Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cardinal Egan, Rudy Giuliani and Holy Communion

I was unable to post it yesterday, but one of the hottest stories on the web involves Rudy Giuliani's reception of Holy Communion at a Papal Mass in NY. There was an outcry in the blogosphere, even before these Masses, once it became known that pro-choice Catholic pols would be at these Masses.

In an unexpected move, Cardinal Egan has issued a public statement, as follows:

“ The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God. Throughout my years as Archbishop of New York, I have repeated this teaching in sermons, articles, addresses, and interviews without hesitation or compromise of any kind. Thus it was that I had an understanding with Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, when I became Archbishop of New York and he was serving as Mayor of New York, that he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion. I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding.”

This statement came on the heels of a strong op-ed piece by Robert Novak in which he asserted that the archbishops of New York and Washington were disobedient to Pope Benedict.

This has created more discussion. Tom Peters at AmP has a single post that collects some comments and excerpts from around the web in the first link below. I'm adding some additional links for more commentary and combox reading.

Other articles and posts:

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Monday, April 28, 2008

St. Gianna Molla - the Second Miracle

This is truly amazing - the account of St. Gianna Molla's second miracle for her cause. Do yourself a favor and go read this blogpost put together by Fr. Z. It's not just for moms! And, be sure to read through to the end. The points Father makes about saints and miracles are key!

Prepare to be amazed! The 2nd miracle of St. Gianna Molla

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Archbishop of Lima Peru bans Communion in the Hand

Thanks to Fr. Z (see links below), here is a translation of an article which appeared in Petrus (Italian), in which the Archbishop of Lima Peru has banned Communion in the hand. I think we will see more of this around the world, perhaps in smaller dioceses first, but it will be a long time coming here in the US where a percentage of bishops must agree before a local norm can be changed.

Remember, there are the universal norms in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and then local adaptations, such as those for the Diocese of the United States, which may be submitted to the Holy See for approval. The universal norm is not Communion in the hand, but on the tongue. The US, as with other dioceses in the world, have an Indult, or permission to have Communion in the hand.

As the Primate of Peru, I believe this Cardinal is well within his right. Also noteworthy, is that His Eminence is a member of the Congregration for Divine Worship, which is headed up by Cardinal Arinze.
CITTA’ DEL VATICANO - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, authoritative representative of the Sacred College and of Opus Dei, and one of the great experts of the Catholic Church in moral theology and liturgy. And it is precisely on the theme of liturgy, so current in this time, the Cardinal willingly took some questions from Petrus.

Your Eminence, what is true liturgy?

I will be brief: it is the pure face of the Faith. This isn’t mere exteriority or respect for formal rules, but in the liturgy the Mystery of Christ, who died and rose, is celebrated with joy. And so, it is important to celebrate Holy Mass worthily and correctly, with a liturgy faithful to the canons of the Church, above all for respect for Jesus. I appreciate, in that sense, the continuous appeals of the Holy Father Benedict XVI for respect for the decorum of the liturgy.

In the last years there has been noted a worrying escalation of liturgical abuses. How do you explain this negative trend?

The idea of sin has been lost, and so also the Sacrifice of Holy Mass has been mistreated and undervalued in currents of thought, also within the Church, that justify and tolerate everything creating a debatable circular and assembly-like dimension for the Eucharistic ceremony. Then, and I believe this is partly the fault of the Roman Curia after Vatican II, there was a relaxed attitude, above all in interpretation, regarding the Council. It is urgently necessary to remedy this situation; I believe that the vertical dimension of the Eucharist is absolutely necessary because the faithful can grasp the great gift of Christ. Surely, the faithful are at risk of being only scandalized and driven away with the so-called "show-Masses" in which there are committed, in the name of freedom and creativity, every sort of wickedness.

Let us come to the manner of administering Communion…

Even in this matter that relaxed attitude of many priests has made ridiculous in the eyes of Catholics the value of the Eucharist. Personally, I retain that it best way to administer Communion is on the tongue, so much that in my diocese I have forbidden the Host in the hand. In Masses with great attendance, in the past we even found Hosts thrown onto the pavement of the Church.

Petrus is worried about the Neocatechumenate: the Journey has aroused admiration but also worry and suspicion.

I don’t doubt that the intentions of the Neocatechumens are praiseworthy and they are really searching fr God with fervor and joy. And I think that there must be started a healthy and at the same time firm dialogue with them in truth. The Vatican itself is trying to find a solution for approving their statutes. In any event, in the celebration of Holy Mass on the part of Neocatechumens there are certain aspects that I absolutely do not share. I call to mind and repeat that the liturgy is unique and must be respected by everyone in the same way. Indeed, tolerance, of course, for Neocatechumens, but it is the competence of the Church to call them back to respect for the Eucharist.
On the heels of that interview with Petrus, comes this article out of The Tablet.

Church in the World
26 April 2008

Cardinal bans Communion in hand

A Peruvian cardinal has banned the practice of receiving Communion in the hand in his diocese to guard against devaluing the Eucharist, an Italian website has reported.

Opus Dei Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne told Petrus: "I maintain that the best way to administer Communion is on the tongue, so much so that in my diocese I have forbidden the host in the hand."

The cardinal, who is Archbishop of Lima and a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that "the relaxed attitude of many priests" was to blame for a decline in reverence for the Eucharist among the faithful. "In Masses with great attendance, in the past we even found hosts thrown on to the pavement of the church," he added.

A missionary priest working in Lima told The Tablet the ban "would only apply to his jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Lima". "The remainder of the dioceses around Lima would not go for such a practice," he said.
If you want to see more discussion on this, the combox over at WDTPRS is a good place to go. Here are the two posts by Fr. Z:

Related posts:

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National Catholic Register: The Pope's "Mandatum"

This week's National Catholic Register features an online article by Tim Drake on the Pope's address to Catholic educators.

The Pope’s ‘Mandatum’

BY Tim Drake

April 27-May 3, 2008 Issue Posted 4/22/08 at 11:04 AM

WASHINGTON — From a professor’s point of view, Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Catholic college and university presidents and diocesan school superintendents April 17 “raised the bar” for what is expected of Catholic education.

The Holy Father insisted that all of a student’s school experiences should lead him to Christ, and that academic freedom was no excuse for contravening the Church’s teaching.

Andrew Abela was among 400 Catholic educators and administrators who heard the Holy Father’s address at the university’s Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

“Pope Benedict has given us a clearer — and higher — idea of what Catholic education should be,” he said. “For us teachers, it is not just about what we teach, but about who we are; for our students, not just about what they learn, but who they become — and, in particular, to what extent we help them to overcome their reluctance to entrust themselves to God.”

Catholic University’s president, Vincentian Father David O’Connell, called the Holy Father’s address “masterful.”

Continue reading "Mandatum" at the National Catholic Register...

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More on Cardinal Newman's cause...

CWNews is reporting that the Vatican has confirmed a miracle associated with Ven. John Henry Newman.

Birmingham, Apr. 25, 2008 ( - An official spokesman for the cause of beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman has confirmed that the Vatican has given preliminary approval to the authenticity of a miracle attributed to Cardinal Newman’s intercession.

Final approval of the miracle would clear the way for the beatification of the Cardinal Newman, a towering figure in English Catholicism in the 19th century.
Continue reading details on Newman at CWNews...

Related post: John Henry Newman to be Beatified

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Virtuous Catholic Blogger Update...

I am going to use this blogpost repeatedly by shifting the date, each time I update the Virtuous Catholic Blogging site. I'll create a running list in this blogpost and it will be updated in chronological order - so look to the bottom for the latest.

I am hoping for participation there. I did not create the blog because I am virtuous. Rather, I created the blog so that I may learn to become a virtuous blogger. While you may find some worthwhile things to ponder there, I hope to grow through your comments, as well.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Updated Sidebar: Liturgy and Sacraments

If you scroll up and down my sidebar, you will find many sections with good resources. I have everything from Latin, Liturgy, and sacred music resources, as well as links to Catholic Scripture study sources, canon law, info about private revelations, and much more. Every now and then, I must check these to see if they are still working. Don't hesitate to email me if you find a broken link:

The link I had to a page containing Fr. Z's examination of conscience was no longer working. I have provided, in it's place, an examination of conscience by Fr. Robert Altier. Both priests spent time at St. Agnes in Minnesota (they have beautiful liturgies, with symphony so stop in if you are out that way). Fr. Robert Altier - a diocesan priest - is also a third order Carmelite.

I have added three additional links on confession. These are direct links:

While I was on the subject of sacraments, I also added a link to Our Lady's Brides - a woman to woman forum on the subject of marriage and Catholicism. If you are getting married, or are already married and have something to offer and want to learn from others, consider joining Our Lady's Brides.

I will likely add more to the liturgy and sacraments section.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Video: 40 years after death, St. Padre Pio

From CWNews:

Thousands flock to venerate Padre Pio

San Giovanni Rotondo, Apr. 24, 2008 ( - An estimated 15,000 people attended Mass in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, as the remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina were exposed for public veneration.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass in the church that Padre Pio made famous. The body of the Capuchin friar, who died in 1968, was then placed on display in a glass coffin.

Padre Pio gained worldwide fame during his lifetime as a confessor and a stigmatist. Thousands of pilgrims flocked to San Giovanni Rotondo to meet him and ask favors, recognizing his reputation as a miracle worker. He remains one of the most popular saints of the 20th century; about 300,000 people attended his canonization in June 2002.

His body was exhumed on March 3, and discovered to be in excellent condition. Embalmers have since prepared the remains for public viewing. Already 750,000 people have made reservations to venerate St. Pio's remains through the remainder of this year.

From The Scotsman online:
His face was reconstructed with a lifelike silicon mask of the type used in wax museums, because it was too decomposed when the body was exhumed.

William M. Carrigan, a witness and friend of Padre Pio, wrote the following:

Mystic, Confessor, Stigmatic
For 50 years he suffered the five
wounds of the crucifixion.
A true victim with Christ.
A credible sign to our time.
A channel of grace.
His Sanctity attracted souls
and moved them toward Christ.
His Spiritual Family is open
to all -- "They will know and
I will know," he said to me."

May the Church honor him
for his sanctity and wisdom --
and officially grant us a
New Saint.
The above comes from, where you will find other interesting resources. Other info and articles from around the net:

Note: Some secular resources are talking about a book that came out last year in which it was alleged that Padre Pio bought carbolic acid and used it to create the wounds. The Vatican dismissed the "witness" and her account. Also, the canonization is infallible. The processs is very detailed and lengthy. Many cures and miracles have been attributed to St. Padre Pio, and have been verified.

A rather interesting note is that AlJazeera (perhaps a least likely news source for such a thing) has a video clip, in English.

    Here is more video on YouTube, this time of Padre Pio celebrating Holy Mass. I could have done without the guitar music, but it's good to see the saint during Mass.

    More YouTube videos with the search words: Padre Pio

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    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Sidebar modifications and translation tool

    I have been making some modifications to my sidebar and I'm trying to get caught up to speed with various feed tools. Any advice in the combox or at my blog email - would be welcome, especially if someone wants to test them out.

    I want to do more in the way of feeds, but I could use to know what people want to see. It's my understanding that the button I have added allows you to choose from many feeds.

    On the language tool, the old one was broke when I added something else. I could not fix it. I have added a new one from Babelfish, but I don't think it covers as many languages. If someone was reading in a particular language, please let me know and I'll see if the existing babelfish tool can be edited, or get a new one.

    I have not had time to modify my header yet, also on my project list.

    I would like to understand more about feeds and how they relate to something like my Palm Centro. I have internet capability, but cannot really view any of the common blogs I go to because they don't look right on the small screen. I would like to read Fr. Z's blog on my Palm Centro and that one seems impossible. Someone explain how I might be able to read simple text. I don't mean to show my ignorance, but ignorance is as ignorant does!

    I have found mobile sites that are easier to read, but if I have to scroll sideways, it's almost impossible to keep up with. Not all news sites have a mobile edition online, but if you are aware of any please link them for me in the combox so I can grab them later with my phone browser.

    Now that I've revealed my ignorance on these matters, please......HELP!

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    In other news today....

    I have made several posts today with specific focus. If you've already heard the news that Venerable John Henry Newman is to be beatified, you may want to visit my post on the subject for the links I have found related this this man.

    Here are posts made today:

    Yesterday's posts:

    More in the news...

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    Unusual Ordination in Kazakhstan

    This is interesting...

    ACN News, Thursday, 24rd April 2008 - KAZAKHSTAN

    History in the making

    Central Asian republic awaits an ordination quite unlike any other

    By John Pontifex

    CATHOLICS in Kazakhstan are preparing for the ordination of what Church leaders believe is the first priest to come from the country’s native population in modern times.

    Up to 80 percent of Catholic priests and most of the faithful in the central Asian republic are foreigners with the rest made up of descendants of immigrants.

    As a result, their outreach to the country’s native people is severely hampered but if all goes to plan the situation could change dramatically when on 29th June 25-year-old Ruslan Rakhimberlinov, a teenage convert to Catholicism, is ordained.

    In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Ruslan’s bishop, Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, central Kazakhstan explained: “This is a very historic event – the first ever.”

    With his Mongolian physical features as is typical among natives in Kazakhstan, Ruslan is expected to make a big impression in a country where often the Catholic Church is often seen as very foreign.

    Bishop Schneider, who will preside at the ordination ceremony, said: “I do not expect there will be an immediate reaction but when the people see him, they will I am sure become accustomed to him.”

    For Bishop Schneider, the ordination is hugely important: “The Church has yet to be properly implanted and this is only possible with clergy native to Kazakhstan.”

    Today’s Catholic community is made up of descendants of people from Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, who were deported to Kazakhstan during the Soviet era. Bishop Schneider said that around Karaganda there was a concentration camp and a series of control centres about the size of France.

    Hence the wide gulf in society in Kazakhstan.

    The soon-to-be Fr Ruslan can expect to find valuable support from three Sisters in a Carmelite convent in Karaganda diocese, who are also native to Kazakhstan.

    The bishop explained that in a mainly Muslim country like Kazakhstan, the Church had to be very careful about charges of forcing, or coercing people to convert to Christianity.

    “I hope and I am convinced that the Catholic faith will be more widely present in Kazakhstan but we have to proceed with caution. It is something to work on in the future.”

    He stressed the shortage of priests in Kazakhstan saying that his top priority was to promote vocations.

    Bishop Schneider explained that as a boy Ruslan and his family lived near a convent and over time he and his family developed an interest in Christianity until they all converted. [continue reading at ACN...]
    As an aside, Bishop Schneider has been the topic of news in other posts at Te Deum Laudamus!

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    John Henry Newman to be Beatified

    Venerable John Henry Newman is to be beatified. From CNA:

    Vatican City, Apr 23, 2008 / 03:12 am (CNA).- The Vatican has approved the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the English convert and theologian who has had immense influence upon English-speaking Catholicism, the Birmingham Mail reports. [read full article at CNA...]

    He was born on February 21st and first ordained an Anglican priest in 1825, was received into the Catholic Church in 1845. In 1879 Pope Leo XIII made him a Cardinal. His last Mass was said on Christmas Day in 1889 and he died on August 11th of 1890. He was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II on January 22, 1991.

    Sites related to John Henry Newman

    Pope Benedict Giving New Direction to Dialogue

    Interreligious dialouge has always been a touchy subject. Some involved in it, have not always been clear about the mission of the Church, portraying more of a "all religions are equal" signal in talks. This article explains how Pope Benedict is redirecting these talks. I'll start you out here, and then follow the link to finish reading at Zenit.

    Cardinal Says Pope Giving New Direction to Dialogue

    Benedict XVI Urges "Crossing Bridges" Built by Predecessors

    NAIROBI, Kenya, APRIL 23, 2008 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging the participants in interreligious dialogue to cross the bridges that have been built by decades of focus on friendship and tolerance, contended the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

    Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran affirmed this April 16 when he opened a five-day conference in Nairobi on "Formation in Interreligious Dialogue in Sub-Saharan Africa."

    The conference brought together bishops and heads of interreligious dialogue departments of the Church in Africa, as well as representatives of other religions.

    Participants examined programs of formation for different pastoral ministers (priests, religious men and women, and the lay faithful) to find out how best to prepare Catholics to relate well with people of other religious traditions.

    The cardinal began his opening address by emphasizing that the Church promotes interreligious dialogue: "My dear friends, 43 years ago His Holiness Pope Paul VI, published his first papal encyclical, 'Ecclesiam Suam,' in which he underlined the new spirit of dialogue and collaboration manifesting itself in the world."

    Respectful and meek

    Paul VI, the cardinal explained, noted three categories of people with whom the Church would dialogue: those opposed to faith, non-Christians, and non-Catholic Christians.

    "The foresighted Pontiff went further to describe the characteristics of this dialogue," Cardinal Tauran said. "It must respect human freedom and dignity and be accompanied by meekness. He drew attention to the dangers of relativism of watering down or whittling away of truth."

    The pontifical council president went on to explain the advances in dialogue made with the Second Vatican Council's "Nostra Aetate," and the teaching of the Popes since then.

    However, he clarified, the Church does not believe that all religions are more or less the same, though all the partners in dialogue are equal in dignity.

    "As might be expected, for different reasons, not every person is enthused about interreligious dialogue," Cardinal Tauran acknowledged. "There are those who think that interreligious dialogue, if not a betrayal of the mission of the Church to convert every person to Christ, is a new method of winning members to Christianity.

    "There are those who hold that the drive of the Church for interreligious relations is an effort to control the spread of other religions. It is not any of these. In 'Nostra Aetate,' 'The Church … urges her sons -- and daughters -- to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions. Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, also their social life and culture."

    A journey

    Cardinal Tauran continued clarifying the nature of interreligious dialogue: "Interreligious dialogue is certainly a bridge-building exercise. […] It includes creating harmony in society, encouraging development of friendship and spirit of tolerance. But it goes beyond the niceties of polite conversation which encourages people to stay where they are and avoid talking about the grey areas of disagreement. It is a journey in search of the truth."

    And, he said, it is dialogue "animated and expressed in works of charity."

    Yet, with its now long history, interreligious dialogue is experiencing...
    [...continue reading at Zenit]

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    April 24th andthe Conversion of St. Augustine

    Today, April 24th, marks the day of St. Augustine's conversion.

    Reading this scripture, Augustine felt as if his heart were flooded with light. He turned totally from his life of sin. He was Baptized by Ambrose during the Easter Vigil April 24, 387. His friend Alypius and his son Adeodatus were Baptized at the same time.

    Later, reflecting on this experience, Augustine wrote his famous prayer: You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. He went on to become a powerful influence on the spirituality and theology of the Christian Church.

    Zenit reports that, on this day, the Order of Augustinian Recollects launched a website with information on the saint and saints of the order.

    It is available in English, in Spanish and Portuguese

    I'll have to explore this website more. It looks interesting. Here are some examples:

    A Breakdown on the Life of St. Augustine

    A Photo Gallery

    While the website is still new, one disappointment is that the other languages seem limited. If you click on many of the links with English headlines, they take you to documents and links in Spanish. It's a start. Hopefully, they can eventually provide more of their info in English.

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    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Rich Lowry on Pope Benedict and the Dictatorship of Relativism

    Aside from Pope John Paul II getting my attention with his death at a time when I had become pretty indifferent interiorly toward's my faith, I would attribute my turning to the Lord to the former Cardinal Ratzinger and his pre-conclave address. It was in that address that he used the words, "dictatorship of relativism". I tried brush off the expression, but it kept haunting me in every paper, every news channel, and the radio. I didn't even know what relativism meant and finally, after seeing it for the umpteenth time, looked it up in the dictionary:

    Philos. any theory of ethics or knowledge based on the idea that all values or judgments are relative, differing according to circumstances, persons, cultures, etc

    Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, posted an editorial on this very subject and Fr. Z comments throughout.

    Conversi ad Dominum!

    Go read, NatReview: Rich Lowry - editor on “Dictatorship of Relativism”

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    Pictures from Papal Visit at St. Joseph Seminary

    I am grateful to seminarians George Meyerson and John Trambley of Holy Apostles Seminary from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM, who took photos in Dunwoodie during the Holy Father's visit with seminarians and young people. I also thank seminarian Timothy Leete for including me in his email.

    If ever you are at a major event like this and take photos, send me a few at I regretted not asking ahead of the papal visit for original photos. Alwyas be specific as to whether it is ok to mention your name as it will save time. I like to give credit where it is due yet I don't want to mention someone's name on the web without asking in these cases.

    These are wonderful pictures. It makes you feel like you are right up front with the Pope. From the email, I was told they had to get there early and stand for about 6 hours. Thanks be to God it wasn't raining. I recall when I traveled to the outskirts of Toronto to the grounds of a Slovak Church which was under construction to see Pope John Paul II, we stood for long hours as well, and it had been drizzling and cold. You couldn't even sit on the ground! Eh, a little redempting suffering to offer up!

    Deo gratias!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Zenit: Pope Backs Search for Spiritual Moms for Priests

    I wrote on this back a few weeks ago..., but a letter by the Holy Father to the Congregation for Clergy has resurfaced this issue.

    Pope Backs Search for Spiritual Moms for Priests

    VATICAN CITY, APRIL 22, 2008 ( Benedict XVI gave his support to an initiative from the Congregation for Clergy that called for spiritual mothers for priests and Eucharistic adoration for their sanctity.

    The Pope, who repeatedly stressed the need for holy priests during his trip to the United States last week, expressed his approval of this project promoted by the Vatican's clergy dicastery.

    In a letter sent to the congregation through the Holy Father's secretary of state, the Pope expressed his "personal satisfaction to the Congregation of the Clergy for the initiative […] titled 'Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity,' which is currently spreading throughout the world."

    The note further assured that the Pontiff is "grateful for the thoughtful action and the sentiments that the congregation has suggested, and hopeful that the love and devotion to the Eucharistic Lord and devotion to Mary, Mother of Christ the High Priest, might give new fervor to the life and the apostolate of priests."

    Benedict XVI imparted his apostolic blessing "as a seal of that hope," the congregation reported.

    The initiative was announced last Dec. 8 by the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes and Mauro Piacenza, respectively.

    It called for people willing to begin and maintain 24-hour Eucharistic adoration for the priesthood and for "consecrated feminine souls" ready to become spiritual mothers of priests.

    The Web site from the dicastery offers explanations and resources both for the campaign to begin Eucharistic adoration and for those who would like to be spiritual mothers of priests, following the example of the Virgin Mary.

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    Pointer-Post for April 22, 2008

    I have so little time this morning and there are some really good things out there. First, some posts made here recently, recapped.



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    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Lifesite: Michigan's Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Blocked By Pro-Abortion Legislators

    Call your state representative today!!! There is a vote this Wednesday, the 23rd.

    Michigan's Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Blocked By Pro-Abortion Legislators

    By John Connolly

    LANSING, Michigan, April 17, 2008, ( - Michigan's proposed ban on partial-birth abortion has been blocked by the Michigan House Judiciary Committee for months, a problem that Michigan Right to Life and Pro-Life politicians are planning to overcome in the next few days.

    Senate Bill 776, which is a replication of the federal ban on abortion, is an answer to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that a partial-birth abortion law passed in 2004 was unconstitutional. S.B. 776 passed the Michigan Senate in January by a vote of 24-13. The bill then progressed to the Michigan House, where it was expected to be passed. But the House judiciary committee, led by Democrat Paul Condino, has refused to complete the processes needed to send the bill to the House for a vote.

    Michigan Right to life has been negotiating with legislators to move the bill forward, as the window of negotiation time closes. It hopes to have the bill voted on by April 23, when the organization holds its annual Legislative Day, a pro-life lobbying and educational event.

    "These negotiations can be tricky," said Ed Rivet, legislative director for Michigan Right to Life, in an interview with the Michigan Messenger. "We're hoping to break through in the next day or two. Then timing becomes less critical. Once we agree what we're going to do, we can decide when we're going to do it."

    "We're moving toward action in one format or another," he added. "We want to negotiate the least amount of collateral damage on the House floor, on both sides."

    Observers expect House Speaker Andy Dillon to use a "discharge motion" to remove the bill from the Judiciary Committee and bring it directly to the floor for a vote. Rivet said that Dillon has been "very involved" with discussions since the beginning of the House session.

    Senator Cameron S. Brown, who sponsored the bill, maintains that there is little disagreement among legislators over partial-birth abortion, and that if the bill is taken to a vote, it will pass.

    "Even though pro-life legislators make up an overwhelming majority of the Michigan House of Representatives - including the Speaker of the House - legislation to put a court-tested partial birth abortion ban on the books has been ignored since passing the Senate in January," Brown wrote on his blog. "I have long said that there are great differences of opinion on the issue of abortion, but that there is little disagreement on the egregious nature of partial birth abortions."

    Governor Jennifer Granholm, whose veto against the 2004 partial-birth abortion law was overturned by a people's override, has not given any indication that she will sign or veto Senate bill 776, should it pass.


    If you live in Michigan, you can find your representative here.

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    Cavuto: The Holy Father Is a Ratings Prayer Answered

    H/T to Denise at Semper Fi Catholic

    Neil Cavuto of Fox News had a pretty good commentary about the Holy Father's visit.

    Have you been following any of this pope coverage?

    Apparently you're not alone.

    The guy's a ratings magnet.

    And at 81, a real draw with younger viewers as well, actually, especially younger viewers.

    I've seen it in news ratings.

    This channel, all channels.

    The Holy Father is a ratings prayer answered.

    Which defies logic, if you think about it, or conventional media logic if you hear it.

    Old people don't rate.

    Apparently they do.

    Messages of simple goodness won't sell.

    Apparently they will.....[continued in the link below]

    Continue reading Cavuto at

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    Attempt to sell Consecrated Host on Ebay from Papal Mass

    This example is as good as any reason to bring back Communion on the tongue. It's not 100% foolproof, but the Host would not be in such good condition so as to put it up for sale.
    Today, I received an email from a priest-reader who asked that I let people know that a Consecrated Host from the Papal Mass was up for sale on Ebay and to ask people to flood them with email.

    Not wanting to post from work, I did the next best thing and sent word out to several key bloggers whom I know have heavy readerships. A short while later, I discovered that Ebay did, in fact, remove the item and emailed them back with this update.

    Ebay has removed the item because it is now against their policy after a public outcry from prior sales/attempts. However, our work is not yet done.

    1. We will never know whether it was truly a Consecrated Host from the Papal Mass in New York. In fact, we will never know if it was truly a Consecrated Host at all. However, more than likely it truly Our Lord. We should assume as much.

    2. If this is the Body of Christ, it is the first, and perhaps the only sacrilege we will truly have witnessed. How many other Hosts were removed from the stadium?

    3. This is a reminder that each and every day, we need to make reparation for the sins committed against the Blessed Sacrament around the world. It's not enough to talk about this matter or be disgusted by it. Christ was nailed to a cross by people whom he asked his Father to forgive because, "they know not what they do." We need to spend time in Adoration specifically for reparation, and for conversion of those souls who more than likely, "know not what they do". So, they probably know it is not good to be selling online, but I mean, they are ignorant of the Real Presence.

    4. Some know what they do and desire a Consecrated Host for the purpose of desecrating it or using it in a black mass. For this, which goes on in various places around the world, we need to make acts of reparation and pray for the conversion of those souls.

    If you don't have an Adoration chapel near you, then spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in any open parish, or in your home if that is not possible. Yes, you can adore God in your heart - it is a deep form of prayer.

    Other forms of reparation would include other prayers, such as the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

    It doesn't end there. You can offer sacrifices, such as giving up something you really like to eat or drink. Or, giving up a TV program and doing spiritual reading. As with all prayer, to make it pure, do an examination of conscience and make an Act of Contrition before you begin. If you find serious sin, go to Confession. You can still pray, and you can still make an Act of Contrition, but before you receive Holy Communion again, use the Sacrament of Penance.

    Attempting to sell a Consecrated Host on Ebay is pretty bad. However, receiving Holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin is also very bad. The Spotless, Holy Victim, is received by one who is unclean and it is very painful to Our Lord. With Communion lines so long and Confession lines nearly empty or non-existent, there are offenses being committed at each and every Mass.

    Make daily reparations for these offenses, along with those that are a little more obscure.

    While you can use a specific vocal prayer for an Act of Reparation, you can also direct your heart with intent to make your time before the Blessed Sacrament as such.

    Many thanks to Gerald Augustinus for answering my email so quickly with a post drawing attention to this. And, a thanks to Ken at Hallowed Ground for the initial post, and to Fr. Darrell who emailed me earlier today.

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    Recent Posts for April 21, 2008

    Here are some recent posts. I've been blogging quite a bit lately so this will help Monday morning readers...

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    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    Dissenting against the dissenters

    One thing about dissenting Catholic theologians is that they want you to freely promote dissent as long as it is not dissent against their personal teachings. Of course, if the Church ever made the changes dissenting theologians wanted, the Church would implode from the many conflicts.

    The secular media likes to seek out dissenting theologians and priests because their dissent is often promoting something worldly. The secular media also enjoys controversy and why seek commentary from those who have the mind of the Church when they could get it from those who are against it? However, I'm still perplexed as to why the media doesn't get expert opinion on liberty from the Chinese government. I mean, that is what they do when they seek out dissenting Catholics for "expert" opinion on Catholic matters is it not? Then again, why seek objective facts when you could get subjective opinions from disgruntled Catholics?

    Dissenters seek what little understanding they need to try to generate change, usually to permit something immoral. Truth has to be absolute, otherwise it is imperfect. Christ is Truth and since Jesus is God and God is perfect, Truth can't be imperfect, without our calling into question the divinity of Jesus Christ (which often goes hand in hand with dissent of other kinds). He is the way, the truth and the life.

    This whole discussion brings to mind Hebrews 13:7-9a

    7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings;

    The NY Times put together a panel of bloggers for the Papal Visit. Included, surprisingly, were some solid Catholic bloggers like Amy Welborn and Colleen Carroll Cambpell and who are not disoriented in their understanding of Catholicism. I say it is surprising because usually sources like the NY Times limit their "experts" to the worst of dissenters.

    With the emergence of the Catholic blogosphere, uncontrolled by the sensorship of mainstream media (now that was fun to write), many of the networks and papers have begun to include a few truly Catholic experts and commentators. I guess they are trying to get fair and balanced. Things won't be right until they limit their expert opinion from true subject matter experts. That is, those who speak with the mind of the Church.

    Then there are those Catholic theologians who have written some pretty counter-Catholic posts at the NY Times blog (read that, anti-papist commentaries), and it leads uncatechized Catholics and other Christians down a distorted path of confusion - the very kind that Pope Benedict warns about repeatedly.

    I was delighted to read the many responses in the form of testimonies to dissenting Catholic theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether in her latest post this evening, entitled Silence on Contraception. Do read some of those comments and add to the list for the benefit of others. It's interesting to note that Ms. Radford Ruether teaches at Claremont School of Theology which is described as:

    " ecumenical graduate theological school of the United Methodist Church. With a global purview and a catholic spirit, we passionately pursue intellectual rigor, vocational discernment and responsible social engagement. Nurtured by the Christian tradition, we prepare effective leaders for service to God, the church, the academy, and the world".

    Hmmmmmm..... it's rather interesting that the Times would solicit expert opinion from a dissenting Catholic theologian who is teaching at a United Methodist University that claims to have a catholic (small 'c') spirit. Let me requote that scripture passage again:

    9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; (Hebrews 13:9a)

    Moving right along...

    There have been some other unfortunate blogposts at the NY Times blog, as well. One that drew a response from me (see comment #11) was by Rev. James Martin, SJ of the ultra-lefty, America Magazine in his post: The Jewish People, Joseph Ratzinger and Me .

    Solid, well catechized Catholics should be participating in discussions on blogs like these set up by the secular media. It not only challenges those who are posting, but also challenges readers. Hopefully, it will challenge the NY Times to render to the Smithsonian the hippy-era dissenters the next time a Catholic event is worthy of secular media attention. Always respond with complete charity, and where possible provide references so others may learn more.

    Consider that dissent is cloaked in a fog and there is nothing better than a big fan to blow away all the smoke. That fan comes in the form of numerous comments in which truth is is explained - charitably. It is an act of dissenting against the dissenters. Pope Benedict XVI asked us to be co-workers of Truth. This could be one way to participate one small comment at a time.

    NY Times Papal Visit Blog

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    Pope Benedict XVI during Mass: A Man Focused on Jesus and in Prayer

    Fr. Neuhaus on EWTN noted something that I have blogged on several times over a two-year peiod since I noticed it with the priests at Assumption Grotto. Fr. Neuhaus comments (paraphrased):

    When the Holy Father is praying, as in when he is praying in the Mass he does NOT pray as if he is speaking to the people.

    So-called liturgists have been teaching seminarians to look around at the people as if they are speaking at a business meeting during the Mass. The Mass is not a business meeting, it is a prayer. It is offered to God and the priest leads us in this prayer.

    It was very striking to me, the very first time I encountered it at Grotto. Before Mass starts, the priest is in the back, deep in prayer, with his hands folded in prayer. He is not looking around greeting people because he is in prayer. He expects that they are in prayer too and leads them in this direction by his example.

    If the laity get to Mass early and enter into a prayerful preparatio (instead of talking and leaving everyone else in a state of disquiet), then the last thing that needs to happen is to be pulled out of that meditative mode. Exception noted is that of a papal Mass for example, where the Pope is offering a blessing as he goes up the aisle. While I sense His Holiness would prefer that people be more reserved as Mass starts, he also knows that the people have no other way to acknowledge their fidelity than in a burst of excitement. But, this is an exception and is not how Mass ought normally to be done in the average parish on Sunday (with cheers, applause and chanting - and I don't mean Gregorian chant).

    Priests are teachers and when they bow their heads and close their eyes in prayer, it drives the people in the pews to do the same.

    Notice when the Holy Father consecrated the Host. Did he hold it up and show it to all the people present, looking past the Host and to the the people? No. He bowed slightly and looked directly at the Host and at the words when needed. That drives our eyes to the same focal point. When he Elevates the Body of Christ, where are his eyes? His eyes are fixed on Our Lord, held as high as his arms would permit, even as he celebrates versus populum, facing the people.

    Note not only how high he held the Consecrated Host, but that Elevation was prolonged. How can the faithful be led to adore Christ - which is what we should be doing during the Elevation if He is not held high and is brought down faster than one can blink? Why would a priest hold Our Lord below eye level, as opposed to raising Him up as if like the Sun over the summit?

    If Our Lord is Elevated with the appearance of indifference, there is a greater chance of creating indifference in the pews. If Our Lord is Elevated with total reverence, in a slow manner, raised as high as possible, and for a prolonged period, it will create a sense of awe. I was deeply affected the first time I have experienced it and it has not changed.

    I believe there are varying levels of maturity in worship. The very highest level of worship, in my humble opinion, would be what I call contemplative worship. It is when we want union not only with those physically present, but with those spiritually present. Contemplation is a gift from God - one that we cannot take upon ourselves. However, it is a gift most often given in silence and stillness. While one can hold the hand of the person next to them, they cannot hold the hand of the angel. By taking a meditative approach to the Mass, one that is focused interiorly on the words and music, we pray not only with our being, but with our very soul. Pope John Paul II summed it up well in an ad limina address out west some years ago:

    Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural.

    The world is dominated by noise. Noise comes in the form of TV, radio, cell-phones, blackberries, and too much activity. For the last 40 years, we have had "experts" trying to find ways to build more activity into the Mass for the sake of "active participation". Yet, it has harmed silent, active participation - the kind Pope John Paul II speaks of.

    We need our priests to lead us into the deep silence because silence is the language of God. It is where we can hear His voice above all others. We are led into that silence by the actions of the priest. The more subdued, the greater the silence; the more dynamic, the greater the "noise".

    Ad orientem celebration of the Mass is important because if people want to experience contemplative worship, then stimulii which serve as "noise" need to be removed. People don't realize the priest is there in persona Christi. Ad orientem celebration it removes the person of the priest one more level. Gone are any concerns about facial expressions, where he is looking, or any other such thing. All that is left is a man who stands, in persona Christi, leading us forward in worship.

    Pope Benedict XVI knows that our relationship with Jesus Christ will grow as we learn how to pray and worship interiorly. It starts by getting rid of the "noise".

    Seek not the face of the priest in the Mass, but the face of God! It's mystical!

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    Commentary: Pope Benedict XVI and Obedience

    Pope Benedict XVI, in his homily at Yankee Stadium today, brought up the subject of obedience. I don't want to highlight any part of this excerpt, rather I encourage you to read it fully - slowly.

    The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church's unity is "apostolic". It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call "the obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).

    "Authority" … "obedience". To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a "stumbling stone" for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ - "the way and the truth and the life" - we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. "In his will is our peace".

    Real freedom, then, is God's gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on "the mind of Christ" (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14), entrusted with the "apostolate" of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God's saving plan.

    If you are a loyal, Catholic who comprehends that obedience is a choice that only the free can make, you have probably been on the receiving end of someone suggesting that you should think for yourself rather let the Church think for you. I have experienced it many times and I simply remind people that I'm not being forced to follow the Church, I'm freely choosing to follow her - joyfully!

    The next time someone challenges you on obedience, I suggest this:

    It is not the obedient who are held captive by the Church, but the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

    Jesus died on a cross to teach us to die to self! I would like to recall another scriptural passage, this one from Philippians:

    8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9* Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13* for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15* that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

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    Mass at Yankee Stadium: Catch it livestream on EWTN Now!!!

    Mass at Yankee Stadium starts in about 15 minutes.

    I'll be editing this post periodically during the Mass.

    If you don't have EWTN or cable, you can catch a live stream of the Mass on the web. I made a post like this yesterday and there were numerous outclicks to these resources by people searching for them on the web and stumbling on them here. Thanks be to God for these kinds of resources because this enables anyone in the world to watch, listen and read!

    One place to get the EWTN stream is at

    If that doesn't work for you, then go to this page at EWTN and pick your speed.

    If you have missed any of the events and want to watch them, go to the multimedia page at EWTN and you'll find video and audio at varying speeds.

    You will also find written words of Pope Benedict here at EWTN.

    It looks like Fr. Z will be blogging in one main post throughout the Mass as he did with the one at St. Patricks. Use his home page and keep refreshing for updates on the post that is there. However, yesterday he made a separate post for the homily, then continued updating the original one.

    I have to say that as a result of so much time absorbed in the Pope's visit has left me behind on many things. I have lots to blog about, but I have other priorities that must be dealt with, that just can't be neglected.

    The way I see it, these addresses given by Pope Benedict gives us plenty to blog about for weeks to come. The words need to be read, and re-read, digested and discussed. Hence, I'm not going to try to rush it. Rather, I'm going to be spending some times with these documents and coming back to them in the coming days and weeks.

    I'm sure there will be ongoing commentaries at many other blogs and other online sources.


    3:00PM: Note how deeply in prayer the Holy Father is during the Gloria (Gloria, from Missa O Magnum Mysterium – Tomás Luis da Victoria). Some would say that he was not participating because he was not singing. Nothing could be further from the truth. This kind of sacred music is meant to help us to engage in interior, active participation whereby we lift our very being up to God in worship. The soul does not require exterior, active participation to engage in worship. In fact, the mystics would probably consider it noise.

    3:37 PM: The homily from Yankee Stadium, which is now online at EWTN, like all of the Pope's addresses will need to be combed over. Here is one excerpt:

    The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church's unity is "apostolic". It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call "the obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).

    "Authority" … "obedience". To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a "stumbling stone" for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ - "the way and the truth and the life" - we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. "In his will is our peace".

    This nails something I say every time someone tells me, "you need to think for your self rather than let the Church do your thinking for you":

    Only one who is truly free can choose obedience. It's not a matter of being forced to accept something, but a humble willingness to follow. That means, obedience is a choice. Christ humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

    People think that because we choose not to go along with the world we are held captive. It is not the obedient who are held captive by the Church, but the disobedient who are held captive by the world. Jesus' death on the cross exemplifies death to self for all Christians.

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    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Papal Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral - watch it now!

    UPDATE: This post is being updated periodically throughout the Mass. Scroll down.

    If you don't get EWTN or if you don't have cable, you can go to two places to watch the Papal Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, where priests and consecrated persons have filled the church to capacity.

    Go to and it will automatically start playing.

    Alternatively, you can go to and pick your speed from this page.

    If you missed any of the events, EWTN has the video and audio on this page for all events.

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    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Pope Benedict Meets with Sex Abuse Survivors

    You've probably heard that the Holy Father made it a point to meet with some of victims of clerical sex abuse.

    Not sure how long this will last on YouTube, but there is a clip from CNN in which three people were interviewed about their meeting with Pope Benedict. This was very good (warning - tear-jerker alert). In so many ways, Pope Benedict is showing priests and bishops how to be good shepherds. May the grace of God be with these people as they struggle to heal.

    H/T - Tom Peters

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    New Blog: Virtuous Catholic Blogging

    I'm just bumping this back up to the top...

    I have been contemplating this idea for a long time. I've gone and finally done it: A new blog dedicated to the topic of virtuous Catholic blogging. It doesn't mean I have gotten there yet, it means I'm merely interested in the journey and think it would be beneficial to explore.

    I hope you will not only ponder some of the things I bring to the Catholic blogosphere's attention here, but it is my prayer that it will you will participate via the combox and with your prayers that it can help us to become more virtuous bloggers.
    I'll try to contribute weekly to this blog.

    Second address at the UN - to the ordinary workers

    Pope Benedict had a second address at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York - this time to the workers.

    I didn't realize he would have two addresses there. He received a long standing ovation following this talk. These were the "little people" - the ordinary workers there and I found it touching that he would talk to them and not limit his attention to the leaders. These are the folks in the trenches. When you really think about it, how many of these people got into this line of business because they wanted to make a difference? Benedict brings us all back to basics in so many ways.

    Pope Benedict's address to the staff and personnel of the United Nations Organization

    Coverage continues on EWTN. You can watch it live here.

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    Holy Father addresses United Nations

    The Holy Father gave a very good address to the United Nations, grounded in hope. The Pope in his usual, spiritually mature fashion, spoke in a manner that was not condescending. While it is early to tell, I got the impression, by the standing ovation which followed, that Pope Benedict's words were well received.

    Here is one quote:

    The full guarantee of religious liberty cannot be limited to the free exercise of worship, but has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion, and hence to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order. Indeed, they actually do so, for example through their influential and generous involvement in a vast network of initiatives which extend from Universities, scientific institutions and schools to health care agencies and charitable organizations in the service of the poorest and most marginalized. Refusal to recognize the contribution to society that is rooted in the religious dimension and in the quest for the Absolute - by its nature, expressing communion between persons - would effectively privilege an individualistic approach, and would fragment the unity of the person.

    You can read the Holy Father's full address to the United Nations here.

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    TLM to be celebrated in Carmel, Indiana

    I just received word of a TLM to be celebrated in Carmel, Indiana at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, this Sunday - April 20th at 5:00pm. Click that link for map and details.

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    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Amy Welborn: Pope Benedict is a uniter, not a divider

    I really enjoyed the article by Amy Welborn at the blog set up by the NY Times where she was asked, among many others, to participate. Her post mirrors some thoughts I've been having since the Holy Father's visit began ('ll add link below). I left a comment there which I'll repeat here with fixes in brackets:

    One thing that strikes me repeatedly about Pope Benedict and something we would do well to emulate, is that we don’t see him publicly violate charity regardless of the severity of an issue. He is frank and calls things out as they are [in other words, he does not give in to false charity by saying nothing], but his firmness is not one that lacks charity and [he shows] care for the dignity of those to whom it is aimed.

    How often do we bloggers set charity aside to get one more dig at a fellow Catholic rather than engage in dialogue with the intellectual charity of which Pope Benedict XVI encourages and exemplifies?

    I’ll be pondering that myself.

    I want to expand on this thought while I have it.....

    When I first got serious about my faith when Pope John Paul II died, I found myself extraordinarily hungry for all things Catholic. Just to be clear, I was seeking out an understanding of the mind of the Church in her teachings, not the mind of someone who has other ideas that are more aligned with the mind of the world.

    I was relativisitic in my thinking and the light bulb went on for me, realizing that truth can't be in two opposing directions, nor can truth change directions. If Christ is Truth, then truth must be absolute.

    As I learned about the faith at places like and through solid sermons at Assumption Grotto, an anger began to increase inside of me - an anger being caused with another realization: The catechism of my youth was not only deficient, it was a distortion of authentic Catholic teaching. And, it wasn't only the catechism: The sermons I had been hearing for the past 40 years were equally deficient and sometimes distorted. I felt duped.

    Just for reference, I was born in 1962.

    This anger began to build, creating a defensiveness in me. In my discussions with other Catholics, I tried to "help" people to understand with all the grace of Attila the Hun.

    I tried to use humor too. Usually that humor was in the form of little digs which, as I see them now, served no other purpose than to get under the skin of other people. A little humor here and there is good, but it has to be properly ordered. Has anyone ever heard Pope Benedict, or the man Ratzinger ever take this approach to passing on the faith? No. He has a level of spiritual maturty that we should all strive for. However, pride sometimes gets in the way.

    If you peruse discussions in the many Catholic forums out there, and even the posts on some Catholic blogs, you will see examples of all kinds of behaviors that are not in alignment with charity - digs, bad humor, and the Attila the Hun approach to catechesis.

    We Catholic bloggers must ponder the words and actions of Pope Benedict. If we are to use the web to evangelize other people - especially poorly catechized Catholics and interested non-Catholics, we have to let go of the anger and let love for neighbor backfill that void. When our words are guided by love, the Holy Spirit will lead us in our quest to help others. Early on, several priests at Assumption Grotto encouraged me in this way with regards to discussions. It has taken much time to learn, and I continue to learn and make adjustments.

    When we engage in discussions with others on the faith, even on the most sensitive of subjects, we have to work on the charity side of it. An examination of conscience needs to be done regularly in this regard. Bloggers would do well to make use of confession when they realize charity was violated. A good confessor, along with the graces of the sacrament, can go a long way into enabling God to fine tune us like strings on a violin. There is nothing sweeter than a well-tuned instrument and nothing more grand than an entire ensemble of well-tuned instruments in aiding others to see the beauty of our faith.

    We can't make anyone play the 10-stringed harp; we must lead them to want to play it!

    Now......go read Amy Welborns excellent article: A Uniter, Not a Divider

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