1977 onwards the responsibility of administering penalties to Father Murphy. He did nothing until 1996. It was at that point that Cardinal Ratzinger’s office became involved, and it subsequently did nothing to impede the local process.

The New York Times flatly got the story wrong, according to its own evidence. Readers may want to speculate on why.

Here is the relevant timeline, drawn from the documents the New York Times posted on its own website.

15 May 1974

Abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy is alleged by a former student at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. In fact, accusations against Father Murphy go back more than a decade.

12 September 1974

Father Murphy is granted an official “temporary sick leave” from St. John’s School for the Deaf. He leaves Milwaukee and moves to northern Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Superior, where he lives in a family home with his mother. He has no official assignment from this point until his death in 1998. He does not return to live in Milwaukee. No canonical penalties are pursued against him.

9 July 1980

Officials in the Diocese of Superior write to officials in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about what ministry Father Murphy might undertake in Superior. Archbishop Rembert Weakland, archbishop of Milwaukee since 1977, has been consulted and says it would be unwise to have Father Murphy return to ministry with the deaf community. There is no indication that Archbishop Weakland foresees any other measures to be taken in the case.

17 July 1996

More than 20 years after the original abuse allegations, Archbishop Weakland writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, claiming that he has only just discovered that Father Murphy’s sexual abuse involved the sacrament of confession — a still more serious canonical crime. The allegations about the abuse of the sacrament of confession were in the original 1974 allegations. Weakland has been archbishop of Milwaukee by this point for 19 years.

It should be noted that for sexual-abuse charges, Archbishop Weakland could have proceeded against Father Murphy at any time. The matter of solicitation in the sacrament of confession required notifying Rome, but that too could have been done as early as the 1970s.

10 September 1996

Father Murphy is notified that a canonical trial will proceed against him. Until 2001, the local bishop had authority to proceed in such trials. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is now beginning the trial. It is noteworthy that at this point, no reply has been received from Rome indicating that Archbishop Weakland knew he had that authority to proceed.

24 March 1997

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, advises a canonical trial against Father Murphy.

14 May 1997

Archbishop Weakland writes to Archbishop Bertone to say that the penal process against Father Murphy has been launched, and notes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised him to proceed even though the statute of limitations has expired. In fact, there is no statute of limitations for solicitation in the sacrament of confession.

Throughout the rest of 1997 the preparatory phases of penal process or canonical trial is underway. On 5 January 1998 the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee says that an expedited trial should be concluded within a few months.

12 January 1998

Father Murphy, now less than eight months away from his death, appeals to Cardinal Ratzinger that, given his frail health, he be allowed to live out his days in peace.

6 April 1998 

Archbishop Bertone, noting the frail health of Father Murphy and that there have been no new charges in almost 25 years, recommends using pastoral measures to ensure Father Murphy has no ministry, but without the full burden of a penal process. It is only a suggestion, as the local bishop retains control.

13 May 1998

The Bishop of Superior, where the process has been transferred to and where Father Murphy has lived since 1974, rejects the suggestion for pastoral measures. Formal pre-trial proceedings begin on 15 May 1998, continuing the process already begun with the notification that had been issued in September 1996.

30 May 1998

Archbishop Weakland, who is in Rome, meets with officials at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, including Archbishop Bertone but not including Cardinal Ratzinger, to discuss the case. The penal process is ongoing. No decision taken to stop it, but given the difficulties of a trial after 25 years, other options are explored that would more quickly remove Father Murphy from ministry.

19 August 1998

Archbishop Weakland writes that he has halted the canonical trial and penal process against Father Murphy and has immediately begun the process to remove him from ministry — a quicker option.

21 August 1998

Father Murphy dies. His family defies the orders of Archbishop Weakland for a discreet funeral

— Father Raymond J. de Souza is a chaplain at Queen's University in Ontario.

What Are The Seven Last Words of Christ?

By James Rutherford

The Seven Last Words of Christ 

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words, but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as he hung on the Cross. These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels. Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons, and musical settings. The following meditations are based on the writings of Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his book, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary.

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Lk 23:34)

When Jesus was hanging on the cross he asked for forgiveness for the people who were responsible for this great evil, and he gave a reason that they should be forgiven. He said it was because they were ignorant of their deeds. Bishop Fulton Sheen says their ignorance was a great blessing to them. We often hear that you get to know life through experience. This is true in the areas of travel and fine dining, but it doesn't apply to everything. We should all desire to be free from the experience of sin just as a healthy doctor is free from disease. It is the disordered craving for knowledge that destroyed the unity that Adam and Eve had with God.
Keeping a safe distance from sin is what allows us to know how horrible it really is. You learn just how strong an enemy is by defeating it in battle, not by surrendering to it. If knowledge and experience was the key to happiness and morality then we would be the most virtuous people who ever lived.

Our Lord's Passion was so horrific because He was so innocent. Sinning against someone of infinite virtue brings with it infinite guilt, but as He hung there on the cross he asked that the offenders be forgiven. Through our sins we too are equal parties in Passion, but we have an equal opportunity to be forgiven. Only the Sacrament of Reconciliation makes it possible for you to be forgiven for the times you have “experienced” too much.

Amen, I say to thee: this day thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Lk 23:43)

Our Lord's second last words were in response to the good thief whose words we say at Mass: remember me, Lord, when you shall come into your Kingdom. When you compare the good thief with the bad thief you discover that the difference between them is in their wills. One recognized the injustice of Christ's crucifixion and asked to be forgiven; the other mocked and blasphemed Our Lord. The good thief accepted the justice of his circumstances and was rewarded that day.
Everyone has his cross to bear and in bearing it we become perfected in God's eyes. We should not think of our suffering as a punishment because it is given to us for a reason. Even Mary, who was made free from original sin underwent the greatest of suffering. The tragedy in the world is not that there is pain, but that it is often wasted.

If we accept the unique crosses that each of us are meant to bear then we will be treated like royalty in heaven. The good thief only found his salvation because he was hanging on a cross. The reason we tend to be such mediocre Christians is because we refuse to let God use us the way He needs to. When the Virgin Mary heard the voice of the Archangel Gabriel, she did not ask what she needed to do; she said she would allow God to do what He needed to do. We too must be like clay in an artists hands. Fulton Sheen says our lives consist of only two things: active duties and passive circumstances. The first is in our control and should be done in God's name. The second is out of our control and should be submitted to in God's name. We are not made perfect by knowing the will of God, but by submitting to it.

Woman, behold thy son.” To the disciple, “Behold your mother.” (Lk 19:26-27)

When someone says to you, “You have your own life to live”, remember that you live it along side everyone else. As a Christian, love of neighbor is inseparable from love of God. The value of relationships is exemplified in Jesus' third last words. The tragedy of the Passion united Christ's family just as tragedies continue to unite people today. As Our Lord was hanging on the cross he united His mother with all Christians.

By referring to His mother as “woman” He distinguished her from just being His own mother and gave her to all of us. The night before, Our Lord willed His body to us at the Last Supper. At the foot of the cross he willed us His mother too. For thirty-three years she saw God in Christ and from this moment on she would see Christ in all Christians. And like a mother giving birth to a child, she become the mother of humanity in equal pain and anguish. It is no disservice to Christ to honor His mother. Just as Christ was formed in her, so must we be formed in her. Only she who raised Christ can raise a Christian.

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mk 15:34)

Our culture is increasingly overrun with problems of addiction. Untold numbers of people struggle with alcoholism, pornography, and violence. These are the torments of a world in despair. Feeling abandoned we might call out the same words the Our Lord did, but His words had a different meaning. The fourth last words of Our Lord come from the first line of Psalm 21. This is the psalm that says, “my bones have been numbered and they have drawn lots for my cloak.” But while the first half of the psalm is about suffering, the last half of the psalm is about hope. It ends with an acknowledgment that whatever happens, we are assured victory over our enemies.
There was no darker hour for Jesus than His crucifixion, yet He trusted His Father in spite of all the contrary appearances that things would end well. He was not abandoned or forgotten but He had to suffer before claiming His prize. Just as there is no feast without our preparations and no success without failure, there could be no empty tomb without there first being a cross. For the person who has hope, there is no obstacle that can't be overcome. For the person who despairs, there can be only darkness. We must pray in confidence that every prayer of ours will be answered, and even when the answer is no, we have to be mindful that comes from the outpouring of a Father's love.

I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)

The fifth last word of Christ echoes Isaiah 55:1, “Come, all you who thirst.” Whether you acknowledge it or not, everyone has a thirst for God. Everyone desires something deeper and seeks someone higher. As Our Lord hangs on the cross, He says that it works two ways. God is also on a quest for our souls: He is the Hound of Heaven. We tend to desire God, but we want proof before we will commit to a God who seems so far away. We fail to realize that it we who have distanced ourselves from God and not He who remains distant from us, for He seeks us like a shepherd seeks a lost sheep.

There are many people who hate God and His Church that can't seem ever break away from its influence. These people should be prayed for because they are like St. Paul before his conversion. They may do great evil but their refusal to abandon God can be the source of their eventual return. Despite the reasons they give for hating the Church, they most likely realize that problem is really within themselves and does not have to do with God. The consciousness of their sins creates a vacuum that only grace can fill. God thirsts for the souls of even the worst sinners and while no one can deserve God, everyone can receive Him.

It is consummated.”  (Jn 19:30)

The expression used by Our Lord can be found three places in Scripture. It is found in Genesis after creation, in Revelation at the end of time, and here on the cross. It means that what was done is now perfected and for Christ it marks the end of His hour. During the wedding feast at Cana Jesus first mentioned His hour. He told his mother that his hour had not come; it was not time to begin his mission. For His hour, which lasted three years, it would be a time of mortification, suffering and death. For us it has to be the same thing.

Many people are frustrated in their lives because they have rejected the cross. Instead of pursuing non-attachment in their lives, they fill them worldly substitutes. Instead of embracing the mysteries of religion, they embrace murder mysteries on television. They criticize people and religion for the very things they despise in themselves. They are consumed with themselves, yet defeated because self-perfection can't exist without self-denial. We must actively use our “hour” to improve our lives as Christians if we ever expect to find happiness. It is only in surrendering ourselves as Christ did that we become receptive to His grace.

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  (Lk 23:46)

Our Lord called out His final words in a great voice; meeting death head-on. Rather than wait for death to come and take Him, He used His perfect freedom and chose to die. There are two kinds of freedom. There is a freedom from something and freedom for something. Most people prefer the first kind of freedom because it is easier. Freedom from vegetables, freedom from oppression. The second kind of freedom is much more difficult because it implies a responsibility that can often be a burden. Freedom to choose, freedom to change. To understand the supreme nature of this kind of freedom we have to look at Christ on the cross.
There are only three things we can do with our freedom. We can direct it selfishly towards ourselves, we can scatter it among a thousand trivial things, and we can surrender it to God. The first option is by far the most damaging because when we believe we are free to act as badly as we choose, we become slaves to our addictions. As Fulton Sheen says, “boundless liberty leads to boundless tyranny”. Uncontrolled freedom will always lead a person into slavery. The second alternative can be found in people who have no direction. Their fleeting desires change without there ever being an internal change of the soul, and they are unable to choose between the many attractions and temptations in life. But there is hope because there is a searching. Those who are empty can be filled, but people who are intoxicated with their own egos have no room for God.

The final choice is to surrender yourself to God and His will. Only when you have displaced the “me” can you find the perfect freedom that Christ had as He breathed His last. It was His self-giving sacrifice that made possible the Resurrection.


What would your seven last words be? The Seven Last Words of Christ are filled with meaning and help to establish the relationship between Christians and the Church, Our Blessed Mother and all Christians, and Christ and His family. To see how these last words relate to Mary's first words, I encourage you to read Seven Words of Jesus and Mary. Another excellent resource on the Seven Last Words from Fulton Sheen is The Cross and the Beatitudes. In a similar style, he compares the Last Words with the Beatitudes that Jesus preached during the Sermon on the Mount.

This article brought to you by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.  Written by James Rutherford.

Kiss from a Bacon Rose

Looking for an edible arrangement without all that obnoxious fruit getting in the way? Well, look no further than the bacon roses pictured below. Perfect for the man who doesn't want to waste money on a bunch of silly flowers that can't be used for things such as enhancing hamburgers or wrapping around scallops.
We'll be the first to admit that it takes a special kind of lady to appreciate a bacon bouquet, but we're guessing if your loved one doesn't at least give you some serious credit for the effort, then they're not worth your time anyway. After all, it's not often you find a gift that's both romantic and artery clogging.

Via Imgur

Friday, March 26, 2010

Man Baffles NASA With Space Photos

Napolitano: Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare

By David A. Patten
President Barack Obama is one of the worst presidents ever in terms of respecting constitutional limitations on government, and the states suing the federal government over healthcare reform "have a pretty strong case" and are likely to prevail, according to author and judicial analyst Andrew P. Napolitano.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella, Napolitano says the president's healthcare reforms amount to "commandeering" the state legislatures for federal purposes, which the Supreme Court has forbidden as unconstitutional.

"The Constitution does not authorize the Congress to regulate the state governments," Napolitano says. "Nevertheless, in this piece of legislation, the Congress has told the state governments that they must modify their regulation of certain areas of healthcare, they must surrender their regulation of other areas of healthcare, and they must spend state taxpayer-generated dollars in a way that the Congress wants it done.

"That's called commandeering the legislature," he says. "That's the Congress taking away the discretion of the legislature with respect to regulation, and spending taxpayer dollars. That's prohibited in a couple of Supreme Court cases. So on that argument, the attorneys general have a pretty strong case and I think they will prevail.”

Napolitano, author of his just-released “Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History” and a Fox News senior judicial analyst, is the youngest Superior Court judge ever to attain lifetime tenure in the state of New Jersey. He served on the bench from 1987 to 1995.

Napolitano tells Newsmax that the longstanding precedent of state regulation of the healthcare industry makes the new federal regulations that much more problematic.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that in areas of human behavior that are not delegated to the Congress in the Constitution, and that have been traditionally regulated by the states, the Congress can't simply move in there," Napolitano says. "And the states for 230 years have had near exclusive regulation over the delivery of healthcare. The states license hospitals. The states license medications. The states license healthcare providers whether they're doctors, nurses, or pharmacists. The feds have had nothing to do with it.

"The Congress can't simply wake up one day and decide that it wants to regulate this. I predict that the Supreme Court will invalidate major portions of what the president just signed into law…"

The judge also says he would rate President Obama as one of the worst presidents in terms of obedience to constitutional limitations.

"I believe we have a one party system in this country, called the big-government party," Napolitano says. "There is a Republican branch that likes war and deficits and assaulting civil liberties. There is a Democratic branch that likes welfare and taxes and assaulting commercial liberties.

"President Obama obviously is squarely within the Democratic branch. The president who had the least fidelity to the Constitution was Abraham Lincoln, who waged war on half the country, even though there's obviously no authority for that, a war that killed nearly 700,000 people. President Obama is close to that end of lacking fidelity to the Constitution. He wants to outdo his hero FDR."

For those who oppose healthcare, the Fox legal expert says, the bad news is that many of the legal challenges to healthcare reform will have to wait until 2014, when the changes become fully operational.

Until then, there would be no legal case that individuals had been actually harmed by the law. Moreover, Napolitano says it takes an average of four years for a case to work its way through the various federal courts the final hearing that's expected to come before the Supreme Court.

"You're talking about 2018, which is eight years from now, before it is likely the Supreme Court will hear this," he says.

Other issues that Napolitano addressed during the wide-ranging interview:
  • He believes American is in danger of becoming "a fascist country," which he defines as "private ownership, but government control." He adds, "The government doesn't have the money to own anything. But it has the force and the threat of violence to control just about anything it wants. That will rapidly expand under President Obama, unless and until the midterm elections give us a midterm correction – which everyone seems to think, and I'm in that group, is about to come our way.
  • Napolitano believes the federal government lacks the legal authority to order citizens to purchase healthcare insurance. The Congress [is] ordering human beings to purchase something that they might not want, might not need, might not be able to afford, and might not want -- that's never happened in our history before," Napolitano says. "My gut tells me that too is unconstitutional, because the Congress doesn't have that kind of power under the Constitution."
  • The sweetheart deals in the healthcare reform bill used that persuaded Democrats to vote for it – the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback, Gatorade Exception and others – create "a very unique and tricky constitutional problem" for Democrats, because they treat citizens differently based on which state they live in, running afoul of the Constitution's equal protection clause according to Napolitano. "So these bennies or bribes, whatever you want, or horse trading as it used to be called, clearly violate equal protection by forcing people in the other states to pay the bills of the states that don't have to pay what the rest of us do," Napolitano says.
  • Exempting union members from the so-called "Cadillac tax" on expensive health insurance policies, while imposing that tax on other citizens, is outright discrimination according to Napolitano. "The government cannot draw a bright line, with fidelity to the Constitution and the law, on the one side of which everybody pays, and the other side of which some people pay. It can't say, 'Here's a tax, but we're only going to apply it to nonunion people. Here's a tax, and we're only going to apply it to graduates of Ivy League institutions.' The Constitution does not permit that type of discrimination."
  • Politicians from both parties routinely disregard the Constitutional limits imposed on them by the nation's founding document, Napolitano says. "The problem with the Constitution is not any structural problem," says Napolitano. "The problem with the constitution is that those who take an oath to uphold it don't take their oath seriously. For example, just a month ago in interviewing Congressman Jim Clyburn, who's the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the House, I said to him, Congressman Clyburn, can you tell me where in the Constitution the Congress is authorized to regulate healthcare? He said, 'Judge, most of what we do down here,' referring to Washington, 'is not authorized by the Constitution. Can you tell me where in the Constitution we're prohibited from regulating healthcare.' Napolitano says that reflects a misunderstanding of what the Constitution actually is. "He's turning the Constitution on its head, because Congress is not a general legislature," he says. "It was not created in order to right every wrong. It exists only to legislate in the 17 specific, discrete, unique areas where the Constitution has given it power. All other areas of human area are reserved for the states."
  • Napolitano says that members of Congress infringe on Constitutional rights because they fail to recognize its basis. "They reject Jefferson's argument, in the Declaration of Independence, that our rights come from our Creator, therefore they're natural rights, therefore they can't be legislated away," Napolitano says. "They think they can legislate on any activity, regulate any behavior, tax any person or thing, as long as the politics will let them survive. They're wrong, and with this healthcare legislation, they may be proven wrong, in a very direct and in-your-face way."
Napolitano: Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare

Man Baffles NASA With Space Photos

Uses Balloon And Home Camera To Take Amazing Space Photos

Photo of Earth taken from home space balloon
Photo of Earth taken from home space balloon (Courtesy: / March 25, 2010)

WEST YORKSHIRE, GREAT BRITAIN -- Putting NASA and its billion dollar budgets to shame, a British space enthusiast took amazing photos and video from space with just a few hundred dollars, a home camera and a balloon.

Robert Harrison spent a mere $747 dollars to take his photos and video from 22 miles above Earth's surface.

The results are stunning.

Harrison told the L.A. Times that a NASA official who saw the photos and video called him and asked him how he did it.

Apparently NASA thought Harrison used a rocket to achieve the flight into space.

Harrison says he put a camera into a polystyrene box and attached it to a helium balloon.

The camera was programmed to snap 8 photos and a short video every five minutes.

When the balloon reached an altitude of 22 miles, it popped.

As the camera fell, a parachute opened and the box gently floated back to earth.

Harrison found his camera some 50 miles from his home with the help of a GPS locator.

If you are thinking of duplicating Harrison's feat, you may first have to get permission from the FAA.

To see Harrison's space photos and video, just go to: