Monday, February 28, 2011

Medjugorje, “reality-tele-visions” and the cruel absence of pastoral care

By Louis Bélanger

"The undersigned physicians also recommend that the apparitions take place only in the presence of responsible priests, with the exclusion of any form of public presence. This is, not only to render the spiritual atmosphere more adequate, but also to eliminate any reinforcement of a suggestive type." - In science and conscience. Varese, January 12, 1986
"..The visionaries are exposed or expose themselves to an enormous pressure from the media and the pilgrims who desire to meet and touch them before, during and after the so-called apparitions of the “Gospa”.

The pastoral personnel of Medjugorje with the complicity of other priests, bishops and even cardinals all over the world bear an important part of responsibility for that pastoral mess.

They ignored and are still ignoring the professional warnings and recommendations signed by an international team of three medical doctors and two pastoral psychiatrists and sent to the Bishop of Mostar, to Frs. Slavko Barbaric and Tomislav Vlasic, to the Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and to Pope John-Paul II, in 1986..."

"...In spite of the documented proofs of falsifications of historical documents concerning the Lady of Medjugorje and of the enlightened conviction of the legitimate and competent authority, Mgr Ratko Peric, expressed in his constat de non supernaturalitate, the Medjugorje Franciscans have indeed mobilized misinformed priests, bishops, cardinals and millions of faithful, with the power of lies, a political agenda and a tremendous amount of money.

14 years ago, the Ordinary of Mostar expressed his hope that the Holy See would establish a Commission that should give a final judgement on the Medjugorje case. His voice has only been heard last year. What happened?..." (continued)

The high church

By Daily Mail Reporter

This is the church where religious leaders really are preaching from on high - perched 130ft on top of a pillar of rock.

The tiny church sits precariously on a jagged cliff which has been eroded by weather over almost 14 centuries.

It is believed that pagans built the temple in the bizarre location as the pillar was thought to symbolise their god of fertility.

This incredible church really does take you one step closer to heaven. The house of God offers an altar-native place to pray but only if you have a head for heights - because it lies on the edge of an amazingly steep 130 foot cliff.
Heavens above: The tiny church is perched 130ft on top of a narrow pillar of rock in the Georgian city of Chiatura. The building can only be accessed by a steep ladder up the rock

Experts believe the building - near the city of Chiatura in the former Soviet republic of Georgia - was constructed on the mountain between the sixth and eight centuries.

Konstantin Murtkhveladze, 25, braved the perilous ascent up the pillar using a rusty ladder to take some pictures.

'The old ladder on the side of the pillar looks like it could snap at any time', he told the Daily Mirror.

Konstantin, from Tbilisi in Georgia, added: 'But once you get up there it sends a chill down your spine. It feels like a very special place.

'You can see the church poking above the landscape from far away as you approach. It’s an unbelievable sight.'

 This incredible church really does take you one step closer to heaven. The house of God offers an altar-native place to pray but only if you have a head for heights - because it lies on the edge of an amazingly steep 130 foot cliff.
High and mighty: Father Maxim lives inside the church which is currently being restored by volunteers. He said it has been his dream to live on top of the rock since he was a child

It is not known how the pagans who built the temple carried the materials up the steep pillar without large cranes that are used today.

The church is currently being restored with the help of brave volunteers who carry vital materials up the steep ladder.

Father Maxim, 55, who has lived in the church for 18 years, says he dreamed of living there as a child.

'Since I was a child I dreamed of settling on the top of this pillar as other hermits did in ancient times,' he said.

'When I came here with my friends I envied the monk who had lived there long ago – now I am here too I am happy.'

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Last living U.S. WWI veteran dies

Last living U.S. WWI veteran dies
Frank Buckles is seen on his 109th birthday in February 2010, in his home in Charles Town, West Virginia.
(CNN) Frank Buckles, the last living U.S. World War I veteran, has died, a spokesman for his family said Sunday. He was 110.

Buckles "died peacefully in his home of natural causes" early Sunday morning, the family said in a statement sent to CNN late Sunday by spokesman David DeJonge...

Baptists, Lent, and the Reformation Rummage Sale

From Carol Olsen at Insight Scoop:

"In recent years there have been a flurry of news articles prior to Lent, Holy Week, and Advent about how various Protestant groups and denominations have "discovered" that Catholic and Orthodox beliefs about the liturgical year are not nearly as "unbiblical" as many non-Catholics thought. Quite the contrary, as this Associated Baptist Press piece explains (ht: National Catholic Register):

Many Baptists are seeking to reclaim that pre-Easter focus -- historically called Lent -- which has been an integral part of many Christians’ experience since the earliest years of the church.

“It’s a biblical thing, not a made-up Catholic thing,” says Kyle Henderson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Athens, Texas, acknowledging a robust Baptist suspicion of spiritual practices seen as too closely associated with the Roman Catholic Church or its distant cousins, the Anglicans.

Lost treasure

Some Baptists say they sense those suspicions -- in part a legacy of the Protestant Reformation -- have left them with a diminished spiritual vocabulary.

“There is an uneasy sense that something got lost,” says Phyllis Tickle, whose 2008 book, The Great Emergence, chronicles the blurring of denominational distinctions in late 20th- and early 21st-century American Christianity.

Every 500 years or so, says Tickle, the church metaphorically holds a great rummage sale, “getting rid of the junk that we believe no longer has value and finding treasures stuck in the attic because we didn’t want them or were too naïve to know their true worth.”

The Reformation was one of those rummage sales and the current “great convergence” is another, she maintains. For evangelicals, the long-forgotten treasures in the attic include a wide array of spiritual disciplines -- including Lent -- with roots in the church’s first centuries.

For Sterling Severns, discovering Lent and other seasons of the Christian year was “an eye-opening experience,” which he encountered at the first church he served after graduating from seminary.

“It tapped into something in me that surprised me,” says Severns, now pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. “I remember I almost felt as if I’d been let in on a great secret.”

For many folks who have been Catholic their entire lives, such comments might be a bit surprising. "Secret? How is it a secret? Don't all Christians know about Lent and Advent?" No, they surely don't. I wasn't aware of either Lent or Advent until I attended Bible college as a 20-year-old Fundamentalist, and even then they were spoken of in mostly cautious or negative ways (most of my profs viewed the Catholic Church with suspicion or disdain, but a couple were quite positive about Catholicism). But things have changed a lot in the past couple of decades and an growing number of Evangelical groups are embracing—in various ways and to differing degrees—aspects of the Catholic liturgical calendar.

An excellent book for Evangelicals who are curious about Catholic beliefs about worship, the liturgical calendar, and the sacraments is Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament by Thomas Howard. Also see his essay, "Catholic Spirituality", from the collection, The Night Is Far Spent."

Spanky's Hamburger

Is God pruning for growth?

From Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Blog:

"I was struck by an observation made by Fr. Andrew Burnham that everyone in the Ordinariate is being humbled in order to serve. Bishops become priests, priests become laity for a period , laity enter into a Eucharistic fast and voluntarily accept a reduced status as they begin life in their new church. And the cutting back does not stop there. Many clergy families will move from large expensive properties to small modest houses. Parishes will vacate treasured churches and leave all their posessions behind. There is a process of reduction going on that will cause the cynic to snear but to those with eyes of faith it says something else entirely.

Indeed this joyfully surrendering of worldly posessions serves as a witness to others. S. Francis said that there was no point walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching. I see something of that in the formation process thus far..."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gay protesters swarm Chicago cathedral, police do nothing

CHICAGO, February 25, 2011 ( - The city of Chicago ordered its police force not to enforce the law against a mob of homosexualist activists who disrupted Mass at the Holy Name Cathedral to protest “anti-gay bigots” who support the Church’s teaching on marriage.

The Gay Liberation Network staged the rally on the eve of Valentine’s Day, shouting and chanting loudly as churchgoers entered to celebrate Sunday Mass. The demonstration’s primary target was Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who has spoken out in defense of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Protesters had staged a similar disruption around the same time last year.

In response to the protest, George, who was not present at the cathedral, acknowledged that the issue is deeply emotional on both sides but, “No matter the issue, Catholics should be able to worship in peace, without fear of harassment.”

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released a video of the protest showing rainbow flag-waving protesters shouting and holding signs stating, “It’s time to stop being nice to anti-gay bigots.” “The Catholic leadership has ranged itself against equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for too long!” declared one homosexualist protester. Others called for an end to government cooperation with the Church’s charitable activities on the basis of its “bigoted” views.

Churchgoers withstood the angry protest passively. One said that the pastor present for the Mass “was almost attacked and was called a bigot.” The Chicago Tribune reported that there was a small counter-protest defending traditional marriage and Cardinal George.

While it was illegal for the protesters to disrupt a religious service, the Chicago City Council announced that police would not enforce the law in this instance - a move that NOM castigated.

“It’s outrageous that the city of Chicago stepped in and basically told police not to enforce a law for this one occasion,” said NOM president Brian Brown.

“Gay Liberation Network is not above the law. If the city believed the ordinance was unconstitutional they should either repeal it for everyone, or go to court to get a determination. What happened instead was indefensible: stripping Catholics of their legal right to attend religious services peacefully.”

“We don’t know yet if this signals a new phase in the gay marriage movement: organized protests at churches nationwide.”

Jeff Field, a spokesman for the Catholic League, told that the city council’s refusal to protect the Catholic worshippers was “disappointing to say the least.”

“Everybody has a right to practice their religion. For the city council to deny that right for Catholics is disappointing,” said Field, who pointed out that Muslims and Orthodox Jews shared a religious dedication to traditional marriage. “You wonder if they would allow protests in front of a mosque or a synagogue during their religious services,” he said.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Priest Allows Presbyterian Minister to Concelebrate a Mass and Receive Holy Communion

(California Catholic Daily) Some parishioners at St. Norbert’s Church in Orange describe themselves as “shocked and appalled” after a priest there allowed a Presbyterian minister to concelebrate a Mass and receive Holy Communion on Sunday, Feb. 13.

Sources from the parish told California Catholic Daily that Fr. Agustin Escobar introduced Pastor Steve Whitney of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Sacramento at St. Norbert’s 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. The sources said Rev. Whitney concelebrated the Mass with Fr. Escobar, took Communion, and was allowed to distribute Communion to parishioners.

The parish’s pastor, Fr. Pat Rudolph, was away at the time and did not participate. Parishioners who tried to contact him about the situation were told he would not be back at St. Norbert’s until March. But, said sources at the parish, Fr. Escobar admitted he did not have the pastor’s permission to invite the Protestant minister to concelebrate Mass and receive Communion.

One parishioner fired off an angry email to Bishop Brown and other high-ranking diocesan officials, calling the occurrence at St. Norbert’s “a travesty.”

“Shocked and appalled,” said the email to the bishop. “That was how I felt, and continue to feel…” The writer said Fr. Escobar is “unrepentant,” and yelled at his wife when she spoke to him about what had happened after Mass. Fr. Escobar, said the parishioner, told his wife “she isn't a true Christian because Jesus would love everyone...” 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Altar Girls

By Colin B. Donovan, STL

(EWTN) Many Catholics are perplexed by the authorization of girl altar servers by the Pope. They are uncertain about the pastoral wisdom of this decision given 1) the shortage of vocations to the priesthood, 2) the traditional place of altar boys as a source of vocations, 3) the tendency of some younger boys to not want to share activities with girls and 4) the natural religiosity of the female sex which results in their saturating non-ordained offices in the Church. Yet, it is a decision which has been made by the highest authority in the Church and to which Catholics must defer and make their peace.

     See:  [/library/curia/cdwcomm.htm]

It is important to make some theological distinctions, too. This is not a matter of faith but of Church discipline. While having boys serve at the altar is a long-standing ecclesiastical tradition it is nonetheless a human institution, NOT divine, and therefore capable of change for sufficient reason. The judgment about what is sufficient rests with the Holy See.

What MIGHT have been those reasons? Since the Church had already opened other non-ordained offices to women (Reader, Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, chancellor, marriage tribunal official and so on), all of which were previously excluded to women, and in some cases lay men also), the exclusion of girls from the unofficial office of "altar server" was something of an anomaly. In fact, it was on canonical grounds which the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts proposed ending this exclusion. For his part, the Pope may have been looking ahead to the publication only a few weeks later of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, his letter affirming the male only priesthood. The two decisions taken together amount to drawing precise theological lines between what is Church tradition and what is Apostolic Tradition, allowing women all offices in the Church not excluded by Divine Law (such as the priesthood).

In granting the permission the Pope gave to each bishop the full authority to decide whether pastoral circumstances in his diocese necessitated the authorization of altar girls. In an interpretation of this ruling, the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts has stated, with papal approval, that even if a bishop permits altar girls in his diocese, priests are not required to use them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Tipping Point Is Nearing

By Jeff T. Allen

(American Thinker) We are facing a tipping point. There will soon be a crisis affecting US citizens beyond any experienced since the Great Depression. And it may happen within the year. This past week three awful developments put a dagger into the hope for a growth-led recovery, which held promise of possibly averting a debt and currency implosion crushing the American economy.

The first was a little-noticed, but tragic, series of events in the newly elected House of Representatives. The speaker, Mr. Boehner, had given the task of fashioning the majority's spending cut agenda to Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), a rising conservative star representing the vocal wing of fiscal conservatives in the House. Promising to cut $100 billion of government spending, Mr. Boehner spoke before the elections of the urgency to produce immediately when Republicans took control.

Out of a $3.8 trillion government spending agenda, the wonkish Mr. Ryan, considered by many to be the best hope for fiscal conservatives, revealed proposed cuts of a whopping $74 billion. After some tense meetings, (referred to as a "revolt" by some media) newly elected conservative congressmen convinced the leadership to commit to unspecified cuts of an additional $26 billion. The actual "cuts" from any such legislation will, of course, be less once the appropriate political log rolling and deal-making are done- let's call it $50 billion (while the deficit grows by $26 billion during the week it takes to discuss it). So go the hopes for serious spending restraint from our newly elected wave of rabid, anti-big government Republicans. They may deliver cuts 1.3% of total spending that is itself approximately 90% greater than collected taxes. Let's mark this spending reduction effort as an epic fail, at a time when epic success is almost required for survival...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why Sola Scriptura Cannot Stand

I recently finished re-reading Benson Bobrick's Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution it Inspired. Although I had read it ten years ago, I wanted to read it again in this 400th anniversay of the King James Version. Bobrick does an outstanding job of weaving together philological, theological, ecclesiastical, and political threads in the story of the translation of the Bible into English. I remember well getting a black leather KJV for Christmas in high school. For much of our time off from school, I read it, devouring its words and message. I love the Bible, for it holds a special place among Christians as telling the true story of God and His people. Yet the doctrine of sola scriptura is so stunningly fallacious, albeit so passionately claimed and defended by so many, that I could not help seeing the disasters it brings in Bobrick's story.

For example, he writes of George Abbot, an archbishop of Canterbury, who "once told King James that 'Scripture doth directly or by consequence contain in it sufficient matter to decide all controversies." Says Bobrick, "The king found that absurd, but for Puritans it was axiomatic...." (p. 280, all references to the 2001 hardback edition) In this matter I would side with the king over the Puritans for the very fact that in the years following the publication of the King James Version, "the Bible was used 'to justify both resistance to and defense of the king, democracy, communism, regicide, the rule of the saints, the overthrow of international Catholicism, even free love. It called into question all established institutions and practices. The ideas which divided the two parties in the impending civil war...were all found in the Bible.' And it was by recourse or reference to the Bible that all these matters were thrashed out." (p. 281, citing Christopher Hill)

Clearly no text can support not only such varied, but such contradictory positions, and yet we cannot suppose that our brethren of four centuries past were idiots. What accounts for this? As Bobrick notes, "'Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers,' read Romans 13:1. 'The powers that be are ordained by God.' Among royalists, that was the most cherished of the New Testament texts.... The Geneva Bible adopted a different view. The statement in Acts 5:29, 'We ought rather to obey God than men," was said to mean 'We ought to obey God and no man, but so far as obeying him we may obey God.' And Calvin boldly interpreted the story of Daniel and the lion's den to mean that 'Earthly princes deprive themselves of all when they rise up against God, yea, they are unworthy to be counted amongst the company of men. We ought rather to spit in their faces than to obey them.'" (pp. 281-282)

The answer is right there. Interpretation is everything. Even today people study the Bible on their own, make of it what they will, and thereby conclude that Jesus wants them to be happy even it means getting a divorce or marrying a homosexual partner. Others read the words of Jesus in Matthew 18 about binding and loosing and conclude that this means an individual person may bind demons with uttered prayers, or that He is talking about the authority of the Church to establish doctrine.

Some of our English friends of four centuries ago saw through this and "counseled against blindly following that elusive 'inner light.' 'Let a man but persuade himself...that the Spirit dwells personally in him, and speaks upon all occasions to him; how easily and readily may he plead that the Spirit tells him he may kill his enemy, plunder his neighbor, cast off all obedience to his governors...." (p. 287) From the insane bomber who claims God told him to assassinate someone to the wild-eyed charismatic who always has a word from the Lord to share with someone, this tendency toward personal interpretation of Scripture has not waned.

Yet Bobrick observes the hypocrisy and the illogic in all this. "Pride goeth before a fall: in a sense Protestants had become more Catholic than they knew. For they had exchanged one authority for another: 'in the place of the medieval Church,' as one scholar put it, they had Scripture; in the place of an infallible institution, an infallible text; in the place of Tradition, a printed book. 'The Puritan iconoclast had himself become a bibliolater,' who supposed himself subscribed to a 'self-interpreting' text. But the Bible was not doctrine; it was a narrative; and though portions of it contained laws and strictures, it could, it seems, be all things to all men." (p. 288)

Nothing can exist without a framework for interpreting it, and if we are to believe that the Bible contains the words of God spoken through men, in other words, the truth, then there must be an authoritative framework for interpretation. Says Bobrick, "As long as Scripture could mean as many different things to as many people as read it, the deeply thought-through conclusions of the Church down through the ages were allowed no more stature than the cloudy revelations of individual minds. And insofar as those revelations prompted actions, chaos might result. No democracy, in fact, could fail to destroy itself without some restraint imposed upon liberty.... There had to be a frame. The great unwritten Constitution of England, and the arguably greater written Constitution of the United States, with its Bill of Rights, took the theological place in Civil Society of the Received Wisdom laid down by Church councils and preserved in Creeds." (p. 296)

Indeed we see this today. The teaching of the Church is repudiated for the individual interpretation of anyone who wants to do the interpreting, and this has spread in the social realm to the undermining of the U.S. Constitution, whereby it is seen as a living document that can be altered by succeeding generations rather than a framework and a restraint upon liberty to keep the republic from destroying itself.

I love the Bible, and when I read it, I sense God speaking to me. Yet if I go so far as to set myself up as the sole interpreter, qualifying words like "truth" and even "God" with the possessive "my," not only do I set myself adrift upon a sea of confusion, but I continue to erode even the foundations of the secular society around me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Catholic Truth Society in Britain Issues Guide on Bringing Witches and Wiccans to Christ and His Church

By Simon Caldwell A guide on how to convert witches to Christianity has been published by the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.

The move comes in response to fears that growing numbers of teenagers are being lured into Wicca, occult practices and paganism by the heroic depiction of witches in entertainment including the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice films, and TV.

The booklet, called Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers, offers parents advice on what to do if one of their children takes an interest in witchcraft.

It also instructs on ‘how to evangelise a witch’ should readers come across such a person in their circle of friends or at the local pub. 

The guide, published yesterday by the Catholic Truth Society, the UK publishers to the Holy See, was written by Elizabeth Dodd, a former Oxford Wiccan who converted to the Catholic faith.

She said nearly 70 per cent of Wicca practitioners are young women seeking some kind of spirituality.

Behind the glamour there were ‘grave dangers’ because of its link to the occult and the sinister movement championed by satanist Aleister Crowley, she said.

She added: ‘Recognition that Wiccans are on a genuine spiritual quest can provide the starting point for dialogue that may lead to their conversion.’

Some 7,000 of 31,000 neo-pagans identified themselves as Wiccans in the 2001 census but the figure is believed to be far higher

Sunday, February 6, 2011

1,500-year-old church found in Israel

A view of a mosaic in the archaeological site ...

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press
HIRBET MADRAS, Israel – Israeli archaeologists presented a newly uncovered 1,500-year-old church in the Judean hills on Wednesday, including an unusually well-preserved mosaic floor with images of lions, foxes, fish and peacocks.

Amir Ganor  

The Byzantine church located southwest of Jerusalem, excavated over the last two months, will be visible only for another week before archaeologists cover it again with soil for its own protection...

A detail of a mosaic in the archaeological site ...

NYTimes Compares Muslim Brotherhood to Catholic Church

Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant. at the New York Times clearly love to promote the false  notion that Islam is exactly like Christianity, at least when they are boiled down to their basics. Often, the Catholic Church specifically is compared to Islam as if they are basically one and the same.

As we saw in Rachel Donadio’s article on the Cathedral of Córdoba, which she referred to (wrongly) as “The Great Mosque,” Islam is preferred to Catholicism even to the point of blatant lying. Now, we find the New York Times comparing even the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically, to Catholicism in an article that appears to be designed to set readers’ minds at ease about their having power in the Egyptian government.
Once again, it’s time to set the record straight.

Wise people around the world are coming to the understanding that it is very important that everyone clearly define his values, and that people of good will everywhere should join in working for those values that help to build just societies. So it is that Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, bravely took a stand last October against multiculturalism, a leftist doctrine that walks hand in hand with moral relativism.

Today she was joined by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Multiculturalism is clearly at the heart of the claim by Scott Shane in the New York Times that the Muslim Brotherhood is like Catholicism.
The Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is the oldest and largest Islamist movement in the world, with affiliates in most Muslim countries and adherents in Europe and the United States.
Its size and diversity, and the legal ban that has kept it from genuine political power in Egypt for decades, make it hard to characterize simply.  As the Roman Catholic Church includes both those who practice leftist liberation theology and conservative anti-abortion advocates, so the Brotherhood includes both practical reformers and firebrand ideologues.
Which of those tendencies might rise to dominance in a new Egypt is under intense discussion inside the Obama administration, where officials say they may be willing to consult with the Brotherhood during a political transition.
It should be noted that unlike Muslims, Catholics have a Pope who sits in the “Chair of Peter”, a seat of authority. Pope John Paul II has been fairly clear on the problems of “liberation theology.” Rebelling against the Pope’s teaching is rebellion against Catholicism. If one writes about Catholicism, one should first know what he is talking about.

Bill Donahue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, hits the nail on the head in his satirical characterization of the drivel being fed to New York Times readers.
So Sister Mary Alice who leans left while working with the poor, and Father Murphy who works with pro-lifers, have much in common with Muslims who differ with each other on whether to kill Jews now or wait until they’re elected.
Good for him. There’s nothing that I could add that could make this preposterous claim in the New York Times more clear than that.


Follow Lisa Graas on Twitter and visit her blog at

Friday, February 4, 2011

Monk's protest angers women Leader) A 'PRAYERFUL protest' outside the family planning clinic in Limerick by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has been severely criticised by women across the country who rang RTE's Liveline yesterday, to voice their anger.
The Franciscan Friars, who are known in Limerick as the Moyross Monks, staged a protest outside the Family Planning Clinic on Mallow Street on Saturday in a campaign against promiscuity.

Siobhan, a young Limerick woman, who attended the clinic at the weekend rang Joe Duffy on Tuesday and said she had felt intimidated by their presence.

She said one of the friars stared at her directly as she entered the building, and doctors were forced to close the blinds during her appointment.

Fr Charles, who lives at St Patrick's Friary in Delmege Park, said they had staged protests outside the clinic on a number of occasions but Saturday's protest was the first in a number of months. He said the friars were there to offer prayerful support. "If somebody wants to talk to us we are there to help, we are there to talk to the people."

RTE presenter, Joe Duffy, asked Fr Charles what promiscuity had to do with family planning.

"We don't realise it but all contraception is basically a licence for casual sex," said Fr Charles. He was then asked why they had focused their campaign against promiscuity on a family planning clinic and not Boots who sell condoms, and provide the morning-after pill.

"We're not happy about that either," the priest said, adding that it was "a good idea" which he would submit to the Brothers.

Fr Charles justified the friars' presence outside the clinic by saying, "We are on the sidewalk, it is public ground and we are not aggressive to anybody, we are just there praying so there is no offence made to anybody."

The presenter commented that he has "yet to hear people from working class areas of Limerick, or indeed middle class areas of Limerick, complain that family planning is the cause of their problems."

The priest reiterated that they were there to give prayerful support and apologised if Siobhan "got spooked".

"I didn't find them very approachable when I was walking past them. I found it very intimidating really," the young woman said. "It's like they were watching me and they knew where I was going. They watched when I walked in and they watched when I walked out again, and they were judging me as if they have to pray for me."

I'm sorry you felt you were judged. What makes you feel we were judging you?" Fr Charles asked. "I just felt I was being judged," she said.

"I have a strong faith and really don't see how they think they're helping anyone by standing there. I was stressed enough going there, it wasn't a great day going there and it made the whole thing way more stressful."

An audibly angry Mr Duffy interjected saying that the Franciscan Friars had linked family planning with promiscuity.
"There's judgement."

"Do you think young women in turmoil would turn to five bearded men wearing funny clothes on the side of a street when they have no indicatioin who they are?" Mr Duffy said.

Fr Charles faced a barage of criticism as a number of incensed callers contacted the radio programme.

One caller, Sheila, said the intention of the protesters was to intimidate women going to the family planning clinic. "You can couch something anyway you like but if you want to be there for people, you let them know where you are and allow them to come to you. You don't stand there in a line pushing your views or your religion on them when they are going about private business in their own lives.

"I'm a married woman," she said. "I go to family planning clinics regularly. I would find it an absolute insult for you to assume that I was promiscuous, or for you to use the word promiscuous about any of the women in there with me. You have a nerve, you really do, and you are completely misguided."

Fr Charles tried to respond by saying that "we live in a beautiful society and...", but he was interupted by the angry called.

"Are you just going to give me your rhetoric and dogma? You have done something wrong, you have intimidated another human being for no good reason except to satisfy your own belief system. It is totally unacceptable. It may work in the country that you come from but it will not be tolerated in this country by Irish women."

Brother Shawn, Fr Charles and Fr Paulus at Delmege Park, Moyross, where the friary is based

Catholic Church querying US Anglicans for possible ordinariate

By Kevin J. Jones Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said in an interview that the Catholic Church has sent out questionnaires to learn more about U.S. Anglicans who have expressed an interest in becoming Catholic. A sufficiently large response would mean the creation of an Anglican ordinariate in the U.S.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has named Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, as its delegate to assist Anglican groups who want to become Catholic through the ordinariate, a special church structure similar to a diocese.

“We’re hearing from those Anglican communities and those Anglicans who wish to explore more fully what the ordinariate will mean and who wish to be a part of it,” the cardinal told CNA in a Jan. 31 interview.

The first step is to respond to all U.S. Anglicans who have indicated an interest in the ordinariate and to learn more about them.

“Questionnaires have gone out asking them to identify more clearly who they are and what the nature is of their current community,” Cardinal Wuerl explained. “The goal is to determine whether there is a response substantial enough to warrant the establishment of an ordinariate here in the U.S.”

“We’ve already seen how the Holy See, at the request of Pope Benedict, has established an ordinariate in England, Our Lady of Walsingham. And that would probably be a model for what we would do here in the U.S.”

“We’re a little ways off yet,” he said...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Day the Music Died

"Today marks the 51st anniversary of the death of the remarkable singer and songwriter, Buddy Holly.

On February 3, 1959 Buddy Holly, JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens died in a plane that crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa.

The three stars of rock n'roll had just finished playing a show at the Surf Ballroom when they got on a charter plane to take them to the next stop on their Winter Dance Party tour. Poor weather conditions and pilot error brought the plane down five miles after take-off..."

The Church Fathers - Apostolic Tradition

From The Church Fathers:


“Papias [A.D. 120], who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he, moreover, asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John. Accordingly, he mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their traditions [concerning Jesus]. . . . [There are] other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition” (fragment in Eusebius, Church History 3:39 [A.D. 312]).

Eusebius of Caesarea

“At that time [A.D. 150] there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom we know from what has gone before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete, and besides these, Philip, and Apollinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and, finally, Irenaeus. From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and orthodox faith received from tradition” (Church History 4:21).


“As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same” (Against Heresies 1:10:2 [A.D. 189]).
“That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth. . . . What if the apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the churches?” (ibid., 3:4:1).

“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about.
“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles.
“With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (ibid., 3:3:1–2).

Clement of Alexandria

“Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from loss the blessed tradition” (Miscellanies 1:1 [A.D. 208]).


“Although there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the apostles and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition” (The Fundamental Doctrines 1:2 [A.D. 225]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way” (Letters 75:3 [A.D. 253]).


“Again we write, again keeping to the apostolic traditions, we remind each other when we come together for prayer; and keeping the feast in common, with one mouth we truly give thanks to the Lord. Thus giving thanks unto him, and being followers of the saints, ‘we shall make our praise in the Lord all the day,’ as the psalmist says. So, when we rightly keep the feast, we shall be counted worthy of that joy which is in heaven” (Festal Letters 2:7 [A.D. 330]).
“But you are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and frequently accursed envy has wished to unsettle it, but has not been able” (ibid., 29).

Basil the Great

“Of the dogmas and messages preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety, both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in matters ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce [Christian] message to a mere term” (The Holy Spirit 27:66 [A.D. 375]).

Epiphanius of Salamis

“It is needful also to make use of tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture. The holy apostles handed down some things in the scriptures, other things in tradition” (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 61:6 [A.D. 375]).


“[T]he custom [of not rebaptizing converts] . . . may be supposed to have had its origin in apostolic tradition, just as there are many things which are observed by the whole Church, and therefore are fairly held to have been enjoined by the apostles, which yet are not mentioned in their writings” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 5:23[31] [A.D. 400]).
“But the admonition that he [Cyprian] gives us, ‘that we should go back to the fountain, that is, to apostolic tradition, and thence turn the channel of truth to our times,’ is most excellent, and should be followed without hesitation” (ibid., 5:26[37]).
“But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the apostles themselves or by plenary [ecumenical] councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church” (Letter to Januarius [A.D. 400]).

John Chrysostom

“[Paul commands,] ‘Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter’ [2 Thess. 2:15]. From this it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there is much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further” (Homilies on Second Thessalonians [A.D. 402]).

Vincent of Lerins

“With great zeal and closest attention, therefore, I frequently inquired of many men, eminent for their holiness and doctrine, how I might, in a concise and, so to speak, general and ordinary way, distinguish the truth of the Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity.
“I received almost always the same answer from all of them—that if I or anyone else wanted to expose the frauds and escape the snares of the heretics who rise up, and to remain intact and in sound faith, it would be necessary, with the help of the Lord, to fortify that faith in a twofold manner: first, of course, by the authority of divine law [Scripture] and then by the tradition of the Catholic Church.
“Here, perhaps, someone may ask: ‘If the canon of the scriptures be perfect and in itself more than suffices for everything, why is it necessary that the authority of ecclesiastical interpretation be joined to it?’ Because, quite plainly, sacred Scripture, by reason of its own depth, is not accepted by everyone as having one and the same meaning. . . .
“Thus, because of so many distortions of such various errors, it is highly necessary that the line of prophetic and apostolic interpretation be directed in accord with the norm of the ecclesiastical and Catholic meaning” (The Notebooks [A.D. 434]).

Pope Agatho

“[T]he holy Church of God . . . has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error, [and possesses that faith that] the whole number of rulers and priests, of the clergy and of the people, unanimously should confess and preach with us as the true declaration of the apostolic tradition, in order to please God and to save their own souls” (Letter read at fourth session of III Constantinople [A.D. 680]).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blasphemous Absurdity"Last week at work, I had to leave my work area to participate in a program that is supposed to help us (all the workers) approximately 150 in the room, become more up close and personal with our patients. When I went to the meeting, it was your typical meeting, until the leaders of the group asked us to divide into groups--based on "our" Chinese birth year. That is: the year of the monkey, the rat, the boar...and anyone who has ever gone into a Chinese restaurant probably might know what "sign" they were. After we went to our group areas--I was the monkey--we were handed a packet of perhaps 9 to 12 sheets of paper explaining what characteristics "we" as monkeys had. And it went on further, to separate the Chinese birth year into our Astrological signs--making me a "cancer monkey" because I was born in July.

My stomach sank--what should I do?--this is the occult that I'm now expected to participate in at work. We were to read the papers--the characteristics that "we" as monkeys had. One paragraph said we were the most promiscuous, until we found our true mate and then usually the promiscuity declined..."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Will Survive - The Puppini Sisters

Father Tom Euteneuer Statement

"It is with great sadness, but also with a certain measure of relief, that I can now respond to the many inquiries about my departure as president of Human Life International (HLI) at the end of August 2010. It has been painful for me to remain silent in light of the ongoing speculation, particularly when much of it assigned blame to those who were, in fact, blameless. I am thankful to be able to set the record straight so that speculation can stop and blame can be placed right where it belongs – with me..."

The Church Fathers - The Real Presence

From Church Fathers:


“He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body.’ The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his blood. He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve [minor] prophets, had signified beforehand: ‘You do not do my will, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is my name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Almighty’ [Mal. 1:10–11]. By these words he makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to him, and indeed, a pure one, for his name is glorified among the Gentiles” (Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189]).

Ignatius of Antioch

“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr

“We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).


“If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?” (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).

“He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?” (ibid., 5:2).

Clement of Alexandria

“’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children” (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).


“[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God” (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).


“‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e., the Last Supper]” (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).


“Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]” (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord” (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).

Council of Nicaea I

“It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]” (Canon 18 [A.D. 325]).
Aphraahat the Persian Sage

“After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink” (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

“The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ” (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).

“Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul” (ibid., 22:6, 9).

Ambrose of Milan

“Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ” (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]).

Theodore of Mopsuestia

“When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit” (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]).


“Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands” (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]).
“I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ” (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]).

“What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction” (ibid., 272).

Council of Ephesus

“We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving” (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).